Monday, March 31, 2008

Final Four!


Today, the Kansas Jayhawks defeated Davidson which sealed their Final
Four position. I'm cheering for you all the way from the other side of
the planet - ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK - GO KU! Now sing this fight song
and tell me it doesn't bring a tear to your eye. I dare you.



Talk about the Sooners, the Cowboys and the Buffs,
Talk about the Tiger and his tail,
Talk about the Wildcat, and those Cornhuskin' boys,
But I'm the bird to make 'em weep and wail.

Chorus:
'Cause I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay Jayhawk
Up at Lawrence on the Kaw
'Cause I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay Jayhawk
With a sis-boom, hip hoorah.
Got a bill that's big enough to twist the Tiger's tail,
Husk some corn and listen to the Cornhusker's wail,
'Cause I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay Jayhawk,
Riding on a Kansas gale.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mathematics multiplied by complete boredom equals my new passion.


I've made the decision to integrate what I'm calling "social mathematics" into my every day life. I had this revelation a few days ago when I was in a town that consistently smelled like fried food while also noticing that I was constantly surrounded by obese people. Therefore, one can conclude that greasey fry town equals morbidly obese citizens. See? Social mathematics!

This concept applies to everything, and it's actually quite easy to do. I would suggest you become familiar with this idea as I'll be using it a lot from now on, especially in this blog. Social mathematics is a really easy way to conclude an essay, article, blog post, etc., so consider it a benefit to you, the reader. I'm maximizing your time while still keeping you efficient. And to show you how excellent I am at this, I once wrapped up entire essay on the Scotland's literary and art history by an equation, which went something like this: "Mary Queen of Scots + Robert Burns + J.K. Rowling = The legacy of Scottish literature and arts." And you better believe I got an "A" in that course!

P.S. Does anyone else think that Albert Einstein is wearing ladies' sandals in the photo next to this entry? Seriously, that looks like a pair of shoes that EVERY women in New England owns.

Bacterialism.

I used to think that homesickness was a passing ailment, something that could be overcome if you "stuck with it" or "just hung in there." Basically, that's what everyone tells you when you admit to the disease - and homesickness is just that, a disease - albeit more of the bacterial than the viral kind as homesickness can be cured. For me, I've reached a certain point in my bout with the illness. I've reached the stage where almost anything triggers a memory and the thought that homesickness is something that everyone can get past becomes implausible based on the fact that some are just happier where they came from rather than where they end up. The final destination is not always the best. It just sometimes takes new surroundings to realize that.

A jar of Nutella reminds me of a past lover from college, the smell of pancakes reminds me of breakfast at the Village Inn with my family as a child, sirens remind me of night in New York, and any long stretch of highway takes me back from the stretch of America between Oklahoma City and Lawrence, Kansas. Just a couple of days ago, I saw a canister of parmesan cheese at the grocery store and immediately flashed back to eating lunch with my best friend when we we were still in high school and every Wednesday was "Spaghetti Wednesday" in the cafeteria. We would never get sauce - just massive plates of plain, public school-grade pasta with parmesan cheese. How we survived off of that type of diet, I'll never know, but even eight years later, I still crave the stuff. Music is another inflammation of this disease, the pattern making no sense to anyone but me. Brazilian music reminds me of Scotland, French music brings back memories of New York while New York jazz takes me back to college, and lastly, just the mention of Johnny Cash makes me long for my parents - even th0ough I have no memories of ever hearing Johnny Cash before the age of nineteen.

And much like the flu, homesickness is a constant struggle of waiting for the fever to breakk, waiting for things to go back to normal. In this case, the cold wash cloth on my forehead is instead a plane ticket and the thermometer in my mouth is not measuring my temperature as much as it is my pride and not wanting to disappoint anyone back home.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!


My alma mater, the University of Kansas, is currently gearing up to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament, so if anyone wants to start celebratin' early, I'm willing to come back to America for this. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK! GO KU!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" might be the greatest thing ever invented.


For anyone that knows me, I'm terribly homesick. Perhaps it's more of a case of I really love where I'm from, but that doesn't really hold true for where I've ended up. Regardless, I get a massive high whenever I realize that I can export a little bit of Americana to my current end-of-the-world existence. And what is more American than National Public Radio?

NPR has been called "boring," "liberal," "REALLY boring," etc. There is even a blog entitled NPR Sucks. The author of this blog has apparently been receiving a lot of hate mail, so he has revised his stance: NPR News is what sucks, the rest of the programming is great. I won't start a full attack on this man, because frankly, I don't listen to NPR News, and as long as he doesn't talk shit on the program "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!", I fine with his opinions.

I first heard this program about two years ago at my friend David Herman's apartment in Borough Park, Brooklyn. David had made brunch for a group of us and we all sat around listening to the program - I think Tom Hanks was the guest that Sunday). I had never really listened to a radio program before, so I was shocked with how much I enjoyed the experience. From Carl Kasell's promise to record the trivia winners' answering machine message to Peter Sagal's quick jokes, I never get tired of this show. The majority of panelits are hilarious as well - Mo Rocca and P.J. O'Rourke are two of my favorites.

Since that brunch at David's apartment, I have had several other fond memories of listening to NPR, but they are priviate and unless you get your hands on my diary, you'll never know about it. Stop nosing around my business.

And among the numerous things I miss from America, NPR can be counted as one. Everything I read about Australian radio before arriving here has proven to be true, and that's not a good thing, so my NPR withdrawl was even worse than expected. I missed the humorous comments on current events and I missed the circumstances of which would allow me to listen to NPR. But alas, peer media has saved the day.


Perusing the live feed on my Facebook page, I noticed my old colleague Mike Dory, ex public relations professional/current brilliant grad student, had become a "fan" of NPR. I, of course, joined as well. And what did I find? Well, I'll tell you: I FOUND "WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!" PODCASTS! SWEET FUCKING JESUS I FOUND THE SHOW ONLINE!

I never thought I would be saying "Man, I'm so happy to hear Carl Kasell's voice, but I'd be lying if I denied that hearing that baritone was like peeing your pants while sleeping - extremely relaxing and one of the most calming experiences you'll ever have...at least until you wake up and realized you pissed yourself.*

* To clarify, I'm not a chronic bed wetter. The last time I peed the bed, I was 11 years old. I was having a dream where I was sitting on the toilet peeing, so I guess my body said "hey, why not?" and so I did. To this day, I have never felt more relaxed than the 10 seconds between where I was peeing the bed to when I realized I had actually peed the bed. Also, prior to this incident, I had not wet the bed since the mid 1980s. You can call my mother for confirmation if you don't believe me. I take great pride in flushing the toilet, so take that as my final response.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Musicals make me uncomfortable.


I can't remember if I knew I was going to see a musical the night I went and saw "Across the Universe" with my good friend Allison. I was in San Francisco at the time on holiday. The movie was the worst film I have ever seen. End of story.

Last Friday night, I unknowingly found myself watching another musical, but this film was even worse. Basically, I walked out of the theater thinking all men are secretly gay and hating musicals even more.

And I blame John Travolta for all of this, even though he wasn't in any of the movies mentioned in this post.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Toilet," the most unflattering description/noun in the Northern AND Southern Hemisphere.


When I first visited the U.K. in the summer of 2003, one of the first things I noticed was that the Brits call the bathroom "the toilet. Ever since this realization, I have cringed every time I hearsomeone say "I'm going to the toilet" or when I would read a sign that says, well..."Toilets."

For me, "toilets" sets too much of a mental image. You do things involving your bowels in the toilet. You poop in the toilet. You pee in the toilet. Some people do much nastier things while IN THE TOILET. "Bathroom" sounds so much more pleasant. When you say "I'm going to the bathroom," I don't really think about what your plans are once you get in there. Wash your hands? Great! Take a nice bath? Wonderful! Steamy shower? Even better! For some reason, I just don't equate "bathroom" with excretions; it's equated with the idea of "cleanliness". But if you say "I'm going to the toilet," well...thanks pal. I now have a mental image of you sitting there with your pants down around your ankles committing a sinful act (at least to the Catholics. Everybody knows shitting is a sin against God if you're Catholic).

Now, I understand the distinction - a toilet is just that: a toilet. The kind you flush. A bathroom contains a bath, sometimes a shower, and even a toilet. So you wouldn't very well find a bathroom, by the previous definition, in a bar or restaurant. But c'mon folks - do us all a favor and sugar coat it - say you're going to the bathroom - humor us.

I'm facing this issue of the word "toilet" once again since moving to Australia. For me, the toilet is a thing, a noun, not an actual place to visit. But because I doubt the entire country of Australia will start calling the toilet the bathroom, I'm going to exclude the word toilet from my vernacular. I'll play their game. Instead of "I'm going to the toilet," I'm going to take it up a notch. Expect lots of "I'm going to take a bowel movement because I had a cup of coffee this morning. And man, it's run right through me" or "Jesus Christ, I've had a lot of water. I'm going to take a pee so I'll let you know how it ranks on the urine color chart" (see previous post). How do you like that Britain and the Commonwealth?! Ain't so pretty when someone doesn't play by the rules. BATHROOM! NOT TOILET! BATHROOM.

Amen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stank.


While walking home today, I passed an alley where the faint smell of urine was present. It made me homesick. How gross is that?

I can honestly say that I never once thought I would miss the incessant smell of pee that invades New York City subways, alley ways, the sidewalk the city in general.

And since you're already visiting my blog, feel free to use the urine chart posted to the left of this entry. It will help you figure out if you're drinking enough fluids, and at the same time, completely gross you out. I'm a #2, in case you were wondering.

More fun facts related to human waste:

1. If you eat enough of those candy coated almonds you can buy at most grocery stores, your poop will turn white. Swear to god.

2. If you eat enough Boo Berries cereal (the blueberry cousin of Count Chocula and Frankenberry cereals), you poop will turn neon green. True story.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Revenge of the frozen loaf of bread.


In college, my good friend Diane showed me that by putting bread in the freezer, it would stay edible and prevent any mold from growing. I really appreciated this tip and have employed it since. Generally, I eat alot of bread so I just keep it in the fridge instead of the freezer as I eat it fast enough to prevent mold from popping up - regardless of temperature.

However, in my new place we have quite a small fridge which is being shared by four people, so there is no room for my bread - except in the freezer. Considering that it's warmer in Sydney than say, New York, most of the year, I was willing to accept the freezer. Until this morning.

At 7:02 a.m. this morning, I took my frozen loaf of bread out of the freezer. I was aspiring to make toast...a lofty goal, I know. Well, what happened next can only be described as hell fire pain. In an attempt to pry the bread from it's communal loaf, I came upon a slice that would not budge. It wouldn't come apart. Instead of giving up, I tried prying the bread slices apart with my finger nails. And that fucking piece of bread almost ripped my thumb nail off. After swearing and calling that bread loaf's mother a "yeasty bitch," I went farther into the loaf to retrieve a slice that would, in fact, seperate from the loaf at large.

The lesson I learned is this: Bread can be a real bastard when it wants to be, especially early in the morning. I've also learned that I must have borderline obsessive compulsive disorder, as I can't stop thinking about the fact that I ate the bread slices out of order. I have ALWAYS worked from the top of the loaf to the bottom (based on the assumption it's in a bag), but this morning everything was thrown out of whack and I'm now eating from two different areas in the loaf. Damn you bread! I will defeat you! Victory has not been declared!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Small beaches, crappy Nicole Kidman movies and French take over.


Things have finally slowed down here in Sydney. This weekend was the first weekend I didn't have plans in a while, so I took the two days to just relax and pal around. However, since I last wrote alot has transpired, so here it all is, in brief:

I discovered a beach called Watson's Bay, with the help of my German friend, and I have to say it might be one of my new favorite places here in Sydney. It's towards the northern part of the harbor, hidden on a tiny peninsula. Unlike the beaches at Bondi, Bronte and Coogee, you can actually swim without being knocked on your ass by massive waves, and you don't have to worry about any Italians smoking next to you. Although I find Europeans greased up with tanning oil while smoking utterly hilarious, it can be a bit bothersome when they talk a decibel louder than every one else. At Watson's Bay, it's quiet enough to actually hear the ocean, and if you're so inclined, you can easily listen in on any conversation around you. Hey, when I get bored I like to snoop. So sue me.

I've also moved into my new apartment. Although it's not in New York, it'll due for now. The location is quite awesome, if I do say so myself, and I really enjoy the neighborhood I'm in. There are a number of movie theaters, good bookstores, cool little restaurants and bars - all in all, a good place to land. My only real complaint, and this isn't special to my hood or anything, but the bats in Sydney are terryifying. Up until I moved to Sydney, I had only seen a bat once: 1988, summer camp in Branson, Missourri. It was horrible, and I was happy with the idea of never seeing a flying rodent again. Wellllllllllllll...Sydney is filled with bats. I actually saw one fly underneath a street lamp while walking to a taxi from the art gallery last Wednesday night. Imagine a rodent the size of a pug with wings. Now imagine me covering my head and running, quietly muttering under my mouth in a frantic tone "Don't bit me, don't bite me, don't bite me." On the plus side, animals in Australia don't have rabies. On the negative side, I would forever be known as "the girl that was bitten by a bat." At least I could pretend to foam at the mouth every so often and no one would REALLY know if I was kidding or not.

I've also learned that French culture is pretty prevalent in Australia. Next week I'm attending the Alliance Fran├žaise French Film Festival, which just happens to be taking place in my neighborhood, Paddington. Also, I just bought tickets to see the band Air play at the Sydney Opera House - for those of you not familiar with Air, they are an iconic French band who have been making music FOREVER. I'm pretty stoked about my new francophile status, if you can't tell.

Lastly, I saw the Nicole Kidman movie "Margot at the Wedding" last night at one of the movie theaters near my house. Other than the fact that the guy working the concession stand was pretty foxy, the movie was one of the most retarded films I've ever seen. I typically enjoy films where at the end, I have some sort of attachment to the protagonist. But at the end of this film, I wanted to strangle Kidman's character. Thanks Nicole Kidman - you officially pooped on the last few hours of my weekend.