Tuesday, August 28, 2007

bloody hippies

Okay - I was on the train yesterday coming home from town after a successful shopping trip (yay! I found a super cheap CD shop and went a little overboard), and this guy gets on, looking like he's trying to be an Australian Rastafarian/hermit/swagman/hippie/free spirit, with his bike and a guitar. He leans his bike up against the wall, and starts strumming away loudly. Now I'm listening (very happily) to my ipod, and I happen to really, really enjoy catching the train because it gives me half an hour or more to listen to my favourite music and generally zone myself out, so this really pisses me off. Then he comes and sits down across from me and looks at me like I'm a closet imperialist/yuppie/sweatshop manager, sitting there with my ipod, sunnies and leather handbag, and plays louder, as if it's necessary to make me listen to him and in so doing enlarge my tiny imprisoned mind. At one point, to give him the benefit of the doubt, I turned off my ipod and listened, but his guitar sounded like it was about to snap in half and the strings like they were made of elastic bands. Back on goes the ipod.

The one moment of satisfaction I got from the whole share-your-free-spirit-with-the-whole-train thing was when, right at the start, he started playing and his bike fell over with a huge crash, so he had to go rearrange it. I must have a cruel sense of humour but it was the funniest thing that happened all day.

So who is more sadistic - he or me? And which is better - an unoriginal ipod-generation yuppie, or an annoying Rasta hippie who wants to share his freedom with a whole trainload of people?

When I am a tyrannical dictator, this is an issue I will have to address.

Edit: Oh, and by the way, you may remember my post on choosing a destination to visit in Western Australia, and the poll I asked you to vote on. Monkey Mia came first by one vote, then the backpacker bus trip, then third equal Ningaloo and Kalgoorlie. Well - thank you for your input. I have made my decision, and on Sunday I am going on holiday for a few days. I will tell you where and how and everything else when I get back. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

oh dear

Pauline Hanson, Australia's very own racist politician, is making a comeback at the moment, and is aiming to win seats in the Australian elections which are not very far away. I don't feel like I have a moral obligation to be unbiased here, because it's my blog, and I'm not voting as I'm not Australian, so I have no qualms in writing that Pauline Hanson is an aggressive, nasty, silly and unreasonable woman who may pretend she has more than one political issue on her agenda but actually only cares about immigration. For example, Muslim immigration should be radically reduced because "they urinate on Bibles". That's right. According to Pauline Hanson, all Muslims urinate on Bibles. (I feel like doing an 'Arec Baldwin' impression - "and - and global warming - and mega corporations - and..." Sorry to all those who haven't seen Team America: World Police and who won't have a clue what I'm talking about!)

On the radio news the other day, Pauline Hanson claimed that the reason she didn't get as many seats as expected at the last elections her party was in (although, scarily, she got quite a number anyway) is that her voters didn't realise that as well as putting the "1" in the box by her party, they had to number every other party as well, depending on their preferences. If Pauline Hanson happens to read this blog, I would like to ask her this question: Pauline, do you actually want to admit to people how stupid your voters are?

Sorry for that little semi-political rant. It's so nice being able to be mean to politicians without feeling embarrassed that they're from your country.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

soundtrack of my year

Trish, on her blog, asked this question: "If the last year of YOUR life had a soundtrack, what songs would be included?" I hope she doesn't mind that I've taken that and decided to write a whole blog post on the subject.

1) Shadowfeet, from Brooke Fraser's Albertine. "Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet / Towards home, a land that I've never seen / I am changing, less and less asleep / Made of different stuff than when I began..." When this song first came out on the radio I wasn't too sure about it, but slowly I realised that whenever I heard this song, I would somehow feel much more relaxed and less stressed out than usual - and by now, it's been playing on a loop in my head with these eight other tracks for a long time. It's a song that has reminded me of direction in life other than just getting through the year or the degree or the hoarding-of-money, and has challenged me like no other song... except for the others on her album!

2) First and Second Law, by Flanders and Swann (performed in their show At the Drop of Another Hat). This makes the list because a) it's the funniest song, and b) this year for the first time I found a CD version of At the Drop of Another Hat (as opposed to vinyl) and have since been listening to it WAY too much. This song, about the first and second law of thermodynamics, has always been one of my favourites, and since I was about age four, I could quote from memory that:
1. Heat is work and work is heat.
2. Heat cannot of itself pass from one body to a hotter body.
I'm aware there's no way I can do justice to the funniness of this song by writing about it so I'll leave it at that, but if you ever manage to get your hands on a copy of that show, listen to it!!

3) Won't Give In, from the Finn brothers' album Everyone is Here. This song, by two legends of NZ music (originally from Split Enz and Crowded House), is about family, and the way it sticks together - "What does it mean when you belong to someone / When you're born with a name and you carry it on / It means that I won't give in, won't give in, won't give in / 'Cause everyone I love is here..." This has been revolving round my head lately whenever I think of my family, a big theme of the last year I would say.

4) Ruby, from The Kaiser Chief's Yours Truly, Angry Mob. Since my niece Ruby was born almost ten months ago, this song has been played a LOT on the radio, and I'm almost getting to the point at which it's been played too much. Still, it's nice to sing along with a song and have someone in mind, especially when it's someone so incredibly cute! "Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby! / Do ya do ya do ya do ya / Know what you're doing doing to me? / Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby!" I mean, isn't that the coolest thing to sing along with at the top of your voice!

5) The Scientist, from Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head. I played this a lot around about the time my Mum died, and ever since then it's been one of my major Think About Mum songs.

6) Resurrection, by my big brother Russell! We are a family of musos, but Russell is really The Muso of the family, and we have a few CDs of stuff he's written and recorded. This song was written for his church's Easter production, and is VERY cool (and also kinda thought-provoking). He occasionally reads this blog, so Russell, if you're reading, I hope you don't mind that I mentioned you!

7) One, from U2's album Achtung Baby. This has always been one of my favourite U2 songs but this year in particular I've been thinking about the lyrics a lot - it was written from the perspective of one of Bono's friends who was coming out to his staunchly anti-gay father, and it's been a major part of my thoughts about the whole issue which I really want to make my mind up about. I don't want to make a political statement or something here, but since this has been the major issue I've been thinking about this year (and going in circles most of the time), this song has been in my mind a lot.

8) Kite, from U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Another Think About Mum song. This song seems to me to encapsulate all the mind wanderings I go through when I think about the death of a loved one, the confusion, being torn between letting it go and holding on for as long as possible. It also happened to be the last song U2 played at the concert I went to in November 2006 and was beautiful (and rather funny - in a beautiful symbolic gesture, Bono flew a kite, and at the end of the concert, let it fly away - unfortunately, only to get stuck in the lighting a few metres above the stage!).

9) Rusty Cage, by Johnny Cash. "I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run..." It's been roughly a year since I discovered Johnny Cash (along with everyone else - after Walk the Line came out). I think this is actually a cover of someone else's song, but it's one of my favourite Johnny Cash songs, and I always play it when I'm driving in the country or doing something fun instead of something sensible. It makes me wish I was a bass singer. Almost.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

the president and me

Thanks, Stacy, for this meme idea which is just about the most fun meme ever! Here's my contribution.

Finally, if you have time and you haven't done so yet, please vote on my poll on the destination I should choose to visit in Western Australia - you will find photos and a quick list of the pros and cons of each in my last blog post.

you choose

Right - since I discovered the Poll feature on Blogger, I have realised I need your help. Besides hopping across Australia in December to spend a few days to a week in Sydney, I just have to do something else travel-wise in Australia, and preferably Western Australia, which is VAST and cool (in the slang way - definitely the opposite literally). But I can't decide what to do! There are various complicating factors such as expense, because I don't have a whole lot to spend, especially as I have to save some for Sydney and Malaysia in November. So I'm setting up a poll on the menu, and I would be so grateful if you give me your opinions about which option is the best.

Ningaloo Reef. This is near Exmouth on the map shown above. Pros: it is apparently a paradise that I must see and should be top of my priorities (according to my sister and brother-in-law whom I will refer to as J&J in all future blog posts). According to this website, "it is a virtually untouched barrier reef of 260km length protecting a shallow, brilliant white sandy lagoon of clear tropical waters" in which you can snorkel or simply lie on the beach.

Cons: It is by far the farthest destination from Perth that I am considering and is subsequently more expensive. I could go by air (quite expensive) or by bus (not cheap and a long, long trip).
Also, when I googled images of Ningaloo, there were all these pictures of WHALE SHARKS. A bit of a turn-off.

Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, which is near the next sticky-outy part south of Exmouth. In its favour: the photo above. A "natural dolphin sighting area", "secluded crystal blue waters" and "pristine white-shell beaches", according to the website, and is "one of the most reliable meeting places for dolphins in the world". This place is seriously tempting and every single photo I have seen backs up all the good things said about it.

Only problems: it's not cheap to get there by air (though cheaper than Ningaloo), and when you do, you have to stay at the resort. Although they have some cheaper options available within the resort, I don't much like that. Also, it is an area of ocean named 'Shark Bay' - another warning signal, the like of which is seen in horror films and usually ignored, much to the dismay of most of the characters!

A different option for getting to Monkey Mia is as follows:

A different option is to take an EasyRider backpacker tour by bus from Perth up to Monkey Mia and back. These take four days and drop you off each night at a backpackers. As well as getting to see Monkey Mia, you get to see the Kalbarri River gorges (top), the Pinnacles Desert (middle), the Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool (bottom) and more such as the Coastal Gorges, the Swan River Winery and a wildlife park on the way back. This is a pretty cool option because you get to see so much, and do it with other people, although...

Cons: it's a bit daunting doing it with a whole lot of backpackers who for all I know could be a pack of psychotic alcoholic Satanists. Am I jumping to conclusions?

Also, the price is an issue - $369 for the bus trip but as far as I can see that doesn't include accomodation or food etc. Still a better deal than flying up, probably, but something to think about.

Finally, Kalgoorlie. In its favour: it is very cheap to get to, by bus. And there are ghost towns nearby, left from the gold rush of the late nineteenth century, and there is always something cool about ghost towns.

Not so interesting: it's a town of 30,000 and so therefore the tourist attractions are things like an old hotel or pub, or (wait for it) brothel tours. My kind of travelling - or not.

Also, this was the most attractive/interesting photo I could find of Kalgoorlie. It kind of pales in comparison with the others, wouldn’t you say?

So - please be enlisted to the Help Allie Out cause, and take my poll! (See menu, under my profile info.)

Thursday, August 02, 2007


One of my Projects while I'm over here is to learn German - or at least, to start learning German. I have now been to two lessons and done all my homework and here is an example of my prowess:

A: Guten Tag! Ich heiβe Allie. Wie heiβen Sie?
B: Ah, guten Tag! Ich heiβe B. Woher kommen Sie?
A: Ich komme aus Neuseeland. Aber ich wohne in Perth. Und Sie?
B: Ich komme aus Australien.

Hooray! I wrote all that from memory. It's very very likely therefore that there are mistakes, but still, I feel quite pleased.

The classes are fun; I have met several people around my age who are really nice and interesting sorts of people. There is one man in the class from Croatia who obviously finds the pronunciation a little easier or who has done some German before (I don't know why he has to be in the Elementary I class), and he is one of those students who has to answer every single question before everyone else, or repeat phrases as fast as is physically possible. It's very annoying but also a little amusing.

In other news, my niece has learnt to crawl. Only about three days ago she was still sliding backwards whenever she tried to make a movement - now she is zooming round the place in a sort of lopsided, hobbling crab crawl. It's been amazing to watch her but now we are all feeling the effects of having to watch what she can get her hands on. Sigh.