Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Hooked on Memes Meme

Firstly, Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.  We don't have Thanksgiving over here (American thing) but I am going to my first ever Thanksgiving dinner this evening. A friend is married to a woman from Maine. We get roped into things like this. I'm making an Eton Mess Cheesecake as I do this. Fun, eh!

Also went to one of the best concerts I have been to last night. David Byrne from Taking Heads. It was SUBLIME!.

Thanks for the great questions, Bev. You're keeping Sunday Stealing  going brilliantly.

1. How many states have you been in?
Let me see, I've been to South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. And I've flow through Western Australia on a stopover. So that makes all of them. (I've even been to New Zealand - which is like the ninth state, but we're not allowed to say that.)

Oh, you mean American states. Well, I've been to California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania an I've passed through New Jersey and Connecticut.  Not bad for somebody who doesn't live there.

2. If a sexist Man is called a pig, what is a sexist Woman called?


3. You see the one person who you absolutely despise. If you were guarentee'd that he/she couldn't say or do anything back to you.... What would you do??

Laugh. And Laugh in their faces. Oh, I'm watching this on television at the moment and doing just that. We had an election here yesterday - a state election. The conservatives got wiped out. Landslide victory to the sensible progressives. Just watching the Liberal Party (read Republicans, Americans) is one of the best things I have seen in ages. They have had one of the most proper comeuppances I've seen in a long time. There is a thing called karma. If you want a really good laugh, read Lyle Shelton's twitter feed. (Lyle Shelton is a member of the Australian Christian League and a thoroughly obnoxious person)

4. How many states are to the right of you? And don’t give us a map to look at.

None. Just the Pacific Ocean.

5. You can go anywhere in the world for free. Where are you?

Toledo Spain. Just Spain really. It's a fabulous country.


Dunno. One?

7. Are you a boxing fan? 

No. I like boxing for the fitness it provides when you are training.

8. What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten?

Durians are pretty rank, but they grow on you. You're not allowed to eat them on public transport in Asia they smell so bad.

9. Is it cloudy right now?

Yes. A lovely cool November day.

10. Someone gives you a $500 gift card to WalMart or Target. What are you going to buy?

We don't have Walmart here, and Target makes good basic worth clothes, so I think my t-shirts, undies and make up would get an overhaul.

11. When you were little, what did you want to be "when you grow up"? And, how much different is your occupation now from where you thought it would be when you were younger?

I wanted to be a writer or a doctor. I am a writer. I still wonder what would have happened if I did better a school and went on to do Medicine instead of Arts at uni.

12. what was your favorite toy as a child?

Lego. Still love Lego.

13. What is the last place you had a good cry and why?

A beloved friend died from breast cancer on Thursday morning. I've shed a few tears over this. Why does it always get the good ones early?

14. Which Sesame Street Character do you relate with the most and why?

I have a few. I will always relate to Kermit the Frog. I love Snuffalaffugus too - he's awesome. And the Swedish Chef. And Animal. I can't choose just one.

15. Did you ever make what you believed at the time to be a horrible mistake - that in hindsight turned out to lead you on the best path in your life?

Going to live in Greece was a horrible mistake at the time. In reality, it was the best thing I ever did. Set life on a completely different course.

16. What’s your favorite show to watch on television nowadays?

Umm, that would be Suits. Please don't tell anybody, but I am a bit in awe of Harvey Specter. It's that smile...

harvey specter suits GIF

17. Do you believe there is life after death?

Yes. But not in a Christian way, more like the Buddhist/ Hindu/ Jewish way.

Today's song:  (In honour of last night's awesome concert - this was one of the highlights)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Back to Normal Questions

Ah, so we'r back to normal. It was so much fun looking at how people answered the questions last week. Kudos to those who gave it a bash.

Right, now back to normal questions, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1.What is your favorite animal?

I love most animals, so to single out a favourite is hard. I love big dogs and I cannot lie. I love cats too - especially moggies rather than orientals, They're easier to deal with. Elephants are awesome. The big cats are great. I could watch seals all day, they are fabulous. So don't ask me what is my favourite animal.

My current all time favourite animal on the planet is Maow Maow. He's my familiar.

2.Your dream vacation?

Paris, going five star all the way. Wish it would happen. I will have to deal with doing Bali in a four star rating - which is great too.

3.Last person's house you were in?

Blarney's place this afternoon. I dropped in on the way home from the airport.

4.Worst injury you've ever had?

I think that would be Bruce the Bum Bruise. I fell over, my left butt cheek landed on a garden bed spike. Had a lump the size of an orange in my bum - my left cheek was bruised black. That thing needed its own postcode. 18 months of niggling aches from it through referred pain. Yeah, that wasn't fun at all.

5.Last play you saw?

I saw Macbeth at the Pop Up Globe in Sydney last night. It was a great performance. The witches and the porter were up there with the best I've seen.

6.Ever go to camp?

Alas, camp is an American thing. We has school camps for a few days - they aren't the same thing as your parents sending you away for a few weeks over summer holiday.

7.Were you an honor roll student in school?

Honor roll - another American thing - but I did get the odd academic award at high school. I was always in the top 5% of students.

8.What do you want to know about the future?

I read tarot cards to a professional standard - but I still have no idea about the future. I like it that way. You can't change it.

9.Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?

Yes, I normally wear perfume. Today it's Narciso Rodriguez's Narciso. It's lighter that the first signature fragrance.

10.Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?

Yes. I have to see the gynaecologist in a few weeks for an annual check. I also have to book in a mammogram sometime in the not to distant future. Both are check ups.

11.Where is your best friend?

I don't have a best friends, but I have a few who I love and I'm close to. They're in Christchurch, New Zealand, Brisbane Australia, as well as Blarney and Jonella who are in Melbourne.

12.Do you have a tan?

Not yet. We're only just going into Summer. By the end of February my arms will be tanned and my feet will have Birkenstock tans. That's all I tan. I try and do the sunscreen thing.

13.What are you listening to right now? 

The hum of the air conditioner and an episode of Suits in on the telly. There are some kids playing out in the car park next door.

14.Do you collect anything?

I collect two things. Empty gin bottles and elephant figurines. I love my elephants (which also has the odd Ganesha in there for good measure).

15.Who is the biggest gossiper you know?

My lovely friend Eduardo gets that crown. He's great for gossip at my old place of work.

16.Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?

Other than going through random breath testing (which is compulsory if they wave at you to pull into the breath testing station over here), I've never been pulled over or stopped by a cop. Random breath testing is just that, random. As I don't drink and drive, I have nothing to worry about.

17.What does your last text message say?

It was from my kid brother saying he was on his way to the cinema and that he' meet me at around 3.15. We went to see The Crimes of Grindelwald.

18.Do you like hot sauce?

Ah, now I think they might be different over here, but I will say yes. Love tabasco, love going to Mexican restaurants and having their hot sauces. I also like sriracha sauch (also known as rooster sauce here)  I think that's a yes.

19.Do you need to do laundry?

No, I did the last of my laundry before I went to the movies. I have a heap of ironing to do, but I also need to get 2000 words written of this novel - so far I have just over 30000 words written.

20.What is your heritage?

Okay, although I'm Australian, my people came out from mostly Cornwall and Wales in the 1850s. There is a bit of lowland Scot in me too, as well as some landed gentry from around Cambridgeshire. Yes, I've researched the family tree. You don't get much more white than me.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Australian Questions - The Answers

I would like to rename this blog post "Pandora's Revenge".

As a long running member of the Sunday Stealing community, I thought it would be nice to see how others approach a set of questions they don't have much idea about. As an Australian, these questions were tested among friends to see what they thought. Please know, as I'm Australian, I'm also pretty well-traveled and I do like answering questions about things I don't know as it gives me a chance to learn about other cultures, but it is nice to answer some questions about my own society.

Remember, most Australians do like to laugh at themselves. We're a weird mob.

Most Australians will have an opinion about the things on this list. I'm getting in early so that people can see there are real answers to these strange questions. Now you know what I go through when asked about Halloween, Thanksgiving or Superbowl. (By the way, I am going to a Thanksgiving Dinner this year - and I might take fairy bread - and pumpkin is a savoury dish, best roasted or in soup and we don't get tinned pumpkin over here - like gross! You buy pumpkin fresh from the supermarket.)

Have fun with these questions.

And thanks, Bev, for putting these questions up and taking a chance on them. I'm looking forward to reading the responses.



1.      Where to you land on the subject of vegemite? What is the optimum butter/vegemite ratio? Do you also eat Promite or Marmite or do you see these yeast spreads as something akin to treason?

I like vegemite, but don’t eat much of it. Has to be on buttered toast at about a 10:1 ratio (10 parts butter, one part vegemite) I have had the same jar of vegemite in my cupboard for about eight years. It's  about 6 years out of its best by date but it is fine. Vegemite is like cockroaches. – it will survive a nuclear blast - it doesn't go off despite what the label says - something about the salt content. I rather like promite and marmite, as I lived in England for a long time and you couldn't get vegemite in England so I had to make do, but don't tell anybody.

Image result for vegemite

2. Who was your favourite Prime Minister of the last ten years? (There have been five – choose wisely)

Julia Gillard, hands down. She had class and grace and got stuff done. Followed by Kevin Rudd, just for his initial optimism. Turnbull would have been okay if his own parliament didn’t keep on knifing him. Morriscum is dreadful. I wouldn’t piss on Tony Abbott if he was on fire. Worst Prime Minister in the history of Australian Prime Ministers.

3.  Are you a Monarchist or a Republican? Why?

I would like to see Australia as a Republic, although I don’t trust the current state of politics to not make a hash of it. When we had the referendum nearly 20 years ago I voted against it, due to the model put forward. If they had just asked “Do you want Australia to be a republic?” I would have said yes. Another one of John Howard’s cock ups.

4.  What do you think of our current head of state?

I think the Queen of England is awesome – not totally relevant, but awesome. A life of service. I couldn’t do it. And yes, technically, the Queen of England is our head of state - it's just she has very little to do with the place.

5.  What are your feelings on compulsory voting.

It is the one thing that stops us being America and for this I am eternally thankful.

If you don’t turn up to the polls here you get fined. You have to turn up to the polling station and get your papers.  It is not illegal to  put in a donkey vote. We also don't have voting machines - everything is done by pen and paper. They have tossed up having electronic voting, but after the palaver of the last census, I would not trust the Government to run a chook (chicken) raffle down the pub.

Everybody has their say. And you can get a sausage on polling day at the polling booth barbeque - often named democracy sausages (though I tend to vote early and get it out of the way, so alas, no sausage). As much as I rubbish compulsory voting, you get a better, fairer  representation. If you don't vote, you lose your right to complain, in my opinion.

We also have a proportional/representational system, not first past the post. It works for us for the most part. Then again, we still end up with Bob Katter and Pauline Hanson in parliament. Please explain! (Look them up and you will understand)

6.  What is your favourite footy food?

Hot chips with lots of tomato sauce washed down with mid strength beer. Mid strength beer is gross and a waste of time, but that is all they sell at Australian Rules games now. You may as well drink dishwater, even if it is beer.

7.   Your Nana is having her 80th catered for by the CWA. What CWA standards are you looking forward to at the spread? The Victoria Sponge? Yoyos? Asparagus Rolls? Brandy Snaps?

Oh, you had me at asparagus rolls. Fresh white bread with the crusts cut off, a slick of mayo, tinned asparagus, salt and pepper, rolled up and stuck with a toothpick. Bills. Brandy snaps are awesome too – my mum makes the best ones. For the Americans, look these up on the interwebs. They are wonderful. The CWA is the Country Women's Association - some of the best bakers in the world. There are quite a few Australian standards. We have a blooming, if not a little odd, baking culture. Don't get me started on Kitchener buns and Bienenshtich.

8.  What do you do on ANZAC Day?

Normally sleep in and feel guilty about not going to Dawn Service. ANZAC Day (25 April) is the only day of the year I feel remotely patriotic. It's a good day to stay in bed - there's half a chance it will be raining, being late Autumn (Fall).

ANZAC Day commemorates the first day that Australia (and New Zealand) served as a nation in a World War - which was  at Gallipoli in Turkey on 25 April, 1915.

I had three great uncles who served in WW1 at Gallipoli and the Western Front. But normally, I sleep in on ANZAC Day. I’ve made Dawn Service once. I cried. Very moving stuff.

9.  Discuss the merits of budgie smugglers.

There are no merits to budgie smugglers (men’s speedo swimwear - also known as banana hammocks). Speedos are only for boys under ten and those who actually swim proper laps in the pool. They are not for recreational use. That is it. They are awful things. Some things in this world should be left to the imagination. Here, for your viewing pleasure, Tony Abbott in budgie smugglers. Life does not get better than this...
Image result for tony abbott speedo

10. What is outside your back door? Gumboots or thongs?

Both. Well I used to have a pair of thongs (flip flops / jandles / shower shoes) outside for summer wear then gumboots /rubber boots for winter. This was at home in the country. I could live in thongs (jandles / flip flops / shower shoes) all year round. In fact, I do. Footwear of choice.

11. As a kid you were given 20 cents for pick and mix. What will be in your bag? Teeth? Spearmint leaves? Gobstoppers? Freckles?

White milk drops and freckles. Freckles can still be bought at Haighs, but they are a classier type of freckle. We don't get pick and mix lollies any more, but they were great growing up in the seventies.

Image result for haighs freckles

12.  Redbacks or Huntsmen?

Redbacks. Although their bite can kill you they are smaller and generally keep out of the way. If I could banish one thing from the face of the earth it would be huntsmen spiders. They are pig ugly and scare the bejeesus out of you. However, if they bite you, they will do no permanent damage - they will only give you a nasty nip.. Huntsmen spiders grow to the size of the palm of your hand... This is why I hate them.

Image result for huntsman spider

13.   The Mullet. Discuss.

The worst haircut ever. Business at the front, party at the back. I can’t believe some men still wear a mullet. They are mainly in country South Australia, but still. I believe a lot of rednecks in America still have mullets. Billy Ray Cyrus used to have one.

Image result for the mullet

14.   Kath or Kim?

Kath, of course. Kim is awful. I know some Kaths and I know some Kims. Kath reminds me of my step-sister’s mum. She was wonderful in a Kath sort of way, right down to the hair and the dancing.  (Look up some Kath and Kim videos on YouTube for further reference...Look at me, Kimmy, look at me.... I have one thing to say to you, Kim...)

15.   Cricket – which code do your follow? Why? Do you think that 20/20 games are sacrilege?

Test match and one day only – only because I grew up with them. 20/20 games are a waste of space. I will often have the cricket on in the background in summer. I like to check the scores, particularly when we're playing for The Ashes. Australian cricket has gone downhill in the last ten years.

16.   Football. Which code do you follow? Do you have an opinion about Collingwood or Essendon?

I watch Australian Rules Football and barrack for the Adelaide Crows. I barrack for the Crows and whoever is playing Essendon. Essendon supporters are awful. Dreadful even. Despite the fact that most Collingwood supporters don’t have their own teeth, they can laugh at themselves – but they are terrible losers, as this year’s Grand Final showed. But it was a great match. (That might have been the beer talking. )

17.   Do you agree that the lyrics to Khe Sahn should be on the citizenship test? Do you know the words to Khe Sahn?

Yes, I can sing Khe Sahn without a song sheet. I am a bogan at heart. However, I think it is going a bit far to have it as a part of the citizenship test. (Yes, we have a citizenship test - another brain fart from John Howard). That is almost like saying you should get  Southern Cross tattoo to get in the country. For my American friends, think of the Southern Cross, at times, to be as iconic as the Confederate Flag – and the people who wear it with pride.

Oh, for those who haven't been to the Southern Hemisphere, the Southern Cross to us is like your Big Dipper. It's the most prominent constellation in the sky. Bet you didn't know that.

Image result for southern cross tattoos

18. What is your favourite public holiday? If you're in Victoria, which do you prefer? The day off before the AFL Grand Final or Melbourne Cup Day?

I like ANZAC day for the sleep in. And the AFL Grand Final day is good because it is a Friday off. A day off for a footy match. How good is that! In Melbourne, we also have the first Tuesday in November off for a horse race. Yep, we get the day off for a horse race. This is the way we roll in Melbourne.

19.   What do you do at Christmas? Ham sandwich on the beach? Seafood and salad next to the pool? Endure a full English roast with all the trimmings when the thermometer is pushing 35 degrees centigrade outside?

Depends where I am. If I’m with my family, its seafood and salad. If I’m down in Tasmania with friends, then it is the full English roast with the trimmings. It’s my job to glaze the ham and make the cassata in memory of my dear aunt. We have different traditions as Christmas is a Summertime activity.

20.   Ford or Holden?

Holden. My first car was a 1966 EJ Holden. I loved that car.

Image result for EJ Holden

21.   What is the best Australian invention ever? (And yes, the Hills Hoist can be mentioned)

As much as I want to say the Hill Hoist – a rotary clothes line made out of a car axle, I will go with the cochlear implant. Helping the deaf to hear for 20 years. Find a picture of the Hills Hoist below. You are not an Australian child if you have not been told off for swinging from the clothes line.

Swinging Hills Hoist

22.   Describe the following:

Fairy bread  - fresh, white buttered bread with 100s & 1000s (cake sprinkles) on top. A children’s party standard.
Image result for fairy bread
Lamingtons – vanilla sponge cake, raspberry jam in the middle, dipped in chocolate and coconut.
Image result for lamingtons
Chiko rolls – oh hell, it’s like a big spring roll (egg roll) just in a soft pastry and with more cabbage. Found in traditional fish and chip shops. They are really distinctive. Haven’t had one in years.
Image result for Chico rolls
Snot blocks – A vanilla slice. See below.
Image result for Vanilla slice

23.   What are the following traditional items found in all Australian homes?

Dead horse – Tomato Sauce (think ketchup, Americans)
Hills Hoist – a rotary clothes line. (See above)
A slab – a box of 24 cans of beer – which looks like a slab. Known unit of currency over here.
Image result for a slab of beer
A ute – a car at the front, a truck at the back. I think American’s call them pick-up trucks. Just with a traditional sedan front. There are all sorts of utes. Bogans often drive utes.
Image result for ute

24.   Who is your all time Australian hero?

I have a few.. Weary Dunlop was an amazing man. A doctor who saved many lives on the Thai-Burma railway. Julia Gillard is awesome too – first woman Prime Minister of Australia. I also have a soft spot for Gough Whitlam – one of the most forward thinking politicians this country has ever seen. They don't make them like that any more.

Image result for Gough Whitlam

25.   Translate the following: “Strewth! Nev was going flat out like a lizard drinking. But he had a nana nap and he's raring. Told him to get here pronto by not to miss the gate cos it’s impossible to chuck a u-ey for miles. Told him to bring a slab. We’ll have a barby. The kiddies can have snags. Joe the Pom will moan about everything. Jeez, he’s a bastard. Yeah…nah… no flies on him.”

“Oh my!. Neville was burning the candle at both ends, but he’s had a small afternoon sleep and he’s now ready to go. He’s driving out now. I told him not to go too fast because he might miss the gate and it is impossible to make a u-turn for a couple of miles down the road. We are going to have a barbeque. The children can have some sausages. Joe, our English friend will be there. He likes to complain and it is a bit irritating, but really, he’s an okay sort of fellow.”

26.   What is your favourite Australian holiday spot?

There are many. I would love to go back to the Limestone Coast in South Australia. It is gorgeous down there – even though there are a few sharks. The Northern Territory is phenomenal. Even a trip down the Great Ocean Road for a long weekend is a great thing.

Image result for Great ocean road

27.   Do you eat the coat of arms?

Of course. I really like kangaroo, but it has to be done properly – like rare to medium rare at the most. Emu tastes like gamey chicken.

Image result for australian coat of arms

28.   You are stuck in a lift with the following: Karl Stefanovic, Peter Dutton and Alan Jones. Who do you kill last?

Dutton (Potato imitator - just the potato is has more of a social conscience) and Jones go immediately, bang, bang.. Stefanovic, well, if he keeps his mouth shut he can stick around.

Image result for peter dutton potato

29.   What is the NBN?

The National Broadband Network – which is a project which has been going on for 10 years. It’s yet to arrive in my suburb… we live in hope. Australia as truly awful internet speeds. The NBN was supposed to fix this.

30.   “Where the bloody hell are you?” Discuss.

Scott Morrison (Current Prime Minister) used to be in charge of Tourism Australia’s marketing group. This ad, which all Australians can cite, was not great, but it did promote Lara Bingle to super-stardom. It also got banned in England, the place the ad was made for. Go figure...

31. Complete the following sayings.

Am I ever going to see your face again? No way, get f*cked, f*ck off.

This comes from The Angels song. It's a bit of an anthem. The Angels are an Adelaide band. Best sung late into the evening with your bogan friends at the top of your lungs. We all do it.

You're terrible, Muriel.  Refer to the film Muriel's Wedding. Iconic Australian film.

Coupla days, Beeeeuuuutiful.  1980s television comedy - still in the lexicon of the land. We all know a Con.

32. Potato scallops or potato cakes?

Potato cakes, thank you. There are a slice of potato, coated in batter an deep fried. They are awesome. Great drunk/study food. They are known as potato scallops in New South Wales and Queensland. Go figure.

Image result for potato scallops

33. Provide three uses for cane toads.

Umm, cricket balls, Speed humps and they are good for target practice too – dead or alive. They are the worst biohazard Australia has ever seen. And they don’t really eat the cane beetles they were introduced to kill. They are also poisonous - but they are not native. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Half the wildlife around here wants to kill you. If it can't kill you, it will at least try and take out an eye or put you in hospital for a few days.

Image result for cane toads

34. If you give a politician a koala to cuddle, what is the likely outcome?

The politician will end up with his top covered in koala urine. It always happens. I think Barack Obama got off lightly. I'm hoping the koala did its business on Tony Abbott. I really hope so.

Image result for politician koala

35. Bagpipes are perfectly at home in rock songs. Discuss.

How can AC/DC be wrong?

36. What is a Tim Tam Slam?

The Tim Tam is an iconic Australian biscuit (cookie). It is a crunchy chocolate wafer, with a chocolate cream centre and covered in chocolate. (Note the spelling of centre... it's like theatre, and metre - UK spelling over here.)

To do a Tim Tam Slam, you bite the end off alternate corners and drink your tea through the Tim Tam, using it light a straw. Yes, this is a thing.

There are a few more flavours of Tim Tams now - but the original ones are the best (though I like the white ones too.)

Image result for Tim Tam slam

37. If I ask for a FruChoc, where am I from? What are FruChocs?

FruChocs are South Australian fare. In the rest of the country, they are very hard to get.

A puree of apricot and peach, covered in chocolate. Bliss. But only in Adelaide (City that never sleeps).

Image result for FruChocs