22 July 2008

Out with the Pope, in with the Vote!

Hello again, lovely readers! I can tell you all miss me by the truly excellent emails I've been getting–thank you. I have gotten a truly thought-provoking discussion on the consequences of a completely dark and terrifying Batman movie, and not one person wrote me all pissed off about spoiling the movie...I knew you all really loved us.

Down here, the Pope has delightfully departed, though not without his requisite patronizing of Aboriginals and sexual abuse victims. Of course, I couldn't ask Sydneysiders to have a better response to the whole irritating event than this:

Actually, during World Youth Day, the police were given "special powers" to "detain and remove" anyone who "annoyed" the Youths. Including wearing "offensive" t-shirts. Of course, the civil liberties folks here quickly took that to task and got the special powers overturned, due to the limitations on free speech (snap!) So Iemma (NSW's Premier) suffered a little extra mud on his face. Brilliant. We then saw tons of people wearing shirts that said, "Fuck the Pope. With a condom." Now friends, this is not my particular brand of subtle humor, but worth noting regardless.

I was a little concerned when I heard about the cops here being given special powers to defend the ears and eyes of Mr. Pope's entourage. But then I saw the cop cars here. They are adorable! Little lime green fuel-efficient four-doors with blue and white checks! They would make the best rain boots. Look how cute:

Craig and I have been doing our fair share of sightseeing lately, still just in South Sydney. We like to call it the South Syde. So that we can pretend, for the first times in our lives, that we keeps it real.

First off, we hit Glebe; it's pronounced "gleeb," and it's one of the first neighborhoods founded in Sydney. In fact, Sydney's first Reverend was given it as a piece of churchland (which is called, shockingly enough, a glebe), so it was the home of Sydney's first church. Actually, just this very kind of uninspired naming is a bit of an illness in Australia. Everything just gets named for what it very obviously is: the Harbour Bridge actually does bridge the harbour! The Opera House frequently houses Operas. It's a little boring, honestly. They need some ATL-style naming talent here...like "Stone Mountain." Now that was clever.

Though the name lacks creativity, Glebe is a beautiful little neighborhood, not least because it houses the lovably small, the gloriously ambitious Gleebooks – easily the best bookstore we've found yet. They're going to host David Sedaris and David Rakoff there in the next few months. I only had to move across the world to see NY's finest writers in a small, intimate venue. Ridiculous. Some of Sydney's earliest, largest, and most gorgeous mansions are in Glebe; it's got an Inman Park feel, but the amazing thing is every street either leads to water or to the city, creating the perfect mix of natural and citified beauty. Illustrated below:

Ignore the girl yapping in the foreground, and kindly note the Sydney skyline.

Then, a short walk down Glebe's main road takes you to the Bay. In a place like Sydney, taking amazing photos of natural beauty almost feels too easy. I cannot believe I live here. It's astounding.

Ways Australians are not like us:

1. They have no concept of safety. In Glebe, there's a public footpath next to the bay, with a ladder ostensibly placed so as to make hopeful suicides more successful. There is no signage, no rail, no information whatsoever about who is supposed to use this ladder and who is not. Anyone can just climb down. And I mean anyone:

2. As we all know, corporations have decided that certain colours denote certain foods. Example: Cheeze flavoured things are often in bright orange packaging. Barbecue flavoured things are often in red packaging. This is so without even reading the package, we can tell the chips in this bag are either cheezy or barbecue...y. Now, we all know that there is often no truly defensible reason for these associations between colour and flavor. But the whole concept comes into bizarrely sharp focus here, because the colour green here, my friends...

The colour green means...Wait for it...


I know! It's crazy! Who even wants to eat chicken flavoured potato chips? Why green? It's a graphic design/gastronomic confusion for the ages!!

Well, I was intending to post some pictures of our cute little place and our lovely housemate, but she's currently suffering from some pretty severe throat illness. I don't think she's up for taking pictures. Patience pays, friends.

Now, finally...the moment you've been waiting for: we are unveiling our top five favorite blog title suggestions. There's a poll at the top right of our blog – let the voting begin!

Coming soon: Craig and Nija's Wild Adventures on Cockatoo Island!


  1. I'll be sure to tell Stefan about the green=chicken flavour thing.

    Sorry to have been so long with out writing. My spanish lessons are taking up a lot of time.

    Email me your address and I promise a good package really soon.

  2. Also--I can't remember if Nija talked about this yet--there is an entire spectrum of "In A Biskit"-style crackers here. The first time I met Stefan we discussed the revolting "Chicken In A Biskit (sp?)" phenomenon in the US.

    I hate to be the one to report this, but a casual stroll through any Aussie supermarket would undoubtedly make poor Stefan retch, as there is, to my recollection, "Pizza In A Biskit," "BBQ In A Biskit," and, horror of horrors, "Prawn In A Biskit." "Chicken In A Biskit" does indeed exist, and, of course, it's in a green box.

    I have pictures of the selection at our local Coles supermarket and will be sure to post them soon.

    I hope all is going well with you guys. We really miss you. !Que les vayan bien los estudios!