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.