Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where the hell are you, exactly?

Arg, I've been a bit lazy and not updated recently, sorry everyone. I'd like to say I've been busy out going partying and being cool or something. I've actually spent most my nights sitting around watching TV, dumb movies, or Japanese game show clips from Youtube with my flatmates. That's right, I live with a bunch of fellow nerds. Magic Cards, World of Warcroft, constant quoting of 'The Simpsons,' Dungeons and Dragons, one guy is studying the science of lasers... Yup, full-out geekdom in here, yay! There are currently four guys and three girls (counting me) in our flat, we all get along very well, thank goodness. Well, two of the guys rarely leave their rooms, but they're nice when I do have a four second conversation with them and they don't cause any sort of trouble. One gives me a cheery "Good morning!" every time I see him, even if it's 4 pm.

I suppose I should explain the flat, since a lot of people were confused about where I'm living. First of all, my campus isn't actually IN the city, it's in the middle of a forest a few miles from the city. The other day I was sitting on the balcony eating breakfast and two turkeys ran by gobbling at each other. That was pretty odd. My one flatmate also keeps trying to convince me to be warned of the scourge that is 'drop bears.' Which is just something made up to scare foreigners, kind of like our jackalope or snipe. I told him that and he said, "Snipe? Like... Severus?" Hahaha, yeah, in America, Alan Rickman jumps out and attacks tourists, hahaha. Anyway, there are eight people (though we're currently one person less) in a flat sharing the kitchen, bathroom, and lounge area. We each have our own single room going off a hallway that looks like this:

Yes, a tad dodgy looking (to throw in some local slang), but that's Uni for you. That light is burnt out now though, and for some reason it keeps buzzing randomly in the middle of the night despite the fact it's off. The only way to stop it from doing so and keeping you awake all night is to smack it with a broom. We all take turns doing that so the same person doesn't have to get out of bed constantly, kind of like taking care of a crying baby. Er, you don't hit babies with brooms to shut them up though, hopefully. Also, you can't quite see it, but there's an iron burn on the rug from previous inhabitants. Speaking of the wonderful people who used to live here, we keep finding all this weird stuff they left behind. That closet at the end of the hall had a sewing machine from the 1970s in it, a treasure I've since claimed. We also discovered a broken skateboard (good for moving things) and 'Street Fighter II: The Board Game,' which we have yet to play, but I'm super excited to because it looks hella awesome.

I finally went into the actual city (not just the huge weird mall and sprawling Asian markets nearby campus) on Monday for my first day of classes. Half my classes are there, the other half are here at my home campus, which is nice because I get to spend my time in both environments. The city campus has all the artsy types and home campus has all the nerdy types, so either place I'm set to make friends. Granted, there are the "WOOO! I LIKE KEGSTANDS AND METALLICA!" type at both, but those are easy to avoid for the most part. My class was annoyingly short since it's the first week, so I decided to wander around a bit.

This interesting looking path was right outside my lecture building, so of course I followed it. The sculptural enclosure/ plant tamer thing changes gradually as you walk along, I kept staring up at it and almost running into people. Another mistake I keep making is walking on the wrong side of the street. Just like they have opposite car lanes here, Australians walk on the other side, and American me goes along the incorrect way out of habit. I've caught on to looking a different direction when crossing the street, but I always forget to walk to the left. To the left... Everythang you own in a box to the left... Sorry, had to.

Soon alongside the path, there was a cute little stream with a heap of palm trees and other exotic plantlife. And look, a duck! An animal I've seen before in the wild! Believe it or not, this is the first wild animal I've seen in Australia that we have in America too. Not THIS exact duck, I mean the species. They don't even have squirrels or pigeons here! However, I did spot a seagull later on, and of course I yelled "MINE! MINE! MINE!" :]

Continuing on, the creek turned into a little lagoon for kids. Sand, rocks, things to play on in the water... It looked like it belonged in a Disney World resort. "Well that's weird!" I thought, "All this in the middle of the city? But the lagoon was nothing compared to...

The full out man-made beach right next to the lagoon! And I thought Central Park had weird stuff in it! Why they need this in Australia where they can drive half an hour to a real beach is beyond me. Please note the ibis wading in the water there. Somehow, this sacred Egyptian bird made its way over to Australia and they're EVERYWHERE. I saw about five eating Cheetos out of the trash and I thought, "Shouldn't you be mummified? Piss off!" The funny thing is that for a public fake beach in a major city, this was surprisingly clean. If Philly built one, there would be crack vials, needles, and dead bodies in it a week after opening.

The beach with the river and city skyline in the background. I said Chicago before, but this picture makes it look like the start of 'CSI: Miami,' so I may have to change my comparison. Later I saw a guy trying to make a video of himself doing ninja jumps off a nearby flight of stairs with this view in the background. I ruined one of his takes by making a weird face as I went past.

That's all the pictures I took, because after this the walk goes by entirely too many outdoor restaurants and nothing else. Um, what else is new with me, hmmm... I keep having people think I'm Canadian, even other Canadians who should know the difference. Also, the other day I told someone I was from Pennsylvania and they said, "Ooh, what's a Wawa?" I got all excited that they knew that and went on a rant about how amazing Wawas are. Apparently the person only knew that because of the Bloodhound Gang song 'Pennsylvania,' which has a line that goes, "Do you even know what a Wawa is?" At least that's what they got out of that song, because the rest of the lyrics aren't entirely flattering. Damn you, Bloodhound Gang, for being one of the things Australians associate me with. That goes for you too, Bam Margera, cream cheese, and Kobe Bryant! There are hundreds of better things to come from Philadelphia!

I'll leave you with this hilarious video of the latest craze sweeping Oz:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Road to Australia

I'm watching the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby 'Road to...' series of movies on TV. I know, you're probably thinking "How can Danielle sit and watch old movies when she's in Australia?!" Or maybe you're just thinking about something funny the cat did the other day. But for those of you that ARE thinking the former, at least now that I put the question in your mind, I assure you I'm not a complete lard. One, these movies are clever, hilarious classics and two, it's almost 6 pm here and apparently on the weekends, nobody but me emerges from their rooms until much later.

I'm also a tad bit mopey because I realized back home it's Philly/NJ Warped Tour day. I can't believe it was two whole years ago that I last went. Things have changed so much since then, with both the bands I saw that day and myself. That was my first brush with being a writer/photographer and though my article and pictures never got used in the end, I gained so much from it. I know this blog is supposed to be about my time in Australia, but I would like to finally let some of my pictures from Warped '06 be seen. I feel bad just having them stay in my computer, like I'm hoarding them or something.

Joan Jett 5
I still can't believe I've had the honour of being within feet of JOAN FREAKING JETT. She sounded as awesome in 2006 as she did in 1983 and the woman is 30 years my senior but still looks better in a bikini than I do.

Tom Conrad1
Tom Conrad2
I saw about 20 bands and took over 500 pictures that day, but way too big a number of those photos were of the boys in The Academy Is... Especially Tom Conrad, their former guitarist who's now in Empires and works as a photographer himself. I won't lie, I was a bit of a TAI fangirl, and I still listen to them occasionally. However, I prefer Empires now, they're a lot more mature in music and lyrics, plus their fanbase isn't mostly 13-year-olds.

The Sounds
Okay, so this photo is posed, I still love it though. I unfortunately missed The Sound's set, but Felix and Maja were just standing around their merch tent later that day and I talked to them for a bit. Mostly about the 'Snakes on a Plane theme' video, haha.

Geoff Rickly (lead singer of Thursday) is impossible to get a picture of, so I was proud I actually managed a few. Though, for every successful photo, I had about ten of him blurry or flashing his armpits, haha. Apparently, the next tour stop after this one, he was swinging the mic and it smashed his face. He continued singing despite a bloody nose, that's how hardcore he is.

Tom Gabel
I remember showing my Mom all my pictures and her saying something along the lines of, "Wow, lots of shirtless punk guys. I can see why you had such a good time." And Tom Gabel from Against Me! is definitely one of the reasons I'm fondly reminiscing my time at Warped. *sigh* Those were the days...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Voyage

The other morning I woke up to the creepy laughter of this little guy, the kookaburra. I think that's what it is, at least. Then this morning I was awoken to the wild call of the Australian neighbour loudly singing along to ABBA.

I finally managed to take pictures of the comic/drawings of my trip(s) to get all the way to this impossible to reach continent. Yes, I had to take pictures of it because I don't have a scanner. Unfortunately, Paint has disappeared mysteriously on my computer and I'm hopeless at using Photoshop for anything other than brightening colours, so each panel is separate. Which I personally find super annoying and apologize for, though it does have the advantage of letting me comment individually on certain things. Oh, and keep in mind I drew these while incredibly tired, so they're pretty awful, haha. They got posted weird too, so click on them to see the full image larger.

Though it was the shortest amount of time I had to wait the entire trip, I didn't really enjoy being surrounded by dance team pre-teens hyped up on coffee their scary looking mothers gave them. Especially at 5 am. I don't need continuous conversation provided by frigging Sparkle Motion that early, okay?

stage 2
I have the impressive power to fall asleep despite being barraged with loud noises, which is ironic, because I can't deal with them when I'm awake. Yeah, I'm talking about you, rap-blasting, bass-thumping people who live above me.

My drawing does no justice at all to the wonder of Alex Greenwald. Even when he's all tired from flying, he looked adorable. Sorry, I just revert back to a 14-year-old every time I think about meeting him. I mean, how often do you meet someone who's in one of your favourite bands AND one of your favourite movies from when you were a teen? (The drawing of me in the second panel looks like a trannie... Dammit.)

Someday I'll meet one of my favourite musicians and not say or do something completely stupid. This is about the eighth or ninth time I've failed at the previous statement, so I'm guessing my time should come soon.

I was also a bit pissed off still that I never got my picture with Alex Greenwald. Because I'm an idiot and left the terminal to get my luggage, thinking I could go back to the waiting area again. Which they stopped letting you do six years ago. Not a particularly bright moment on my part. Plus, LA smells gross and I had to walk a mile to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 7. DID NOT WANT.

I was so exhausted and miserable when I drew this on the plane. I slept through the actual movies they showed and when I woke up it was six hours of 'Hannah Montana.' Needless to say, I was not going to watch that and therefore had nothing to keep my mind off of being sad. Choosing to travel alone was probably a poor choice, looking back on it.

I couldn't find a coloured pencil to make him purple, so use your imagination. No, I do not have a picture of this guy (sorry Nana), and yes, I did take one of the drinks. I damn well deserved it.

I love how these drawings get progressively crappier as I go along. This is the end though, I landed okay and went into Brisbane to get a hostel room for the night. I was with a girl from Taiwan, a Swedish girl, and a Swiss girl. We didn't understand each other a lot, but we got along well. Ha, at one point the Swiss girl says to me that there was a contest going on in the hostel pub that night that she was all excited about. I had seen a sign for Quizzo and asked her if that was it (after trying to explain what it was). "Nooo, somezing else. I don't know the word..." she said. Then blasting over the loud speaker, "IT'S LADIES NIGHT! YOU FINE FEMALES JUDGE THE MEN'S STRIP CONTEST, WITH A PRIZE OF AN $80 BAR TAB TO THE HUNKY WINNER!" The Taiwanese girl's face was of utter shock, the Swiss and Swedish girl were all smiles, and I was falling over laughing. I declined their offer to go and slept for a good 10 hours. Jet-lag is the strangest/worst feeling, especially with such an extreme time difference.

Not too much has happened in the week since arriving, other than me taking obscene amounts of cute animal photos at the Irwin Zoo. I literally have 30 pictures of just koala butts and another 15 of one koala looking like a little grumpy old man while he eats. :/

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Finally online

I now know that a lot of airports don’t have free wireless, a shocker to an East Coast American such as myself. I thought I could spend my time online while waiting at the terminal or in cafes, but nope. So that’s why it took me so long to get in contact with everyone, hope nobody was freaking out about it. Anyway, as you may know, two years ago I moved to Scotland for a few months. There I had to type out multiple e-mails and IMs to people about what shenanigans I was getting into (even though there weren’t many, at least compared to the people I lived with). That got a bit annoying at times, especially when my computer would be a jerk and randomly delete everything two seconds before I hit ‘send.’ Hence the point of me making this blog, so people could have a general idea of how/ what I was doing so I don’t snap and bludgeon my laptop with a boomerang the thousandth time I get asked an annoying vague question such as, “So what’s it like there?” And no, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing personal e-mails, call, IM, etc. Geez.

Anyway, I had planned to write about the various stages of my journey to Australia, but being incredibly bored, I decided to do a comic version as I went along. I'll put that up shortly, but for now I'll share this wonderfulness, which I've been making fun of relentlessly for the past few days: