Monday, October 31, 2011

review: two good eggs

Two Good Eggs is the crew's favorite new (?) cafe around.  It's a lunch place (by this I mean it closes before dinner -- possibly it's open for breakfast (I have a sneaking suspicion it might be, especially with a name like its) but, seeing as I don't venture into the world before breakfast, I wouldn't really know), or coffee place.  It's really cute with friendly staff who are willing to take pictures on a regular basis, even if it's the same group of people coming for the third week in a row for no particular occasion.  It's fun and cool and my coffee-drinking friends say the coffee's good -- you should totally check it out!  (I'm slightly hard pressed to tell you where it is.  I could walk there and find it, but, um, after you go past the Mac and I think leave Goulburn Street just past Wentworth, I'm not really sure what the road's called.  It's east of Wentworth, if that helps.  And not far.  Not far at all.  You should totally go.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

turn that what upside down?

The other day I was playing taboo with an Australian.

"Suppose your ... brows ... are ..."  (Here, he made an odd contortion with his face, with perhaps particular emphasis around the eyebrows.)

"Furrow!"  I exclaimed.  "Furrowed!"

Furrowed was not the right answer.

"Um," I said.  "Disdain?  Disgust?  Thoughtful?"

He began gesturing heaving at his eyebrows.

"Anger?  Contemplative?   Fed up?  Exasperated?"

It was then that I realized the last two emotions had much more to do with his present state than the word on the card.

"Frown!" he bellowed.

"Frown?" I asked.  "But you weren't frowning.  You were furrowing your eyebrows."

"That's a frown!" he insisted, with the confidence of one who has just performed the quintessential definition of, say, smiling, with both reckless abandon and absolute precision.

"No," I said.  "That was not a frown.  That was furrowing your eyebrows."

"Then how would you frown?"

I promptly frowned.

"That's a pout," he said.

"That's a frown," I said.

"Okay, so what's the difference between furrowing your eyebrows and frowning then?" he asked.

"One uses your eyebrows; one uses your mouth," I said.

"No," he said.  "A frown uses your eyebrows, not your mouth.  What are you talking about?"

"Frowns!" I said, also getting a bit annoyed.  "You frown when you're sad; you furrow your brows when you're, I don't know, pondering or something."

"No," he said.  "No one contorts their mouth like that when they're sad.  Think of a little kid.  One who's just lost his ice cream cone.  What face does his face make?"  (Here, he again furrowed his brow.)

"No," I said.  "He goes like this."  (Here, I again frowned.)

It went on like this for some time, him furrowing his brows until they nearly touched, and me frowning with more of a glower threatening to stick my face such forever until finally someone else stepped in.

"What are you talking about?" asked the other teacher, who probably just said "talking" because it was nicer than inquiring if we were trying to maim each other with nasty looks.

"(S)he doesn't know what frown means!" we said simultaneously.

"And he's meant to be an English teacher!" I added under my breath, then pounced on the nearest five teachers, searching wildly for the American.  "How would you frown?  How would you frown?  Show me a frown!"

One by one they all stopped, considered, and then performed some odd acrobatics with their forehead muscles and eyebrow.

And suddenly it dawned on me that Australians really believe "frowning" is furrowing their eyebrows, as every single one of them did.  So did the Brits.

"Steve!" I yelled, calling desperately for the other American.  "Steve!  Frown for me!"

Steve promptly frowned.

"Aha!" I declared triumphantly.  "That was a frown!"

"Yeah," said Steve.  "Turn that frown upside down."

I was a bit too busy proving my point to bother.  "You see," I explained somewhat less than patiently to all the gathered, frowning teachers, "in American English, a frown is the opposite of a smile.  Happy is to smile as sad is to frown.  It's a perfect analogy for us."

"Okay," said the teachers, and promptly went back to their photocopying and crosswords.

"Sheesh," I said going back to the game of taboo.  "I need a holiday."

quicko: playing with the queen of hearts, night two

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

quicko: pitch it

Common in American English, but not in Australian.  Americans use it when talking about things they're throwing away -- usually large-ish, broken type things in a garage.  As in, "What should we do with this old fan that's missing the front part?"  "Ah, pitch it."

Australians are familiar with "ditching" -- but that's more often a someone than a something.  Instead of pitching, they're more likely to chuck something or bin something (yes, "bin" as a verb).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

quicko: the big 3-0

21st birthday parties, as I'm sure I've mentioned aged ago, are huge in Australia.  Similarly splashy are 30ths.  What's even more intriguing about 30ths, though, is the monumental effect they have on guys.  While a 30-year-old single girl has long been thinking about love, marriage and settling down, a 29-year-old single guy (generally, let's face it, more than a bit of a playboy) has not.  Suddenly he turns 30 and !!!  Some vague alarm bells start going off in his head that maybe other people like kind of sort of have often thought of you know, like, getting together or something and then his 30th birthday party comes and voila!  The breakthrough comes and he suddenly goes, "I've got to get married!  Fast!"  I don't think he knows why, but probably having had to schedule his party in the afternoon so all his mates with wives and toddlers could make it (not even the vaguest of considerations at his after-midnight 21st extravaganza) has something to do with it.  He immediately sets to work acquiring a proper, wife-material sort of girlfriend and getting engaged and is happily married by his 31st.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

quicko: it's that time again ...

... Halloween!!  It's nearly upon us!  Australians are still rather bamboozled by the whole concept (you mean you don't have to be a mummy or witch or vampire?), but tonight the concern I'd particularly like to address is that, when they do decide to go in for a Halloween costume, they go in whole hog with the idea of rushing to the nearest costume shop and buying a costume.  This floors me.  Halloween costumes are meant to be made, not bought.  They're meant to be constructed, not put on the card.  You're allowed, of course, to buy parts, but the whole thing is a rather preposterous idea.  This year it turns out I'm actually spending way more than my typical Halloween budget, but this is a fluke, not the rule.  The fluke has occurred for two reasons:  first, the costume is getting more and more elaborate and requiring more and more accouterments, and, two, Australian "dollar stores" do not stock items one dollars; hence, the many various pieces I've bought at "Hot Dollar" range from $3 ($3! as a minimum!) to $15, which, really, I don't know how many more times I can say it, is preposterous -- preposterous!! -- for a "dollar store."  It's absolutely the same junk you get in America -- the stuff everyone uses to create Halloween costumes -- at, what's the opposite of a fraction? of the price.  Still works out cheaper than renting (renting! of all things!) a costume, though.  More of a trick than a treat, eh?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

quicko: bali

Bali is, apparently, the done thing in Australia.  That is, everyone goes to Bali.  It's the obligatory holiday destination (oh, the suffering!) that Australians frequent in roughly, I imagine, the way reasonably well-off American families frequent the Caribbean.

Opinions vary -- it's a torturous tourist trap filled with drunk Aussies to an idyllic honeymooners' seaside paradise -- but, I am thrilled to report, you will soon be able to get the definitive answer on the subject as I will be going there next year.  Not only is this tremendously exciting in the I'M-GOING-TO-BALI!!! sense, but also in the now-I'll-be-able-to-say-I've-been-to-Asia!!! sense and also in the practically-an-Australian-local now, as I'll have paid these long overdue holiday dues.

One more thing -- evidently the way you show off your escapade to Bali to two-fold:  a good tan (don't hold your breath for a tan, let alone a good one -- though I am going in the Australian winter, so perhaps I can make my friends slightly jealous) and intricately braided hair.  The hair thing I'm holding out for.  I'll have just finished being a bridesmaid, so have no particular beauty constraints to guide me.  I think I'm up for it, even if it does peg me as a tourist.  It's about time!

Monday, October 24, 2011

quicko: internship

One of my pet pronunciation peeves here.  Intern-ship, not in-tern-ship.  Or something like that.  Can't stand it here!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

public service announcement: I ♥ KIRRIBILLI

The art exhibition aspect of I ♥ KIRRIBILLI will be on THIS WEEK from 9 am to 9 pm, Monday to Friday.  It's at Church by the Bridge just outside Milson's Point train station.  You should come!!!

quicko: says who?

In Australian receptions, speeches are a huge deal.  Generally at least the best man, maid of honor, one parent from each side and the bride and the groom all make a speech, though others can as well (i.e., both parents, an extra bridesmaid, etc.).

Maybe I'm forgetting something here, but I feel like the American receptions I've gone to have a brief toast by the best man and the maid of honor -- and possibly other friends.  I'm sure you could do it however you wanted to, but I don't think Americans have such an obligation to have so many speeches.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

photos: I ♥ KIRRIBILLI

(I told you it was on today!)

Friday, October 21, 2011

photos: bilgola beach


Guess what guys!!  I ♥ KIRRIBILLI starts tomorrow!!  There are the Made Fair (fair trade) Markets on from 9 to 3 tomorrow (Saturday, October 22) at Church by the Bridge, as well as an amazing art exhibit on the whole week long (Monday, October 24 - Friday, October 28 from 9 am to 9 pm -- free entry!!).  There's lots of special activities (open mic night on Friday, October 28 from 7 pm, for example) and things to be part of -- everyone's welcome; come along any time this week.  It'll be great!!  (Besides, you can get your photo taken by the I ♥ KIRRIBILLI wall -- how cool is that?!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

quicko: flats, etc.

This is one of the few Australian words I've actually picked up and generally am capable of using without sounding like I'm trying ten times too hard (as Americans usually do when "borrowing" Australian phrases -- drives me nuts!  but perhaps that's a story for another day).  My flat, my flatmate, etc.  I even caught myself asking my brother about his flatmates ... in a house in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

quicko: what's in an ABN?

I don't know the details, but it's an Australian Business Number.  Commonly bandied about, and something English teachers like to avoid at all costs.  (Number?!  Run!!!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

update: bus bloopers

Found another!!  You can be on the bus, running late, but just barely going to make it on time, when the bus driver pulls over to the side of the road and casually announces that, because this is the one bus in all of the universe that is running ahead of schedule, we are all going to simply stop and wait a few minutes to make up the time.  You can stay with him, catch another bus or get out and walk, whichever you prefer, but this bus is not moving for fear of jinxing the universe with its punctuality.

Monday, October 17, 2011

quicko: let's talk about words

I've mentioned before that Australians swear like crazy.  And Americans are a tad more sensitive about some words than Australians.  One word in particular particular.  It's the racial slur that pretty much any remotely educated American I've ever met utterly refuses to say above a whisper even when discussing how very much you do Not Discuss It.  It is simply known that you do Not Even Think About Saying It, and no one does, especially Americans of a European background.  Australians, on the other hand, have no qualms about it and, while they don't usually use it (it's not especially part of their vocabulary), they have no idea that it's Not To Be Said.  When mentioned as "the (furtive glance followed by raspy whisper) n-word," Australians look extremely puzzled, as they were unaware there was a bad word they hadn't heard of.  Eventually (usually about 5 seconds later) it dawns on them that, oh!, maybe that's what the American's talking about but why in the world is it so bad to say n---!! (at which point the American jumps up and down shrieking that that Cannot Be Said!).  The Australian generally then gets even more confused and wants to know why it's so bad, because, they'll argue defensively, it really isn't that bad.  It tends to turn into a rather circular conversation with the American eventually conceding that it's probably the history in America that makes it more offensive to us than them -- but it's still Really Bad -- and the Australian tentatively agreeing never to use it, at least when they're visiting America and can be bothered to remember not to.

I don't know how else to convince Australians that it really, really Cannot Be Said, but I've asked around and most of my friends tend to agree that, for Americans, it is right up there with the c-word (higher?  equal?) as something you just Do Not Say.  Please believe, Australians.  Please!

Now, in light of the above:  this is an excellent song on precisely this topic.  It's a little crude in places, but overall I don't find it offensive.  I highly recommend it.  And Americans:  "ginger" is the Australian way of saying "redhead."  "Ranger" is another synonym (shortened form of "orangutan," and not exactly a compliment).  Listen carefully, and I think you'll be impressed:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

public service announcement: gelato messina

So you have to try Gelato Messina.  It's in Darlinghurst and it's absolutely amazing.  I'm not a huge gelato fan -- ice cream (specifically, Grater's) all the way -- but this stuff is good (not, of course, as good as Grater's, but the best I can find far away).  It's all freshly made right there and is creamy and much more like real ice cream than normal gelato.  It's delicious.  Plus, they've got all these different flavors.  I have the hardest time remembering the name of the one I like, but it's something like salted caramel white chocolate.  I don't know exactly, but it's definitely got "salt" in it, which I've never ever found before -- I've always had to add my own pretzels or peanuts (pretzels again being harder to come by here).  I've been a bit tempted away by tiramisu (with real tiramisu in it!) and other such flavors in the past, but tonight I stood firm to my intention and was not remotely disappointed -- salty white stuff in the bottom of the cone, and a scoop of peanut florentine (chocolate and peanut butter or something ... I don't know exactly ... it's good too) on top.  $5 for 2 scoops.  That's unheard of in Sydney.  What more could you want?  Amazing ice cream at the best prices.  Messina wins hands down.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

public service announcement: night noodle markets

The night noodle markets are on!  Or at least they were tonight.  They looked like to continue for awhile.  Maybe?  You ought to go, they're fun!  Very crowded, though.  You kind of have to plan on at least 15 minutes waiting in line to get anything to eat.  There's some Art and About photos around, too.  I was going to take pictures to show you here, but it got dark before I remembered and we were already on our way out by then.  I have a feeling I might have put some up in years past though ... or else, the photos are all very similar to the Chinese New Year festivity ones, or basically anything that happens in Hyde Park.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

quicko: scheme

I'm also really convinced I've written about this before, but I can't seem to find a past post solely dedicated to it and I've run a tad bit dry of new ideas of late, so here goes:  scheme.  A ploy, a plot, a conniving, slimy, weasly, low-down sort of evil a scoundrel, a cad, a fly-by-night salesman, a highwayman, a music man would pull.  Here the government runs them regularly.  You'd think they'd try to hide that.  Or come up with a different name.  Or perhaps they're simply a bit more transparent where governmental policy is concerned?

quicko: 4 weeks of vacation

I think I've probably touched on this before, but it really deserves its own post:  Australians are automatically given 4 paid weeks of vacation per year if they have a full-time job.  FOUR weeks!  Right off the bat!  And once they've worked for a company for 10 years, they are given "long service leave" of 3 months.  THREE PAID MONTHS!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

quicko: dodgy

Suspect, off, strange, creepy, inappropriate, weird, past its expiration (er, expiry) date, potentially harmful, bad, etc.  Same as in British English.

Monday, October 10, 2011