Sunday, July 31, 2011

photos: the aroma festival 2011

quicko: grot

Noun.  A dirty (unclean) person.

Interestingly, I think this is the same word stem as what I would recognize as the adjective "groddy" or "grotty" for something gross.  I'd never used it as a noun before, though.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

quicko: munt

Adjective?  And "munted"?  Australian slang for something nasty, broken, damaged, etc.  I think?

Friday, July 29, 2011

quicko: christmas in july

Although I'm sure I've heard Americans bandy about the whole "Christmas in July!" sentiment from time to time, the Australians insist they take it much more to heart, seeing as they haven't got winter at Christmas to celebrate in (they really haven't got winter at all, but I hadn't the heart to tell them).  They have all the carols about, say, "dashing through the snow" (sigh ...) and so they get quite excited about the idea of having Christmas in "winter."  It's fun, though not remotely Christmas-y-ish.  But shh.  You didn't hear that from me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

quicko: countries ...

Canada : America :: New Zealand : Australia

(i.e., Canada and New Zealand suffer from "little" country syndrome based on the country next door going, "Oh, yeah, now that you mention it they are over there and we're kind of similar to them, but we always forget about them.  You want to go on vacation there?  Oh, cool.  But why not come here?")

A bit harsh, I know, but I think it tends to be true in terms of how people think -- not necessarily how it should be!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

quicko: the winter festival

So it turns out there is a winter festival going on in Sydney now.  I had no idea, but happened upon it the other day and there it was!  It's nothing huge, but it's near Hyde Park and the cathedral, and there's an ice-skating rink, as well as several little stalls intended to look, presumably, like a small European village with Italian, German, Swiss and Austrian shops side by side.  You can get donuts or these icy milkshake like things or mulled wine or just sit inside by the fire and take in the scenery for hours.  It's fun!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

quicko: aboriginal culture

On Wednesday ("tomorrow" -- oh, the wonders of backdating!) I saw a presentation on Aboriginal culture.  It was really pretty decent and I took notes entirely, dear reader, for your benefit.

The presenter was an Aboriginal guy named Sean Patrick Ryan.  If you think his name sounds suspiciously Irish, you'd be right.  His father was Irish, and his mother was Aboriginal.  His other name is something different that I wish I could say isn't allowed to be written or something, but the truth of the matter is I can't find the scrap of notebook I wrote it on.  Nevermind, I have other Aboriginal words to teach you.

First off, though, he said there had been 250 different Aboriginal groups and 600 different languages.  So, while I can teach you "Yalla da" means welcome in one, it's hardly likely to come in handy if you meet someone from one of the 599 languages.

A few random notes for you:

The Dharng are the Aboriginal people in the area of Sydney, and the Bidgigal were the first Aboriginal people to meet the English.  The Gadigal are also a group in the Sydney area.

The people group was very important to the Aboriginals, and whichever group you were part of (i.e., born into) was a sacred connection with them and the earth.  You would be restricted to trading, marrying, etc. with people from your same group.

:"Didgeridoo" is not what any Aboriginal group called it -- "yidaki" would be a proper name -- "didgeridoo" is an onomatopoeic description of the sound, not the actual name.  It was invented near Darwin, and was the world's first non-percussive instrument.  It's made of eucalyptus trees that have been naturally hollowed out by termites and is the only spoken word instrument -- that is, you can actually talk through it musically and hear words in, say, English.

80% of the Aboriginals living in Australia died of smallpox when the Europeans came.  The Aboriginals were classified by the neo-Darwinists of the time as sub-human, and thus the British very conveniently did not have to assign them any rights to the land because they were not deemed human.  (This was partially because they did not have any written language, any buildings (they were nomadic) or religion per se.)  Many conflicts naturally sprung up between the British and the Aboriginals, though at first the Aboriginals were helpful to distressed settlers.  Most misunderstandings came about because of a lack of common language and the British impinging on Aboriginal sacred territory.  An infamous incident at Rushcutter's Bay occurred because the British were not supposed to be cutting so many rushes -- it was not their right, they were not the correct person to be doing so -- but it was a bit tricky to explain this and Aboriginal culture does not have a concept of punishment (such as whipping or stocks or prison) -- it is either no punishment or death.  The rush cutters got death.

The Aboriginal flag was developed in the late 1960s and is divided horizontally in half.  The top half is black to represent the people and the bottom half is red to represent the earth and blood, which are greatly connected.  The middle is a yellow circle, which represents the sun, which is thought to be female.

Monday, July 25, 2011

review: northangery abbey

I recently went to see the play Northanger Abbey with my friend Melissa and we had a lovely time.  It was done at the Genesian Theatre, which is a lovely little theatre in a former church on Kent Street, right in the heart of the CBD.  Evidently they usually do classic pieces and I was younger than the average audience member by roughly two generations.  It was, however, very good.

Despite being a literary female, I have only actually read two Jane Austen novels -- the obvious, and EmmaEmma will almost certainly remain my favorite, not so much for the novel, but for the production the Calvin Theatre Company did of it in spring 2003.  I may or may not be slightly biased, but it was the best Jane Austen production ever seen on stage and really none can hope to parallel it.  The humor, the wit, the staging, the curtains, the turntable, the other turntable, Miss Bates played by the boys, the carriage, the bed, the flower petals falling at the end ... but I digress.

In any event, I'm reasonably familiar with those two, as well as the movie version of Sense and Sensibility, and, it turns out, I did read about the first 100 pages of Northanger Abbey at some point before putting it down, as the beginning was reasonably familiar to me.  However, I had no idea how the latter two thirds of the show would progress (besides, of course, that everything would end happily in at least one, if not a half dozen, marriages).

Initially, I had mixed feelings about seeing a show -- particularly a gothic-ish show -- in what had very obviously used to have been a church.  It seemed kind of sacrilegious (incidentally, who decided the spelling of "sacrilegious"?  and, more to the point, how?).  But of course I also think the church should embrace the arts and foster them way more than it usually does (plug for the upcoming I Heart Kirribilli exhibition at my church in October, by the way!).  I never exactly settled my feelings on the matter, but suffice it to say I saw the show regardless.

At first I was afraid I'd have to strain my way through the accents the whole time (real accents I can handle just fine -- but affected ones are somewhat stranger), but I soon settled into the story (I always have a hidden little fear that the play is going to be somehow over my head and I'm going to miss, well, the point, if not most of the finer details) without any trouble (phew!).

The acting was fine, and I fell for Mr. Tilney accordingly.  The girl playing Catherine did a great job, and I suppose ... was it Isabella? ... did too, because I couldn't stand her.  Similarly for her brother.  Catherine's brother was fine, and Eleanor was fantastic.  Overall it was a lovely ensemble.

The setting and staging was well done -- the gothic elements came across vaguely hokey, but I they weren't really meant to be serious, so all was well.  It was a delightful story, well told and, most importantly, with a happy ending.  Highly diverting, and I'd really recommend the theatre.  They're doing The Mousetrap in September, which is fantastic if you've never seen it.  I'm also especially looking forward to Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband in November.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

quicko: to arby or not to arby

There's no Arby's in Australia.  It's not often I get a fast food craving, but recently I've really been thinking a bit more than usual about layered roast beef sandwiches -- you know, I can just see them, the way they are in the commercials, not in real life.  I think I read the phrase "curly fries" somewhere and it's just been downhill ever since.  Can we change the subject now please?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

quicko: battler

Someone who struggles to live in society.  Generally applied to the lower socio-economic classes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

quicko: jandals

New Zealand slang for flip-flops.  One of the rare differences between New Zealand English and Australian English.  Evidently someone tried to market flip-flips as "Japanese sandals" and the name got abbreviated.

The primary other NZ-Australian difference I'm aware of is "duvet" (NZ) for "doona" (Australian).  (It's a "comforter" in America.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

quicko: lack of language, part 5

All taken from here.

41. I really hate the phrase: "Where's it at?" This is not more efficient or informative than "where is it?" It just sounds grotesque and is immensely irritating. Adam, London

Heh.  Who really cares?  I don't really know you from Adam.

42. Period instead of full stop. Stuart Oliver, Sunderland

Hehehe.  Okay, so it's a bit of a giggler.  I still prefer it; the meaning never gets obscured for us.  Context is everything!  Besides, "That's the end of the discussion.  Full stop!" just doesn't have the same ring as, "That's the end of the discussion.  Period!"

43. My pet hate is "winningest", used in the context "Michael Schumacher is the winningest driver of all time". I can feel the rage rising even using it here. Gayle, Nottingham

Haven't heard it.  I agree it's not technically correct, though I can see how you could be driven to create it.  Possible language evolution, but, like I said, I don't think it's all the prevalent.

44. My brother now uses the term "season" for a TV series. Hideous. D Henderson, Edinburgh

?  Is he referring to a "season" or a "series"?  I think it could be correct if he just means one season -- "the most recent season of House" for example -- but if he's referring to all the seasons of the series, that would be a bit odd.  Are you sure it's not just him?

45. Having an "issue" instead of a "problem". John, Leicester 

Can't you have both?  Maybe your life is just a bit less complicated.

46. I hear more and more people pronouncing the letter Z as "zee". Not happy about it! Ross, London

For goodness' sake, that's how we say it!  Besides, the alphabet song sounds really weird if you say "zed."

47. To "medal" instead of to win a medal. Sets my teeth on edge with a vengeance. Helen, Martock, Somerset

Hmm.  Is it really American only?

48. "I got it for free" is a pet hate. You got it "free" not "for free". You don't get something cheap and say you got it "for cheap" do you? Mark Jones, Plymouth

Really?  You sure on that one?  "I got it free" sounds weird.  While we're at it, shouldn't it be a "pet peeve" instead of a "pet hate"?  Alliteration, people!

49. "Turn that off already". Oh dear. Darren, Munich

It's used for emphasis!  My mom used it all the time when we were in trouble.

50. "I could care less" instead of "I couldn't care less" has to be the worst. Opposite meaning of what they're trying to say. Jonathan, Birmingham

Okay, fair point.  Personally, I usually use "couldn't care less," if that makes you feel better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

quicko: lack of language, part 4

All taken from here.

31. "Hike" a price. Does that mean people who do that are hikers? No, hikers are ramblers! M Holloway, Accrington

Come on, it's creative!  And we really do use it like that.  Language evolution again, deal with it!

32. Going forward? If I do I shall collide with my keyboard. Ric Allen, Matlock 

Well, at least we aren't moving forward, eh, Australians?

33. I hate the word "deliverable". Used by management consultants for something that they will "deliver" instead of a report. Joseph Wall, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire

Hmm.  Haven't heard it tons.  Have it as your bugbear if you want, but it isn't mine.

34. The most annoying Americanism is "a million and a half" when it is clearly one and a half million! A million and a half is 1,000,000.5 where one and a half million is 1,500,000. Gordon Brown, Coventry

Gosh, and I thought I was pedantic!

35. "Reach out to" when the correct word is "ask". For example: "I will reach out to Kevin and let you know if that timing is convenient". Reach out? Is Kevin stuck in quicksand? Is he teetering on the edge of a cliff? Can't we just ask him? Nerina, London

I think I've mentioned this here before, too, as an Americanism an acquaintance had mentioned.  I can see that it could be a bit annoying.  I don't think I actually use it.

36. Surely the most irritating is: "You do the Math." Math? It's MATHS. Michael Zealey, London

NO!!!  It is MATH!  Mathematics, yes, but math, no S!  And, while we're at it, no need to capitalize a school subject that isn't a proper adjective (i.e., English or Spanish).

37. I hate the fact I now have to order a "regular Americano". What ever happened to a medium sized coffee? Marcus Edwards, Hurst Green

Relax, "regular" is the least of your worries.  Why not take on tall, grande and venti?

38. My worst horror is expiration, as in "expiration date". Whatever happened to expiry? Christina Vakomies, London

Whatever happened to it is that it never existed in the first place for us.  We just haven't got the word.

39. My favourite one was where Americans claimed their family were "Scotch-Irish". This of course it totally inaccurate, as even if it were possible, it would be "Scots" not "Scotch", which as I pointed out is a drink. James, Somerset

Ha!  Hadn't thought of that.  We do, I'll admit, use that one incorrectly.  It is how we use it, though.  Point taken.

40.I am increasingly hearing the phrase "that'll learn you" - when the English (and more correct) version was always "that'll teach you". What a ridiculous phrase! Tabitha, London

Good gracious!  That is horrific, but I must assure you it is not "American."  It is uneducated, which, rest assured, is not the same thing as being American. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

quicko: lack of language, part 3

All taken from here.

21. A "heads up". For example, as in a business meeting. Lets do a "heads up" on this issue. I have never been sure of the meaning. R Haworth, Marlborough

This makes sense to me, though I've never heard it used in a business sense.  We say "heads up!" when there's something about to hit someone's head (for example, at a baseball game).  You could argue that "heads down!" would make much more sense, and I would agree.  However, if we take the common use of the idiom, I see no reason why a "heads up" meeting would be a problem.  It's just a way to give everyone a good idea of what's coming -- i.e., a heads up.

22. Train station. My teeth are on edge every time I hear it. Who started it? Have they been punished? Chris Capewell, Queens Park, London

???  What in the world do you call it then???

23. To put a list into alphabetical order is to "alphabetize it" - horrid! Chris Fackrell, York

Well, yes.  I don't get the problem here ...?

24. People that say "my bad" after a mistake. I don't know how anything could be as annoying or lazy as that. Simon Williamson, Lymington, Hampshire

Okay, this is just language evolving again.  You can fight it if you want, but you're not going to win.

25. "Normalcy" instead of "normality" really irritates me. Tom Gabbutt, Huddersfield

Off the top of my head I want to say some president -- Woodrow Wilson?  Warren G. Harding? -- coined this in an election campaign promising a "return to normalcy."  Which means that while it would be genuinely American, but also around for quite some time.  I'm putting it at around 90 years old.

26. As an expat living in New Orleans, it is a very long list but "burglarize" is currently the word that I most dislike. Simon, New Orleans

Huh.  Don't come across it too often, but I don't live in New Orleans either.  Okay, you don't have to like that one.

27. "Oftentimes" just makes me shiver with annoyance. Fortunately I've not noticed it over here yet. John, London

Yeah, that is annoying.  Funny, I would have pegged it as British.

28. Eaterie. To use a prevalent phrase, oh my gaad! Alastair, Maidstone (now in Athens, Ohio)

Eateries in Ohio, really??  Times have changed!  Really, I'd be more excited than distressed!

29. I'm a Brit living in New York. The one that always gets me is the American need to use the word bi-weekly when fortnightly would suffice just fine. Ami Grewal, New York

Americans don't really know the word fortnightly.  I remember reading it in Anne of Green Gables and never being really sure how long it was -- 10 days?  2 weeks?  I had a rough idea, but never nailed it down precisely until I lived in England.

30. I hate "alternate" for "alternative". I don't like this as they are two distinct words, both have distinct meanings and it's useful to have both. Using alternate for alternative deprives us of a word. Catherine, London

Heh.  Doesn't really bother me either way.

Monday, July 18, 2011

quicko: lack of language, part 2

Text from here.  Don't worry that the date on the article doesn't jive up.  I backdated.  I was going to say so sue me, but was afraid you might take it literally so won't.  Please don't.

11. Transportation. What's wrong with transport? Greg Porter, Hercules, CA, US

Now there's something I've actually addressed here!  Transportation is really the preferred American usage, though in Australia it seems to refer primarily to THE transportation of convicts to Australia.  Hence, they favor transport these days.  Guess I would too.

12. The word I hate to hear is "leverage". Pronounced lev-er-ig rather than lee-ver -ig. It seems to pop up in all aspects of work. And its meaning seems to have changed to "value added". Gareth Wilkins, Leicester

Did it never occur to you that "lee-ver-ig" is every bit as cringe-worthy to Americans as "lev-er-ig" is to Brits?

13. Does nobody celebrate a birthday anymore, must we all "turn" 12 or 21 or 40? Even the Duke of Edinburgh was universally described as "turning" 90 last month. When did this begin? I quite like the phrase in itself, but it seems to have obliterated all other ways of speaking about birthdays. Michael McAndrew, Swindon

Sure, you can celebrate turning 21.  Who's stopping you?

14. I caught myself saying "shopping cart" instead of shopping trolley today and was thoroughly disgusted with myself. I've never lived nor been to the US either. Graham Nicholson, Glasgow

Excellent!  A trolley is an entirely different kettle of fish.  A trolley is a small red device that operates on a railroad track, ending up daily in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.  Either that or a large red device named Lolly that dings its bells a bit more often than entirely necessary.

15. What kind of word is "gotten"? It makes me shudder. Julie Marrs, Warrington

It is the correct past participle of "get" in American English.  If you'd ever like to teach ESL to students wanting to learn American English, this is precisely the sort of verb you ought to teach them.

16. "I'm good" for "I'm well". That'll do for a start. Mike, Bridgend, Wales

Come on, now, it's friendly!  No one's trying to impress the queen or some over-doctored academic.  We're just being nice, don't get your panties all in a twist about it!

17. "Bangs" for a fringe of the hair. Philip Hall, Nottingham

Sigh.  Simple different of terminology, pure and simple.  No cause for alarm.

18. Take-out rather than takeaway! Simon Ball, Worcester

Same as 17.  Though I do admit "takeaway" bugs me a bit too.

19. I enjoy Americanisms. I suspect even some Americans use them in a tongue-in-cheek manner? "That statement was the height of ridiculosity". Bob, Edinburgh

Ha!  I think I like that one.

20. "A half hour" instead of "half an hour". EJB, Devon

Both are correct!  What's wrong with either?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

quicko: lack of language

So, the below piece appeared here.  It is not mine.  It is the BBC's.  From News Magazine.  However, I would like to add my comments to it.  It's a bit of a lengthy endeavor so I'll split it up over several days here.  It'll be fun!

The Magazine's recent piece on Americanisms entering the language in the UK prompted thousands of you to e-mail examples.

Some are useful, while some seem truly unnecessary, argued Matthew Engel in the article. Here are 50 of the most e-mailed.

1. When people ask for something, I often hear: "Can I get a..." It infuriates me. It's not New York. It's not the 90s. You're not in Central Perk with the rest of the Friends. Really." Steve, Rossendale, Lancashire

But!  But!  The scriptwriters use that in Friends because that's how Americans talk!  It's not wrong!

2. The next time someone tells you something is the "least worst option", tell them that their most best option is learning grammar. Mike Ayres, Bodmin, Cornwall

Hmmm.  Now at first glance I was inclined to agree, assuming that we don't do double superlatives.  But then I thought about it and I don't know that there really is any rule that says we can't.  The idea someone would be getting at is the "lesser of two/three/etc evils" -- I agree that it's clunky and not particularly endearing, but is it technically wrong?

3. The phrase I've watched seep into the language (especially with broadcasters) is "two-time" and "three-time". Have the words double, triple etc, been totally lost? Grammatically it makes no sense, and is even worse when spoken. My pulse rises every time I hear or see it. Which is not healthy as it's almost every day now. Argh! D Rochelle, Bath

This is fine!  There is no problem whatsoever with a language being used creatively and, gasp, evolving over time.  Of course double and triple are okay, too, but so are their new and improved cousins.

4. Using 24/7 rather than "24 hours, 7 days a week" or even just plain "all day, every day". Simon Ball, Worcester

Again, I beg to differ.  I'm no fan of "lol" or "brb" being used, say, professionally, but 24/7 has a nice ring to it.  It's new, it's creative and, contrary to British belief, does not sound bad.

5. The one I can't stand is "deplane", meaning to disembark an aircraft, used in the phrase "you will be able to deplane momentarily". TykeIntheHague, Den Haag, Holland

As if you couldn't be more pretentious!  I have nothing more to say.

6. To "wait on" instead of "wait for" when you're not a waiter - once read a friend's comment about being in a station waiting on a train. For him, the train had yet to arrive - I would have thought rather that it had got stuck at the station with the friend on board. T Balinski, Raglan, New Zealand

Wrong.  It's a phrasal verb, and, as every ESL teacher knows,  phrasal verbs have multiple meanings.  It's up to the discerning communicant to determine the appropriate meaning based on context clues.
7. "It is what it is". Pity us. Michael Knapp, Chicago, US

For goodness' sake, what's wrong what that?  It just sounds "too American" or something?  Suck it up, really.

8. Dare I even mention the fanny pack? Lisa, Red Deer, Canada

Okay, now there's a genuine cause for British alarm.  At least we don't tell people if we're wearing thongs, though pants don't particularly bother us.

9. "Touch base" - it makes me cringe no end. Chris, UK

One of our many flavorful baseball idioms.  What's not to like?!

10. Is "physicality" a real word? Curtis, US

Um, yes, actually.  It is.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

quicko: go on then

Australianism.  Frequently used in conversation to spur the other conversant onwards.  Still debating if it should be "go on, then" or "go on then!"  Guess it depends a bit on context.

Friday, July 15, 2011

hair one day

I find haircuts really traumatic.  Some girls love them, and go all the time and have their hairdresser and only that one will do.  Except for Dean, the quirky old woman my mother found to cut our hair in her basement when I was a kid, I don't think I've ever had the same hairdresser twice.


I had been tossing back and forth for ages whether or not it was time for a trim.  My gut instinct is to avoid scissors near my hair like the plague, but I also think it's probably socially ept of me to get my hair cut at least once a year.  I didn't entirely want to, but it's one of those done things like going to the dentist.  (Which, incidentally, I happen to like much better.  My dentist, Dr. Koren, was great and I always got balloon animals and pencils and a dinky toy ring.  Unlike my visits to the pedophile pediatrician, which were not nearly as much fun.  But I digress.)

Usually I operate pretty smoothly under the "it's my hair and it gets to be the length I want it to" philosophy, but recently three of my friends had independently hinted that a haircut might be in order, and I started to re-think things.  I decided my philosophy was still right, but that I agreed with them, more or less.

Which left only one major hurdle:  the cost.  Generally I operate as cheaply as possible, and I'd seen haircuts advertised in the neighborhood of $90, which I found absolutely shocking.  Granted, it would still be cheaper than paying for a flight home to get a $15 haircut, but I'd heard rumors there might be cheapy places in the Chatswood mall I could find one for $20.  Chatswood is one of those places I've been to several times, yet always in cars with friends and thus don't feel quite enthusiastic about trying to visit via public transportation.  Not to say that it couldn't be done, but it would feel like quite an excursion.  Imagine then my surprise when I discovered that there is a hair place I walk past at least twice each and every day that offers haircuts for $29.  I think I made up my mind on the spot to go there, though it took me a couple days to actually bite the bullet.

Yesterday I was ready to hack the mane.  It was too long, it wasn't curling right, the boys clearly weren't biting, it was time.  Today I woke up and it was long and beautiful and curling gorgeously, all as if to say, "Look at me!  I'm beautiful!  How could you ever think of chopping me!?"  Passive-aggressive little beast that it is, it kept that up all day long.

Unfortunately for the locks, my mind was made up.  I'd transferred the necessary money into the necessary account, and off it was going to come.

I ventured in to the little hair shop and explained, as you do, to the girl what I wanted.  She, much to my relief, understood perfectly:  enough that I would notice, but not enough that anyone else would.  That worked out to roughly three inches (I wasn't convinced she understood imperial, but she was doing a pretty good imitation of it so I decided to let things slide), or falling just about the bra line.  It sounded perfect.

She trimmed away, and we chatted happily for several minutes.  Around this time I discovered that, in the mirror, I could see the friendly butcher I always say hi to.  I haven't got a clue what his name is (I like to think it might be "Nate"), but it was very odd to see his reflection while my hair was stacked sideways on top of my head.  (Honestly, it usually isn't.)  Nate very tactfully did not wave, and I am desperately hoping he doesn't say, "gee, nice hair cut!" next time we meet.

Eventually the hairdresser and decided to go with a couple light layers, and soon everything was finished.  I got to look and found immediately that I'd most definitely gotten the first part of my request:  I could notice.

My hair!  My beautiful hair!  Where had it gone?  (On to the floor, it seems.)

It's early days still, and (as I'd told myself countless times before actually taking the plunge) it'll grow back.  Goodness knows no one else will probably notice (in elementary school, I once got six inches off and no one had a clue I'd just been as traumatized as I'll ever be by a haircut), but I'm a bit nervous.  It just isn't the same.

It's always like this, you see.  I've finally worked out what it is, too:  I don't like the look of freshly cut hair on myself.  I like the long, scraggly, ragamuffiny, just-crawled-out-of-bed-and-got-it-a-bit-windswept look.  Perhaps I didn't use to, but seeing as I so rarely see it any other way, I just don't know how to react when it's not.  So, here's hoping the ends will take it upon themselves to split quickly.

In the meantime, I'll just be in the bathroom straightening it to get a bit of the length back.

quicko: on the run

I'm not positive on this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's less taboo for Americans to walk around eating than Australians.  I base this mainly on the fact that I often eat sushi on the run and usually feel slightly out of place.  I see nothing wrong with it, and no one actually looks at me overly sideways, but I don't think I'd feel so askance in America.  Perhaps I'm just paranoid?  Or perhaps I should be feeling worse?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

quicko: shivers

A common interjection here meaning, "gosh!  wow!  that's terrible!"  Similar to "yikes," but a bit ghastlier.

review: harry potter (HUGE SPOILER ALERTS!!)

So I promised more to come on Harry Potter.  The problem is I just don't have a ton to say.  I really liked the movie!  It was great!  I'd definitely see it again.  It was very similar to how I'd pictured it.  Fred's death was tragic, though not as tear-jerking as it could have been.  Remus and Tonks' deaths were similarly depicted.  Snape's story was heartbreaking.  Either Crabbe or Goyle was a new actor, and both seemed to have trimmed down a bit.  One changed race.  I only actually had tears running down my face just before Harry went to sacrifice himself and his parents and Sirius came to help him through.  Ginny never managed to get pretty, which was unfortunate.  She looked downright frumpy as an adult.  Ron and Hermione were great, and both have really come into their own.  I just wanted a bit more chemistry between them -- the kiss was great -- they still looked a bit awkward holding hands and at the end surely he could have at least put an arm around her?  The ghost of Ravenclaw's daughter scene was a bit longer than it needed to be, and there was a bit less explanation of some plot points (the Dumbledore family, for instance) than there could have been.  But overall it was fantastic -- action-packed; well-developed characters; a bit low on the witty banter, but I suppose that's understandable when you're trying to defend a castle against masses of evil; and by far the best movie I've ever seen at a midnight premiere.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

quicko: capsicum spray

I found this hysterical -- I always assumed "pepper" spray was "salt and pepper." Guess it's actually not!!

quicko: harry potter!!!

The last Harry Potter movie has officially come out in Australia!!  I went to the midnight showing this (very early) morning and it was fantastic!!  More details to follow ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

quicko: RBT

Random Breath Tests.  We have them, but I think they're called something else?  Or not so used to going by the acronym?

Monday, July 11, 2011

quicko: iced tea

Mainly American.  It's not that you can't find it here, but it's not nearly so omni-present.  And none of it's homemade.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

willaby wallaby rugby

Last night I watched my first rugby game.  It was really more by default than choice (I thought I was going to the pub for a nice after-church chat with girlfriends ... not realizing girlfriends were actually quite interested in watching the rugby.  There you have it -- my first rugby game in Australia, and I didn't even have a cute boy to explain things to me!  Couldn't have played that hand much worse, now, could I?), but watch I did.  (Hard to do much else when that's what everyone else is doing.)

Rugby, it seems, is kind of somewhere between American football and soccer (??).  There's lots of running around and some tackling and this very funny thing called a scrum, which reminded me vaguely of trying to throw a parachute up in the air with an elementary school class when I was a kid.  There's no parachute in the rugby version, but it is reasonably colorful.

Also, there are two kinds of rugby:  union and league.  I, evidently, watched a rugby union game that was part of SupeRugby (judging by the spelling on the field ... aren't those sporting types clever with their language?).  It's all very confusing to me how it works and what championships there are and who's involved and who the teams are and who plays who ... eventually somehow Australia comes up with a team called the Wallabies, which is kind of like their dream team or all-star team or something of best Australian rugby players and they play the New Zealand All-Blacks, which I'm assured is not nearly a racist team name as it sounds, and the South African Spring Boks (a spring bok being an animal along the lines of a deer that you can find in South Africa).

There's just so many major events I haven't really worked out which is which and which is played by which sport, much less which teams.  I think the State of Origin was just held recently and is always (?) between New South Wales and Queensland, but NSW has been losing for the last several years.  There's something along the lines of a Tri-Country Tournament that includes Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.  Then the World Cup is presumably lots bigger and is potentially held once every four years, possibly including this one.

Then there's AFL (the "footie") and cricket and soccer and goodness knows what else.  Swimming I suppose.

Anyway, the game I saw was the rugby union game between the Queensland Reds (red) and the Canterbury Crusaders (silver).  The crowd at the Kirribilli Hotel was heavily in favor of the Reds because, I was told, they'd prefer NSW to be in the ... finals? ... but if they can't, they'd much prefer Queensland to New Zealand.  The minority favoring the Crusaders picked them, from what I could tell, primarily based on the rugged good looks of number 7, Richie McCaw.

Speaking of looks, I have at least twice now been given a run-down of a Girls' Guide to Australian sports; namely, what size/shape men are generally found in each main sport.  I was all set to type it out for you, but realized upon closer investigation, that I did not take nearly as good of notes as I thought I had.  Roughly, I think the rugby union boys are supposed to be a bit beefy with broad shoulders, the league ones a bit leaner ("nuggety" I think was how they were put to me) and the AFL ones ... presumably quite athletic?  Sorry, will have to get back to you on that, ladies.

The biggest problem anyone could easily spot with yesterday's rugby boys was that someone had clearly forgotten to tell them to shave.  About half a dozen of them were sporting mountain man beards that surely would have kept all the women at bay, regardless of how shapely the rest of them might have been.  They looked like they'd surpassed Seven Brides for Seven Brothers hairdo and were bordering on something closer to cave man.  The rest of their skin looked a bit shiny though, and I was given to wonder whether they actually shaved their legs (again, Australian sportsmen show far more of their legs than any self-respecting American man would dream of).  One proved particularly capable of impromptu dance as well.  I'd had no idea there was so much humor to be had on the rugby field.

Much to the delight of the pub, the Reds managed to win yesterday's game 18-13 or thereabouts.  (The scoring falls roughly in the vicinity of American football scoring.)  The only thing more crushing for the minority was that the pub somehow decided to switch off the volume just as Richie McCaw gave his, presumably, so-gutted-we-lost speech.  If, however, I am mistaken and it really was an on-screen proposal -- I can assure him that there was at least one resounding yes just across the table from me.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

news flash: grand rapids on the front page

I'd heard of yesterday's Grand Rapids horror on Facebook, but was shocked to find it actually made the front page of Sydney's mX.  It was a bit surreal to read the article and look at the map realizing I at least had a pretty decent idea of where the very roads and areas in question were.

Friday, July 8, 2011

quicko: sunshine and oranges

I've been hearing about this movie a bit from a couple different people recently and it's really, really shocking.  It's a documentary (i.e., TRUE!) about thousands (millions?) of children from England who were shipped off to Australia around the 1930s-1940s mostly, but as recently as the 1970s or 1980s.  The children usually came from poorer backgrounds and were told that they were orphans and promised "sunshine and oranges," while their parents, most of whom were still alive, were told that their children would be restored to them once they got back on their feet.  Names were changed, the children lost their identities and grew up in Australia -- only learning much later that their parents might still be alive in England.  Some have been reunited, but many, many others weren't.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

quicko: further australian patriotism-ish-ness

Also according to Garry (and presumably lots of other sources like atlases, I'm hoping), there are six Australian (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia) states and two territories (the Australian Capital Territory (i.e., Canberra for all practical purposes) and the Northern Territory).  The Australian flag, however, differs from the American in that each star does not represent a particular state.  Rather, there are five stars that together form the Southern Cross constellation and one star, called the Federation star or Commonwealth star (it's a vestige of English history, and Garry still sounds a bit bitter about it, so I didn't press for too many details there).  The Federation star has seven points and these seven points stand for the six states plus "other stuff" (i.e., the two territories and Norfolk Island, etc.).  So, while there are six stars on the flag, they do not actually correlate to the six states.

Finally, in true journalistic form, Garry suggests that, if you don't believe him, you check out wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

quicko: the northern territory

The other day I was chatting with (he might argue "to") GarryWith2Rs, bemoaning the fact that I was running a bit thin on tidbits for the blog.  He very helpfully spent the remainder of our conversation expounding on the benefits of the Northern Territory. 

Interestingly, the NT has the only flag in Australia that doesn't include blue.  Instead, it is black, white and ochre (browny orange).    

I'll spare you the details of the NT, but thought you might like to know that, according to a devout local, "We're a lot more laid back here, we're a lot more multicultural, and we drink a lot."  Also, apparently, they have crocodiles.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

quicko: so, have you heard about tiger?

Tiger Airways, that is?  Canned.  Unfit for flight.  Including, might I add, my flight that was booked for Thursday.  I got a text message Monday morning that it had been canceled and to see their website for details.  Looks like I'm not traveling this weekend!

Monday, July 4, 2011

happy fourth of july!!!

Happy Fourth of July!!!
(from the Sydney Opera House!)
There weren't really any festivities here today that I knew of, but it was also my friend's birthday,
so we celebrated together.
I had balloons, but accidentally lost hold of them before the picture ... so if you see two white and one red helium balloon resting somewhere, you'll know where they came from.
Happy Fourth of July!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

quicko: possum

Australian term of endearment.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

quicko: go get 'em

So these Go Get cars are all the rage around Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and possibly a few other places -- they're parked cars that us carless folk can sign up to be part of a program to borrow when we're so inclined.  A couple people have suggested I look into them (usually while they're giving me a ride home) and they are very tempting.  So yesterday I spent a bit of time browsing their website and, while I'm still not convinced they're the best plan for me, I am sorely tempted.  Particularly as there is one really ridiculously close to my flat.

The problem came in last night, though, when I actually dreamed about the Go Get cars.  It was all a bit too realistic for comfort, because I dreamed I made my way to the close-to-home one, took it for a very tumultuous drive on what was clearly the wrong side of the road for me, managed to park it, miraculously emerged with both the car and I unscathed and then realized in horror that I had never actually signed up for the program and had more or less stolen the car.  The rest of the dream was me running around like crazy trying to find people I knew who were part of the program to come over (I knew from the FAQs that only members were allowed to drive the cars) and drive it home before they realized it was missing and charged me hundreds of dollars (again, the FAQs indicated that overdue cars started wracking up more and more fees the later they were).  And then, in the words of the famous elementary school narrative devise, I woke up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

quicko: not too cold

Although it gets cold here, it never gets so cold that flip flops are unthinkable.  Some might not choose to wear them, but you're unlikely to actually get frostbite.

quicko: happy financial new year!

I admit to stealing this line from Garry.  What I liked even better, though, is the also-stolen response:  "Many happy returns!"