Friday, September 28, 2007

The Eagle Has Landed

Everyone is here safe and sound. I got a voice mail from my mom when I woke up this morning that my Mom and Dad and Aunt Vicki and Uncle John have all arrived and are in Sydney. I was glad to hear that they did not have to divert the plane for an emergency landing for any reason.

They will be touring around Sydney for the weekend and then my parents will fly to Melbourne around 9 PM on Sunday evening. Then the real fun will start. Aunt Vicki follows with John on Tuesday and we'll all be driving down the great ocean road on Wednesday.

I went to a classical piano performance last night and had a really nice time.

Today is Grand Final day, which is like Super Bowl Saturday and the whole city is going nuts. All the hotels are full and downtown is buzzing. I'm not going to the game, but I'll watch it on TV with some friends. Sorry if I've already told you this, but whenever you cheer for your team here you use the article. You might say, "Go The Hawks!" It's very formal. Give it a try, "Go The Mets"! (Are the Mets going to miss the playoffs now? Sad.) The Grand Final today is between the Geelong Cats and the Port Adelaide Power (who wear teal uniforms). I like Geelong as I went to see them back in June with Joy & Hussey in their local stadium. I think we inspired them to greatness.

Have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Brownlow

Time and time again, Australia proves to me that it is a little different. Last night was another case in point.

I watched the 4 hour
Brownlow Medal presentation show on TV. The show is a cross between the Oscars and the Espys. It is on prime time TV on a major network. Everyone seems to watch. The medal is essentially for the AFL MVP for the regular season, here called the Best and Fairest. Players are formally eliminated if they were suspended during the year for rules violations. After every match the game officials meet and come to unanimous agreement on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd best players on the ground in that game (from either team). Kind of like the NHL stars of the game award. (Do they only do that for the Capitals? anyway….) 3rd gets you one vote, 2nd gets you two votes and 1st gets you 3 votes toward the Brownlow. Big deal, that all seems pretty standard.

Where it gets a little wacky is in the presentation. The show to present this medal is the biggest TV night of the year. There is a lengthy red carpet process and thorough critique of all the wives and girlfriend gowns. Now remember, the whole show is to present just one award. How does that take all night? I’ll tell you how. By reading each vote, for every game, all season.

That’s right. It’s a bit like Bingo. “In round 1, Collingwood Magpies vs. the Hawthorne Hawks, with 1 vote Collingwood, Dale Thomas, with 2 votes Collingwood Leon Davis, with 3 votes for best on ground Collingwood Anthony Rocca…” There are 22 rounds, and 8 games per round. That’s 176 games, and 528 separate votes to read out. One. At. A. Time. This would be like a Cy Young show where every sportswriters vote was read out individually. In between all of this they show some highlights from the season and do some player interviews.

Obviously, they could tally the votes for us and just announce the winner, like every award show in the US, but where’s the fun in that?

Speaking of sports and voting, I’m not sure how long we can vote, but please consider voting for my Georgetown friend Dan Brody to be an Olympic torch bearer: vote

NFL Survival update: Steelers got me through week 3 and how. Take that San Francisco. Looking at week 4 now for a team I actually want to cheer for that might win. Easier said than done. My Eagles finally did win, but in the ugliest throwback jerseys I’ve seen in quite some time. Speaking of jerseys, thanks to Jesse for this link which is like a Vice Don’t Website tailored just for my interest:

Jesse also found provided this link to an important anthropological study
so something tells me he’s been doing a little extra surfing of the net lately.

Barb and Mike touch down in my hemisphere this Thursday. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Spring and Sport

Hello. I know you're all on the edge of your seat about the AFL finals. The Grand Final is next Saturday. It'll be the Geelong Cats against the Port Adelaide Power. Go Cats!

This week was fine. Work. Sleep. Repeat.

On Friday, I went to a commitment ceremony at Town Hall for Joy and Hussey. Everyone had a good time.

More on TV, (the trend here is that I have been writing these post from the couch in front of the TV.)

If someone was trying to design and direct a Television show for me to become deeply addicted to, they could not have done a better job than Raising Baby. If the apartment were burning down I still might try to make it to the end of the episode before I evacuate. This show is a different baby wild animal being raised every week. I have seen Seal and Gorilla. eeeeeeeeeeeee! I have e-mailed to volunteer to raise the baby polar bear so hopefully they will get back to me soon about that.

In some ways the culture here is more conservative. If they find out a politician has ever gone to a strip club for a bachelor party they want his head. At the same time, I just saw a subway commercial that said regular fast food (McDonald's) gives you a Badonkadonk Butt. Can you say that on TV? Californication is on regular prime time TV here with all the language and nudity. What gives?
They are also running ads on TV supporting television ads. Do you know what I mean? It's an ad for ads, saying that TV ads raise awareness about your business. No really? I hope this is followed by and ad supporting ads for ads.

My parents arrive in Melbourne on Sunday. We'll be seeing the Great Ocean Road and the Yarra Wine Valley. More on that soon. Until then I'll be watching 20-20 cricket, the rugby world cup, the women's world cup (possible semis showdown between the US and Australia) and Davis cup tennis. Have a great week.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Important Things

Just when I think I have nothing else to tell you I get two questions like that. Wow. I have been leaving out some critical topics. That’s why this is a dialogue.

First. TimTams. A TimTam is probably the pinnacle of Australian contribution to global culture. The cookie is two chocolate wafers the consistency of a thin mint without the mint flavor. The two cookies make a sandwich with a chocolate mousse cream that is then dipped in milk chocolate. The best way to eat a TimTam is to bite off both ends and drink milk through your TimTam straw. Most bars will give you a TimTam to drink your Baileys through as well. TimTams are sold in single serving 14 cookie packages.

Next CSI. I love how ridiculous it is. They’ll do anything. They have no qualms about insulting the viewers. The crux of the show is that some piece of evidence solves the case. So the dead body will have insect eggs from an insect that is going extinct and only exists in one town where only one person lives. Or the body will have roe on it and it will be a kind served at only one sushi place in New York and the killer is a sushi chef who was still covered in roe when he went on a murderous rage. Once I know an episode is on I cannot look away until the ridiculously specific clue is found. I love that basically the same show is supposed to be three shows: New York, Miami and Las Vegas. I’m waiting for CBS to create four more to round out the week. CSI Edmonton would be good. What about a CSI Cincinnati that only solves the crimes committed by the Bengals? Or a CSI Lake Wacamaw where no crimes are committed and they use evidence to give parking tickets and high school detention. What about CSI Bombay? That might actually be interesting.

More on TV: do you guys have the Snickers ads with Mr. T?

These totally crack me up. Get some Nuts. He looks exactly like he did on Silver Spoons in 1982. Does he sleep in a cryogenic chamber?

Survival update: the Bears got me through to week two, though the Steelers would have worked out as well, obviously.

Cricket is back on here in the middle of the night. WooHoo.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

3 Day Old Sushi

Hmmm… What can I tell you? It has been a quiet week. I worked. Ran some. Biked some. Threw some. Pretty quiet here. I’m not proud to admit that on Tuesday I was so bored I watched two successive episodes of So You Think You Can Dance. That was pretty sad.

TV here has every crap American show. For some reason they are two seasons behind on the Ghost Whisperer and that is always on. Why is Jennifer Love Hewatt always in some low cut top talking to dead people’s relatives? Why do I know this? Why is any American show, no matter how crappy, on TV here? I know I should get out more. Australians get a bit of a chip on their shoulder that shows are always on here a few months behind in the states. The local TV stations have started a new promotion that they call TV “Streaming from the States”. It’s for new shows like Californication. The concept is that Australians no longer have to endure the wait of a few extra weeks to see the next episode of American Law & Order, you can see it at the same time as the US. Of course, the ‘streaming’ term makes no sense, as the show is not actually shown at the same time, because that would be in the middle of the work day here. Whatever. Minor details I guess in the grand scheme of progress which is of course defined as getting the latest American TV show as soon as possible.

The only plus side to Australian TV right now is a little something I call Tuesday lunch football. I’ll be watching my Eagles on Fox sports here live. The game starts at noon. The Eagles will try to make something out of the season. Let’s all hope they can beat the Washington Racial Slurs.

This week in the survival pool, I was going to go with the Steelers, but I was afraid that the miracle Bills might pop up and win one for Everett, so I decided to wait on that a bit.

The drought is still quite bad here and all the crops are failing so food prices are on the rise. Of course, this won’t really affect me, but it is bad news for poor Australians. All the banana crops died in the drought and as a result bananas are almost impossible to find here and like $6 each if you can find one.

I bought a new flashing light for the front of Deirdre. I hope she doesn’t get all bling conscious and materialistic.

I had a Footy Semi-finals game party on Saturday. The “semi-finals” are a round played when 6 teams remain. Next week, with only 4 teams left they will play the “preliminary finals”. Then, just after my parents arrive, they will play the Grand Final. The ‘party’ was quiet but fun. I had about 10 people over to eat sushi, cheese, TimTams and watch the game.

Thanks to Kimmie for this shout out to my CSI addiction: Fact Checkers Unit

Have a good week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Honorary Queenslander

NUFL 2 was this past weekend in Albert Park. The fields there are a bit like Red Hook with big dirt and dust patches. I ended up an honorary Queenslander for the weekend. Sultry, the team coming down from Brisbane lost a number of their free agents and players who couldn’t afford to fly down to Melbourne and were showing up with a skeleton crew. VOS was already the largest team in the national competition and everyone was coming this weekend since it was in town. As I’m not too deeply enmeshed in my Victorian roots, and I gave up state pride when I moved to Texas in 6th grade, I was happy to volunteer to play with Sultry. The girls were all really nice and I had fun. Our team was out matched and lost all 4 of our games. It was a really windy weekend in Melbourne and the teams played zone all weekend. We just didn’t have the handlers to hang in. We had adequate D and were getting turns, but just couldn’t turn them in to scores. I played pretty well except for a throw away to the dump that is still eating at me and a drop while handling in the axis. I was only thinking about swinging the disc to the other handler ASAP to beat the cup and didn’t wait until I caught the disc first. Arrrgh! So frustrating.

Biking to NUFL2 on Sunday in Albert Park I saw one of the coolest things I’ve seen since I arrived here. I’ve mentioned the huge black swans with red beaks before. (Is a black Swan just a goose? I don’t know. These are some of the most beautiful and incredible birds I’ve ever seen. I’ll go with black swan until proven elsewise.) Apparently it’s swanling (cygnet) time because I saw several tiny baby swans. They are light grey and look like a duckling that was dipped in egg batter and then in snow. They waddle unsteadily. They are the cutest thing I have ever seen. It’s thanks only to the fact that I had to get to a game that I didn’t stay there all day and maybe try to take one home with me.

I lived through week one in my NFL survival pool. Sure it’s easy to do that when you pick the Colts. Maybe that’s automatic and maybe I wasted a get out of jail free I’ll need later on in the season but I’ve already finished ahead of than 5 people in the pool so we’ll see how it goes. What happened to my Eagles? How did we lose to that geriatric wash up? I bet I am glad to be on the wrong side of the world for the NFL this season.

Don’t be frightened, but I’ve been cooking again. Dinner tonight and lunch for the rest of the week is this recipe that I sort of improvised. Boil a cup of brown rice with two cups of water and simmer for 25 minutes. Yes, I know that’s just the recipe for rice. There’s more. Then add a cup of frozen peas, a cup of mushrooms that they cut up for you at and prepackaged at the grocery store, a cup of frozen cauliflower, four servings of tofu, cubed and a whole jar of curry sauce. Makes 1 dinner and 3 lunches. I’m eating it now. It’s pretty good. Would be better if I hadn’t accidentally purchased something that I never knew existed before which are ‘mint flavored’ frozen peas. Who would do this to peas? Why? Are people clamoring for refreshing gum flavored peas? What’s the extension of this aberration? Mint flavored carrots? Tomatoes? Mint flavored orange juice.? Let’s band together to fight this mint invasion. Are you with me?

I haven’t really been too homesick for NYC since I got here, but lately has been the worst so far. Ambush is getting ready for the fall series and just had their famously wild fundraiser and I missed it! Killer. I’m sure you girls had fun. Go Bush!

As Warren G said in 1994, “What’s Next? What’s Next? What’s N-X-E-T?”

Well, my parents will be here to visit soon. I’m steeling myself for that.

The footy finals are in full swing here and I’m having folks over on Saturday night to watch the Hawthorn Hawks vs. the North Melbourne Kangaroos (Dad, that’s the shirt you got for Father’s day). Go Roos!

With NUFL over there should be a little break in ultimate. I was going to play Mixed Nationals with Gary, but that’s in Sydney the same weekend I’ll be in the Yarra Wine Valley with my parents and Aunt and Uncle. It’s okay. You may have noticed I’ve been to a few tournaments before.

I am thinking about playing with the Australian national team in Taiwan in December. More on that in future posts.

Here’s wishing you a good week and reminding you the escape key will not save you in the event of a fire.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Happy Labor Day you slackers. It is not a holiday here, so I'll be at work, laboring.

I seem to have broken my coccyx bone again for a third time. I'm not sure how. I think this is just being old. It is pretty impossible to sit or lie on my back. It happened at work.

Luckily, in this day and age there is an online community for everything. This is my newest social peer group. Seriously gripping reading.

This weekend involved a lot of lying on my stomach, a half birthday for Joy and Jacko at 54 Laity and VOS training.

This was the last weekend of the regular season of AFL. The top 8 (of 16) make the "finals" (the playoffs). They will work toward the Grand Final (super bowl) over the next few weekends.

It's a little wack. Next weekend: 1 plays 4, 2 plays 3, 5 plays 8 and 7 plays 6. The losers of the 5/8 and the 7/6 game are eliminated. The winners of the 1/4, 2/3 get a bye next weekend. The losers of the 1/4, 2/3 play the winners of 5/8 & 7/6. So two weekend from now... lets say everyone holds seed. 4 will play 6 and 3 will play 5. The winners of those games will play the two teams who had a bye, and the winners of those games will play each other in the grand final. If you go back and read this paragraph 5 more times it still won't make any sense. Sorry.

Next weekend is the NUFL 2 tournament. The weekend after that I'll throw a finals party.

It's warm here and spring is coming on full force.