Sunday, November 25, 2007


Wanted for questioning about the untimely demise of Olympia Rose Begonia: Courtney "Black Thumb" Kelly. The suspect is likely unarmed but should be considered dangerous to anyone who relies on chlorophyll to generate cellular energy.

Well I skipped the Window Box update last week with the post on Wilson's Prom and I know that your are jonesin' just like when HBO skips a week on the Wire, so calm down, calm down (Season 4 DVD out now for those already thinking of Christmas) here's the skinny on the 'Box: As you can see the Begonia has about had it. Thanks to Amy for the suggestion to cut it back, I clipped off 2/3rds of the blooms. Maybe it was just to little to late, but the rest of the leaves have turned black and I think the end is upon us. Should I cut the rest of the blooms off? Should I hold a service? The Lavender has developed a huge crush on the Erinus and refuses to stand on his own any more. He is all tangled up. The Erinus doesn't seem to be returning the ardor, but doesn't seem to mind and she continues to grow and flower. I guess 1 out of 3 isn't so bad. That's still better than the survival rate of kids in the New Jersey Foster care system.

Work is nuts. Killing me. I worked all weekend. It blew. I am tired. I did escape on Sunday evening for a throw around of the disc which was a nice change. This week looks even worse. ew.

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. They don't have that here, but I know enough expats I actually had two Thanksgiving Dinners. Thanks to Gil, Susan and Julia for having me over for an Aussie hybrid turkey and shrimp on the barbie. Thanks also to Mike Shimota who had a lot of the account expats over to his place for a full catered Thanksgiving dinner. People brought their families. There were 40 or so people and maybe a third of them were under 7. There was a tumble bus out front for all of the kids. [Lynn, since I've confirmed the existence of a Tumble Bus down under, will you be coming with the girls, or are we already past that stage? Time flies...]

The election happened. Kevin Rudd (Labor) won as was widely predicted by the polls. Most of my Aussie friends seem pleased with this result, but as far as I can tell he didn't say much during the campaign to inspire optimism. He relied heavily on his election slogan (Kevin 07) which luckily rhymed and tried to say as little as possible that would make voters dislike him as much as they dislike outgoing PM John Howard.

I did steal away a break at work this weekend to plan my holiday trip. I'll be in Cambodia and Thailand over the break. Angkor Watt on Christmas day and Bangkok on New Year's eve. (Vietnam fell out as the Visa process just seemed too complex and I only have about a month to prepare.) Next I'll be planning hotels. Let me know if you'll be in the neighborhood.

Alright then, back to the salt mine.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Crying Wolf. Crying Platypus.

I am usually wrong. I’ve learned this when betting about Troy Aikman’s voice, Brian Boitano’s citizenship and this weekend about a Platypus “corpse” aka a distinctive looking log. Anyone could have made the mistake. (Sheepish.)

This weekend I went back to Wilson’s Prom and had a blast. I was with a truly great bunch of women who I am so proud to call my friends and who take great care of me. We had some run-ins with some pretty aggressive wombats, some great hikes, and played on the beach. The water was delicious. I built some sand creatures, which I really enjoyed. I saw the Southern Cross on the beach after midnight and an incredibly bright shooting star. On Sunday we went on a long gorgeous hike and swam on a secluded beach. We laughed almost the entire trip. I also spotted a lot of carrion, some of which I photographed. See?

I took all the photo’s so I’m only in this first one. This is a typical view in Wilson's Prom. Tegan, Joy, Liz, Me, Jess and Amanda:
Friday night setting up the palatial tents in the dark. Thanks to Jess' parents, I had my own 'room'.
Crimson Rosellas were everywhere:
Another typical gorgeous view. Jess, Gab, Liz, Joy, Hussey, Tegan:
The estate during the day:
Liz on some rocks at the beach:

I saw 7 of these. Liz assured me it was not a chemical spill, but a normal part of the cycle of life:
I made this 'fish'. Jess found the fin and the eye:
This is Sarsaparilla and Jess. She made his hands, among other bits.
Views like this are on every hike. The entire time. It's beauty overdose:

Here's Liz, Amanda and Tegan:

By the way, here's a quick list of things not to forget when going camping in the Prom: Bug Spray, Bathing Suit, Hat, Beach/Shower Shoes, Tylenol.
For a list of the things I forgot, see above.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2 more links

I cannot organize my thoughts. You'll just have to deal with these dribs and drabs. Sorry. If you haven't been here for a while read down a few posts to catch up.

Thanks loads to Kimmie (who i am name-dropping right and left lately like i have a crush) for passing along this post secret in response to a CSI rant I posted a while back.

Please read this story about the Australian Marky Mark:

Now that he's banned from the AFL he's going to try out for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Also if you had any doubt about the importance of World Diabetes Day, read this touching post (one of hundreds more like it) from Paige and think about what you can do to help.

Tomorrow my boss from WebMD, Emily O'Halloran, is flying all the way around the world to have dinner with me. Well, maybe there were some other reasons for her trip. I'll ask her at dinner.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The cockatoo has not been caught.

You know about Australia's killer snakes and sharks. But birds? Jellyfish? These two stories about killer animals were the leads on the moning radio news:

Check out this story about a killer cockatoo:

And this killer jellyfish:

I'm lucky to have survived this long over here I guess.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

American Stars in Bars

I just won the Irish or UK lotto again 3 more times. If only it was the ***FINAL NOTICE*** as the subject line implies.

In other news I've been extended to stay here through April, which I am glad about. I'll be busy at work, but hopefully I'll get to Asia on a trip of Christmas and have another good season with Team Box* (*perhaps working on a rename to Sporting Squadron or some such English as a second language joke. Stay Tuned. We'll see.)

I've been working ALL weekend on another PowerPoint and some spreadsheets. Liz and I discussed spreadsheet nightmares. I'm glad it's not only me. I'm not glad I worked all day both days. Makes me GROUCHY!!!!!

Friday I had awesome soup with Amanda and 7/9ths of TEAM WILD who will be going camping back to
Wilson's Prom next weekend. I am REALLY looking forward to that. Not so much the camping actually. But the being outdoors and the not being at my laptop.

Thanks to Amy for sending along this free rice link which is a good way to procrastinate when you have to work on a spreadsheet all weekend. Did I mention I was grouchy? It is gorgeous outside.

Here's this week's check on the window box:

Same updates really, Erinus seems taller, Lavender wider, Begonia sadder. Look back here to see a much happier Begonia on October 24, really just under 3 weeks ago. This serves as another reminder about how roommate situations can be complex. I recommend living alone if you don't want to look like that sad Begonia.

They put up even more Christmas decorations everywhere. Everywhere! There are these frosted metal stars that reflect like a hologram on a credit card across all the streets. There is much more Christmas stuff than I ever saw in NYC, even with the Maceys Day Parade and the Nightmare/Miracle on 34th street. See?

These stars are lining every block of every street in the CBD. It's a wonder, just the sheer volume. I dislike them.
In contrast, here are some decorations I do like. This is a current view of Flinders Street Station, the train station about a block from my apartment. Can you see that they are promoting World Diabetes Day? Click here to learn more.

Here's a close up where I was able to crop out the nearly omnipresent stars:

A few posts back Kimmie blogged about here interst in this, ""Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.") and is said to have called it his best work." Well this isn't quite as moving, and it's 25, not 6, but this is a sign that someone posted in my elevator this evening:

I think that explains the situation pretty clearly. I didn't post the sign (note the neat handwriting) but I applaud it's sentiment.

I bought tickets to the Australian Open in January. That should be fun. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

100th Episode

Don't ask me how I know this, but laundry detergent actually tastes salty. At least mine does. It's not what you would expect. Thus begins the hundredth post here at Courtneyspondence.

One of my favorite people has turned up in one of my favorite places. I love the Economist. It's the best news magazine and the only source of truth down here in the upside-down world. I love that tiny font, even though it takes me a month to get through an issue. Kimmie Kay and her husband wrote a letter to the editor. How cool is that? Check out the current issue (Nov 3-9) with Adam and a hand grenade on the cover. Here's the link to the letter. Way to go John! Fire season is just about to heat up down here, are you coming?

I went running with the bats again tonight. This is a lot better than when I went running with the rats in DC.

Is everyone looking forward to next season of Prison Break? He's going to be abducted by aliens and have to break off the spaceship. I can't wait.

Are you watching the new A-Team called the Unit? It's a pro government, pro-army version. The good news is that it won't be impacted by the Hollywood writer's strike because it's written entirely by Karl Rove.

I'm sleepy. Leave me alone.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Day at the Races: The Melbourne Cup

This Tuesday was a Victorian State holiday. It was a day off for Melbourne Cup Day. As dutiful Victorians Liz and I decided to attend the race. We took her Chris (another 55) and Pottsy who can be seen getting schooled on page 170 of Tony & Zagoria's book. It was a big horse race. It was a lot like the Kentucky Derby, without the blanket of roses, Mint Juleps, or My Old Kentucky Home. That is to say it was just another horse race. Melbournians wear their finest to the race, even to sit in the infield. The behavior is pretty much the same, but chances are that drunk girl two blankets over passed out in her own puke is wearing a thousand dollar dress and Malono Blahniks. It is nuts. Here's us:

Chris and Pottsy having a beer
Liz, Chris and Pottsy
Pottsy, Liz and Chris, still with beer. (You get the idea)
Me laughing at Liz
Me and Liz enjoying some Champers, (there is a racetrack behind us somewhere, note the guys in ties sitting on the grass)

We bet a lot but did not win too much. We had a fun day and a nice picnic lunch.

Team Box had a preliminary get together to throw around a bit on Monday which was nice. It was good to play again.

Work persists in being totally nuts.

In other news, I took this photo while shopping for the picnic lunch we had today at the race.
See the pink bunny selling the Duracell batteries. I am flummoxed. You can see him better here on Duracell's website.

Don't we all remember the Energizer Bunny?!?!?!?! If not click here.

This tells me two things. 1) Pink Bunnies = Sell Batteries. Is this obvious? Please explain. 2) Duracell's ad company said persuasive things like: "Oh yeah when we take the sunglasses off it makes him seem more trustworthy." And someone believed this was not just copying your homework off the person sitting next to you, and an ad campaign was born. :(

The Window box is getting out of hand. The Erinus is still growing, but the Lavender is ranging out and tangling up with the Erinus. I do not approve. The poor Begonia seems less happy every day. It just drops blooms. See?