Saturday, 21 August 2010

I Didn't Vote ..

.. but fortunately they're not going to fine me*. Even though it's all my own fault.

Apparently I enrolled as an overseas voter in 2007 (for the last federal election), but apparently I forgot that and apparently the AEC website don't tell you that sort of thing when you look up your enrolment details, and so when I eventually got around to sending in my forms to apply for a postal vote, I got an email telling me that they had already sent the forms to the wrong address and that now my only chance left to vote is to go to Geneva and do it there (at the permanent mission or whatever it is). Which I had no intention of doing, not only because about a day or two before I got that email I had been to the mission in Geneva to get some stuff certified to make the No into a tiny Australian and I wasn't about to make that annoying journey again.

Even if they had sent the voting forms to the right address it still would have been extremely annoying. To complete the forms, you have to get another Australian (one who is enrolled to vote, I suppose) to sign your voting forms. I have a grand total of one Australian friend in this country (hello Sarah!) and she is inconveniently located in Zurich. So in many ways, not voting is much more convenient for me, but you can all rest assured that if Tony Abbott is the next PM, I will feel very very guilty.

* There's a federal election on today in Australia, in case you didn't know, and voting is compulsory, in case you didn't know, in the sense that they fine you if you don't vote, but apparently not if you misinform them about your address and thus scupper your chance of voting. And apparently it's not really compulsory if you don't live in Australia, and after you've been away for 5 years or something it might be not so much compulsory to vote as forbidden. Nice (that was sarcastic, by the way. I find it outrageous that they apparently want to deny me my chance to vote in my own country, even if I don't live in it).

Is It Something In The Water?

Last night as I was making some rice to have with dinner it occurred to me, as it frequently does, that these Swiss are crazy. They recommended cooking time for rice here seems to be 45-60 minutes for brown (which is what we were eating last night) and about half that for white rice*. Really? It's been a while since I cooked rice in what I like to annoy Reto by referring to as The Sensible Continent (=Australia, obviously. And then we have an argument about whether it actually is a continent or not, which Reto obviously always loses because he is wrong and foolish), but I'm sure brown rice cooks there in something like 25 minutes, and white rice in about half that time. And my (many many many) rice-cooking experiments in this country lead me to think that Australian estimates are far closer to the truth than Swiss ones.

Which reminds me of a conversation that I eavesdropped on some time ago, where my mother-in-law and brother-in-law were discussing corn on the cob, and whether we were, at the time, eating the fresh variety or the pre-cooked variety. There was some confusion for a while, and eventually my mother-in-law said "no, it's the fresh stuff; I boiled it for half an hour". I assumed she was joking and sort of laughed a bit, and then when I told them that I was under the impression that corn on the cob needs to be boiled for about 5 minutes it became clear that everyone thinks I have no idea about anything, can't cook and am probably feeding my family on nothing but hay and raw potatoes.

So what's going on? Why do we apparently need to cook everything forever in this wacky country? And why is the corn on the cob still so gristly and tough even after it's been tormented for all that time?

* I mean normal uncooked rice, not that horrible parboiled stuff which looks, tastes and smells weird and also doesn't really seem to even take much less time to cook anyway. I did read somewhere once that parboiled rice retains more of its nutritional value, but that doesn't convince me that it's worth eating.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Not To Be Neurotic Or Anything, But ...

My parents, who are visiting, brought me a bunch of old Good Weekend magazines (which comes with the paper on Saturdays, and which I love). In this one I'm reading now, the journalist flew to Geneva to interview someone. She says

"the two-hour train trip to Lausanne costs more than $100".

Hmm. Maybe she caught a regional train and stopped at every station there is between Geneva and Lausanne, and maybe she means a return first class trip, and maybe the exchange rate was very very very bad, but it seems to me that someone should be doing a better job of checking the facts.

Surely there are enough stereotypes about Switzerland that are true that we can gleefully repeat to others, without making up stuff that is just blatantly wrong? Incidentally, I always thought that the fear of draughts (as in movement of air, not the board game. Oh how the Swiss love board games) was a bit of a rumour. Apparently not.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Thanks, Everyone

NoƩmie: waah, waah, waah
Everyone In The Entire World: Oh, she's teething.
Me: Aaargh!

Really, strangers on buses who have spent a grand total of two stops-worth of time in the vicinity of the No feel the need to tell me that the reason she's crying is that she's teething. Really? Not that she's hot, tired and hungry? Well, I suppose you're the expert aren't you, whoever you are?