| Monday, December 31, 2001
I've never been one to go all-out for New Year's Eve. In fact, I can't recall one single memorable occasion of it in my life. The big Y2K event? I was asleep at home. It always seems like people go to such trouble for what is essentially as meaningless as watching the odometer roll over. But somehow, this year, Fate has contrived for Snookums and I to host a New Year's Eve dinner here in our apartment. (No, I won't be doing the cooking.) I'll let you know how it goes.
Sunday, December 30, 2001
Jordan scored 51 points??? Jee-zus. If he keeps this up, I might have to eat some words. (I still feel partially vindicated by that all-time scoring low against my Pacers the other night.)
The Snook and I went to see The Man Who Wasn't There yesterday and we both recommend it. I'm not a big film noir fan myself, but I really enjoyed it. Billy Bob Thornton is hilarious and amazing. (I loved the subtle and random fact that nearly everyone in the movie - male and female - hits on him at some point.) I could hardly believe that he's the same guy that wears a vial of Angelina Jolie's friggin' blood around his neck. Tony Shaloub was great too, and he looks damn fine in a razor-sharp pinstripe double-breasted suit. He can explain Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle to me anyday. :)
Do you know how hard it is to buy dominoes in Australia? The other day I was randomly reminded of this game, Mexican Train Station, that my friend Hoey taught us all in Acapulco during Spring Break '99. I thought it would be a fun one to introduce to the Snook and his friends, since they enjoy such things. Unfortunately I couldn't find bloody "double-12 dominoes" anywhere. The only places I could find them were in the U.S. and wouldn't ship internationally. Finally I resorted to the Yellow Pages (the dead tree version, no less!) and tracked down a store that would sell them to me. Man, the hardships of living Down Under. (Okay, so I'm not a pioneer or anything, but that was hard work!)
Friday, December 28, 2001
Apparently MBTV have finally finished recapping all of My So-Called Life. Unfortunately I can't read them because their server is still stuffed. My web surfing has ground to a halt. I'm going to bed.
Max had a good Christmas. And I will be using the phrase "food baby" from now on. Hee.
My friend Martin posted some pictures from me and Snookums's former employer's Christmas party. It's weird to see everybody and realize that things have gone on without us.
The Dumbest Thing Ever.
Donald Rumsfeld was on the news tonight. He says, "Osama Bin Laden is definitely either in Afghanistan, another country, or dead."
Interestingly, Snookums and I both also fit those criteria. We're eyeing each other quite suspiciously. I'll let you know if it's him.
Well, we're back in Sydney. The fires are still burning but we're safe and sound in Newtown (and more than a little happy to see we weren't burgled or anything). We hauled a full car-load of stuff back with us, including all of Snookums's old crockery and glasses and pans. We finally have more than two plates! It's a nice feeling.
Ooh! I saw my first poisonous snake today! Midway through the drive back, we stopped off at the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens for a spot of lunch in their café. Snookums, his mother, and I were all walking up the path towards the visitor center completely oblivious when we all three suddenly noticed a three-foot-long red-bellied black snake scurrying away from us. I started stammering, "Is that...? Is it...?" And Snookums confirmed, "Yeah, they're poisonous, but shy." Just then two old ladies came running out of the center with brooms, thinking they'd try to keep it from coming inside. Instead it ducked into a nearby flowerbed and slithered off. Everyone was relieved.
Thursday, December 27, 2001
The bushfires are still raging. We're told that we shouldn't have any trouble getting back to Sydney tomorrow, though. Rodd's sister reports that there's a lot of smoke hanging over the city, but supposedly it's still far away from us.
Much weirdness on my American TV shows! First Buffy cuts her hair, and now Dawson and Jen are together and happy? (If that means Joey and Pacey hook up again, I'm gonna need somebody in the States with a VCR to capture the moment.)
Lord of the Rings kicked ass. But you knew I'd say that, right? Snookums and I have to go see it again as soon as we get to Sydney, since we missed the first three minutes of the movie. We were out buying popcorn and ice cream, and the thing started without any commercials or trailers or anything! I guess the theater was really trying to push through as many screenings as possible. Anyway, what I saw definitely exceeded my expectations. The fight scenes where terrific; they were everything that I wished Gladiator had been (i.e. brutal and swashbuckling and lasting more than ten seconds). I jumped several times, and there were more scary bits than I expected. (Hello? Who knew Cate Blanchett was that freaky?) Mostly, though, I just wished that I'd been part of the production. Like, say, in casting. Can you imagine?
"Yes, I'd like to run an ad in the paper. 'Calling all six-foot-tall, blonde, pale, impossibly beautiful and slightly gender ambiguous types to audition for a new film'..."That would've been awesome. :)
Nigel Hawthorne died. That sucks.
Wednesday, December 26, 2001
Boxing Day Betrayal
The deviousness of the Snook family is not to be underestimated. Knowing that I have had a lifelong aversion to seafood, they contrived to make me eat this against my will today. I'm as shocked as you are.
It all started when we sat down to a lovely, light post-Christmas lunch. We had some fruit and smoked chicken, and several boxes of crackers and dips. I asked my beloved Snookums what he was eating, and he replied, "Paté." I've never really had paté before, so I asked him what kind it was. He replied, "Dill. Here, try some." I wasn't ecstatic about the concept of eating chicken livers, but I gave it a try. To be honest it didn't have much taste, but I did notice an unsettling aftertaste that kept me from eating anymore. Later on, I noticed that my dear boy's water glass had emptied. Graciously, I headed to the kitchen to refill it, and there I spotted a label on the counter which read: "YABBIE AND DILL PATÉ". I gasped in shock.
You're probably thinking, "What's the big deal?" Well, not only was it quite a shock having eaten seafood (considering that the last time I tried it I was throwing up for the next day), but I was stunned that my very own Snookums, who previously had been very understanding about my food phobia, had betrayed my confidence in such a way. Confronted with the evidence, both he and his mother claimed that they were only following my expressed wishes of "introducing it to me slowly." I maintain that my original statement implied that I would be conscious of what I was eating.
So now it's up to you, folks. The charge: slipping something that you know your girlfriend doesn't like into her food and tricking her into eating it, "for her own good." Harmless prank or heartless betrayal? Please cast your votes in the poll to your left.
Robbie and Nicole got the UK Christmas number one! Good for them.
Tuesday, December 25, 2001
Next come the locusts.
Seriously, am I jinxed or what? Every time I visit Rodd's parents, some plague of devastation hits New South Wales. Last time it was the floods, this time it's the bush fires. If I risk it a third time everyone will probably come down with boils. Sheesh.
Anyway, so yeah, it's been hot here. Like, over 100 degrees the last few days. I'm coping surprisingly well, considering that I've never experienced this weather before. The wind yesterday was insane; it was coming out of the west (i.e. NOT from the coast) and it was so hot and dry you felt like you were standing inside a clothes dryer. We couldn't even swim because these buggers were washing up on the shore. Of course, Dad told me today that it's fifteen degrees with an expectation of four inches of snow at home, which makes the situation somewhat more bearable. :)
Anyway, I hope everybody had a great holiday. Don't worry about us; the fires are miles away. I'll try and get a picture of the smoke on the way home. Ooh! And tomorrow it's finally Lord of the Rings time! Kickass.
Sunday, December 23, 2001
Judging from the current responses to my new poll, it looks like you guys aren't big fans of the novelty Christmas single. Which is too bad, because some of them rock.
Saturday, December 22, 2001
Sunburn. Yep, it's three days til Christmas and yours truly got a sunburn while traipsing about on the beach today. I'm sure you're all radiating sympathy... NOT. :)
Anyhoo, on Thursday the Snook and I set off for an eight-hour train journey up the coast to his parents' place. Total nightmare. We arrived at Sydney Central Station to discover that the signalmen had called a random strike that morning and that every departure was currently suspended. So we waited. Miraculously, the strike ended rather quickly and we were only twenty minutes behind schedule. Naively, I thought that was the end of our troubles. Then we boarded our carriage and I discovered that the Australian equivalent of the Herdmans (remember them?) were sitting behind us. A few hours later I sat there gritting my teeth as three half-naked, barefoot, be-mulleted little boys flung themselves from one end of the carriage to the other. They discovered that the railroad magazines would slide on the carpet and amused themselves greatly by "skateboarding" up and down the aisle. They staged ninja fights for our entertainment. They ripped the rubber armrests off the chairs and beat each other with them. I'm serious. And get this: at one point, their mother got up and moved to another carriage, instructing her kids to stay put! Other people were deserting us in droves as well. (Not to mention the fact that the air conditioning wasn't working so well.) I've never been so glad to leave a place in my life. I actually muttered "Thank GOD" as we stepped out onto Eungai platform. Arrrgggh. Luckily Ma Snookums is giving us a lift back to down. I couldn't bear that trip again.
But anyway, here we are in the country, enjoying the heat and the ocean. I believe the plans for Christmas Day involve a picnic somewhere deep in the bush. Should be fun. Oh, and I haven't met any leeches this time, thankfully. :)
HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!
Thursday, December 20, 2001
Over the past year I've been noticing a new advertising trend. Let's see if you can spot it:
Did you see the pattern? The one where we women are irrational, chocolate loving, childlike insane freaks? Don't you find that a trifle insulting? The worst part is, every guy I've mentioned this to (mostly Snookums and his friends) are like: "Aren't most women really like that?" Grrrr. It's like there's this regression, where we're heading back to Freud's vision of women as hysterical creatures of repression and hormones. I can't even really explain how degrading I find that. Yeah, yeah, I know it's just a few commercials. But it's obviously infiltrating the psyches of a lot of guys who should know better.
- In a UK Ferraro Rocher commercial, a man at a swanky dinner party asks his wife to go get the chocolates from the kitchen. She goes in but wants to keep all the chocs for herself, so she returns with coffee, and then cognac, and her husband gets more and more exasperated, and he's like, "The chocolates!" And she's all, "Okaaaay." And she brings them out and everybody digs in and she's all upset and like, "Don't eat them all! Teehee!"
- In an Australian "Persuasions" commercial, we see a young woman in close-up reluctantly accepting one of the chocolates. She eats it and it's delicious. "Oh thank you!" she says. "Another one? Oh, I couldn't. Well... okay!" And the camera's slowly pulling out, and suddenly we see she's standing in her living room alone talking to herself surrounded by dozens of candy wrappers on the floor.
- In another Aussie commercial, this one for some gourmet chocolates, a little old lady comes to visit her friend. Her friend is happy to see that she's carrying a big box of the chocolates. They have tea together, and the friend keeps reaching for the box, but the other old lady never offers it. Finally they say goodbye and the visitor leaves, still clutching her box of chocolates. She smiles as her friend looks disappointed in the background. The catchphrase: "Too good to share."
Wednesday, December 19, 2001
Fifty-two things they do better in America. Not. The guy who wrote this is obviously a Brit whose only time in the U.S. has been on holiday. As someone who's actually LIVED in both countries for a significant amount of time, here are some of my corrections:
2. Senior citizen reductions at cinemas and in restaurants from 60 years, "with ID" (ie driving licence). Huh? Every cinema I went to in the U.K. had an "OAP" (Old Age Pensioner) discount.Wow. That's my rant for the day.
3. Free refills of coffee (without asking). The only places that happens are diners and Big Boys (i.e. places with really, really bad coffee). And personally, I hate when the waitress comes around and ruins the perfect ratio of milk and sugar I had painstakingly created, which was the only thing allowing me to drink the sludge in the first place.
4. Supermarket baggers - courteous youngsters who expertly pack your purchases at the checkout while you fumble with your wallet. I worked in a grocery store for four years. We're not courteous, and we're not experts. We're high schoolers getting paid minimum wage. The only reason I didn't squash your eggs was that I didn't want to get yelled at.
8. "Less talk, more rock" on pop radio - ie 15-minute music blocks (no ads, no DJ chatter). Ha! Try driving to Chicago on a weekday morning. Turn the dial all you like; you won't hear a damn bit of music unless it's a commercial. And I hate that Mancow guy.
9. Overtaking on the left or right on the motorway. Only if you're in the wrong lane, Pops. Get in the slow lane or you'll cause an accident.
29. One dollar (70p) bills and 1c (0.7p) coins. Small denominations mean that shopkeepers can't overcharge you by rounding up. Are you kidding? It was such a hassle when I went home to suddenly be given handfuls of dollar bills as change. I much prefer a pound. And hello? I had pennies in Britain. Pennies are the worst things ever. You can't actually buy anything with them. All you can do is save them up and take them to the bank to change in, which banks are getting more and more reluctant to do (or the bastards make you put them in "rolls" when you know darn well that they're just gonna weigh them anyway). Actually, I think I like the Australian system best. They have no pennies; everything is rounded up to the nearest nickel (which is only about two American cents, anyway). Small price to pay for the luxury of having less change to carry around.
30. High-school graduation, and regular class reunions. High school sucks. Graduation sucked. Nobody likes class reunions.
42. "Happy holidays!", not "Merry Christmas!" at the festive season. TV stations say "Happy Holidays" because they don't want to offend their audience. Everybody else who isn't Jewish says "Merry Christmas". You just do.
52. Timeouts in spectator sports like basketball (you have a chance to pee and not miss the highlights). Wrong. Timeouts are so the networks can make more money by shoving in commercials, you incontinent old man. Ever been to a real football game? TV timeouts are the most annoying thing to a real fan. Learn to hold it or buy a Tivo.
Hee hee. King Kaufman puts that whole George O'Leary/Notre Dame debacle into hilarious perspective. Oh, and he invented plastic. :)
What corporate mascot are you? I regret that I am the Micro$oft Office Paperclip, and Snookums is Ronald McDonald. What a fine pair we are. (Link courtesy of John again, who has all the best links lately.)
Despite Divorce, Cruise Expects Warm Reception in Australia. I don't think he should hold his breath. We're all very pro-Nicole over here. The evening news showed her landing in Sydney to spend the holidays with her family. Nobody wants to applaud Cruise and his puffy-lipped trophy girlfriend.
Fun! Yesterday the Snook and I headed down to the Sydney Aquarium for some fish interaction. They've got these great walk-through oceanariums with all kinds of Australian sea life. The "Sharks and Rays" one was the absolute scariest. I kept flashing back to Jaws III. Ooh, and remember when I discovered that my ideal zoo date was a moon jellyfish? I finally saw some of them and I'm forced to agree. They're pretty (at least when they're in the water).
Monday, December 17, 2001
Have I mentioned that Sydney has both Taco Bell and Mountain Dew? Unfortunately there's a trade-off though. I was riding the bus with Snookums the other day when I realized that something was missing. We've been through the central shopping district several times, and never have I seen that familiar blue sign. There's no GAP! Where are we going to buy our pants now?
Sunday, December 16, 2001
Here's an essay about a 25-year-old who suddenly gets a new half-sibling. Yeah, I identified a little bit. "The mathematics of a post-nuclear family is a bit stunning. When my [brother] enters kindergarten I will be entering my 30s. When [he] goes to prom Iíll be a soccer mom. By the time [he] is legal to drink, Iíll probably just be coming out of rehab myself. When Iím 50, [he]íll be 25, the age I was when [he] was born. We werenít [siblings]; we were victims of circumstance." (Link courtesy of John.)
Saturday, December 15, 2001
London went on full terror alert today. "Anti-terrorist detectives fear that the capital could be the target for both Islamic extremists and renegade Irish terrorists trying to disrupt the peace process." In other news halfway around the globe, it rained a little bit in Sydney this morning but was still warm enough to wear shorts, Australia hit 436 in the first innings at cricket, and my only worry leading up to the Christmas season is which beach to hit. Life is good.
SO TIRED. But the house is done. Thursday morning the Snook and I were woken up at 8:00 a.m. by the washing machine delivery man. After that was successfully installed, we had a quick breakfast and then Snookums headed off to IKEA. He had a shopping list of all the pieces we needed to create our custom entertainment center, office space (with desks), dining room set, dresser, closet shelves, and bookcases. While he dealt with that nightmare, I stayed here to meet various deliverymen with our couch, TV, refrigerator, microwave, vacuum, and crock pot. I had a slight mishap with the couch legs (I didn't realize that there were two long and two short, so my sofa was lopsided at first), but eventually I got it up and the slipcover on. The Snook made it home and the two guys that drove the rental truck carried everything upstairs. Then began the great assembly frenzy. We managed to get the bedroom stuff done and finally unpack, and then we started on the entertainment center. That's all we had time for before the Snook's friends arrived for our housewarming party. Much alcohol followed. Fast forward fifteen hours...
More assembly on Friday. We get everything together except one last bookcase. Our carpet has disappeared beneath a mountain of bubble wrap and cardboard boxes. But it's done! And it looks cool. I've got "Before" and "After" pictures to put up soon.
Sorry to bore you with all the details, but some people (*cough* Amy! *cough) have been wondering why I haven't been e-mailing every three hours. I can barely type right now as it is, my shoulders and hands are so sore. (I never want to see an Allen wrench again in my life.) IKEA is the devil kids. There were times Friday I would've given my right arm for a power drill...
Hmmm. I just realized that time difference between where I'm posting and where my server is located means that posts are coming up on the wrong days (I'm across the International Date Line now). I'm going to do some tinkering...
Thursday, December 13, 2001
New Poll! In honor of the amazing custard croissant I had from the local bakery this morning, I'm asking about your favorite baked delights. (I bet you can guess what I voted.) And as usual, I've taken the liberty of interpreting your responses for you. :)
Wednesday, December 12, 2001
Krisalis found a site that claims that the next Harry Potter book - "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" - will be coming out next month. Amazon seems to a disagree though. I can't believe it would be that soon. Last I heard, Rowling was still writing the damn thing. I'm betting it won't be out til next summer at least.
It's so good to be back on the Net. I'm catching up on my Roger Ebert reviews. He seemed to like Harry Potter a lot, and he makes Ocean's Eleven sound better than I expected. There are also a couple good Movie Answer Man columns as well.
Woohoo! And just that quick, we're surfin' the Net from the apartment. Rock on.
Hello everybody! Sorry about the lack of updates... We moved into our apartment! It's been a little crazy. We had our bed delivered Monday night (the only furniture we currently have), and the Snook and I decided to save twenty bucks by putting it together ourselves. You should've seen us. It's a black iron frame bed with a canopy, the kind with the rails and the slats of wood that hold up the mattress. Unfortunately we first hooked the rails up to the outside of the frame, which meant that the wood had a little too much wiggle room. We didn't realize that, of course, until we'd put on the mattress and made the bed and everything. We both jumped on to test it, made one little tentative bounce, and CRASH! We ended up on the floor. So we had to take the whole damn thing apart and start over. We eventually got it though.
Yesterday Snookums and I headed in to Grace Brothers, the big department store, to order a bunch of appliances. (Grace Brothers always reminds me of Are You Being Served? It was all I could do to keep from mentioning Mrs. Slocombe's pussy. *grin*) Anyhoo, we got a widescreen TV, a fridge, a vacuum, a washing machine, a microwave, and a crock pot. Yeah, that was a chunk of change. It's all getting delivered tomorrow though! So we'll finally be able to start buying perishable food again.
We've also been going nuts at IKEA. Here's the couch we're getting tomorrow. (Sorry, it's in Swedish.) While I wait for all the deliveries, the Snook is heading back to the land of flat-packed furniture to pick up our dresser, the dining room set, and a heapin' helpin' of bookshelves. We're busy little bees.
Ooh! Did I mention that we just saw They Might Be Giants at the local record store? Seriously, like 20 minutes ago. It was awesome. We're gonna head back soon to get something signed. (Some freak brought a toaster. A toaster. I kid you not.) We're seeing them in a proper concert later tonight. Excitement!
Did I mention that this is my first official blog from an Internet cafe? The phone in the flat was hooked up today, but we don't have an ISP yet. (The Snook is researching various plans at a computer behind me as we speak.) So basically, updates aren't going to be very regular until I can blog from the house, which hopefully be soon. Cross your fingers, kids!
Sunday, December 9, 2001
I'm so out of the loop here. That's good for some things - I haven't read any news about anthrax for over a week now. There are drawbacks to being disconnected though. Bob Davie got fired? Ouch. That sucks for him. He may have been the third "losing-est" coach we've had, but I'd rank him near the top in terms of "rugged good looks". :)
Saturday, December 8, 2001
I just popped in to anon's site for the first time in a while and was pleased to see her new Christmas design. Is that Ralphie and Flick at the top? I don't remember that scene from the movie. Huh. I wonder where she got it.
Friday, December 7, 2001
Scene: The Snook and I are walking down King Street in Newtown, soon to be our local main drag. We come upon a tiny tiny music store. Kris's eyes pop out of her head.
Kris: Does that say that They Might Be Giants are going to be playing and signing CDs in this store?Postscript: we rushed home and discovered that they're playing two proper shows in Sydney next week. So we're gonna see 'em again!
Snook: Way-hey! Next Wednesday.
Kris: Oh my God. We are so there. (pause) They Might Be Giants are going to be physically four hundred yards from our house. THAT RULES!
Thursday, December 6, 2001
WE GOT THE APARTMENT! WE GOT IT! We were a bit worried, what with neither of us having jobs and all, but apparently my U.K. bank statement (conveniently fattened up with Netdecisions payout cash) convinced them of our financial solvency. Hooray! More details later...
Go tell Tara D she rocks. Seriously. She needs it and it'd be a nice thing to do. And, of course, it's true.
As I was still thinking about buying furniture when I visited Brigita's site, I jumped on her link to the Yuppie Test. I scored only 32%... despite the fact that I did purchase handmade ceramic sushi plates from a swanky craft fair last weekend. And I don't even like sushi!
Woohoo! By the end of the day, we just might have our apartment! We've applied for two in the same block and we should know soon whether we got 'em. Then it's off to IKEA to pick up some much needed furniture. I have so much newfound respect for, like, grown-ups. How do you guys do it? Joint bank accounts, leases, formalities, shopping, etc. I mean, the Snook and I lived in the same house for the past year, but somehow that seemed more fun and less formal. Now we're suddenly "adults" or something. Of course, we're going to mitigate that somewhat tonight with an evening of drunken college student-type revelry, which should be fun. (We're seeing "Samson and Sharky", some local band that the Snook and his friends used to see all the time.) It's all about balance, you see.
Tuesday, December 4, 2001
New Poll: What comes to mind when you think of "Australia"? I'm down here challenging my pre-conceived notions, so therefore you all should too. :)
Two items of note:
You know, I realized the other day that I have feelings of guilt about the turn web-goddess has taken. It used to be a fairly even mix of journal stuff and random web links (I thought), but the move has really tilted everything in favor of autobiographical content. Does that suck? Because really, if you think about it, it was always about my daily life. It's just that my daily life was spent surfing the Net. And now I've reached a point where a lot of my family and friends use this site to keep tabs on me. So what I'm trying to say is, I'm sorry if you're a web link fan disappointed in the site recently. The fun stuff will come back, but not until I have the time to spend in front of the computer. For now, daily life is enough of a task.
- I slept under a mosquito net for the first time last night. It wasn't quite as fun/romantic as I expected. But hey, at least the buggers didn't bite me in my sleep.
- We may have found an apartment! While waiting for a late real estate agent at an apartment complex yesterday, another one (from a competing agency) came out. We asked her if she had anything in our range, and she ended up showing us another unit in the building. It was SUPER NICE. Just a one bedroom, but clean and new and with lots of shiny appliances. And it had a big balcony that we can barbecue on. We're going to apply today, so cross your fingers!
Monday, December 3, 2001
WE MADE IT!
Wow, after all of the planning and anticipation, we're finally here. Snookums and I touched down in Sydney without any problems and we're now bunking at his sister's place. We started the house hunt today and though we saw some great places (with harbor views!), they were a bit out of our price range. We hope to find a place soon though. Tomorrow we're heading into the more grungy, college student-type areas. (I'll have to break out my Chuck Taylors.)
Is it cold where you are? It was over 80 degrees here today! *grin* The climate change has definitely helped my cold, which is improving. I'm handling the heat better than I anticipated, though I think I got a bit sunburnt on our house hunting expedition.
That's all for now, folks. I hope to be back to my regular posting schedule just as soon as we find an apartment. Ooh, I didn't even tell you about Boudicca II, my new little iBook. She's wonderful! We're going to have a lot of fun posting about our adventures in the future. Stay tuned!
You can search through the archives by post keyword using the form on the left, or you can browse by month using the links at the bottom.
"Moblog" refers to posts and images posted directly from my mobile phone.
"PW Blog" refers to posts recovered from my very first weblog, which dealt with news related to my college dorm.