Thursday, 31 May 2007

Kissing Conundrum

There's too much kissing (of the peck-on-the-cheek-in-greeting variety) in this country. I have no problem with kissing people hello and/or goodbye, but I would prefer to choose who I kiss and not feel obliged to kiss everyone (or it seems like everyone) all the time out of a sense of obligation. And do we really have to kiss so many times? Once is fine, twice seems kind of affected (because in Australia it would probably be thought so, and I can't really be expected to have shaken all the old prejudices) and three times (which is the way to go here) is completely over the top. I can happily fake my way through a single kiss of greeting, but if I don't really want to kiss someone hello it's hard to maintain the "it's so nice to see you again!" look for the time it takes to do the obligatory three kisses.

And everyone who doesn't want to kiss you wants to shake your hand! Lordy. So it seems the only options are overly friendly or overly businesslike. Whatever happened to saying "hi" and smiling in a non-committal manner?

Play It Again, Sam

I just saw a one man band marauding the streets of Aarau. He had one of those drums that people in marching bands wear, and he was wandering and drumming all over the place. He had a bit of paper stuck on his back (in the manner of people in running races or something) that said today's date. He was being followed by a man in strangely anachronistic clothes (ie. tweedy and bedraggled) who was filming him on a strangely anachronistic (ie. enormous) camcorder thing.

I wonder what it was all in aid of.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Bad Timing

Arrested Development is on telly here every night! This must have started while we were in Berlin because they are only up to the 6th episode or so. It's such bad timing, though! Right when I am about to leave the country. Sigh. Not that it's such a disaster because I've seen it all anyway, but a refresher course is always nice.

In other bad news, apparently Twin Peaks is being shown on TV here as of next week. I never saw this at the time (because I lived in the country and we didn't get the TV station it was on), but I always thought it might be up my alley in spite of my general fatigue with all things David Lynch-related.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Left Is Wrong, Christmas Is Winter

I'm at that awkward stage in Being Foreign where nothing makes any sense at all. You know how at the beginning, people are driving on the wrong side of the road and you always look the wrong way to see if you are going to be run over when you go to cross the road? After a while you get used to this and you know which way you want to look but you force yourself to look the other way, because where you are now that is the right way to look. Eventually it becomes normal to look the wrong way (which is now the right way, of course), and then you find yourself wondering when you look the new right way if it is wrong because it doesn't feel wrong any more.

Similarly, the seasons are confusing me. Christmas is in summer. My birthday is in autumn. Now everything is topsy turvy and I spent my birthday sweltering in some 30 degree nightmare. I was just reading something in the paper that said "The biggest decision we made that spring was to ..", and so I put this event in the timeline of the story at the end of the year, but of course it's not the end of the year (because the bloke writing it was English, and in England), it's in April or something. Not that this isn't a problem I have come across before, but it's more immediate here because the backwards answer is always the right one.

No doubt all of this confusion is bound to intensify next week when, for those of you who don't already know, I am going back to Australia for a while. I don't really know for how long, actually, because I haven't bought my return ticket yet, but rest assured I will be there, revelling in the english-speaking background noise and having a movie-watching frenzy at the Sydney Film Festival (yay!). And when I'm standing in the gutter I'll be looking at the cars (and wondering which direction I'm going to be killed from).

Ve Haff Vays Off Making You Talk

Last night we went out for dinner with Reto's entire family. We went to a restaurant, and dinner involved cooking meat ourselves on a thing that looked like some sort of medieval torture item but is apparently called a Tatarenhut, or rather a Tatar's Hat (since presumably there is no reason for it to be named in german). It was weird, and ridiculously meat-heavy.

There was bacon (and incidentally, bacon here is not like what I would call bacon at all. It's more like proscuitto or something, and seems to be comprised far more of fat than of meat. And it tastes really, really meaty), there was veal, there was pork, there was chicken, there was beef. As well as all that meaty abundance, there were hot chips, thousands of mayonnaisey sauces, and assorted types of tinned fruit (lychees, peaches etc). Strange.

The idea was that you hook your chosen meat item onto one of the confession-inducing spikes (there are fires lit beneath) and cook it to your liking. All the fat and whatever that comes out of the meat while it is cooking falls down into the brim of the hat, which is like a little moat filled with vegetables and stock, and when you have finished with the meat the staff there offer to serve up the remaining stock/veggies/meat residue as a soup. We didn't have the soup, but I did eat some of the vegetables, and they were the meatiest vegetables I have ever tasted.

I like the way that Switzies seem to be so into communal activity type meals, like fondue and raclette, where everyone is doing something as they eat and there's a sort of jovial sense of shared food fate (because everyone is eating the same swimming pool of cheese, or because everyone is uncoordinated and dropping meat in the vegetable moat). I like the way that there is something else to focus on if you have run out of conversation. What I don't like is the way these meals generally rely so heavily on one particular ingredient (cheese, meat. And before you say that 'meat' is not one ingredient, I refuse to acknowledge that). Why couldn't I have tortured some slabs of capsicum or asparagus or onion on the Hat of Pain as well?

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Berlin, Grr

Well, we're back. And in my experience there's nothing more annoying than people ranting on their blogs about how great their holidays were, so I have decided to tell you all about The Edited Lowlights Of My Trip To Berlin:
1. My boyfriend forgot my birthday
Well, this isn't strictly true. He didn't actually forget it, he just didn't get me anything (except a card). He was planning to get me something while we were in Berlin, but since we spent the entire time together, in the end I found something I really liked (the world's most excellent umbrella, perfect for both sun and rain) and then he bought it for me. Which was nice and all, but it takes the excitement out of the whole birthday thing, frankly.

2. I mangled my feet
For some reason I didn't bring any summery shoes with me when I came to Switzerland. Apparently I was assuming that I would have broken up with Reto and moved back to Australia before the weather got too warm. As it turns out I was wrong, so I have been stumbling around in sneakers for the last month or so while it has been hot hot hot. In Berlin I bought some fairly excellent Birkenstocks, which look nice but seem to be intent on ripping my feet to shreds. In the end my feet were bandaided up like mummies.

3. It was stupidly hot
It wasn't so bad for the first few days, but the last few were relentlessly sunny and over 30 degrees. I hate summer. Thank god for my fantastic sonnenschirm (umbrella).

4. I was laughed at by bogans
In general the whole of Berlin loved my sonnenschirm (I'm calling it that because it seems less poxy than parasol, less ungainly than sun-umbrella and more truthful than umbrella). Within 10 minutes of buying it, someone had yelled at me from her car how excellent she thought it was. A man manning a book stall said he thought it was totally eccentric (which I took as a compliment). A woman at the zoo thought it was fantastic. I overheard heaps of people talking about it in complimentary terms. This came to a dramatic halt when we went to a distant suburb of Berlin, or possibly a separate town entirely (Oranienburg). Everyone there thought it was the stupidest thing ever. I was goggled at by pregnant teenagers, openly laughed at by some woman in a cafe, who (possibly to her credit) tried at least to stifle her guffawing until I had walked past (although she did not try very hard, and I was only about a step past her when she started bellowing like a wounded buffalo), and I was stared at by countless others. Is it really that startling?

5. We went to see Inland Empire
.. which is the latest David Lynch movie. As anyone who has ever seen any of his movies will know, they are always fairly incomprehensible, but this one really takes the cake, and even more so than you might imagine because all the bits of it that were in polish language were subtitled into german only (as you might expect in Germany, I guess). What a waste of three long hours of my life. Even Reto agrees, and he is David Lynch's biggest fan. The one good point was when a Daddo appeared briefly on the screen, which raised a snicker of surprise from me and also from one other person in the audience (undoubtedly another Australian).

6. We queued for ages to see a dirty bear
Yes, Knut the adorable eisbär (aka "ice bear", which is officially what I am calling polar bears lately because it's just so cute. Which is not a concept you usually associate with german, so you should make the most of it when you can). We went to the zoo because Reto has a bizarre fondness for them, and of course we had to go and see Knut while we were there, and foolishly, we joined the back of the queue like civilised people, instead of just pushing in like everyone else. What a waste of 45 minutes. He was adorably cute though, and much cleaner (as pictured) after he went for an adorably cute swim.

7. I was forced to drink horrible coffee all the time
Apparently Germans are really into putting a lot of milk into their coffee, to the point where it is so weak as to be almost unrecognisable as coffee (and the names of the types of coffee seem to mean different things from one cafe to the next. I never knew what I would get). And even worse, one day at the cafe where we were having brekky the coffee machine was broken so I couldn't have any at all!

8. We spent 20 hours on trains getting there and back
In a bid to be vaguely environmentally aware, we got the train there and back instead of flying. We caught the night train on the way up, which left Basel at 9pm-ish and arrived in Berlin at 7.30am-ish. I slept badly. The carriage we were in looked like some sort of 1980s idea of a prison on a space ship, where everyone in it is in some sort of suspended animation cryogenic deep freeze type thing, and then the ship is attacked by aliens or something and the only survivors are a small child and a wrongly-accused woman and the scariest murderer ever known and they have to work together, never quite trusting each other, in order to survive and get back to earth. And then in the end, just before they land back on earth, the psycho murderer guy brutally slaughters the woman and child, and makes it look like self defense. That's how grim this train was. The way back was slightly better, but there's still no denying it was another 9 hours on a train (half of which was spent travelling backwards).

All in all it was the most excellent holiday I have been on in ages, though. Berlin is fantastic.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Please Leave A Message After The Beep

We're off on a holiday to Berlin, so don't feel that I'm ignoring you or not replying to your emails or not publishing your comments*. I'm off gallivanting and having fun. I'll see you in a week when I return, older (bleh) and wiser.

* Incidentally, I cannot guarantee that I would be replying to your emails or publishing your comments if I were here. Just because I know you and possibly even like you doesn't mean I care for what you have to say. But while I'm on the subject, I always publish comments that you successfully leave. It's not my fault that sometimes they don't get submitted properly when you press the 'submit' button. Stoopid technology. We'll be sorry when life goes all "Terminator 3" and our laptops start shooting us or whatever it was that happened in that movie.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

More Swiss Wildlife

Apparently Switzerland is the place to be if you are into religious public holidays. Today is ascension day, which you would think would make very little difference to my unemployed household, except that all the shops are shut. As it turned out I narrowly avoided having to go to church this morning (! Church! It would have been the first time since the early 90s when I stayed the night at a friend's place and her family made me go with them) when Reto and I failed to get out of bed early enough to get there on time. Instead we showed up for the raclette-athon that was on afterwards as some sort of fundraising event for the choir that Reto's mum is in. Which was delicious.

On the way home, our trip was delayed by a herd of cows that was being moved from one paddock to another. They dawdled up the road eating people's lawns, and we stood in the rain like morons waiting for them to pass. Welcome to my hectic lifestyle.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007


Hmm. I'm toying with a new template and colours. Any thoughts?


Please note that I am not finished messing around with the colours etc yet, this is not the final draft, and I can't be bothered doing it any more just now. All criticism will be duly ignored.

Breakfast Is At 1pm Sharp(ish)

Today is Reto's last day at work. Tomorrow we are officially an unemployed household (well, that's not true. Tomorrow is some sort of religious public holiday, and then Reto has a week or so of leave, which we are using to go on a trip to Berlin, but as of the 1st of June we are officially an unemployed household).

Somehow, this isn't how I dreamed the declining years of my 20s would be. Sigh.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Red and Yellow and Pink and Green, Purple and Orange and Blue..

It rained this arvo and when it was over a rainbow appeared. Directly across the road from our flat. One end of it was vanishing into the house on the end of the block on the left, and the other end went into the trees over the road on the left. I tried to take a photo but the camera batteries were dead. This is not the first time this has happened, either (I mean about the rainbow, but the camera batteries too). It seems that every time it rains I should be out and burrowing around for a pot of gold in the neighbours' gardens.

(artist's impression)


We have really, really sharp kitchen knives. I don't know how many times I have sliced the end of my thumb off while making dinner since I got here, but suffice to say that it is a lot, to the point that I don't think my thumb will ever again be the shape nature intended.

Last night was the latest in my rampage of self destruction. I was slicing onions (risotto, and the result was delicious, if slightly blood-soaked) but I got carried away and sliced some thumb too. Blood went everywhere. It was on the table, on the onions, in the sink, on the floor, drenching tissues. Everywhere but inside my thumb, really. It was all a bit reminiscent of the anime bit in the middle of Kill Bill (volume 1. It was on telly here last week), although with less death and paedophilia. Reto arrived home to find the whole apartment doused in blood. Perhaps it's time to get some blunter knives. Or some chain-mail gloves.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Don't Read This, Tina (not until monday, anyway)

Oh Serbia.

Yeah, sure, they were good (and those red sash things that the backing singers were wearing were excellent. Were they supposed to be reminiscent of beauty pageant entrants? Or did they have a faintly Princess Mary tinge about them?), but what does that matter at Eurovision? Exhibit A, last year's winners, a bunch of Finnish nutcases dressed as monsters, ludicrously over-the-top, so bad it's good crap entertainment. Exhibit B, that woman in the pink dress who was plucked from anonymity (allegedly) to fulfill her life's dream of hosting Eurovision. She was ridiculous. If Eurovision was at all concerned with talent and good taste, then she would not have been there. Therefore Serbia should not have won. France should have won, because they were hilarious and excellent and completely ludicrous. Especially the guy who ran around a lot and seemed to be wearing a cat (which is sadly absent from this video, as are their excellent pink costumes, but it seems there is no youtube version of the actual performance yet. Sigh). Or I would have been happy with Sweden (also ludicrous).

Friday, 11 May 2007

We Was Robbed

Everyone knows, I think, about the dubious pleasures of Eurovision. The reliably abysmal English entry, the heavily choreographed boy bands, the strange fondness lately for wearing white and gold, the bands who seem to have been transported to the stage directly from 10 years ago (without so much as an outfit change or a trip to the hairdressers in between), the girls with those excellent dresses where the skirt can be whisked off to create an entirely new (and Eurovision-appropriately skimpy) dress, only to be whisked away again to reveal an identical skimpy dress in another colour, the people singing about peace, love and HIV awareness while dressed in traditional national costume, the fake musicians on stage, the odd group of lunatics dressed as monsters/pirates and so on. Sadly this year, though, we the viewing public are going to miss out on the chance to hear Switzerland's own DJ Bobo spreading the message about the everpresent danger of being attacked by vampires, because in an abysmal travesty of musical justice, we the voting public failed to help him get past the semi finals. And by "we the voting public", I mean people in Europe but not in Switzerland (who could have voted for him but apparently didn't). By which I mean you, Annette, because you are the only person I can think of at the moment who actually reads my blog and lives in Europe but not Switzerland.

Personally I think we (by which I mean Switzerland) was robbed. The vampire song wasn't that bad. It was catchy. It was ludicrous (because they were all dressed as the undead. Maybe if they had been able to recruit Mark Selby they would have been more successful). People have at least heard of DJ Bobo (didn't he have some song that was famous in the early 90s? Possibly some idiotic joke type song, but that's better than nothing). The song was in english, which I think is always a good thing in Eurovision. There was an enormous scary blonde woman and a dude with a huge mohawk on stage. I think DJ Bobo might have worn fangs at some point, although apparently not actually during the semi-finals. There had even been scandal and drama about the song before Eurovision was on (some bunch of conservative types in Switz got a petition up to have the song banned because apparently vampires aren't really alive, and only satan would say that they are, or something like that. Plus the song was used on telly here to advertise dairy-based beverages, which was entertainingly ironic, a bunch of doofuses dressed as vampires singing about how they just "have to survive" while happily scoffing strawberry milk. It's better than the blood of virgins, people! Apparently DJ Bobo has some longstanding thing as an advertiser of dairy products). Surely all of these are good enough reasons to vote for him? Apparently not.

Reto kept me awake for some time after the semifinals ended as he muttered darkly about eastern European conspiracies not to vote for any non-eastern European countries and how no one likes Switzerland (he also said no one likes Norway either, which I thought was mean because I like Norway and I was hoping they would get into the finals too, even though their song was pretty atrocious (the singer had the excellent change-o dress thing going on though). Apparently Reto was right, though, because no one voted for them either). All of which I suspect may contain some grain of truth, because entertainment definitely wasn't the winner last night. The songs that were the funnest (which surely should be the sole criterion on which you base a vote for a Eurovision song?) were not, in my opinion, the ones that got into the finals.

Still, that doesn't mean I won't be watching the finals. It just means I'll be sure and have a nice glass of gin and tonic in my hand when I do. And possibly a mean-spirited determination not to vote for any of the countries that got to the finals by beating Switzerland (and Norway) in the semi-finals. He he.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

#%^*%ing Laundry

There's something wrong with the @&*%#ing washing machines in this building. They keep stopping, for no good reason, and then the power vanishes (it is still switched on everywhere it should be, but there is no evidence of this) and nothing happens and then I panic that all my clothes will be trapped forever in the stoopid machine (because you can't even open the %$#$ing doors if the power is absent). Then I get all carried away in some sort of impotent rage (because what can I do??) and I sporadically check on the laundry over the next few hours, and if I am lucky the machine will have miraculously started again of its own volition half a day after it decided to have a bit of a pause. And so I spend the ENTIRE day doing one ^*&$#ing load of laundry.

I'm sure there's some deeply misogynistic subtext hidden in all of this.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

I ♥ The Losing Team

Mark Selby lost. Although he did make a ludicrously valiant effort in winning 8 of the 12 frames played on the second day of the final. And he still gets his £110,000 in prize money. So it's not all doom and gloom.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Pool Party

A rainy weekend meant that I spent a lot of it sitting on the couch reading and watching Reto channel-surf. Personally my televisual preferences in this country run mainly to stuff in english, which means that I spend an embarrassing amount of time watching abysmal shows on Mtv (although I have to say that Flavor of Love, where trashy morons compete for the heart of the formerly well-known singer or something, Flavor Flav, is not abysmal or embarrassing at all. In fact, it's the best tv show I have watched since I left Australia and stopped watching things that allowed me to retain some semblance of self respect).

Anwyay, Reto has an inexplicable fondness for sport, so there was a lot of ice hockey to be seen and ignored over the weekend, and a lot of snooker, which I ignored slightly less because the commentating was in english and because the competitors were wearing such unattractive waistcoats (horribly shiny and with these awful pink-themed tartanny patterns on the back). As it turns out, this snooker thing is a competition which has been going on for something like a week, the horrible-waistcoated people didn't seem to make it past the early rounds, and it's actually kind of interesting. Well, not actually interesting, in the sense that it's not that much fun to watch, but interesting in the sense that I have a favourite player now and I want him to win. He is Mark Selby, and he looks kind of like a vampire or a victim of consumption or something. He is quite the youngster, too (only 24) and apparently last time he was in this competition he was eliminated in the second round. And everyone likes an underdog, especially an undead* newcomer underdog.

I first got interested in him during the semi finals, which dragged on and on and on forever on Saturday evening. He was playing against Sean Murphy, who I don't like at all (and he sounds like a complete dork from his wikipedia profile. Apparently he and Mark are good friends though. There's no accounting for taste), and it was the best of 33 frames (and considering that a frame takes something like half an hour or so, you can imagine that 33 of them takes what seems like a lifetime) . Happily I didn't watch most of it, but in the end it came down to the last frame, they were totally even at 16 frames each, and then against all my expectations, Mark won. By the time it was over he looked like he was on the brink of death, all pale and sweaty and grim looking, which didn't leave me too optimistic for the finals, which started the next day (Sunday).

My pessimism was well founded, it seems. The finals are half over, and the other bloke, someone called Higgins, is giving poor Mark a bit of a trouncing. It's 9-3 or so at the moment, and the rest is apparently on tonight, but I think Mr. Selby is just going to have to make do with second prize (which is something like £110,000 . Poor thing).

* although according to DJ Bobo, vampires are in fact alive, and may well be responsible for Switzerland trouncing the competition at Eurovision next weekend. Assuming he gets into the finals, anyway,and assuming that the voting public is insane enough to want him to win. Which is quite an ask, frankly.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Lists Are For Morons

Kim has this thing on her blog about the Angus & Robertson top 100 books list, apparently the most popular books as voted for by the generic Australian public. I read a fair bit and I am the proud owner of an Arts degree, so you'd think maybe I had read a few of them, but apparently not. My total has not changed since last time I looked at this list, which was some time last year (in fact I think the last time I read any of them was one afternoon in 2004 when I was at a loose end in Oslo and I read The Five People You Meet In Heaven while standing up and trying to look inconspicuous in a bookshop). I have read 24 of them.

"Well", I thought to myself, "that result is hopeless. Perhaps emigration is the solution", and so I found a list of the top 100 books as voted for by the staff of Waterstones, the well-known UK bookshop (or at least, it's in the UK. I don't know if it's from there, or confined to there, but whatever). As it turns out I have only read 20 of them, so maybe moving there is not the solution I was after (thank god, frankly. I'm not a big fan of the UK)*.

Then, while googling idly to find out if I am American or not, I discovered a list of the 10 books most often borrowed from Scottish libraries, from which I have to assume I am not Scottish either, or if I am I am illiterate because I have only read one of them and it was a kiddy book.

And so the only possible (acceptable) explanations are the following: people that vote for these lists/work in bookshops/borrow library books are all philistines. Or possibly I don't feel like I need to chase after the bestseller lists to decide what to read because I have an eclectic and interesting taste of my own. Or possibly it's that I often read what I find, none of which is particularly new or popular. Or maybe all those lists were hijacked by people with various axes to grind, and in fact they are not representative of the most popular books at all.

After all, it can't possibly be that I haven't read anything. After all, I can almost guarantee I have read everything on my own top 100 list.

* As it turns out I am quite English in terms of the things I haven't finished reading, though, with 6 of their list of 10 books most often abandoned mid-way through unfinished by me (and only one of the remaining 4 successfully started and finished)

Saturday, 5 May 2007

It's Like Living In Lucas Heights

It's raining today, so we sat around for ages wondering what we could do that didn't involve being rained on. As it turns out, when Reto moved to Aarau he was given an envelope full of junk (including local information and free tickets to things and so on) by the local council. We went through it all, looking for fun things that might be free, and I pounced when I found a piece of paper with something written on it in english (it's nice to be able to understand things, frankly, without having to stare at words for ages and then dredge the silty lake that is my memory, only to come up with ... well, silt, and maybe some dead fish). Anyway, on this piece of paper was information about the potassium iodide tablets that the local council had kindly provided, and how it is essential to keep them around in case the local nuclear power plant (which is about 10 kilometres away) has some kind of disaster. Apparently if there is a "serious nuclear power plant accident where the safety tank fails" (whatever that means), our only hope of survival, or something like that*, is to take these potassium iodide tablets. But since I am not really living here, I didn't get any! Which means Reto lives but I get a radioactive thyroid and die**! That doesn't seem very fair! (incidentally, I could just go to the chemist and buy some more tablets, but where's the possibility of complaining then? Although I'm sure that even if I was well stocked with life-saving potassium iodide tablets, I would still find things to whinge about in the event of a local nuclear disaster)

* Apparently if this nuclear disaster happens, the potassium iodide will stop radioactive iodine from being absorbed by your thyroid gland. If you don't take the tablets, your newly radioactive thyroid will presumably make you turn into a teenage mutant ninja turtle or spiderman or something, and then you'll die. No doubt hideously.

** Or get turned into spiderman/a teenage mutant ninja turtle. Or possibly a twenty-something mutant ninja turtle, as long as it happens relatively soon.

Friday, 4 May 2007


Reto and I were at the pub playing darts last weekend (I'd like to say I was winning, but I wasn't. There seems to be a time between half and one glass of beer when I am really, really bad at darts, and Reto is really quite good. Happily, though, due to the bizarre and annoying rules we play by, we switched scores at the last minute and then I won) and the bartender came and said hello to us. We made a bit of small talk, and he asked us where we were from (this is the english pub, so it was all in the lingua franca, aka english). I said I was from Australia and then we had a short and peculiar conversation about cricket (I don't think I or the bartender knew what we were talking about). Then the bartender asked Reto if he was Australian too. Reto said that he was from Switzerland. The bartender suggested that maybe he (Reto) has just been spending too much time with me.

Call me biased, but Reto doesn't sound Australian at all. When we first met I thought he sounded like he had a bit of an American accent when he spoke english (as did numerous other Australians who met him subsequently), but I would never have thought he was a native english speaker (he has too many weird ways of expressing himself in english to pass himself off as a non-ESL person). On several occasions over the last few years, though, people have assumed he is Australian after having a conversation with him. Probably because I am Australian, yes, but really. In my opinion, it only takes about 2 seconds of listening to him to realise that he has some bizarre European accent, and this is made all the more obvious when he tries to be an Australian. I tried to teach him to say "ya flamin' galah" the other day, with endearing and predictably bad results.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Don't Read This, Downesly!

My god, how excellent am I?

My friend Ange is having a baby, and I thought I would make her a baby blanket thing as a present. I started and somehow it all went kind of wrong, so I was googling around for other things I could make instead, and look what I came across!

Finger puppets! In case you are a complete philistine, they are (from left to right) a bull, a chicken, a dragon and a dog (most of which I admit it's completely impossible to see in the photo. Especially the bull and the dog).
I guess tiny tiny babies have no interest in finger puppets, but I think they are excellent, so that's what the tiny tiny unborn (as yet) baby is getting. So there.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Ich Verstehe Sie Nicht

Being a bit of a non-speaker is quite handy at times

Today I was accosted by some sort of Proselytising Christian. I was out for my morning walk when I saw a man walking towards me. He was dressed in a dorky sort of fashion, with brown pants, an apricot coloured shirt and a red tie that was far shorter than a tie should be. I think it might have been the tie that gave him away, because I started thinking about door-to-door religious salesmen, and all those mormons who you see travelling in packs with their name tags and their short sleeved shirts (possibly they don't always wear short sleeved shirts. Possibly this is just something they do in the temperate climes of Sydney. I think the short tie made me think of short sleeved shirts, though, and that led easily enough to being pestered about my religious beliefs or lack thereof). Anyway, as we got closer to each other he started trying to catch my eye. I thought he might just want to ask directions or something, so I slowed down and the next thing I knew he was forcing some aging magazine (it looked as though it might have been printed in the 70s) with a picture of a mid-crucifixion Jesus on it at me. "I don't speak much german" I said, and he asked what language I do speak. English, I told him, and he said "aaah, english". I thought for a worrying moment tht he might also have a sales pitch in english, but happily no, he told me he doesn't speak english and off we all went.

As it turns out, this is a really convenient excuse every time someone wants to pester you to find a new god, get a new phone provider, join greenpeace, whatever. Who would have thought that having the language skills of a small child would be a good thing?

Evil Heather's Prescient Post

A rough and heavily abridged guide to what I did yesterday:

I read my friend Evil Heather's blog. Please note that for you to fully appreciate the relevance of this, you might have to go and read it too. Note particularly the reference to not putting parts of yourself in the water in your toilet bowl.

Later, I decided to go to bed. I brushed my teeth. As I was closing the bathroom cupboard, I bumped a container of moisturiser. It fell out of the cupboard. It fell into the sink, which is a really smooth bowl sort of shape. My moisturiser followed the smooth bowl shape of the sink and went flying out of the sink on the other side. When my moisturiser ran out of sink, it did as gravity told it to and fell again. Into the toilet. I had to fish it out. Fortunately the toilet had recently been flushed, but still.

To think that just hours earlier I had been silently agreeing with Evil Heather about the unlikeliness of having to be told to avoid contact with the contents of the toilet. Sigh.