Wednesday, 17 December 2008

ta ta

I've decided to give up on this, its boring and I cant be bothered. I will have to keep the 101 in 1001 going though 'cos I still have about 65 things to do and I gotta finish what I started. 'oo roo

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


the problem with not blogging very often, I was thinking today, is that when you do blog you better make it interesting, otherwise you might come across as a very boring person. If you blog everyday then it doesnt matter so much because some things will be interesting some will be boring but its just something you do on a daily basis so it doesnt all have to be fascinating. However, if you only blog every now and again it implies you are waiitng until you have something interesting to write about and if what you end up writing isnt actually interesting (not unlike this post really), it implies you dont actually have anything interesting happening in your life or any interesting ideas to write about. Now of course it goes without saying (and yet here I am saying it) that this is clearly not the case for me - I'm just too busy being all interesting to spend much time on the blog.
uh huh.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


I had been in real mood today, you know the sort of day when you feel like writing a blog item about all your pet grievances (today in particular: someone you dont know putting you on an email list you didnt know about and then sending you piles of useless email in particular relating to Deirdre's (who you also dont know) health issues and then trying to make you into the annoying one when you ask to be removed from the email list; a whole heap of mail man related gripes). Anyway, just as I was grumpily pondering why students walk so slow in front of me and never in a straight line and why seminars have to be held all the way on the other side of campus, I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with 'Wiggedy Wiggedy Whack' in fluoro pink and green Fresh Prince style graffiti font and I cheered up no end. brilliant

Friday, 31 October 2008


work was very much feeling like too much of a trial this week, until yesterday when we got up close and personal with these fellows, and I got to cuddle the little guy - all in the name of scientific research of course

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


as I waited at the bus stop last night there were a few people around of the kind that, although you dont like to admit it, you'd generally avoid. Not because they're necessecarily bad peple but they look like they could be bothersome. rough, a little dodgy. There was a bit of a commotion going on. One guy talking loudly into a mobile phone trying to describe where he was (aparrently not really knowing where he was), one older scruffier guy taking about pain and a young neat Indian woman looking anxiously from the guy with the phone to the bus arrival board. As it turned out the phone belonged to the woman and the guy, who apparently didnt know either her or the scruffy man, was talking to the ambulance service. The thing was it was very unclear whether the older scruffier guy was actually injured or not. he was talking intermittedly about chest pain and having been in hospital, and being blind. when the ambulance people arrived (seeming very unimpressed) he talked about being beaten up. he seemed drunk and confused but perhaps he was confused due to pain and injury. The guy who called the ambulance quickly left once he heard the ambulance coming, as if he was afraid of possible responsibility, leaving the somewhat bewildered owner of the phone not really wanting to be connected with it all but having missed her bus to inform the ambulance unavoidably involved and I guess curious.
I found myself thinkingI was glad I wasnt there earlier and wasnt a part of it all, but I guess its good to know that people are inclined to help others even if its inconvenient and there is some suspicion that there is something funny about this guy. I hope that ifI had of been there earlier I also would have been helpful and not judgemental.

Sunday, 19 October 2008


what a pretty place I work at!

Friday, 17 October 2008

hollow promises

I'm getting fed up with people who offer things that they seemingly have no intention of delivering. Particularly irritating of late are those glibly thrown about offers like 'I'll buy you a coffee', 'we'll go for a drink', 'you'll have to come see our new place' with no specifics about when and where and you know it will just never happen. why bother saying it? however, more troublesome lately are the amount of specific promises that people just don't deliver on. this is particularly disappointing when the promise relates to food, especially of the chocolate variety. In a class a little while ago we had to participate in a game (sigh) the winner of which would get a prize. on winning the game I was informed the prize was the purchase of a coffee in next weeks class - do you think it ever eventuated?, of course not. Attendance at a seminar was encouraged this week by the offer of coffee and cake, what greeted us on attendance?, why nothing of course. Every month we have a centre meeting before which everyone talks about the supply of chocolate bicuits and whose turn it is next time, choclate biscuits are even written into the agenda evey time, in the more than two years i have been here not once has there been a choclate bisuit in sight, not once. why oh why do people say they'll do things they know they wont? dont they know I get very irritiable without my sugar fix?

Thursday, 16 October 2008


During a conversation with a new acquaintance recently I remembered that I quite regularly dream I am flying. The dreams are very vivid and it always seems so real. In fact when I was a kid I truly believed I could fly and it wasnt just a dream. In those days I never went very far and it was mostly inside the house, up and down the hallway. I guess I was afraid of what people would think if they saw me. These days my flying episodes are on a much bigger scale and almost always escaping from something or someone chasing me.
anyway, coming back to reality (of a sort), the new acquaintance felt I was very lucky to dream about flying and proceeded to wax lyrical on the benefits and methods of astral projection which he seemed quite sure I would be suited to. Unfortunately I think I must become a somewhat different person when I enter the land of nod because that was where I started to tune out - in my waking life I'm far too cynical for that kind of thing.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


a colleague asked me to give him some feedback on a seminar he is going to give as part of a job interview. by the end of the seminar I was very impressed by his achievements (not that I wasnt before - he's rather an impressive fellow) even though he apparently hadnt mentioned a whole lot of other stuff that makes him even more impressive. but the overwhelming feeling was of my own inadequacy. I imagined what I would have to say in a similar seminar and freaked out by my comparative lack of acheivement. now, one would think the ideal reaction to this would be to knuckle down and get on with working towards more acheivements, but no, instead I seem to have procrastinated away most of the afternoon. hmmm, I'm again thinking I'm not cut out for this adademic business.


I've been filling in a job application form and they want to know the salary you had for every job you've had for the last 10 years, but not just the salary but the starting salary, the final salary and the level of tax you were paying plus the value of any allowances, for every job for the last ten years. Maybe its just me, but this seems a little too much like prying to me. I would understand why they want to know current salary if they are trying to work out how much to offer you, but this is an organisation with very fixed and advertised pay scales depending on the grade of the position and generally your postion on that scale would depend mostly on experience and qualifications. even if it didnt why do they need to know what the tax rate was? why does it matter what I was earning 10 years ago? I dont even rememeber what I was earning in my last job, let alone anything before that. it all just seems a little suspicious to me, but I'm not sure how I should fill the form out. I guess I'll give them the info for this job but leave the rest blank since I think its none of their business and its too hard to actually find that info, but will this lessen my chances?

Monday, 13 October 2008


its student union election time again, which annoyingly means you cant go anywhere around campus without being hassled by mini-politicians in ugly campaign t-shirts trying to get your vote. its particularly irritating 'cos I really dont care and have no intention of voting. In normal elections of course I'm more than willing to take my part in the democratic process and get kinda annoyed about people who dont appreciate their right to vote and dont bother to vote (not thats thats a real issue here with compulsory voting and all). however in this case I just cant see the point. First of all I'm not really a student of course (although part-time in a graduate course still kinda counts, no?) and secondly those student parties just dont seem to do anything. The people who got in last year's whole campaign seemed to be about getting a Subway on campus, which didnt happen (Thank God - man those places stink! Its beyond me why anyone wants to eat there). In fact as far as I can make out nothing happened at all except food got more expensive, and apparently they sent the union broke.
anyway, I'll just consider myself above it all and try to avoid most areas of campus until its all over at the end of the week.

Friday, 10 October 2008


its not often that you hear sarcasm from a German, so when I do I tend not to recognise it. When its the double whammy of coming from a German who is also the IT guy its even harder to detect. poor guy, but you gotta give him points for trying.
The Austrians on the other hand seem to have a frim grip on sarcasm, or at least thats my deduction from watching many episodes of Inspector Rex. I mean its surely a piss-take, no? Not that I'm knocking it - I love Rex - so cute, so funny, good way to practice German and generally much better than most of the crap on Australian TV. However I might have to give up on it since last night not only was Rex's starring role being partially overtaken by a second dog (apparently his best friend), but there was some imposter taking over Richard's role. sure the new guy was much better looking and spent a large proportion of the time with very few clothes on, but Rex with no Richard? thats just not on!

Thursday, 9 October 2008


every now and then I go through these periods where I feel incredibly weary all the time for a few days to about a week. falling asleep at my desk is not uncommon during these times as well as incessant yawning (usually when people are talking to me about important work things) and concentration and expressing complex things doesnt go so well (although that might be be a normal state of affairs for me). It doesnt seem to have anything to do with the amount of sleep I'm getting or alcohol intake or anything like that. So I'm thinking that either I should be on that show 'Is Your House Killing You' and that there's some hidden toxic crap in the roof of our house, or (perhaps more likely?) its diet. Occasionally I suddenly feel really sleepy shortly after eating breakfast which is another reason why I suspected a reaction to some kind of food, but it could perhaps be just a bog-standard iron deficiency.
I think a structured attempt to figure it out is in order, although all that food diary and removing this and that from my diet etc seems so tedious. maybe I'll just try iron supplements for a while.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


on the weekend I noticed one of our neighbours loading a whole lot of their belongings into a horse float (yes, seemed strange to me too) in what appeared very much like moving out. I cant say I was sad about this because although we dont know them, neighbourhood gossip suggest they are selfish and greedy and they never ever say hello to us - in fact obviously avoid doing so.
anyway later in the day I went out and there was a whole lot of stuff on the footpath when I came back it was still there and my other neighbour was outside looking nervous. Apparently the couple who lived in the other house had broken up and after the woman'd moved her first lot of stuff , the guy had chucked all the rest of her stuff out on the street. My other neighbour was then trying to quickly get it off the street before it got stolen or damaged for the woman without the guy seeing her. ah the dramas of our neighbourhood! ha ha. but I must admit I did feel sorry for her despite not liking her previously, and so I've now decided its the guy who's the crappy one which is unfortunate 'cos he's the one who's still our neighbour. Of course the whole thing is based on gossiping old women neighbours - but what could be a more reliable source?


Was talking with a friend at work the other day about some of the people we work with. Those people who work a lot, are motivated to work a lot – long hours and most weekends, and seem to really like to do it. We sort of came to the conclusion that these people are really passionate about their work, love to do it. maybe that was our problem - we’re not passionate enough about our work since we don’t feel the motivation to be working weekends, so maybe we’re not in the right jobs, maybe we need to find something new we are more passionate about. But the more I think about it the more I think thats all wrong. I mean life isn’t just about work, and as much as it’s a clichéd catch phrase, it is about balance. I do really like my job but that doesn’t mean that work is the only thing I want in my life or always (or often) the most important thing and I don’t think its so healthy all these people who work so much. The question is how to compete with all these people who work so much, keep a balanced lifestyle and still be successful in my kind of work. I think I’ll just choose to define success in a way that fits with what I’m doing.

Monday, 6 October 2008


called the police for the first time in my life this morning. think I might have over reacted.
most of the time I sleep deeply but I think I was expecting to be woken up lats night what with it being sunday night (big pub night), the rugby grand final and being home alone. so when I heard the noise of someone opening our front gate around 5am I was pretty much awake, when the door knocker started going very much awake and by the time there was pounding on the door feeling kinda anxious. the rummy odour I was sure I could detect wasnt helping.
my plan of action was to listen intently, not make any noise so they wouldnt know I was there, and hope they'd go away. they didn't. but they didnt make any noise either for ages but just as I started to think I'd dreamt it, footsteps and then crashing against the house wall. Through the peep hole a swaggering male figure.
it was light out now and this was getting ridiculous so I summoned up the courage, got dressed, grabbed my phone and for some stupid reason a kitchen knife and opened the door.
he was just a kid, a seriously drunk kid, probably about 19 and dirty and smelly, with no idea what was going on. all my yelling and attempts at authority without actually opening the security door wouldnt make him go away though so after threatening a few times I called the police. of course he finally decided to leave before there was any sign of them coming. seems he thought our house was the backpackers ' what do you mean get away from your house - ozistay, backpackers - there's a whole lot of backpakers sitting outside in the back yard, if this isnt the backpackers than why was I sleeping here?' yeah, thats what I wanted to know, sigh.
had to cancel the police, seems so OTT to call the 'emergency' number because of a drunk kid but how else to get rid of him?

Saturday, 4 October 2008

bad taste

the rather uninspiring theme of the fancy dress event was 'bad taste, loud and/or daggy', but this does make it easy. Especially after I discovered to my great excitement that there is a big op shop around the corner from our house where everything is $1, ya! I love op shops. So I managed to get outfit for 3 bucks that was bad enough to win a prize. the prize was a chocolate penis, and a matching hat and apron set with 'red meat - we were meant to eat it' embroidered on it, which at the time seemed to be a totally hilarious and somewhat bad taste prize for a vegetarian.

Friday, 26 September 2008

home alone

The first week of having the house all to myself was quite exciting. being able to do whatever I please. Watch whatever crap on TV I want, have the whole bed to myself, not have anyone in my way in the bathroom, read in bed with the light on for as long as I want, cook and eat lentils and pumpkins if I feel like it. but mid way through this the second week I was over it. I have to do all the cooking, cleaning, washing up, clothes washing and clothes hanging myself, no one is home to listen to my stories about annoying people at work and I've discovered I really dont like talking on the phone, there's no one ot shoo away the drunk people after they stumble out of the pub and converse outside our house. but its still nice having complete control over the remote.

Thursday, 25 September 2008


no matter how many times I say I'm not gonna do it any more I always always end up leaving everything to the last minute. Hence still at work at 9.15 and cant be bothered to think up anything more exciting to blog about. The problem is that I just dont seem to be able to get motivated to get things done unless I have a pending deadline. I am getting better at setting and keeping to my own deadlines but when it really coems down to it I still know that real deadlines are only the ones set by someone else with a consequence - mine can always be pushed

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

fancy dress

Next week I will be attending a conference. We have just received logistics info from the organisers including the detail that one of the social events will be themed and require fancy dress.
These days when I am invited to an event that is themed or fancy dress my reaction is usually a groan, a deep sigh and a feeling of apprehension. Although its true that most times I've been to fancy dress events I've had a lot of fun, it all just seems like such a pain beforehand. I find it particularly problematic when its an event with people I dont really know - there's no feeling for how far people will go, how much effort will be necessary, will everyone actually dress up or not (or will I end up in a Bridget Jones type situation?). Making this particular event more difficult is that its a work related professional networking type event with people I've never met at all. Somehow fancy dress seems like a strange option at such an event but I guess it can only help with the networking. Perhaps the thing to do is to go all out so that people remember me - it can only help my scientific collaboration and job opening opportunities right?
At least its probably a good sign that the conference is unlikely to be stuffy and too formal.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

superb fairy wren

As I was stopped at the lights in my car on the way to work today (I've gotten very lazy in recent times), this delightful little guy (well probably not this exact one, but one just like him) sat upon my side mirror and was desperately trying to communicate something to his mate reflected in my passenger window by constantly flapping and pecking at the window. He was rather persistent and I was a little afraid of how he'd deal with the inevitable acceleration. He held on admirably for a while - clearly his message was very important, but eventually had to depart.

Monday, 22 September 2008

advice for life

since I hadnt driven the Vespa for over two years and now live somewhere that is distinctly more hilly than where I lived when I used to drive it regularly (distinctly more hilly than many places), some practice of hill starts in the presence of my expert was needed before heading onto the proper road.
The consistent advice was as follows:
'more gas, give more gas'. 'you have to commit'. 'stop hesitating'.
hmm, I suspect this might be saying more about me than just my hill starts.

Friday, 19 September 2008


today I am wondering if it is possible to avoid that nasty habits that most new parents seem to have of defining themselves through their children and assuming that everyone else in the world is as interested in all the (apparently) cute new things their child does as they are. When (if) I have kids will I do the same thing? I sadly must admit that that demon of a time-wasting pathetic bandwagonish lowbrow internet tool facebook has brought these thoughts upon me. Why o why do people put photos of their babies as their profile picture? I mean I know they're proud and all that but surely they see themselves as more than just thier children, they are still a person with a perosnailty and thoughts in their heads outside of the babies aren't they? or if not, at least want to be seen to be, no? yes yes I know I just dont understand and cant until I experience the 'joy of parenting' myself, but I really hope I wont ever understand and will be able to adore my children but still see me.

Thursday, 18 September 2008


I've got a lot of time on my own to think at the moment. I realise I tend to neglect this blog since a) I'm lazy, b) its much easier to blog something on the 101 list because it doesnt require much thought. Anyway due to my excess of contemplation time I've decided to make an effort to blog something every day here for the next month (weekdays that is - I hate getting on the computer on the weekend) - excepting a few days when I will be away.
we'll see how this goes. its likely to be a lot of drivel and an insight into what goes on in my mind - scary

friends and acquaintances

after what seemed like a random act of thoughtfulness I was contemplating how you judge the nature of your relationships with people. There are many people who I view just as acquaintances until something happens and I realise they perhaps think of me as more of a friend than I do of them. I wonder if its just me keeping a distance for no good reason but inadvertently implying there is no such distance.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


had a bit of a Manchester themed evening on Monday. I didn't particularly like the place when I lived there, but distance and time allows you to romanticise about a place or something. Although my Manchester evening meant watching 'Queer as Folk' and 'Shameless' - not much romantic there, must just be the British humour. Two pretty disparate views of Manchester life.
I guess I cant really judge being neither a gay man nor having ever lived on a council housing estate (phew!), but Shameless seems the more accurate version to me - but that perhaps just reflects my low opinion of Manchester. Queer as seemed a bit too OTT, somehow in a Four Weddings and Skins kinda British way. I dont remember Canal St being quite like that, but maybe it wasnt too far off actually.

reasons to love Brisbane part ??

its only September and summer is here! yay!
Of course I am feeling rather summery 'cos I just spent a week where it was 40 degrees C every day so might be a bit warped but its still feels distinctly summery here.

Friday, 8 August 2008

market research

I seem to have been somewhat hounded by market researchers recently, in particular a band of rather persistent Kiwis (or perhaps it was always the same individual who just happened to have a NZ accent?) who keep ringing me at home trying to get me to complete a survey about Australian media even though they themselves are not aware that The Australian is a newspaper. Anyway generally I don't mind helping out with the odd bit of market research - its a good little diversion from real work, I sometimes have a chance to win a prize (although I never actually win) and since I know its shitty job for the market research people I'm happy to give some feedback if I have time. So this week I was filling out a survey about my political preferences and I what I thought about how government deals with current issues here like the price of petrol, interest rates, proposed measure for dealing with climate change, etc. Anyway right in the middle of the survey in between all these political questions, the following question comes up: 'Do you believe Earth has been visited by aliens or Extra-Terrestrials?'

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


once again I'm wasting time which should be spent working but, I made an exciting discovery. According to this test I am 'Super-fit', yay! The unfair part being that if you're in the Super-fit category according to their guide you have to do more work than if you were in the under-fit or average fitness category. Life is just unfair. On the other hand, I feel this discovery justifies me eating some chocolate now.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

breaking but luckily not entering

last night I was standing outside the car in the dark fumbling with the key trying to get the door unlocked, since the lock and door handle is a bit dodgy sometimes, and thinking about a friend who last week kindly offered to let everyone leave their stuff in the car while we went for a walk and then when we returned put the key into the boot only to take it out again minus the key part - yep all gear in car, only key in halves with one half stuck inside the lock.
Anyway, as I tried to get the door open and not break my key I noticed the car in front was the exact same make and model and colour as my car, no, was my car!
Oops, I quickly removed the key from the car I had been attacking and moved as inconspicuously as possible onto the next one.

Friday, 11 July 2008


I received a questionnaire from the Equity Office today, actually a 'Staff Diversity Data Collection Form'. One of the questions asked me to indicate my sexuality, the choices being:
- Heterosexual
- Bisexual
- Gay male
- Lesbian
- Queer
- Other (please specify)

clearly I'm not up with my terms of sexuality definitions but I had to wonder, what exactly is Queer given its apparently not one of the previous options?

Friday, 27 June 2008


we're hiring a research assistant and since I have no idea what I'm meant to be paying her I was checking out the University rates of pay. Through procrastination and curiosity I came across the allowances page and found out that we have a 'Removal of Dead Animals Allowance' of $1.97 per day on each day on which the work was performed, hmmm. seems like pretty meagre compensation to me.

(don't worry, I do not intend to have cause to pay this allowance to my poor research assistant)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


The prize mentioned in the previous post was a trip to one of Australia's 7 natural wonders (or perhaps its was even all of them I cant remember). Giving us a chance to see what fantastic things we were now helping to conserve by using less resources presumably. One of the supposed key selling points of this prizes was that it included some kind of guided tour done in person by the wonderful Cameron Daddo* (or possibly another Daddo - they're all the same aren't they?). Now I would really love to visit some of these places and think a free trip to see them is a pretty fine prize, given that some of these areas aren't that easy to get to, but to spend an afternoon in the presence of a Daddo, surely thats too much to ask, much more than a koala can bear isnt it? No doubt it would also involve filming for part of a dodgy holiday program or something, ugh. I often wonder when I hear about these kind of prizes where you can win a trip to x fantastic location or y super event and get to have lunch with C grade celebrity so and so or meet the band backstage. Would you be able to say great, thanks, I'm in, cant wait but I'll ditch the Daddo part thanks. surely the so called celebrities would prefer it that way too?

*there are about 4 Daddo brothers, and possibly some sisters, who all look the same and are well known on Australian TV for starring in badly made soapies, hosting holiday and backyard transformation type of shows, appearing on Dancing with the Stars and I think they even had a band at one point.

saving the planet

I recently received a letter from the phone company. They informed me they had come up with the innovative idea to compress my phone bill to two pages only in the name of environmental friendliness. In addition to this remarkable idea, I could opt to be even more friendly to our planet buy choosing to receive no paper bill at all, but rather receive and pay my bills electronically, and they'd even offer me the chance to win a spiffy prize . 'bout bloody time I thought, and quickly jumped onto the world wide web to sign myself up. Since I pay the bill online anyway I really see no point in receiving extra paper which only clutters up my space, makes me have to file more and wastes oodles of expensive resources the costs for which the company undoubtedly passes onto me. Actually, they really should be reducing my bill if I choose that option as my wonderful Swiss bank did when I opted not to receive paper statements from them, but I digress....
a week later I receive a paper letter in the normal mail from said company:
'Dear Penny Smith,
we write to notify you that Penny Smith has accessed Penny Smith's account #xxxxx.
Kind Regards
Your Phone Company'

I guess we cant expect too much from a communication provider

Sunday, 11 May 2008


I was reminded last night that a) German beer is stronger than your average Aussie lager b) beer and jetlag do not make for a good combination.


seems that what the Germans lack in friendliness (which is a lot compared to your average Queenslander) they can make up for in coolness, or at least that seems to be the case in the Schanzenviertel of Hamburg - groovy thriving cafes, grungy hole-in-the-wall bars, edgy and funky little shops, cheap and yummy food and beer, interesting fashion and extra spiffy bicycles. All this and at the moment theres super weather, although I know this is something Germany doesnt do often.
seriously thinking that it must be time to move back to Europe


In the airport yesterday I bought some Hershey's Kisses which I havent had for years. I'm glad to say there was no disappointment, they were as good as remembered, so that despite attempts at control I ate about 10 in 5 minutes. yum. The little messages inside each one were not quite as remembered though. Things like 'I like you' and 'kiss someone' were as expected, 'thanks' didnt quite make sense but the one which seemed odd was one that said 'I miss recess', hmmm.

Sunday, 27 April 2008


last night we were out for a few drinks and there was a drag show in the pub. While it all seemed like amusing entertainment I must admit there's much I dont get about it. Firstly the 'queens' really didnt look good, infact I dont think I've been many drag shows where they do look good - are they supposed to, is this one of those beholder things and I'm just not the target audience or is it all part of the joke that they dont look good? One of them looked like she (he) had exactly the same bad plastic surgery job as the son on Nip Tuck but was about 2m tall (possibly a slight exaggeration) and dressed as Posh Spice. The other question was where they put their bits. a few of them were wearing dresses so its a non issue , but some were wearing just g-string teddies. I'm pretty sure they're not transvestites and havent had them removed but can you really dance around that long with it tucked between your legs?

sunny days

having international visitors I realised this weekend is a good way of giving you a little holiday feeling without going anywhere. or at least in this case it was. the facts that we had a long weekend, the weather has been f'ing brilliant, these guests were very easy going, we did things with them we dont often do and that we met them on holiday and so associated them with holiday just made it that much more like a break from reality. also made it much easier to take being in the office on Sunday.

Monday, 21 April 2008

secret men's business

if ever I had any doubts that men were really very primitive deep down (or not even that deep), information shared this weekend vanquished them. As is often the case when in the pub, after returning from the loos my guy was relating to me some amusing behaviour he'd observed amongst other men. To set the scene he explained that the guy was one of those guys who doesn't spit. huh? Apparently according to my guy its a good idea when using public urinal to first spit in them. This should be done before you start any unbuttoning or unzipping.
According to him at least 70% of men spit before peeing in a public urinal (and the ones who dont are a bit funny) but the statistic is way lower with gay men (we do often frequent gay pubs if you're wondering why he thinks he knows that). Apparently its all about territory marking and peeing over someone else's spit is a big no no, or potentially a come on.
How odd. I had to question if its really true, or a total exaggeration. can I really have never heard of something so common before? I said I'd ask around to find out what my friends know about this but my guy wasn't convinced I'd get an accurate response what with men that wouldnt admit it, women that wouldnt know and several individuals he identifies as not being the type. So I googled it, and whatdyaknow, it sees to be a common phenomenon.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

community education

Whilst we were in Fiji we visited a school in a village keen on community announcements. Posters in the class room illustrated the dangers of marijuana (which I thought was a bit much for a primary school?), and the yard was full of little signs nailed to trees saying things like "Obedience", advising on good diet and my favourite: "Fine feathers alone do not a fine bird make".

Thursday, 27 March 2008


During our trip we met a great American couple. They had been travelling for a few months already and had been to New Zealand. At one point they suddenly asked 'where do you keep your eggs in Australia?'. It turned out they had been totally puzzled by the fact that in New Zealand eggs were found on a the normal shelves in the supermarket since in America they are apparently always kept in the refrigerated section and when you get home with your shopping eggs are one of the first things you hurry to put away in the fridge so they dont get warm. Isn't funny the different things that people notice when travelling. I dont remember ever noticing where eggs were kept in countries I travelled in, although I suppose I only really bought eggs in countries I lived in (but I cant remember if they were refrigerated or not in most of those). I suppose it 'cos Australian supermarkets dont refrigerate them so we're not so worried about them going bad, although we do keep them in ourfridge at home, but I think thats just because there's one of those egg holder things in the fridge door.


the last two days of our time in fiji were public holidays. Since the towns more or less completely shut down on public holidays some Dutch people we met who lived in Fiji recommended a place we should stay at rather than spending our last night in the closed-down capital Suva. The recommended place was on the beach and much closer to the airport so, since we didnt have to fly 'til late, we could also spend most of our last night at the beach. It turns out the place was a resort, a backpackers resort. It was a beautiful and well-run place but it felt so weird being there. After they showed us our lovely little hut we had a bit of a tour. Seeing all the over-tanned people in skimpy bikinis frying in the sun by the pool made me feel like I was in a different country to where just a couple of days ago we'd needed to cover our shoulders and legs to visit the village. meal times felt kinda like school camp since everyone came out at the set dinner time and queued up for their meals to be handed out. The black board listed todays activities and everyone could put their name down for beach horse riding or reef walking or coconut jewellery (I never figured out exactly what that was) and it somehow reminded me a lot of the place they go to in Dirty Dancing. I must admit I did enjoy being there for a night because our room and the grounds were lovely and the beach was beautiful but it did find it disappointing and puzzling that they didnt serve any Fijian food and most of the other guests just annoyed me. I know I'm getting old and grumpy but I just dont have much tolerance for the arrogant, backpacker, I've been to n countries but only want to hang out in backpacker bars and talk to people from my own country attitude (of course I'm not suggesting that all backpackers are like that, just seems to be a common group mentality). There were plenty of people who were spending two weeks or more just in that one place and I just didnt get it. As I said it was nice, but after an evening and 2 half-days I was starting to get bored. There were day trips but I dont like organised tours much and the idea of tramping into a little village as part of a group of 20 foreign backpackers just doesnt sound very appealing. The real problem for me though would be the food. One of the best parts of travel for me is eating the local food, going out finding places to eat and have a drink see what locals do. From this place here was nowhere to go to, it was a long way to the next town so you more or less had to eat there. On the whole I just couldnt see the point of going all the way to Fiji to spend two weeks in that kind of place, am I missing something? I know they are.

pretty though

simple pleasures

one of the great things about our holiday in Fiji was it was totally relaxing, everything seemed to happen so easily, and it was easy just to take pleasure in all the simple local things like travelling by bus, eating local food, watching life go by, feeling a little like being part of life there. Travelling in other developing countries before, trying to get a flavour for local life has always been a little bit more difficult either because of language problems, trying not to get ripped off, worrying about things being stolen (and things actually getting stolen), getting hassled by people, worrying about the food making you sick, constantly feeling like you dont belong 'cos its so obvious you're foreign and people treat you differently, but none of those things seemed to be a probem in Fiji. Of course it was just as obvious we were foreign but aside from a few extra taxi drivers asking us where we were going and a couple of people trying to sell us stuff in Nadi most people didnt really treat us like cashed up foreigners. people didn't try and rip us off, theft didnt seem to be much of a problem and nothing felt dangerous at all. it was also really easy to travel off the normal tourist route, people were helpful and informative and it was easy to catch a local bus, to get in the back of a carrier or mini bus with the bundles of taro and cassava and go wherever you needed to. I'm thinking Fiji may well be my new favourite holiday.

the beautiful people

Fiji is a great place we discovered. We stayed near the small village of Rukuruku a few nights (at the wonderful Bobo's farm which I can thoroughly recommend if you're ever planning on visiting Fiji away from resorts). Never before have I seen so many beautiful people in one place, I still cant get over it, maybe something to do with all that kava they grow? as well as being exceptionally good looking they were so friendly and warm and even sang and played music beautifully.

information sharing

It seems I'm not very good at informing people. I went to Fiji over Easter and upon hearing about it (either before or just after) the reaction I most commonly got from people was: what? since when? you didnt tell me! its not that I purposely didnt tell them it just didn't come up. I guess I'm not particularly good at announcing things. I always find it a bit odd to suddenly say things like 'I'm going to Fiji' out of the blue so unless someone asked what I was doing at Easter or talked about their own holiday, I guess I hadn't mentioned it. I suppose its a bit strange of me.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

peanut butter m&ms

disappointingly are just not up to Reeses Pieces standard. or perhaps I'm just remembering them better than they were? The coating on the M&Ms seemed to be slightly flavoured and far too sweet, much more so than normal M&Ms, which seemed odd.

Monday, 18 February 2008

o week

just when I want to go home, I can hear the chanting, yelling and singing of a group of first year students undoubtedly doing some kind of initiation thing start-up. ugh, that the last thing I want to do right now is deal with a group of 18 year old in nappies or whatever stupid thing they make them do these days. Argh, working at Uni is sooo much better when there's no students around.

Friday, 15 February 2008


wednesday was intended to be something of an occasion, and it didn't disappoint. It began and ended with apologies, both somewhat emotional. The first one being hugely significant and I must say the first time in a long time I felt proud of my government and that what was being done by those that claim to represent us, was actually more or less representative of my views, since I'm sorry too. The second ones were more of the kind that happen following over-consumption of alcohol, when silliness prevails. but it was very good alcohol.

Monday, 11 February 2008

lesson learnt

baking soda should not be substituted for baking powder. This is especially true when you 're already substituting plain flour and baking powder for self-raising flour and you're not sure how much baking powder goes with each cup of flour since this is normally written on the pack of the baking powder which you've run out if.


I've decided to jump on board the 101 in 1001 bandwagon. A friend of mine blogged about her list
and it seemed like an interesting idea so I thought I'd give it a go. As far as I understand some kiwi guy came up with the idea: you write a list of 101 things you'd like to get done in the next 1001 days. The tasks should be specific, measurable and achievable and something that takes a bit of effort. My list is a mixture of stuff that would be fun to do and stuff I've been meaning to do for ages. I'm normally a bit loathe to join in whatever fad everyone else is into but I kinda like lists, especially the sense of achievement that comes with crossing stuff off, and this might help me get some cool things done with hopefully some feedback. I just wasted the majority of the (supposed work) day coming up with my list and posting it. Now that its out there I have to admit I'm kinda nervous that a) the list is a bit crap b) I wont manage to achieve it all in time. Anyway, the link to it is at the right

Thursday, 7 February 2008

summer conundrum

I love summer, I really do, despite the certain amount of difficulties a pale skinned girl with apparently very tasty blood like me has to face. Suburn and 100's of sandfly bites are are a very unpleasant and ugly combination I can tell you. However, I just cant seem to overcome the problem of summer footwear. A pair of groovy looking shoes that dont start to emit an objectionable funk after a few hours of humid Brisbane weather, dont cause my poor feet to blister and bleed and can be walked around in, is that really too much to ask? I've taken to wearing my rubber thongs everywhere. This being Queensland that's perfectly acceptable most of the time, but, well, its not exactly elegant or even grown-up and wont get you into the casino (for example). The shoe shops seem to offer nothing that fits that isnt sparkly and sequiny very reminiscent of my childhood pretty-in-pink Barbie or made of stuff that just screams fungus. Its almost enough to make me long for cooler months when socks and shoes are comfortable again.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

people suck

This post is going to be a bit of a rant, but sometimes people are just irritating. One of my colleagues is leaving at the end of the week, after working with us for a year he is going back home to Israel. He's a lovely guy and has been very helpful. So, as his farwell do he organised a beach volleyball game. I realised today that none of his supervisors etc had bothered to organise a gift let alone a card so thought I better at least do that. I'm not much into volleyball, but that doesnt matter, spectating and sitting around for a chat and snacks was also part of the deal. The beach volleyball court is a 2 minute walk from our offices, but do you think any of the supervisors or the people who actually worked with him bothered to turn up (except me of course, oh and other people who know him but didnt directly work with him). 'I'll try and come by' said his main supervisor/work colleague when he came by to sign the card (and didnt even thank me for organising it). 'Try', pah! how hard is it to spare half an hour to say goodbye to someone you've worked with and may well not see again. Perhaps I put undue value on social gatherings and in particular farewells, but I find this kind of self-absorbed, my-work-is-more-important-than-people, indifferent attitude so annoying. Surely social occasions and interactions with people are part of what makes work fun, interesting and more productive particularly for groups - you know team-building and all that. On top of which I just thinks it shows a huge lack of respect and is even kinda mean when you cant be bothered to make a small, tiny effort to say goodbye .

Friday, 18 January 2008


Last night I had dinner with the Prime Minister. OK slight exaggeration, but he did come by our table as we ate at an inner city restaurant last night. I must say I quite like that I live in a place where the Prime Minister can easily walk down the street without creating much of a fuss. People noticed of course, but aside from one guy calling out 'Ruddy!' (his name is Kevin Rudd for those who aren't up with Australian politics, and lets face it, why would you be unless you lived here) to which he replied 'yeah, G'day mate', nothing happened. He carried on into Borders bookstore, presumably to do some shopping.


I'm a pretty charitable person I think. I regularly give money to good causes, do volunteer work (OK it has been a while), am mostly kind. But, like everyone, I have my limits and I'm afraid it seems I draw the line at phone calls to my home when I'm watching a TV show I want to see and chopping tomates (for dinner). To be honest I appear to have developed a low tolerance for phone calls outside of work hours usually with the exception of family and friends although I do find myself sometimes sensing that my mother will be on the other end and not wanting to pick-up. Those conversations can just be so long and so much about people who I haven't the foggiest who they are. Anyway, I was a bit irritated the other night when I had to get up from the TV, wash the tomato off my hands and run around to the phone only to be greeted with one of those long-winded opening monologues which are so hard to interrupt and are always just long-hand for 'give us your money'. Unfortunately when I finally got the chance to get a word in and politely declined to give money mentioning that we already give to a rather similar charity (although admittedly thats not our choice but apparently just part of the privilege of having our electricity supplied by a particular company, which is probably why he didnt sound very impressed) I made the stupid mistake of mentioning that our phone number is listed on the national 'do not call' list (which is supposed to prevent telelmarketers calling you at home) and as such I dont appreciate being called at home. If only I hadnt said that, I could have watched the last few minutes of my TV show in peace. But no, now he had to make me feel guilty, charities are exempt to the do not call list you see and normal people dont mind being called because normal nice people like to help out such worthy causes and do their bit, and generally but oh so nicely implying I was an uncharitable cow. sigh. and it wasnt even that worthy of a cause anyway.


Whilst commenting on a friends blog I was reminded of how people's obsession with mobile communication can really irk me. Dont get me wrong I certainly appreciate the wonders of being able to so easily keep in touch with most people I know from a whole myriad of places I'm at or may potentially go to. However, I do find very annoying the general expectation that I should be able to be contacted wherever I am, whatever I am doing and also reply to that contact immediately. I guess I want the whole mobile communication to be a kind of one-way street. However that rant is all a bit old hat, and what I was really reminded of was a particular 'friend' of mine (not the one with the blog, she doesn't require inverted commas on her friend status) who is apparently addicted to communication. Everyone now and again I have lunch with her and another friend. Every single time she spends about 2/3 of the time texting or talking on her phone with other people. I would really have to wonder why she bothers to have lunch with people except that each time she also suddenly ran out of either credit or battery power when she really, really had to make a call and would be oh so grateful to be able to use my friends phone. Also I'm not sure she could handle sitting on her own at lunch, people might think she had no mates when clearly thats not the case!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

laid back

When I moved to Queensland I thought people were pretty laid back up here, true I had just moved from Switzerland so my perception was skewed, but still its fair enough to say Queenslanders generally take life easy. However on our recent outback trip we arrived in a town (pub) where the publican informed us "we're pretty laid back around 'ere" and subsequently redefined the term. The room we stayed in had a door, but it didn't shut, which might not have been a big deal except that some 200 people descended on the pub to ring in the new year (with air guitar and karaoke, amongst other things). The BBQ and seating area was littered with bones which turned out to be kangaroo bones since one of them still had the claws and some skin attached, which made you wonder how they got there, but not for too long. The showers were in a couple of sheds 100m or so across the hot prickle-ridden yard, and although the publican told us not too worry too much about the male and female designations I was still a bit surprised to come across the naked publican's husband in the womens shower. There might be other words for it than laid back, but there's no denying these people were friendly and welcoming and the night was a blast including a pretty impressive fireworks display considering, and drinking and singing until well beyond dawn.

procrastinating, again

procrastination is King around here at the moment. Or perhaps its always ruler of me. In any case I'm trying to beat it, really I am (as is clearly shown by my blogging during work hours, sigh), but its just so damn difficult. Deadlines, thats what I need. See unless I have a proper deadline - not one of those namby-pamby deadlines which the not meeting of has no direct consequence and can be easily pushed back, but a hard and fast DEADline with genuine consequences, even if its only the ire of my boss (although he's not a man much taken to ire) -nothing gets done, I need the pressure to motivate me. Its a bit of a problem in my line of work which is largely self-driven research. So I try and set up the deadline myself. I announced to my boss that I will have such and such to him by the end of the day, and since I'm one for delivering what I promise on time, this should work. but then he says he wont be able to look at it until early next week, so no need to hurry. OK so I'll get it to him by end of Friday I say, but as we all know the end of Friday is the same as the start of Monday, and as such nothing has gotten done today, sigh.


when planning a trip somewhere I often think it might be better just to go, without planning much and work it all out when you get there, discover things as you go, that way you might get a better feel for the essence of a place without preconceived ideas and expectations based on other people's experiences, written up in guidebook or tourist information parlance for the masses. However, with so much information at my fingertips courtesy of the worldwide web I cant help but take advantage and look up all I can before venturing out somewhere. I'd hate to go all the way somewhere and back and talk with friends about it only to discover I'd missed something fascinating only because I hadn't known it was there. Besides, I was afterall a student of the Baden Powell school of thought, be prepared and all that. So, before our recent trip into the NSW outback I googled, travel forumed and lonely planeted all I could. This of course meant I had plenty of expectations on what 'it' would be like. In my experience the pictures you get from tourist brochures, guidebooks etc are rarely anything like what you really get when you go somewhere. Often its much better than the guide, usually just different and sometimes a disappointment, which is why you should never put too much stock in those things. But sometimes it exactly as the tourism board presented it. When thinking about our trip I decided I wanted to visit a town (OK a pub) 150 or more ks from the middle of nowhere down a partially flooded dirt road on the strength of this advertising photo and the description that went with it. and we werent disappointed. when we walked into the pub we felt like we'd stepped into the brochure. The very same guy with the same hat and mustache sat on the very same chair, and in addition there was a rather well groomed sheep eating peanuts in the bar. The publican, who came across as somewhat lukewarm at first, and his family were great people. The kind of straight, take us as we are, genuine people you dont meet too often in the city. They invited us to their family birthday celebration BBQ for dinner, we learnt about the price of sheep shearing, the family's Norwegian heritage and enjoyed plenty of cold beers as revival from the hot hot outside air.
if you're ever out that way I can recommend a stop at the Tilpa pub.