28 September 2008

Holy CRAP, what is that...?

We came home one night this week to find this ginormous spider scrambling around our walls. New competition: find out what kind of spider this is in our house, and if it's going to kill us. If it kills us before you figure out what it is, you lose. It's the size of my palm and it scurries fast! Big, ugly, fast, creepy crawly. Any arachnid lovers out there? Come and get it.

In less frightful and cheerier news, I finally took some more pictures of my workplace, the good ship Alfalfa! I didn't want to just show you idyllic pictures of fruit and vegetable and bread; that would just be rude. I needed a new perspective.

Fridays at Alfalfa House are always fun and weird and cheerful. One of two Daves is almost always working, and they are both delightfully goofy in very different ways. Most of the big deliveries have already been sorted for the week, so we can let loose. You know the feeling This Friday was different. It had all the charm of a normal Friday, but we got two (TWO) pallets of toilet paper. Our shop is tiny. Where the hell are we going to put even one pallet?

It took Dave Tilley's love of heights, but here you are. Alfalfa from above:

And Dave Tilley from below. Can you believe he's just standing up there?

That's all for now, though there is much in the hopper, dear readers. And, please, figure out what that spider is for us.

24 September 2008

All Bhuja'd Out

Hello everyone, just a quick note for our friends and family. Please join Nija and me in wishing our friends Justin Davis and Amanda Sloan congratulations on their wedding over the weekend. They're honeymooning right now in our favorite place, Barcelona, taking a well-deserved vacation from their stressful and demanding lives as doctors in rural Pennsylvania. We only wish we could've been at the wedding because we're positive it was a real throwdown. We'll try to live it up when they visit, a promise we extend to all of you, and I'll do you one better by guaranteeing that you will be swamped in bhuja mix for the duration of your stay.

21 September 2008

Oh, the Hoey...

Ah, the Hopetoun Hotel, a bar with no AC that smells like a bathroom and has an audio system that sounds like the smell of a bathroom. As you can see, I wasn't exaggerating about Aussies making everything cute. Saturday night, the Pink Fits were playing again with a band called the Straight Arrows. The Pink Fits disappointed, but the Straight Arrows were fabulous; the Atlanta punk rock sound, right here in Sydney. They are young, they wear shark tooth necklaces, they are theatrical with their body fluids. They throw flyers at the crowd like its money, and then they scream "We're filthy rich!!" They are some goofy rockers. So, they're not quite as theatrical with their body fluids as The Black Lips...but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

We felt rather successful having found a Sydney sound we can stand. But it did bring up some stuff for me, namely the homogenization of the world. Is it wrong of me to move to another country and want to hear the same sort of music I listened to at home? When you move to another culture, aren't you meant to embrace the culture that is around you, rather than try to find and bring your own? It seems to me that my feelings here about what kind of bar I want to drink in, what kind of pizza I want to eat, what kind of music I want to find are all sort of selfish. It's not unlike the Europeans who brought foreign plants and animals to this sunburned land, plants and animals that ended up running rampant, extinctifying native species, and all for the colonizers' comfort. Just so they could try to create a little England on the other side of the world...a literally NEW South Wales.

The problem is this: there is a lot of house music here. And truly awful bars. So, does that leave me firmly on the side of the homogenizing forces in the world?


Congratulations go to Jeremy, once again! The first of our friends to get us an official copy of "Introducing Gentleman Jesse," Jeremy is really killing the contests on this blog; though we are willing to admit we didn't actually think of this as a contest. I, personally, just want to say I really hoped Douchemaster would come through on this one for Craig...and maybe they still will!! (right?)

In other news, I've gotten in touch with people at a radio station called 2SER and I might end up doing a segment on Atlanta music; send me mp3s of any Atlanta punk rock you might have! And we finally did get to check out the Brett Whiteley studio last weekend; it was awesome.

Sorry there aren't any pictures this time, and it's been so long...also sorry this one isn't that funny. I'll try harder next time, eh?

I love you all and miss most of you terribly. *wink*

14 September 2008

City of the Amazing Sky

To make up for last weekend's drearyness, Sydney showered us with sunshine on Saturday. You were quite right not to feel sorry for us, Miss Fancypants Dedakis; we were feeling far too sorry for ourselves. But this weekend has more than redeemed us.

Saturday was brilliant, glimmering with heat, sparkling with breezes, and gorgeous. Craig and I chose to remind ourselves that we live in a beach town. After a late picnic breakfast (of tofu scramble, coffee, and apples...so perfect) in Redfern Park, we hopped a bus for the coast. It took about twenty minutes before we were at Coogee, and Craig resumed his ancestral jig in the Tasman Sea.

The water was ridiculously cold, but it didn't stop tons of Sydneysiders from getting their feet wet. I even took off my hat! You can tell it was hot because you can see my hair. Even though the water was cold, it felt really good to be outside and enjoying it. I lie down on the sand with an odd pile of sand digging into my back, and I wondered at the ability of sand to be rock hard and completely malleable at the same time. I was once again struck by the idea that some people grow up going to the beach all the time. What a marvelously different childhood. Those people have already dealt with the strangeness of sand. They would be totally nonplussed by my wonder.

That amount of sun completely wore us out, and Saturday night was spent watching Mythbusters, a documentary about Nick Cave, and a Danish TV show generally in the line of Bridget Jones called "Nynne." SBS is outstanding. I feel so lucky to be able to go to the beach just for a few hours.

On Sunday, we intended to go to the Brett Whiteley studio, the preserved home and exhibition space of a famous Surry Hills artist. We woke up to the dreaded sounds of rain, why is the rain always trying to destroy my weekend, why is the rum always gone??

Figuring the day was shot, we made pancakes (which is to say, Craig made pancakes) but by the time pancakes were ready, it had stopped raining and was bright enough to enjoy breakfast on our patio. Surely, the rain was over, and we'd be fine to head out to the studio.

Of course, it began pouring buckets the second we left the house. Ugh. So we stayed in and watched Sanjuro, a brilliant Kurosawa samurai flick. Mifune rules. The interesting thing about not having a car is how dependant you become on weather. In Atlanta, the most rain I actually had to deal with was between the house and the car, between the car and a building. If I needed to go do something, the rain could rarely stop me; I had an airtight box. But here the rain completely changes what I can/am willing to do in a day. The risk of ending up soaked for hours is enough to keep me in, because it is a very real risk without a car.

Late afternoon showed some grace, finally a gap in the rain long enough for us to stroll up to Moore Park.

And there we found the amazing sky.

10 September 2008

Eat Red Meat.

I am fairly certain this blog doesn't need to become a general commentary on Australian pop culture. Even though it is almost the only aspect of culture that I never cease to be exhausted and annoyed by, I can't stop consuming it, and I know that's probably just me. I know for a fact that if I just kept writing about the often delightful, frequently bizarre, and occasionally bewildering things on television here, at least 2 of our 3 readers would stop reading. And then who would I be writing for? Craig could never forgive me for driving our friends away.

But there are some things here that absolutely merit attention. They simply cannot be ignored.
Oh, oh. Oh, no. Your Stateside minds must see. Must hear. Must know about what young Americans face, on a daily basis, in a strange country.

Dear readers, this installment is not about general Australian media. It is not some diffuse blathering about ice cream and tv and art and Kylie Minogue. No, no, this time we focus our ray of critical light, like a laser of observation, specifically on The Australian TV Commercial.

First, a little background information, a presentation of the issue, if you will. Television is far less inhibited in Australia. Movies aren't edited to cut away sexual content, and even the network TV shows can have far more sex on them. They are allowed to say "fuck" here. There have been midday ads for "Sexpo," which is exactly what it sounds like. My discomfort with said advertisement made me realize just how deep America's Puritan roots are sown.

The first ad I present for your questionable enjoyment blew my mind. This would never be allowed on American telly; behold the lowbrow hilarity that is a hallmark of Australian humor.

My FCC sensibilities are shocked and appalled; how on earth are Australian children expected to not become murderers when this is the kind of television they are exposed to?

Then, we witnessed this atrocity. Sam Neill making specious arguments about brain size and the modern-day importance of eating red meat.

Bizarre. Now, I do believe we could see something similar to this on American TV, but I haven't yet. And, even if we did, it would probably still star an Australian.

06 September 2008

Rainy Saturday, Need Coffee.

Blugh! That's how Sydney looked this morning, as it did yesterday morning. It's been a long while since I've seen two straight days of literally non-stop rain, and let me tell you, it's not pleasant. Like Atlanta, Sydney needs rain, but also like Atlanta, there's a point of saturation where the ecosystem actually doesn't benefit from any additional rain, and I think we reached it last night. I tried to get a jump on Spring yesterday morning and seeded some tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini, but I think my poor seeds are drowning. I had two bok choy sprouts coming up yesterday that aren't looking very happy right now. I don't really have anywhere to keep them that's not exposed to the elements, so cross your fingers for my tiny little ones. Speaking of which, we were supposed to go to a free class on no-dig gardening put on by the Sydney Watershed this morning, but given the fact that we already got drenched last night coming home from the movies, I couldn't bear to tear myself out of bed for a reprise. Besides, I've been feeling a slight cold coming on so I figured the workshop could wait for a sunnier Saturday.

Nija's responding naturally to this blight of dreariness by staying cuddled up beneath the doona. I don't blame her. SBS is playing French news, there's no coffee in the house, and we're fresh out of unwatched DVDs. What are we gonna do!?!? I even forgot to buy baking powder to make biscuits*. Ho-hum.

Last night we finally went to see Persepolis at the Dendy and it was even more brilliant than I had hoped! It reminded me of how much I miss Amy, though, and how little we got to see her even when we were in the US.

Well, Nija's up. Maybe that sun will come out after all.

*No, not cookies, dammit. Biscuits! Nija had a hard time explaining what a biscuit is to her co-worker Dave and it made us realize we needed to make actual Southern-style biscuits.