Monday, January 31, 2011

quicko: and they'll know we are christians ...

... by all the lasagna.

Why are Christians so obsessed with lasagna?  It's the Christian dish, both in America and Australia.  And I, heathen that I am, don't like lasagna.  It's come up often enough in social situations that I've become accustomed to eating it and can stomach it, but I'd never go out of my way to get lasagna.  Who would?  I vote it's time for Christians to move on to salmon and steak.  Much more biblical anyway, at least on the salmon account.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

update: bogans, take two

This just in!  I asked a couple Australian friends for their definition of "bogan" (seeing as it varies so widely) and a minute later I had to whip out my little red book because there was just no way I was going to remember everything.  Here goes*:

--Westies (i.e., people from the West)
--like football
--like beer
--like smoking
--know nothing about the theatre or classical music
--drive big cars that are "hotted up" (i.e., come with extras such as subwoofers and spoilers)
--Commodores and Falcons are particularly prevalent
--lots of swearing
--have mongrel dogs
--laboring (trade, not politics)
--have no politics (apathetic)
--avoid paying tax
--in it (life) for themselves
--are good to their mates
--are better to their mates than their girlfriends
--bogan girls often dress their pets
--more talk, less action
--have nicknames along the lines of Shazzer or Donny
--name their babies things along the lines of Jayden, Heaven-Lee, A-A (pronounced "a-dash-a") or Abcde
--wear jeans with long sleeve flannelettes or wife beaters
--may shop at Supre
--often have a few choice tattoos (not generally covered in, but often sporting one to three)
--girls tend to get tattoos on their lower backs
--similar to the stereotypes on Kath and Kim
--similar to an American redneck or "trailer trash" stereotype
--tend to be from the city.  The stereotype is just more expected in the country, but if you're from the city and you act like you're from the country, then you get labeled as a bogan.

*Obviously, take these as broad generalizations.  Not all necessarily apply, nor indicate "boganness."  I may have gotten things completely wrong.  If I did, please don't panic.  Just send a nice little comment correcting me, okay?  Cool.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

photos: chinese new year festivities

The Chinese New Year celebrations are now underway!  These from last night in the park near Central ...

Friday, January 28, 2011

quicko: annual leave

Americans, you definitely want to be sitting down before progressing.  I have just learned something about Australia's "annual leave" (i.e., vacation days) and it absolutely floored me.  I suggest proceeding if and only if you are currently quite happy with your life and not at all prone to envy.

When Australians are on their vacation days, they get paid 17.5% more than when they're at work.

Seriously.  Based on how contracts are written, it's sometimes worked in slightly differently, but the concept is definitely there.  I've been told that the reason stems from ages past when workers would, as a general principle, work overtime regularly to make ends meet and the government realized they couldn't make up that overtime work while on holiday with just their normal hours accounted for -- so unions eventually forced it to incorporate the 17.5% into law and no government since could possibly revoke it.  Go figure.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

picture: a bogan on australia day

Ben from Vanishing Point has drawn a picture of a bogan for you.  Well, maybe not for you, but I thought you might like it so I've stolen it.  Knock yourselves out HERE.

quicko: fortnights

After years of reading Anne of Green Gables and trying to figure out precisely how long various characters came or went for, the Australians have finally helped me manage to nail it down:  two weeks.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

update: ferries

I have an addition to my ferry list:  the Golden Grove.  Can't believe I left it out!  (Or is it new?  I doubt it ...)

There's also a ton of the "other" shaped ferries that I don't find as endearing -- they all have names, too, but they're just not as cute.  You can look them up on your own, okay?

happy australia day!

Today -- January 26th -- is Australia Day!

It's roughly equivalent to the American Fourth of July -- BBQs (sans BBQ sauce, of course), summer heat, picnics, swimming, fireworks, etc.  Except less red, white and blue and more green and gold.  (Australia's national colors, oddly enough, come more from their sports uniforms than their flag.)

Happy Australia Day!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

quicko: well, i guess i just won't duck out then

Okay, don't quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure it's the law in America that wherever you serve food or beverages, you've got to provide the public with a restroom.

It's not the law in Australia, and you can quote me on that.

Either that or many establishments are breaking the law and no one but disgruntled, dancing Americans cares.

For example, the other day I met a friend at Gloria Jeans.  We sat and talked and drank our drinks.  When we went to leave, we discovered there were no facilities available.  Nor were there any at a nearby KFC we ducked into.  Eventually we pressed on the QVB, which thankfully has, as you may recall, some of the better bathrooms in Sydney.

But still.  It's just plain wrong.  Period.

Monday, January 24, 2011

photos: a ferry ride on sydney harbour

quicko: relatives

AKA rellies or rellos.  Interesting linguistic note, though, that it can be either.  Most words are distinctly -ies (mozzies, pressies, sunnies) or -o (doco, muso, journo).  This is one of the few that can go either way.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

the only road to minto

Last Thursday I was having a bad day and texted my friend Katie to see if she wanted to hang out.  She did, and suggested checking to see if there were any free events on for the Sydney Festival.

Dutifully I checked and decided that the only one that looked interesting was Minto Live, which I read on the website "takes audiences through the streets of Minto to experience contemporary theatre, dance, film, music and song, before culminating in a pyrotechnic-based performance."  Pyrotechnics are really my cup of tea, so I figured we couldn't go wrong.

Ha, ha, ha.

Anyway, neither of knew how to get to Minto so I started asking around my staffroom if anyone had heard of Minto or had a clue where it was.  Of those who did, they weren't exactly jumping out of their skins in jealousy of my upcoming adventure.

"Minto?  Why do you want to go to Minto?" they asked.

"It's part of the Sydney Festival," I said.  "And there are pyrotechnics."

They looked skeptical.

"So how far is it?" I asked.  "Is it pretty close or a bit of a hike?"

Evidently it was a bit of a hike.

"When does it start?" they asked about 4:15 pm.

"Six," I said.

"Hmmm," they said.

"Well, I suppose I should run then," I said.  "See you tomorrow!"

"We'll come looking if you're not back in time for work," they said.

I stopped for an emergency Nutella crepe (it was a bad day, if you recall) on the way and met Katie in Glebe, where she'd been buying a telescope for her father's birthday.  We pulled over and examined the map.

Minto, it seemed, was not exactly next to Sydney.  It was far, far down and over on the other page of the map to the southwest.

"It can't take more than an hour!" we said, and off we went.

Getting to Minto in rush hour traffic is not exactly the quickest, but it appeared to be our only option.  We persevered.  Fortunately, I had plenty of time to tell Katie about my day.

In the midst of conversation, we got a wee bit lost.  But not for long!  In a miraculous feat of surprise masculinity I managed to navigate us -- using the sun!! -- southwest to the proper path to Minto.  I was very proud of myself, and Katie was very relieved, seeing as she'd been driving and I'd been going "there!  there!  take that road NOW! To the -- there's the sun! -- left!" for about five minutes straight.  We'd have stopped for a break to compose ourselves if we hadn't been in such a rush.

As we tore madly across the Australian bushland (okay, suburbs) I began to consult with the map regarding how precisely to get from the Green Road to Minto.  It was a wayward little dot, you see, just sort of off on its own.

I turned to the precise page of the map Minto was on and discovered that there was only one option:  a road called Ben Lomond.  Minto, it seemed, was surrounded by Scotish landmarks, but we hardly had time to ponder them.  Finding Ben Lomond was our primary objective, though it wasn't nearly as tall as you'd have thought.

Once we found it, we realized that the little town of Minto was not all that big and the next 30 seconds of our journey needed to be mapped very carefully immediately.  It's all a bit of a blur, but before long we ended up precisely where we needed to be in the Minto Mall parking lot (er, carpark).  It was 6:15 and we were ridiculously proud of ourselves.

By the time we'd gotten off the main highway (the Green Road) we'd developed a slight feeling?  premonition? that perhaps Minto Live wasn't quite the opera in the Domain.  Katie threw a blanket over the newly purchased telescope and we made sure all the doors were locked.

As we approached the far end of the parking lot, the festivities were just beginning to get underway.

Now, this is the part of the story that shows how very much more polite and tasteful Katie is than I.  I believe I rather embarrassed her a bit, but try as I might, after our hour-and-fifteen-minute trek to Minto, I watched the first act -- a senior citizen choir in the parking lot singing what was presumably something Aboriginal, but what sounded exactly like "chihuahua -- chihuahua -- chihuahua" -- and burst out laughing.

You'd laugh, too, if it happened to you.

Around this time, our ominous premonition became a reality and we read the program's description of the upcoming events a bit more literally.  When it said six families of "non-dancers" would perform, it wasn't kidding.  Neither was the invitation to their thresholds, as we had first imagined, metaphorical.

Indeed, following the chihuahua song, a huddled mass of about 200 traipsed through the streets of Minto and stopped at various houses to watch the inhabitants dance -- culturally, liturgically or otherwise -- in their front lawns, streets, or grassy knolls.

I tried not to giggle and Katie tried not to look like she knew me.

Our tour of Minto lasted quite awhile -- long enough to get us thoroughly lost regarding the whereabouts of the car at least, seeing as the sun had set -- and ultimately we ended up at a big park sort of area.  The residents very kindly provided tons of blankets for everyone to use to sit on and there was food for sale as we heard a few local trumpeters play before the final act of the evening.

The final act was actually quite good -- a thought-provoking bit of performance art billed as stand-up comedy, but that joke was on us.  There was a guy of Indian heritage who'd grown up in England along with two Minto residents who were from Pacific Islands but had grown up in New Zealand talking about what it was like to be of one culture but in another.  It was mostly the English guy talking about his search for identity through learning Indian music, which was incorporated quite significantly in the act.

It was getting late, though, so we left shortly before it was over -- having read in the truthful program that the pyrotechnic display was "breathtakingly short" and would last "only the length of one firecracker."

Thankfully we made it out to Ben Lomond before we cracked.

photo: kirribilli is beautiful

Saturday, January 22, 2011

photo: 1812 overture at sydney festival

It was a Shakespearean symphony, followed by the 1812 Overture.  I have a lovely little video, but it doesn't seem to want to upload itself.  Take a photo as a consolation prize.  As a bonus sidenote to the evening in general, my friend Melissa was singing in the performance!!

quicko: the exchange rate

It's been the case for awhile now, but I just wanted to point out that the Australian dollar is doing ridiculously well at the moment.  It's had moments of being better than the American dollar, and currently is roughly on par with it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

quicko: the endeavor

The name of the boat Captain Cook sailed to Australia in.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

photos: to minto and back

Our trip to Minto deserves more time than I've currently got to write about -- but for now, here are some pictures.

quicko: lolly gobble bliss bombs


Caramel popcorn.  Delicious.  Purportedly better "when we were kids."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

quicko: rough as guts

Common Australian phrase meaning "very rough."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

photos: mirazozo

 I don't really know what more to tell you -- it's art outside the Opera House.  Check it out!
(Take $10, but it's worth it!)

quicko: yobbo

Noun.  A strain of bogan.  The difference lies in the emphasis:  bogan generally refers to where someone is from or how they dress, whereas yobbo is more an attitude, behavior or (lack of) intellect.  Yobbos are generally male; bogans can be either male or female.  Both redneck-y.  Neither complimentary.

Monday, January 17, 2011

quicko: to doss (down)

i.e., to sleep somewhere.  To spend the night.  To collapse on a couch.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

quicko: lead types

It seems that Australian schoolchildren are taught different types of lead in pencils.  While my friends weren't 100% accurate on their grades of color, they were fairly consistent in having heard of the grades.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

news flash: and the rain, rain, rain comes down, down, down

Just to let you know:  yes, there is lots of flooding in Queensland.  Yes, parts of Brisbane (Australia's third biggest city after Sydney and Melbourne) have been evacuated.  Yes, about a dozen people have died and more are missing.  Yes, lots and lots of people are losing lots and lots.  No, the floods are thankfully nowhere near me.

quicko: roll me over the ocean

So, it turns out Australians aren't content to have four oceans.  No, no, it seems they must have five.  You'd think it was a fluke or an odd question thrown in to throw unsuspecting 
players off, but no.  All the Australians I was playing with corroborated the evidence and insisted there were five oceans.  Sigh.

quicko: reach out

An Americanism!  An Australian told me that a friend had told her that she went to America and people were constantly "reaching out" to each other.  Not sure what Australians would do, but they'd evidently express it differently.

Friday, January 14, 2011

quicko: refreshments

A term not really used in Australia.  Understood, but rarely said.  Either that or I've clearly been going to all the wrong parties.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

quicko: no napkin nation

Australia really doesn't do napkins.  Well, okay, occasionally for especially sticky occasions they'll whip out some white squares but they'll insist on calling them "serviettes," and quickly put them away afterwards lest anyone wish to use one at another meal.  Paper towers are around, too, but not nearly as omnipresent as in America.  Restaurants and fast food joints will generally provide nap--er, serviettes, but on the whole the Australians just can't be bothered to get them out.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

quicko: new choc on the block

In Australia, chocolate comes in "blocks" instead of "bars" when you buy a big hunk of, say, Lindt chocolate.  I'm not sure what they call candy bars, though, seeing as they don't use the word "candy."  Just by their name, perhaps?  (A Snickers, a Mars bar, etc.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

quicko: age box

On Australian forms, the "check your age boxes" are pretty standard across the nation.  For adults, you are:

55 or older

Thus, I was a bit shocked to learn (thankfully well after the fact), that I fell squarely in the second box.  I was used to being in the first (young adult, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50 -- Americans tend to let you pick when you're on the "0") but discovered in Australia I had actually entered a new phase of life.

Monday, January 10, 2011

quicko: and they'll know we are christians ...

... by our ability to stack chairs.

Universal Christian attribute.  Sometimes we're bad at loving, but find any church in America or Australia and its congregation will be able to stack chairs quickly and efficiently.  Note:  this applies even if it's a "pew" church; there'll be chairs somewhere.

quicko: food, food, everywhere ...

Did you know you cannot get dinner before 6 pm on the King Street Wharf?  You can get lunch -- possibly even a late lunch if you're lucky -- but grub before 6 pm is utterly out of the question.  My friend Pamela and I discovered this the other day when we were meant to be somewhere about 7 and thought we'd be all on the ball and eat first.  Both being American, we were shocked that we couldn't.  We knew better than to expect food 24/7 here, but thought surely there wouldn't be a problem during daylight hours.  Ha!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

quicko: november showers

We're a bit past them now, but here's something:  it rains in Australia in the spring time.  Every year.  Quite a bit.  And yet every year the Australians (Sydneysiders in particular) forget this and wail bitterly.  "It never rains like this!" they cry.  "Our city is always sunny and lovely -- and this!"  (Here they give up in disgust.  Rain makes everyone grumpy here.)

quicko: youse

Every English speaker, unfortunately, is faced with the dilemma of providing a second person plural, seeing as the language itself has rather left the subject open for creativity.  While they haven't done as poorly as the American Southerners, the Australians' effort is similarly mocked in their own circles.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

quicko: in the middle

I don't know how relevant this is to American-Australian cultural differences, but I think I can stretch it.  Hang with me.

It just seems that there's lots of words to describe that span of time in the middle of a bigger something, but that that word changes based on what the bigger something is.  For example, at the theatre in America it's "intermission," whereas at the theatre in England (and Australia?) it's an "interval."  It's a "half-time show" at an American football game, but who knows if they even have the same sorts of things at, say, rugby matches.

The reason I got thinking about all this is because we have one in our church service and I couldn't figure out what to call it.  "Intermission" sounds a bit ... theatrical, and "half-time show" really isn't exactly accurate.  I think officially it's an "extended meet and greet," but that's a bit of a mouthful.  Possibly a "coffee break" could do.  So trite, I know.

Friday, January 7, 2011

plug: coffee culture

Guess what!  I've finally -- finally! -- found my favorite coffeeshop in Sydney:  Coffee Culture in Crow's Nest.  Having lived in Grand Rapids for four coffeeshop-filled years (Common Ground!!  and the Fish House!!  and Four Friends and Kava House and Grinders and Beaner's and Starbucks and I'll count Panera, since I used it like one), I was used to lots of selection of reasonably priced hot chocolate (goodness knows I don't actually drink coffee) in places open late -- i.e., past 5 pm.  Though really they generally lasted until about 10 pm, give or take.

In Sydney you are hard pressed to find a coffeeshop, period, but much less one opened past 5 pm.  I will give an honorable mention to Clippers on Glebe Point Road because the place is very cute and has a nook -- a nook! -- you can sit in and sip tea under, but they fall prey to the peer pressure and boot you out before dinner time.  It's fantastic in the afternoon, though.

Coffee Culture, though, stays open to a tolerably late time.  I'm not exactly sure when, but it was dark when we left, so that's got to be a good sign.  But not only that, their decor is what I'd call casual classy and they have comfy (i.e., padded) seats available.  Their prices are on par with everyone else's (sigh), but at least you get the best deal for your money.

Here's the best part, though:  they'll give you free whipped cream on your hot chocolate (!!).  This, while par for the course in many Grand Rapids coffeeshops, is virtually unheard of in Sydney.  Furthermore, they will give you lollies with your tea.  They serve the tea cups served upside down and under them -- !! -- are 2 little lollies.  Or, if you ask specially, they will let you have the chocolate-covered coffee beans instead of marshmallows with your hot chocolate.  (Definitely the better option.  The marshmallows are Australian marshmallows.)

And the portions are reasonable.  Maybe not quite American, but much closer than the miserable excuse for drinking containers (3 inch high clear glass things that look like shot glasses they expect you to fit a $4 hot chocolate inside!) found most other places.

The hot chocolate, while not in the vein of a San Churros or Max Brenner actual, literal "CHOCOLATE" drink, is definitely one of the better ones I've had in Sydney.  You can tell it's real milk and it gets those lovely oily patches on top so you know it's terrible for you but twice as delicious.  Come to think of it, they might have been from the whipped cream.  No wonder I hadn't seen them anywhere else.

And finally, the people are friendly.  They don't begrudge you taking your time and offer helpful (not sales-conscious) ideas.  And they're very willing to make reasonable trades (coffee beans for marshmallows, for instance).

The place is clean, convenient and open -- but, as they say on Reading Rainbow, don't take my word for it -- check it out!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

quicko: can't be what?

I lived in Australia for literally years before it came out that when all this time I thought Australians were just lazy buggers saying they "couldn't be asked" to do anything (as they do quite regularly any time they don't feel like doing something), they were in fact not saying "asked" at all, but were using an extra s instead of a k in the middle.  Far be it from me to reproduce their vulgar idioms, but can you believe it?

And to think, I thought they were merely being lazy the whole time.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

quicko: she'll be right

One of the most common Australian throwaway lines of comfort, and the biggest baldfaced lie masquerading as gospel truth since sticks and stones.

The gist of it is, "don't worry, everything will turn out okay"; however, it's almost inevitably said when everything is poised to go patently Not Alright.  It's meant to bring comfort, but oddly enough rarely delivers.

As in:

"My gosh, I've just lost my life savings in the GFC and I don't know how I'll ever be able to retire."

"No worries, mate, she'll be right."

Or in:

"My wife's left me and taken the kids and the dog!"

"Hang in there, she'll be right."

Or perhaps:

"Come quick, my house is on fire!"

"Take it easy, mate, she'll be right."

In fact, the only time it appears not to work is when beer is involved.  Take for example:

"Who drank the last beer?!"

"She'll ... she'll ... I'll be right back with more!"

I cannot though for the life of me get a proper grasp of the grammar involved.  Why it is "she" instead of "it" I can overlook, but why it's "right" instead of "alright" gets me every time.  How can you honestly expect things to turn out for the best when you can't even produce a coherent sentence?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

quicko: holiday-stricken nation

My gosh, everyone, I have a grievous announcement to make:  Australia is a horrifically holiday-stricken nation.

It comes as a shock, I know, but I can attest firsthand.  You cannot know how many Australians have opened their overworked hearts to me and lamented how direly in need of a holiday they were.  The examples are countless, but they generally suffer from waiting approximately a year without a "proper" holiday.  (Weekend excursions as far as Bali do not count.)

Today, however, everyone having just returned to work after ten days off, I was amazed to hear the discussion begin so soon.  My co-worker, it transpires, has led a very egregious existence wherein no holiday light has shined.

"I haven't had a holiday in a year," he sighed, as I hastily scanned the room for smelling salts.

"Um, what about Christmas?" I asked.

Christmas did not count.  Neither, it transpired, did the week off (or was it two?) he'd had four months ago.  It was a hectic vacation, you see.  It had been well and truly a year since the poor soul had frolicked merrily on the shores of free time.

He's not alone, of course.  Somebody did a study that the Australians are the hardest working people on earth and the Australians, bless their hearts, believed them.  They live their 4-week-mandatory-vacation-a-year lives constantly in the agony of knowing someone -- the French, for example! -- are lazing their European lives away with twice the number of public holidays, and probably 6 weeks a year.

It's enough to make anyone need to sit down and sunbathe fast.

Monday, January 3, 2011

quicko: boxing day reprise

I forgot to mention the national event that occurs annually on Boxing Day:  the Sydney to Hobart.  For the uninitiated, "the Sydney to Hobart" is a boat race.  Should you be up on your Australian geography, you'll realize rather quickly that, unless it were a plane race, it's rather necessary that any course between these two cities involve at the very least an element of the seaworthy vessel about it, however, this course is entirely water bound.  Various (approximately 100) yachts of various (got me on the details) sizes leave the Sydney Harbour around lunchtime (they have the exact time down much more precisely, oddly enough) and get to Hobart roughly two days later.  It's all very exciting to watch the start for about 5 minutes, after which time the excitement level tapers off enormously only to be slightly rejoinded some time later when the winner is announced.

There seemed to be no surprise this year, as the vessel that got all the news coverage was owned by one of the wealthiest men and won.  Its flag was under the "Wild Oats (Not the American Health Food Store)" bandwagon and it did the very un-Australian thing of not letting the underdog win.  Ah well.  There's always next year.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

quicko: baby names 2010

Australia's top baby names of 2010, according to some random website, along with my comments as I just feel they can't be helped:

20 most popular girls' names

  1. Lily (Harry Potter's mother, obviously, but otherwise quite possibly the best on the list ... which isn't saying much.  I could see it as a friendly middle name.)
  2. Ruby (for a baby?!)
  3. Charlotte (as in the spider?!)
  4. Chloe (still makes me think of Uncle Tom's Cabin)
  5. Sophie (was that the girl in The BFG?  I think it's been overdone, literarily speaking.)
  6. Olivia (the mouse in the children's book.  I'm afraid I read too much.)
  7. Isabella (for a baby?!)
  8. Mia (Mamma?)
  9. Emily (boring!  sorry to all my friends named Emily ... it's just that it's hardly unique.  Also L.M. Montgomery's other series ...)
  10. Ava (can the baby fly?)
  11. Amelia (again, can the baby fly?)
  12. Zoe (perfect for a comic strip kid ...)
  13. Ella (is her first name Cinder?)
  14. Sienna (okay, I kind of like this one ... I was going to say mountain range, but that'd be Sierra ... which I still kind of like ...)
  15. Isabelle (for a baby?!)
  16. Madison (feeling just a wee bit too patriotic in the American sense methinks ...)
  17. Emma (for a baby?!)
  18. Matilda (for a baby?!?!?  I like Roald Dahl as much as the next guy, but I still wouldn't name my twins the Twits)
  19. Hannah (just too nice and a little too biblical)
  20. Georgia (the state?  the country?  or somebody's old aunt?)

20 most popular boys' names

  1. Jack (aside from having to content with every English nursery rhyme not featuring Peter, it's not too bad)
  2. Cooper (a name that definitely belongs to a golden retriever)
  3. Oliver (hideous, no offense to those out there; I don't like olives at the best of times and Oliver is exceptionally wimpy unless he happens to be a singing orphan)
  4. Noah (waaaay too biblical)
  5. Thomas (well, if you must, but at least let us call him Tom)
  6. Lucas (wimpy)
  7. Lachlan (still very new to me and I can't quite tell what I think of it)
  8. William (if we can call him Will, okay)
  9. Jackson (is he one of five?)
  10. Charlie (does he have a chocolate factory?)
  11. Ethan (yay!  the winner!  and the cutest baby of the year, if not the quietest ...)
  12. Liam (is that English??  sounds wimpy ...)
  13. Riley (does he come with a gun?!)
  14. Joshua (a bit overdone, but what boy name isn't?  like it.)
  15. Aiden (again, is it English?  sounds wimpy ...)
  16. Max (hmmm.  does he drink coffee?  play with wild things?  kill wives named Rebecca?)
  17. James (can't go too wrong I guess)
  18. Samuel (see notes at James)
  19. Jacob (nice.  Jacob I can handle.)
  20. Ryan (another keeper.)

Well, gosh, now that I've offended half the population I think my work here is done.  Till next time!

Saturday, January 1, 2011