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  1. Happy Halloween
    I’ll be living vicariously through all of you who live in Halloween-celebrating countries.

    Was fascinated by this article about the haunted Mooreland Mansion in Nashville. My old boss used to have his office there, and though he never personally experienced anything ghostly, he heard stories from other people in the building who had. *chills*

    How Average Am I
    See, what you do is take this list, and then cross off the things that exclude you from the list of things that an average American is:

    Eats peanut butter at least once a week
    Prefers smooth peanut butter over chunky
    Can name all Three Stooges
    Lives within a 20-minute drive of a Wal-Mart
    Eats at McDonald’s at least once a year
    Takes a shower for approximately 10.4 minutes a day
    Never sings in the shower
    Lives in a house, not an apartment or condominium
    Has a home valued between $100,000 and $300,000
    Has fired a gun
    Is between 5 feet and 6 feet tall
    Weighs 135 to 205 pounds
    Is between the ages of 18 and 53
    Believes gambling is an acceptable entertainment option
    Grew up within 50 miles of current home

    I’m not sure on the gun one. I know we had to use a bow and arrows in gym class, and somehow I want to say that we had the police come in and have us shoot targets with a pellet gun or something like that, but it’s all a blur right now.

    (Thanks for the two minutes of entertainment, Tommy.)

    Roo Sighting
    I saw my first kangaroo yesterday riding home from Hans’ parents’ house on the train. It was just sitting there in a wooded area. If I had turned to look quicker, Hans said I would have seen a whole mob of them. I’m happy with just one.

    Weekend Update

    • Friday night we went to Sandgate (which as you can see is only mere miles from where we live in Bracken Ridge to the West). This was so I could see the ocean for the first time since I’ve been back here. Such a shame to live so close and yet not go there. We sat on the wall dangling our feet as the tide came in and then went for fish’n’chips with Chris & Marj.
    • Saturday Marj’s parents came for lunch. Her dad is such an Aussie bloke. He called me “Love” whenever addressing me. I love that. Hehe.
    • Sunday we went to Hans’ parents house. I met one of his sisters and her partner. We also met his tante and oom (aunt & uncle) from the Netherlands. Hans’ parents immigrated here shortly after his eldest brother was born, I believe. So he hasn’t even met most of his relatives. So odd, since my extended family have always been a big part of my life. But they were lovely, and I think we’ve charmed them into hosting us when we go to Amsterdam for SAIL, the tall-ships festival, in 2010.

    My blog is worth $25,968.84.
    How much is your blog worth?

    via The Copydesk

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  2. Halloween Cossies
    Australians hardly acknowledge Halloween, but I think I’ll rotate these throughout the day on Monday. And I do have my Edward Scissorhands cd here, so that will be played on repeat for the day.

    Stormy Weather
    Last night we had a gran mal storm. It was great. Lots of beautiful lightning and as much thunder to go along. Queensland is suffering from a drought of sorts at the moment, so any rain is good rain. I’m [only] happy when it rains anyway.

    Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with Strings
    Got to talk with Manda oh so briefly yesterday. Yay! And for future reference, we don’t have Wheat Thins or any thing Little Debbie (Oatmeal Cream Pies / Swiss Cake Rolls) here either — just sayin’. 🙂

    Lost in Translation
    buskers (bus’-kers)
    n. street musicians
    “You’ll see buskers in the Valley trying to make a little cash.”

    Blast from the Past
    We saw the video for Shanice‘s “I Love Your Smile“, and now it is stuck in my head. Ugh.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  3. Lost in Translation
    pokies (poh-keys)
    n. slot machines
    “My grandma is addicted to the pokies.”

    Sounds like your grandma is a dirty old bird, but I’m just the American.

    Pass Along
    Joshua pointed out a site with “300 Essential Fonts“. It’s just nice to know they are there if/when someone might need something new. And I know at least one font whore will read this and appreciate the link. lets you easily keep track of how many movies on IMDB’s Top 250 you have seen. Serves no real practical purpose unless your goal in life is to see them all, but it is sorta like those memes without having to list 250 movies on your site.

    See mine:

    Try It, You’ll Like It
    Sorry, but if something is being marketed as being from the makers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for some reason it doesn’t make me do cartwheels and run to see it. So this Serenity movie didn’t really interest me. (In the slightest.)

    But then Joshua raved, Michael gushed, Bill had relatively good things to say, and basically… Hans wanted to see it. So we went last night.

    I have to admit that this was the BEST MOVIE I have seen in a long time. In fact, I would go watch it again tonight if I could. And I’d probably go see it tomorrow night as well. I hadn’t seen any previews (and didn’t read those blog reviews until today) so it was all new and fresh. I believed the characters. The dialogue was real — not filled with futuristic sci-fi lingo nor was it just plain bad a la the Star Wars movies. And funny. Dang, it had just the right amount of humor. I wish that I could live on that ship, because the people are so dang fun.

    I give Serenity two enthusiastic thumbs up. Ladies, take your men to this one. They’ll love you for it, and you’ll enjoy yourselves as well!

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  4. Celebration of Autumn
    Being the week before Halloween (a holiday barely recognized over here), I think it is time to pull out the link to the Murder of Scarecrows game at the Skeleton Shop. My first score for this year is 385. I’m sure I’ll try to beat that at some point.

    Oh, and check out to find Halloween events in your area. Indy’s got a ton!

    Adventures in Eating
    Friday night Hans and I met up with his brother and sister-in-law in the Valley. He’s been talking about this Japanese restaurant called Koh-ya, and we finally had the chance to go.

    The place is great. Each table has a round hollow in the middle, and there is a grill lit in each one. They bring out platters of raw meats and veggies, and you cook it yourself over the fire.

    I was adventurous and tried a couple of new foods (that I may never eat again). The first was ox tongue. (I just about yakked just typing that.) I wasn’t going to do it, but how often will I have this opportunity? It wasn’t the taste that was the problem so much as the texture. A little too chewy for my liking. And not to mention what it looked like when Daniel was going to flip the pieces over on the grill. One piece had sort of stuck to the grill, and the visual of it being pulled up and off, along with the knowledge of what it actually was, just made me think of that kid in A Christmas Story.

    The other thing I tried was called yukke. (It doesn’t look like it’s pronounced “yucky” for nothing.) It’s basically steak tartare — a pile of raw meat with a raw egg cracked on top. Being something of a delicacy, I, again, thought I should at least try it. It really didn’t taste too bad. The texture was like that of sundried tomatoes. But I’ve watched too much Oprah to be able to push aside the thought that I was ingesting all kinds of bad things that are ordinarily killed by the cooking process.

    Then the waitress brought two bottles of sake to our table by accident, and suddenly everything started to taste better. 🙂 It was also my first sake experience. I was surprised to find it was served piping hot. By the end of the night, we had determined that sake should be served with everything.

    Afterwards we walked up the street and had yummy gelati that was the closest thing I’ve had to American ice cream here so far. (The dairy here just isn’t the same.)

    Lost in Translation
    gob (gahb)
    n. mouth
    “After listening to him all morning, she finally told him to shut his gob.”

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  5. Xenophobia at Work
    Gotta love this article I saw on a Queensland news website. Americans Dish up the Most Spam with this opening paragraph…

    PENIS enlargement patches. All-natural Viagra. Debt consolidation. Sick of spammers clogging up your inbox? Well, you can blame the Yanks.

    Yes, thanks.

    And to help them out, I’ve googled “is America’s fault” to see what else others are blaming the Yanks for…

    • poverty
    • the fact that terrorists exist
    • disappearing snow
    • AIDS epidemic in Africa
    • German obstructionism
    • Mexico’s plight
    • Ireland’s ban on smoking in pubs
    • everything that is wrong in the world

    I Have a Brilliant Idea
    I’m making a desktop wallpaper that I know I will enjoy, and perhaps you will too. Hopefully those who are offended will quickly see the humor in it. Whee… it’s still formulating, but I’ll let you know when it’s finished.

    Da Map! Da Map!
    Read about Frapper! at Joshua’s. It’s like guestmap but better, using flags and the new-fangled Google mapping system. Following his lead, I put up one for the readers of this site, but I have a feeling my people are less likely to participate. Maybe it’s because he has such an enticing title for his.

    Check out our Frapper!

    Lost in Translation
    tea (tee)
    n. 1. a warm beverage made by steeping certain tasty leaves;
    2. the evening meal usually served between 6:00-8:00 pm
    “Tea will be ready by the time we get home from work.”

    There is also “morning tea” and “afternoon tea”, but so far as I can tell, those are just like snack times… though I’m not entirely sure yet.

    What’s On
    Hopefully I am facing a relaxed weekend of joy. I have to do laundry something fierce, so hopefully it will be sunny. (Did I mention that most people here don’t have dryers for their laundry? Yeah, I’m not used to that.) Tomorrow we’re going out with the work peeps to celebrate the other girl’s birthday, which should be exciting. We’ll see!

    Song for the Day
    Comfortably NumbScissor Sisters
    Can you go wrong with BeeGees meets Pink Floyd?

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  6. I [Heart] N.O.
    I saw in the news that Cafe du Monde has reopened in New Orleans. I found that strangly heartwarming having had beignets and chicory coffee there once upon a time.

    I trust you Floridians are taking measures to keep me from worrying about you for the next five days or so, right? Is someone getting Alex out of Miami? Sounds like a great weekend to go to Hawaii! Speaking of…

    Shoes, Shoes, and More Shoes
    The movie last night was pretty good. One character kept reminding me of Leslie’s Matt, but maybe I’ve forgotten what he looks like too. The whole shoe element seemed a little forced at times, but overall I’d recommend it. Toni Collette was brilliant. The issues I’d nit-pick reveal major plot points, but I managed to get over them and enjoy myself. If you go, be sure to use the restroom beforehand, as it clocks in at 2 hours and 20 minutes.

    Lost in Translation
    spag bol (spayg boll)
    n. 1. lazy shortening for “spaghetti bolognese”
    “I should never order spag bol here, because I’ll only be comparing it to Mama Carolla’s.”

    Today is a bad day.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  7. Birds of a Feather
    I saw a pukeko yesterday morning on our walk to the train! I was so excited, because I fell in love with them in New Zealand last year. Hans was unfamiliar with the little buggers, but I did find out that they are called Purple Swamphens here.

    Lost in Translation
    piles (piles)
    n. hemorroids
    “If you tell someone you’ve got piles, they might look at you funny and give you a round cushion to sit on.”

    I definitely think the words that are familiar to me but mean something completely different are the ones that are throwing me off the most here!

    Livin’ in a Cardboard Box
    I got a couple of boxes from my mom yesterday. Chris called me in afternoon to say that they were at the house, and I was so excited to go home and have some more of MY STUFF around me. Little did I know how difficult it was going to be. Mom sent my jeans that I forgot and a few other clothign items I didn’t have room for. Some DVDs, some cds, my stationary, a few books, my jewelry box, some koolaid and a few other snicky-snacks.

    I had it all out on my bed, and I just collapsed. Probably my first really good homesick cry. I couldn’t even look at the stuff. It didn’t belong here. That book belongs on my nightstand back at my parents’ where I left it. The jewelry box goes on that particular dresser. My giant camera case goes under my desk, which isn’t even MY desk anymore.

    Hans came up to my room and let me cry it out. He put everything back in the boxes for me and convinced me that it would be okay to go out into the lounge and eat dinner amongst the living even though I was tear-stained, red and puffy. *sigh*

    Girls’ Night Out
    Tonight Alyda and I are going to see In Her Shoes. Figures crossed that it’s better than the last film Hans and I went to over the weekend… Must Love Dogs. Ugh, that was horrible. Cheese-mo dialogue, awful delivery. Cusack was the only redeeming quality, but even that wasn’t enough to even recommend renting it. But yeah, one of the guys at the office said that In Her Shoes was pretty decent, and he’s one of those film industry people, so I’m going in with slightly higher expectations.

    News From Abroad
    Saw today that the last Australian who fought in World War I died this week at the age of 106. Just thought I’d share.

    Oh and in other big Queensland news, they are putting fluoride in the water here. We were just talking about this a couple weekends ago, when I told Chris not to get any tin foil in his mouth, because I, being filling-free, have been told it hurts. And they were commenting about their non-fluoridated water and higher rate of tooth decay.

    And from the Surprise Surprise Department, alcohol is linked to croc attacks. “Almost one in three people bitten by deadly saltwater crocodiles in Australia had been drinking alcohol before the animal attacked, new research has found.” Yes, sober people tend to avoid being in the close proximity of wild crocodiles, unless your name happens to be Steve Irwin. (And people around here love it when you bring him up, as well. *rolls eyes*)

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  8. Hey You! Yeah, You in the Glass House…
    Apparently I’m not posting enough.

    Tiny Music
    I thought I’d share the joy of some music that I’ve discovered since coming here. And maybe you’ve all heard these over there too, but because I have no concept of what’s going on in the music world over there anymore, I’ll just give these to you anyway.

    ~ James Blunt: When I heard this in the background at Hans’ office, I first thought it was Angie Aparo. Turns out it’s not. His song “You’re Beautiful” is pretty catchy. (See the video here) And he has a myspace if you just want to hear the song.

    ~ Eskimo Joe: Another band that could pass as someone else. When Alyda first played this authentic Aussie band, I thought it was Remy Zero. Since then I seem to be hearing them everywhere. Their myspace has a nice sampling for you.

    ~ Sarah Blasko: I don’t know who to compare her to except Awesome. Well, if I had to, I might say beautiful Bic Runga, but that might be a stretch? She has a myspace too.

    Lost in Translation
    bottle shop (bot-ell shop)
    n. liquor store, wine seller
    “The hardware store is on the other side of the bottle shop.”

    Happy Days
    Today was a really good day. Heard the voice of Manda (the Pampered PornChef dealer — yes, Leslie, I saw that!) yesterday. IM’d with Mom, Sis, Tash and Steve today. Had really good sushi and edemame for lunch. Met Hans’ boss’ wife and their brand new baby boy today… cute! And yeah, was just happy in general, a feeling that almost felt like a stranger to me after three and a half weeks of funk, not to mention however long the stress went on before I actually got here.

    Question of the Day
    This is for anyone, but I’ve got my money on Barry for the definitive answer… was Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” in a musical? I swear I can picture it, but upon a half-hearted google search, I now question whether I made that up completely.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  9. Lost in Translation
    absailing (ab’-sail-ing)
    n. the sport of repelling
    “We drove to the top of the mountain and went absailing down the North face.”

    Little Hurdles: Get Over It
    One site I was reading about culture shock suggested writing down the aspects of the new country that bother you initially, and then you’ll have great fun looking back in a few months and seeing how silly you were… or something like that. And since people keep asking me about what the differences are, I figured I’d just start keeping a little list of my complaints.

    • the lightswitches go the wrong way… down means on
    • the moon is upside-down
    • none of the constellations are the same
    • everyone’s clothes/accessories have graffiti-like screenprints across them, and while it looks kinda cool, it also annoys the crap out of me right now
    • in homes, the toilets are in a separate room from the rest of the bathroom
    • instead of repeating a number or a letter, they say “double [whatever]”. For instance, when spelling my name, I would say “d-a-n-i-e-l-l-e” but they would say “d-a-n-i-e-double-l-e”. Think the goose from Charlotte’s Web.
    • traffic on the wrong side of the road
    • pedestrian traffic on the wrong side of the sidewalk
    • standard paper size is A4, which is somewhere between letter and legal in length
    • when you pick up the phone to dial, the tone is what you’d expect a long ring to sound like
    • dairy products do NOT taste normal

    That’s all I can think of for now, but it really DOES feel better to get that out.

    Shoe Therapy
    Do you think the fact that I just cashed in some travellers checks and with the exchange rate, it came to $388… and then I come back and find these shoes? Yeah, I know that’s $388 American, but still. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to spend that much anyway, but they still are stinking cute. Besides, I now live in the 84th most expensive city in the world. Gah.

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  10. The Fall of Montezuma
    Today we went for another stab at some real Mexican food. Hans and BRyan picked up Montezumas. (They reported that there were no people of Hispanic decent in sight at the restaurant.) Without a chimichanga of joy on the menu, I took a chance with the Montezuma’s Delight. Described on the take-out menu as “a soft tostada smothered with frijoles, cheddar, heaped with a diced vegetable salad, ranchero sauce, sour cream, topped with sweet black olives”. Sounds nice, right? I’m picturing a tortilla with some cheese, beans, some shredded lettuce, sour cream, diced tomatos, maybe some onions, pico de gallo, etc. Close, but not quite. By “diced vegetable salad”, they were actually referring to chopped brocolli, cucumbers, parsley, carrots, red cabbage and green apple. What. The. Crap? I would kill for some Cozymels or Las Palmas right about now!

    Lost in Translation
    pash (pash)
    n. a passionate/French kiss
    v. to kiss passionately
    “After eating all that garlic, you won’t want to go in for a pash.”

    I Miss Nashville
    Go Preds.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  11. Lost in Translation
    crook (crook)
    adj. sick, unwell, ill
    “She’s not coming over, because she feels a bit crook.”

    Hangin Out
    It’s 9:30 pm. I’m at Hans’ office waiting while he’s finishing up work. Hopefully in the next couple of days I’ll be able to use his laptop at home and then I’ll be a blogging fool again.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  12. Tidbits

    • Still culture shocked.
    • I am officially sick of everything to do with me having to be described as “American”. So much for trying to blend in…
    • Marj took me to Three Monkeys the other night for good food and conversation while Hans worked late. Apparently Jack Johnson was spotted there not long ago, which probably seems cooler to those who even remotely care about him or his music.
    • Friday night we took a City Cat up the river to get to our dinner destination. They’re “twin-hulled catamarans” that operate like the buses or trains, except they’re on the river. We stood outside up front, and it was nice!
    • Yesterday we had the Harry Potter marathon. All three movies. Giant screen and projector. Good food. Great company. Good times.
    • New video up Look for me filming off stage right in the white shirt. The shots were Greg is in the foreground were from my cam.
    • Want some more random tidbits? Look here.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  13. The Rainbow Question
    So in 1979, Kermit first sang, “Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side?” Today Hans and I were trying to figure out if, in fact, there ARE any other songs about rainbows. Our challenge for today was to see if anyone else could come up with more. Surely there must be quite a few, if Kermie thinks there are “SO MANY”. (We started with the hitch that the songs would have to have been written before “The Rainbow Connection” to count… but now we’re to the point where we’ll take anything.) There’s the obvious “Somewhere over the Rainbow” (circa 1939), so there’s one. Heck, we’ll even throw in “The Rainbow Connection” just to give us two, but I challenge you to give me any others without googling it.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  14. Subway & Skynard
    For a single moment today, I forgot where I was. Hans and I went to Subway for lunch — a fool-proof eatery when it comes to having basically everything exactly the same as it is in the States. We were standing in line. I was debating whether to toast or not to toast when “Sweet Home Alabama” came over the radio, and for that moment, all was right in the world.

    And then it came to a screeching halt when I had to order my veggies (which incidentally, Australians spell “vegies”… what the crap? Is that weird to anyone else, or have I been spelling it wrong all along?). Lettuce, no problem. Tomato, easily translated… the whole I-say-tomayto-you-say-tomahto thing. Green peppers?

    Lost in Translation

    n. green pepper
    “I’d like lettuce, tomato, capsicum, pickles and black olives on that, please.”

    Other Tidbits
    — Switchfoot are playing here tonight. We would have gone if the tickets weren’t so pricey or if Hans had kept up with Jon Foreman… bummer. Meh, I’m over it already.
    — I went into the office with him today. It is likely that I will be hanging out there more often “helping out” to give me something to do.
    — Today was another good day, thank the Lord! Distraction = good.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  15. Is This Really Happening?
    Where else does a dinner party end with a didgeridoo demonstration?

    Today was a good day. Our friend Alyda took me to visit our other friend Lisa, who I haven’t seen since she left Nashville three years ago. It was great to catch up, and it felt like barely any time had passed.

    I think the key to my survival is distraction. Because, when I got back to the house, my bro-&sis-in-law-to-be; were here. We played games and then we had a little dinner party outside. It was so nice, and I barely remembered that yesterday had been another day from the PITS OF HELL.

    Well, it was horrible until Marj, Hans and I went to Hogs Breath Cafe, where I had a chimichanga that almost tasted like real Tex-Mex. (In case you hadn’t considered… there aren’t many Mexicans here, and thusly there are very few Mexican restaurants. On the other hand, you can’t throw a koala without hitting either a Thai, Indian, Indonesian, Phillipeano, Chinese, or Japanese restaurant.) What I especially loved about Hogs’ Breath was that their slogan is “100% Australian”, but the inside is decorated like your average Applebees with all sorts of crap on the walls… including a license plate from every American state. One hundred percent Australian except for that, I bet they meant.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.