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  1. They Say Money Can’t Buy Happiness… But They Are So Wrong

    Yesterday we went into the city, and Hans bought me some Dr. Pepper at the import store. A mere $2.00 a can… ack. We got 6, and I will be rationing them. (They also had Koolaid there for $2.50 per single tiny package. I am considering becoming a dealer with that kind of profit margin.)

    We also found Mexican Train dominoes at a game shop. I really wanted to take a set along, because I had so much fun playing with my relatives in Minnesota — but the things are darn heavy. Again, this set seemed ridiculously expensive at $60AU, which is something like $45 American… but to have a $13 set sent over from the States would probably end up costing about that much.

    Then we had a nice stroll around the Roma Street Parklands, which was beautiful and exotic with hints of home.

    Today I feel crappy again. This is one rollercoaster that I am not enjoying. Maybe I just need a Dr. Pepper.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  2. Symptoms of Culture Shock

    • excessive concern over cleanliness and the feeling that what is new and strange is “dirty.” This could be in relation to drinking water, food, dishes, and bedding; (This explains my compulsion to clean the kitchen this morning.)
    • fear of physical contact with attendants or servants;
    • a feeling of helplessness and a desire for dependence on long-term residents of one’s own nationality; (I heard a older woman with an American accent in a cafe yesterday and almost introduced myself to her.)
    • irritation over delays and other minor frustrations out of proportion to their causes;
    • delay and outright refusal to learn the language of the host country; (Chris got me a book on Aussie slang today.)
    • excessive fear of being cheated, robbed, or injured;
    • great concern over minor pains and irruptions of the skin;
    • and finally, that terrible longing to be back home, to be in familiar surroundings, to visit one’s relatives, and, in general, to talk to people who really “make sense.” (Amen.)

    I wonder if I could add “avoids speaking in public” to that list, because I found that I’m overly conscious of my American accent all of a sudden and don’t want to deal with talking to people who don’t know me.

    Silver Lining
    But it’s not all so bad. The other day Hans took me into the city for a wonderful sushi lunch. Then we walked to the Queensland Museum and played with the predators exhibit and the hands-on Sciencentre display. And then we went to see Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which was extremely cute and made me happy.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  3. Lost in Translation
    sanger (sang’-ah)
    n. a sandwich
    “Do you like mayo on your sanger?”

    Monday, Monday… Nah, Nah, Nah-Na-Na Nah
    I’ve been awake since 6:00, grr. But at least I slept all the way through the night for the first time. Found out some devastating news yesterday. (“Devastating” is so relative when you’re jetlagged.) But my mom was going to FedEx over some clothes I couldn’t fit in my suitcase and/or forgot, along with my pillow and some books and things. Alas, she found out that she couldn’t send clothes that had already been worn unless they were fumegated. (Which made me want to yell “Eff Australia and their customs regulations” — I didn’t fricking fumegate the clothes in my suitcase, nor did they usher me off to a cement room to be deloused when I got in the country. Grr. What the crap?)

    I’ll probably delete that paranthetical statement when I’m filing for a more permenant visa.

    The good news is that I made sure I space-bagged my little down blanket that I take everywhere, because it keeps me warm when I’m slipping into a hypothermic coma while trying to sleep at other people’s houses. The bad news is that I don’t have a single pair of jeans here, and shopping for jeans makes me want to… I can’t even think of what it makes me want to do, but it’s bad, whatever it is. They just don’t make jeans for tall girls who don’t want their crack peeking out.

    Moving Right Along Then
    Once I got over the idea that I may have to go *gulp* shopping, the day went pretty well. We had a hot breakfast, including toast, scrambled eggs, bacon and baked beans… odd, perhaps, yes… but normal here, I guess. We watched Arrested Development on DVD, which is new to them here.

    In the afternoon, Hans’ brother and sister-in-law (and their really cute toy poodle George) came over to play Killer Bunnies. It was my first time, even though the rest are pretty hardcore about it. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it’s sort of a geeky strategy game that ultimately just comes down to luck. You’ll probably be hearing more about it in the future.

    Then Hans and I went over to the house of some of his friends, where we had coffee and chit-chatted and just had a nice time. Then the five of us went to a pizza place called Neo. Our pizza had bacon rashers (I have no idea what that means, but I think they meant to say “Canadian bacon”), potato slices, onion jam, and toasted pinenuts topped with sour cream. It was really good, actually.

    But it sounds like the rest of the house is waking up now, so I’ll go.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  4. My Own Prison
    (This will be the last Creed reference on this site EVER.) Yeah, today I was a little stir-crazy. I was online this afternoon and spoke to my mom briefly on IM before she went to bed, and I think that set me in a downward spiral for the day. I’m so conflicted. I’m excited to be here, and yet part of me yearns for something to feel normal. Even the birds sound different. And the only thing I wanted to eat was spaghetti bolagnese from Mama Carolla’s. So I spent most of the day moping around — good plan, eh?

    But tonight we had fish’n’chips and watched the Muriel’s Wedding DVD that Hans gave me as part of my Intro to Australian Culture Gift Pack. It was pretty good, and it had lots of Abba music… how can you beat that?

    Last night we didn’t end up going to see the jazz band. I was too tired. But we had a lovely dinner, and my surprise was that Someone got me the most beautiful bouquet… orange gerberas with these exotic green things all around it. Gorgeous. He needs to be careful or I’m going to turn spoiled real soon. I’ve taken photos, but I haven’t checked on that card-reader issue yet.

    Lost in Translation
    sultana (sull-tahn’-a)
    n. a raisin, may or may not be from light-colored grapes — haven’t figured that out yet
    “We’ll pick up some Sultana Bran at the shops.”

    All I Want for Christmas
    Okay, so I know I love my fantabulous Pampered Chef pizza cutter, but this combination fork/pizza-cutter could potentially win me over.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  5. Another Day, Another (Australian) Dollar
    Well, Hans switched all my cash over at the bank yesterday. I started with $165 American and ended with $201 Australian. Made me feel richer, even though it doesn’t really work that way. Their money is like strange plastic Monopoly money. Their notes (trans. “bills”) really do have some sort of plastic coating and can go through the wash with no problem. And if you look at this site, those shapes where it is black on the bills are actually transparent. Weird. They also don’t have one-dollar bills, but rather one- and two-dollar coins. I find this rather unfortunate, as I am one who HATES carrying change around.

    Let’s Go to the Movies; Let’s Go See the Stars
    The movie thing last night ended up being quite fun. They showed five or six shortfilms and gave the directors or producers a chance to introduce them. A few of them were really not fun to watch, but the one that Hans worked on was really great and really funny — and the rest of the crowd sounded like they enjoyed it, so it wasn’t just my biased opinion.

    Met some more of his friends, and they were all really great. One guy told me to keep track of how long it takes me to get sick of being asked whether I’m American or Canadian. Ack! I never considered that I might be accused of being Canadian. (No offense to those of you who love Canadians.)

    Lost in Translation
    arvo (ar’-vo)
    n. afternoon
    “Maybe we could get together Sunday arvo.”

    Deep in the Heart of Texas
    Found out about Rita only yesterday. (It’s strange having no television nor computer homepage giving me the latest news.) My cousin’s family are trying to evacuate, but last my aunt heard, they had to stick around because my cousin’s husband is a pilot and might be needed to make a flight out.

    Today’s Events
    I was going to attempt to walk to the Gloria Jean’s coffee shop (after writing my address and phone number on myself in permenant marker), but I was informed I am getting a surprise of some sort this afternoon arvo. So I don’t know what that means or if I need to be here for it, but I sure am curious.

    Then tonight my future bro-&sister-in-law;, a great friend-type couple, and the couple I live with are all having dinner here. And then we’re going to see a jazz band play, and I’ve been told there will be swing dancers there. Wheee!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  6. G’day Y’all
    I made it! I experienced Salt Lake City (albeit briefly) for the first time. I had no idea how beautiful that area of the country is, at least from the sky. Nothing too exciting to report about the actual trip, except to say that from the time that I left my parents’ house to the time I got to the house here, it was over 30 hours.

    Oh! And because I flew Qantas for the long 16-hour overseas flight, I had my own monitor in the back of the seat ahead of me, so I got to pick and choose what I wanted to watch. Before I went to sleep, I ended up watching an episode of Mythbusters and then some scientific program on the eruption of Krakatoa and the tsunami that happened as a result. I was next to a window and had an empty seat next to me, so I was able to get a little sleep with various body contortions. In the morning, I watched Millions, which was kind of cute and featured music by Muse during the explanation scene.

    I touched down briefly in Auckland and hated that my address book was in my checked luggage, though 5:15 felt a little early to give Tash a call.

    Of course, Hans was right outside of customs waiting for me when I got here. Also along were Marj (who I live with and who was videotaping the whole thing, gah) and Hans’ parents (who I knew were going to be there, which added an extra amount of nervousness, it being the first time we met).

    Familiar Unfamiliarity
    So basically I just feel weird now. I’m too tired to be emotional about the whole situation. It’s just a bit surreal that this is where I’m going to be for who-knows-how-long.

    Because I was here last year, I already have some concept of where I am and what I’m doing. So that’s nice. (We’re in a northern suburb, but you can see how close we are to the ocean as well.)

    We fought my urge to nap yesterday in order to help get over the jetlag. So we went for a couple of walks around the neighborhood; I had my first flat white, mmm; and we watched some Wild West. Last night some friends came over to greet me, and it was just all very nice. I finally crashed at 9pm and only woke up once in the middle of the night.

    I have taken some photos on the mondo digicam that I inherited from Manda, but I forgot the card reader, so they’ll have to wait.

    Lost in Translation
    In the spirit of Leslie’s Hawaiian Word of the Post, I thought I’d provide you with a little Australian. (And you thought they spoke English, pttht!)

    unco (un’-ko)
    adj. uncoordinated, lacking grace or agility
    “My brother thinks he’s really unco and doesn’t want to take dance lessons.”

    Anyway, I have to go unpack and iron my clothes. Then tonight I guess we’re going to a showing of the shortfilm that Hans worked on. Wheee.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  7. This will probably be my last post until I get to Brisbane, as I need to pack up my computer and all that good stuff. If you’re the praying sort, I’ll be traveling from 4:30 pm (CDT) tomorrow afternoon until Tuesday at 5:20 pm (CDT) which is 8:20 in the morning on Wednesday in Brisbane.

    I was kind of excited about the inflight entertainment, because I haven’t seen many movies. I thought the 16 hour flight across the ocean might give me a chance to catch up. Umm.. well, here’s what we have according to the Qantas website:

    Monster in Law (saw it)
    Look Both Ways (never heard of it)
    House of Wax (don’t want to see it)
    Downfall (never heard of it)
    Flight of the Phoenix (don’t know much about it except it’s got Giovanni, so I’ll watch… if I’m not asleep)
    Millons (could be cute and feel-good-y)
    Herbie (saw it)

    Mmm, yeah, so much for that. At least Spiderman 2 isn’t playing.

    I’ll be back soon. Don’t have too much fun without me.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  8. The Phantom Menace
    (I mentioned this over at Erin’s and then got mad at Manda for not reading my site not realizing I hadn’t said anything about it here. Sorry. There.)

    I live across from the high school.
    High school band meets during first period.
    Except during marching band season, when they start at 7:30 in the morning.
    And rehearse.
    I live across from the high school.

    So it’s bad enough when they are doing their field routine on the practice field on the other side of our neighbor’s house. But when they practice their street marching, they generally congregate right in front of our driveway and proceed to go around and around and around our block.

    I can do their drum cadence in my sleep.
    I’m starting to hate them.
    Their street marching song is “The Phantom of the Opera”.
    It is a little high for the first trumpets.
    At 7:30 in the morning, it is especially painful.
    Only one more morning of this.

    Garage Sale 2-Day Total?
    Almost $200. Is it worth it? Not sure yet. Depends how frazzled I am by Sunday night.

    Email Quote From Nate That Made Me Cry
    “You are going to do great as an Aussie! As far as our relationship goes, it will not suffer because of this. I could not see you or talk to you for years and you would still be one of my best friends! We are both low maintainance which works out well for us. Don’t get me wrong, I am always excited to see you…my words of comfort are…survive. no matter what occurs. I will find you! (te hee!)”

    In high school, my group of friends watched Last of the Mohicans RELIGIOUSLY. The last line is a paraphrase of the Waterfall Scene. (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to go find yourself a Blockbuster pronto.)

    That’s All Folks
    I don’t have much else. Too busy to pay much attention to anything worth writing about. Soon I’ll have all kinds of good stuff. (We hope.)

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  9. Tidbits
    … my Regrowth: Katrina shirt came before I left. Yay!

    … so did my jimi.

    … I now own yet ANOTHER Samsonite suitcase. Only this one is considerably less vintage. Sometimes you gotta sacrifice style for function. (But thanks for the tips, Allison! LOVE!) I really wanted a Roncato, but you can’t get them here… and last night their website crashed my computer, so no link for you.

    … I CANNOT believe Leslie’s pictures of Venus Williams are on Pink is the New Blog. Well, maybe I can.

    … I’m having daily mental/emotional breakdowns. It’s always a combination of extreme sadness mixed with extreme excitement topped off by extreme guilt for being excited, and the cycle continues ad nauseam.

    … But I got a friend request from Jacob Golden on myspace, which makes me happy. He makes pretty music.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  10. My Garage / My Garbage
    The lack of posting regularity is because I’m pushing this box thing into high gear. Somehow we determined that a garage sale would be prudent. How we’re going to fit it in timewise is sorta beyond me, but whatever. I worked out a marketing exchange with my girl who runs the campus coffeehouse today. She’s letting me put up signs for my sale in exchange for me putting up signs or handing out flyers for their place at the sale.

    I’ll be lucky if I survive all this box hauling and furniture moving. Present bandaid count stands at 3. Merely flesh wounds.

    I have to buy a suitcase.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  11. Music: The Paring
    I went through all my tupperware crates of cds today and managed to fill an entire one with discs I can live without. Granted, nobody else probably wants them either. But I’m sure someone out there is looking for the first two Out of Eden cds for cheap to round out their collection. I could probably eliminate more, but back off already. I didn’t set up my elimination criteria until almost the last crate. But if I listened to it in its entirety in the past year, it stayed. If it didn’t have more than two songs I really like, it went. Almost all compilations for magazines or stores or label previews went. Almost everything still in shrinkwrap is in the garage sale pile. (What? We had several labels who were clients and would send us copies of everything they released. Sorry, but none of my favorite bands has ever been on Solid State.)

    Speaking of songs, the Three Little Fishies song has been in my head all day. I don’t even know the song. Krystal would always sing it as we passed the dam on our way out to Pittsboro. “And they swam and they swam all over the dam.” And then we would always say under our breath, “damn”.

    A Mad Dash
    I feel like I am getting things done today. Woohoo! I have been running a series of dashes. What’s a dash, you ask? 43 Folders explains it here. Basically, when facing a large task, set extremely small goals to chip away at it. My dashes have been mostly unit-based with rewards involved. I had a rootbeer float for lunch, because I was done going through my dresser drawers.

    Interestingly, as I was going through one box, I came across a piece of paper torn out of somewhere. It reads: “If you have a hill to climb, waiting won’t make it any smaller.” Touché.

    Song for the Day
    Annie’s Song
    John Denver

    I came across a cd of music played at my sweet Jenna’s wedding, and this song was on it. Her sister Meg put together the best wedding dance compilations EVER. I already told them I might reuse them. 🙂

    ~You fill up my senses
    Like a night in a forest
    Like the mountains in springtime
    Like a walk in the rain
    Like a storm in the desert
    Like a sleepy blue ocean
    You fill up my senses
    Come fill me again

    Come let me love you
    Let me give my life to you
    Let me drown in your laughter
    Let me die in your arms
    Let me lay down beside you
    Let me always be with you
    Come let me love you
    Come love me again~

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  12. Love Your Mother The Future is Green. Find it Here. “TreeHugger is the diffinitive, modern yet green lifestyle filter. It will help you improve your course, yet still maintain your aesthetic.”

    The South Does the Deep South
    All you Nashvillians better head to the Australian Festival this weekend.

    Okay, gotta go. I’m having a garage sale next week. Must. Downsize.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  13. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…

    The Funniest Post EVER!

    I’m still flabbergasted by the whole encounter. I mean, even if you suspected that in your crazy little mind… exactly how much nerve does one have to muster up in order to actually confront a person about it. And then I wonder exactly what level of embarrassment one would find oneself in when one found out the actual truth… do you think that has to be one of the most intense forms of embarrassment? I’m pretty sure it would have to be.

    I was going to try to find something else to post, but I think I’ll just let this one stand alone today. 🙂

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  14. A Conversation
    While not taking our eyes off the screen watching Jack kick terrorist butt on the 24 marathon that was taped this weekend…
    Me: You know, if I were ever to get a gun, I think a silencer would be the first accessory I would purchase for it.
    My Brother: Yeah, me too.

    On that note, I know Bill always said it, but William Devane was quite brilliant last season. ***SPOILER*** Particularly in the episode where Jack busts him out of where he and Audrey were being held, and more particularly when someone tells him and Jack to drop their weapons and how he does so. We even rewound that part. ***END SPOILER***

    The Dilemma
    I want to link to The Funniest Post EVER, but I don’t know if the author would be embarrassed by a bunch of strangers coming over to read it. This person reads this site. And this person ought to know that, yes, I am so talking about THAT POST. Oh my gosh. Just let me know if I can, because it’s almost too unbelievable to not let everyone see.

    Could Something So Amazing Be a Tax Write-Off?
    Hans asked if we could go to the Australian Effects & Animation Festival. I think he should go regardless, because it is so HIM. (Plus I’m sure he could write it off as a business trip.) But I admit that I’m curious as well. If nothing else, getting a day pass for the first day would be great. Weta & King Kong, Harry Potter, Pixar, AND NickToons? I’m sure it would be able to capture my attention.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  15. Cool Shirt, Great Cause
    The folks at have released a Regrowth: Katrina t-shirt. Buy it for $10, and Threadless will donate $20 to hurricane relief, up to $50,000. I bought mine. Where’s yours?

    Aftermath Reports uses a Google Map that allows people to report the damage found on the Gulf Coast. I’m sure people who haven’t been able to return are finding this useful, whether it has good news or not.

    Victim or Survivor?
    It’s hard for me to talk to Hans about political issues, because (1)I probably don’t care as much as I should anymore and (2)he hears only what is reported over there, and I’m not always sure he gets the full story. With that said, he told me he had watched a special about the hurricane aftermath the other night. One that apparently pointed a pretty strong finger of blame. And I know that everyone has their opinion on the matter, but last night I came across a couple articles that took a spin that I had yet to find online.

    It made me think, and I sent these to him. If you have a few minutes and an open mind, try reading it as well: “There Isn’t Always A Reason“. Below is just an excerpt, but the whole thing is worth reading.

    We would be better off when we realized that in a huge disaster, people will die, even Americans, because we are no more special than the people of Bangledesh, just more comfortable.

    We would be better if, in a need to vent, we reserved our anger for the lawlessness and how it has caused would-be rescuers to now treat people like animals, suspicious of motives, instead of the political people we hate. Egging on the crowds with cries of slave ships and making excuses certainly won’t turn the focus to the lawbreakers and how badly poor behavior has hampered and damaged the rescue effort.

    We would be better off if we didn’t assume the government and the military had their act perfectly together and somehow would not be hampered by nature, bureaucratic red tape and the laws of physics. It would at least make us less likely to be victims because we wouldn’t be thinking that we were. We would realize that what or who saves us probably won’t wear a uniform or have government forms to fill out, followed by money. We would have to help each other instead of looking out for number one until the Red Cross arrived.

    Some of the people you see on TV are survivors and some are victims. The difference is in their head and is easily seen in how they react. The survivors will naturally survive. The victims will never forgive whoever happens to be on their usual list of suspects to blame, and their lives will be permanently stuck on page Hurricane Katrina as an excuse for their future until the day they die. They won’t survive this, though they will live.

    And once that has sunk in, try reading her follow-up post, “What is Compassion?“.

    On that note, my sister was just telling me about when she went up to Grand Forks with a team from our church to help clean up after the flood in 1997. She said it was horrible. They would go into people’s basements and spray the whole thing down with bleach water. This site gives you an idea of what it takes to clean up a home after a flood.

    Time Wasters
    I don’t have time for this, but Rocketsnail has some fun little flash games. I’ve been addicted to mancala for some reason.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  16. For Future Reference
    Cooking for Engineers: Like Good Eats, but not.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  17. For the Record
    Asking how the packing is going DOES NOT help the packing process, so just don’t. For real. I’m hanging up on the next person who utters that phrase. Serious.

    TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY. I’m freaking out.

    From the Good News Department
    Hans’ boss offered me a job. Once I have a real visa, looks like my unemployed days may be over. Been there, done the music business. Why not give television a go?

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  18. 24 Hours in Two Days
    That’s right. A&E; is showing all 24 hours of 24: Season 4 on Sunday and Monday. Get your friends and family addicted too.

    Scanning Sepia
    I spent the whole day scanning in photos from my Grandmother’s photo albums. Some of them are so precious. I especially love this one of her with her younger sister Goldie and brother David.

    Next came the twins Orville and Stanley. I cannot remember her other siblings, but I know there was at least one other set of twins, Wilson and Wilma. My grandma never finished school, because she had to stay home and help her mother with the other children. But she was such a beautiful woman who worked hard her entire life.

    On the Air
    Speaking of grandparents… my dad was telling me yesterday about how amateur (HAM) radio operators are helping hurricane victims reconnect with family members. Dad said my grandpa relayed messages after the earthquake in Mexico City in 1985 along with many others. My grandpa was a HAM operator for as long as I could remember. Every once in a while I was lucky enough to be there in the mornings when he was on the air.

    I heard from a lady I used to work with who has family all through Mississippi (all safe). Her husband is leaving tomorrow with a team from Home Depot to go help in New Orleans. I’ve been watching CNN for four days now, and I can’t help but wonder where they’ll even start.

    Google Earth has new images of the gulf coast.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  19. Is it Just Me?
    I find it really hard not to wish bad things upon those looters in New Orleans. I could probably rationalize the need for food and water. But a cart full of tennis shoes? Come on. And going into other people’s houses? For shame.

    In more positive news, the boys from New Orleans and their families and pets are safely out of harm’s way in Nashville. (Heard that thelMorant family is out and away too.) No word on when they’ll be able to go back and assess the damage.

    Okay. I have to go.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.