Saturday, 1 September 2012

Every Grocery Store is an Adventure

Green* onions
Wh... why is there a difference here?
F*ckin love Vegemite, but why does need to come into a tube.
Where is the "A"? "No time! We're FACKING 'STRALIAN!"
This stuff is delicious.
So is this.
This too. *Wimper* I MISS THIS!
The "ing" implies it will make you do it (but so does Josh's face)
Sprite* Where are the lemons?!
This excites me illegal ways.
Crispy Bacon Flavor
"Wait, you don't have Chicken flavoured chips?! What is this hell you call Canada?!"
Because cheese and onion is gangsta.
And then there are these things. Balls. Of cheese. AND Bacon.
No amount of Joshua face can make these things good.
Stick deodorant? I say nay.
This is the cheese, the real cheese, not the face processed cheese, this is real kinds of cheese. I JUST WANT CHEDDAR!
Seriously! Where is the mozzarella?! This is so hard! TASTY, TASTY LIGHT, EXTRA TASTY?!
Admittedly it was really good. 

I want every day to be like this!

There's no place like...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

I, Nerd

     I've done a lot of nerding while in Australia. Through means I can't exactly track we started having weekly nerd nights where the same group of people; Kevin, myself, Pat, Kaz and Jay (give or take, all locals) get together at each other's houses, drink wine, eat cheese and play Magic. After thoroughly wiping the floor with everyone else with my Black/White deck, I began to play with other decks to try and get an understanding of the kinds of other things/themes that I like. I can't wait to start figuring out how to build my own decks and to continue getting a better understanding of the kind of player I am.

Pat looking sexy.

Me looking manic.

Ollie (who was a one off) and Kevin.

     I also joined in on a few weeks of Vampires: The Masquerade with a large group of people, mostly from MUST, so many of whom I would have loved to have gotten to know better in my short time with them. So many of them were so nice. One of particular note is a guy named Zorro (for real) who gave me a going away possum as that was my characters fight form. We had only known each other for a short period of time but he warmed my heart with that simple but awesome gesture. 

     Both of these events, which I was able to become part of because of The Amazing Kevin Turner, have helped me understand just how much I want (and value having) this kind of thing and these kinds of people in my life. I have never rejected being a nerd -

     I should clarify here, in case you hadn't already figured it out, I define a 'nerd' who is someone who is (unironically) enthusiastic and almost acedemic about fictional things. Games, books, movies. Entertainment things, you see. I would place myself, and most of my friends, into this category. A 'geek' is someone who is extremely well read and perhaps animated about factual things. Maths, science and other such stuff that will get you a real job and thick rimmed glasses taped together in the middle. I would place Josh, who can answer any and every science question I can come up with ("What causes turbulence?" "Why do I yawn all the time on planes?" "Does it count if you're just by yourself in the airplane bathroom?"), in this catagory. He on the other hand would swap those around, and  thinks he himself a nerd and that I am a geek. The definitions are the same the words are just constantly up for debate as to which one represents which. My argument for the way I defined things was - Geek Squad. Its not called the Nerd Bunch, because if it was instead of showing up to your house to fix you computer, they would show up with a cold pizza and a stack of books and play DnD in your basement, and that really wouldn't be what you were hoping for (or maybe?).

      I should correct something, however, in my experience nerds really eat well! I had fancy wine a cheese weekly with Nerd Night, all the food was communal at every Vampires Elysuim and the few times (the number of which I really hope increases once I get back) I've been to Hassendaig the pot luck they assemble has always been a meadly of awesome foods.
Now, where was I...

- I have never rejected being a nerd, and perhaps I played it up a little because I just wanted to be one so badly. Nerds are the cool kids now to me. I want them to pick me to be on their team, forget baseball. Being accepted as a true nerd is a whole hell of a lot harder than being accepted as one of the 'in crowd'. To get 'in' all you have to do is dress a certain way (for an example of how you need to dress just look at every single "in" person and note they all look alike) say certain things (or better, don't say anything other than the designated, acceptable, limited vocabulary) and don't stir the pot at all, just drink and drink and sleep with whomever will have you and you'll be popular! Or American... my viewpoints on this may be skewed.

      To be a nerd however you have to know your stuff! Like seriously! You also can't just know one thing inside and out you need to know several! You're not a nerd enough if you can recite all of Doctor Who backwards you also have to:  

know what '4d6' means (and that is REALLY basic), 
replace at least one real swearword with "fracking" or "shiney" or "gorammit" and use it regularly. 
Own at least one t-shirt with something so esoteric about the first episode of Firefly that even those who did watch the series have some difficulty identifying where it's from.
have at least 3 web comics bookmarked and viewed regularly
have serveral characters waiting in your head to be rolled for the next tabletop campaign that comes up (or maybe they are already rolled)

      And this is just what you will need if you want to walk in the room and not have the rest of the people smell fear in your empty understanding of who Gwen Stacy was.

     Here is the thing though, I have never met a mean group of nerds. We are so used to being the ones excluded its rare you will ever find those who want to exclude someone just because they are different. In fact they get very enthused to introduce someone new who they can share their passion with. Admittedly you will often find groups who have been table topping for years together or are in the middle of a campaign and can't let you in right then but you'll be sure they will help get you excited about building a character when the time comes around.

In short, nerds are awesome, I love being one (though I know I am but a babe), Australia is awesome and I love being a nerd here, particularly with the amazing people I get to do that with.

Also, before I left Kevin and Pat got me a family portrait of our characters. It makes me super happy. 

There's no place like...

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Mail Time: Final Edition

     What I anticipate will be my last postcard arrived the other day from Zac. It's perfect because it's from Sandbanks, one of the many places I will be running to go to when I can back to Canada. It's the perfect summer spot in my area and it will make me so happy to spend some more time there.

      Thank you for all those who sent me mail. As you know, it always made me feel wonderful. 

     There's no place like...

Tuesday June 19th - Thursday June 21st: Sheppardton and Mooroopna

      So here we are again in Betsy's front seat preventing myself from asking Josh what he calls the Big Ultimatum Questions - the ones I ask when I get bored like "What is your favourite animal (A: Kookaburra) / Colour (A: I don't have one) / Food (A: Why do you ask me all these questions?!)?" We're driving home from Shep in the rain and hoping to get back in time so I can meet Rhys in town to go to The Pancake Parlour - a mystical place where they only serve pancakes (okay not exclusively but pretty darn close) but which I never been too and I'm very excited.


     When we got up to Mooroopna we beat his parents home and started watching The Castle, we didn't end up finishing it until the last night but it is a GREAT Australian film. So many very Australian things and people and I highly recommend it though it might only make the most sense to locals and those who've spent a good time here. Anne (Josh's Mum) made a delicious Chicken Parma something I'm not sure I've had while down here yet but it was divine. They are a big this in Oz and I'm sure we have them in Canada but they are really quality and I'm going to make them loads when I get home. 

     Afterwards Josh's friends Grimey and Jim came over. I don't know if you know this but Josh is 19. I've always been good (although I will still joke) at not caring about peoples age and enjoying their company because of how old they act and how well we get on, not because of how close they were born to me. In fact of the people I am closest with very few were born within a couple years of me. So I've always enjoyed my time with Josh without thinking about the fact that he's younger then my younger brother because his maturity and the fun we have together transcends that. This was made VERY clear by hanging out with his 19 yr old friends. Holy crap. They were lovely but the maturity and life skills of someone I would want to spend an expended length of time with was absent. This is not something that is intended to imply any insult or negative implications towards either of them, rather to suggest that I have learned more clearly my feelings on why I can hang out with some 18-19 yrs olds and not care about the age bracket but that it its case by case specific and that some are not my cup of tea. However after the first sentence I spoke one of them exclaimed "HOLY CRAP THATS A SWEET ACCENT!" so he got some extra points.

     We drank on the patio (why, I do not know because it was cold) and drank out of plastic martini glasses (we were drinking whiskey/rum and coke so that was another wtf) which Josh daintally sipped on as if it were a cosmo. After I finished mine I snatched it out of his hand and downed it in seconds. He then resigned to getting us some real glasses and going inside. We hung out chatting for a while and then turned Pirates of the Carribean 2 into a drinking game. It's not the perfect solo movie for that but if you watched all 4 together it would be pretty awesome and you'd get fairly far gone by the time Penelope Cruise shows up. I'd been up late the night before nerding so I turned in before the boys left with a belly full of chips and discount Capt Morgan because Canadian accents get Liquor Land Stock boys to break the rules for you. 

Wednesday - 

     The morning was spent making breakfast and a cake for Josh's parents to thank them for having me. Then we went into town to meet a bunch of different people, climb a tower and pick up the Grimey and Jim to go Geocaching. I can't tell you what that is if you don't already know, other than its awesome. We found 3 caches by some solid owners as well as some giant freaky spiders and a lizard. No pictures sadly, but good fun.

        Josh's parents took us out for dinner that night. It was really lovely - I had 3 cheese ravioli in a napoli (I still don't quite know what it is) sauce with katamola olives, spring (green) onions and something else but I forget. Regardless, it was great and I'm going to try to make it when I get back. Then we went home, cut into my chocolate strawberry cake (with icing that Anne thought I made, sadly no) and finished The Castle which ended with me in tears thinking about how I'll be gone from all this in 2 weeks.

Thursday -

     I slept in late, wolfed down tea and breakfast, packed up, bought a new headlight for Betsy, played at Kidtown - in the rain, I don't care, it's still amazing. I wish I could spend days there when it was better weather and with a bunch of people to play hugtiggie with (Ros and Guil cast? Trip to Shep? :D)

      Then we got some Mr D's for Rhian and Kirsten and headed out. And here we are.

       I want to go home but I don't want to leave. It's not fair. Let me have everything.

       There's no place like...  

Phillip Island Addendum feat Rob Kelly

      After posting about my trip to Phillip Island my Australian Idol Prof/Tut Leader (who I have on Facebook volunteered to explain the Fairy/Little Penguin debate. He explains as follows: "The Latin name for the bird is "Eudyptula Minor" which literally translates into "Little Penguin" which is what they've always been called. It was only some genious somewhere along the line that nicknamed them "Fairy Penguins". I don't remember when exactly but the good people at The Penguin Parade desided to revert back to the real name." In addition in "an amazing show of geeky-ness" Rob also identified the hybrid cows as: "highland cattle, their from Scotland. They were the first type of cattle grazed in this area, the ones you find on Churchill Island are aledgedly decendents of the original herd." But he is sceptical. 

       There's no place like...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Thursday June 7th: Phillip Island

     I'm so bad at this these days. I have to be doing something else to encourage myself to blog. At this point my laptop is propped up on my lap (oh, I guess that's why they call them that huh?) on the passenger seat (which is on the left side of the car in this country. O.o) of Josh's car as we head to his home town of Shepparton and more specifically Mooroopna. I mentioned these places beforehand at the end of the Grampains post and I'm excited to take more pictures and do some more Geocaching (one of my new favourite things in the world and worthy of another post).but in the mean time, let me tell you about Phillip Island.

      I yo-yoed about going to Phillip Island for weeks, i wasn't sure if there would be enough to see and do but I'm glad I went. It is an expensive little island outside of Melbourne that is famous for its Penguins. Phillip Island  has a large residency of Fairy Penguins which is the smallest species of penguin and the kind we saw at the beach in my first week here. There is some discussion as to why they  are now called "Little Penguins" I've been told that there was some uproar about the gay community and the world "fairy" having homosexual connotations. This implies either that penguin enthusiasts are upset at the prospect of little penguins being gay, or that homosexuals should be concerned about being thought of as too penguin like. Either way, which, if it is either, it's the homophobic pro penguin squad, it's stupid and I don't really think this is the case but it seems to be a widely accepted story among Aussie Uni students.

     Trouble with these penguins are they have be turned into a tourist attraction and you have to pay something like $22 to see them and you can take no pictures - it scares them, that makes sense but they were so cute and I want to share these moments with you! You go out to the dunes about an hour before sunset, sit on a set of bleachers for quite some time as it gets dark and you wait for "The Penguin Parade" when hundreds of penguins pop out of the sea and run across the beach to get back to their burrows for the night. There are lights on the beach to give tourists a better look but if you didn' t have your glasses on or have little luck with dim lighting you were likely going to want your money back. We saw something like 600 little blue birds and shivered our way through an hour of watching them scaper across the beach and rocks. Once the majrty passed by we walked back up through the dunes on a boardwalk that wove through the burrows. It was a confinous mess of penguins squawking and singing and calling. It was like being in a Canadian swamp in spring but instead of frogs and crickets you're surrounded by thousands of adorable little flightless birds with bellies so full of fish someone them can't hold their weight upright. It really is a little magical. I'll try to find some pictures online when I get some internet back (Betsy doesn't have wifi). 

      Otherwise we spent the day driving around the island finding cool places to take walks and climb things and have d&m's. Didn't take a crazy amount of pictures and didn't take a single one with me in it but I swear I was there. Some highlights:

I don't know why these cows are a thing, someone wants to breed cows and teddy bears I guess.

Aussie surfer gang signs.

We drove 40 min both ways to see this dock at high and low tide. I love water as much as the next person (maybe more), but geeze that was the longest trip for a 5 min bathroom break ever. 

There's no place like...

Monday, 18 June 2012

Mail Time: Matt Carson Edition

      I feel like I'm running out of things to say about getting mail. I love it so much and I'm getting more personal mail now then I likely will ever again and I love it so much (did I say that already?). I  sometimes feel like blogging about it is my way of expressing how much it means to me, but at the same time that I can't express really how much it means to me when I'm really trying to express that to one person (did I say 'express' and 'how much it means to me' enough in that sentence?). So I fear I'm not going to be able to exude to you the reader or to the author of anything I receive just how happy it makes me.

      Last week I got my (non Gordo inspired ;) ) letter from a Mr. Matt Carson. Actually, it was really my first letter too. I've gotten cards (or the post and greeting variety) and packages (of the mail variety, you filthy minded scoundrel)  but this is the first letter - pen on paper (recycled paper!) page after page of loving words and smile inspiring ... words (is there a synonym to 'words'?). It was wonderful, sits next to my bed on top of my well wishes and happy thoughts book and I can't wait to see give Matt in person all the hugs I've tried to give this little bundle of paper.

      Which I will do. In 17 days. Shiza.

     There's no place like...

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Tumblr Explains Everything

If TORONTO STRIFE is for Aussies to see what T.O is like.

THIS is for Canucks to understand my life at Monash... okay, maybe not all my life but student life.

There's no place like...

May 25th-29th - The Grampians: A Complete and Utter Adventure

     While looking at the camping stuff in Josh's car Amanda walks by:

Amanda: Wow, you have a lot of camping stuff there.

Josh and I: Sure do.
Amanda: Yeah, you could go camping like, tomorrow if you wanted to.
Josh and I: Yeah.... yeah we could...
     And then we went.

     A note we left in the common room at 8 am that read:

"Moose and J-Mac have run away together- the hall isn't big enough for the both of us."

     And we didn't know when we were coming back, we didn't know where we were staying. We had Lemon Lime Bitters and 4 boxes of cookies. And we drove in the rain. Listening to various kick ass road trip songs.

     Until we drove past a gourge-

Ooo, that looks cool.

Me: Yeah, I wonder what it is?
Josh: Wanna go find it and find out?
Me: F*ck yeah.

     And then we did.

     Trying to find out way back to the highway we went past this and I made Josh do a Uturn to go back so I could take pictures.

     YAY! Quinte Area wins at something against Australia! We have the bigger fruit based tourist attraction!

     Then we saw a sign that said "Scenic Look Out 5km >"

     So we went there.

     Windy as hell.

Behind Josh is where we'd come from.

That is where we are going.

     After going for a walk and taking cute tree climbing pictures (see facebook) we got back into the car as fast as we could to escape the wind. It however didn't want us to leave and expressed this by pulling my hair into the door.

     We found kangaroo's in Halls Gap on the way to the campsite (kanga's and campsites are in the video) and headed out to MacKenzie Falls (also in the video, but here are some pictures):

     Gorgeous. No we did not stay on the path, what would be in the fun in that?

     Sunset was at about 6pm so we headed back the campsite to have dinner by the campfire. Remember that wood in the video? (If not remember this for said video wood) Not dry. Not dry at all. Could not for the life of me get it lit. So green and so damp. I tried for an hour as Josh made dinner. When it became clear there was no way we were going to get a fire and that the one torch (flashlight) we had was not going to cut it we decided to go inside the tent, hunker down into our many blankets and have dinner and Bowler's Run by the light of our iPods. :) We talked for hours into the darkness of the night but since it was so dark and cold out there was no point stay up past 9pm anyway.

      Day 2 was lots of hiking, high places and lookouts. Lots of jumping safey barriours and crawling out where ever we were told not to. Don't worry Mom, anyone watching always knew to send my body back to Canada.

     That night we stayed at Josh's friend Vanessa's house in Stawell (pronounced Stall with a long 'a' if you ask an Aussie). A really sweet girl her life is being ruined by a lazy manager at the local McDonalds. She dropped out of school to move into the middle of no where with this guy to flip a house. They've had it for quite some time and have done ever little. If she doesn't get out of this fast she never will and is such a shame.

     They insisted we go to see The Giant Koala and I still hadn't cuddled one yet, so it's of course we went, and of course I cuddled it.

     Then came what is always hte hardest thing to log about - the most amazing part. I've been trying to describe the feeling of what places like Mount Hollow do to me - I've ranted about it several times over skype and Matt even tried to screen grab it as a video, I wish we knew of a way were you could do that because I get into this strange mood when I talk about it and don't really know how to express myself. All I can say is that its one of my favourite feelings. Its got to be a kind of zen, I bet you can get it from meditation. A moment where it is just me, no thoughts, no judgements, no questions just a purity and clarity of moment where I know that there is nothing else but me. My worth does not rely on other, on objects on experience. My worth and who I am is contained in my body and no where else. I feel more focused and in my own self then any other moment - I felt this way when I was on top of the mountain in the outback. Something about climbing mountains does this to me I think. Common factors were that both time i started the jounry with someone but got to the top on my own, and the sun was up (or in the first cast was setting). I could see for kilometers and there was little in my way. Who knows maybe it was the higher altitue and I was getting less oxygen but all I know is that now I feel the need to seek it out. Check out the pictures.

      I wasn't ready to go home, but we'd done most of the stuff that we could in the area so Josh suggested we go to Shepaerton/MooRoopna where he grew up so we could drop off the camping gear. He called his parents and told them we would be there in a few hours (which I was shocked about, my mom would freak if I dropped in like that) and we drop cross country blasting The Glitch Mob going far to fast and having a dangerous blast.
I took no pictures in Shep, but some where taken of me and once I get them it will be in a very interesting update.

      The current plan is to go back to Shepp before I go because there were some cool things I missed out on doing there (anyone whos been there will know I'm talking basically only about Kidstown) and there will be another update about that trip when it happens.

Oh and here's the aforementioned video:

20 Days to Go

There's no place like...