Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fail. Massive Fail. Win.

Fosters:  Australian for beer.

They way they advertise it in the States, you’d expect the rivers to be flowing with the stuff here in Australia.  But you know what?  You’ll be hard pressed to find Foster’s at any self-respecting bar in Australia.  Foster’s is sort of a joke here.  There are heaps of other Aussie brews, but Fosters is primarily an export.  Who knew?  I think that’s a FAIL.

Outback Steakhouse:  No rules.  Just right.

When I was visiting the States in May, people kept asking me if there was Outback Steakhouse in Australia.  And I said, “No”.  That’s a silly American thing to ask, just like Outback Steakhouse is a silly American chain restaurant.  But you know what I discovered after some research on the interwebs?  Tampa-based Outback Steakhouse actually does have a handful of locations in Australia.  I thought they’d be for tourists, but they’re all way out in the suburbs.  How can this be possible?  This is a massive FAIL for Australia as a country.

But there is one thing that Australia has that helps combat these two failures:

Tim Tams.

Massive WIN!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just Like Finding Jesus

Continuing on the same theme as last month’s post about the Vivid light show, the people in charge around here try to keep Sydneysiders as busy as possible with exhibitions, festivals, and more during the “cold” winter months.  Luckily, there is another important way that Aussies keep busy in June:  Shopping!

The end of financial year (EOFY as they abbreviate it here) falls on June 30 in Australia, and there are heaps of sales around town as every retailer wants to get in that last minute revenue to beef up their balance sheets.  No retailer is exempt, not even… IKEA!

First of all, did you notice my completely natural use of the word “heaps” above?  Oh yes, I’m totally an Aussie now.  Second of all, you read that right – a sale at IKEA!  But how can they discount their already uber-competitive prices?  I don’t how they do it, but they do it, and that’s all that matters.

My heterosexual buddy, Todd, woke up early with me one morning a few weeks ago to take the train with me 30 minutes out to the suburbs.  We arrived at 8:59 to hop in the queue of people already outside waiting for the 9am opening.  And then they opened the doors, and we were off like a herd of turtles – slowly meandering through the magnificent maze that is IKEA – completely awestruck at all of the pretty things that were surrounding us.  I nearly orgasmed in the kitchen section (note that I said “nearly”) and dropped to my knees to pray near the bedroom furniture.  I imagine I felt the same way that Christians do when they find Jesus.

IKEA is my Jesus.  And I am very religious.

We were in the IKEA for nearly four hours before we grabbed lunch and took the train back with our purchases.  And how do you know that I’m telling you all the truth?  Well, I took pictures to prove it.  Yes, I took pictures at the sale at IKEA.  Somewhere in the world right now, there is a busload of camera-happy Japanese tourists thinking to themselves “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Church of Sweden.  I mean IKEA.


Fillsta.  That’s Swedish for “The Phillster”.

Stuffed sharks and kangaroos, just to give IKEA a touch of Aussie authenticity.

Look at the sale on this bedspread!!!  Yes, I bought it.  It was cheaper than a t-shirt at Target in Australia.

I don’t eat beef, but for $1, I was tempted.

Todd, on the phone with his wife, asking her to meet us at the train station with a bigger dolly.  Yes, we took that massive box on the train with us.  How tall was it?  Well, Todd is over 6 feet.  That should give you an idea.

I had to buy an IKEA duffel bag/backpack for my purchases: the above mentioned bedspread, two pillows, a door mat, and some hangers.

Monday, July 19, 2010

All About Nick

I know, I know – it’s been ages since my last blog.  I know it’s been a while when people start asking what the hell is going on.  I’ve been busy - legitimately busy - so don’t give me no lip.  Do you know why I was so busy? … Because Nick was in town!!!!!!!

Yes, yes – if you come visit me you’ll get your very own blog post on Plan A!  Isn’t that reason enough?

Nick flew in for a week from Seattle.  He claims the title of being my first visitor from the States to come see me, and now he’s totally shot up my friend rankings for making the jaunt across the Pacific.  Wait, wait – I don’t really have friend rankings.  At least not on paper.

Nick was my guinea pig of sorts:  I got to try out all of the touristy things on him to see how he liked it.  Of course, I had to work 5 of the 7 days he was here, but I tried my best to give him an itinerary and keep him busy.  Sadly, the weather didn’t always cooperate, but we made do.

I took Nick on the Bondi-Coogee Clifftop Walk, along with a tour of the Sydney Opera House (I hadn’t done that yet), the ferry to Manly, the Biennale at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the cafĂ© with the cute baristas (of course!), and a trivia night for old time’s sake (we placed 4th out of 18 teams with just 3 people!).  On days that I was working, I sent Nick out to the Biennale installation on Cockatoo Island, the Botanic Gardens, Centennial Park, Sydney Fish Market, Harbour Bridge, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, and more… I kept him busy, mainly so he would be as tired as I am at the end of the day!  Working AND playing the perfect hostess is a hard job.

Did I mention the drinks?  Whenever Nick is around there are sure to be drinks.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as when we went down to LA last year – we didn’t get kicked out of any clubs, nor did we end up sharing a bed with Nick’s sister and a cat, nor did anyone puke in a coffeehouse the next morning… but I digress.  We had a blast all the same.  The lovely Ross & Jonathon cooked us dinner to start the evening off right.  We then met up with other friends at The Columbian, followed by the not-at-all-tacky Palms.  Nobody puked and nobody had to share a bed with a cat, but I’m sure I at least made a slight fool of myself with my typical drunken shenanigans.  Somehow we didn’t get too many pictures together – except at Palms.  Never give a drunk a camera.

Me, Ross, and Nick.  I’m only making that face because Ross is grabbing my nipple.

When you visit me in Sydney, you’re bound to see kangaroos!

Ross says that Nick is his new favorite American.  That’s fine.  I stand by my story that I’m really Canadian.

Bondi–Coogee Clifftop Walk

God, Ross – get off my nipple!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Please Stop

"Please Stop" is the final installment of a three part series: "Dear America."  My next post will be completely different.  You got a problem with that?

Dear America,

First of all:  Happy Birthday.  Second of all:  Stop.  Just stop.  You are ruining the children of the world.  Don’t you know that what you’re doing is wrong?  Hasn’t anyone told you?  I’m sure someone has mentioned it.  At the very least Canada must’ve whispered something in your ear at some point.

I was recently on a bus one afternoon here in Australia, when some school children boarded.  These children were in the 6 to 8 years old range – all dressed up in their school uniforms.  Did you know that school uniforms are mandatory here?  And better yet, rich schools have fancy uniforms and poor schools have cheap uniforms that you can buy at Kmart.  That way you can tell the upper class little shits from the lower class little shits.

I digress.  There was nothing out of the ordinary about these schoolchildren, that is, until they started to sing.  First of all, I hate children, especially those that sing on public buses.  But to make matters worse, do you know what these six year olds were singing?!?!?

Tik Tok by Kesha.

I’m not even kidding you.  They were singing Tik Tok by Kesha.  Oh wait – sorry – it’s Ke$ha.  My bad.

Where does a 6 year old get off singing Ke$ha?  Does this 6 year old even understand what it means to wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy?  I haven’t had too much interaction with Aussie parents, but I can’t imagine they would let their kids do the things that P Diddy does.  Hell, I don’t even know what P Diddy does, but judging from the music video where Ke$ha wakes up in the bathtub in the morning and then proceeds to go out and get smashed again, I imagine it’s pretty awful.

There’s only one place we can lay the blame for this one:  America.  That’s right – America.  You bastards created that little skank and then brainwashed little Aussie schoolchildren into thinking that she’s hot shit.  You are having a horrendous effect on the youth of the world and you need to take responsibility.  Just like BP is taking responsibility for that giant oil spill in the Gulf, you need to pony up and help fix this problem.

Wait.  BP.  Oh shit.

It’s not that I like the youth of the world or anything – I believe everyone knows my views on procreation and children.  But come on.  If these kids are the future, then please just kill me now.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

This One's For Hillary

"This One's For Hillary" is the second of a three part series:  "Dear America."  Look for the final installment in the days to come.

Dear America,

I am about to blow your mind.  Are you sitting down?  No - don’t take a sip of water right now – you might just spit it out all over the table.  Last Thursday morning when I went to work, I arrived to find my co-workers gathered around the TV.  They informed me that we had a new Prime Minister.  Crazy!

No, the Prime Minister has nothing to do with a church.  That’s a different kind of minister.  The Prime Minister is sort of like the President.  Got it?  Ok good.

No, there was no election – but good question!  It just happened!  Political positions are based on parties, so when you vote in an election, you vote for a party (I think).  Then the political party can sort of do whatever they want with whoever they want until the next election.  One day, Kevin Rudd was the leader of Australia, and the next day a few senators from Mr. Rudd’s Labour Party decided that he sucked and said “Hey, how about we put someone else into that position?”  And they can actually do that here!  Imagine you woke up Thursday morning to find that the Democrats in the Senate decided that they had had enough of Obama and said to him “Hey, Obama – you’re fired!  Yo, Hillary – want a promotion?”

God, if only that could happen!  The U.S. just might stand a chance.

So, yes, now we all of a sudden have a brand new Prime Minister, and from what I’ve been hearing, she’s pretty cool.  Oh yes – I just blew your mind twice as hard, didn’t I?  She’s a she!  Julia Gillard is Australia’s first female Prime Minister.  And, quite possibly, she’s Australia’s first lesbian Prime Minister.  No, there are no rumors floating around that she’s a lesbian, but Wikipedia told me that her husband is a hairdresser, and since he’s male and a hairdresser, I assume he’s gay, and since he’s gay and she’s married to him, I assume that maybe she’s using him as her beard and that she’s secretly a lesbian.  But that’s just the little hamster in my head spinning the wheel in the wrong direction.  You can ignore me.

But wait there’s more!  Do you know where the new Prime Minister of Australia was born?  I’ll tell you this:  it was not in Australia.  She’s not a native Aussie!  She’s from Wales!  I just blew your mind for the third time in a row, didn’t I?  Sorry.  I’ll try to tone it down.

Australia doesn’t have that rule that the President (or in this case, the Prime Minister) has to be born in Australia.  That’s a U.S. thing, so all those people who keep arguing that Obama was born in Kenya or Indonesia or something, and that he can’t legally be President, well, they’d all be really bored and have nothing to argue about if they lived in Australia.  Maybe the U.S. should get rid of that rule?  Oh wait – no – nevermind.  I momentarily forgot about Arnold Schwarzenegger.