Wednesday, August 31, 2011

quicko: thin skins

Now, I'll issue this with the caveat that it might not be entirely true -- might be subject to opinion, or subject, or et cetera -- but an Australian friend confirmed my suspicion today that Australians are -- possibly, at times -- much more thin-skinned than they'd ever like to let on.  Case in point:  the unanimous "!!!" with which Australians throw up their arms when one hints that maybe, maybe they aren't the hardest working people on the planet.  Australians, we decided, are perfectly capable of dishing it liberally out, but ... really ... don't ... like ... to ... take ... it.  Ouch.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

quicko: generosity

If I were to list one of the most prevalent best qualities of Australians, I think it would be generosity.  I have encountered so much generosity from so many Australians on so many occasions.

Either that, or they're all keeping tabs and waiting for me to finally cough up.

Monday, August 29, 2011

the princesses undefeated!!

The tale of the tiara continues -- this time with (!!) a sash.  You might think you can't get any better than a tiara on a desk buddy, but a sash on a princess works even more wonders.  Have you ever heard of two princesses winning two games of 500 in five (5!) hands?!  I didn't think so.

And yet they did!  And not only that -- I still haven't told you about the third game!  The third game was, from a purely spectating standpoint, by far the most adrenaline-pumping, edge-of-your-seat, down-to-the-wire sort of a match.  The Princesses battled The Others fiercely and The Others put up a very strong fight, particularly once they got their post-smoke break groove on.  The played a dashing misere, tricking Princess Kimmy into giving up the spade-defeating five of spades and landing themselves on 490.  Things were looking grim for the Princesses, who were by now wearing both the Tiara of Terror and the Sparkling Sash.

"Don't worry, Princess Matty!" Princess Kim cried after a particularly devastating eight spades call gone astray.  "We haven't lost; we've only gone backwards!"

"You're not just a glass half full sort!" exclaimed an Other.  "You're a glass all the way full sort!"

But the Princesses fought valiantly time and time and time again and suddenly!  Before anyone knew what was happening, they had gone over 500 in a death-defying eight spades call gone feverishly right.  Much celebration ensued, and (an excited, bouncing-off-the-walls sort of) peace reigned over all the lands.  The Others betook themselves away with more graciousness than could really have been expected considering the exuberant exultations they had been heretofore subject to throughout the afternoon, and left the Princess to bask in their immense glory.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

quicko: you can pick your friends ...

... and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.

Unknown in Australia, if one live Australian sample is good enough to produce a sweeping generalization for the rest of the country.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

quicko: go the wallabies

The Wallabies are a sports team.  I'm guessing rugby, but I might be guessing wrong.  The main thing is that, linguistically, this genuine Australian quote is quite intriguing.  We wouldn't say, for instance, "Go the Red Sox!"

Can you get over that inventive use of the definite article?  I know, neither can I.

"Go Wallabies!" is also okay to cheer, I believe, but if you're talking about them and not yelling directly at them, "Go the Wallabies!" is a very real option.

Oh, and, yeah.  They totally won.

photos: the triple birthday festivities!

Friday, August 26, 2011

quicko: toss your cookies

An Americanism!  Seeing as they're not really up on the whole "cookie" thing, Australians also aren't too up on "tossing" them either.  They may try to tell you they "throw their biscuits," but do not believe them.  They are simply wont to prey on unsuspecting Americans in this way.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

quicko: scrummy

Slang for (I never would have got this) -- scrumptious!  Truly scrummy.  Just doesn't quite have the same ring, hey?

update: not happy jan

I've mentioned this iconic Australian ad before, but here's a link so you can see it yourself.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

quicko: mold

Spelling issue here:  mold vs. mould.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

quicko: brilliant

The one-size-fits-all adjective of choice.  Potentially more British by nature, but used here as well.

Monday, August 22, 2011

quicko: chili

Chili, I'm told, is not nearly so common in Australia as in America.  And particularly not as common as in Cincinnati, I can imagine!  I did happen to find some cooked by a Kiwi friend, though!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

photos: manly cove

quicko: a gap year

This is perhaps more common in England, but Australians are also very familiar with the idea of a "gap year."  Americans, being hard-working individuals with immense college debt and two weeks of paid vacation, are not.  Basically, one's "gap year" is the time in which one travels abroad, makes a tremendous nuisance of oneself, works intermittently in backpackers, pubs or anywhere else connected to a spare couch, and, potentially, has an existential crisis.  It's all very exciting and grungy and memorable, if one was sober enough to remember it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

the tale of the tiara

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a land far, far away, there lived a princess named Matty.   He was not a princess in the ordinary way of being the daughter of a king, but more in the Australian sort of way of thinking "holidays" were "hectic" endeavors.

Life, you see, was difficult for Princess Matty.  He had to go to work every morning and teach classes full of nothing but young, cosmopolitan females for hours on end before returning to a home-cooked meal prepared nightly at 6 pm by his loving mother.

It was enough to try the toughest of princesses.

Then one day, Princess Matty was requested to come to the aid of Princess Kim in the even farther away land of 500, which was, granted, a rather odd name for a kingdom.  (She had previously left his land on account of there not being room in it for more than one princess, though they managed to remain friends.  Hence, when 500 was invaded by the joint forces of Prince Laurie and Princess Sharon, Princess Matty rushed to the rescue of Princess Kim.)

A fierce battle raged.  A seven spades call toppled, closely followed by a seven hearts.  An open misere was dashed to pieces, followed by another seven spades and a gutsy eight clubs.  An eight no trumps collapsed and a misguided seven diamonds left the carnage falling fast and thick on both sides.  Things were looking bleak, particularly as the Force of Sleaze (as the antagonists were called) began to rise from the ashes and looked set to trump the Desk Buddies (as our protagonists were called) with an effective seven spades call followed by a devastingly winning seven hearts.

Drastic times called for drastic measures.

Suddenly Princess Kimmy had an idea!  The Tiara of Trump!  She ran to her secret tower, extricated it from the Bavarian beer girl/pirate costume and hurried back into the fray.

At first Princess Matty was reluctant to wear the Tiara of Trump, but with such devastation around him, he soon saw there was but little choice.  He donned the sacred heirloom and sallied once more valiantly forth into the shuffle.

There are times, it is said, when tides simply turn.  All is looking lost and then, out of nowhere, (insert superhero of choice here) shows up and saves the day.  So it was with Princess Matty and the Tiara of Trump.

First there was a victorious seven clubs, closely followed by twin seven diamonds.  The opposition countered with a seven clubs of their own, but it was too late.  Daringly Princess Matty threw out a wild eight hearts.  The Force of Sleaze fought back, hoping the Desk Buddies would bleed their own trump.  The Desk Buddies held their cards close to their chests, pulling in one, two, three tricks.  Sleaze stole a sly fourth with the left bower, but the Desk Buddies had it back at five, six, seven, eight.  At nine, Sleaze took control, leaving it down to what everyone sensed would be the last trick of the night.

Prince Laurie led a high spade, followed closely by Princess Kim's ace of diamonds, which did nothing productive, but looked mighty flashy.  Hot on the trail was Princess Sharon's (a gasp from the crowd here!) nine of hearts.  The on-lookers fell silent, all eyes on Princess Matty and the Tiara of Trump.  He held the card for an unblinking moment and then, in the full fury of a highly overwrought (not to mentioned overworked and overtaxed) princess, slashed the pile with the ten of hearts.  540-460, victory belonged to The Desk Buddies, who immediately pouted for a picture, then jumped up and down clapping and grinning crazedly for a full three minutes until the camera flash worked properly.

From then on, Princess Matty never took off the Tiara of Trump ever again, and they all lived happily ever after, except for the occasional hectic holiday in Euchre.  The end.

 "I'm comfortable with my sexuality and I can wear a tiara whenever I want."  --Princess Matty, when told he had won and was now allowed to remove the tiara because, really, Princess Kim kind of wanted it back.

Friday, August 19, 2011

quicko: harold holt

Former Prime Minister of Australia.  Only one they actually misplaced entirely.  Bill Bryson tells it much better than I, but suffice it to say they've never yet found him.  I also understand he makes an excellent object lesson when teaching past modals of possibility -- "He could have been eaten by a shark," "He might have been a Russian spy all along" or even "But of course!  He's just still off chucking a sickie!"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

quicko: a quote from former prime minister paul keating

"If you're not living in Sydney, you're camping out."

Thank goodness I'm living in Sydney.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

quicko: the bunyip

A large, mythical Australian creature.  Precise description rather hazy; probably hairy and scary.  Lurks near water spots, according to wikipedia.  Have yet to encounter one, but continue to hold my breath when passing puddles on late-night walks home.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

quicko: bad, bad news

So there's this thing in Australia called Super, and it's pretty super if you're Australian:  it's like a 401k (I think ... not ever having precisely learned what a 401k is, I can't really say for sure) -- a retirement fund that your employer contributes the equivalent of 9% of your wages into.  Great plan, right?

Wrong.  Super, like I said, if you're Australian.  Not-so-super if you're not.  Turns out when you leave they slam with you pulling-out-early nonsense that leaves you with sixty-five -- sixty-five!! -- percent of what you're entitled to.  So instead of that kind of nice hunk of cash I thought I had -- I have sixty-five percent of a nice hunk of cash.  Not so super, hey?

(And, no.  I know what you're thinking:  what if I just wait until I am 65 or whatever and get it then?  Turns out that by the time that would happen they'd slam so many other fees on top that there would be zero percent of it left.  Damned if you do and damned if you don't, hey?  (Apologies for the language.  Seems Garry's bad influence is rubbing off on me.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

news flash: it's official!!

My baby brother is engaged!!!

Congratulations, Andrew and Ann!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

quicko: WA license plates

I learned today that Western Australia's license plates actually identify which town the driver is from in the first three digits/letters.  I almost took a picture, but was afraid the driver might not like that.  Sorry.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

photos: my trip to the opera house, inside edition

I went to hear the Sydney Symphony Orchestra today.  I'm not usually a symphony sort of girl, but I came by some free tickets and actually quite enjoyed it.  The Star Wars guy was an added plus.

Friday, August 12, 2011

update: males in sports

Okay, so this time I took better notes.  Here we go:

AFL:  tall guys in short shorts.  Really athletic sorts.

Rugby Union:  cross between AFL and rubgy league.  Generally thought to the most attractive overall.

Rugby League:  beefcakes, thick-necked, stocky, nose broke too may times sorts.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

quicko: sydney fringe festival

The Sydney Fringe Festival is coming up!  I'm very excited -- it's September 9 - October 2.  I've already got tickets for, shall we say, The Scottish Play, but there's lots more I'd like to see.  Oh, the anticipation!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

quicko: chunda

V., Australian slang for throwing up.  If the urban dictionary can be believed, it might come from those near seasick passengers on original convict ships who yelled "watch under!" to warn others to avoid ... unhygienic situations.  Or, it might not be that at all.  Take your pick.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

quicko: caesar augustus issued a decree ...

... that a census should be taken of the entire Australian world.

And so, with the rest of the country, on the night of, well, tonight, I filled in my electronic form so as not to face my not-so-electronic $150 fine for non-compliance.  And now, in 99 years, my relatives can go searching and find out that (gasp!) I was a poor English teacher.  How exciting!

Monday, August 8, 2011

quicko: cracker

N., extremely good example of something.  i.e., "That's a cracker of a good idea!"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

quicko: aqua aerobics

AKA water aerobics.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

quicko: weights and measures

I know I don't cook much, but it did surprise me that it took well over 3 1/2 years for me to learn that (some) Australians actually use scales to measure their ingredients.  I was absolutely floored.  My friend asked me to measure out a few ingredients for a dessert and I hastily peered around for some measuring cups.  Finding none, it dawned on me that I was intended to use the scale.  (Obviously all the measurements are in grams -- although I hasten to add that my flatmate most definitely has measuring cups that are actually fractions of cups.)  And so, for the first time in my life, I helped to bake using a scale.  Isn't that quaint?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

quicko: carer

Today a co-worker asked the spelling of "carer" seeing as Microsoft Word wasn't too crazy about it.  We all concurred on "carer," though it got me thinking that perhaps American English just doesn't really have the word.  It makes sense, but I don't think we really use it all that much.

"What, because no one in America cares for anyone?" another co-worker quipped.

I insisted that some people did, but that we tended to call them more precisely by their precise occupation -- nurse, babysitter, aide, etc. 

And then, minutes later when I'd gone to blog about it, (this is going to get really crazy because we're talking literally seconds ago!) I very casually typed, just after "precise occupation" -- caregiver.  At which point it hit me!  We simply use "caregiver" while Australians use "carer."

Thank goodness I stopped to think things through carefully.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

quicko: sizes

I don't think I've mentioned this before and it's bordering on a bit obvious, but there are different sizes of clothing here as to in, well, other parts of the world.  I think shoes are roughly the same (though there's a distinct proclivity away from half sizes here), but tops, pants, bras, etc. are done on different systems.  Thank goodness I'm really just more of an eyeballer to begin with.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

quicko: bum fluff

AKA peach fuzz.

Monday, August 1, 2011

quicko: super adverbs!

Super, adv.  But only if you're American.  i.e., "That was super fun!"