deird1: Dawn drinking a milkshake (Dawn milkshake)
A piece of random Aussie etiquette for you:

(Context: I was reading a discussion of various cultural "gifting" things, and the Aussie cup of tea came up. Was the first time I'd really thought about it.)

If you go to someone's house, for any reason that requires you staying more than about a minute, you will be offered a cup of tea or coffee. (By which I mean, they'll say "Would you like a tea or coffee?" or offer one and instantly apologise for not having the other. Never just the one.)

When this happens, there are various options at your disposal:
1) "Yes, I'd love a cup of tea."
2) "Yes, I'd love a cup of coffee."
3) "No, thank you."
4) [the hidden one that foreigners don't know about]

Options 1 and 2 are great. Option 3 will... be a problem. Most likely, your Aussie host will look a bit puzzled, and ever-so-slightly frantic, and start offering up all the miscellaneous contents of their fridge until you pick something. This is because, as with many cultural issues, there's a whole lot of subtext happening.

See, you think the conversation has happened like this:
"Would you like a tea or coffee?"
"No, thank you."


Whereas, it's actually done this:
"I am happy to be your host. Are you happy?"
"No. I am not happy. Host better."


(It's much the same as the standard "How are you?" "Good! How are you?" "Good!" exchange. Very few people are actually asking. They're just checking that you're willing to be pleasant in their direction.)

The subtextual conversation we're aiming for is:
"I am happy to be your host. Are you happy?"
"Yes, I am happy to be your guest. You're being a good host."


This will be best achieved by the aforementioned options 1 or 2, or by secret option 4. Which goes like this:
*friendly sigh* "I'd love a glass of water!"


...then, you say thanks for the water, and if you're not thirsty, you don't actually need to drink it.
deird1: Dawn, with text "troublemaker" (Dawn troublemaker)
Well, I've spent the last two days frantically reading news sites and Reddit-Australia, and I still have more election flailing to do, so I'm going to tell you all about it...



Firstly, for the Aussies:
you guys KNOW )


And for everyone else:
an explanation )

...and that's where we're at.
deird1: Anya looking stern (Anya glasses)
The Context
A kid was killed by an alligator at Disney World. The pond he was wading in had a sign saying "no swimming".

The Argument
The parents were at fault because
a) It's Florida, alligators are everywhere, and everyone should know this.
b) There was a "no swimming" sign, which should have clued them in that alligators were likely to be in the area.

The Rebuttal
a) I am Australian. I live in a very dangerous region of the world, where we don't put on gumboots without checking for spiders. We expect to find snakes, dingoes, sharks, and crocodiles in most outdoor settings.
I would not have expected there to be alligators in this pond.
Yes, I'm aware that Florida has alligators, but Queensland has crocodiles, and I still expect hotels to be crocodile-free. Crocodiles can't generally get over fences. Alligators can. I didn't know this.

b) If I see a sign that says "Danger: Crocodiles! No swimming!", I expect there to be crocodiles around, and that I shouldn't go swimming. If I see a sign that simply says "no swimming", sans explanation or exclamation marks, I assume it's roughly equivalent to "keep off the grass" - ie: the maintenance crew are trying to stop you from trashing the area. I certainly wouldn't expect wading to be dangerous.



People who keep making this argument? You kinda suck.
deird1: Twilight Sparkle's hot air balloon (MLP:FiM hot air balloon)
I have been reading a lot about the US election lately, and have come to a simple conclusion: our elections are better.

I've also realised that I've never told you all about our elections, so for anyone who's curious, keep reading...


Australian Elections and Why They're So Much Better Than Yours (Whoever You Are)

1) We have an independent group organising them.

This being the Australian Electoral Commission. They organise the whole shebang, and oversee the voting. Among other things, this greatly limits gerrymandering, as the electoral districts are figured out by people who are required by law to be impartial.


2) The campaign season doesn't go on for an eternity.

Most likely, our election this year will be held on July 2nd. We're still not sure, though, because it hasn't been announced yet.

You guys have campaigns that go on for MULTIPLE YEARS. It's INSANE.

Plus - we have no primaries. So we're not all sick of the candidates before we even reach the main event.


3) Voting is on Saturdays.

This makes it easier for everyone to attend, rather than getting stuck at work. It's also a lot more relaxing. (If you go to the right polling booth, you can have a democracy sausage afterwards. They are yummy and awesome.)


4) Voting is compulsory.

Everyone votes. EVERYONE. Which, among other things, means that you don't get candidates trying to "get out the vote" by being as radical as possible. Instead, aware that the vote will be "out" whether they like it or not, they have to cater to as many people as possible, by heading more for the centre.


5) We have preferential voting.

...and this is the best bit. The uber-reason why Australia's elections rock and everyone else's are just second best.

Our ballots are a bit more complicated than yours. We don't choose a single candidate - instead, we rank all the candidates, from best to worst.

Why is this awesome? Because there ain't no such thing as "throwing your vote away" on a third party candidate.

I can vote for Awesome McPolicyGuru, who probably won't win, in the comforting knowledge that, when they fail to win as per usual, my vote will instead go to Nice von-Competent rather than Evil Villainson. And, if enough people do the same, Awesome McPolicyGuru could even get elected! Woo!

This is why our government is less of a two-parties-and-nothing-else situation that the US. The way your elections are set up, you're pretty much always going to have two viable candidates and no-one else - whereas we usually have a decent showing of third party and independent MPs. Because we can actually elect them.
deird1: Aeryn holding a baby and shooting a gun, with text "working mother" (Aeryn working mother and baby)
In Australia, the gyno will happily take care of all your prenatal and delivery needs. Except for any blood tests or ultrasounds. For those, you'll have to go off site.

In Germany, your blood tests and ultrasounds will all be done right at the gyno's office.
...attend your delivery? Why on earth would he do that?



In Germany, you remove all clothing from the lower half of your body, walk across the room, hoick yourself up into the stirrups, and wait for large, cold objects to be shoved into you.

In Australia, you are given a hospital gown, and then the ultrasound technician, very discreetly, says "I'll just give you some privacy to change." After which, presumably, she comes back into the room and sticks large, cold objects into all the body parts she's carefully not noticing yet.
...at least, I assume so, if I hadn't snorted, told her about Germany, and stripped off right in front of her.



(Yep. You are correct in your wonderings.)
deird1: Darla looking pretty (Darla pretty)
After three ridiculously hot days, the storm has finally broken. We have every window in the house open, and I am sitting here in the cool, refreshing air, listening to the lovely sound of Aussie rain.

It sounds different here. Rain, I mean.

You see, we have this thing called corrugated iron, which makes up a rather large percentage of the roofs in this country. If you're standing anywhere near any kind of building, you are standing somewhere where you will hear rain falling on corrugation, every time it rains. It's a lovely sound. And not one I got to hear last year.

Tourism websites might talk up the landscapes and the marsupials, but my vote for Best Part of Australia is the sound of the storms.
deird1: Faith and Wesley, with text "rogue demon hunters" (Faith Wesley rogue demon hunters)
Being slightly homesick, have spent half an hour on YouTube watching Americans eating vegemite.

GUYS. IT'S NO WONDER YOU HATE IT. YOU'RE EATING IT WRONG.


Everyone keeps grabbing a spoon, scooping up a big glob of vegemite, and sticking it straight in their mouth. Then gagging and saying they hate it. I'm not surprised. I'd hate it too.

Vegemite is extremely potent stuff. It's supposed to be used to add a hint of flavour to your food, not be eaten as an OVERWHELMING FORCE the way all the YouTube people are doing it. Honestly, you're basically putting a full heaped tablespoon of salt in your mouth, and then complaining about everything tasting salty!

...which is a pretty good analogy, because vegemite is quite salty, and works in a similar way to salt.


To properly eat vegemite:
1) Make a piece of toast.
2) Add copious amounts of butter to the toast.
3) Get a very very small amount of vegemite, scrape it over the toast, and then scrape any and all excess off. You should be left with a light-brownish layer of vegemite, through which you can still see the butter.
4) Now eat it.

Quite simple, really.
deird1: Mother Gothel, swooning dramatically (Gothel swoon)
Today I'm getting to witness Germans at their most wimpy.

It is, you see, a terribly hot day, and they're all worried about surviving the awful heat.

...of 30 degrees. *faints dramatically at such dreadfully warm weather*

(Americans: this is 86 Fahrenheit)


I'm just going to sit here in my non-air-conditioned house, happily lettting the wonderfully cool breeze waft fresh summer air through every room. Later, I might go for a walk.

(Note my lack of blocking up every door and window, blasting air-conditioned coolness into every corner, stocking up on icecubes, realising some rooms are a lost cause and blocking them off so the air-con can cope with a smaller space, wishing I could remove several layers of skin, sleeping naked on the floor of the living room, and cowering from the horrible skin-searing sun. Because this is not Australia.)


Remember the knife scene from Crocodile Dundee? Right now, I feel kinda like that. "You call that summer? THIS is summer."
deird1: the Trio as Greek gods, with text "we are as gods!!!" (Trio as gods)
Taking a short break from my very fascinating life to educate you all about a great Aussie food: the Hamburger With The Lot.


First up (and just aimed at Americans) - it's not a "sandwich". This is a language issue I've always found weird – Americans seem to classify every single instance of sliced food between bread as a sandwich, and hence end up calling all sorts of things sandwiches even when they're clearly subs or hamburgers.

brief explanation with visual aids )

So. On to specifics.

To have a proper Aussie hamburger, one should go to a fish and chip shop, where they will have a fine selection of fillings available to you. So, you could look at the filling options and ask for a hamburger "with cheese and tomato", or "with bacon", or simply decide that everything on the menu looks incredibly appetising, so you'll get one "with the lot".

Generally, a hamburger with the lot will include:
- the bread roll
- the meat patty
- lettuce
- tomato
- onion
- cheese
- bacon*
- a fried egg
- beetroot
- tomato sauce

It may also come with pineapple.

The egg is essential. So is the beetroot (although I am a philistine, and tend to decline that bit). They are what makes it a truly Aussie burger. They also make it delicious.

A demonstration:


It should barely fit between your jaws. Otherwise it's just not trying hard enough.




* Please note: there is a significant difference between Aussie bacon and American bacon.
deird1: Dawn glaring at Buffy, with text "Dawn Summers demands an explanation for this bullshit" (Dawn bullshit)
While I have indeed ranted about this before, I feel the urge again. Bear with me.


I am currently reading John Rogers' blog, where he discusses, at length, what it was like to make Leverage. He also, at regular intervals, tells off his overseas fans for torrenting episodes from America.

And then, he says things like this:
The history of the "Zanzibar Marketplace", a criminal clearinghouse, is quite interesting, but you're going to have to buy the DVD to hear us discuss it.


Allow me to explain why this gets my goat.

1) I actually own the dvds. All five seasons – because, after all, Leverage is one of my favourite shows, and I want to watch it lots, and I have a private rule that if I have a legal way to pay for something I'm going to watch more than once, I should pay for it.
2) I cannot listen to the dvd commentary he's referencing, because it's only on the Region 1 dvds.

In fact, as a fan who would really like to listen to the commentaries and really loves supporting the people who make my nice shows, I would have to:
- buy a second set of Region 1 dvds via Amazon, hoping desperately that they'll actually sell it to me (because Amazon won't sell some things to Australians no matter how hard we beg)
or:
- torrent it

We get our dvds:
- late (cf: everything, ever)
- if at all (cf: Early Edition, another show I'd love to check out)
- with half of the special features missing (cf: BtVS, and the Seth Green commentary)

We get our tv:
- late (by which I mean years)
- or by piracy

THESE ARE OUR ONLY OPTIONS.

I have no legal way to watch half the stuff you guys watch. Ever. Because I live overseas. And, while I will happily spend money on watching things, if there is no way possible that I can ever give you my money, I'm going to go "screw it", and pirate it. Want me to stop, John Rogers? Give me the chance to buy the damn thing.
deird1: Fred looking pretty and thoughful (Fred pondering)
One week until we leave, and I'm getting sniffly and wanting to cling to things. Granted, some of these things may be worth clinging to - but some of it is just me being pre-emptively nostalgic.


The Stuff I Have To Put At The Top, Or Else I'd Get In Trouble
- my family
- my nephews
- my niece
- my cat
- my friends

...And The Rest
- my pretty tablecloths
- my zippy car and its loud radio
- being able to order a lemon-lime-and-bitters and have people know what I mean
- my soft toys!
- my ridiculously huge dvd collection
- my under-used sewing machine
- news announcers using the words "breatho", "prang", and "suss" in a serious news broadcast
- my rocking chair
- being able to instantly counter everyone's "it's so cold!" blog updates with my "HEATWAVE!!!" blog updates
- gum leaves
- vegemite
- tap water that's somewhat drinkable
- being able to use the word "paraphernalia" (diary entry from previous trip to Munich, 1998: "Happiness is being able to use the word paraphernalia and having people understand you.")
- making lots of noise in my house without disturbing the neighbours
- wandering outside in a tshirt and bare feet
- magpie song
- spotting the occasional possum running along the powerlines
- my piano
- gas cooking
- proper, Aussie sausages (weisswurst is rather gross)
- my lovely, lovely country, with all its stupid flaws


Of course, ever since I went to Munich, 16 years ago, I've had a little bit of me horribly missing all the things that I loved about Germany. And even though I'll be missing the things on my list like crazy, I'll also be getting to renew my tentative love affair with Europe. Which will be rather excellent.
deird1: Fred crying over clothes, with text "laundry day is emotional" (Fred laundry)
Haven't posted about the weather, because otherwise, every day this week, I would have felt compelled to log on and write HOTHOTHOTHOTHOT all over the internet.

But now that it's over, let me tell you about the weather.


- My air conditioner was on, all day every day, all week. It was set at 23 degrees (73F).

- By keeping my air conditioner constantly set at 23 degrees, it managed to ensure that, by the end of the day, the room it was air conditioning wouldn't get higher than 30 degrees (86F).

- This seven-degrees-higher-than-I-want temperature was close enough that everyone who doesn't have an air conditioner has been walking in my front door and exclaiming at how cool it is.

- Unlike the rest of the house, which is more than 2 metres away from the air conditioner. By the end of each day, it would be just as hot inside my bedroom as it was outside the house.

- That being: 44 degrees (111F).

No, wait, that's not big enough.


44 DEGREES (111F)


Better.

- It has been boiling out there. The water bottle I keep in the car? This week, it's been hotter than I drink my tea. I kid you not.

- I have been sleeping next to the air conditioner, and I have still been too hot to sleep.


This was the state of affairs until late last night (oh blessed late-last-night, how we love thee). At which point a storm finally broke, and the brief, thunderous drops of rain cooled the place down no end.

It's now cool enough to sleep on top of my bed, naked and with no sheets (ie - a standard summer).


Here endeth the lesson.
deird1: Dawn, with text "troublemaker" (Dawn troublemaker)
Senior Labor figures concede Kevin Rudd has lost the election, as exit polls suggest Tony Abbott will be elected in a landslide.


*narrows eyes*

Now, I realise the journalist was probably just trying to phrase things in an interesting way, BUT if they'd tried to phrase things in an accurate way, they would have gone with this:

Senior Labor figures concede Labor has lost the election, as exit polls suggest the Coalition will be elected in a landslide.


Otherwise, unless the exit polls were purely polling people in Toby Abbott's district – and, somehow, Kevin Rudd was competing for the same district – there is no way that those polls could be predicting Toby Abbott, specifically, being elected in a landslide.


I despair for the political education of our future children, I really do.






In other news, we had an election today.

Our House of Representatives voting is fairly simple: order the candidates from 1 to whatever-number, with 1 being your favourite, 2 being your second-favourite, and so on.

Senate voting is a little more complicated. Either you can order the candidates from 1 to whatever-number, as per the House of Reps ("below the line" voting), or you can just put a 1 beside your favourite candidate, and the rest will be filled in automatically ("above the line" voting).

Usually, I vote below the line. Which means I have to spend an extra minute or so filling in all 30 boxes.

Today? I took one look at the massively huge voting form, with its 97 boxes... and decided that I'd vote above the line.

I mean, 97 boxes? 97? Really?

grrrr...

Jul. 24th, 2013 07:01 am
deird1: Anya looking stern (Anya glasses)
I find it fascinating that websites can detect I'm Australian when they want to stop me watching fun videos (the Daily Show, for instance, which I've never been able to see online clips from) – but can't detect that I'm Australian when it comes to filling my screen with pop-ups saying "CONTACT YOUR SENATOR TO ASK FOR MORE STATES' RIGHTS! ENTER YOUR ZIP-CODE BELOW!"

Oh dearest websites, please reverse your policies. I am, after all, someone who does not have a zip-code, but does have an interest in watching the Daily Show. Stop stopping me from doing stuff... please...
deird1: Faith and Wesley, with text "rogue demon hunters" (Faith Wesley rogue demon hunters)
To make any of this make sense, we're going to need a map.

This is Melbourne:



the town, and how to use it )

transport )

money and such things )

foody goodness )

This concludes our lesson for today. Questions? Comments?
deird1: Buffy and Giles looking at each other (Buffy Giles)
Believe it or not, there are many things in your house that you've probably never realised are different anywhere else. When I went to Germany, I was fascinated by lightswitches, of all things. And it took me a week to figure out how all the windows worked.

So...

houses down under )
deird1: Vimes lighting a cigar using a swamp dragon, with text "Fabricati Diem Pvnc" (Vimes)
This got longer than it was intended to.

[personal profile] frayadjacent is moving to Melbourne, and I was thinking through the things she'd need to know about living here - and discovered that, actually, there are quite a lot of them. So, I'm dividing up by category, and posting them here for the amusement of anyone who has time to read things.

weather down under )
deird1: Anya looking bored, with text "Please, continue. I find your problems fascinating." (Anya problems)
Apparently the US ambassador is complaining about Aussies pirating Game of Thrones.

*rolls eyes*

For the benefit of His Ambassadorship and other uninformed people - here is what I would have to do to watch Game of Thrones:
- Buy a subscription to Foxtel to watch payTV! Woo! $70 a month to watch one show! That's... what? $16 an episode? Score!
- Watch them on Netflix or Hulu! Awesome! ...for all of five seconds, until I remember that I live in Australia and *headsmack* oh yeah, we can't use those.
- Wait for the dvd. Generally, dvds come out about two years after a season of tv airs in America - if things go well. So, only a couple of years to avoid spoilers and stay off the internet. That's not hard, right?
- Piracy.

In other words, ambassador? Give me an easy way to pay, and I will. Otherwise - stuff off. I'm trying to watch telly.
deird1: Joey and Pacey at the prom, with text "I remember everything" (Joey Pacey remember)
Here's a few images from the last few months.

A fountain, in Mildura:


There was no actual edge; you could walk straight through the thing if you didn't mind getting wet. Unfortunately, I hadn't brought a towel, so I abstained.


11 more under the cut )

It's been a busy few months...
deird1: Rapunzel's tower (Tangled tower)
Today is the first of December, the first day of summer, and, for the majority of Australians, Christmas Tree Day.

Today is the day we put up the Christmas trees.


For those northernly folk who may be thinking this is horribly early, you should be aware that our trees are not generally alive, and therefore will not be brown and dead by Christmas Day. As the proud owner of a fake tree, I put it up, in good Aussie form, on the first - and my house remains Christmassy for a full month.


We are now watching A Muppet Christmas Carol, and feeling very seasonal. Although I admit, I won't feel truly Christmassed until I've also watched Die Hard, While You Were Sleeping, and Gremlins.

Profile

deird1: lilac flowers, with text "how do they rise up" (Default)
deird1

March 2017

S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415 161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Mar. 26th, 2017 06:49 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios