Tuesday, August 31, 2010

quicko: whilst

Drives me a bit crazy, but it's not as bad here as in England: whilst. They actually use it!! I thought it was just kind of some older English you'd read in a Dickens novel, but no, it still gets bandied about here a bit from time to time. Like I said, not nearly as much or as irksomely as in England, but a bit more than I'd prefer. There's a couple similar such -st endings I think, but I can't seem to remember any of the others at the moment. Guess you'll just have to use your imagination!

Monday, August 30, 2010

plug: i heart kirribilli! TODAY!!!

I Heart Kirribilli kicks off today!! Hooray!! Stop by Church by the Bridge (just opposite Milson's Point train station) and check out tons of cool artwork! It runs through 4 September -- don't miss out!!

quicko: yonks

Noun. Ages. A long time.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

quicko: american accents

At the moment, I'm home in America for a few weeks.*  And, gosh, someone forgot to tell me they have accents here!

Growing up and even the first couple times I ventured abroad I of course recognized other accents ("British" or "non-native speaker"), but remained convinced that Americans didn't actually have one. Now, I'm still convinced I don't have one, but the same cannot be said for many of my Midwestern neighbors. I won't say it's exactly a slap in the face to listen to, but I have been wondering about offering on-the-spot elocution lessons. I'm pretty darn good at on-the-spot grammar lessons ("could have seen" not "could have saw"!!), so perhaps it is time to branch out.

And to think, this coming from the girl who two years ago couldn't spot a Hoosier at a party and assumed said Hoosier was Australian!

*Actually, I've been here about a week now.  I was just a little too organized before I left and had blogs already lined up.  Apologies if the upcoming chronology gets a little wacky.  Think of it as 4-D fun!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

plug: fair trade markets TODAY!!!

Don't forget! There are amazing Fair Trade Markets at Church by the Bridge (just opposite Milson's Point train station) from 9 am - 3 pm today. Stop by and check them out!

And, I Heart Kirribilli kicks off Monday!! Don't forget to stop in and browse through all the artwork inside the church -- it's going to be awesome!!

quicko: westfield

Westfield is a chain of a mall-like facilities around Sydney (Australia?). People talk about going to the Westfield to do their shopping much as Cincinnatians would say they're going to Bridgewater Falls. At a Westfield you'd find a Coles and/or a Woolworth's, a Target, possibly a Big W (i.e., Wal-Mart), lots of clothing stores, a Vodafone (phone service), an Optus (phone service), a Three store (phone service), a Telstra (phone service), an Apple store, ATMs from Commonwealth, WestPac and Bank West, electronics stores, music stores, cafes, kiosks and that regular mall sort of jazz.

Friday, August 27, 2010

meme: ten things that make me happy (in australia)

So, it seems we have a little break from your regularly scheduled program, and it's all Ben's fault. He has tagged me for a meme, which is something I know nothing about, but which strikes me as a sort of cyber chain letter that's less likely than most to deposit thousands of dollars in an African bank account. I'm evidently supposed to write you gorgeous readers a list of ten things that make me happy. Seeing as this is an Australian focused (if not spelled!) blog, though, I'll put an Australian spin on things. Ahem:

10. Chaos Cafe in Neutral Bay. Hideous location (Woolies parking lot ...), but great food and, even more importantly, bright colors everywhere! Plus, they gave me my first ever spider! (If by "gave" you mean "sold for an exorbitant price.")

9. Knowing that there's always something to do -- markets, festivals, camel rides, you name it.

8. The scenery. The 12 Apostles and the Great Barrier What's-it-called spring to mind.

7. Surfing! Theoretically you can do it anywhere there's waves, but it just is quintessentially Australian to me. Oh, and I suppose you might also count the surfers ...

6. The proximity to the South Pacific. I just can't think of anything more amazingly exotic sounding, which I'm pretty sure I picked up from Pippi Longstocking.

5. Fancy dress (i.e., what we call "costume") parties! So many cool themes! Right now, I'm particularly looking forward to Matty's Alice in Wonderland 30th/housewarming! (I'm going as Alice, in case you were wondering. Would love to be a Red Queen someday, but already have the right dress for Alice.) The picture is from our classic tiger party (obviously).

4. The beaches, especially Sydney's Northern Beaches. Favorites include the ABC of Avalon, Bilgola and Curly! (Pictured in alphabetical order.)

3. The Australian accent!! I didn't move to another continent for nothing!!

2. San Churros. I was thinking of going Max Brenner, but really, San Churros has taken over and is playing first fiddle these day -- have you had their churros?? Their hot and cold chocolate? Their Azteca hot chocolate?

1. Could I really say anything here besides Kirribilli? With it, I'll include the harbour, the bridge, the Opera House and my church. And particularly our Easter sunrise service under the bridge!

Now, TAG! You're it -- Garry, Sam and Holly!! Post ten things that make you happy -- or run for your lives!!

update: reckon

It came to my attention the other day that, while I was convinced I had blogged about "reckon" before, GarryWith2Rs did not know why "reckon" was such a bad word for an American. Seeing as GarryWith2Rs is by far my most devoted reader aside from my mother, this worried me tremendously. If he did not know the depths of his own depravity, how would other mere casual Australian readers? I decided a update post was in order, and I shall tell you exactly what I told him. (Being a teacher of ESL, I have learned that the best way to answer sticky questions about, say, anatomical terms is as directly and correctly as possible. I face this question with the same stalwart professionalism.) Reckon is, in American English, very, very hick.

Personally I do not risk saying it -- I know I should face lifelong ridicule and lose all my intellectual credence instantaneously if I ever so much as started to say the word amongst my American friends. They'd probably still say hello to me out of politeness, but I reckon that'd be it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

quicko: honeymooning

Following from yesterday's post, I don't have anything scientific to go by, but it seems to me I've heard of a fair number of Australian honeymooners going to Thailand. Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines all register as pretty standard honeymoon destinations for Aussies. Personally, I have no intention of vacationing, much less honeymooning, in any of them -- I'd like my Caribbean, thank you very much. Preferably the Virgin Islands.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

quicko: bali, fiji, oh, i wanna take you

Bali and Fiji sound tremendously exotic to me, yet are popular tourist destinations for Australian families, some of whom venture there on a near annual basis. I have been continually floored until I pieced together that, really, Bali and Fiji are relatively equivalent to Americans going to Puerto Rico or Jamaica. Vanuatu, Bermuda. Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago. Etc, etc., etc. Sure my family didn't vacation there (I've actually set foot on Fijian and Samoan soil but have never yet been to the Caribbean), but it was by no means unheard of to go.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

quicko: shrimp

Contrary to popular belief, are not called "shrimp." Here, they're "prawns."

Monday, August 23, 2010

quicko: spellings

I've mentioned before that there are tons of Australian abbreviations for, well, any word longer than a syllable. Common examples include arvo for afternoon, sunnies for sunglasses and musos for musicians. The thing that gets me, though, is that, because these words are informal, there is no commonly agreed upon spelling for them. Some might argue that, as they are informal, the need for a commonly agreed upon spelling is limited, if not non-existent. However, I have seen such words used, or attempted to have been used, in various public settings (i.e., commercials, er, adverts on TV) and private settings (i.e., emails, where they drive me nuts).

Particular bugbears are any words with the whole "is it an 's' because it's written in the full word as an 's' or is it a 'z' because it's pronounced like a 'z'?" question -- mossies or mozzies for "mosquitoes," for example. Then there's the whole "ie" or "y" issue -- brekkie or brekky (McDonald's uses "brekky" on its commercials)? Or, even worse, combine both issues: pressys or pressies or prezzys or prezzies for "presents"? Then, there's "odd man out" issues: a docko or a doco for a documentary?

For now, I'll just have to make like the French and give up!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

quicko: what you're on about

A common Australian turn of phrase. As in, "no one will know what you're on about if you use 'gammon' south of Cairns."

plug: i heart kirribilli!

What better blog to hear about I Heart Kirribilli on than Kirribilli Kim?? In case you haven't, let me enlighten you:

I Heart Kirribilli is an annual artistic celebration hosted by Church by the Bridge. It kicks off with some really awesome Fair Trade Markets from about 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday, August 28th, which are then followed by the weekly Saturday Night by the Bridge service at 5:30. There's tons more fun between 30 August and 4 September when the pews will be taken out of the church and it will be filled with artwork from local artists. There'll also be several other cool events happening throughout the week, so definitely plan to stop in and check things out if you're at all able!!

Oh, and you can totally get your picture next to the graffiti wall. How cool is that?!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

quicko: election day

Today is election day in Australia and Australians will be voting not for a person, but for a party. The two major parties are the Liberal National Party (LNP) and the Australian Labor* Party (ALP). Confession: though I knew they were "Liberal" (i.e., conservative) and "Labor" (i.e., liberal), I had to google what the acronyms stood for. Tony Abbott is the current face of the LNP and Julia Guillard is the current face of the ALP, though again, Australians are voting for a party, not a person. Despite Kevin '07's campaign.

Who will be the next/continuing Prime Minister? I'm just on the edge of my Australian seat!

*According to google, this really is the right spelling. Don't ask me why.

Friday, August 20, 2010

quicko: chuffed

Adjective. Very happy, excited, pleased as punch.

quicko: tea kettles

While waiting for the errant broccoli to cook itself last night, I realized I could continue amusing myself by taking a picture of the tea kettle. This was not sheer selfishness, of course, but rather an act of selflessness in order that you, dear reader, could see a picture of a real Australian tea kettle. The Australians think these are exceedingly normal devices, though very few American households have them. They're ingenious, though, and can also quite handily be used for boiling water quickly to cook with.

As a side note, you might like to notice the outlet: there is a switch on it. You can actually turn the electricity on and off at the wall in Australia. I assume this is a safety feature of some sort, though really it has resulted in little besides frustration for me as I leave my phone doing what I think is charging but what really amounts to absolutely nothing as the switch has not been, for lack of a better word, switched.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

fun at the grocery store

Tonight was one of those awful nights I had nothing scheduled, so I resorted after working late to Having Fun at the Grocery Store. I thought it was a blast. The employees not so much.

The fun actually started on the bus ride in with a flurry of overseas texts. It seems my friend couldn't sleep at 3 am, but, hurrah, that's why we keep friends on multiple continents, isn't it? The virtual sheep count was all well and good on the bus, but it started to break down a bit shortly after the broccoli as I was having trouble (okay, completely failing) to concentrate on the cashews. I said goodnight, and thought I was in the clear. Four minutes later my sleep-deprived friend had made a startling revelation: Kim had mentioned broccoli. Kim doesn't cook. Confusion ensued.

The deal was if Sleepyhead didn't go under within 30 minutes, a call was in order. I, of course, being at my alertest aroundabout that time of night, quickly concocted a multiple choice test regarding the broccoli. However, sleep evidently came (presumably around minute 29), and I never got to use it. Not being one to waste a good idea, I shall reproduce it here. Ahem:

Why did Kim, who does not cook, mention broccoli?
A. She was not actually buying broccoli at all, but it fit the alliterative pattern necessary in her text.
B. It was on sale and she thought, "What the heck, why not get some broccoli?"
C. She was planning to eat it raw.
D. She had accidentally stuck her finger in a socket and had emerged miraculously unscathed, but seized by a sudden desire to cook.

Do you give up? Do you give up? I shall tell you: a combination of B, C and D.

Definitely B. Partially C. A teensy bit of D (I was feeling slightly hungry and thought cooking some for dinner could be okay). More on that later.

In any event, by the time Sleepyhead managed to snooze, I had managed to acquire very few of the items I'd actually come in to buy. I had, however, made the startling discovery that the grocery store was full of blog material.

I am not sure whether the fact I'd missed this for the last 2 1/2 years is a greater testament to my supreme skills of non-observance or my infrequent trips to the grocery store, but the fact remains that for whatever reason I saw Coles with entirely new eyes tonight and could hardly refrain from taking pictures left, right and center. This is the part that I think disturbed the employees, particularly if the top of their heads happened to find their way into my frame.

Let me give you sampling of what I found:

--An aisle labeled "Confectionery"!
--The same aisle also sold "Biscuits" and "Sweet Bisc."
--A 2-liter of Coke: priced at $3.47!!
--Oreos. These don't taste as good here, and I'd been meaning to tell you in case you find yourself faced with an overseas Oreo. Run.
--Tiny Teddies. The closest Australians have to Teddy Grahams, and, thus, the closest they have to Graham crackers. They might debate this with you, but trust me. They are.

There was more ($3-something for a jar of cranberry sauce half the size of the usual tin), but they were starting to look at me really strange, and I thought I'd better quit while I was ahead. Fun while it lasted, though.

Next came Having Fun at Home. With the broccoli. I really wasn't planning on eating (it's not really my thing; you see, dinner for me is rare enough to warrant a detailed chronicle), but caved in the end, consoling myself mainly by taking pictures while I (gasp) cooked.

I hasten to note that it is not that I cannot cook. I can. I simply have much better things to be doing with my time, like amusing sleepless friends. (I believe I've mentioned before what an awesome friend I am. You see? I told you so.)

I should also point out that, while I can be finicky about the actual foods I eat (I don't like cheese. Or bananas. Or olives. And I really'd prefer to stay away from lamb and mustard and mayo and pie crust. Etc.), I am not at all picky about quality or presentation. In fact, I see this as a definite sign of good character.

The meal I had hit upon exemplified good character: broccoli and cranberry sauce.

Perhaps I have not mentioned that I like cranberry sauce? I do. I like it tremendously. Not to eat straight, of course; that would be disgusting. Rather, I find that there are certain meals that require cranberry sauce utterly. That is, they cannot possibly be enjoyed without cranberry sauce. They are very crafty, though, and it can be nearly impossible to tell when they will emerge until, poof!, there they are and you're caught un-red-handed without the cranberry sauce.

This has happened to my mother on numerous occasions. She, poor dear, was quite often unaware of the tragedy of her circumstances, but fortunately I was there to point out the missing ingredient and save the day if it were possible to acquire more cranberry sauce before the meal began. If it were not, I remained on hand to wail miserably in the corner about how desperately the meal fell short of the greatness it could have been.

It seems that these days my mother keeps a good six tins of cranberry sauce in constant supply in the basement pantry should such circumstances again occur. (Seeing as I live in Sydney and she lives in Cincinnati and wants me to move back to Cincinnati, she keeps her culinary skills at the very height of their game the entire time I am ever at home in order to lure me back. Letting the cranberry count fall below six could prove disastrous, and she knows it.)

And so, the meal I had chosen (broccoli), I found to be complete because I also had cranberry sauce. Before getting to that stage, though, I had to amuse myself while the water boiled, because, really, it is boring to wait for water to boil. I don't know how cooks handle it generally, but I staved off insanity by photographing my creation. Also, I wanted solid documentation in case anyone accused me of not actually cooking. You can see from the photo that I very carefully included a bit of my sleeve so that you could see it was pink and know it was really me. Aren't you just pleased as punch? I am.

It was all really rather downhill from there, except the second highlight when I got to take another photo with the finished meal that included the excessively overpriced cranberry sauce, albeit not with its price tag. Isn't that just dandy, though? I knew you'd think so.

Anyway, I'm spent for the evening, but I hope you've had fun. And if you haven't, well, perhaps you could find a nice grocery store to play in.

quicko: sir ... miss ...

Evidently there is a trend in public Australian schools these days to call teachers "Sir" and "Miss." It's entirely a new thing in the last couple of years, and it strikes me as really strange. "Sir" is perhaps alright, but "Miss" seems almost derogatory. Hmmm.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

quicko: gammon

Adjective/interjection. Socially acceptable, if extremely informal. Negative. Same meaning as "bull$#!*," but not as coarse. Primarily used in Darwin; not used south of Cairns. Pronunciation unknown, but lessons available from accredited stunt linguists in Darwin.

quicko: the to-do over do

I just learned that it is really American to use "do" in the context of, say, being at Max Brenner and after some hesitation deciding: "I'll do the brownie!"

Australians would use "have."

And actually I'd recommend not doing the brownie -- it's really a bit too rich. The Belgian waffle is much better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

quicko: radio prefaces

Tonight at Bible study we listened to a quick radio clip and it started with a few bars of intro music that segued into the spot. Everyone else was groaning going, "Oh, how American!" -- and I suddenly realized that was had sounded entirely normal had pegged me instantly.

quicko: riiiiiiiiing

I haven't been able to figure out why this is, but Sydneysider's phones must ring for an insanely long time before they ever switch to voicemail. I'm not sure if it's a bid to discourage messages (?), an odd default setting no one knows how to change or just the way they like it, but it drives me crazy. I hate having to wait for ages to leave a message, not knowing if the person is angrily willing me to just cut my losses and hang up (it's been 12 rings for goodness' sake!!) but still wanting to leave a message. Sometimes I stick it out; sometimes I give up in despair. Bye.

Monday, August 16, 2010

quicko: the gap

Not a clothing store. Not a space in the subway. Not something to be closed for social awareness. Any other guesses? Ah, that's it -- Sydney's suicide hot spot. It's a gorgeous cliff where many people have jumped. Its natural beauty is eerily scarred by security cameras, phones and signs about it never being too late.

Happy Monday to you, too.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

quicko: girl guide bikkies

This just in from Darwin: the Girl Guides (Girl Scouts) are selling Girl Guide bikkies at the shopping centre. Not sure if there's more than one or not, but presumably if you're hungry enough to make it to Darwin to find them you'll be hungry enough to locate them when you get there.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

quicko: water pitchers

These pitchers are omnipresent in Sydney. My friend Melissa (another American) said that at first she was impressed upon seeing one and commented how nice it was, which rather confused her hosts. It turns out these are in every restaurant, cafe, church and, as I discovered this morning, even my own home!

Friday, August 13, 2010

quicko: 100s and 1000s

I'm pretty sure I've written about Hundreds and Thousands before, but now I've kind of got a picture. It's not amazing for seeing the little colorful creatures (sprinkles on the "biscuits" -- i.e., cookies), but it was the intent behind it, so here goes.

PS -- Don't forget to notice that I am color coordinated with my food. How amazing is that?!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

quicko: HSCs

These are the tests Australian students take at the end of high school. I don't know what they stand for, though I'm guessing something more along the lines of High Standard Certificate than Hyper Silly Chickens. Who knows though, could be! Americans don't really have an equivalent. HSCs differ from SAT/ACTs in that they're required and therefore everyone does them. I think ...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

quicko: netball

An Australian craze. Everybody and their brother seems to have been on a netball team, be looking for someone to join their team or trying to start one.

And, no, thank you. If you're looking, I'm really not interested. Now if you need a fourth for 500 -- well, that's another story!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

quicko: dips

Last weekend my flatmate was organizing (look! I used "organizing" the Australian way without even meaning to -- she wasn't the leader getting everything together, she was just getting stuff together -- organizing it, they say) food for a picnic with friends and was chatting about what sort of dips they needed. Now, I am not a dip person myself (don't really do gunky foods), but I'm relatively sure that the selection she mentioned would have sounded strange to most American ears: "rocket, 'baa-zil' or one of those exotic Thai dips."

Rocket is a kind of leafy green, "baa-zil" is their pronunciation of "bay-zil" and exotic Thai dips are quite easily accessible at grocery stores here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

quicko: #2

This is a repulsive post. Normally I should not deign to speak of such matters in real life, let alone online, yet I found it ... disturbing ... that within the space of 24 hours two different Australian "gentlemen" saw fit to confide in me that they never go #2 in public facilities. Both comments were, I would consider, supremely unprovoked and stated extremely similarly, which led me to wonder if this was, perhaps, an Australian male point of honor?

Though really, I don't want to know.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

air alert!!

I went to Sydney Kingsford Smith airport a week ago and was absolutely shocked. Let me tell you the story.

One of my friends had been overseas for two weeks, and I thought meeting him at the airport with Ben & Jerry's ice cream would be the perfect welcome-home surprise. (See, you really want to be friends with me. I'm an awesome friend.)

So, I went to Manly to purchase some Ben & Jerry's. (The world had neglected to inform me that you can buy it in Neutral Bay. For shame, world, for shame!) All was well and good with the Phish Food (why "Phish" Food? Why not Phish Phood? Or, for that matter, Fish Phood?), though I had a most amusing conversation with the salesgirl wherein she told me I could get a big pint or a little pint. I inquired as to how a pint could, by definition, be big or small and she suddenly got a bit squirmy and said she supposed they were tubs. But who could blame her? Poor girl's grown up knowing nothing but Metric.

Thankfully her knowledge of Phish Food was greater than her knowledge of measurement, and she said that the delicacy could survive about an hour without a freezer. The airport lark was going to take about 2 all up, but I decided to go for it anyway. I even bought a icy bottle of water to keep next to the Phish Food, and goodness knows I stayed chilled enough for the three of us as we all ventured on the Manly ferry and the train to Kingsford Smith.

Upon arriving I was faced with the dilemma of not actually knowing the airline my friend was coming on. Part of the problem with surprises, of course, is that you can't ask too many questions, or they fly right out the window. I knew the flight was due at or about 6:40 and that I'd got a text just before take-off, so the timing was at least reasonably accurate. I also knew he was coming from Melbourne.

There was thankfully only one flight scheduled in from Melbourne within about 15 minutes of 6:40, so I threw my eggs in one basket of wild abandon and camped out at the gate. (I could go through security even without a ticket! With my shoes! Without being strip searched! Go figure!)

I had just enough to sit down and start to get bored in that nervous, what-can-I-do-while-I'm-waiting-but-am-too-excited-to-concentrate-on-a-book sort of way. Thankfully that state is fairly conducive to logical thinking, which led me to remember the ice cream. Which brings me to my shock (as if the lackadaisical security in the last paragraph weren't enough!).

I hopped up to the counter and tried to speak coherently.

"Hi, um, I was just wondering if you could do me a favor? I mean, well, I know it's a little strange and I understand completely if you can't keep things and all, it's just that I have a friend getting off this flight and I want to surprise him with some ice cream and I was just thinking if I wait over there and if he got off the flight and I called him and told him to come here maybe you could give him the ice cream when he got off? It shouldn't be long, the flight gets in any minute now. I know you probably can't and all, but I just figured it never hurts to ask, right?"

I talk rather fast when I'm excited.

The women were initially hesitant, but soon got excited, too, and gave me helpful ideas about where to position the ice cream and where to watch for the plane to come in.

By now all the Americans will certainly have spotted the shock. For any Australians reading, I'll write plainly: the airport staff accepted charge of an object that was not their own. They actually kept the ice cream! Without me standing there! Without making me taste any of it in their presence! I was, as aforementioned, shocked. In a good way.

Mission then accomplished, I sat down and commenced fidgeting aimlessly while the winds over Sydney kicked into high gear and kept all the planes aloft for 40 extra minutes. Thankfully during this time I had another brainwave that, friendly as the airport staff were, they were rather lacking in the area of refrigeration. There was, however, a Gloria Jeans there, too. So, I trotted over to those girls and had a very similar conversation, except it lasted twice as long with about half the level of comprehension, seeing as their English left, in my professional opinion, a lot of somethings to be desired. In the end, I got them to understand that they were to keep charge of the ice cream in the refrigerator (didn't have a freezer) until a guy about yay high came up and asked for Ben & Jerry's.

From there it worked like a dream. The plane landed, I called my friend and excitedly explained that I'd just seen on a friend's facebook that Gloria Jeans in the Qantas terminal were giving away free Ben & Jerry's vouchers and that he really ought to pick some up while he was so close. He sidled right up to the Gloria Jeans and was in process of getting them and himself terribly befuddled when suddenly a light dawned in one of their eyes (Ben & Jerry's!) and they pulled out the bag of Phish Food just as I came up and suggested he take it.

It seems I wasn't the only one shocked at the airport.

quicko: praying for a park

This is the thing for Christians to pray for in Sydney -- a parking space (which they call a "park"). I can't decide if it's a profound statement about God caring about every little detail in our lives or a throwaway line Christians use to show their colors, but it certainly gets tossed about a lot in Kirribilli.

quicko: weekend wanderings

Today a friend and I decided we'd head to Balmoral Beach for a leisurely stroll and some hot chocolate -- to be greeted by this sight! Evidently there was a food and wine festival on -- with macaroons!! Sydney is amazing for always having something on!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

quicko: lemon lime and bitters

Australia's baby drink -- evidently there's a teensy bit of alcohol in it, but it's so minuscule kids are allowed to have it. As a non-drinker, I have them from time to time and feel just amazingly rebellious.

Friday, August 6, 2010

quicko: haircuts

I am, evidently, one of those Americans who only gets her hair cut in America. But really -- when I can save $75 a haircut, I think it's worth it!!

(And see, isn't it nice long? Well, I like it! And that's that!)

quicko: "lemonade"

I think I've mentioned this before, but this time I've got a picture: lemonade is (gasp) carbonated here. Furthermore, while they know the word, Australians are likely to refer to "carbonated" beverages as "with bubbles" or "fizzy," which really sounds more like a science experiment gone wrong to me. Lemonade as we know it does not exist here.

review: west side synopsis

NOTE: spoiler alert!!!

So I saw West Side Story tonight and it was fantastic, minus the whole death at the end bit. I'd been warned it was "full-on," but I hadn't grown to love the characters enough in 2 hours to be devastated when they died. I think it's hard to arouse such sympathy in musicals. They just don't lend themselves to high tragedy, generally speaking. Though goodness knows Stephen Sondheim tries.

The dancing was fabulous. The costumes were good, the band excellent and the set design fantastic. The songs were catchy and fun (the fast ones, that is), but didn't last nearly long enough. (Surely we could have gone another round in America??) The slow ones droned on, though I am informed by more musically inclined individuals that they were actually quite good. I think there's really only so much you can get out of a name like Maria.

The actress playing Maria was everything a Maria should be, though, and Anita really rose to be the other star of the show. Tony was fine, though not exceptional, and his singing was a bit more melodramatic than entirely necessary.

My biggest shock was that Maria survived the show. Knowing it was based on Romeo and Juliet, I fully expected both to kick the bucket by the end, but, though she alluded to suicide, she hung on at least till curtain call, which generally pretty much seals it for a character.

I also hadn't realized that there was more or less only one big rumble -- I'd thought that there would be several and thought the setting would span more like weeks, whereas it was actually only a matter of days.

The lighting was great, and the sound, too. Having a live band was lots of fun, and I think I even caught the French horn emptying a spit valve at one point.

Overall, it was the dancing that really stood out as the highlight of the show, along with the fun songs. As expected, "America" and "Officer Crumpke" remain my favorites.

Oh, and yes. I did feel pretty, thanks for asking!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

quicko: going to the theatre

A few notes on theatrical experiences in Oz:

--they spell it "theatre."
--you can take "lollies" (i.e., candy), soda, ice cream treats, etc. into the theatre. This one gets me every time, but it's true.
--this note is particularly relevant to West Side Story (which I saw tonoight (no, not a typo ... think about it ... if you know the show ...)): there was a very poignant moment when the Sharks (the Puerto Rican gang) exit the stage whistling "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at the Jets (the WASP-type gang), but the Australians didn't get it because they don't know "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Thank goodness I was there.
--you have to pay for programs.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

photos: bilgola beach

I'm having trouble thinking of something profoundly Australian tonight, but I do have more pictures from Monday (though not as amazing as the Toyota jump, alas). Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

quicko: creatively from kim.

I just wrote a PS to an American friend, then realized I could share it here. Perhaps you will have noticed it in recent comments. Ahem:

"ps what is the deal with australians signing emails with a period after their names?? have you seen this?? it is strange. but i find it in the literate. generally, males. sometimes with a semi-sentence, i.e., love from aussie. hmmm. creatively from kim."

Monday, August 2, 2010

photo: toyota jump

A photo that is just too good not to post: Glen and I at Bilgola Beach!

quicko: oxymoron

Australian gentleman.


quicko: mccafe

Add ImageMcDonalds wasn't doing all that great in Australia because, to quote my non-racist-but-not-yet-PC friend, Australians didn't want to go to a place for fat people. So, they rebranded focusing on the healthier components of their menu and -- drumroll -- McCafe. Coffee is huge in Australia (though better, I'm told, in Melbourne than Sydney), and evidently, according to coffee drinkers, has been known to produce decent cups of coffee. It sells a cafe equivalent range of cheesecakes, muffins, pastries, etc. It's decent -- but I'd still like to point out I go significantly less often than my Australian friends ...!

quicko: follow-up text

So it seems that when life is going well, there's relatively little interesting to blog about. I'm back on the sugar, and things look considerably rosier. Saturday night I felt sure there was a story in our adventures, but seeing as they only took us to Manly for a fun gig and then to a pie shop (see below), I'm not sure how to stretch them into a thousand words. Thank goodness I got a picture.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

photo: night on the town

Text to follow ... for now, consider this my first 1000 words on the matter.