Saturday, June 23, 2007

Quick updates

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The dead possum is STILL hanging on the light wire down by the park. Interesting. The mechanism for tail grasping must be independent of muscle activity - for SURELY the rigidity of rigor has long since passed. Or, maybe he is fused there thanks to a, um, large voltage surge...

The car. The car. Once more my primary concern is what tune to sing while driving alone.

A full week of work this week and next - then the onslaught from Ohio arrives. July 5th. Plans are being made. Money is being spent.

Celebrated picking up 4 weeks of pay! (I finally learned where the envelopes are kept.) And, since it was all in cash, of course, I thought I'd treat myself to someone cooking for me. Especially good on a Sat because there is really no lunch on Saturdays. My first choice, the Tai restaurant on Gimpie, didn't open until 5:30 and it was 5:00 and too cool to just stand around. So, I went to Montezuma's for a change of pace. Oh my. I must stop trying to get Mexican food in Australia. I ordered a seafood enchilada and while it took about 1/2 of the enchilada to dissect out the flavor, I must say "fishstick with ketchup AND tarter sauce". Yuck. Never again! I can wait til I get home. There will be chips and salsa there, as well.

Totally beat this evening. Kevin is gone and Zelda and I are about to veg out with a movie. Tonight I think it will be "Half Nelson". Good reviews and less than 2 hours long.

We caught the new HBO comedy "Flight of the Conchords"...and look forward to a regular relationship with the band. Check it out if you get the chance. What lyricists! Way, way, way better than "John from Cincinnati". While we usually give a show about 3 episodes to entice us- we have made an exception here. I think this change comes from 2 sources. We felt burned by "Dirt" and we were never intrigued by "Deadwood". I like the title, though.

The first season of "Big Love" is starting in Australia. Pink signs on buses with a groom statue and 3 brides- like you'd see on a wedding cake. Maybe this was the ad in the US, too? Anyway, these are the chunkiest wedding cake brides I've seen! Odd.

And now to change into my jammies and start the sacrifice of the meager brain cells. Ah, the end of a busy week!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


To those of you in the Northern Hemisphere- Enjoy your first day of summer and you can start sharing some of those extra hours of sunshine NOW. As for us, we already started winter. For some reason Australia has divorced itself from using the sun as a calendar. Winter starts June 1. Solstice be damned! But, for me, pagan that I am at heart, I celebrated the beginning of the winter season by moving my summer clothes into the spare room closet and pulled out my winter clothes. We dashed out two weeks ago and purchased a space heater so we can huddle together on the love seat and stare at the computer screen in comfort. Maybe it was because my house was ALWAYS 65 degrees in the winter (day and evening) that it felt more comfortable than 65 on a Brisbane evening. Maybe it is contrast of the warm sunny afternoons that make the nights feel so frigid.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New music

I ordered an e-card for Kevin for father's day- Zelda has trouble getting out to the store to pick out her own. None of the choices said "you throw a mean tennis dumb-bell" or "I like sleeping with you best" or "my chin, your knee". So, I got one that I liked the music on. You can hear it here- I hope- Kevin's card. A little internet research tells me it is Kate Rusby's "The Sleepless Sailor". I'm a sucker for a lullaby. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Stray thoughts

The nudist beach in Noosa- in error I reported it was "unofficial". I am embarrassed to report my error. It is "informal". Those were informal nudists. I should have known. No ties.

Having multicolored money and a lack of pennies may be having an anti-arithmetic effect here. I noticed the cash register at Sushi Train. You don't key in the dollar amount that the customer has given you. You only have to match up the bill to one on the touch screen. Of course, you still have to count out change. At the deli counter in Coles I had a second interesting numbers experience. I asked for 300 grams of chicken mince. The young man glopped out 248 and asked "is 250 OK?". Granted 2 grams of chicken is negligible, but I suspect he's been reading cash registers for too long- where $2.48 cents of chicken mince will cost you $2.50.

Which brings me to my wild idea for becoming rich, rich, rich! Lets say we are out shopping at Coles. If the total bill comes to something plus 2 cents (or less), it is rounded down to 0. For example, my grocery tab was $64.52. I'm charged $64.50. If I pay in cash. If the total bill sums to 3 cents (or more- which face it, is 4 cents), the amount is rounded to 5 cents: $43.84 becomes $43.85. (The same rounding occurs above 5: 6 and 7 round down, 8 and 9 round up.) It seems that if I'm paying with our debit card- we CALL it a credit card- and it has a VISA imprint on it- but that DOESN'T make it a credit card- I get charged the exact amount. I guess that the bank can still handle numbers other than 0 or 5 in the ones column. So, if I pay cash for all purchases that get rounded DOWN and credit for purchases that would be rounded UP...I think I could end up with something like a million dollars in only a few centuries!

Kootie catchers.
Kevin remarked while driving last weekend that we forget all kinds of things as we get older- like how to make those decision making devices out of paper. (We called them kootie catchers. I don't think he had a name for them.) As it turns out, though my memory can be very sieve-like, I CAN help you chose between two options. Call for yours today. (It is easier to use two hands- but harder to use two hands AND photograph the device.)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Missing my dad. Everyday. Happy Father's Day! to every one who is a father or knows a father or has a father...

Automobile blues

Our car IS quite remarkable. I do a lot of complaining about it: the lack of power steering, the absence of air conditioning, heating, defogging- though a fan will blow to no great effect for all three of these- the useless windshield wipers (less of a problem during drought), the way you have to roll down the driver's side window to see out the side, the lack of power steering, no radio, no clock, no tape player, no power steering... Yet, it is now 20 years old and is currently chugging along quite nicely. For the last year it has gotten us everywhere we've wanted to go. Even when it was hemorrhaging oil, we made it to Sydney! All in all a bargain at $100.

This is as far as I got on Friday. I wanted to send a grateful message to the universe for the automobile that gets me to work, to the grocery, to the movies daily. I was going to try to then slide into a discussion of whether and what to sing in a car without a radio. Light and happy.

This morning, however, Kevin sketched a pentagram on the driveway with his three point turn. A steady stream of oil pours- not drips- from the passenger side of the engine. He thinks it is a new problem and not the one Rob fixed in Sydney. We've debated flying Rob up from Sydney to help- but I think the current plan is I'll fill it up with oil then (fingers crossed) drop it off at Aspley Automotive on Monday on the way to the train station. Kevin would say that "life tends to greater irony".

Australia- where the dead hang

I don't see much in the way of road kill in Brisbane. (I've seen PLENTY of it while driving through the outback. Not little roadkill, either. Big dead animals. Animals that would have killed our car if we had been involved with the collision. Big and stiff legged like toppled saw horses. But, that's another story. And, I guess I've told it. Oh, well. Maybe I will change the title.)

Road kill, no. Power line kill. Yes. In the last month- 2 bats and a possum. We found the possum today on our "get-out-of-the-house-so-the-realtor-can-show-the-place" walk with Zelda. I'm not sure what kills you up there. But once you're dead, you seem to have fantastic holding ability. You probably can't appreciate it, but the possum is holding on by the tip of his tail. Prehensile rigor mortis.

I don't walk under the dead, anyway. Someday, they're gonna fall.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

cluster map test

I'm not convinced the map is updating- so I'll put it back in the body of the blog.

Or, perpetually 5 people have stopped in and the "new" map is never triggered...?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Working- week 6 or so

I'm learning some new vocabulary- if not some new spellings.

My dog is "real crook". This isn't good. In fact, it is quite bad. Not bad as in felony vs. misdemeanor but bad as in "not long for this world", perhaps.

He's a "sook". She's been "sooky" lately. This isn't necessarily bad. It means primarily the dog has been underfoot and wanting attention. It might mean a bit of a "drama" about getting a shot. Oh wow. The internet provided the definition: person or animal who is soft, tame, inoffensive; Someone who complains a lot.

Does he look like he's a dier? (Just what it sounds like. So far, I've been wrong every time... which is good. They both recovered.)

He's here for his needle. Vaccine- or other injection.

She hasn't fitted since last December. I know it sounds potentially obscene- but no one is wearing their doberman. She just hasn't had a seizure in 6 months. That is good.

I think I may have covered this one before. The dog was "unwell". This CAN mean anything up to and including "knocking on death's door". Masters of understatement! Though to be fair the referral report DID say the dog was "very unwell".

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Our Queen's' Birthday Weekend AWAY

A novel idea. We, having 2 days off together, took off for the holiday weekend. And, we didn't get a speeding ticket.

I wanted to see the Glass House Mountains. Despite having seen them and having read the origin of their name (they looked like the chimneys of glass factories), I still picture peaks made of big chunks of glass. Some of it is colored. Pink. Green. Most is clear. But, anyway, it isn't like that. We took the Glass House Mountain Tourist Drive and went first to the viewing area. From two different platforms you can look out over the expanse of green to gaze upon the Glass House Mountains. Here you are seeing Beerwah (the pregnant mother) and Coonowrin (the cowardly son- who failed to protect his mother as his father Tibrogargan requested- so Pop took a "big ole stick" and slammed him "upside the head" (I'm translating from the original Aborigine here) producing the crooked neck appearance. Family values.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
We had read in the Lonely Planet Guide to Queensland (that we borrowed from the library- having sent all our own tour books to the US for upcoming travelers) that the trail to the top of Tibrogargan was steep but doable. Do-able for a goat. A goat or Kevin. Me- I made it MAYBE half-way when I decided that climbing straight up may be possible, but I couldn't imagine how I'd climb back down. So, I went down a few meters and sat on a rock and waited for Kevin. It was very peaceful sitting in the warm sunshine. I started nodding off. I reconsidered my decision. Sleeping on mountain ledge did not seem like the kind of rest I needed- so I went back down and waited in the car.

From there we headed North by way of going South. My mistake. I -the navigator- failed to figure out what unmarked road we were traveling on. By luck, however, we came to the Wild Horse Mountain look out. Wow. Painful. Kevin pointed to this structure wayyyy up and supposed that was the look out. Ha. It was. It was an 800 m walk on a paved drive at a steep incline. We paused more than once on our ascent. As it turns out- it was totally worth it. You'll have to believe me here- because this is where I determined that my camera was "unreliable". The view of the Glass House Mountains was superior. We could even see tiny Brisbane in the distance. Kevin assures me that the experience still counts even if we don't have a photo. Sigh.

We arrived in Noosa just after sunset. We ate dinner and retired early. It was a bit of a noisy hostel and I thought I might have trouble sleeping- but that was my last thought. In the morning we went to the Noosa National Park and took a fabulous 3 hour hike. Along a boardwalk on the cliffs above the shore, on the beach (the unofficial nudist beach with the unofficial nudists), through eucalyptus groves and rainforst. We occasionally looked up but failed to spot any of the koala that make this park famous. We didn't work too hard at this, as we've learned that even in zoos when they point at WHICH tree the koala is in we can't find them. Here photos exist. But they are on film. And, I've 3 exposures left on that roll. It could be months!

After lunch, we pulled on our bathing suits and went for a dip in the ocean. Kevin wins. He went under water. Me- I wasn't interested in a full wet body experience and just walked along the shore. I did do a cartwheel through the surf. I saw some 6 year old doing them. It looked like fun.

On the drive home we pulled over for 2 tourist attractions: The Ginger Factory ("Free Samples"- but only if you pay for the $12 tour!) and The Giant Pineapple. The pineapple appears in the newest Australian stamps. Kevin really should get more mileage out of being "Big Kev"...if not a stamp, at least a t-shirt!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Queen!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

except in Western Australia.

I don't think it matters how long I live in Australia- or really anywhere- I will always have the same reaction to the Queen's Birthday Holiday. Huh? I can't quite figure it out. Which Queen? (Of England, I know... the current queen, the first queen, the next queen. Maybe Queens are like race horses and are all "born" on the same day.) And, why on my calendar does it say 9 June "Queen's Official Birthday tentative"?? Is it "Official" or is it "tentative"? Is there a King's Official Birthday? And, if "we" had a king and a queen, would we have 2 holiday weekends? Or, would they be "born" on the same weekend...and wouldn't that be incestuous??? And, what's up with WA? Birthday rebels?! Wonder if they have second birthdays for everyone in WA...

Where's my cake?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Catching up- Working weeks 4 and 5

Work has been just so...hmmm...every day. No room to reflect, let alone write. Last week I had off Tuesday; this week, Friday. And, in Bald Hills, at least, we've been very busy. Thursday's half day ended with me getting home at 6:30 pm. I also learned that tea tree oil (as an essential oil) is a neurotoxin and will result in weakness and ataxia when applied to one's shih tzu. Friday's day of stress was peppered with surgical mayhem and awkward moments in two afternoon exams where I had to quickly excuse myself so that I might not vomit on the scheduled pet. Saturday was like a breath of fresh air. The surgical dogs were both alive and with their guts neatly tucked away inside their respected abdomens, Why I was worried about that for the dog with knee surgery is a mystery even to me. In addition, despite being double booked at least twice, we managed to get out almost on time!

Saturday evening we used 2 of our prepaid movie passes to see "My Best Friend". I thought it was warm and charming. Kevin thought is was predictable and without the humor he was expecting. He is a hard man on comedy. Anyway, I really enjoyed the film- I am a bit of a sucker for love stories about friends. Not "love stories about friends" ala "When Harry Met Sally"- though I quite like that film. I mean, stories about the love that friends have for each other- ala "Il Postino"... which I probably like more than "WHMS". (I just looked up both these films on IMDB. Both receive 7.6/10 ratings! And, I am reminded that there is a romantic love story in Il Postino....but that isn't the story that makes me cry.)