Tomorrow, March 1, marks the official first day of autumn in Australia. This means I survived my first full Australian summer (last year I spent a month back in Vancouver)! A coordinated system of two standing fans in our apartment made summer bearable. Of course, autumn doesn’t really exist here and it will still be hot, but mentally I’m pleased. Now I long for more days of record shivering cold temperatures of 8.3 degrees celsius.
Wed 28 Feb 2007
Tue 27 Feb 2007
There are those who sit idly by while sharks wreak havoc in the seas surrounding Australia.
There are those who document various shark attacks on a stupid blog.
And then there are those who decide, “You know what? I’ve had enough of these damn sharks. I’m going to drink a bunch of vodka, jump in the water, and wrestle one.” Phil, you are my hero. (Another link to the story here)
Apparently, Phil was fishing and a bronze whaler shark was eating his bait. Like any normal human being, Phil jumped into the water, wrestled the shark, threw it up onto the jetty and then killed it. His wife then described him as a ‘risk-taker.’ So while I enjoy documenting the lethality of Australia’s wildlife, I must say it is refreshing to write about a human voluntarily risking death and giving Aussie animals a taste of their own medicine. Did anyone else picture Steve Irwin dying this way?
And this was not the only example of the down being the new up as far as wildlife attacks go. While usually it is Australian animals attacking people, my homeland got into the action recently as well:
Way to go British Columbia!
Alas, these are just two isolated incidents. Recently in Australia sixteen Hammerheads led to beach closures, another shark scare shut down Dee Why beach, shark cameras are going to begin operating in local rivers, and a tiger snake put a man in hospital in WA.
I don’t make this up folks! This place is deadly (for both people and sharks it seems).
Wed 21 Feb 2007
About a month ago Amanda and I were on our way home from The Basement in Circular Quay. As we made our way up George Street to catch a bus to Glebe we were confronted with an unofficial parade of idiots in their customized, compensating-for-something cars. Now we’d seen this before further down George Street near Liverpool Street, but either it wasn’t as bad there or we caught a particular lively night.
We waited at The Strand for a bus (that never came) and spent a half hour stifling laughter and shame. The cars all had custom paint jobs and fancy rims. One car actually had ‘Jus Playin’ airbrushed along the doors. Pathetic. The laughter, however, was mostly directed at the worst haircuts driving/passengering in the cars. These were mullets to DIE for, some dripping with hair product. Now presumably this little car show is an effort to impress the ladeez, but there were no women around: the cars were all full of young men. Cars full of guys wearing pink shirts and primping like a peacock; yet most of these guys looked like the type that still use the word ‘fag’ as a derogatory term. Irony?
As for the shame we had to stifle…well that was mostly Amanda. At one point I actually turned to her and said, “I’m embarrassed for you. I’m embarrassed for Sydney. The riots were one thing, but this is the lowest common denominator of Sydney culture.” Most of the time I try my best to embrace everything about Sydney and Australia. But for about an hour on Saturday night on George Street I was incredibly proud to NOT be from this city.
One night I plan to take a video camera down there and document this little parade of douchebaggery.
Tue 13 Feb 2007
It’s been a pretty quiet couple weeks in the ongoing Human Beings vs. Australian Wildlife battle. Nevertheless, I’ve got a few articles once again highlighting the lethality of Australia. So, what’s not meek this week?
Then just last week, there was this headline:
Patrols Seek Sydney’s ‘Monster Shark’
Tell you what, that is an effective headline…I think I nearly wet myself when I read it and I was a half hour from the beach. This great white was spotted several times around Botany Bay (read: 15 minutes away) and they stepped up the shark patrols in order to try and find it. What kind of savage country needs shark patrols eqipped with helicopters?
Anyway, as far as I know, they never found this thing that, apparently, managed to ‘take’ a pelican and a dog. First off, don’t you just love the word ‘take’ in this context? It’s like trying to describe civilian deaths as collateral damage. Second, how dumb a dog manages to get eaten by a shark? Humans I get. But a dog?
Another great headline! Crocodiles in public pools! Go Australia!
Wed 7 Feb 2007
Last week Amanda and I trekked it down to Lady Macquarie’s Chair to see Little Children at the St. George Open Air Cinema. The only other time I had ever seen a film outdoors was at the Glastonbury Festival in 2002 but this was, obviously, a better cinematic experience. Look at that skyline!
The part of the story the photos don’t tell you, however, is the part where bats were flying around above us. We got there late so we had to sit up the back. Under a tree. Never a good idea in Australia. Amanda watched the entire film convinced a spider was going to drop on her. Bats were roosting in the branches just a couple metres above our heads and they never sat still…so little bits of things were falling on us. I tell myself it was bits of leaves and branches. But it may have been bat crap. It was pretty bizarre to be watching a film and have a bat flutter in front of the screen. Do they ever tell the tourists before they arrive that there are bats everywhere in Sydney?
The film was brilliant as it dealt with modern suburbia, infidelity, choices and our abilities to connect with the people around us (whether that be a spouse, a neighbour, a child, or a just-released sex-offender). Kate Winslet was, as always, perfect. I don’t think she’ll win her first Oscar as all signs point to Helen Mirren winning that, but her subtle performance as an unhappy mother/housewife was entirely convincing. And the tension at the end of the film…wow. Anyway, you should go see it.
I challenge you to find a cooler theatre to see it in though.
Sat 3 Feb 2007
I love church signs. I’m not particularly religious but I always make sure I pay attention when passing churches just in case they have a good sign. There is a church on Burrard St. in Vancouver (near 14th Ave.) that used to have HILARIOUS signs…but then they got taken over by new management or something and the signs started to suck. Here in Sydney, the Central Baptist Church on George Street generally catches my eye. It ALWAYS has a good sign…although the reasons I find them interesting are probably not the same reasons why the flock might find them interesting.
On our way to see Little Children at the Open Air Cinema on Tuesday night I was pretty stunned to see the above sign outside the Central Baptist Church. I mean I guess I understand what they’re going for, but aren’t they just asking for trouble? And doesn’t it kinda piss you off that Jesus loves Osama bin Laden the same amount he loves you?