Thursday, December 30, 2010


The New Year's Eve forecast in Melbourne is a balmy 104 degrees Farenheit. I'm missing the snow, but not parking in the winter in Southie- check out this NYT article on people saving their shoveled out spaces. My favorite space savers I observed during my Southie tenure were an ironing board and a Christmas tree. A cone, a barrel? Come on people, show some creativity! (thanks for the link, Buddes)

And now for a nerdy snow link: snowflakes, as seen under an electron microscope. Purty.

P.S. More posts coming soon- Christmas bon bons, Wilsons Promontory, and more! I promise :)

P.P.S Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Nutbush

Most of the time, life in Australia isn't all that different from life in the U.S.- same language, same ties to colonial England. Sure, they've got weird animals and they drive on the left, but overall it doesn't feel that foreign to me. However, it's the little cultural differences that completely blow my mind. Like the fact that people here put beets in sandwiches. And just recently, I discovered that Australians do a line dance called "The Nutbush" to the Ike and Tina Turner song "Nutbush City Limits." WHAT??!?
I was at my institute's Christmas party, which was a really nice luncheon at a hall, complete with assigned tables, free booze, and a DJ. At one point, a song came on and everyone got all excited- "the nutbush! the nutbush!" and started heading to the dance floor. A group line dance, a la The Electric Slide, was in progress. I was befuddled. "But you must know the nutbush, it's Tina Turner and you're American!!" No seriously, I have never seen this before. However, the steps are quite simple and soon enough I was nutbushing with the best of them. Apparently The Nutbush is known by everyone in Australia and is a popular occurrence at school formals, weddings, and the like. Here are some nutbush videos:

1. a wedding Nutbush

2. hipsters doing the nutbush at a music festival

3. close-up of the steps to the nutbush

The Nutbush? Kicks the Electric Slide's ass.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Links for laughs

Animals with British voiceovers. (via Eri)

Also, I saw a link to Damn You, Auto Correct on a friend's Facebook page and spent almost a hour reading old entries- I was literally crying. I do love a good typo, after all. And there's even a Notre Dame-themed entry!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Bowls and burgers

This weekend I ticked two Australian traditions off the list. The first was a popular sporting activity, primarily among senior citizens: lawn bowls. It's sort of like bocce- you throw out a little white ball ("the jack") and roll out some heavy black balls, and whoever's ball gets closest to the jack wins. The tricky part is that the black balls are weighted on one side, so you sort of bowl them out at an angle and they curve back in towards the target. Bowling takes place at a bowls club, and these folks are serious about their hobby- just check out the snazzy uniforms.
For the less serious competitors, it's much more like American bowling- a good excuse to drink beer and hang out with your friends. Our bowling outing fell into this category. I had a great time and can't wait to go again...I only wish I had a uniform and a hat.

After the bowls, I decided to take on another Australian tradition: the burger. You see, the traditional Australian burger comes with a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onions, the undercooked ham they try to pass off as bacon, a fried egg, and beetroot (a.k.a beets). Yes, you read that correctly. A fried egg AND beets. People put beets on everything down here. It's messed up.

Behold the burger:

You know, it was pretty darn good. I couldn't finish it, though...although I did manage to polish off the fries.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

U2 in Melbourne

The very first concert I ever saw (aside from going to the Beach Boys with my parents) was U2 in 1992 on the Zoo TV tour at the old Foxboro Stadium. My sister Kerry gave me her ticket so I could sit with her (furious) friend while she sat with her then-boyfriend in better seats. I didn't care about the seating. I was 15 years old and thrilled to be there. And it was fantastic.

I wasn't planning to catch U2's latest tour, mostly because I just wasn't willing to pay $200 to sit in the upper balcony of a large stadium. Apparently this sentiment was shared- the crappy seats didn't sell so they dropped the price. When D emailed me on Monday asking if I wanted to get tickets for $40, my answer was an enthusiastic YES! We were joined by a couple friends and fellow U2 fans.

Jay-Z was opening, which definitely struck me as an unusual choice, but we ended up going into the concert just after he finished so I didn't catch any of his set. I'm just glad that Beyonce didn't make a surprise appearance because that I would definitely have wanted to see. Like most U2 concerts, the stage was huge and impressive and has been dubbed "The Claw." The band started the night off right by walking on stage to David Bowie's Space Oddity. I had been a little worried that they'd focus on their newer material or Bono would get preachy, but that wasn't the case at all. They played an excellent show and the set included many fan favorites such as New Year's Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, and Mysterious Ways. Even though it isn't one of my favorite songs, Bono made a nice dedication to (Aussie) Michael Hutchence before performing "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of." Even though Bono does have a great voice and stage presence, I give The Edge's guitar credit for that distinct U2 sound. They played for a couple of hours and then performed a short encore that included Ultraviolet (Light My Way), which was rather unexpected and, for me, the highlight of the night. When With or Without You came on, I was feeling nostalgic and got Dean and our friend Mel to hold up lighters with me, only to realize that...NOBODY DOES THAT ANYMORE. The crowd was a mix of ages (exemplified by two ladies with their 12 year old sons behind us), but I reckon no one under 20 had ever seen the lighter thing before. Bono did have everyone hold their cell phones up- my how the times have changes.

In the end, it seems like U2 knows what the fans want, and on Friday night, they gave us exactly that. I'm just glad I was there to experience it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Who whoooo

Hungover owls (via Kris)

Baby owl hunts invisible prey (via Metafilter)

Google images of baby owls (Via my own procrastination)

Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
. An Australian 3D animated film starring...owls.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Disturbing Australian ad campaigns

Australian commercials are clearly not made for the squeamish. Worksafe Victoria, the government agency in charge of workplace health and saftey, recently launched an ad campaign that is disturbing, to say the least. First, they aired some commercials that showed people throwing our their backs and breaking their ankles that were pretty graphic- cracking sounds, visuals of snapping bones, etc. Then, billboards like these started popping up around Melbourne. However, the worst was yet to come: a television ad showing a girl getting her hand caught in a bread slicer, including a close-up shot of...a severed finger! C'mon now, nobody wants to see that while they're watching Australia's Next Top Model.

Apparently Australia has a history of shocking advertisements- the pioneers of this tactic, the transportation authority TAC, recently put out a montage of (in)famous commercials for their 20th anniversary. Because nothing says "please drive safely" like a mangled corpse in the road.