Friday, December 29, 2006

American Dad - Vasectech

Make sure you pause on the "good time" magazines to read their titles!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Domo-kun says: ARRRRRGH! Merry (belated) Christmas and a Snappy New Year!



Birthday: 28th December, 2006.
Method: MS Paint and Wacom tablet.
Comment: Hoo boy, I really need to learn about a) light and shadow and b) layers. But every new picture is a lesson, hey? I do TRY to use layers, but they frustrate me so, probably because I don't know what I'm doing, and then I go, SIGH, back to MS Paint. Sweet, simple, MS Paint.
However, MFC has found me some cool video tutorials, so I expect to become the queen of vectors and layers ANY DAY NOW.
I decided to draw Domo-kun (the mascot of Japan's NHK TV station) because RaZeR said that whenever he read "Angie SMASH!" in this blog, it made him think of Domo-kun :) And there have been a lot of Angie SMASH incidents, mainly due to the flood of village idiots turning up at MFC's place, at his housemate's invitation.
My Domo-kun looks a bit too friendly though, like he's going, "Hey, hey! Guys! Welcome to the party! Long time no see, man! Ooh, is that a kegger I see?" Don't worry, friends, when I draw the an9ie version of Domo-kun, there's gonna be enough aggro to spare!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Still full from Christmas lunch, and a Garlic Roast Chicken

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I'm on holiday until the 8th of January so the Christmassy feeling is still with me (also I had a good sleep last night - whee!)

Right now, I am waiting for a Garlic Roast Chicken to come out of the oven. It's the simplest recipe. I have made it three times now, and the first time I made it, the people who tasted it (including my housemate, who is a fussyfussyfoodiesnobpants) said it was the best roast chicken they ever had. I'm making crispy potatoes to go with it, fried in the same butter/minced garlic/chicken stock concoction I used to season the chicken, and microwaved peas. I know some people may go "Urgh" at the thought of microwaved peas, but really, I think it keeps them from getting soggy, and it's nice and fast for ADD girl here. Just two minute per cup of peas and you're done.

I'll let you have a quick peek at the chicken in the oven. Just a little one because, you know, she's shy.

Well, hello there, little lady! Aren't you purty?

Now, I must tell you about Christmas lunch, because it was the best, most Christmassy lunch I've had since I was a little girl and Mum and Dad celebrated Christmas with roast meats and hampers and a tree. (Nowadays, my family just goes to the buffet at Burswood, where we eat until we get that full feeling at the top of our throats, as if the food has suddenly noticed the dire peril it's in and is trying to escape.)

MFC and I went to his dad's house for lunch on Christmas day. MFC's father is a very, very good cook, in the traditional English sense, and pretty much every meal we have there is a gourmet experience.

We didn't have breakfast in anticipation, and were treated to a bountiful table of:
  • Roast turkey,
  • Roast pork with crackling,
  • Applesauce, cranberry jelly, and grape toffee jelly to go with the above,
  • Roasted potatoes, perfect in every way, crisp on the outside and melty on the inside,
  • Roasted pumpkin, parsnip, sweet potato and garlic,
  • Grilled cherry tomatoes and boiled peas,
  • Julienne carrots and brussel sprouts,
  • Fresh bread
  • A choice of mini mince or apple pies with brandy custard for dessert,
  • Shortbread and tea to follow.
I shall expect the same thing next Christmas and every Christmas after that, or heads will roll!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Newsflash: Angie enormous wimp, is terrorised by tiny bunny

Note: I wrote this post on the 22nd, so the weekend I'm referring to is the 16th of December.

OK, so on the weekend I was terrorised by a rabbit. Yeah, you heard me. In fact, the title of this post was going to be "I am such a pu$y", and then I thought about all the GooglePervert searches that might lead here, and recanted.

As you may know, MFC and I are pet-sitting my brother's rabbit for a bit while he's overseas with my parents. In fact, I got a text message from my brother just the other day about it. Glen asked me for an update, and I told him that Mao was fine, and being incredibly spoiled by MFC, but also that he was getting a little aggressive and would try to hump your leg or arm if he got too excited (after running around you in little circles). Glen said that he was going to get Mao fixed when he came back anyway, and that would probably fix the aggression. I felt sorry for the little bunny; he was just acting on instinct.

But, yes, Mao, who is becoming incredibly bold, and has the run of MFC's dining room in the evenings, has started peeing in the corner of the room, the carpeted room, and leaving pellets there as well.

MFC was very nice about it, although I was mortified. (Glen, see what your testosterone-filled bunny has done now? Good one, Glen.) Mind you, MFC was the one who STARTED the policy of letting the bunny have absolute, unsupervised freedom in the evenings in said dining area. So I should really be saying: On ya, MFC :) So, MFC put some papers down, and told me not to sweat it, he was going to hire the steam-cleaner from Coles anyway to do the bedrooms, and he'd do the dining room as well. Sometimes I worship this man. You try finding someone who knows their way around all the vacuum cleaner attachments and ALSO regularly steam-cleans the house, by himself.

So I started clearing away the pellets in the corner with a dustpan, and I was swapping the damp newspaper for some fresh stuff, when Mao came up to see what I'm doing. At first he was just getting in my way, stepping on the dustpan and sniffing everything energetically. And then he became more and more agitated, rearing up at the sheets of newspaper as I took them out, and folding his ears back. Then he started to make little charges at my feet, and after a few bluffs on my part to take charge, I ran squealing from the room like a little piggy. A very scared little piggy.

Hey, his claws are freakin' sharp, OK? And I don't like having things charge at me! (Even if they are at ankle-level.) Besides, it's not like I can defend myself because then I'd have to explain to Glen if rabbits go to heaven after they been kicked through a glass window.

I ran into the kitchen where MFC was making dinner, shrieking, "ARRRGH! I don't feel sorry for him anymore! When he goes back to Glen, his goolies are coming off and I won't be sorry! Snip-snip! Right off!" (Angie turns towards the dining room.) "You hear that, you little shit? They're coming OFF! OOOOOFFF!!!!"

"Don't say things like that," says MFC.

"Why?"

"Well, it might not be a very nice thing to say in front of other people who have goolies."

Fair enough.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

How do you suck out the poison?

I had the displeasure of dealing with a particularly poisonous person today. Toxic. The kind of person who comes at you with seemingly innocuous, but actually insidious comments in front of other people, trying to put you down and intimidate you. A bully, but a sneaky one.

The kind of person that you would gladly put on your holiday bludgeoning list, or buy a ticket on the Titanic for. The kind of person that makes you shake your fist at the sky and yell, "DAMMIT KARMA, when are you going to BITE them in the ass?!?"

I'm glad to say that, in my encounter with this...person, I didn't back down. The responses I made were calm and confident, even though I hadn't rehearsed any beforehand. And despite the fact that I was so angry at times that my hands started shaking.

So, does karma work? Does anyone know of someone who has received a comeuppance that was well deserved? What goes around, does it come around? In Malay they call it ketulahan, and with the right intonation it can sound quite forboding and well, doomy.

Or, is it bad to hope that karma works that way, because we should love and forgive everybody and blah blah blah. And hey, you know, our hands aren't entirely clean either. We've done our share of harm. If karma were truly fair, it would give us our portion of whup-ass as well, served on a bed of irony with some humiliation on the side.

Sometimes I think so much my brain hurts.

OK, look karma, you don't have to totally ruin Nasty Toxic Person's life, or push them down the stairs, but could you at least give them a really bad rash down there for a couple of weeks? The kind that feels like a thousand centipedes and some sea urchins and some Portugese Man-O-War jellyfish had a lovechild and it's living in their pants?

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A revolting morning discovery

Warning: I advise any queasy readers, especially the male ones, to not read this post.

I stay at a few different places some nights. Nomadic as this sounds, I'm really not that impulsive. It's just a part of my lifestyle at the moment. Most nights a week it's MFC's place, or we'll both be at someone's house and feel too tired to drive home. As all and sundry know, I am a very anal person. I plan outfits for while I'm away, down to shoes and underthings, and I always, always have my trusty toiletries caddy.

Here it is:


Your Honour, you will note the yellow circle around the Sensodyne toothbrush, which is a brand new replacement from the time the incident occurred. Yes, yes, the dental hygiene section looks like an ad for Oral-B. If you must know, here is what I do with all that teeth stuff:

1. Rub toothpaste all over teeth.
2. Floss in between all teeth with waxed floss.
3. Floss with Ultra Floss, in areas where there are small cavitations that I'm monitoring.
3a. (Night-time only) Brush with Sensodyne toothbrush (non-electric).
4. Brush with normal Oral-B electric toothbrush head.
5. Brush with interspace Oral-B electric toothbrush head.
6. Use tongue scraper.

On Saturday night I stayed over at a house that wasn't mine. The housemate had a few people over, people I didn't know with their shrieking girlfriends. They were having a pretty good time shouting obscenities at each other and playing loud music that lasted all night. I put my caddy in the guest bathroom, did my night routine, and went to bed with a pillow over my head.

The next morning I groggily went to the bathroom to start my morning routine. I picked up my normal Oral-B toothbrush head, and as I did so my Sensodyne toothbrush caught my eye. I picked it up and squinted at it. It looked like it had been soaked through with a brownish substance, and dried stiff. It definitely wasn't like that when I went to bed.

My brain went, "A-buh?" and slowly ticked over scenarios where brown gunk could have got on my toothbrush. A leak in the bathroom ceiling? A practical joke? Did I drop it somewhere? But it looked fine last night when I brushed my teeth...

I looked closer. It appeared to be organic, but not anything I recognised. What was it?

I started rinsing it under the tap, it was really stiff and whatever it was had stained the bristles quite badly. The cold water woke me a little and I recoiled, thinking, "WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?" and stuffed it in the bin. Suddenly it hit me. What the brown stuff was.

All you queasy people STOP reading now. Especially the boys, who won't be able to handle this. In fact, to make sure no one gets too antsy and reads anyway, I shall make the next bit in white font. You'll have to highlight it with your mouse to read it. Consider this a final warning.

*White text starts here*
OK, ladies, you know how, on the first day of your period, you have brown spotting? It's not blood, and it doesn't look or smell like it. It's a thicker substance and I think it's tissue, part of the uterine lining, something like that.

That's what I think it was.


I think one of the bimbos at the party unexpectedly got her period, and washed her undies or clothes in the bathroom sink. (There were some dried brown splash dots on the wall next to the sink.) And I think she used my toothbrush to get out the worst of the crud, and then just PUT IT BACK the way it was, into my caddy.

*White text ends here*

WHO THE HECK DOES THAT?

Argh! I was so traumatised. And now so are you if you read that bit. And no blah-blah-that's-so-disgusting-how-could-you-let-me-read-that-Angie comments, thank you very much. You had two warnings and I also whited out the crucial bits. People like that exist. This is not a blog that pretends natural functions don't exist. If you took a deep breath and decided to read it anyway, well, take responsibility.

I was pretty grossed out but I'm mostly over it now. Plus, having a Mum for a nurse does desensitise you to these things.

Anyway, everything in my caddy has been cleaned, with every sterilising tablet and caustic liquid known to man. And examined. With a microscope and a blacklight.

I have a new toothbrush. The next time I stay somewhere, and there are people around that I don't know, it is staying in the same room with me or being locked in my car. Bleargh!

I MEAN REALLY, WHO DOES THAT?!?

Sad times

The best thing about visiting blogs I like, is that they usually have links to blogs that they like. I get to visit these and discover more blogs that I like, and then I have to force myself to start picking and choosing so that I don't end up reading blogs and watching Grey's Anatomy all day.

The other week I found the blog of a lady who is an excellent amateur photographer. It's just a hobby for her, but she has a real gift. It always looks like she captured the right subject at the right time. It looks easy and spontaneous, like all she did was line up her camera, and that perfect shot just took care of itself. That's how you know her work is good.

I was reading her blog for the first time, and then came across a photograph of her little daughter in the shower. I consider it a sad sign of the times, that when I saw this photograph, my first thought was not: "Aw, that's a cute shot," but, "You've got to be kidding me! Lady, you can't just put photos of your kids in the shower up on the Internet! Argh! What if some sicko sees them and...Argh! I don't want to even think about it!"

I couldn't just rejoice at the simple beauty of the photograph. Instead I worried. Should people put photos like that up on the Internet?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Grey's Anatomy backlogging

I've been working through my Grey's Anatomy backlog. I watched 2.12 to 2.18 yesterday, and two episodes made me cry (damn them!)

****SPOILERS FOLLOW****






2.15 Break on Through, where Meredith resuscitates someone's Mummy, and then has to kill her the next day, because she's DNR. It was awful watching someone's mother die, because it makes you think of horrible "What if that happened to us?" situations. I'm pretty sure I would be a blubbering mess.

2.16 It's the End of the World, where they finally get the bomb out of the guy's chest, and everything looks like it's going to be OK. Meredith runs out into the corridor, stares after Hot Bomb Squad Leader/Kyle Chandler as he walks away in slow motion...and then he gets BLOWN UP.

NOOOOOOOOO!!! Not Hot Bomb Squad Leader Kyle! Oh, he was so very fine. And now he's very fine. Mist, in fact. Pink mist. Sigh.





****SPOILERS END****

The good news is, I still have plenty more episodes to watch over Christmas! Yay!

Friday, December 15, 2006

An attack on the Food Pornographer

The Food Pornographer is one of my daily stops. I think it's great that she lives in Perth, and I can go and try out all the new food places she blogs about :) She religiously (and with a lot more discipline and dedication that I could ever muster - except in a pie-eating contest) takes photos of her meals and posts them online with witty reviews and humorous anecdotes about life with her cats and her companion Jac.

Now, TFP is a woman who shares her life with another woman (shock! horror!), and I don't think they have separate bunks either, if you know what I mean.

One of her readers recently found this out, and sent her a very poisonous comment about it (more than one poisonous, menacing comment, actually). I find this hilarious for a few reasons, that the reader, "DocChuck", and his wife (Mrs Chuck?) have been reading her blog for a while now, and have only just twigged that TFP is a lesbian, despite numerous references in her posts to Jac being a "she" (and a section in her FAQ addressing their relationship).

At first I wrote a paragraph paraphrasing his quotes, but now, my friends, I am thinking that such nasty things to do not bear repetition here. There is already enough nasty stuff out there on the InterWeb. You can go to TFP's site and read them for yourself, if you're interested.

I think this man is unhappy and needs a hug, forgiveness, and acceptance from the community. He seems to have forgotten that Jesus embraced, forgave, and accepted those that some narrow-minded people considered unclean: lepers, prostitutes, and tax collectors (teehee!)

Unless someone has invited personal discourse on their post (e.g. "Please let me know what you think about this,"), my attitude to leaving comments is:
1. "If you don't have anything nice to say to that person, then don't say it," and,
2. "If you really don't have anything nice to say, and you really have to say it, then do it on your own blog."

Designing a new blog

Hmm, almost two weeks since I proudly announced that I was thinking of changing the look of my blog (to the sound of one juliness cheering :). And still, nada. But I have been trying, you know. I tried one hot Saturday until CSS reduced me to tears. I tried last Sunday but couldn't settle on what I wanted (or thought I wanted).

It's hard, thinking of a new banner and style. Also, I'm not sure if my blog fits in anywhere, really. It's not a craft blog or an art blog or a deep thoughts blog or a "I'm chronicling my journey to success" blog. There's a lot of shite in it. Sometimes I put in photos of things that catch my fancy, sometimes I post drawings I've made (and when I do, I feel as proud and exhausted as someone who's just given birth to seventeen dalmations). Sometimes I write down funny things I've heard or seen, even though they may be crass (and I like going back and reading them to have a chuckle).

Sometimes I can't stand the world and other human beings, and wish I lived on an island populated solely by robots and dachshunds (the robots can clean up the dachshund poop).

Sometimes I feel enlightened and love the universe and everyone in it. And I blog about those moments too. (As an aside, if you tend to leave self-righteous comments (and I hope none of you do, because you are all lovely people) on people's blogs about how they shouldn't be picky and critical, and how it's wrong to judge people, think about how that person might have felt at the time. They might have felt completely different three minutes after, but still needed to get the bad stuff out of their system. Think about how that negative feedback might have stood out against a sea of positive feedback and clouded their day. Remember that we're all flawed, funny humans. And remember I said that the next time I have a rant about someone/thing that annoyed me :)

My dream blog would be Alicia Paulson's Posie Gets Cozy, and I don't think I'd be wrong if I said about five thousand other people in the blogosphere coveted it as well. Alicia is incredibly creative and smart and cheerful and kind. She has the cutest dog in the world, and the best husband, a tender, witty chap named Andy Paulson. She takes beautiful, warm photos that make you feel wistful and yes, cosy, usually of the inside of her enchanting house, or of the sweet, clever things she makes by hand.

However, I'm not sure I can have a blog like that, because I'm not a good or nice person. Well, not all the time. I have tried, and it's not impossible, but I have a lot of fun being a beyatch, too. Sometimes so much fun it should be illegal. Especially when Nicky's in town.

And so I can't have a nice banner in pink with pictures of lovely knick-knacks, no matter how much I want one, because from time to time I'll have a grump and talk about throwing people who don't use deoderant into a giant steamer full of pine needles, and that would be false advertising.

People would say:
"Hey! Your banner looks so nice but your heart is black and full of hate!", or
"I thought this was a nice child-safe blog about pixies but now I see that you're one of Beelzebub's handmaidens!"

And I can't write like this (actually, I haven't met anyone who does write like this, but then again, I am exaggerating):
"Hello darlings! It's me, Angie. It's a lovely day in Perth and I love, love, love everything and everyone. Today I looked around my pretty house and thought, I love what I've done with it..."

I just can't. For one thing, I would feel insincere calling people I barely know, "darlings". MFC is lucky to get a "darling" out of me, and only when chocolate and pastries are involved. For another, my life is full of half-finished projects and little petty dislikes. Even when the weather is perfect I'll find something to grump about. I wish I had better eyes, teeth, skin, perkier boobs, a huge trust fund, a country cottage, a dachshund ranch, a time machine...

Sometimes I wonder if I should only put positive, uplifting things on my blog, so that every day I can be thankful for something, and infuse my life with wonder and magic.

But then something shitty happens and I really need to rant about it. I might as well flush the magic down the toilet then. Or someone infuriates me and I vent about them (I find this nice and cleansingly cathartic*).

What I put on the blog is how I feel, right at that moment. I try not to be boring but sometimes I might be, because it's tiring being interesting all the time.

I think I'll just be Angie.



* Tautology alert!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Valentine's Day Story

Sometimes I get blog ideas and I'll dash off a couple of sentences, save a draft, and then leave them to stew for a while. If I feel a little short on inspiration, like today, I'll pick one and flesh it out.

This draft was written exactly a month ago, on the 13th of November. All I had were two sentences:

Pepe and the chocolate
"Is that his tongue?" asked Sonya in horror.

Here's the fleshy bit...


During Uni, I worked at my sister's florist business in Fremantle. It was on High Street and called "A Black Cat Florist". And every year we would get caught up in the flood that is known as Valentine's Day.

Florists love and hate Valentine's Day. They love it because it's the one day of the year where they earn enough money to pay off all their debts. They hate it because they have to work their butts off and they know they won't get any sleep the night before.

Valentine's Day in Australia can be a nightmare, because here Valentine's Day falls in late summer. It doesn't help that, for weeks beforehand, wholesale flower sellers stockpile roses in icy coolrooms, long past their usual best-before date. Then one day they're taken out of their cryonic suspension, stripped, trimmed, handled, wrapped, and delivered during the worst heat of the day. Woe betide you if you're not home to receive them and they have to be left by the door! You'll be murmuring, "My love is like limp pot-pourri and a puddle of chocolate," à la Robbie Burns.

The night before Valentine's Day was sheer chaos. We stayed up till 4am, dethorning roses, arranging roses, wrapping roses. We also put little soft-centred chocolates in with the arrangements, for that something extra. Turkish Delight, Raspberry, Toffee, Caramel.

Our little dachshund Pepe was still alive then, and he would lie on the floor in furry slug mode, sleepily watching the hustle and bustle. Occasionally we'd trip over him or give him a pat.

We were all working at full speed, my sister, her assistant, Sonya, and me, and Pepe was happily munching away on something he had found on the floor.

Someone tripped and accidentally stepped on his paw. He yelped and a brown and red slimy object plopped out of his mouth. Pepe retreated into a corner and looked scared.

We all stared at the...thing, and then Sonya shrieked, "Oh my god! Is that his tongue?"

No one moved. I was ready to cry over the fate of our poor little dog.

Finally I knelt down and picked it up while everyone backed away. It was warm and sticky and my stomach turned. Then I looked a little closer.

It was a half-eaten Turkish Delight.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Norwegian Puffin Dogs

Whatchoo lookin' at, beyatch?*

MFC sent me this muy interesting link today from damninteresting.com. It tells the story of the Norwegian Puffin Dog, or lundehund, a hound bred to clamber up rocks and into caves to fetch puffins for their puffin-hungry owners. Mmm, puffin-fresh. What? I couldn't resist!

Dachshunds have nothing on these pooches. What, you were bred to look like a knackwurst and hunt badgers? That's nothing, my friend. I can fold my head back along my spine! And I have SIX freakin' toes!

* Yes, I know I've used this caption before. But it tickles me :)

Keng Hua - Nightblooms


Here are some pictures of a plant I've been familiar with since childhood. It looks a bit like Audrey, doesn't it?

The name of the flower is keng hua in Hokkien, and I finally managed to find a small article about it here on AsiaOne*.

Appearing at the witching hour is the heavily-scented Keng Hua, whose petals, on the other hand, seem to take an excruciatingly long while to unfold. Its botanical name is Epiphyllum Oxypetalum, and it belongs to the Cacti family.

But it's more commonly known here as the Keng Hua, and I remember the entire household staying up for hours for what was considered a highly propitious event when the flowers bloom, as it was associated with good fortune. The petals start to unfold at about 9pm, with the flower in full bloom by midnight. But the bloom or blooms (if you are exceptionally lucky) last just for that one night, before they close and fade away at dawn ... just like the graceful dying swan in Swan Lake.

This plant is meant to bring good luck when it blooms (oh, and by the way, do you know how many synonyms there are for "bloom"? Not many. So unless I start making up words like "buddlify" or "flowerate", you'll be seeing that word a lot.) Small buds start appearing weeks beforehand, and you watch them grow, oh so excrutiatingly slowly, until one evening (usually when there is a full moon out, but I can't confirm this for certain) they spring open and release their fragrance into the night air. The smell isn't sickly-sweet, it's just strong-sweet, personally I find it more invigorating than heady. Their full blossoms look like sacred lotus flowers, which is probably why the Chinese consider them lucky.

The last time this plant flowered was a few months ago, and it gave us around fifty blossoms. My mother rang me, full of excitement. "Our keng hua has bloomed! So many flowers!"

Today I counted 40, with more little buds starting to form. I hope I'm here on the night they come out. Hurry up!

* Source: Nature's Reliable Time-Keepers, Thien, The Business Times, July 9, 1999.

Proposed Australian citizenship test

The Federal Government is thinking of introducing a citizenship test for migrants, who may be asked to define things like "mateship" and other Australian cultural values.

Few answers on citizenship test - from news.com.au, December 12, 2006 12:44pm

Before this ridiculous test becomes a reality, I'd like them to take a decent sample of the existing population, say at least 10,000 people, who were born and raised in Australia, get them to take the test, and see what results they come up with. If they fail, do we strip them of their citizenship and send them off to the land of their fathers and/or mothers?

I found the quotes from other politicians quite interesting:

Mr Georgiou said he was "concerned that the toughening of the requirements" would "create unreasonable barriers to the acquisition of citizenship and will prevent people who would make a wonderful contribution to Australia from becoming citizens".

"The upshot may very well be that the successful settlement of immigrants is undermined rather than enhanced," Mr Georgio said.

Fellow Victorian Liberal MP
Russell Broadbent said he had raised his concerns with Mr Robb, saying: "The questions could be very difficult for many current Australians."

Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce has said he is unsure the proposal will succeed in its current form.

"We're trying to stop people who have militant ideas who want to destroy our nation - I've got no problem with that whatsoever," Senator Joyce said.

"What has to be proven is whether an English test is going to do it - most wackos are very well-educated."

I hear you, Senator. If all you have to do is rote-learn some answers, or just be very imaginative and lie, and then sign a piece of paper, I think the "wackos" are going to pass with flying colours. They're intelligent and resourceful, they're fervently, fanatically dedicated, and they believe beyond any trace of a doubt that we are in the wrong. And not all the nutjobs are imports, there are just as many who are homegrown, and I have no idea how we're going to weed those little daisies out. I certainly know that my personal dream of bombarding certain households with offers of free sterilisation, soap, steel wool, deoderant, and an English primer, is not going to become a reality anytime soon *sob*.

In the meantime, the poor average guy who's going through one of the most arduous immigration processes in the world, who just wants to give his family a better life and education and earn a minimum wage that is higher than 50 cents a day, who is awkwardly trying to express himself clearly in a language that is not his native tongue, a language that he has recently learned, who is full of nerves in the interview (and who isn't?), well, we might as well just slap the chains on him now and say, "Would you like a berth with a porthole or without, sir?"

Monday, December 11, 2006

We're gonna bowl, bowl, bowl, bowl, bowl - tonight!

If you haven't seen Grease 2 and heard that song, you don't know what you're missing, along with a very young Michelle Pfeiffer, and an unforgettable song about reproduction ("I don't think I even know what a pistil is!")

MFC and I went glow-bowling with friends last Saturday night. We went to Fairlanes City Bowl, on Adelaide Terrace in the city. I didn't even know it existed! Apparently it's quite a Perth institution. We went there at the invitation of MFC's friend, C, who is a patron. C wanted to organise one last hurrah there before they closed down.

I only just found out about it, and now they're closing down! :(

Basically that part of Perth is just prime real estate, and they're going to knock it down and build luxury apartments. Seriously, I don't know how many more luxury apartments we can have in the city. Soon every structure will be luxury apartments, and there will be nothing to do on the weekends except break into each other's luxury apartments to steal tap fittings and Corian benchtops.

We were to meet C, his lovely girlfriend L (the girl is a knockout), her brother B, and some of C's friends in the lobby. While we were waiting for everyone to rock up we played some rounds of a shooting game very much like Time Crisis. I kept losing points for accidentally shooting my team-mate, but MFC got the highest score (seriously, he is good at everything. He even looks better in makeup than I do. What a ba$tard!)

I got a very good impression of Fairlanes. There's ample free parking underneath, it's clean and air-conditioned, and they were playing Justin Timberlake at dance volume but not-too-loud-for-talking volume when we got there. It was dark, but the pins and lanes were lit up, and they were playing movies on a projector (sans sound). The guy kept announcing "Lane [insert number], a dollar for the strike!" Apparently, if you got a set with a coloured pin in the front, and you made a strike, they would pay you a dollar. Whee! Free money!

It cost $19.90 for two games and shoe hire. I threw some gutter balls the first couple of times, and they had to ask the guy to come and put the rails up - teehee. After that MFC showed me what to do, and I got a bit more confident and bowled 97 in my first game, and 98 in my second. No strikes though. Oh, and on one occasion I dropped the ball on the backswing and it started rolling behind me towards the score table. Hilarity all around.

After the first game I noticed a pain in my thumb. What I didn't know beforehand was that bowling plays havoc on your nails and the ball had torn some of my thumbnail off. It was painful and kept catching on things, and no one had anything sharp at hand. Finally MFC bit off the end of the nail for me. Isn't he the sweetest? ;)

The surprise player of the night was B, C's girlfriend's little brother. In his first game he bowled something like 6 or 7 strikes, and 5 strikes in a row in his second game. And he'd never played before! I think he ended up with a 170 average or something crazy like that.

My balls seemed to keep veering off to the left even though I was sure they were leaving my arm at a straight trajectory. Mind you, I often bump into pillars when I think I'm passing between them at a straight trajectory. I don't think I'd make a very good missile. I'd probably be the kind that the developed nations off-load to the poorer ones in return for cheap tennis balls and rubber shoes.

After bowling we went to The Moon in Northbridge for some late-night feeding. The food there is good but the service is terribly slow. MFC had some really good calamari and I ordered the pumpkin soup, which was delicious but came half an hour after everyone else's meals. L couldn't finish her burger and so MFC finished it off. He slept very badly. The next morning he had food poisoning and had to, erm, do some praying at the porcelain altar. I think it was the burger, because I'd eaten some of his meal and I was fine. Must ask C if L was indisposed on Sunday morning too. C says L was fine. Oh dear, I'm a little worried about MFC's tummy now.

Fairlanes City Bowl good. Go there for a fun night out before it's too late! Luxury apartments bad. Moon food good, service bad, also food maybe bad, because you may be crippled the next day.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oh, Christmas tree...

...Oh, Christmas tree...I think you're just...

...delicious!*

* Even though you're plastic. Oh, and earlier today I chewed through the cable for the tree lights. Luckily Mr MFC had switched them off as a precaution before they let me run round the room. HaHA! They caught me in the act but I'd already bitten through them. Gnapgnap!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Random Shopping-ness

Why yes, yes I AM enjoying my new camera. Can't you tell? :)

Here are some photos of interest from a shopping trip MFC and I took to Ikea (and other shops in the Osborne Park area) last Saturday.

The Ikea food shop at the end seems to have some nice grub, and a lot of stuff that looked familiar from my trips to Denmark.

Do you think that the Ikea customers in France find this funny? I did! Teeheehee!

ZOMG! I can't believe the treasure trove I found in Good Sammy's! When I was at Uni, Buffy was my god.

Seven years ago I would've creamed my pants when I saw these, but now I have them all on DVD, so...meh.

And a little green bug that was surfing on our windscreen. Photo taken when MFC saw me getting the camera out, and said, "You'll never get a clear picture of that!" HaHA! Challenge met, and triumphed over with my IXUS 60's super-duper Macro function, nyah! And that is not dirt on your monitor, my windscreen is just really, really filthy.

Bites of Japan 2006: Super Toilets

And I mean that as in "I am Super Man! Up, up and away!" and not, "Oh, super cheese, Gromit!" OK? OK.

I'm terrible. I still haven't done my journal for our trip to Japan in February this year, and as time passes my memory becomes ever more hazy.

It's not just long-term memory, I think my short-term memory is due for some kind of tune-up as well. On Monday my housemate gave me a pair of trousers to take in for dry-cleaning, and I swear I've lost the damn things about three times now. On Tuesday morning I put them next to my handbag and promptly forgot them. On Wednesday I thought I'd put them in my car but I hadn't. Today I have this slight suspicion that they may still be in a box with the rabbit food that I took up to MFC's place last night (I took the rabbit too, because MFC is much better at pet-sitting rabbits than me, I find them too slippery.) The rabbit belongs to my brother, Glen, who is currently overseas. I blogged about the bunny here, and, as you can see, the name Yi Mao has stuck, but I just call him Mao, or Mao-Mao.

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised to find out that I am an obsessive planner. In fact I recently took a survey that said that my impulsiveness level was "low".

One of the things I did to prepare for the big trip was to anticipate any nasty surprises. Upon reading many travel blogs and articles by erstwhile travellers, I found that one of them was...toilets. Apparently Japanese toilets are extremely high-tech. I was terrified that I'd become Sylvester Stallone trying to use the three seashells in Demolition Man, and end up stranded in the bathroom for several hours while I tried to figure out which one the flush button was.

Luckily the Internet is full of like-minded OCD-ers, and I found an excellent article in Wikipedia labelled "Toilets in Japan". I even printed out a photograph of the control panel and added translations in English. It was sticky-taped into my diary and never consulted again.

Upon our arrival, I found that public toilets in train stations and airports tended to be the standard flush toilets, but also provided the unpleasant option of squat toilets. Urgh, I thought I had left those behind in South East Asia, but no, here they were in all their open glory. Yes, I know that what's in the bowl came out of me in the first place, but I don't need to have it RIGHT IN MY FACE.

I had to use the horrible squat toilets of damnation on at least four occasions in a three week trip, when I was so desperate I thought my kidneys would explode from the strain. I know four times doesn't sound too bad, but I can assure you that it was four times too many, especially when you're wearing three layers of clothing, including thermals. (As an aside, if my sister, who has worse OCD than me, had been there, she would have flat out refused to use any public toilets ever and probably acquire a kidney stone as big as the Hope Diamond by the time she got back to Australia. When we were kids, she could go the whole day without using the school toilets, somehow managing to hold it in until we got home 7 hours later. Ripley's...Believe it or Not!)

Anyway, so what if squatting is more natural and healthier? What-ever. If I have to, I'll buy some organic bananas or do some Pilates to offset my naughty Western toilet habit, OK?

A lot of the public toilets don't have toilet paper, but you'll find an excellent supply of pocket tissues handed out for free on the street by companies marketing their businesses. Unless you're blind and have no arms, there is no reason to ever buy your own pocket tissues in Japan. I don't know how Kleenex survives out there.

The main places where we encountered Super Toilets were hotels, chalets, and some shopping centres and restaurants.

The first Super Toilet I saw was in the hotel in Sapporo, it was lovely, because the seat kept itself warm (you could adjust the temperature from "Just take the chill off, Jeeves," to "Oooh, toasty!"). I wasn't game enough to try the guided bidet jets until we got to our chalet in Niseko (a popular ski resort) two days later. One of the girls and I stood next to one, and gingerly pressed the button with the picture of a sprinkler underneath a bottom. How we squealed when a strong jet of water spurted forth and hit the door! (Man, those things can travel.) But they're actually quite nice and hygienic. You can vary the temperature of the water, the strength of the stream, and the rotation of the water jets. You can even dry off with a warm blast of air but I found this unnerving and never used it (apart from the first scary time).

The toilets at the Niseko chalet were also quite clever at conserving water and eliminating the need for a separate sink. The top of the toilet cistern was a bowl with a tap attached to it, and after you flushed, clean water would automatically stream from the tap, and then drain into the cistern, ready for the next flush. Ingenious!

The grandest Super Toilet I found was actually in a massive Pachinko parlour in Sapporo. MFC and I ducked in to see why Pachinko was so addictive and what all the fuss and noise were about. I still can't figure out the appeal. You sit there with a tray of metal balls, empty them into the slot machine, and watch them fall through to the bottom, hopefully hitting things and getting you more little balls, which you then swap for prizes. Hum.

The Pachinko Parlour Super Toilets each had a massive cubicle, with their own vanity mirror and sink. It was also the only place where I found speakers in the toilet control panel. Apparently, several years ago, millions of litres of water were being wasted every day, because prudish Japanese women would sit on the toilet seat and operate the flush mechanism at the same time, in order to mask embarrassing noises. With this handy button, you can activate sweet bird song, rushing waterfall sounds, or gentle burbling stream noises, and sit there secure in the knowledge that no one else will hear you and your private shame, because you must be one of the few people in the world who doesn't have tiny fragrant cinnamon buns and peach elixir gently floating out of your bottom when you use the loo.

And don't forget to wear the toilet slippers! They have these in hotels and private homes. Make sure you use them, so that you don't offend the natives ;)

One of the worst parts of coming back home was sitting on cold toilet seats, especially first thing in the morning. Brutal. Sigh.

I need to write a post about the tiny bathrooms too, but don't worry, it's in the making! ^_^

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Warning: strange things may be happening to this blog

I would really like to update the design of this blog. The angry South Park character doesn't quite do it for me anymore. But while I'm trying out different templates, things may disappear.

Please be patient with me :)

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Six-Word Memoir Contest

Smith has a contest running that challenges you to write your memoir in six words.

I like Hillary Carlip's: "Take a left turn, then fly."

I think mine would be: "Four eyed girl, still sees colours."

City Farm, East Perth

There's a place in East Perth called City Farm, next to Claisebrook train station.


It has lots of green, and some chickens. In fact, I think that's a chicken in the picture below, next to the plant with the green protective cover around its base.


And an organic market every Saturday, it seems. I think they sell some of the crops they grow there, but I'm not sure how being next to a train station works for organic food growing.


Very cool graffiti art on the walls though.


I wonder what the grey thing on the left is. Maybe a time capsule? I also like the little frog at the bottom, he looks friendly.

West Australian number plates

When I first came to Perth, number plates were only 6 places long. And they came in the combination Number-Letter-Letter-Number-Number-Number, e.g., 1AA345.

Then we finally had enough cars to have THREE letters after the first number, and bets were on as to whether they would have words like "ARS" and "ASS". "No way," I was told, "they wouldn't let rude words be used."

Well, they have. I've seen them, I just don't have any photographic evidence at the moment. However, if I do see any ARSes and ASSes, and I'm not in a moving car and need to have both hands on the wheel, you can be sure that I'll take a picture.

But here's something that's nearly as good:


I know it's sad, but I actually think this is funny.

Conversations with my mother, Act 2

This afternoon I called Mum up to let her know I was coming over after work. As usual, she asked if I was hungry, and as usual, I said no, not wanting her to go to the trouble of cooking anything special. Therefore, as usual, I'll rock up and she'll have three meat dishes and seven vegetable dishes ready that are all "leftovers" or things she absolutely had to cook to make room in the fridge/use up before they expired.

She also mentioned she was cutting up a watermelon before it went past its use-by period, and then tangented (sometimes it's fun to make up words) off to say:
"Apparently some people ate some ready-cut pawpaw that they bought from a supermarket, and they got semolina."
Me: "Semolina?"
Mum: "You know, semolina?"
Me: "Isn't semolina a cereal?"
Mum: "Nooo... semolina - food poisoning."
Me: "Oh, you mean salmonella."
Mum: "Yah, semolina."

Boudoir photos - I finally booked them!

Just before my birthday (way back in July), I was complaining to MFC, and this blog about how I should take some photos before I get any less firm or hot with age. Do bear in mind that I was 29, on the cusp of 30, and approaching some kind of inner meltdown. Now that I'm actually here, I feel just great, because 30, it's a whole new beginning! I get to start again with the zeroes and ones!

So a friend organised a photography session with [name removed] (who is apparently very good and has won tons of awards) as a group birthday present.

Four months later, I've finally girded my loins and I gave [name removed] a ring. He sounded very calm on the phone, possibly even a little bit weary (I'm sure he's had to deal with many paranoid women over the years), but full of good suggestions about what to bring and wear. The sky's the limit, apparently, so I shall have to consult MFC about what he thinks would be good and go clothes and lingerie shopping, and change my waxing appointments to the day before (I love Diana, she does the best eyebrows). And pray. And keep an eye on the eyebrows and a firm hand on the tweezers, just in case something happens on Friday and Diana cancels. No, no, just keep praying, Angie. Everything will be fine.

Except that I have checked my diary and the week before the photo session is Christmas Party week, with a work Christmas breakfast on Tuesday and a work Christmas lunch the day after. I think I will have to cycle in lots next week, oh except I'm going to be house-sitting for my parents, in a suburb far, far away.

Just keep praying...