Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ute tell me.

The Ute is truly an Australian icon, as well as being the mullet of the car world: business at the front, party (or vehicle for livestock) at the back. I made this observation the other day while making a hook turn on my bicycle, and thinking "oh that sedan is about to tur---oh that's not a sedan, it's the ugliest car ever designed."

History tells us that the humble beginnings of the Ute were born from a rural Australian woman, who asked some dude who worked at Ford, "Why don’t you build people like us a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday, and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays?"

Why, indeed. Now, I'm not knocking the obvious benefits to having a Ute. They're very handy if you're moving and a friend happens to have one. Tradesmen use them for work. Some people probs still put their pigs in the back. That makes sense, if you have pigs you want to drive around. What does not make sense, however, is trying to make them glamorous, or even remotely attractive. They should not be painted yellow. Yellow is a ridiculous color for a car anyway, but on a Ute it's especially offensive because you can't help but have to look--not only at the ugliest car ever made, but at the invariably frightening owner of the vehicle.

I would venture to describe your average yellow Ute driver in more scathing detail, but I'm not exactly incognito here, and frankly I don't feel like getting my ass kicked by a local. I'll just post a picture up and then you can be in charge of being judgmental.


Yesterday, my friend Nev brought the Deniliquin Utemuster to my attention. It's some kind of Ute convention, not wholly unlike lots of events I'm sure Southerners call "tradition" and "heritage," which include essential props like cowboy hats, random sofas in parking lots, and women who pretend to be interested so they can get some fucking attention from their mens once in awhile.

This is all leading up to an inevitable post that will chart the similarities and differences between white trash and the Aussie bogan. Stay tuned.

Google in Cahoots with Safety Town

Google Maps caught this dude eating shit on his bike, right here in Oz. Let's all take a moment to laugh at him and applaud Big Brother Google for this morning's entertainment!

Thanks to the f for the heads-up

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spliffs, Krums and Pies

I've got a few small observations for you guys, none of which warrant a whole post.

The first thing is, you guys need to get with 420. It's not that hard. 420 (four-twenty) means marijuana celebration happy times. That means that if I happen to glance at the clock one afternoon and declare "4:20 doods!" in Ultimate Surfer voice then you should understand that I am excited about the prospect of someone having weed on them to share with me.

But the thing is with you guys, this explanation is never enough for you. You have to know why it's called 4-20. And if it has anything to do with Four and Twenty Pies (no) and if it's a reference to Cheech and Chong (also no). The point is, you're missing the point. Who cares what it's called. It's time to hit the bong.

The 20th of April is a special day for the world, worth celebrating and pondering: Earth Day. The anniversary of the Bay of Pigs. The beginning of the French Revolution. And a day during which millions spark doobs. It's communal spirit braaahh.

* * *

Yesterday whilst celebrating I went to the grocery store and bought these breadcrumbs, both because the name was so ridiculously Aussie--Krummies--and because I thought the packaging was old school and adorable. But now that I've had a look around the internets I've decided I must have bought a box of Krummies that had been sitting around the store since the last time they branded.

Krummies reminded me of a couple other brand names that make me laugh. One is Kumfs. It's a brand of ugly shoes from New Zealand. I also like the v. popular ice cream "Golden Gay Time". The other one is this store that has American Apparel-like clothing called Cotton On, which (I think) is an Australian expression for catching on to something. But every time I pass it I think,
"Cotton On Garth!"
"Cotton On Wayne."

* * *

I art directed a photo shoot last week out at a new housing development we like to call Satanic Ridge. Once we compiled a list of names we'd have chosen for a new subdivision, and it included such gems as "Crystal's Hymen" and "Guiche Creek." I'll have to dig up the list for you guys. But anyway, while we were at the shoot, one of the kids, who was ten, asked me which footy team I support.

"Collingwood," I said to him.

He squinted his eyes and hissed, "damn you" before walking off. !!! I lamely called after him, "well which team do you like?" He didn't even turn around, just called out "Carlton" and rejected me for the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Heading to the Hills

I've been feeling antsy lately about the fact that I live in Australia yet have no idea what Australia is about. I don't leave Melbourne. That's partly because nature is some nasty shit and also because part of me is afraid of Australia. Sharks eat people here.

But lately I've been thinking, at some point I'm going to be stuck in some gray, shitty-ass apartment in an inconvenient area of New York and think FUCK MAN, I used to live in Australia! but have no idea what that actually looks like, aside from what I've seen in Wolf Creek and Rogue.

Way to go Tourism Australia.

So anyway, enough of me being a pussy. I've been here a year and a half (next Wednesday, but who's counting?) Time to check out some cultcha.

The first thing we did was go to Sovereign Hill on Easter. It's a recreated gold-mining village in Ballarat, where 1/3 of the world's gold was found during the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s.

Here is a photo of me in the welcome center, recreating real history by stealing the chinaman's gold. I play the role of Whitey.

It was your typical family/tourist destination. We, of course, were stared at like we were circus performers; at one point while standing in line for the underground mine tour, people were staring at Ed's tattoos so blatantly, he offered to do a little jig for them while we all waited. Luckily none of them spoke English so conversation wasn't actually necessary. I'm just kidding. Some of them spoke English, but it sounded like "SHANE STOP HITTING NARELLE!" so I just tuned out.

As with all places like this we got tired and dusty, and since I was intelligently wearing a dress and heels we proceeded to whine to my mother in law until she fed us sandwiches to shut us up. Yes, we're 30 years old.

But here were the things I did like:

1. Oooh! Type! Ye olde printing presses!

2. And, curiously, all the things named after America. I guess the American gold rush was probs going on around the same time but I can't be sure because who can be fucked going to California to find out? I played plenty of Oregon Trail in 8th grade, I don't need no education.

* * *

Another thing I did recently was go to Luna Park, Melbourne's version of Coney Island.

I'd been wanting to go and I was in a shitty mood on Sunday, so I decided to ride my bike there. I figured it's impossible to stay shitty when there are terrified children on rollercoasters to laugh at. Also, I figured going on the old ass rollercoaster is a rite of passage like Coney's Cyclone. But when I got there the coaster wasn't running, so I took a seat, bought a crap coffee and people watched. After a few minutes I started wondering whether being there by myself was bad, so I texted my friend Matt to ask.

ecs to Matt: I'm at Luna Park by myself. Is that weird?

Matt to ecs: That depends if you are on acid...

ecs to Matt: Not on acid but it's interesting people watching. Scared kids' faces are hilarious.

Matt to ecs: Are you scaring children?
Matt to ecs: I like the idea of you frightening children.

ecs to Matt: Okay well let's go with that then. You should see my makeup today. It's disturbing.

Matt to ecs: That is why they are crying. Plus you are stamping on their feet as their parents look the other way.

ecs to Matt: And poking them with needles that are taped to my fingers. Uh oh security guards. Gotta go.

* * *

Tomorrow I head off to explore yet another corner of Australia: Sandy Point, about 2.5 hours outside of Melbourne.

Beach, ocean, house. I'm turning 30 on Saturday. Stay tuned.