Thursday, September 30, 2010

quicko: pumpkins

This one comes from Mom again:  there's a whole range of produce here that we'd call by various kinds of squashes, such as acorn or yellow.  Thus, an Australian "pumpkin" has a much broader definition than an American one.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

quicko: brackets

AKA parenthesis.  Our brackets they call square brackets.  Perhaps it's only a select few copy editors who really care, but count me in.  And give me my parenthesis back.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

photo: theological statement of interest

Mom and I found this highly theologically charged statement on our journeys here.  Agree?  Disagree?

quicko: post boxes

Blog, meet Australia Post box.  Australia Post box, meet blog.

Monday, September 27, 2010

quicko: library rant

I've mentioned before that I don't care for the Customs House library, but I'd like to mention it again.

I want a book.  Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde, specifically (and would be hugely grateful if anyone has a copy I could borrow!), because I was halfway through my American library's copy of it when it had to fly home with mom.  So tonight I went to see if I could get it from the CHL.

First, they didn't have it on the shelf.  Fair enough.

Second, they only have one copy of it.  Poor form, in my opinion.  It is, after all, a popular book, and they are, after all, a library.  (A lending library, even, which is more than you can say for other libraries in Sydney!)

Third, they wanted to charge me.  Not just once.  Three times.  First, for unpaid fees.  Not fines, fees.  It seems I've requested other books in the past and not collected them, thus racking up fees.  Second, for the fee of requesting this one.  Third, a membership fee of $15 because I don't live in the CHL's technical jurisdiction.  (Remember that north-south divide here?  Sheesh.)  I might just point out that I actually paid that membership fee already -- but over a year ago.  Evidently it's expired.

Bearing in mind that on the last $15 I paid I only ever checked out one book, I didn't feel up to justifying trying again.  By the time you add up all my fees, you're very near the cost of just going out and buying the book.

Either that or trying the North Sydney library, which is what the librarian more or less recommended.  Possibly I won't have to pay there, though she can't guarantee it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

quicko: the biggies

So Mom has gone home now, but in light of her visit (and, more importantly, my own observations!) I thought a top ten list of major differences you really ought to be aware of as an American traveling to Australia might be in order.  Thus, without further ado:

10.  The seasons are switched.
9.  They use metric instead of imperial measurements.  (i.e., Celsius, liters, grams, kilometers, etc.)
8.  The dates are switched (i.e., my February birthday is 9/2 and not 2/9).
7.  The electrical outlets are different.
6.  Floors are labeled starting with "ground" instead of "1."
5.  Tipping isn't ever necessary.  (and even wrong, some may protest ...)
4.  Tax is included in prices.
3.  There are numerous lexical differences.
2.  They have accents!  (great ones, no less!)
1.  They drive on the left.

Friday, September 24, 2010

quicko: things mom noticed/learned/was told, day 12

--lots of red roofs
--pronunciation of "brochure"
--"car park" instead of "parking lot"
--"friends" are "mates"
--there's more privacy in public restrooms (the partitions come down farther)
--"partner" but not "significant other"
--Woolworths is not a "five and dime"
--there are lots of lizards here
--there's less advertising on the insides of buses
--fewer bumper stickers
--"bushwalking" instead of "hiking"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

quicko: things mom noticed/learned/was told, day 11

--massage (pronunciation; abundance of Thai facilities; number of people who get them)
--a baby platypus is called a puggle
--platypuses in general are fairly small
--that emus growl
--baby koalas look just like full grown ones, only smaller and less world-worn around the edges
--it's springtime here -- and lots of babies at the zoo
--black cockatoos and lots of other birds
--there are tons of children on field trips about now ... and the zoo is much nicer when then go home
--zoo maps are hard to read the world over

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

quicko: things mom noticed/learned/was told, day 10

--statues are wearing clothes today (I tried to tell her they don't usually ...)
--cherry blossoms have both light and dark pink blossoms on them
--"heaps" and "no worries"
--"work colleagues" is more common than "co-workers"
--escalators level out flatter for a longer time at the top and bottom (I've never noticed ...?)
--the birds are very different and generally bigger here
--the post office sells cook books (evidently she pointed this out to me at the time, too, but ...?)
--the "dollar store" is a monumental misnomer
--musk candy (er, lollies) as well as Violet Crumbles (and related sorts of sweets)
--Kim has "famous" friends and acquaintances -- six degrees of separation seems a bit smaller here!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

quicko: things mom noticed/learned/was told, day 9

--Blinky Bill is a koala
--Skippy is a kangaroo
--May Gibbs and Mem Fox are more Australian children's book authors

Monday, September 20, 2010

quicko: things mom noticed/learned/was told, day 8

--very few shutters on house windows
--what a long drop toilet is
--Australians don't usually use the term "potty"
--you can't turn left on red here
--a "bowser" is a gas pump
--seatbelts come down over you from the other side
--a "cheap" bungalow in the West costs $400,000 (!!!)
--there are IGAs and Blockbusters here
--bodies are rarely seen at Australian funerals
--the graffiti looks the same here
--"Devonshire teas"
--some famous Australian authors include Bryce Courteney, Tim Winton and John Marsden
--The Magic Pudding is a famous children's book
--everything is "pasta" -- there are distinctions for spaghetti, penne, linguine, etc., but generally Australians would just say they're having "pasta"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

quicko: things mom noticed, day 7

--"stock take" sale instead of an "inventory clearance"
--lots of people listen to music while commuting
--"manufacturing jewellers"
--lots of high school boys in kilts playing bagpipes
--Australians know a lot about American politics
--corn a stick at the markets
--hot lemonade and honey at the markets
--some flowers, such as azaleas, are similar to what we have in spring, but there aren't any daffodils or tulips
--azaleas and geraniums bloom simultaneously here
--our tropical plants/house plants are growing naturally here
--normal neighborhood sounds here sound jungle-y or rainforest-y (American zoos play recordings that sound like my neighborhood!)
--things we usually have to pay to see (kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, tropical plants, etc.) are just living naturally here
--spider plants just grow outside here all by themselves (i.e., not houseplants)
--not a lot of people seem to style themselves elaborately in terms of hair, make-up, etc. -- they tend to look more natural for the most part; not pretentious; easy-going, outdoorsy looks are more common; not fussy
--people ask where you're from and when you say "the U.S.," almost everyone responds with a story about when they were there (or want to go), but almost entirely the West or East coast and very rarely Ohio

Saturday, September 18, 2010

quickos: things mom noticed, day 6

--themed "fancy dress" parties really do exist for adults outside of Halloween
--Australians actually do think the ocean is dangerous
--there are very strong waves in the ocean
--she couldn't find any lifeguards on the beaches despite there being flags up
--public schoolkids wear uniforms and some even have suits with little shorts
--church on a Saturday night ... with an intermission

Friday, September 17, 2010

quicko: things mom noticed, day 5

--jewellery, not jewelry
--the existence of rugby league, rugby union and AFL
--a continued appreciate for the meaning of the term "bogan"
--grocery store prices are a lot higher here
--lots of foreign languages are spoken in Sydney
--Max Brenner's crunchy waffle ball hot chocolate
--Australian people are very friendly

Thursday, September 16, 2010

quicko: things mom noticed, day 4

--lots and lots and lots of birds, including rainbow lorikeets in trees with bright red flowers, kookaburras on apartment balconies and magpies
--2 lizards on sidewalks
--a rodent outdoors on some stairs who was not very scared of humans

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

quicko: things mom noticed, day 3

--clothing styles are different
--different people wear summer, winter and spring clothes at exactly the same time
--lots of people wear black and other neutral colors
--magazines advertise clothes lines for yards (American subdivisions usually don't allow clothes lines)
--lots of different plants
--ibises (she loves the ibises, not to mention the sea gulls)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

quickos: things mom noticed, days 1 and 2

--lemon squash/Solo (drinks we don't have)
--rocket (lettuce we don't have -- or possibly call by another name?)
--tyre (not "tire")'
--you can be served tomatoes with breakfast
--the pronunciation of "quay"
--the volume on the train loudspeakers (quieter)
--birds are "screechier" here
--the toilets flush differently
--the light switches are different sizes and shapes
--Rice Bubbles (not "Rice Krispies")
--the little walk signal man is green (ours is white)
--less obese people (yes, less.  fewer, too, but also less!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

quicko: sand castles

This is what sand castles are supposed to look like!!

I'm sure it exists, but I have yet to find Australian sand that will drip appropriately for a drip castle.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

quicko: surfing

 A similarity!  Americans and Australians both like to surf!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

quicko: american beaches

So there's supposed to be a longer post about beaches and such coming, but as I haven't got it together yet, you may content yourselves with a picture on an American beach.  And maybe a few more in upcoming days!

Friday, September 10, 2010

quicko: paul revere

 A real person.  Famous for riding rapidly through the streets near Boston late at night to warn of an impending attack by yelling, "The British are coming!  The British are coming!"  Not sure if that's a direct historical quote, but it is the general idea.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

quicko: paul bunyan

Another in the small series of classic American heroes, Paul Bunyan is a fictional frontiersman famous for feats of strength.  For instance, felling huge trees.  I'm not sure what else he's supposed to have done, but I think he tended to carry an ax and dress in what I'd tend to consider a stereotypically Canadian sort of way.  New England-ish based, strapping and quite amenable to the outdoors.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

quicko: johnny appleseed

 This post is for the Australians:  I figured that since I'm in America I'll take a couple posts to get you up to speed on some American heroes you might not be as familiar with.  Excited?

Johnny Appleseed was actually a real person (wikipedia him if you don't believe me.  or want more information.  or are bored.) named John Chapman.  He traveled around a lot of the Midwest and planted apple trees.  He is famous for wearing a pot on his head and being awfully friendly with small woodland creatures, though let's not wikipedia those parts too closely, shall we?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

quicko: time change

Varies, but is generally about a month off the U.S. time change.  Thus, while the eastern time zone of both countries is currently 14 hours off, in a little bit it'll be 15 for a few weeks, then 16 for the next summer/winter.

Monday, September 6, 2010

quicko: labor day

The Monday of the first weekend in September is Labor Day in America -- not so in Australia.  Not exactly sure when theirs is, but it's definitely not the same weekend.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

quicko: expiry date

Australian for expiration date.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

quicko: nan

Australian for grandma.  As in, "I never expected to share a bed in Fiji with my friend's husband's nan."

apology: out of town

Hey there!  Just wanted to let you know I haven't had and won't have computer access for a few more days, so your blog posts might be a bit off until the middle of the week or so.  Don't panic.  Hang tight.  I'll be back.  With pictures!!  (And backdating so you'll think I've never been gone!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

quicko: the bird that sounds like a dying dog

I'm not much of a bird person, though I have to admit Australian birds are amazingly cool. What's eating at me, though, is the bird that sounds like a dying dog. Walking to work mid-morning I once spent an entire block peering in car windows to try to find the obviously distressed canine and assist it -- to no avail. After about three minutes I finally realized it wasn't a dog at all, but a bird that sounded remarkably plaintive. I don't know what it is, but I now recognize it regularly on the walk to work -- either that, or someone's been shooting tall puppies again.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

quicko: hokey

So I've used this twice in everyday conversation with Australians recently and neither knew exactly what I meant. It was then, twice, that I realized "hokey" is actually quite a difficult word to explain. It's an adjective. And negative. But not too negative. Kind of childlike. Kind of cringe-worthy. Kind of roll your eyes. Kind of I don't know, you just have to use it in context.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

quicko: bits

Australian for your, ahem, unmentionables.