Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicago, the bloggy friend hilarity edition

So I've already told you about meeting up with Sweeney and Lor and Penny at the 20SB Summit pre-party. This is the "Everything else that happened with Sweeney and Lor and Penny" edition. First and foremost, Lor brought me a box of Zebra Cakes.
Terrible photo courtesy of the sucky lighting in my hotel room

See? (If you're not aware of Lor's love of Zebra Cakes, click here.) OMG, exciting. Also, this was my breakfast a good chunk of the time because my hotel didn't have a restaurant and I was too lazy to find somewhere that served real food. Anyway, the Zebra Cakes led to the first of many Australian-American language differences.

Me: Ooooooh, Zebra Cakes!!
Lor: ZEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEbra Cakes. They're called ZEEbra Cakes.

Subsequent exchanges:
Me: I kind of want another bag of crisps...
Sweeney: Crisps??
Me: These things?
Sweeney: You mean chips.
Me: Noooo, chips are hot.
Sweeney: Those are fries. Fries are fries and chips are chips!!!

Me in Lor and Penny's hotel room: Wow, those ARE weird power points.
Lor: Power...points?
Me: *points* Those things? The stuff you plug electrical stuff into?
Penny: You mean an OUTLET?
Me: Apparently.
Lor: Ohhhhhhhh. I thought you meant like on the computer. You know, PowerPoint.

Walking through Grant Park (and totally stolen from Lor's post because I'm too lazy to write it myself, and which you should all read because it's totally awesome):

Me: Oh no! That bubbler is running constantly. 
Lor: Uh, you mean the water fountain? Bubbler! HA.
Me: Well... we called it a bubbler in primary school.
Penny: You mean elementary school?
Me: PRIMARY. It goes from grade one to...
Lor: You mean first grade?

While eating waffle fries at Navy Pier which tasted like Velveeta (again, stolen from Lor's post, only with the emphasis on tomato changed):

Sweeney: Maybe if we drown it in ketchup? Or salsa? Pass the ketchup.
Me: Oh, you mean tomato sauce?
Lor: NO. To-may-to sauce is the thing you put on pizza. It's... sauce-y, you know?
Me: No, that's tomato paste. 
Lor: NOOOOO. To-may-to paste is the thing that comes in a can and is paste-y.
Sweeney: You really have the best definitions. To-may-to paste: paste-y.

In the bathroom at the Summit:
Me: Oops. I nearly tripped over the rubbish bin.
Lor and Sweeney: RUBBISH BIN!!!!!
Me: I feel like I'm in the middle of that scene in Love Actually where they make him say random stuff... You know, "BOTTLE!!"
Lor: I'm going to use that every time I don't want to do something. "Do you want to go to the movies tonight?" "Pff. Rubbish bin." 

Other Australian pronunciations/words that confuse Americans?
  • Aluminium
  • Vase (rather than vay-se)
  • Arse
  • Cowbag
  • Queue
  • Bathers
On Sunday after the conference finished, Lor, Penny and I went and ate our body weight in Chicago deep dish pizza, and still found room for this:

It was delicious. On Monday morning, we trekked down to the Field Museum. We saw Sue, the most complete T-Rex in existence. We saw stone age artefacts. Taxidermied specimens. A man-eating lion. Lor and I sat in giant plastic cicadas. They were NOT comfortable. And we laughed hysterically in the dinosaur rooms. Why? 
FAIL-o-saurus

Skulls with knobs on

This *bone* came from a gigantic dinosaur and you can touch it...

We're classy like that. Then we headed back to Lor and Penny's hotel to meet Sweeney. Cramming four girls and three lots of luggage into Sweeney's Mustang was an interesting experience!! From there, we headed to Navy Pier for a grand farewell to Chicago for Lor and Penny. 

We stopped to eat as soon as we got there. It was our last meal together, and we spent pretty much the entire thing in fits of hysterical laughter. I ordered a chicken salad wrap for lunch, which came with chips (sorry Sweeney, FRIES) or coleslaw. But there was also mac and cheese on the menu. So I asked for a side of that as well as my wrap. The waitress said that for like $2, I could sub in a serve of mac and cheese. 
Sweeney and Lor: (yelling) YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Waitress: *looks terrified* Okay then.
So all three of us were insanely excited about our mac and cheese. When it arrived, we each took a bite and then made this face:
Source

Lor: Uhhhhhhhh... 
Sweeney: This is made with smoked cheese...
Me: It tastes like bonfire.
Penny: *snort*
Lor: OHMIGAWD, YOU'RE RIGHT!!

It really did. Needless to say, we barely ate any of it. Lor's serve of mac and bonfire had been a lot bigger than mine and Sweeney's, so she felt the need to hide the evidence. In her sandwich. Under a lettuce leaf in Penny's salad. In the leftover waffle fries. IN THE SALSA. We could barely breathe we were laughing so hard. It was a bittersweet moment, knowing that we'd soon be going our separate ways, not meeting again for who knows how long.

After the lunch of hilarity, we wandered through the shops at Navy Pier, stopping to buy fudge, and to look at the stained glass museum (with added soundtrack courtesy of Lor singing 'Belle' from Beauty and the Beast). At the entrance to the pier, I left them to walk back to my hotel. I miss the bloggy friend bubble. Everything was ten times funnier in there... 

Oh, and? This crosses number 8 off my 101 in 1001 list - meet a blog friend in real life. It was a blast. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. Sweeney, Lor and Penny - I love you guys. Come to Melbourne soon. Kthxbai.

K xx

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Awesome sauce: A 20SB Summit recap

Yeah, yeah, I'm an epic slacker. The 20SB Summit was a full week ago and I'm only just getting around to writing about it... #timelinessfail

It's hard to believe, as I sit here melting into a puddle in Denver, that it was a whole week ago that I was sitting in Chicago furiously scribbling notes, listening to truly inspiring people, making new friends, and generally revelling in the knowledge that I'm not the only 20-something in the world who has NO idea what they're doing (*is relieved*).

I, like many others, was somewhat hesitant in the beginning. I had fears that it was going to be more of what I heard at Blogopolis only a couple of weeks before I left - entire days of how to work with brands, how to monetise your blog, the importance of SEO. I don't think I've ever been so glad to be wrong.

The two keynote speeches (by Scott Belsky and Jenny Blake) were fabulous, and applicable to life across the board, not just to blogging. And I know the whole room could relate when Jenny Blake talked about how between you and a big goal is "the fire pit of failure and death". (I wish to God I had a picture of her slide for you. But the downside of buying a $10 phone is that it doesn't have a built in camera, which makes taking pictures of things like Powerpoint slides rather more complicated!)

The sessions I attended focused on growing a community, integrating photography, collaboration, organising offline events from online communities, and establishing boundaries. As with Blogopolis, there was one speaker that was a stand out for me. At Blogopolis, it was Darren Rowse - Problogger himself. At the 20SB Summit, it was Ben Boudreau. His session "Oh no, I've said too much" was hilarious, while being informative at the same time. I only wish I hadn't been too much of a chicken to introduce myself afterwards. We *totally* could have bonded over having weird accents and coming from countries that have Queen Elizabeth on the money... *sigh*

The true sign of success for the first ever 20SB Summit? When our fearless leader DShan made his closing remarks, said "That's a wrap", and NO ONE MOVED. No one wanted it to be over.

I learnt so much from the Summit. To tell people your ideas so that you're accountable on following through. To be yourself. To engage with your community offline as well as on. To be vulnerable and push yourself outside your comfort zone in what you write. That participation matters. To think about what it is in a situation that caught your attention, and photograph THAT. And, most importantly, that bloggers are pretty much the most awesome people of EVER.

So thank you to all the sponsors for making it possible. To all the speakers for delivering content that hit the nail on the head. And thank you to DShan and the 20SB team for organising a truly amazing weekend. If it weren't so damned expensive to fly over here, I'd sign up for next year's summit in a heartbeat.

K xx

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ferris Bueller, you're my hero

I don't know about you guys, but when I think of Chicago, there are a couple of things that immediately spring to mind:
1. While You Were Sleeping.
2. The Blues Brothers.
3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Given that, I had high hopes for adventures while I was here. And Chicago, you delivered in fine form. Okay, so I didn't exactly ride a parade float down Dearborn Street, but it's been pretty damned memorable. Thursday was filled with jetlag, shopping and spontaneous computer purchasing. On Friday, I had every intention of going to the Art Institute. I decided I was going to walk around the lake to get there. And by the time I pulled out the map to check which street I needed, I was a couple of blocks past it. So I figured I'd go to the Field Museum. Only then I got to the museum campus and went "Oooooh, aquarium!!". So I wound up going there instead #decisionmakinggenius

The aquarium was pretty fun though. There were poison dart frogs and everything.

See?

Friday night was when things really got interesting. Because it was the pre-20SB Summit cocktail party at the Crimson Lounge of the Sax Hotel. So I got tarted dressed up and walked over there (which was when the pavement ate the heel of my shoe). I was anticipating all kinds of awkward standing around, seeing as I'm not the type to go and introduce myself to people. But it was all avoided thanks to Helena, who saw me standing there like the introvert I am and rescued me from myself. (Thanks lovely!!)

The party itself was fun - there were Viking hats and free booze and photo booths and all manner of good things. But the bestest part of all was that I FIIIIIIIIIIIIINALLY got to meet Lor and Sweeney and Penny. #OMGSOEXCITING An entire packet of Tim Tams *may* have been consumed.

The real story, though, started after the party. Penny and I were staaaaaarving, so we wandered around looking for food. Then the following conversation happened:
Sweeney: What time is it?
Lor: I think about 9.30?
Random possibly homeless dude walking down the street: Actually, it's almost 10.00, ladies!
All of us: Um, thanks.
Random possibly homeless dude walking down the street: So, what time do the panties come off?
Me: *snorts*
Lor and Sweeney: *horror*
Penny: How about NEVER O'CLOCK!!
Bouncer guy standing nearby: Did he REALLY just say that?!?!

Shortly thereafter, hysterical laughter set in. It was only made worse by the bouncer at the bar we tried to go to insisting that he wouldn't let us in until he'd fed us each a piece of the Mrs. Field's icecream sandwich cookie thing he was eating. There's a SMALL possibility that we threw Sweeney to the wolves and insisted that he feed her the piece of cookie sandwich thing and just hand pieces of it to the rest of us. I like to think of it as America delivering her with all the batshit craziness it possibly could before she leaves for Paris this week. So Sweeney, we were purely doing our part to make the weekend as memorable as possible! ;)

Sadly, my flight to Denver is about to board, so the rest of the weekend's insanity will have to wait until another time. Still, I think Ferris Bueller would be proud. Don't you?

K xx

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chicago, part 1 of a millionty

Holy shitballs, you guys. I have SO many stories to tell you, and absolutely no idea where to start... While I was at dinner earlier, I actually made a list of all the stuff that's happened since I arrived that I want to blog about, and it's two pages long. So I'm going to go with bullet pointing some of it purely to avoid writing the longest posts in history.

  • Chicago is kind of anti-escalators. I caught the train into the city from O'Hare and lugging my suitcase up a  bazillion stairs was not fun.
  • Deep dish pizza takes a really freaking long time to cook. Especially when you haven't slept in 26 hours and go out in search of dinner at 8.45pm.
  • Despite seeming like the healthy option at the time, broccoli has no place in/on a pizza...
  • I lasted a whopping 24 hours connecting to Wifi on my phone before going to Best Buy and spending $250 on a shiny new Netbook. On the plus side, it will make blogging a lot easier! 
  • Despite saying that you're only in the country for six weeks and that you'll be travelling, the serving wench person will still try to upsell you to a $900 state of the art laptop. Urm. NO...
  • When you buy a prepaid mobile phone that costs $10, you get what you pay for.
  • American TV seems to show nothing but Law & Order: SVU. I swear, all I've seen in the past 5 days is that, adverts and baseball.
  • The collective noun for a group of jellyfish is a smack. Random, right?!
  • Chicago apparently has really wide pavement cracks and hates my shoes. On my way to the pre-20SB Summit party on Friday night, the heel of one shoe got stuck in a pavement crack. When I got home hours later, I found that the end of my heel had actually been PULLED OFF. So somewhere, in the depths of central Chicago, is the end of my heel...
  • I can't for the life of me master the art of walking on the right.
  • I'm pretty sure that the only reason I haven't been hit by a car is because I've been ensuring someone else enters the pedestrian crossing first just in case I've looked the wrong way and someone is running the light...
  • I kind of suck at map reading.
And I believe that covers things up to the pre-20SB Summit party, which was where things REALLY got interesting. So I think that's a story for another post.

How's things with you guys?
K xx

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What up, America!

So I'm currently sitting in the gate lounge at the delightfully snore-worthy Los Angeles International Airport (Nikki - we're in the same state!!!!), waiting to board my flight to Chicago and by extension the 20SB Summit. OH MY GAWDDDDDDDDDDD!!! :D Anyway, I figured I'd pass the time by stuffing my face with a Starbucks bagel and writing a blog post for y'all! <-- America, you're already a terrible influence on me.
Things that make a 14.5 hour international flight a total suckfest:
1. Trying to eat peas with a very bendy plastic fork during turbulence.
2. A small child with a cold sitting a row in front of you and screaming at random intervals throughout the flight.
3. Sitting across the aisle from a man who made terrifying snorting noises for the entire flight. Surely after the first hour, you'd just find a tissue rather than snorting back your snot???
4. Being sat next to an 80 year old married couple who need to pee almost constantly, who feel the need to hold conversations with you while you're trying to watch movies, and who spent half the flight asking how to use the entertainment system...
5. Getting a whopping 45 minutes of sleep due to the combined effect of points 2, 3 and 4.
6. Finally getting to LA only to end up spending an hour in the queue for Immigration.
Things that make a sucky 14.5 hour international flight better:
1. Jake Gyllenhaal movies (shame it was Source Code...)
2. Scoring free dessert made by the first class chef from the steward to say thank you for working the entertainment system for the aforementioned old couple so he could do his job. It was creme brulee and it was amazeballs...
3. Amusing conversations with fellow passengers in the stupidly long immigration queue.
4. Getting through Immigration and to the carousel just as your suitcase is going past.
5. Having the following conversation:
Hot customs guy: Anything to declare?
Me: Four packets of chocolate biscuits??
HCG: (looks at my passport) Whoa! You have lost some WEIGHT, Miss G-!
Me: Thanks! [I have similar conversations quite a lot, due to my almost 10 year old passport]
HCG: How much weight have you lost?
Me: About 20 kilos.
HCG: Wow, nice work! And can I just say, you are GORGEOUS! Really.
Me: Considering I just got off a 14.5 hour flight and have barely slept, THANK YOU.
HCG: You're very welcome. Have a nice day!
Awesome. LAX, you have *definitely* upped your game since the last time I arrived here!
Surprisingly not tired,
K xx


What up, America!

So I'm currently sitting in the gate lounge at the delightfully snore-worthy Los Angeles International Airport (Nikki - we're in the same state!!!!), waiting to board my flight to Chicago and by extension the 20SB Summit. OH MY GAWDDDDDDDDDDD!!! :D Anyway, I figured I'd pass the time by stuffing my face with a Starbucks bagel and writing a blog post for y'all! <-- America, you're already a terrible influence on me.
Things that make a 14.5 hour international flight a total suckfest:
1. Trying to eat peas with a very bendy plastic fork during turbulence.
2. A small child with a cold sitting a row in front of you and screaming at random intervals throughout the flight.
3. Sitting across the aisle from a man who made terrifying snorting noises for the entire flight. Surely after the first hour, you'd just find a tissue rather than snorting back your snot???
4. Being sat next to an 80 year old married couple who need to pee almost constantly, who feel the need to hold conversations with you while you're trying to watch movies, and who spent half the flight asking how to use the entertainment system...
5. Getting a whopping 45 minutes of sleep due to the combined effect of points 2, 3 and 4.
6. Finally getting to LA only to end up spending an hour in the queue for Immigration.
Things that make a sucky 14.5 hour international flight better:
1. Jake Gyllenhaal movies (shame it was Source Code...)
2. Scoring free dessert made by the first class chef from the steward to say thank you for working the entertainment system for the aforementioned old couple so he could do his job. It was creme brulee and it was amazeballs...
3. Amusing conversations with fellow passengers in the stupidly long immigration queue.
4. Getting through Immigration and to the carousel just as your suitcase is going past.
5. Having the following conversation:
Hot customs guy: Anything to declare?
Me: Four packets of chocolate biscuits??
HCG: (looks at my passport) Whoa! You have lost some WEIGHT, Miss G-!
Me: Thanks! [I have similar conversations quite a lot, due to my almost 10 year old passport]
HCG: How much weight have you lost?
Me: About 20 kilos.
HCG: Wow, nice work! And can I just say, you are GORGEOUS! Really.
Me: Considering I just got off a 14.5 hour flight and have barely slept, THANK YOU.
HCG: You're very welcome. Have a nice day!
Awesome. LAX, you have *definitely* upped your game since the last time I arrived here!
Surprisingly not tired,
K xx


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

101 in 1001 #37

Strictly speaking, I should be searching for things that I was planning on taking to the US with me tomorrow (TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!) but which have mysteriously vanished. Instead, I'm doing one last pre-departure blog post.

On Saturday night, I crossed something else off my Day Zero list - we went indoor rock climbing for my brother C's birthday. I was pretty excited about it before we actually got there. Aaaaaaaaaand of course the minute they hooked me up to a climbing rope, I got all panicky and "It's hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh" and "Oh God, oh God, we're all going to die." (bonus nerd points if you know what I pilfered the last bit from)

So I didn't end up doing *quite* as much climbing as I'd originally planned on. It wasn't so much the actual climbing part that I had a problem with (although I *did* object to being hit in the head with the rope repeatedly on one particular climb...). It was the getting down again. There's just something about taking my hands off the wall that caused me to have a minor anxiety attack... That said, I did enjoy the belaying and shouting helpful tips like "Move your left foot to that green bit!" up to whoever was climbing. And I was told that I was an excellent belayer, so yay me!

In the end, I got distracted by running around taking photos with my shiny new 50mm lens and kind of forgot that I was there to rock climb #whoops I also handed my camera off to someone who had absolutely no idea how to use it (my bad - I really should have explained better...), so there are a whopping zero photos of me climbing or otherwise.

So I shall leave you with this photo of C wearing his "I'm concentrating very hard on belaying" face:

I'll be blogging via email from my phone over the next six weeks, so please ignore the inevitable spelling mistakes and lack of paragraph breaks and pictures. I promise I'll post proper updates about my trip when I get home to make up for it!

K xx

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hmmmmmm...

So remember when I went to see X-Men: First Class a few months ago and forked out for a Gold Class ticket? And when I was all "OMG, Michael Fassbender is AWESOME and I can't wait to see him in Jane Eyre when it finally comes out here"?

Yeah. I *finally* got to see Jane Eyre at the weekend. Considering it was released in the US in FEBRUARY, there was a hell of a lot of anticipation associated with it. And honestly? I was a little disappointed. The chronology of the story was kind of jumpy, to the point where if you hadn't read the book multiple times you'd probably be a little confused. (WARNING: SPOILERS PENDING)

I will say that the violence towards Jane at the beginning of the story was done well. But her time at Lowood was pretty much skimmed over in five minutes. A lot of Mr Rochester's back story was cut out. Fair enough, they're trying to make a 2 hour movie so can't include everything. But cutting out Rochester's back story mostly just makes him seem like a douche. Or, in the immortal words of Bridget Jones, "a big knobhead with no knob". And there were entire portions of the movie that I didn't really pay attention to because I was so terrified of Mia Whatshername's collar bones. You could have used them to cut...oh God, I don't know. Something that requires a very sharp cutting implement.

Oh, and they randomly decided to ditch the part where St. John, Mary and Diana turn out to be Jane's cousins. Which makes her giving way three-quarters of her money to them really random and weird... Plus, I found it more than a little odd that they basically left Bertha out of the story up until the cancelled wedding. Sure, there was the rescuing-Rochester-from-his-burning-bed thing, but none of the Grace Poole involving follow up.

ANYWAY. Enough nitpicking. Pros?
Source
Michael Fassbender.

Cons?
Source
Jamie Bell's RIDICULOUS facial hair. Mostly because all I could think of was Mr Weasley Mark Williams playing a goat in Stardust:
Source


There *were* other pros, including Judi Dench, gorgeous locations and some truly beautiful shots. But personally? It felt like it JUST covered all the basics without actually providing any of the details that make the story what it is.

So despite the SIX MONTHS of anticipation? I'll be sticking to the Toby Stephens/Ruth Wilson BBC version from a couple of years ago...

K xx

Friday, August 12, 2011

101 in 1001 #14 AND #76

Yes, I've had a HIGHLY productive day today - I crossed two things off my Day Zero list. The first was one I've been wanting to do for aaaaaaaaaaages. I bought this:

Hello, lover. It's a Nikon 50mm f1.8 G series lens, and it's so many kinds of shiny that it's not even funny. Here's what I got in a five minute walk around the front garden to test it out:





Like I said, shiny. (Bonus geek points if you know what that refers to) Oh, shallow depth of field. Where have you been all my life? I can't wait to have a proper play around with it in the US next week OH MY GOD I LEAVE FOR THE US NEXT WEEK ARGH ARGH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!!

Ahem. The other thing I accomplished involved less spending of money that I don't have and more sitting on my arse for days at a time. The benefit to unemployment, of course, is that I had more than enough time to do so. After several days of yelling "REDUCTOOOOOOOO!!" at the TV like a lunatic totally normal person, today I FINALLY achieved 100% on Lego Harry Potter (Years 1-4). Hurrah!!

Don't believe me? Here's the proof:

*heaves a sigh of relief* I think I might hold off on Lego Pirates of the Caribbean (which I bought C for his birthday) until after I get home at the end of September........... ;)

How was your Friday? :)

K xx

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday



Even dogs need a pillow sometimes! (It's an old slipper shaped like a koala, for the record...)

K xx

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Well, that throws a spanner in the works...

(So I'm trying out this whole blogging by email thing in preparation for my trip next week (NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!) - this way I can still blog without needing to be at a computer, and keep you guys updated on all my American shenanigans. HURRAH!! Hopefully this doesn't turn out to be an unmitigated disaster. We shall see...)

Things have been pretty crazy around here of late. I spent pretty much all of last week dying of the plague (me? Melodramatic? NEVER!), and then spent the whole weekend a) running around after Little Miss A, and b) packing up the entire kitchen. Because my parents are currently having the kitchen redone and the tradies turned up yesterday to rip the existing one out. So for the next six to eight weeks (and aren't I thrilled to be missing it?!), our 'kitchen' is in the study, we have to do the dishes in the bath, and there will be no baked goods in production. Because the kitchen currently looks like this. Or, you know, wherever the hell that picture ends up being posted... 

So basically, my cookbook challenge is on hold. Partly because I'm going to be spending six weeks on the other side of the world, and I'm sure as hell not carting my cookbooks with me. Partly because they're all in a box somewhere in the depths of the garage, and partly because I have no kitchen to actually make anything in. There's a hell of a lot of takeaway on the dinner menu for the next few weeks, that's for sure!! 

K xx

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A walk down memory lane

Earlier today, I read Bi's blog post about having an idiotic squirrel stuck her window well. And it reminded me of a rather ridiculous story that I realised needed to be shared, because that's how fucking over the top this story is. (Right about now is the point I should mention that I don't actually remember any of this, because I was five at the time... But I've heard my parents tell the story often enough to give you the gist of it!)

Waaaaaaaaaay back in 1988 (and if that's the year you were born, please keep it to yourself), we moved from Melbourne to Toronto. After eight weeks in an apartment, we finally moved into what would be our house for the next two years (I think).
The house in question

I don't remember much (again, because I was five), but I *do* remember that there were a shit ton of squirrels living in the roof of that house. Because the little bastards used to run up and down outside my room at stupid o'clock and wake me up. Obviously, we didn't want squirrels in the roof, so my parents called a pest control guy. Squirrels were a total novelty for us, so we didn't want them dead, just elsewhere.

The pest control guy turned up with something like 25 cages, which were baited with peanut butter. He put them in the back garden, and within about 10 minutes, they were filled with stupid little squirrels. Every day, he'd come back, change the full cages for empty ones, take the full ones out past the city limits, and set the squirrels free there.

This went on for God only knows how many days. #squirrelsaredumbyo But one day, we came home and all the cages were empty. And not in a "the pest control guy changed the cages" kind of a way...

It wasn't until we were either moving house or leaving Canada (I have no idea which, it's kind of irrelevant though) a few years later that we finally found out what had happened. In 1988, a little film called Crocodile Dundee II came out. And apparently none of our neighbours were home each day when the pest control guy turned up. So they'd leave for work seeing cages filled with squirrels, and come home from work to see the cages empty. This fact, combined with the antics of Mick Dundee on the big screen, led our neighbours to think that we were TRAPPING THE SQUIRRELS AS FOOD. And so the teenaged son of one neighbour climbed over the fence into our garden and set all the little squirrels free so that they didn't end up 'chucked on the barbie'.

What we had. Also, source
What the neighbours saw. Source
(Believe me when I say I really wish there hadn't been any Google Image results for "barbequed squirrel"...)

So there you have it. Mick Dundee - giving Australians a bad name overseas since 1986...

K xx

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two weeks to go!

So I feel like death warmed up right now. Some time between yesterday afternoon and this morning, I developed a delightful cold. I tried very hard to find you a clip of this, but was unsuccessful so you'll just have to read the quote instead. It pretty much sums up my life at the moment:

"I'm fine, my nose was just overflowing with awesome and I had to get some of it out."
Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother (season 2, episode 11. And thanks to Lauren for putting that quote as her Facebook status and reminding me of its existence!!)

Anythesecoldandflutabletsaren'tworking, it took me a while to realise that it's two weeks today until I head off to the US. OH. MY. GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD. That is so insanely soon!
How could I not use an excited Jake Gyllenhaal GIF?? 

Okay, so I'm pretty much all organised in terms of booking stuff. I've got all my flights sorted. All my hotels are organised. I have a new dress for Megan's wedding (two, in fact!). I'm filling in my visa waiver form thingy and writing this at the same time, because even though my head is filled with snot, I'm awesome at multitasking. (Incidentally, I *really* want to know if anyone ever answers "Yes" to the question about whether you've ever been involved in espionage, terrorist activities or genocide...)

But I hadn't really realised that it was so SOON, you know? So now I'm all crazy excited and thinking of all the stuff I still have to do before I go, like get my hair cut so I don't look *quite* so much like a crazy person with two inches worth of split ends. And buy a 50mm prime lens because I just got my bond back from the real estate agent and I feel rich it'll definitely come in handy while travelling. And buy 500 packets of Tim Tams because I promised them to everyone and now have to deliver. And actually, you know, PACK.

Obviously, I'm not even remotely excited by the prospect of a 15 hour plane flight and a millionty six hour layover in LAX (the world's most boring airport) before I can board my flight to Chicago. But once the torment of the flight and the subsequent jetlag is over, it's going to be FUCKING AWESOME. I get to hang out with old friends, like Megan and Lyndsy and Annie, who all live in the US and I never get to see them. I get to travel with my BFFs, Kat and Sara (and I'm nearly EXPLODING with excitement about that part of it!). And I get to actually *meet* so many amazing bloggy/Twittery friends, like Lor and Lauren and Nicole and a ton of other people that I can't remember right now.

Okay, so the trip won't be QUITE as awesome as it would be if I could (guilt trip alert!) also meet up with Nikki and Bi, but you can't win 'em all (I love you guys - #pleasecometoMelbourneASAPkthxbai)! I'll make up for it by going to a shit ton of museums (that's the new collective noun. I've just decreed it), and going to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, and going to see a show on Broadway, and shopping because the Australian dollar is actually worth MORE than the US dollar for the first time since I was born* and things that cost like $5 in the US cost $25 here and blah blah blahbitty blah, I'm so stuffy, give me a scone. (Sorry. I have seven seasons worth of Buffy quotes in my brain and sometimes they just break out...)

Basically? I'm doing a happy dance around the house. Or at least I would be if I wasn't having periodic fits of hacking up a lung... Now if you'll excuse me, I gave my dog a bath earlier and now he's giving me an "I will cut you" face, so I think I should probably hide for my own safety... o.O

K xx
*I'm pretty sure that's accurate but am too lazy to check, so don't quote me on it...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Apparently, I'm a moron

So as you guys will know if you read my 30 Days of Books posts, I love me some Charles Dickens. I also love me some BBC costume drama. When Bleak House came out a few years ago (holy crap, I just IMDB'd it and it came out in TWO THOUSAND AND FIVE. I feel old now...), I was all over it. Obviously, because Andrew Davies did the screenplay, and the man is a genius. Seriously - he's responsible for House of Cards, Pride & Prejudice, Little Dorrit, Wives & Daughters, Sense & Sensibility, Vanity Fair, and BRIDGET JONES' DIARY. That's a pretty spectacular list.

AnyIhaveapoint, despite the miniseries coming out in 2005, I still haven't read the book. So when I found a copy of the Penguin Classics edition at the Borders closing down sale recently, I jumped on it and had every intention of reading it straight away. But then I got distracted by the need to reread all of Harry Potter before seeing the last movie, not to mention moving back to Melbourne, so I still hadn't had a chance to pick it up.

Now, you may have noticed Little Dorrit in the Andrew Davies list above. I watched his adaptation last year, and loved it, despite the presence of Matthew McFugly Macfadyen (who I can't stand) and Russell Tovey crying CONSTANTLY. (I swear to God, Russell Tovey cries more than Dean Winchester. And if you watch Supernatural, you'll know that's saying something...) And Little Dorrit is ALSO on the list of Dickens books I haven't read. So when I wandered into a shop this time last week that was selling all books for $5, I picked up a copy of Little Dorrit.

And apparently Little Dorrit was foremost of the two in my mind because when I started reading Bleak House this morning, I got horribly confused as to why the story suddenly revolved around a court case and not around a debtor's prison like I thought it would.

So basically, to sum up? I read 30 pages of Bleak House before realising I wasn't reading the book I thought I was. Nice work, me. Nice work...

K xx

PS. Since watching the first disc of Doctor Who series 1 last week, I rather want to read The Mystery of Edwin Drood as well. But I suspect adding a THIRD Dickens book to the equation would just tip me over the edge into full insanity, so that might have to wait a while!!
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