31 December 2008

The one good thing I have to say about Middle America...*

Just got back from two weeks in Middle America. It was nice to get out of New York and do some house-time; watching tv, sitting in front of a fake fireplace, playing with a real dog, being fed too much by mother-in-law, saying 'Amen' a lot and not meaning it... Still, as much as I love the mountains of Middle America and am happy the former red state recently turned blue, that's not enough for me to ever ever ever ever ever ever consider moving to the land of bible-bashing conservative bigoted blobs of blah!

There are lovely people in Middle America. And I feel kinda guilty hating on them collectively because I met many individuals who said they were praying for me. Still, as a mass the people of this little-big-town are a narrow-minded bunch who love to hate on the homeless, yet pity the "working poor". They think environmentalists are "radically liberal", and yet owning a gun keeps you grounded. They drive big trucks and fight over the difference between a 'jeep' and an 'SUV'. They... They...

Okay, I'm generalising a lot. However, to understand the special place the man I married grew up in I'll point out a few city-defining landmarks:

The United States Olympic Training Center: Nothing offensive about sports and patriotism.

United States Airforce Academy, and numerous airforce and army bases: Lots of shaved-headed military men (and women) hanging about the mall. When our flight arrived the flight attendant actually made the announcement, "Welcome home all returning servicemen! Please everyone give them a round of applause!" Of course 'Support Our Troops' bumper stickers are a favourite in town.

The New Life Church: Evangelical Christians love to love Middle America, and this megachurch (with more than 10,000 members) represents the biggest and the best of the happy-clappers in town. In 2007 the founder of this Church, Ted Haggard, was exposed as having enjoyed the services of a male escort for the past three years. He also liked doing meth. He resigned.

NORAD: A 'secret' bunker built in Cheyanne Mountain during the Cold War. This is where the president will hang-out when the nuclear apocalypse happens. This is also where the film 'War Games' was set.

Gosh, gosh, gosh... JESUS, OH MY GOD. I never say 'fuck' and I rarely say 'shit', so it was quite difficult being in a place where my strongest profanities - God, Jesus, Goddamn, Jesusbutt - were actually a lot more offensive than normal.

Anyway, Middle America sucks. I'm home.

Jesusbutt to the stinking selfish right-wing gun-crazy loons of America! And happy new year NYC and Mr Obama!

* A magnum of Yellowtail in Middle America costs ten bucks! Value.

29 December 2008

19 December 2008

Dot and Mars: Reunion Special

It's been over a year and a couple of oceans since i last saw Dot, until this week. That's right - against any good reasoning or advice given to me about perhaps not putting a holiday to New York on a credit card; here i am.

Seeing Dot again was like seeing your mum. You're always really happy to see your mum, but it never takes very long to start getting annoyed by her and snappy, remembering why you ran away to a new land in the first place... aw, no that's not entirely true. I guess there's a certain familiarity Dot and i have with each other which makes it acceptable to give each other a death stare, an exasperated sigh, a passive aggressive comment or a scathing snap.

And as i sit here in Dot's apartment, listening to Dot's music, typing on Dot's computer, reflecting on a brilliant five days in New York City... i really am glad that although the last year has bought us such different experiences, and we haven't been particularly diligent in keeping in touch, i am fairly confident that our friendship hasn't really suffered for it.

So thanks for having me Dot - i hope one day soon i can return the favour!

09 December 2008

Oh Internet!

It has happened again, and i've found myself living with yet ANOTHER fucking moron. After living with four certifiable morons earlier this year (which i really didn't have the energy to write about), i have moved into a flat with another special individual.

This individual was born a Catherine, but since changed her name to something thoroughly ridiculous, so ridiculous that i actually can't even call her by that name and instead just begin conversation with her, or refer to her as 'my housemate' or 'LL'.

Before i moved in here, i obviously came to meet LL and have a look around... saw the flat, reasonably priced and in the presitgous M1 postcode, 10 min walk to work and into town... i could have been living with rats and i still would have wanted to move in. When i met LL, she told me she had ME. Not having much knowledge of ME, i didn't think it'd be that much of an issue to me, so didn't really give it another thought.

I've been here two months now, and honestly came into this whole scenario with an open mind. I didn't really know what ME was, how it effected people or to what extent. I have read a bit (ok, i read wikipedia) about it on the internet, and now understand. I know it's a legitimate illness and that suffers are given a hard time and told they have 'yuppie flu' and such. That said, i think i have moved in with the most indulgent sufferer of ME ever. This individual does nothing to help her cause, and it's starting to effect my lifestyle.

She is also a lesbian. Which is fine, again, not something which would effect me. But she's one of those annoying individuals which let one certain characteristic define their personality. Like people with really really long hair - it's always something they are insanely proud of, a talking point and it becomes a defining part of their persona. Anyway, i find LL a really annoying lesbian, in that ALL her friends are also lesbians. WHY? It's just annoying. All the books she reads and movies she watches are, i dunno, gay. So you root women? Big deal! Get another fucking interest!

Anyway, so now i've introduced you to this 'character' you will have to stay tuned for more fun stories about LESBIAN PARTIES IN MY HOUSE ALL FUCKING NIGHT WHEN I HAVE TO WORK THE NEXT DAY. Etc and so forth.

08 December 2008

Dear Mars,

So you're too good for the Lion King? Maybe Audrey and I will just see it without you then. I'm not ashamed to admit I like Disney mush, puppets and Elton John.

Anyway, I still think we should see a 'show' so I've done some research into Mars-friendly productions. Please take your pick:

Equus (Broadway)
Daniel Radcliffe takes his clothes off and dry humps a real horse. And it's got Rachael Griffiths in it!

All My Sons (Broadway)
I saw John Lithgow in the supermarket last week, and now we can all see him in this 'bold, modern and emotionally wrenching' (TimeOut New York) melodrama. And it's got a 'somewhat stiff' Katie Holmes in it!

Hairspray (Broadway)
A bold, modern and emotionally wrenching examination of racial segregation in 1960s Baltimore.

Billy Elliot (Broadway)
It's got the drama and the dance.

Spring Awakening (Broadway)
This is my pick. A musical about sex in 19th century Germany. How can that be? The New York Times explains:

...in exploring the tortured inner lives of a handful of adolescents in 19th-century Germany, this brave new musical, haunting and electrifying by turns, restores the mystery, the thrill and quite a bit of the terror to that shattering transformation that stirs in all our souls sometime around the age of 13, well before most of us have the intellectual apparatus in place to analyze its impact. “Spring Awakening” makes sex strange again.

I'm still having trouble imaging it, which is why I want to see it.

The Nutcracker (New York City Ballet)
A revolting show about a Mouse King who eats toy soldiers with a nutcracker.

Don Giovanni (The Met Opera)
Don Giovanni is a cad who gets what's coming to him. Find out how and see the opera!

La Boheme (The Met Opera)
Puccini's most phat opera... I've always wanted to see this one! At the moment my 'La Boheme' knowledge comes from the soundtrack for a 'Room With a View'. This is embarassing.

(BTW: If we see anything at the Met it'd be best if you can assemble some kind of student card so we can get the cheap seats.)

Tell me if any of these interest you and I'll get tickets!

- Dot

P.S. YES I can meet you at the airport. There is a small chance I'll have to stay home to meet the people we are subleting apartment to over Christmas. Blane says he will do this job, however if he has to go to work then I'll have to do it. Anyway, anyway... at this stage it's fine and I'll meet you.

30 November 2008

Dear Melbourne,
As much as i love Manchester...

Sometimes i really miss you...


Don't go changing...

Love Marsy

24 November 2008

Some months ago, Schroeder expressed an interest in getting tickets to the Warehouse Project... some DJ he knew was playing and it was basically just an opportunity to get as mashed as possible. So i got a ticket, not really knowing what to expect and not really caring because it was so far away. I figured everyone else of my generation seemed to have been to a rave sort of thing at some point, why shouldn't i? This week as the event loomed, excitement amongst the group grew and i started to shit myself. A rave? What am i doing going to a rave at my age!

I predicted the order of proceedings on Friday...

6pm finish work
6.15pm arrive home from work - get straight in shower, wash/dry/straighten hair
7pm get into bed for a nap
8.30pm wake up, get dressed (including getting changed 15 times), slap make up on
9pm ring and find out where everyone else is
9.30pm after further procrastination and outfit changes, leave the flat
9.45pm find gang and get first drink in
11pm locate warehouse party
11.15pm get drinks in, start bopping
11.30pm Columbo bored of warehouse party and starts petitioning to leave
1am Mars bored of warehouse party and starts petitioning to leave
2am leave warehouse party and make way back to Schroeder and Columbo's flat
2.15am continue party in flat - now known as 'flat party'
2.30am assume regular positions as night takes on familiar feel
4am lose a few to booze and sleep requirements
5am realise flat party is running dry of supplies
5.30am desperation sets in as we try to obtain supplies
6.30am realise party is over
7am go to bed
3pm wake up - begin two day recovery process

Although close, it wasn't exactly how it ended up happening. Best laid plans and all that... Basically my 'nap' was slightly longer than i intended, and the waking up process wasn't exactly as speedy as i'd anticipated. So at around 10pm i set off to meet the group up in the Northern Quarter, about a 20 minute walk from my house. Bad idea - was wearing new boots and feet got thoroughly butchered. Anyway, found the gang who were just about to move to another bar.

Ever since picking up these tickets two months ago, Schroeder has been begging me to 'put the tickets in a safe place!'... i deemed my wallet was a pretty safe place, and although he didn't think it was a good idea to keep them on my person in case i lost my bag or something, i figured they were right next to my passport which is one thing i like to have with me, just in case i wanna do one out of this country at a moment's notice. ANYWAY, for reasons unknown, i thought i'd leave my passport and wallet at home last night, and just take out what i needed.

We moved on to another bar and were ordering drinks as i stuck my hand down my top to pull out my money, Columbo asks what the hell i'm doing. I explained that i didn't bring my wallet tonight, just the essentials. Schroeder looks at me saying 'you remembered the tickets though, right?'... Uhh... It took a good couple of minutes to convince Columbo and Schroeder that i wasn't joking when i said i didn't have them, and it wasn't until i started backing out of the pub that they finally believed me. Fucking fuck!

So i get a taxi, zoom back to my house, collect tickets, zoom back to bar. About to order a drink, when someone notices written on the tickets it says LAST ENTRY 11.30pm. It was at that point 11.25pm and panic ensues. Drinks are abandoned, not that i ever had one - and all seven of us pile into a taxi. I am the last one to hop in and there is a distinct lack of space as i dither at the door the group yells at me to GET IN. No where to sit, so i plonk myself on the floor, certain of imminent death.

As i appear to be the only girl in the group wearing a bra, it was therefore my responsibility to smuggle the drugs in, it was a rave after all. We line up and i notice an absolute plethora of police and security and the fact that i still haven't managed to get one single drink in starts to effect proceedings. Tried to be cool, but couldn't help wondering if i'd get deported for getting caught with so many pills on me. Thankfully (most likely due to my age and apparent sobriety) i was not stopped or checked at all. Result.

We're in the rave, the DJ they all wanted to see starts and we barge our way through the crowd (as you do at these things) and find a spot. I can't help but laugh at myself being in this position. Stone cold sober, getting shoved, elbowed and stood on by fuckwits, listening to this sort of scratch music i don't really dig and feeling thoroughly ridiculous... Everyone in there is about 19 years old, little scenester-types - some wearing sunglasses, some wearing lycra and fluro, others wearing jeans hoodies and backpacks, some shirtless up on other people's shoulders but one thing they all have in common is that they're on a mission, barging through the crowd, every one's got somewhere else to be. So i drop my first pill in the hope things will improve and make motions to Columbo about trying to find the bar.

We find the bar and there appear to be two choices - bottled water or cans of Budweiser. I decide i'll take one of each... 'Wun wordah and wun Buhd ploise' i say. Apparently when i try to talk really loud my accent suddenly sound like i'm from Queensland or something. The girl behind the bar just looks at me, Columbo looks at me, so i say it again... like they would. 'Wohn wa'er and a cun o' Bood thunks'. This time she gets it.

More pushing, shoving and getting stomped on, i start bopping.. but as usual, after about an hour i convince myself that 'it's not working' and decide to drop another. I check myself and my stylin', but when i look down, i'm not exactly sure of what i see. I appear to be pulling a move which can only be described at the 'heel and toe'. No, this wont do at all. A couple of beers later, an elbow in the boob, getting landed on by a massive dude 'dancing' and the whole scenario starts to wear a bit thin. It's about 2am and i'm bored of the rave now - been there done that. Columbo also seems bored of the rave too, but she doesn't want to leave as she's got two friends from Sheffield over for the night, and they want to stay.

Smiley is Schroeder's friend from university. I didn't get much chance to talk to her, but every time i looked at her, she gave me a big smile and an encouraging two thumbs up. Her friend, Ducky (cause she looked like a duck, obvs) made me laugh though, because she was so prissy.

At one point, i was wandering around with Ducky, looking for Columbo and Smiley. Schreoder was doing some serious bopping by this point, and somewhat uninterested in the apparent loss of Columbo and Smiley, he gives Ducky his phone as she's convinced they've gone off home. So she's stood in the middle of this open part of the warehouse, pouting while on this phone, ringing Columbo and Schroeder's home phone. Little did she know that the ringer is broken, so there'd be no way anyone would hear that - but i just let her go on, she was getting a bit stressed, so it was good she had something to concentrate on.

A fight breaks out near where we're standing and i swiftly jump out the way. I tried to grab Ducky and the phone, but she saw the men lunging towards us herself and shoved me out the way as she trotted off. Fine Ducky, was only trying to help - you're on your own. Anyway, Columbo and Smiley finally reappear and there is another conference on who's leaving and who's staying. This took quite a while - i already had my hat and coat on by this point, so am guessing it was pretty clear that i was leaving.

Issue resolved and Schroeder and Smiley are staying with the others who came with us, and Columbo, Ducky and myself are off home in a taxi. Ducky didn't bring a coat - she had on these short shorts and a singlet with these massive shoes which weighed more than she did - the weight actually looked like it could have snapped her skinny leg. She trots out of the warehouse and declares how cold she is. Not surprised, it was probably below zero. We start walking up the road looking for a taxi and Ducky spots one up the street turning around a corner.

She starts trot-running, waving her arms in all directions and squealing after this cab. She sees it slow down, but then as it starts to speed up, she starts squealing at it again. A really high pitched squeal, still waving her arms all over the place and trot-running off down the street. By the time Columbo and i caught up with her she was sitting snugly in the cab, but i couldn't stop laughing at the sight of her squealing after this taxi.

Anyway - i went home and the party in my bed started. Naturally sleep completely evaded me and my body temperature must have dropped about 15 degrees. For someone that 'it wasn't working' for, i suddenly realised i was more cained than originally suspected. Anyway, persist with trying to sleep before finally starting to come down at about 5am.

Tickets for party - twenty pounds
New dress - fifteen pounds
New boots - thirty five pounds
Predictable party drugs - six pounds
Wasted taxi money - fifteen pounds
The only person in the rave wearing Bridget Jones undies? Priceless

18 November 2008

Mars and I are currently competing to see who hates their job the most.

Me? I’m working 14 hour days and have got way too much responsibility and am constantly stuffing up and ‘costing the company money’ and I’m just tired tired tired…

Anyway, I promised I’d post something. Luckily something strange happened to me on the weekend…

It was Saturday night and I was sitting at my kitchen table with the laptop happily reading Wikpedia ‘discussion’ pages when someone knocked on my kitchen window. Weird. I peered out into the dark and saw the face of our neighbour looking at me.

He said, 'Hello! Would you like to come over for a drink?'

I thought it would have been more polite to knock on our front door and ask, however our kitchen window does look straight out into his courtyard so I guess he couldn't help but see in and notice me. I was stumped as to how to reply. Blane was at the other end of the apartment and had heard our neighbour’s invitation. He was desperately shaking his head at me while mouthing, ‘No! No! No!’ However, I didn’t know how to say this to our neighbour without seeming rude and awkward, ie, ‘No, I’d rather sit here in my apartment, however you can continue to watch me through my kitchen window.’

So I said, ‘Yes.’ From an optimistic point of view it did seem like a good opportunity to stick-beak into his apartment.

I changed out of my pajamas and into jeans and a jumper and went next door to meet Enin the Hedge Fund Slave. He lives in an apartment three times bigger than my own, however I like to think it’s not that nicely furnished.

Enin and I sat in his courtyard drinking Bud Lights. I realized pretty quickly Enin was very drunk, however it was in a friendly gossipy way so it was kind of fun. I learnt from Enin the following information:

  • The basement of our building is full of cockroaches. Enin has seen them for himself when he went down there once.
  • After seeing the cockroaches Enin has been paying for an exterminator to visit the building once a month.
  • Enin’s apartment does not have mice. (I told Enin that our apartment DOES have mice… Hopefully he’ll get the exterminator onto them too.)
  • Enin pays three times as much rent than we do, but he thinks his apartment is ‘good value.’
  • Enin’s girlfriend is French. She recently got laid-off from her job (with a year’s salary!!!), hence the reason lots of French people have been hanging out in their courtyard. Enin’s girlfriend is currently in France visiting her family, hence the reason Enin getting really drunk on his own in the backyard.

When Enin tried to go inside to get our second round of beers we realized we were locked out of his apartment. Enin had accidentally picked up his front door key instead of his back door key. I suggested we climb in through my kitchen window to escape. However before I knew it Enin had jumped the back fence into the building’s backyard behind us. A group of people were having a BBQ in this backyard, and I listened to Enin introducing himself and then politely asking if he might go through their apartment to get out onto the street. They were happy to oblige (in other words, they were happy to show him out of their apartment).

While I waited for Enin to run halfway around the block and back into our apartment, one of the neighbours from the BBQ popped his head over the fence.

‘Hello!’ He shouted when he saw me.

‘Um… hi.’

‘What’s your name? I’ve never met you before!’

‘I’m Dot.’

‘Hi! Nice to meet the neighbours at last!’ He was obviously much more drunk than Enin. Only, unlike Enin, this neighbour had a very sleazy vibe to him…

‘Oh, I don’t live here.’

‘Where DO you live?’ He was definitely leering.

‘In another apartment.’

‘Hey… smile!’ Before I knew it this guy had pulled out a camera and taken my photograph. At the exact moment the flash went off Enin burst back into the courtyard.

‘Hey!’ Enin shouted at the drunk neighbour, ‘You can’t just take someone’s photo like that!’

‘Hey!’ The neighbour replied, ‘You can’t just jump into someone’s backyard and run through their apartment!’

Good point.

So Enin and the other drunk neighbour yelled at each other for a bit, before deciding they were probably both in the wrong. I stood in the middle of the yelling wishing I could just go home.

Once the New York-style yelling stopped the neighbour offered Enin a peace-making beer. Enin said it was not necessary, however the neighbour insisted and placed the beer on the back fence. The neighbour then disappeared back to his BBQ. I took this opportunity to tell Enin that I must go home also. Enin was disappointed but resigned to the fact that the locking-out and yelling incident hadn’t made the best evening. I took my leave.

I think it is a rare and precious thing to meet your neighbour in New York. However, it's also slightly creepy. On Sunday I brought a plant to sit on my kitchen window sill. Hopefully this should block peeping-Enin a bit.


The view from my bedroom window is beer... just... out... of... reach...

09 November 2008

A picture essay of the last two fire-tastic weeks in Manchester...
by Mars

It started off a couple of weeks ago, when Schroeder and i were watching television one evening and we casually noticed the entire front room light up an iridescent blue. 'Whoa!' we both exclaimed... 'What was that?!' we curiously questioned as we leaped from our well oiled spots on the couches, and bound out on to the balcony.

Turned out it was a couple of dudes lighting rockets down on the street, right underneath the flat...
Next thing you know, Halloween has rolled around again and early talks of a Halloween party fizzle out. Questions of what Halloween actually is were forthcoming from work colleagues and it was vaguely ascertained that it began as some sort of a Pagan ceremony of sorts. Pagans, what are they anyway, and what is their place in this contemporary world..? More questions were raised and there was only one person really game enough to offer their ill-informed opinion on the topic. 'Pagans, ya know...' i begin. 'They like, run around Stonehenge naked on the full moon n shit' i continue. Little did i know, we had an (until this point, silent) expert amongst us.

Speedy, the bloke that sits next to me finally enters into the conversation... 'That's funny, cause i'm actually a Pagan and i've never done anything like that' he says, looking squarely at me... Uhhh.
Columbo and i went to this great little bar up the road from my new flat to see a guy called Sam Barrett play... it was a pretty good gig (aside from the fact that we actually could see it - we could still hear)... anyway, i was checking out Sam Barratt on myspace this week, when i saw a picture of him with a half naked girl called Dolly Mae.

When i was travelling through Asia last year, we really randomly met up with a girl Number 2 had met in a hostel in Darwin called Danni... anyway - long story short, Danni is a burlesque dancer and her stage name is Dolly Mae... the same Dolly Mae who seems to know Sam Barratt. This is just further confirmation to i do, in fact, know everyone on this planet.

Then a bit of English history came in to my life... Apparently there was a dude who tried to blow up Parliament back in the 1600's... it was back when England was still fighting with itself over being Catholic or The Other and Guy Fawkes (the dude) wanted to blow up the aristocracy (who happened to be The Other) cause he was Catholic... so he collected a whole heap of gun powder in order to do this, but at the last minute got busted.

And thus, Bonfire Night was born. And Guy Fawkes was hung, drawn and quartered.
Schroeder and i (and a couple of others) headed off down to Platt Fields Park for the fireworks and bonfire. Unfortunately, after making the poor decision of stopping off for some crispy southern fried chicken along the way, we managed to step off the bus just in time to see the very last firework.
Not satisfied with the bonfire we couldn't even get close enough to feel any heat off or the one firework we saw, we decided to buy some rockets and go make our own fun...

They were pretty good, considering what they were. You could definitely lose and eye if you were street savvy professionals like us. They had the desired effect... we heard the whistle, and saw the explosion. What a night! Cheers Guy!

I work just near the Manchester Town Hall, and for the last couple of weeks i've seen the gradual expansion of Christmas Decorations going up. A bit early you say? I hear you...

Anyway, it started with a giant blow up Santa... some tinsel up the top of light poles and the obligatory fairy lights in trees. All in all, not bad as far as Christmas cheer goes. Then! Last night the lights were officially turned on and there were MORE fireworks!

And they were brilliant! And i didn't miss them! And the Town Hall looked magical, like Disney Land!

The End.

26 October 2008

One of the things i am loving most about living in Manchester is that there always seems to be things going on. I know that's one of the great things about Melbourne too, that there's something for everyone and there's always something to do... however, i'm not sure if it's because i'd lived in Melbourne so long that i'd become immune or probably just closed minded to certain things, maybe it's because i didn't live in town and out in the burbs instead, but it seems like there's so much more happening in Manchester

An event called In the City happened a couple of weeks ago, which is basically a whole heap of live music and bands trying there darndest to 'make it big', playing at different venues around 'the city'. Anyway, Columbo runs a festival so we went along to Dry Bar to check out one of the bands she is interested in having play at her event. I've forgotten the bands we saw by now, but it was nice to take a trip back in time and learn a bit about the Manchester music scene over the years.

Anyway - long story short... we all saw Control, right? Some of us have maybe even seen 24 Hour Party People... or heard the names Tony Wilson or Factory Records thrown about? Maybe you've heard of the Hacienda? What about the Happy Mondays, The Smiths or The Stone Roses? And god knows, we all know Oasis. So to all too briefly summarise - Manchester music scene in the not too distant past. Quite interesting.

Anyhoo, from what i can gather (and i really do have minimal basis for the following statements), it seems to me as though some scenesters are still revelling back the glory days of the 80's and 90's. Talk to any Mancunian, and they'll tell you during that period, Manchester was the centre of the universe. The city was pumping out some quality music, not to mention quality football...(!) Though some are caught up in the nostalgia of past conquests, i think few would disagree when i say i think Manchester still has a lot going for it culturally.

Unlike its neighbour, Liverpool, Manchester hasn't had a load of EU fundage pumped into it of recent times to create a sort of commercially generated facade of 'culture'... (which i think really dupes Liverpool... there has been genuinely interesting history in the place, but instead it has been reduced to tacky Beatles tours/museums and the cafe and tourist infested Albert Docks) however, there have been two widely recognised major events in the last decade or so, which have really contributed to Manchester being the 'livable' city it is today.

First, the 1996 IRA bombing of the Arndale centre, which basically blew up Manchester's big city centre shopping centre. I live right up the road from the Arndale centre (in all its glory) and often walk past the single post box which was left standing after the blast. While no one was killed in this bomb blast (though not really the point), Manchester seemingly has benefited from this, as the shopping precinct was rebuilt (with much nicer stuff!) and many new bars and restaurants in the area.

The other main contributing factor in what's made Manchester a great place to be at the moment has got to be the 2002 Commonwealth Games held here, bringing Manchester into the noughties with a truckload of money being invested in facilities and infrastructure.

As a side note - i do realise i'm not saying anything new here. Mancubist did a great post on the 10th anniversary of the Arndale bombing which is worth a read.

When i first told my people from home i was moving to England, and more specifically Manchester, i was met with a resounding "WHY?"... It wasn't until my dad mentioned where i was moving to one of his friends who'd actually been here and said it was a fantastic city, and then it was a sudden 'yes, by all means Mars... off you go and you do that.. whatever it is you're doing'.

Anyway, i started this post to simply tell you all that i'd done one of the single nerdiest things of my life this week. As part of the Manchester Literature Festival, one of the events which interested Columbo and i was the Manchester Blog Awards. For some time now, i've been chasing down what i once considered to be illusive Manchester blogs. Anyhoo, we found out who was nominated and quickly read through their most recent posts so we'd know what was going on...

It didn't really serve us that well, i never seem to know what's going on. Some of the nominated bloggers did readings, which were all really good. The author of a blog i didn't really like at first glance, did a really engaging reading, so i guess i'll have a second look at that one. There were nerds everywhere - we can only assume other 'anonymous' bloggers. People were 'live blogging' and talking about 'twitter'... which is something i've definitely heard of, but still don't really know what it does. There were people filming and photographing the whole event, which inevitably ended up on flickr. Proof i was actually there, i'm actually in that photo i just linked to! AH!

So there you have it... i said the 'b' word out loud this week, and i'm not entirely sure i'm comfortable with it. After over two years, i'm still not ready to admit that i have a blog or am (cringe) a blogger.

So as i sit in my bed, typing this post on a lazy Sunday morning i can hear the church bells ringing from the cathderal, i am planning on visiting a gallery this afternoon and i'm thinking 'what a brilliant city', with so much to do.

...next week i'll talk about the scallys and the weather.

As a(nother) side note... there are some fantastic pictures of Manchester over here which are well worth a look too!

08 October 2008

I've always considered internet dating the final frontier. Basically, if there's no one on the internet for you (and let's face it, the whole world's on the internet), then where to from there? You're screwed.

Anyway, Columbo has a friend who has had some success on this website where your friend writes a profile for you, telling the world how great you are... then someone comes along and clicks on your head - next thing you know you've got a house in the suburbs, you drink coffee, you've got a couple of squawkers nipping around your ankles and you're living the dream.

So i figured, for a couple of reasons, that i could probably do this internet dating thing without too much humiliation given that i didn't really know anyone here in Manchester who would stumble upon my profile and send it to my whole office (just ya know, for example... errr) and also, i didn't really know anyone here in Manchester and i could do with meeting some people.

Who else would i ever turn to for a profile? You guessed it, my old friend Dot. She wrote me a wonderful piece testement to all my good points... and i left this profile, along with a picture of my head, on that website for approximately four days... before i shit myself and took it down. Some people had clicked on my head, i had two emails (which i couldn't even read cause i didn't want to pay), but i thought what was written on my profile made me sound a little... well, weird. I deemed it a little bit too in-jokey between Dot and i (what's not in-jokey, eh?) so took it down.

Some time passesd and i thought i might like to try it again but thought Dot might get annoyed if i asked her to write me another profile... so i asked my friend Marge. She took absolutely weeks to come up with it, so i was really expecting great things. I was disappointed at her ineloquent effort which basically said that i was 'quite independent but would like to settle down if someone will have me' in not so many words. I didn't hold this against Marge though, i mean, that's what she did, so she probably thinks it's quite ok. Anyway, that got canned straight away.

Running out of friends to ask, i mentioned to Columbo that i needed a profile. She said she didn't think she knew me well enough and didn't wanna do it... that was until i showed her what Marge had written and she agreed that no, that wouldn't do at all. So she's agreed to write me this profile, however that must have been about three weeks ago now and still, nothing...

Short of getting my mum to write me a bloody profile or writing it myself, i really am losing all faith in the system. If it's this hard to even get 'out there' i dread to think what these 'date' things are going to be like.

Please, just shoot me now.

06 October 2008

This Fucking Accent!
by Mars

This fucking accent is a pain in the arse and i'm sick of it. When i meet new people, one of the first things they'll do once we've started to get to know each other, after they've at first, politely, asked me to repeat myself numerous times... (before finally telling me i 'mumble' twenty five thousand times), is to take the complete, total and utter piss out of my accent.

They'll start off my laughing at words i say, or the way in which i say them... but that doesn't seem to offer the satisfaction people are after. They will then often move on to mimicing words, phrases or whole sentences i say... but neither does this seem to offer complete satisfaction. It's at this point that they will advance, like an aminal with its prey in sight (but with much less stealth and more vain self-amusement) and begin to speak, at length, in an accent they deem comparable to my own.

And this shits me... At first, i can take it. Yeah whatever, i get it... my accent is weird and you're a bit of a dick... but PLEASE, move on. I don't need you to try to speak back to me in my own accent every time you have something to say (to me or in general)... it's really annoying, and a little insulting. Am i nothing more than the girl with the funny accent? I'd like to think i have, even if it's just a little, something more to offer conversation in general. It's fine once i get to know people, because i guess they kind of stop noticing it, and think that's just the way i sound...

To make matters worse, it's not even just the people over here who listen with curiosity when i speak. The number of people from home who are starting to have a crack at me sounding English is increasing as well. And this is really annoying too... mainly cause i don't! I do an extremely poor English accent, and therefore just don't ever try. If i can't even do the accent when i'm trying, how could i possibly be sounding English when i'm not trying?!

Anyway, i wish people would quit giving me a hard time. It's really fucking boring... as if it wasn't bad enough getting lumped with this nasal bogan accent in the first place, the last thing i need is people talking at me Kath'n'Kim style thinking they're highly amusing and an excellent doer of accents. WANKERS!

18 September 2008

Embark on Mission: Rome. Bus leaves Manchester, Liverpool airport bound at 4.15am... Mars off to a slow start after not being able to sleep in anticipation of seeing her parents again after 9 months. Arrive at airport, check in, board flight, find seat in emergency exit row all with mimimum of fuss.

Arrive at Rome Ciampino airport 10.40am, local time. Exit plane, go through customs, recover bag with minimal fuss again. Things appear to be going a little bit too smoothly... Try to locate ATM in arrivals hall as no Euros in posession and need to pay for bus into town. Where is ATM? No ATM in sight. Wander around looking for ATM. Definitely no ATM. Go to currency exchange, ask where ATM is. As suspected, no ATM in arrivals hall. Ask if i can withdraw money from UK bank account at currency exchange, answer negative but am informed there is an ATM in departures hall.

Leave arrivals hall and get thwacked in face with the hot hot heat outside. Wander around departures hall looking for ATM. No ATM in sight. Ask currency exchange where ATM is. Locate ATM and insert card. Card rejected. Go back to currency exchange and ask if i can withdraw from UK back account; affirmative. Hand over card and am informed 'not Maestro, only Visa or Mastercard'. Hand over Australian Visa. Need PIN, have no idea of PIN. Problem. Hand over Australian Visa Debit, insufficient funds. Real problem. Go back to ATM and attempt to over draw on Austalian Visa Debit. SUCCESS! Over draw account, am thwacked (again) with charges, but finally have Euros to be able to catch bus out of airport.

Arrive at Termini approx. midday. Text dad to inform of imminent arrival. Hop off bus and wander around looking for dad. See Forrest Gump looking character - have found dad. Dad appears to be styled by Tourists R Us and is wearing trousers with runners, a shirt tucked in, cap and backpack. Reunite with dad and his wife etc. Eat mediocre lunch.

Walk to accomodation. Settle in, crank a/c and nap. Leave late afternoon to walk down to Trevi Fountain. Arrive at Trevi Fountain along with 2000 of our closest friends. Dad and wife obsessively paranoid about gypsies and pickpockets. Realise with some level of horror that they are both wearing money belts. Enjoy Trevi Fountain, no gypsies in sight. Eat dinner of... pizza! Quite nice.

Begin walking back to accom... 9pm at night and still 30 degrees. Mars wants to catch taxi (it was a long walk!) but dad and wife obsessively paranoid about being 'ripped off' by taxi drivers. Suggest going on train. Wife over rules contention and we walk. Get back to near hotel and wife decides she needs milk, for cups of tea. AT 10PM! So we wander, aimlessly, for an hour in 30 degree heat looking for an open shop to sell her majesty fucking milk. Mars highly irritated but attempts best behaviour. Irritation impossible to conceal.

Arrive back at hotel, sleep with ear plugs and air conditioning, wake up and everything ok. Mars uncharacteristically indecisive, trys on many many outfits for the day. Dad and wife don't know what to make of scenario, luckily they are slow at getting ready too. Finally ready to leave hotel when i catch sight of dad in full tourist paraphenalia, complete with 'special' hat (white, broad rimmed) that is made in Canada for purposes of Canadian Army. Indestructible, i am told. Looks ridiculous, but we proceed.

Catch big red open top tourist bus and circle city taking in sights from above. Stop for lunch in nice restaurant with out door eating area. Wife kicks up a fuss about how it's probably going to cost more to eat outside and that we should eat inside. Dad and i already seated - i aint moving. Wife not happy and for probably the only time on that trip, she doesn't get her own way. Eat lunch and hop back on the red tourist bus. Wander around Roman Forum and Vatican City. Mars finally cracks at wife at some point - cause and effect of the heat, no doubt.

Day three, arrange custodial hand over. Work out where on the map mum and her middle-aged-lover are staying, lo and behold it's on the complete other side of the city. Meeting place, Vatican City - slightly ironic. Catch local bus for one euro and go for brunch with dad and wife (ok to sit out side this time after we weren't charged extra the day before) and wait for mum and middle-aged-lover to arrive. See mother bounding through crowd towards me. Reunite etc. Pleasantries exchanged between parental factions. Most bizarre experience. Take photo.

Go with mum and middle-aged-lover to Trevi Fountain (again). Look in market stalls, find first husband selling pizza in take away shop. Eat pizza in take away shop. Slowly. Go back to hotel as mum tired after only arriving that morning. Play on mum's mini computer by the pool all afternoon before dinner in hotel restaurant. Early night, go to bed, sleep with ear plugs, wake up everything ok.

Catch local bus to Mussolini Museum. Decide big red open top tourist bus is the go - all aboard (again). Circle city until we arrive at the Collusseum. Go in, find guide, listen intently, take photos etc. Finish at Collusseum and need to pee. Find toilets, dry retch at smell, decide i can't go in there. Sit and procrastinate for 20 minutes before finally deciding to just get in. Got in.

Wander around Roman Forum, find guide, listen intently, take photos etc. Am informed of another 'special' guided tour we can do around back alleys with secret stories, ending at hidden wine bar with best food in Rome. Fall for it.

Find guide, listen intently, take photos etc. (It was a really good tour actually, we went to all these little pokey churches you never would have known were there - i touched a Michaelangelo statue!)... Went to wine bar, drank much wine (was good) and ate spaghetti and meat balls (also good). Went back to hotel for sleep etc.

Last full day - mum's birthday. Went to the Villa Borhese for wander around gardens. Wandered, took photos etc. Had some lunch and a drink on the 'posh street', booked restaurant for dinner on posh street before travelling by taxi back to hotel. Had drink in hotel bar by pool, got ready to go out to posh restaurant - outfit styled by a combination of H&M and Primark. Tried to hold head high.

Went to posh restaurant, choked at prices and tried to decipher menu. Drank wine and listened to piano man playing Elton John covers. Ordered food, ate it, drank wine, enjoyed it, watched mum go red as she got a 'shout out' from piano man and he played Volare dedicated to her, requested by the middle-aged-lover. Had a good laugh and nice evening. Poor mum, didn't actually get any presents for her birthday. Mars releived she didn't have to pay the bill which ended up being over three or four hundred euros or something. Ouch.

Back to hotel for night cap before packing suitcase. Mother calculates what time i need to leave for bus in the morning and then adds an hour to be 'on the safe side'. Go to bed, sleep with ear plugs, wake up at 6am. Quickly pack up last things, say bye to mum, hop in taxi to bus station, hop on bus to airport, arrive at airport over 3 hours before plane due to take off. Wait, plane takes off. Arrive back in Liverpool airport to rain and freezing, catch bus back to Manchester where it's also rain and freezing.

Home sweet home.
I wanted to post this a few weeks ago...

I thought it was funny, but I am inbred. However, Mars didn't want me to post it, she was paranoid her boss was reading this blog. Now, on the eve of Mars starting a new job, I say, 'Sucks to her boss!'

And, it is my pleasure to present...

A conversation with Dot and Mars

Dot: Chat?

Mars: oh there you are... i knew you were there

Dot: You get travel agent job?

Mars: noooo :(

Dot: New plan of attack?

Mars: kill myself. jump off balcony…

Dot: Hmmm... that's not really a way FORWARD.

Mars: well... we're only on third floor, so more likely i'd just injure myself quite badly

Dot: Then you could live as a vegetable! you might like that... someone would feed you and wheel you around...

Mars: wouldn't it be you? who is this 'someone'?

Dot: I don't know, someone like Lou from Little Britain.

Mars: heh sucker

Dot: I was speaking on the phone to Mum the other day and my brother had shown her my facebook account and Mum says to me, 'Why aren't I your facebook friend? Aren't I good enough?!?' She was quite indignant.

Mars: does she have a facebook?

Dot: No. She didn't understand.

Mars: my mum's on...

Dot: Really? Is she your friend?

Mars: yes of course

Dot: Has she seen your hair? Has she seen the smoking pic?

Mars: probably. i don't care.. i'm 27!

Dot: Good point. Still, I WISH you'd take that photo of me smoking down.

Mars: get over it Dottie

Dot: Anyway, got any gossip?

Mars: not really.. noy

Dot: You applied for any jobs?

Mars: well... i haven't applied for any specific jobs. did i tell you i'm on performance management? OH i haven't told you!

Dot: What is that? (And 'No' you didn't say)

Mars: last week i got bollocked at work for having too many sickies. so i had to come up with something good... a good excuse, ya know

Dot: Oh... how many sickies?

Mars: not that many... only 4 (in 3 months) and yes they're paid

Dot: That's not that many!

Mars: that's what i reckon... they don't understand it's the australian way. Anyway, guess what I told them?

Dot: Urinary tract infection?

Mars: better!

Dot: Depression?

Mars: not depression... better than that

Dot: Um. No idea... what?

Mars: i'll give you a clue... it's bought on by 'stress', specifically... stress at work

Dot: Anxiety attacks?

Mars: close, anxiety 'brings it on' too

Dot: Cramps? Nausea?

Mars: no... it's recurring

Dot: Say it! Period pain?

Mars: 'flares up' occasionally

Dot: GOUT!!!!!!

Mars: ha no... i'm too poor for gout

Dot: What?!?!?!

Mars: IBS


Mars: so embarrassing.... that's why i didn't tell them about it… irritable bowel syndrome!!!!!!!!!

Dot: LOL!

Mars: best disease ever

Dot: How did they take it?

Mars: very sympathetic. luckily i read all about it on wikipedia the night before

Dot: So it'll probably be okay to continuing being sick once a month?

Mars: well... yeah. but, thing it... now i'm on performance management it means i need a doctors note every time i have a day off

Dot: Too bad.

Mars: one more day off and i go on to level 2... much worse. not arsed at all. if anything... the pressure of not being able to have days off is going to make me ill

Dot: I might go now. I gotta apply for some jobs

Mars: aim high

Dot: Yes, gotta join those upper upper upper classes... then move back to Australia and say 'stuff-you' to the class system! And... you aim high too. Or at least just 'aim'. Okay?

Mars: just aim... goddit

Dot: BYE!

Mars: bye nerd

13 September 2008

Because I feel like it...

Sarah Palin is a dumb-butt!

10 September 2008

Tomorrow i'm off to Rome for a couple of days to go hang with my parentals... first three days with my dad and his wife and second three days with my mum and her partner. Weird co-incidence that my divorced parents and their respecitve partners are going to be in the same country, on the other side of the world, at the same time. Only my family, i tell you.

In one sense, of course i'm looking forward to seeing my parents. It's been 9 months since i said goodbye to them in Melbourne and particularly my mum, i've missed terribly at times. However, i am apprehensive about the emotional rollercoaster i'm no doubt, about to embark on.

I absolutely can't wait to see them, though i'm fairly certain it will be in equal parts a good laugh as it will be to them completely getting under my skin for the next six days. Thing is, i'm afraid six days isn't going to be enough time for me to get completely sick of them and happily wave them off as i trot back to Manchester next week.

And if i'm honest, i'm actually really scared of that last goodbye with my mum. It was hard enough the first time, and i'm just not sure i've got it in me to do it again. I do really want to see them, but i don't want the goodbye to be so horrible that it spells the end of my time away from home.

Wish me luck... i'm going to need it.

07 September 2008

The weirdest thing ever happened to me today... i was meant to be finishing work next wednesday right, cause i go to rome on thursday morning...anyway, it gets to 4.30 this afternoon and the busty wench pulls me into the office and basically says don't bother coming back next week. According to them - they just thought i'd like an extra couple of days off before i went on holidays... and the best part (especially considering how tight they've been with me) - the three days are still gonna be paid!

I couldn't believe it... at first i thought it was cause i'd done something wrong... or had been clocked spending too long staring out the window or checking facebook on my phone about 25 times a day. So i asked her and she said no, i'd not done anything wrong.... Anyway, columbo and i have come up with another theory that basically, they were afraid of me wreaking havoc and sabotaging the place during my last three days. Quite rightly.

So before i left, i had to do this exit interview with a nice lady from HR and oh my god... all my frustration with the insurance industry in general came out and i let rip. I paid out on the busty wench and another so called manager in the place. HR lady said that i had cause to lodge a grievance, but i said i couldn't be bothered and it'd be more trouble for me than what it was worth.

So that's it - i'm out. And now i have 5 days off to do whatever i want before going on holidays... then annoyingly, when i get back i have another 5 days off. If i knew i was getting 2 weeks off i would have planned a fully sik holiday instead of just a 6 day city break with the parentals.

Weirdest way to finish a job ever... i hardly got to say bye to anyone. It was so calculated to happen exactly on 4.30... absolutely sums up my time at that place perfectly... i'm left thinking what the fuck just happened here... i've been ambushed.

04 September 2008

Not the best Wednesday...

A couple of months ago I got an email from an organisation I used intern for requesting "amateur photographers who can document" an outdoor performance event. At the time I was very much unemployed and it felt nice to be wanted, so I wrote back and said I'd be happy to help out. Although, I made sure to point out: "I would describe my photography skills as 'amateur'."

The event is this weekend and tonight was the information session for all staff and volunteers. Although, perhaps I should call it the Information Extravaganza. It was FULL ON with Team Leaders making reports, Site Managers going over legal obligations, Health and Safety officers explaining the difference between 'minor' and 'major' incidents...

...and then at the end of the night the Event Manager turned to me and asked 'What are your plans for documenting the event? Do you need help moving your equipment to the site?'

I giggled (so many people were looking at me!) and answered, 'Oh, um, point and shoot.'

The Event Manager looked really confused, so I explained, 'I'm not A photographer, I'm a volunteer who is going to be taking photos with my little digital camera.'

The Event Manager replied straight-faced, 'Oh, okay... thanks.'

And that was the end of the meeting.

I felt like an idiot and tried to make a quick get-away. However, as I was leaving I walked past the Marketing Director of the company who I worked with when I was an intern. He smiled at me so I stopped to say 'hello'. I was feeling really flustered and for some reason I just started babbling at this man, 'Oh, hi! How are you? I meant to say... I mean, it's funny how I used to intern for you in marketing and I put that on my resume and now I'm working in marketing! And, um, some PR stuff and... Oh sorry..." (This is when I realised how much of an idiot I was sounding like and started scrambling to try and STOP sounding like an idiot, only the problem was I thought I could fix things by talking MORE) "...I just mean, I was thinking, if I saw you tonight I should mention that because it really helped. You know. Me get a job."

Fortunately this man is just one of those always-nice people and he smiled and nodded and, when I finally stopped talking, said, 'Great!'

'See you Sunday then!' And I fled from the room.

As I walked home I had one of those turn-things-over-and-over-and-over moments in my head. I felt a bit down as it seemed to me like every word that popped out of my mouth at the meeting was of the bumbling-fool variety. However, it was a nuanced kind of embarrassment and I eventually managed to convince myself life wasn't so bad...

I passed Borders and decided to go inside to look at the expensive magazines to cheer myself up. The magazine section at my local bookstore is in the cafe area on a raised platform next to the tables and chairs. I selected my magazine and was admiring the cover as I walked down the six or so steps... I STACKED IT. My foot slipped out from underneath me, I over-corrected my balance, I twisted as my feet flew up into the air, and I went BANG BANG BANG hitting each step with arse and elbow.

The cafe went completely silent.

I jumped up so quickly!

As soon as I was on my feet people near me started asking, 'Are you okay? Are you okay?'

I fall over enough to have a standard answer to this question, 'Yes, fine thanks. I'm more embarrassed than hurt.'

However, because my fall was so spectacular it was like every patron of the cafe needed to ask me if I was okay. As I moved through the tables towards the exit everyone I passed asked, 'Are you okay? Gosh, are you okay?'

Eventually it became so ridiculous I raised my voice to make a general public announcement, 'Everyone, I'm fine! Thanks for your concern but I'm fine!'

I left the bookstore and came straight home to blog the whole day down down down...

I also just re-read the email calling for volunteer photographers. I didn't notice this sentence the first time I read it but now it has me concerned: "We welcome any volunteer photographers who have experience and a copy stand work."

What the hell is 'a copy stand work'? If this is some kind of technical jargon for fancy camera equipment then I'm calling in sick on Sunday. Try and save the grain of dignity me and my little camera have left...

Some days I just don't get it.

02 September 2008

For your reading pleasure Dot'n'Mars presents...

(emphasis mine... just for fun)

“She does appeal to me,” Ms. Gates said. “You would feel she has the same values as you. Having a child with Down syndrome, and being the governor, and she calls herself a hockey mom. I was impressed. She’s very pretty and seems very smart. I hope it works out.”

This post is not dedicated to all those idiots who think Palin can pick up the Clinton vote. What. An. Insult. To. Women.

*Unfortunately this woman is registered to vote

25 August 2008

I have been following someone i went to primary and high school with, around the internet for nearly two years now. I can't say we were BFFs at the time, but we were friends... our younger brothers were friends, our mums were friends. I wanted to be her then, and i want to be her now. These are my reasons why:
  • She lives in america
  • In a beautiful house with ralph lauren paint on the walls
  • She finished uni and did her degree in creative writing
  • Is a lesbian, which i find kinda intriguing
  • She's really creative and makes beautiful things
  • And photographs them
  • She's in love with someone who loves her
  • She's been to SXSW twice (once as part of her job!)
  • I love her naturally straight and blonde hair

Superficial? Without a doubt. But look at that hair!

I've never actually communicated with this girl the whole time i've been following her around the internet... and it seems wrong that i know so much about her life. Am i entitled to know all this? She's put it on the internet for anyone to find (though to pay homage to my skillz, it did take some digging around), am i really being sneaky and sly or am i just seeing what's been made available to me? Do i really know as much as i think i do?

I guess some people say similar about reading the blog of someone they know in real life... They're only looking at what's been put out there for a non-descript audience. Though in saying that, i would be pretty pissed if someone i knew started reading this blog, and didn't let me know.

Anyway, conveniently enough, she's just created another medium for me to follow her around the internet on... lo and behold, a blog. And to be honest, for someone who did a whole degree in creative writing, i thought it'd have been a whole lot more engaging, but i was left unimpressed. Now i'm kinda tempted to comment and see if she finds me out. She'd be dense if she couldn't work it out... basically from the information i've given away in this post alone, i could only be one of about five people. Less even, given i said our brothers were friends.

But i probably wont comment... cause let's face it, after she knows i've been stalking her for two years, i'm not confident she's going to want to know me and will therefore probably take all her shiz offline. Then where will i be?

21 August 2008

My two most hated things are sport and animals.

Get this... for the first time in about 15 years i actually touched a cat this weekend. I pat it almost affectionately, even. It was ok... until the thing wanted to climb on me. That's where i draw the line... give (an animal) an inch and it will take a mile. In addition to this out of character act of random kindness, today i saw a police horse and found myself stopping and staring at the thing, thinking 'what an amazing beast'.

I don't understand this change of heart and my sudden and apparent kinship i seem to have with these animals.

That said, sadly for all involved during these most olympic of weeks, the same can't be said about sport. This must be the most successful Olympics ever for Team GB and oh my god, the whole country (as any country worth its salt when its team starts doing well) is on board. Every day i am accosted by some over zealous fair-weather fan with the latest up date in Team GB's medal winners and/or to let me know, cause i care, that team GB are sitting an amazing third on the medal tally. That's one (or two, depending on the day of the week) places ABOVE Australia.


This has got to be one of the worst performances Australia has given in the Olympics for ages, right? News over here on our team is fairly non-existant, so i don't even know if Jana Pitman and Tamsyn Lewis have clawed each other's eye balls out yet. Are those two even still in it, or are they 'commentators' or some shit now?

Anyhoo... SPORT. Who gives a fuck? So you can run really, really fast... NICE ONE. You spend you're whole life consumed by running or swimming really, really fast. How am i supposed to take any of it seriously? I can do some stuff fast too... you don't see me making a fuss though, do you.

13 August 2008

A topic so trivial it MUST be blogged about:

The Australian Olympic Team's opening ceremony uniforms!

On Friday night I dragged Blane down to our local bar to watch the Opening Ceremony. I'm not ashamed to say it's my favourite part of the Olympics. I find it so fascinating; it's just such an overt show of nationalism (or 'fascism', take your pick) that would be embarrassing in any context other than the seemingly politically and socially mute arena of SPORT.

Anyway, I promised Blane we'd just enjoy one drink, watch Australia march out at the start of the parade and then leave. Unfortunately the Chinese alphabet mixed things up and Australia came out at the end, so we ended up sitting through the entire spectacle.

I loved the uniforms. I loved the conservative blazers and caps, I loved the kaftans, I loved the colours.

The American team won the preppy award...

However, I didn't love the Australian uniform...

My first reaction was, like 21 million other people, 'They're wearing the wrong colours!'

So I wasn't surprised to read the Australian headlines the next day:

Athletes' uniform 'Un-Australian' and The French and Italians were chic, the Americans went for classic... and we looked like volunteers

I didn't think too much more on the topic (because doesn't everyone EXPECT to be un-impressed by the Australian Olympic uniform?) until I watched the New York Times 'Opening Ceremony Fashions' video. See it here.

Eric Wilson's commentry is astute and then... hilarious!

Spoiler alert (quick, watch the video!)...

Wilson basically takes a look at the blazer trend and finds it 'traditional' and 'poorly made' and, at best, 'decent looking'. However, at the end of his overview of Olympic fashion he turns his eye to a less formally dressed nation and remarks, "As far as I'm concerned the team with best style this year came from Australia."

!!!! ?

Wilson goes on to say the Australian uniform was so "completely eye-catching and it made you want to find out who made these jackets."

It was Sportscraft! He'll get a surprise.

WILSON THEN COMPARES THE AUSTRALIAN UNIFORM TO PRADA: "Miuccia Prada really used this degrede style in her 2007 acessories collection." He concludes, "Who ever made these uniforms really has their finger on the pulse of what's happening right now in fashion."

Gosh and golly. Plain and pedestrian Sportscraft being adulated next to Prada. Now THAT makes me proud to be Australian.

12 August 2008

It's a fine line between pleasure and pain...

I went to a comedy night tonight... which was basically a whole heap of hacks going for cheap laughs. The standard, fat guy making jokes about starving Africans, ginger's making jokes at their own expense and the all too common inherently racist and sexist 'jokes' that you cringe at while most of the rest of the audience are in absolute stitches.

I know i have a sense of humour, and i love to laugh at shit i find funny, however, jokes about domestic violence, rape and outright racist or homophobic 'jokes' really get up my arse.

Am i taking the whole scenario too seriously? Should i just 'loosen up' or whatever? I don't know... I do know that it just takes one or two people who, let's face it, probably aren't bad people... make a joke in utter poor taste to try and get a laugh, and end up spoiling what would otherwise have been quite good.

Surely there's a better way to get a laugh other than making fun of people who can't fight back?

08 August 2008

Life update…


And it only took five weeks. Not too shabby.

Although. Does ‘unpaid internship that will eventually lead to casual hourly employment that MIGHT eventually lead to contracted fulltime work’ actually count as a job?

Blane assures me this is a fairly typical way of finding employment in America. However, I have an inkling in my your-rights-at-work-are-worth-fighting-for bones that I’m being ripped.

I come from a land where ‘unpaid training’ is ILLEGAL.

I come from parents that drive around in cars with ‘MUA HERE TO STAY’ stickers on their bumpers.

I come from a sharehouse where I used to live with a union rep. (Hi Mars!).

Seems to me like ‘land of the free’ translates into the ‘land of the free labour’. And if you aren’t lucky enough to have the support of someone who’ll essentially KEEP you while you dilly around with unpaid internships… well, you can just go work in the ‘land of the minimum wage’. And stay there!

Yeah, it’s only for those who can afford it!