Sunday, June 30, 2013

quicko: creamed corn

I found this really strange, but evidently it's very typical in Australia:  Chinese places serve creamed corn and chicken soup.  Isn't that bizarre?  First off, that's what my grandmothers (neither of whom were remotely Chinese) would have served me ... and secondly, every Chinese soup I've ever had before is completely different -- like a hot and spicy broth with goodness knows what in it.  But the Australians all say it's the most normal thing in the world here.  Have I gotten Chinese food wrong my whole life?!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

quicko: dropped off, off, off and away

As a general observation, I think Americans dropping people off (car to house) are much more likely to wait and see that the person opens the doors before they drive off.  Australians tend to drop and dash.  I think possibly it could depend on where in Australia you are, and also because it's a bit more catastrophic sometimes in America if you get accidentally locked out.  I don't know, not a hard and fast rule, just something I've noticed a bit.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

quicko: political update

So, it is official:  Kevin Rudd is again the Prime Minister of Australia.  By last night it seems the decision had been made, and he was sworn in this morning.

In other news, Queensland won game two of the three game State of Origin series (it's one of the rugbies, but I forget which -- New South Wales is the competitor who won the first round), which up until quite recently I believed was a one game affair and was shocked to hear they were playing again so soon after the last one.  Now they'll be playing one more ... sometime soon.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

quicko: politics

So it's all a bit confusing but ... Australia might have a new (old) Prime Minister.  Kevin Rudd might be back in power.  Or maybe not.  Potentially there are more newsworthy sources with a better idea than this blog ...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

quicko: hey cow

Potentially Americans play this too, but I learned it here:  it's a driving game, so when you drive past a pasture of cows, you lean over and yell "hey cow!" and get a point for each cow that looks.  (Presumably players alternate fields of cows ... or maybe it's also partially about who spots the cows first?)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

quicko: christian or not?

From Wikipedia, regarding Christianity in Australia:

"An international survey, made by the private and not-for profit German think-tank, the Bertelsmann Foundation, found that "Australia is one of the least religious nations in the western world, coming in 17th out of 21 [countries] surveyed" and that "Nearly three out of four Australians say they are either not at all religious or that religion does not play a central role in their lives."[262] While weekly attendance at church services in 2001 was about 1.5 million[263] (about 7.8 per cent of the population),[264] a survey of 1,718 Australians by the Christian Research Association at the end of 2009 suggested that the number of people attending religious services per month in Australia has dropped from 23 per cent in 1993 to 16 per cent in 2009, and while 60 per cent of 15 to 29-year-old respondents in 1993 identified with Christian denominations, 33 per cent did in 2009.[265]"

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

quicko: entitled how?

I've had a eureka moment:  Americans and Australians both feel entitled, but in different settings (and get a bit annoyed by how entitled the other feels in the opposite one).  Americans feel entitled as customers (big surprise), whereas Australians feel entitled as employees.  Americans (tend to, overall, I find) expect to have to give, give, give at work with recognition only when they go exceptionally above and beyond.  Australians (tend to, overall, I find), on the other hand, keep track of every minute in lieu, whine excessively if asked to do an inch more than is typically required of them and step out the door the minute they're off the clock.  Americans thus see the Australians as lazy and entitled at work.  The reverse is (roughly) true, though, as Australians obverse Americans shop and demand their money back if not completely satisfied, write scathing letters of complaint and push to speak to the manager if an issue is not resolved to their liking.  Australians then think of Americans as pushy consumers.

The bottom line seems to be:  Americans work hard at work and expect that, when they encounter others at work, they better be working hard too.  Australians (despite thinking they're the hardest working people on the planet -- a myth requiring entirely another blog post to deal with) don't work as hard, but also don't expect others they encounter to be working quite as hard, either.

I'm afraid there might be a bit of a backlash to that last sentence.  I don't mean, obviously, all Australians.  Many Australians work harder than many Americans.  However, overall, I still think the points stands that Americans are entitled customers, and Australians entitled employees.

Monday, June 17, 2013

quicko: introducing hornsby

Hornsby is a suburb of Sydney.  It's on the upper north shore, on the train line and has a Westfield (AKA mall).  It's a reasonably sized train station, and various train transfers happen there.  Outside of the Westfield it's rather dingy and not terribly exciting.  And, really, if the Westfield is its most exciting attribute (oh wait!  There's an Oliver Brown!), well, I think that speaks for itself.  I've been going there a bit lately because one of my best friends recently moved to the Central Coast, and it's roughly halfway for us to meet up and hang out.  And get all our shopping done.  And chocolate eating.  And once, not unlike our trip to Minto, we happened to catch a fringe element of one of Sydney's major festivals (this time, a talk of the Writers' Festival -- which was notably better than our Minto expedition, though also slightly less story-worthy.  Though I will mention that they served little sandwiches cut into triangles.  And fruit.  And cake.  For free!  Can't imagine that in Minto.) there.

And now you know everything there is to know about Hornsby.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

quicko: basic stats

Australia is the world's sixth biggest country by size, and its neighboring countries include Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and New Zealand.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

quicko: officially ...

The full official name of Australia is "The Commonwealth of Australia."

Friday, June 14, 2013

quicko: undersold ...

I find this truly bamboozling (and quite possibly my best answer to "what's the strangest Australian custom?" to date):  the number of times I've been sold less than what I wanted to buy.  Generally this involves hot chocolate and an "American small" (AKA "large" here) that I wish to purchase ... when, suddenly, somehow, I discover that I've been persuaded to buy an "American microscopic" (AKA "regular" here).  Here I was, prepared to pay, set to spend, ready to retail and, presto!  More cash in my wallet and less chocolate in my tummy.  As I said, truly bamboozling.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

quicko: no shriver's

I've been really craving Shriver's lately -- possibly because I know I'll be going there soon.  For those unacquainted, Shriver's sells the most delicious salt water taffy (Australians, just go check out the website, I'm sure they explain it) in the world.  I've been particularly thinking of teaberry -- mostly because I've never encountered it as a flavor anywhere else, in anything.  But while I'm thinking of favorite flavors ... I might just mention cinnamon, wintergreen, spearmint, vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, peanut butter and chocolate, molasses, lime, lemon, orange, (teaberry fits here again), watermelon and root beer ...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013