Saturday, July 31, 2010

on wherefore i am most unsuitable for marriage

Dear Sir,

I should like to thank you most sincerely for your recent proposal of marriage, but I feel compelled to point out that I am doing you an immense favor in refusing. I realize you were rather swept away, but, as it has escaped your notice, I might just point out that I do not cook, clean nor like children. I also wish to live on a different continent. Should these small flaws leave you undaunted, you are most cordially requested to restate your request after a cooling-off period of sixty days.

In order to allow you to consider the matter more fully, perhaps I should eluci-, if not officially, -date.

Cooking I find unnecessary and a supreme waste of time. Please do not ask what I eat for dinner; I am dreadfully bored of this question, and have been for some time now. I eat dinner when it finds me; when it doesn't, I don't. I see no reason to waste my time looking for it if it can't be bothered to look for me. The same could be said for your would-be rivals, though perhaps this is a heartless time to so indicate. I shall desist and return to the topic of cooking.

What more can be said, though? It is all very well for those who have hours upon hours at their daily disposal, and, to be fair, I am not opposed to other people cooking, but cooking is not for me. I am sure you would agree that cereal is among the best of meals ever concocted, and apples, sushi and chocolate compose the remainder of a remarkably well-balanced diet.

As for cleaning, my room lives in a constant state of disaster, meaning that it can be problematic to walk from one side to the other. It is rarely problematic for me, seeing as I have years of experience mastering this delicate feat, but even those who have lived with me longest have sometimes found themselves sprawled, limbs up, on their backsides when attempting to navigate the unsettled territory. Although I do what I can to keep it tidy, it is an ever-raging battle from which, frankly, I do not always advance as victor.

I might point out that most of the objects in the room are really very nice ones. I am quite keen on most of them, except for the Important Papers, but they, so they insist, are Important and must be kept, regardless of aesthetic value or lack thereof. The Kleenex present a slightly stronger case for disposal. Perhaps I shall attend to them this afternoon.

As for children, I wish that I liked them. Infants I adore, for they are adorable and easily transportable, and teenagers I enjoy, for they are enjoyable and occasionally affable. Children, though, I have never liked, not even when I was one. Instead I preferred to parlay with my teachers on the playground, for I found them much more conversant and generally more agreeable.

I have been told repeatedly that my own children I shall like, and though I daresay this may be true, I shan't like to put it to the test any time soon.

As for continents, I am hard pressed to say which I would prefer, though I can almost guarantee it shall be the opposite of whichever you'd pick. If you are American, I prefer Australia. If you are Australian, I prefer America. As you see, I am afraid I really am abysmal with accents. Do forgive me. Perhaps we should leave it at that for now.

Incidentally, I also do not like cheese, bananas or olives, and I'd prefer to avoid lamb and pork. I remain exquisitely unaffected by poetry, and can't stand atmospheric lighting. I find slow music irritating. I refuse to awake before noon on a Saturday, and am prone to buying overseas plane tickets on a whim.

I can be tempted by milk (not dark) chocolate, roses (etc.) and long walks on the beach, though no walks of any kind anywhere else. I also am unfond of mountains.

As you can see, I remain a most unsuitable object of your affection. However, as aforementioned, should you still wish to press your cause, please so indicate after a hiatus of not less than sixty days.

I remain most respectfully yours,
Ms. Kirribilli Kim

Post-Script: The weather really is not unpleasant this time of the year, though I fancy it shall be even better in sixty days' time. Should you wish to restate your case, I can think of several acceptable locations in which to do so. (Location, location, location, they say. Going on precedent, I think they may be right.) Do bear the contents of this missive in mind, though, as it may not be suitable to mention them again later.

Post-Post-Script: My favorite flower is the frangipani.

Post-Post-Post-Script: I shouldn't be holding your breath, if I were you.

Friday, July 30, 2010

quicko: blocks

The blocks in Sydney are what I'd consider quite vast -- many (for example, between Goulburn and Liverpool, or Liverpool and Market) are roughly double the length of a typical American (.1 mile if I'm not mistaken) city block.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

to tea or not to tea

I've been trying and trying to come up with an idea for one of those funny, creative columns like Mic Looby and Bill Bryson write, but the only thing I can think of is public transportation. Which I've already written about to distraction, but it is the one constant in my life.

I feel like I should have a story in mind, but I don't. Just several nagging images that I thought would artfully reshape themselves as witty paragraphs, but have succeeded in nothing of the sort. I was going to call it quits and say I had writers' block, but I gave myself a deadline of writing this piece and one more by Saturday and time is clearly running out. Thank goodness I'm not terribly strict on myself.

Except really lately I have been. If you don't know me rather well, you may well be surprised, but I can be ridiculously good at being ridiculously strict on myself if there's a good reason, like becoming a mermaid or starting to notice excess baggage in my smile (yeah, right, like I was going to give you a link for that one!).

I'm nearly at the end (huzzah!) of two seriously deprived (and yet, may I report, I do not yet consider myself depraved, except, of course, in the total sense) weeks. I have been going without sugar in my tea.

Perhaps you do not realize what a humongous sacrifice this is. This is either because you do not drink tea or because you have poor taste. Frankly, I see no other alternative.

For these two weeks, I have also given up all sweets except one small piece of chocolate after lunch, as well as anything save fruits and vegetables for dinner. That I can live with. It's the sugarless tea that's driving me mad.

When I lived in England, a friend once told me that if I went for two weeks without sugar in my tea I'd never go back. I tried, and went right back. But that was years ago now, and I thought I'd give it another go. I'm somewhat disturbed that I have no great recollection of the last endeavor except, at the end of it, thinking that I probably could manage without sugar, but just preferred having it. I now know better.

Every cup of tea has been painful, and I have an average of 3-4 cups a day. Missing two sugars each. A co-worker said he once gave up his two sugars for a similar length of time, then immediately raced up to three. I can't say I blame him.

All my co-workers know I've given up sugar in my tea. All my students know. All my Facebook friends know. I'd be putting it on the prayer chain at church, except I think I might just barely manage to manage the last two days. Besides, most the prayer chain's already on Facebook.

I hate to harp, but I must reiterate: I am going for two weeks without sugar in my tea. Have you tried tea without sugar? It's revolting. Fortunately, I have developed a very strong character with regard to revolting tea as, as I mentioned, I have lived in England, which almost guarantees one has learned to stomach revolting tea for the sake of society. Come to think of it, that's probably why the sugar didn't bug me so much then. My tolerance was really quite high.

Take for example the time I was attending a family friend's baby's christening lunch. I was rather young and adventuresome and not yet terribly refined in my tastes and thought I'd be daring and add a sprig of milk to my already honeyed and lemoned tea. The tea curdled, but, not realizing I'd done anything wrong, I forced myself to drink the concoction until my hostess' mother looked over at my teacup and insisted I empty it down the drain, which I initially protested, but soon succumbed.

Nowadays I wouldn't consider myself a tea snob; it's simply that that I like a strong Twining's English (or Irish) Breakfast tea with ample full cream milk put in before the two sugars. Surely that isn't so much to ask? I mean, some days I even prefer Earl or Lady Grey, and, in rare instances, I feel the urge for some white or peppermint tea. Minus the milk, of course.

But now I have soldiered on through 12 (and counting!) very tedious days of taste bud trauma, and am eagerly awaiting Sunday morning's breakfast. Until then I'll be whining on public transportation if anyone needs me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

quicko: mixmaster

A brand name. For, you guessed it, mixers. Much like Kleenex or Tylenol or Band-Aids or Scotch tape or Saran wrap (or Hoovers, in England).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

quicko: "winter"

This might be a repeat photo for those of you whose computers are displaying this Sunday's adventures properly, but mine isn't and I took the picture with this thought in mind, so I'm afraid you're just going to have to deal with it: this is winter in Sydney.

Monday, July 26, 2010

quicko: a confession

I have a confession to make. I watched Good News Week tonight. I'm not actually sure if this is a bad thing or not, but I felt like it was safest to just confess up front.

The reason I mention Good News Week is that it had an American on it. Not one I'd ever heard of, nor particularly wanted to hear of, but an American nonetheless. And based on his experiences on the show, I just wanted to point out that this is a Very Useful Blog. He clearly was not a dedicated reader, for, if he were, he would have avoided pitfalls, got more jokes and generally disgraced himself less. So, in case you should ever find yourself thrust in front of a live viewing audience, I'll give a quick summary of what would have helped him:

--an inkling of Australian politics. Chiefly that the current debate is raging between Tony Abbott and Julia Guillard.

--the Big Pineapple is simply that. A giant fiberglass pineapple.

--drop bears are purely fictional.

--root is slang for sex.

--heaps is utterly overused here. (And also as an adjective.)

--newspapers are physically somewhat bigger here. (Wider spreads.)

Okay, so I might have forgotten to address that last concern, but most of the rest (barring possibly the Pineapple, though he could have got that from Bill Bryson) would have been supremely helpful to him, had he been reading. Which you, most thankfully, are. I told you this was a Very Useful Blog!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

just another sunday

So this Sunday started pretty normally about noon, which is precisely when a Sunday is supposed to start. By 12:50 I'd tuckered myself out checking my email and Facebook and was about to crawl back under the nice warm covers when I happened upon the Rocks' Aroma Festival website which advertised, among other things, famous harbourside camel rides.

Now I had no idea there were famous harbourside camel rides, but seeing as the website told me they did, I was clearly just out of the loop. Tom Cruise was famous for years before I realized who he was, so really, anything is possible.

I'd been thinking halfheartedly of going to the Aroma Festival, but the half dozen closest friends I thought to call all had other plans, so, in the end, it was really the camel rides that tipped the balance over the edge. Then, one friend did show up, too, so it all worked out beautifully. Don't you just love happy endings? Well, hang on. It's not over yet. We haven't even got out of the house yet, actually.

The temperature having been slightly unpredictable but generally brisk, I opted for the boots. You may recall the boots -- the stunning wear-them-everywhere-but-OH!-no!-they-hurt! boots. Having bitten the bullet for the afternoon, though, the next problem was how to wear them. I had, you see, been planning a blog post in the recent trend of fashion statements about the absurdity of the style wherein all the women seem to be wearing their boots on the outsides of their jeans. I'm not sure whether this is a cause or effect with regard to skinny jeans, but seeing as I also am fundamentally opposed to them, I had no intention of hiding my slightly flared leg jeans away. Putting everything on and thinking through such important matters, though, I suddenly realized that everyone I could immediately recall wearing boots over their jeans was a rather fashionable sort of person and, suddenly, it hit me that in Sydney at the moment it is really much more stylish to over-boot instead of inner-boot. So with a bit of debate (pictured below) I eventually caved to fashion and decided I quite liked the effect. If the boots were going to hurt, we might as well show them off, hey?

The wardrobe thus decided, the boots and I set out to find our camel.

It turns out the Aroma Festival is actually quite large -- huge, I think we could even go so far as -- and the camels, believe it or not, are not the star attraction. Evidently coffee is.

I do not like coffee. Goodness knows I've tried (Much as I've also exerted considerable effort to acclimatize my taste buds to bananas. They never acquiesce, much less appreciate the efforts.), because I think it would really be terribly sophisticated of me to, but I've never been able to like coffee itself. The smell and the flavor, though (read: coffee flavored ice cream), I am all for, so felt sufficiently justified in traipsing along to an Aroma Festival. Besides, I do like tea (English Breakfast. Not much else.) and chocolate (Thankfully pretty much all varieties, except, of course, chocolate covered bananas. Milk chocolate is my favorite, though, if you were thinking of buying me a present.).

And so I found myself meandering around the many, many, many coffee and tea and chocolate and cupcake (I can do justice to a cupcake!) stalls spending most of my time taking pictures, because, after all, I do have a blog to think of. Besides, the Rocks is a ridiculously stunning piece of scenery and I just generally can't help myself. The blog's a great excuse, though.

While I pressing through the crowd listening to live music (brassy trumpets!) in the Latin Quarter I bumped into a former student, who seemed happy to see me, yet slightly suspicious that I was there on my own. It didn't really bother, me, though, as I'd just arranged to meet a friend at the Oasis.

It's always slightly risky to agree to meet someone in a place whose whereabouts you're unsure of, but I had a pretty good hunch it was straight ahead aways, seeing as it demonstrably wasn't where I currently was. I moseyed on through the crowd, which took considerable skill, seeing as it was such a sprawling crowd and I had to pass dozens of chocolate stalls and photogenic scenes on the way. I think I fell a bit shy of actually meeting the "see you in ten minutes" mark, but we did all manage to meet up in the end.

The Oasis, it turns out, was precisely where I thought it was, just at the base of the Bridge, which happened to be the Turkish center, complete with (magic?) carpets, dancing, music and, of course, Turkish tea. Altogether delightful.

We meandered around various tea and chocolate stalls (many of which were creatively named -- Your Nuts and Kick Ice Coffee spring to mind) until my friends needed to depart, which left me with a significant decision: did I throw in the towel and leave with them, or did I continue on my own, in pursuit of camel rides? I am pleased to announce that I decided to carry on.

First, though, I stopped back for a bit more trumpet music while I finished the latest Lord Peter Wimsey story I wanted to finish (turns out the doctor was poisoning his own wife out of sheer jealousy). Then I stopped by the Overseas Passengers Terminal to look down at the famous coffee cup mystery picture, which this year was Marilyn Monroe, representing a considerable step upward in beauty from last year's Mona Lisa.

Finally, though, I managed to trot back to the camels. Lord Peter and I spent another lovely forty-five minutes together waiting our turn to ride, and it was most definitely worth it. I got to ride Aloki, a female camel named after an Aboriginal term from South Australia, or so the man told me. I got the impression he was unsure of the meaning, but knew that anything Aboriginal should fly with the tourists. Worked for me. The other camels in our line-up were Ruby, Aussie and Israel, and I am convinced I got the best one.

We didn't go terribly far, but for $5, it was a pretty decent harbourside camel ride. It was over all too soon, and my greatest regret was that no one phoned me at such a time as I could answer with, "Sorry, could I call you back in couple minutes? I'm just on a harbourside camel ride at the moment. They're famous, you know."

photos: just another sunday

So, the blog seems to have its own ideas about how this post is supposed to be laid out ... and who am I to argue with it? I will inevitably lose, but only after two hours of torturous fight; thus, I shall wave the white flag now and write the words that were supposed to be accompanying these illustrations in the next post. Hang ten, everybody, should be a fun ride!

quicko: UGGly or not?

There's a bit of debate among Sydneysiders as to whether it is permissible to wear UGG boots (comfy, boot-meets-slippers sorts of things that look like they should have come from Canada originally, but didn't -- they're a staple Aussie product) in public. The fashionable tend to be of the opinion they do not belong outside the confines of one's own home, while the masses tend to wear them happily through the streets.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

quicko: fashion or not

There's a quite a trend in this "winter" weather in Sydney for girls to wear tights -- as pants!! The tights aren't pantyhose (thicker, along the lines of leggings) and usually they manage to wear a skirt or dress or something over them, but some only drape shirts down, or, occasionally, literally just wear them as pants. I don't really consider myself much of a fashion policegirl, but surely that crosses some sort of line!?

Friday, July 23, 2010

quicko: scrap

AKA a cat fight (girls, not felines).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

quicko: priorities

I am really not much of a TV person (and certainly wouldn't admit it if I were!), but you can't live in Australia these days and not hear about Masterchef. What's more, Australia has a major election coming up August 21 and one of the very few debates leading up to it had to be rescheduled because it had been scheduled to coincide with Masterchef. If that doesn't show you who really runs the country!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

quicko: bruce and sheila

Are the two classic Australian names. Sheila is actually slang for a female, though it doesn't sound entirely complimentary -- rather rough and ready, really.

Don't believe me? Check out any tacky gift shop in Australia. Or, to be slightly more suave about it, think Finding Nemo -- what did they name the shark? Bruce. See? I'm definitely right.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

quicko: get me out of the church on time

Going to church in America, I (and most the congregation, in my estimation) were chomping at the bit to leave not a minute past an hour. I dreaded communion, knowing it would push the service at least ten, if not fifteen, minutes late. Somewhere along the way here, something changed. After walking out of a 5:30 service at 7:15 last Saturday and not feeling like it was long, it dawned on me that this was rather a drastic change. While I can't give Australia the credit that belongs to God for this, I am grateful that He has changed my heart so much here.

And have I mentioned how much I love my church? Church by the Bridge in, you guessed it, Kirribilli. And even though I'll be out of the country for it, might I just mention that there's an amazing art exhibition currently accepting entries to be part of the I Heart Kirribilli week (30 August - 4 September), which'll be absolutely awesome!! You should definitely come!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

quicko: a penny for your thoughts

For obvious reasons, Australians do not refer to their money as "benjamins." I don't think we do all that much, either, but I saw it on The Oatmeal, so it must be cool.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

news flash: politics

It seems the Australians have decided to have a federal election: August 21. 2010. Can't say they don't get down to business!

quicko: rinky dink

An Americanism. Australians understand it, but don't use it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

quicko: done and dusted

Australianism for finished. Over. Ended. Complete. Period. The end.

Friday, July 16, 2010

quicko: eenie meenie miny mo

I was shocked and appalled to learn that Australians have a tremendously un-PC version of this. Well, not so shocked that they have an un-PC version, but the extent of its depravity is, shall we say, total. Let's just stick to catching a tiger by the toe, you dirty, dirty dishrags, you!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

quicko: SNAG

Perhaps this is American slang, too, but I don't remember hearing it. I also seem to have missed all the 80s and most of the 90s (oh, okay, and probably a good chunk of the aughts), but it's known here as a "sensitive, new-age guy." That is, a man secure enough to shed a tear or two from time to time ... or perhaps even a bit more.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


If I want to think of myself as an artist, even in the writerly sort of sense, I suppose it follows that I must sometimes be broke. It's just a bit discouraging when that day's the same day as payday.

I'm good at budgeting my money, and it's particularly simple when I haven't got any. My dad taught me how to budget when I was eight years old and started getting an allowance, as well as a steady stream of $1s from the Tooth Fairy. I had four peanut butter jars and could divide my money out however I liked as long as I had a minimum of 10% going to Church, 10% to Savings, 10% to Gifts for Others and 10% to Whatever. Seeing as I had no bills and food, clothing and rent were all non-issues, it worked wonderfully, and I was even able to save copious amounts of money, if by copious you mean well over $100.

Seriously, though, it is a good system and it taught me a lot about managing my money successfully, even if I did only get 4th place in the ensuing 4-H competition. (4-H competitions, for the uninitiated, are entities unto themselves. They are educational activities designed to teach teenagers important life skills, like raising aquatic fish. In this particular instance, it consisted of phoning various banks to compare mortgage rates or joint checking accounts or something equally inapplicable and undecipherable to a 14-year-old, followed by making a poster with a Monopoly theme, followed by an interview with a judge wherein a years' worth of balanced checking was explained ad infinitium. How I didn't win still remains a mystery.)

Since then things have gone along relatively smoothly, and, while the peanut butter jars are buried away in my closet (I'm unfortunately a bit of a pack rat), I'm generally quite adept at finding cash for, say, my internet connection and friends' birthdays. (New favorite gift: anything that can be written in the inside of a card. As in, IOU one fabulous birthday outing! Sometime before your next birthday! Or certainly your next decade!)

Knee-high black boots and dragonfly portraits notwithstanding, I can be rather frugal at the best of times. I get slightly annoyed with group bills at a restaurant split up evenly when I didn't have any alcohol, or when friends insist on putting me in a cab at midnight on Oxford Street, or when my favorite cafe ups its prices on raisin toast. I refuse to be cheated by strangers who offer me $20 for my unused ferry ticket when I could mail it in and get $28 or by Australian hairdressers, who think nothing of charging $90 a haircut. I insist on buying contact fluid and 5-packs of pantyhose in America, and have been known to stalk out of convenience stores upon hearing they intend to charge $1 to use a debit card.

Despite all this, I've recently found myself encumbered by a plethora of expenses I'd rather not have had. I won't bore you with the costs of an artist's life, but suffice it to say they've been a bit more dramatic than necessary, even in artistic terms. (Don't you hate it when people say they won't bore you with details, when really there's nothing you're suddenly more curious about? I know. Me, too.)

For this reason, the ATM has become my new best friend.

Why are ATMs so wonderful? Surely it's obvious: besides not requiring birthday gifts, they are extremely discreet. You can sally up to one, put in a request for the amount you'd like and, after it's had a private little laugh, it will inform you, regretfully, that the requested funds are not available. Would you like to make another transaction, though, it asks courteously.

Seeing as the first try was really just for giggles anyway, you play gamely along and put in request number two, which, as long as it's modest enough, the ATM usually sees fit to grant, along with a receipt showing a ghastly shocking figure of Available Balance left at the bottom. But the beauty, you see, is that no one else knows! The machine, aside from its minor fit of hysterics at the first request, trumpets your news to no one. It stifles its cries of "Extra, Extra!" and remains composedly disinterested. Many mothers could take lessons from the lowly ATM.

Then you mosey happily on your way, adding as much water to your shampoo as possible to stretch it a bit longer, finding old tubes of lipstick that weren't quite to the very end yet and skipping dinner unless you're socially obligated to eat it.

You go along just fine for some time, paying rent, buying bus tickets and the like, and suddenly it's payday again. At which point you realize there is still no cash left and you're slightly starved and craving broccoli -- but chin up! You've truly become an artist.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

quicko: neighborhood

Evidently primarily an Americanism, though understood and recognized here. Come to think of it, there really aren't neighborhoods in the "Cinnamon Woods" sense of the word. They're really more what Australians refer to as suburbs, though granted they have slightly more than a pool and some tennis courts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

photos: darling harbour by night

update: unlucky

Well over a year ago I posted on the frequency of the use of "unlucky" in beach volleyball settings, and I can now state definitively that, while it is not usually used excessively in Australian English, it is used substantially more frequently than in American. It's a general interjection, often said with a sigh.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

photo update: cluedo

So I know I've prattled on about Cluedo before, but never before did I actually have the goods to prove-do my Clue-do. Here you have it. PLUS, might I just point out that, in Australian Cluedo, the knife is the dagger, Mr. Green is Rev. Green, the wrench is the spanner and in the notepad (which is shaped differently) it is the lead piping, though on the card it is still the lead pipe.
Guess who won! (Well, at least the second game.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

jokes for a friday!

(No, I did not write these. I do not know who did, though special thanks to Phil for finding them. Enjoy anyway!)

Aussies: Believe you should look out for your mates.
Brits: Believe that you should look out for those people who belong to your club.
Americans: Believe that people should look out for and take care of themselves.
Canadians: Believe that that is the government's job.

Aussies: Dislike being mistaken for Pommies (Brits) when abroad.
Canadians: Are rather indignant about being mistaken for Americans when abroad.
Americans: Encourage being mistaken for Canadians when abroad.
Brits: Can't possibly be mistaken for anyone else when abroad.

Canadians: Endure bitterly cold winters and are proud of it.
Brits: Endure oppressively wet and dreary winters and are proud of it.
Americans: Don't have to do either, and couldn't care less.
Aussies: Don't understand what inclement weather means.

Americans: Drink weak, pissy-tasting beer.
Canadians: Drink strong, pissy-tasting beer.
Brits: Drink warm, beery-tasting piss.
Aussies: Drink anything with alcohol in it.

Americans: Seem to think that poverty and failure are morally suspect.
Canadians: Seem to believe that wealth and success are morally suspect.
Brits: Seem to believe that wealth, poverty, success, and failure are inherited.
Aussies: Seem to think that none of this matters after several beers.

Brits: Have produced many great comedians, celebrated by Canadians, ignored by Americans, and therefore not rich.
Aussies: Have produced comedians like Paul Hogan and Yahoo Serious.
Canadians: Have produced many great comedians such as John Candy, Martin Short, Jim Carrey, Dan Akroyd, and all the rest at SCTV.
Americans: Think that these people are American!

Americans: Spend most of their lives glued to the idiot box.
Canadians: Don't, but only because they can't get more American channels.
Brits: Pay a tax just so they can watch 4 channels.
Aussies: Export all their crappy programs, which no one there watches, to Britain, where everybody loves them.

Americans: Will jabber on incessantly about football, baseball and basketball.
Brits: Will jabber on incessantly about cricket, soccer and rugby.
Canadians: Will jabber on incessantly about hockey, hockey, hockey, and how they beat the Americans twice, playing baseball.
Aussies: Will jabber on incessantly about how they beat the Poms in every sport they played them in.

Aussies: Are extremely patriotic about their beer.
Americans: Are flag-waving, anthem-singing, and obsessively patriotic to the point of blindness.
Canadians: Can't agree on the words to their anthem, in either language, when they can be bothered to sing them.
Brits: Do not sing at all but prefer a large brass band to perform the anthem.

Brits: Are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of their past citizens.
Americans: Are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of their present citizens.
Canadians: Prattle on about how some of those great Americans were once Canadian.
Aussies: Waffle on about how some of their past citizens were once Outlaw Pommies, but none of that matters after several beers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

quicko: maroon

Pronounced very oddly here. "Muh-roan" instead of "mar-ooohn."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

quicko: buckeyes

This post is for the Australians: these are buckeyes.

What, may you ask, is a buckeye? It is a ball of peanut buttery gooey goodness coated in chocolate, and is one America's greatest contributions to the world to date.

It is so called because it looks like the seeds that drop from buckeye trees: they're similar in size and coloring (lighter on the inside than the outside; well, there's this lighter part you can see that's kind of circular at one end -- close enough!), though the real ones are poisonous and would be too hard to eat anyway.

Ohio is the Buckeye State -- so named because of its abundance of these trees. Hence, the snack is also primarily an Ohioan delicacy, though they are known throughout the Midwest. As additional trivia, The Ohio State University students and athletes are called Buckeyes.

But really, the best part is eating them. Sorry -- they're gone now!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

quicko: a pack of cards

Instead of a deck. Weird, huh?

Monday, July 5, 2010

quicko: nutrition facts

Are done differently here. For example, the first is Special K and the second is another healthy cereal called Plus. The last is a rare example that looks relatively similar and actually lists calories as well as kJ. It's still all in grams, though.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

link: lakota west marching firebirds

You can't get more American than a marching band -- check out mine (albeit 10 years after I was in it -- but the show is identical to my 1999 sophomore show, Pictures at an Exhibition): the LAKOTA WEST MARCHING FIREBIRDS!

And let's not even get started on the company front!

ps -- If you watch it with me, I'll show you where I was marching in it!

photos: the fourth of christmas

Happy Fourth of Christmas!!
(i.e., Christmas in July ... on the Fourth)

Pamela and I spent Saturday watching Yankee Doodle Dandy and putting up the Christmas tree, and Sunday watching White Christmas and doing presidential trivia with our guests. We also decorated gingerbread cookies and cupcakes, did a Yankee swap and ate lots of chicken wings. And so again -- happy Fourth of Christmas!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

quicko: helmets

Must be worn while motorcycling. In every state.

Friday, July 2, 2010

quicko: smarties

Does anyone notice anything wrong with this picture? If not, you're not looking hard enough! See the Smarties? See their label? "Candy Fruit Fizzers." See the bag next to them with strange colorful flying ovals? See its label? "Smarties." Houston, we have a problem!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

quicko: icy

Today was a chilly day. I wore my fall/spring jacket, could have done with something a little warmer and felt fine in sandals, except for the fact that everyone kept asking (as they have for the last month or two) why my toes weren't cold. I don't know why, but they weren't. So sue me.

But that's not the point. The point is that, while it was clearly the sort of day normal people would find fit to turn on central heating in, it's the sort of day that Australians refer to as -- get this -- "icy."

I was floored. It wasn't hot, true, but it wasn't even outright cold, let alone icy. There wasn't, for instance, any ice anywhere to be seen. And really, I find a presence of ice to be the definition of the word "icy." Not the Sydneysiders, though. Oh no. Let the temperature hit the 40s and suddenly we've all become popsickles frozen solid in our igloos, goodnight!