Thursday, December 20, 2007

Land of the Rising Pun

I have to admit, I really appreciate the Australians' love for a terrible pun. Which is why I was really excited when I started noticing how many small Australian businesses incorporate puns into their business names. There's something sweet and self-deprecating about it that I can't help but exploit and make fun of.

Hair salons take the cake for the most pun-tastic titles. Today, for example, I'm gettin' my roots did at a place called "Headmasters," which is a one-two punch because it's hair school as well as a salon. Heading Out claims to be winner of Australian Creative Colourists of the year, which makes me think of how my mother politely describes things she thinks are fucking terrible as "creative" or "interesting". Other awesome hair salons are Hair Apparent, Fringe Benefits, Hairhouse (I assume this is playing off 'whorehouse'?) and my own personal fave, Curl Up n' Dye.

There's a certain cheesy innocence about restaurants with punny names—like, you know not to expect greatness but it will probably be entertaining, well-intentioned and slightly annoying, like mildly retarded cousins. Lord of the Fries is the greatest vegetarian hangover food Melbourne has to offer. And I've never been to Wok around the Clock but in my head when creepy '50s Chinese restaurant meets Happy Days, everyone wins. But then it all gets ruined by places like this monstrosity, Feddish, which is a restaurant in Fed Square that is undoubtedly filled with cunts.

There's a bar in Fitzroy called Lambs Go Bar which doesn't translate into American so I guess I don't feel like it counts, and there's Lentil as Anything but I didn't get that one until I found out there's a band called Mental as Anything. Autobarn didn't seem like a pun to me until I heard someone say it out loud and I realized Aussies think Autobarn and the Autobahn are homonyms. Finally, the one that really, really still doesn't make any sense to me is this place Roozervelt's. Um. What?

Anyway, I'll leave you with my favorite two from the mattress category, Old King Coil and my favorite business pun of all time, Back to the Futon. I couldn't make this shit up.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mysterious Shopping Cart Disappearances Elude Cops, Draw Support from Rich Morons

These flyers were at the checkouts of the grocery store last week. Considering this particular store is in Collingwood, I'm not sure how the trolleys' owners can remain this baffled.

Even I, a non-junkie, know that the bench in front of the store is a hot spot for scoring smack; across the street in two directions are popular places for outdoor drinking at 9am. It's Smith Street for Chrissake—a road I once described to my sister as the Old West, if you added tacky aluminum awnings, dollar stores, tram lines, drunk Aboriginals and toothless heroin addicts. Charming, no?

Actually, it is. Maybe it's because this street was my first exposure to Australia—back when I came to visit husband back when he was my bf—but Smith Street on a sunny day is probably where I'm most at home here.

But another street in Melbourne, Sydney Road, which features many of Smith Street's characteristics, is just ugly and depressing to me. I can't really tell you why, although part of it is also that people like Sydney Road better than Smith Street, and I'm an underdog kind of girl. [Locals: don't argue with me on this. You will not change my mind. Yes, Ray has the best coffee evs. I don't care.]

Anyway, I'm neglecting my point. Then again, so are those trying to "clean up our streets" by offering rewards for missing carts.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Lil' Note about Culture Clashing

I'm going home in a little over a month, and as excited as I am, and as much as I've been waiting for this, I'm starting to get nervous. I'll finally be doled some perspective about the differences between here and NYC, and I have no idea what to expect.

I'm also realizing that I haven't experienced enough in the past year. Haven't even made a dent in all there is to see. I've been so busy downshifting from One of the Biggest Cities to a smaller city that I sometimes forget that there's like, a lot more than the city of Melbourne on offer. But I do try.

It's an incredibly difficult thing to motivate oneself to explore an area that, for all intents and purposes, is completely foreign. It's daunting. You relinquish the confidence of control when you decide to make such strides away from familiarity. My bff cokane has recently joined me in our respective experiences of culture shock, although unlike my kind Aussie friends and neighbs, she's not being very well received.

Her struggle with starting a new life in the Deep South has really helped put my own move into perspective. Yeah, I moved so far away I can't even visit my family without taking a dent out of my yearly salary, but I moved to my husband's home, where friends, family, and familiarity were already well-established. I haven't had to work too hard to find companionship. Awesome people are seriously everywhere. 98% of them don't even hold my Americanness against me.

While it's not all that hard for me to come up with things I love about Melbourne, I do get incredibly homesick, so it's more entertaining for me to point out how (sometimes, literally) backwards shit here is than to whine about missing my mom. And you know what? The locals here think my outsider's views are funny. They don't take offense that I bitch about the fact that despite its best efforts, David Jones is no Barney's. They're not competing, and they're not insecure.

So get a clue, BaRou: our observations about your home are sometimes just how we cope with missing our own.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dangerously Boringly Skinny

It's every where right now, isn't it? Girls being too skinny and girls obsessing about not being skinny enough—whether they're famous and stumbling off the cover of some shit magazine or they're insecure and eating cucumbers at each meal—haute couture says, "the thinner, the better!"

Just think, even porn star Jemma Jameson [left]—whose appeal once lie in her curvy (albeit silicone) figure of tits, hips and ass—has turned into a walking Cheeto. I guess a lot of people who see her now think ewwww who'd wanna fuck that? And yeah, fuckability can be a valid measure of how attractive someone is, but more rationally, what's going on in the world where a porn star feels the need to emaciate herself in order to get some fucking attention? Why wasn't being fucked on camera three ways til Sunday good enough?

So it's particularly appalling to me that I keep walking by these department store display windows in Melbourne and seeing emaciated mannequins sporting the new lame sack dresses du jour. You can tell they're trying to be all anorexic chic by the really attractive slump in their posture (early onset osteoporosis happens when you don't have any nourishment) and the pronounced clavicle.

Nothing says beautiful, confident, independent woman like a piece of plastic that could've gone on to live a fulfilling and productive life as a dildo, only to be molded into a limp, slouchy, vacuous IV stand.

Let's compare these photos to the true mannequin: Kim Cattrall in 1987 cult classic Mannequin. At least Kim had something to say, you know? She was lending her proportions to the art of that mush-face Andrew McCarthy. They rode on a motorcycle. It was real living, man.

At the end of the day I guess my biggest problem is these bitches in the Myer windows clearly don't know how to have fun. But look again at Kim Cattrall! She's all into that burger head Andrew McCarthy! Why? Who cares? She can rock magenta!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Party Tram, Excellent.

It's that time again, to say something positive about Oz. It's been difficult lately, what with getting run down by Japanese Paris Hilton, and the jihad Aussies seem to have against Halloween. Someone told me the other day that when kids are growing up here, Halloween is sorta cool but you learn at the same time that it's "just another made-up, consumerist American 'holiday'".

Excuse me, but dressing up and being creative about it, then drinking a shit load to celebrate said creativity isn't exactly American ingenuity, it's French or something, so whatevs to that.

But The Party Tram changed everything. I spotted it while walking down Bourke Street the other night and my negativity about Oz just faded away. I couldn't tell if the passengers on-board were there to party or not. Either way: RAD.

Speaking of parties, summertime is almost here. It's strange being on the opposite end of seasonal depression/elation from my U.S. friends. I was talking to my dad the other week and he was lamenting that it will soon be too cold for him to live in the garage, which is basically where you can find him from May to October. Whereas here, the mood is only getting feistier.

Right now Melbourne is celebrating this thing called Spring Carnival, which has something to do with (mostly) white trash people (called "bogans") dressing up to go to the horse races in ridiculous hats and ill-fitting suits. It actually sounds like a fantastic sociological event, and I must confess I'd be remiss in my duties as a whining ex-pat if I left Melbourne without once bumping shoulders with these awesome people.

In other party news, I'm leaving Melbourne—for like, the third time since I moved here—to go to some friends' wedding in some place called Kyneton. I haven't been to a wedding since my own, during which the guy who's getting married this weekend did a faceplant at the after-party. Danger.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

National "Safety" Month

I thought maybe by it being National Safety Month n' all I wouldn't have to explain where I've been (out defying safety, natch.) But the truth is that I was a little embarrassed to tell you what happened to me, after my last post was all X-treme! That, and I do have a life you guys--do you know how time-consuming drinking is when you have a tolerance like mine?

Anyhoo, I was riding my bike one early evening to yoga, and upon slowing down to turn (the wrong way, down the tram tracks on Bourke Street), I got rear-ended by a new silver Mercedes, driven by a twat I like to call Japanese Paris Hilton. JPH, for short. Now, since I didn't see this coming, and I don't actually remember being hit, I have no idea what exactly happened. All I know is I was slowing down to turn and then I was peeling myself off the ground, my legs felt funny, and my bike was under a car. Later I would notice that my helmet was a little smashy.

It was 6pm in the center of the city, so a billion people saw this, and two nice dudes pulled my bike from under JPH's car. Some lady helped me up and asked if I wanted an ambulance. I declined and stood up and just stared in the direction of the car, as no one had surfaced yet. Finally, JPH and her blue contacts emerged and, sporting a big dumb smile, declared, "sorry!"

Why is girlfriend smiling?
ECS: "Uh. Why did you hit me?"
JPH: [still smiling] "I didn't know where you were going--you were wobbling!" [smile]
ECS: " decided to hit me instead?"
JPH: "Sorry!" [unrelenting toothy grin]
ECS: "What the fuck is wrong with you?"

JPH took this as her cue that it's all good and got back into her car. She and Japanese Nicole Ritchie and Japanese Loho (in the backseat, probs chewing her face off), all stared straight in front of them as I kicked the car and yelled "stupid cunt" for whatever amount of time seemed adequate (and frankly, I was just repeating myself at this point, and I didn't want people to think I was retarded, or worse, not tough.) Then I wheeled my bike back home. I was only a block away.

About 7 minutes later I realized I was the fool of the sitch, as I did not get any of the bitch's details, and I could've gotten a new bike and some physical therapy out of it. Whatevs. I sorta refused to get shaken up by it, especially seeing how, for once, it wasn't my fault. As my friend Luke once wisely told me, "ecs, if you get hit, you won't even see it coming. So don't worry about it." Thanks dude. A week later, he stacked it and gave himself homemade stigmata. Ewwwww.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dangerous Girl in Dangerous Town

On Friday night we met up at Public Bar in North Melbourne to document the Melburn Massive Alley Cat. An alley cat is a bike race through a city, with checkpoints, at which participants receive the location to the next checkpoint. The people who race in these mostly bike couriers, and they're completely insane. And within this insanity is total awesomeness.

I rolled up still wearing heels, so I think I bought a little cred from the crowd, most of whom had started in on the first of many beers. Husband and I joined them, and for an hour and a half everyone continued to put 'em back. I was instantly struck by how friendly and inviting this group of kids was—a few of them knew Husband, but the fact that people came up and introduced themselves to me was really cool. I get really sick of the hipsters in this city, a lot of whom have to meet you five fucking times, and then assess whether they think you're cool, before they'll actually acknowledge you. Most of these people also happen to be total pussies. They are the cause of roughly 79% of my rage, which gets aggravated by alcohol (consumed at venues I have to share with them) and why people consequently think I'm a cunt.

So this was a total welcome change. Bike kids are not pussies. They are the opposite of hipsters. Pictured at left is Hillary, who is also a really awesome skater, and I suspect is not afraid of anything. As for me, I had a nice little buzz happening by the time the organizers decided to start things up. It was almost 8 o'clock, so it was completely dark at this point and starting to get really cold. Everyone scooped up their bikes and headed across to the Queen Victoria Market to begin. The participants had to lean their bikes up against a fence, then go about 25 yards away from them to learn the first checkpoint. Once they found out where they had to go, they ran over to their bikes, each grabbing a can of Red Bull from the ground, and they were off.

Husband and I had volunteered to man the second of the 5 checkpoints with a nice graphic designer/ex-courier dude. As we started to head over to our checkpoint, Husband said to him, "just so you know we're not like, awesome riders." I was so glad we gave forewarning, because as soon as we were off, the guy was weaving through traffic and jumping curbs at (my) top speed. If I hadn't had that alcohol, I would've been way too scared to keep up. As it was, I don't think I did too badly, and when we got to Telstra Dome, I tried to be cool about it.

It wasn't long before the first few started coming through, snatching the envelopes we extended out to them with instructions and directions. There were 25 racers altogether, so after giving out 21, we headed back to North Melbourne, where the winners were already drinking. The first guy through was totally crazy and won on speed, but the second guy through actually completed the tasks, so he was the real winner. One of the tasks along the way had been to bring a takeaway menu from a restaurant. One of the guys brought a whole sandwich board instead.
Everyone headed back to the bar and recommenced drinking, and prizes were given out: cash to the winner, bike shit to the guys who came in second and third, plus First Girl prize, which went to a girl named Sarah, a courier from Seattle. They even gave us a six-pack of Melbourne Bitter cans to thank us for doing the checkpoint. Such rad people! And all the amazing danger inspired me to ride all day yesterday. Score one for Safety Town.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dead Man Jaywalking

I haven't figured out yet why I haven't been hit by a car. In New York, pedestrians not only jaywalk, they hover around the edges of the streets even as oncoming lunatic cabbies threaten to slice the points off their shoes. People are like cockroaches, staying just far enough away, ever-encroaching, still daring to step ten feet off the curb in that crazed rush to get to the next place. If you've ever tried driving in Manhattan, you've seen this. A friend of mine was in the back of a cab once when a particularly brave little old lady stepped out into the street. The cab driver slammed on his brakes, stuck his head out the window and screamed, "you don't look like a fucking stop sign to me!" and proceeded to floor it through the intersection. In true NYC form, the old bag wasn't even phased by it.

In Melbourne, when you're waiting to cross the street, you stay on the sidewalk. Every time I step off the curb, looking up the street, watching for where I can dodge through like human Frogger, husband pulls me back and gives me that bitch is crazy look.

And apparently the authorities of Safety Town agree with him, because they've now instituted jaywalking blitzes across Australia. Blitz?! Like the fucking blitzkrieg?! So ... this is like, the fucking WWII of all Australian sting operations? Does this mean Australian cops are the Nazis and jaywalkers are the Jews?

Okay. It's on. I'm getting Russian on this sitch. (Husband is remaining contently Swiss) I hereby refuse to cross at crosswalks. Nein! I will stagger through the flow of traffic, leap toward moving trams, (Husband/Switzerland: you heard about the old lady who got chopped in half by a tram, didn't you?) and flip off that flashing dickless red man on the crosswalk sign.

Then, when the Nazis try to come for me, or my comrade (pictured), I'll bat my eyelashes, ham up my American accent, and pretend to be an ignorant tourist. Like I do when I'm getting out of tram fines. Shit costs money!

But once that's over I'll totally go to the bar and exaggerate my heroicism. It's the principle.

Come Here. I Have to Hit You.

This is so retarded I can't even think of something to write.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Australians are a Bunch of Sluts

I snapped this photo on the train platform during my recent excursion out of the city because I am really excited to be living in a place that isn't 100% retarded.

As a U.S American, this vaccine was not offered to me until I was already too old to get it, because certain religious groups caused a big ruckus over how giving women a vaccine against HPV, which leads to 75% of cervical cancer cases, is enabling and exacerbating whoredom.

Because, you know, it's more Christian to abstain from sex than to eradicate the second most deadly cancer to women! Oh and btw, I hope you also understand that if it caused prostate cancer this wouldn't be an issue. Women are just whores, and that's what we need to remember.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Double Dare and the Physical Challenge*

A lot of people from home tell me that I'm brave for moving to Australia. I guess they mean that it is brave to move so far away from friends and family; brave to commit myself so concretely to a different culture, one I didn't know much about before making the commitment. But it isn't brave. It's just inconvenient.

And sure, Australia is inconvenient in the obvious way, of being long-distant, but to Americans, the culture's inconvenience hovers around annoying. Take a deep breath, Aussies, I'm not dissing you or your country. I'm saying that constant cultural difference can be, after all the emotional and physical aspects of it, straight up exhausting.

When I was 22, I lived for a brief stint in France, and I remember being so physically exhausted at the end of the day because I spent every waking minute not only observing an everyday life that was so completely new and foreign--but also thinking, speaking, and reading in French. Translating is exhausting. Using that much brain power to do mundane tasks can tire a girl out. But all that was sorta expected--it's a country that has a very specific culture and a completely different language. Australia isn't supposed to be like that.

For the most part, it isn't, of course. They speak English here. And Aussies are laid back in a way that I daresay Americans appreciate far more than the monarchical motherland. The Westernized way of life is about the same age as the U.S.A., so even a lot of the surroundings look similar. Basically it's as close to living in the States as you can get without getting your socialized health care revoked.

So what's annoying is that it's so similar I let my guard down. It's all the same but slightly different. It's disconcerting, like Surrealism or a suspense thriller starring John Cusack. No no--it's like everything is labeled incorrectly--i.e., tomato sauce is ketchup--so you have to keep looking at it to see what it is before you can trust its contents. The best example is the grocery store.

Upon entering, everything looks basically the same. Celine Dion is wailing through the speakers, children are already giving you a headache. Check. But then there's a crumpet aisle. ?? might also find cookies? Wrong. Experience reminds me to go to the biscuit aisle, where first I find crispbreads (=crackers, okay, makes sense, crisp+bread), then there are sections for plain biscuits, snack biscuits, and chocolate biscuits. So while I did find cookies, I'd like to note that nowhere in this aisle will you find fluffy bread goods traditionally served in the southern states with gravy.

Nearby is a wall-size display of Vegemite which I steer well clear of. I then come to another aisle featuring a no-brainer: toilet rolls. Okay, I can figure that one out too. But I need some sliced swiss cheese. There's no specific cheese section, just occasional refrigerated bays, so I circle all of them about 15 times and keep coming across Tasty cheese. I still have no idea what this is, but it comes in "extra Tasty." It's always capitalized, eluding to a proper noun, but I'm afraid of food with such ambiguous descriptions (see: Chinese food offering the choice of 'brown' or 'red' sauce), so I give up on that one. I also pass a "cordial" aisle. I'm venturing into foreign territory as somehow I've ended up back in the produce section, which has all kinds of Asian vegetables (yummy, but I don't need them today) but no corn.

Getting my ass to the grocery store is hard enough without obstacles, but when I have to get there by walking through a place that looks exactly like K-Mart but is instead called Big W, the frustration sharks start circling. I decide to get hand soap for the bathroom. I gaze up at the ceiling, toward the section signage. Big Dubbs has one section for haberdashery which I always thought was a ye olde word, but apparently not. It also has a section entitled "Manchester". This means sheets and bedding. I wander over to a section that looks vaguely soap-y but am told hand soap is in Health & Beauty.

No, it isn't. There is shower gel but that isn't the same thing. ? I guess I'll wander around this aisle for 10 more minutes until I realize what I'm doing and get so frustrated that out of the sizeable list of shit I needed to get I can only find 3 of them in 15 minutes' time. I'll spend my whole life here if I can't navigate this shit better, I start thinking, and this song sounds like some kinda Evanescence black hole and it would all be much more amusing if I didn't actually need anything from this place, or if I could buy it all and send it to people who would also find it funny-cause-it's-different.

But I live here now. And aside from being a foreigner, it is my home.

*The title is basically irrelevant to the content of this post.

Monday, September 3, 2007

No, Kylie, I Won't "Do" the Locomotion. (Whore.)

On Sunday, I ventured out to a suburb by myself for the first time. I have been on the train several times but I don't ride it often, so I've missed out on some signage I'd never noticed before.

I was immediately entertained by the icon of the person falling through space, next to a separate icon of stairs. This is not a very efficient way of saying "slippery when wet". My favorite part about this sign is how the pigeons are sitting on top, waging a big eff-you coup against safety.

Once I was on the train, I got a little lost in the pretty scenery wooshing past me, and before I knew it, I was only one stop away from the Ascot Vale stop (so quaint sounding, right??!). But just then, a red-haired retarded girl sat uncomfortably close to me and put her book up in front of her face. It was one of those murder paperbacks. Apparently she didn't realize that the book was covering only half her face and that I could see her staring at me with a gigantic scary smile on her face. I got up before she could drool or pee on me and got off the train.

Speaking of drool and pee, this was the first sign I saw:
Another thing I noticed when I arrived at the station was that the waiting room did not smell like pee. It smelled like soap. I was all ???! I don't understand why it smells clean?

Anyway, enough about pee. Just like inner-city safety town, out in the 'burbs there were signs everywhere, courtesy of Connex, and like the "slippery when wet" one, they were laden with superfluous icons. The one at left says to me:

1. No bottled milk a la the 1950s. Get a Red Bull like everyone else and join this millenium, bub.

2. If you're sitting on a barrel, don't try and roll another one in front of you. That's just crazy.

3. Sliding atop many marbles is not a superior means of travel to our fine locomotives. Plus we don't like competition.

4. If you have a unibrow, please refrain from frowning.

See, Connex hasn't really mastered the diff between safety and manners. I think they're trying to just boss people around in general. Even on the inside of the train, they mixed it all up:

Smoking isn't so much dangerous as bad for your health. Feet on the seats? Just rude. As far as littering goes, unless it's marbles or a banana peel, I just don't see the harm. No indecent language or alcohol? What are you gonna do, ground me?

Forcing open the doors is the only thing on this sign that's legitimately unsafe. I can see their point there. But just remember: they're watching you.

Deep Thoughts, by ecs

I don't really know how this is unsafe, per se, but the door to this ticket booth at the very fancy theatre on Collins Street was open, so, much like other open doors I see on Collins Street, I went in and made husband take a picture of me being an asshole. That's me going, "my job is exhausting!"

In a Land Without Mexicans, NASCAR

As indicated above, I can no longer afford Budweiser and Corona. These beers, aside from PBR and various who-cares-what-it's-called-it's-cheap-Mexican-beer brands, were the go-to grogs of my 20s.

I shed a tear, oh bottle of piss, and pour out some Coopers just for you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dangerous Girl, Defined

It's not so hard to explain how Melbourne is Safety Town. Even to lifelong residents, I need only to point out common occurrences, like this 3-way no-standing-anywhere pole, to validate my point.

But by now a few people have asked me why exactly that makes me Dangerous Girl.
The answer to this is two-fold.

Example no. 1: Somehow I engage in dangerous behavior without any purposeful effort.
earlier this evening:
The cabinets in my kitchen are quite high (which I find funny considering everyone in my building is a short Asian aside from me and husband). Tonight, I came home parched from riding my bike.

I reached up on to my tip-toes to get a water glass out of the cupboard. The glass slipped out of the cupboard, hit me in the head, then plummeted to its death, shattering on the tile floor. My left eye has been going blurry lately, (which I attribute to staring into the 100-watt light bulb I call my computer screen all day ) so I was already squinting, and then, rubbing my head, I knelt down to start picking up the shards, at which point I skewered my knee with a rogue, upright toothpick of glass.

Shit like this happens all the time.

Example no. 2:
Sometimes I engage in dangerous behavior quite purposefully, because I think it is fucking hilarious. Friday night, I was out with husband a few friends. We proceeded to get quite shit-faced early in the evening, laughingly traipsing from one establishment to the next. In transit from bar #5 to bar #6, we happened to walk by The Melbourne Club, a ye olde white boys' club that used to hate Jews and still hates women. The door was open a crack.

I walked confidently, albeit drunkenly, up the steps and through the front door, heading straight for the beautiful winding staircase, noticing out of the corner of my eye the fat old security guard waking from his nap just in time to see the Intruder/Female Infidel. The boys tried to follow me but got way-laid by Lieutenant Dumpy Butt, allowing me to slip under the radar and successfully into the second level. As I didn't expect to get as far as I'd already gotten, I started trying to encroach upon the House of Patriarchy/Freemasons/KKK as much as possible, testing every door handle, and sneaking quickly from room to room, as the boys watched my progress through the windows down below.

Eventually it occurred to me that I was trespassing and being an asshole—possibly risking the crisp and clean status of my brand-new Aussie Permanent Resident visa—so I stepped nonchalantly out of the shadows so that Old Man Diapers could finally figure out where I was. I walked past him, quickly, casually admiring the artwork but staying out of his reach, spouting off a story about how my art history teacher had mentioned what an impressive catalog the Club had, "so I thought I'd come check it out, y'know?"

And, finally nearing the door, I high-tailed it out of there and we continued on our way to the next bar. But not before husband slipped, and accidentally did this to my foot:

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I Know How Safe You Were Last Summer

The following paragraphs come from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) website:

"Warning for Motorcyclists from the Deputy Coronor: Before you buy - get a mechanical check. This will help to pick up any mechanical faults with the motorcycle. This warning from the Deputy Coroner came after a motorcyclist was killed just days after buying a second hand motorcycle with throttle and brake problems. The throttle became stuck in the wide open position, causing the bike to travel at excessive speed and the rider to lose control.

"Safe motorcycling tips wanted.
You write it, we publish it. Get the latest tips from your fellow riders here. We've also organised them by topic so you can get directly to the info you're after. Submit your safety tips and stories. The best submissions are selected each month and receive $25 cash."

They're totally sucking people into chain letters! It's all like, "sEnD uS UR saFety tiPs or U wiLL DiE!!!"

And as if that weren't enough, they're bribing people with the promise of cash and publication. I totally get these kinds of emails from my grandma all the time--the kind of email forward that has to promise death, absolution, and cash, because the reader's bound to be a sucker for one of 'em.

The TAC has resorted to safety spam...tsk tsk!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Playa Hatin'

Okay, okay, it's been like a week since I posted anything. But I needed time to cool down after that last post. I got really riled up about that one, and then caught all kinds of flack from my Aussie friends who were all like, "wow you sound angry, giiirl, why you all be hatin' on Oz n' shit?" (it didn't actually sound like that, because they can't sound black, especially when they try, but I try not to hold that against them...they've never seen black people outside of the "telly".)

But honestly folks, I don't hate Australia. I'm merely observing and recording in a spiteful manner. And to be honest I can do that from anywhere. Just ask my sister; if nothing around me is particularly bothersome, I'll make fun of her tattoos or pick on her boyfriend.

So in an attempt to make nice, I've compiled a brief list of things I've discovered here that could only exist, in all their true glory, in Australia--objects I shall truly soon as I get the fuck out of here.

1. Tim Tams.
Chocolate gizz you'd never spit out. Especially when it joins forces with tea or hot chocolate to become the Tim Tam Slam.

2. Berocca.
I always considered myself a formidable drinker, especially for my size and socio-economic status, but if not for all my practice before I moved here, Australians' drinking capacity would surely put me to shame. As they don't possess the cure-all combination of Excedrin and Emergen-C, husband introduced me to Berocca, in all its orange powered sweetness and brain cell-patching abilities. It gets me moving enough to get to work, functioning as well as can be expected, but sadly hasn't been improved enough to stop me from still being drunk at said job.

3. Really really tight jeans.
One winter my girlfriends and I back in New York were on an all-out quest for the perfect skinny jeans. H&M briefly carried like 20 pairs (sold out in one day) and went back to lame-o flares with washes that looked like you'd just slid down a loofah. I refused to buy Tsubis because they're like $400 in NYC and I'd thrown so much food at Tsubi-wearing anorexic fashion students on Fifth Avenue that I would've felt like a hypocrite.

The quest got so competitive that one friend refused to give up where she'd found her pair, in fear that we would all get the same ones. (After they sold out she then confessed they were from Urban Outfitters, but I have a major moral dilemma about those idiots anyway.)

Husband informed me that Melbourne is THE world capital of painted-on jeans, and much to my satisfaction, my friend Thom makes the perfect pair at a reasonable price. These bitches are so tight they make my Leona Edmiston stockings look like snow pants. My friend Benny and I have the same pair. He's like 6'6" so his are a foot longer...but same circumference...skinny ass hipsters.

Soooo, I promise from now on I will mix my likes with dislikes in an attempt to be a nicer person. I just can't promise any kind of healthy balance.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Walking Class Heroes

This post was supposed to be about people who don't know how to walk.

New York has something like three times more people crammed into it than Melbourne, which has rightfully forced various unspoken rules as to how to walk down the sidewalk. The flow of pedestrian traffic mirrors that of car traffic:

1. Stay to the right.

2. Pretend you're a car and stay in your goddamn lane.

3. If you want to pull over and look at your map/answer your phone/masturbate, look before you slam into another person.

4. If you want to window-shop, fuck you tourist. You should have figured out what you wanted to buy online before you left Midtown. But you didn't, so there is a designated lane for DUMB, which is right alongside shop windows.

This all makes sense to me. But not to Australians. Even though it may make sense to them to mirror traffic, their instinct is telling them that maybe they should walk on the right, because it's the way God wanted it, but then something reminds them, "wait we do it backwards here mate" and then they get all confused and start dawdling and drooling and pretty soon I'm kicking their children and screaming "This is AMERICA, asshole!" Which it isn't, of course. Whatevs. They know what I mean.

But this isn't about that. Because in my extensive research, wanting to fairly represent the Australian opinion on the matter, I came across another organization lookin' out for the safety of its citizens:

The Pedestrian Council of Australia.

This shit's so exciting that even John Howard (that's the Prime Minister, for the Americans reading this) wrote a letter describing how he splooged a 'roo (man I wish that was a real Aussie phrase) when he heard the council was creating "Walk to Work Day". Well he didn't really, but here it is.

Walk to Work Day, for those of you who haven't fallen asleep yet, counted nearly 1,000 people walking to work that day, and there was an article entitled "Walking Class Heroes" about the event on page 45 of the Canberra City Chronicle.

Holy shit.

But back to safety. So enthusiastic was I over discovering this, I delved further, and realized that the members of the Pedestrian Council of Australia are much like the neighborhood watch alliance in Hot Fuzz and that they are a bit too consumed with the safety of pedestrians. When you click onto "Issues and Policy" I discovered that there may be some serious breaching of safety due to the ever-popular Segway:

as well as "How they Flout the Parking Laws at Manly". But again, I don't speak Australian. So don't ask me what the fuck that means.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gravity-challenged Australians

I swear officer, I haven't been drinking. I'm just really tired.