Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Easy Like Sunday Morning

The only word I can use to accurately convey our transition to life Down Under is easy. The whole she-bang has been downright simple. In 8 days flat we've got everything - every little thing - sorted. Allow me to explain (using our previous countries of residence as contrast where appropriate):

First thing is the visa. Being the unmarried harlot that I am, this usually means endless "proof of relationship" documentation to prove that we haven't just been dicking around for funsies these past 6.5 years. Australia only asks for 4 or 5 pieces of documentation like joint bank accounts, leases and the like. I went overboard and provided 6 pieces of documentation, and we only had to prove that we've been living together for 6 months! Everywhere else in the world it's 2 years. And everywhere else in the world they pretty much demand to see homemade pornography of the two of you just because you don't have that magical piece of paper. Not Australia. A few documents showing our names and the same address sufficed. The time between lodging the application and acceptance was also astonishingly short, 3 weeks + 1 business day.

For reference, I am still waiting for a simple renewal on my Norwegian visa which was lodged on Halloween 2011. The wait time is predicted to be 6 months, which in Norwegian means "you will hit menopause before we get to this application". So....we left. In the interest of full disclose the Norwegian visa was not really "simple" (it had been expired for, oh, about 6 months) and Martin's company handled our visa application to Australia. But they only submitted the application! They had no say in its processing time or outcome. Australian immigration is like brushing your teeth, Norwegian immigration is like getting a filling without Novocaine. That ain't even hyperbole. That's the truth.

Next stop, mobile telephone. One of my favorite things about everywhere-but-USA is the ability to buy a SIM card, pop it in your phone, and voilĂ , you've got a fully operational, local telephone number. I haven't lived in the U.S. in many moons and don't claim to know the ways of my people, but I'm pretty sure the closest thing they've got to this is pre-paid cell phones, which are only used by grandparents and drug dealers. It took $22 and 15 minutes of set-up to get me a cell phone. I've used this same phone in Scotland, Norway and now Australia. Sorry, American Exceptionalism, if that really is your real name, but everybody else but you does this better. Those cellular companies have you by the cojones, charge you insane sums of money per month and you don't even realize it. No bueno.

If you hadn't noticed I speak Spanish now to convey my varying levels of displeasure.

Then there's internet. I had heard of (and used, quite unsuccessfully I might add, in the UK) an internet dongle before. To avoid paying exorbitant sums of money on wifi at our temporary accommodation I thought that's the route we'd have to take. But nope, technology has caught up to my impossibly high expectations and created the pocket wifi. I did not know this existed, but I am pleased with it. It's a little thingamajig that is actually a router and gives you internet where ever and whenever you need it.

Martin uses this thing literally and carries it around in his pocket so he has internet on his phone (he won't know his phone sitch until he starts work on Monday so for now he's just slumming it, walking around with a bulge in his pants pocket). 10 minutes and $99 later on our first day here we acquired 6 GB of internet usage. I will note here that hooking up internet at our flat in Scotland took 6 weeks. 6 mo-fo'ing weeks. We moved in 1 September and got internet just before Halloween. This of course meant we had to pay for 12 months of service, well after we moved out again on 1 September.

I could write a goddamn book on things the UK does that is annoyingly antiquated, illogical and unnecessary. They do give out free birth control, though, which I appreciate. Prooooobably a good idea.

And getting our bank account set up. Oh em ghee, the banking! If I had a weak heart I'd have to stop writing right now. I cannot even explain how quick and easy it was. I created the account online before we even got here. That took well under 10 minutes. Then, once we arrived in Oz we had to meet with a personal banker to verify our identities (show our passports). This appointment was scheduled while we were still in Norway. She set us up with internet banking and gave us our debit cards. She was real purdy, too, in stark contrast to the swamp donkeys manning the tills at Royal Bank of Scotland - Nicholson Street branch.

Eff my life, Scotland, the banking! I don't know if my heart can take this trip down memory lane. It took months for us to set up our bank account there. Months! Ok, maybe it was weeks (whatevs), but we had to do a disproportionate amount of running around town to get that set up. And the service was awful. You'd swear it was the first year in the history of time that students descended upon the city of Edinburgh and needed to set up a bank account. It was incompetence incarnate. To add feces frosting on the shit cake that is Royal Bank of Scotland using that card in Australia results in an enormous fee. Double what Norway charges. Hell, double what the US charges and their banks are about as friendly as the ebola virus. And yet, they are billions of dollars in the hole.

Like I said, incompetence incarnate.

In my last post I talked about our search for an apartment and as of Wednesday, 29 February I can say we have signed a lease and have a place to move in to come Friday! We were terrified that that process was going to be painful and difficult but really, meh. Wasn't bad at all.

So all the major chores are taken care of, most in under 1 week. It's now time to kick back, make some friends and throw some proverbial shrimps on barbies (I'm just kidding, I hope to do that very literally).

I wouldn't say that the welcoming locals, ease of getting around or smooth transitioning has been my favorite part about living in Australia so far. No, my favorite part so far is realizing that I am not the fattest person here. I totally thought I would be but hey, they have KFC, McDonald's and "Hungry Jack's" (BK by another name), too.

I consider this a great personal success.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Home and Away*

First off, apologies for the crazy, random font changes in the previous post. I wrote the whole thing in Blogger and didn't fiddle with anything, so there's no excuse this time. i guess BLOGGER JUST THINKS it's COOL to do whatever IT WANTS withOUT my CONSENT. Got it.

We have now been on Australian soil for a week now and man does time fly. Mainly it flies because of exhaustion and jet lag and running around town like a chicken with your head cut off.

It's weird how jet lag affects people differently. For Martin it means he sleeps pretty much constantly, like an infant. I look over at him and he's randomly fallen asleep again, sitting in his high chair with his bib still on. For me, 4 hours a night from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. is more than sufficient. Which is so uncharacteristic, I have been known to nap three times in one day! Crossing the equator must alter your DNA, Jurassic Park-style. Bottom line is: jet lag is a biotch.

On Day 1 we immediately began our apartment hunt, which is the aforementioned running around like chickens with our head cut off. We picked the worst time of year to arrive, as the school year is just beginning and students are descending upon the city in search of the same type of accommodation as us (awesome location, reasonably priced, fully furnished). You have to view an apartment first, apply for it and show a ton of ID/documentation, then be accepted by the property management company before you can declare a place officially yours. So it's a good thing we have one thing that most students don't:

Cash money. Gobs and gobs of it. Obscene amounts, really.

Well, not really. But we kicked up our budget a little bit and it seemed like all the competition just melted away. It actually all came out in the wash because most buildings have a gym and a pool (A POOL, in your face northern dwelling suckers!) so we could shift some of our gym membership budget to rent. Believe it or not, despite our rotund appearances we do enjoy having access to a gym.

We spent Wednesday & Thursday frantically searching apartment ads, making appointments for viewings, attending viewings and submitting applications. So busy. I had a notebook chock full of addresses, phone numbers and appointment times that looked like Carrie's wall of batshit insanity on Homeland. It made sense to no one but me. But it paid off! We found a place!

On Thursday at 2 p.m. we viewed/applied for this place and at 11 a.m. Friday we got the call that we'd been approved! They were the first one to get back to us (out of 4 applications already submitted, and a few more waiting to be submitted). This place can only be described as "the pimpest place ever" so we decided to go for it! Cue the hugest sigh of relief I have breathed since Frankfurt.

We really had no choice but to take the first place offered to us. What if all the others rejected us? We are only on one income right now, so that might make us unattractive candidates (despite the fact that a fabulously paid job is no doubt just around the corner for me). Martin's company is putting us up in a "serviced apartment" for the first 2 weeks but after that our free ride is over. Once we move in to our own place sadly there will be nobody to change our towels and make our bed and do our dishes for us. I'm not entirely sure if we're supposed to do that last one ourselves, and I feel like a Grade A bourgeois asshole letting somebody else do them for me, but make no mistake I continue to let the maid do them.

I would like to bragmention one last thing: Not once have I lifted up the toilet seat to check for spiders before sitting down. Not once! But I do think about it each and every time I go and then I rush rush rush to get off of it because OMG what if there is a spider under there and it wants to touch me? That is a delicate area. I think I might start checking from now on so I can properly empty my bladder.

*bonus points to anybody who caught the clever Australia related title of this post.

Do You See What I See?

Alright, enough already with the daily play-by-plays. If I continue down that path it will quickly devolve in to the detailed findings of my scouring the internet for crockpot recipes and rants about the hipsters I see. Not a pretty sight. So I will take a step back to offer you all a broader view of my daily goings on. Musings, one might call it, if one were a ridiculously dressed hipster douche who really should lay off the ink because some day one might actually wish to hold down a job.

So! First impressions of Australia: Humid; urban; expensive. Though I can't extrapolate my findings to the wider Australian population, this is how I have found Brisbane to be thus far (except for the expensive part, this is an island after all so we're reaching Norway-level prices).

Here is a short list of things we have seen over the past 3.5 days of being here:

- A deceased, red cockroach lying on its back
I did not know they came in different colors

- An open home pregnancy test box in a mall bathroom
Unfortunately I didn't get to see the actual pee stick so I am now forced to live in suspense forever, which is really upsetting. Was it positive or negative?! Why was it taken in a mall?! Should we really trust women to have control over their own reproductive systems?! So many questions left unanswered. They will weigh on my mind for eternity.

- Kangaroo meat in a grocery store
Yay, it is easily accessible! I was worried that eating-kangaroo-is-totally-normal was an urban legend, like "the call is coming from inside the house" or Rick Santorum's heterosexuality.

- Parrots in the wild
Holy crap! I've only ever seen them as pets and in cages so I was surprised to see that they are actual wild animals. I don't know where the hell I expected them to come from, like parrots were created in a lab for the sole purpose of human companionship. I realize this makes me a sheltered idiot but I really get a kick out of seeing them in the wild, living a normal bird life. Well, not a normal bird life but rather a dignified bird life. I have yet to see a parrot trolling the gutter for french fries like the rest of their species.

- The absolute most shockingly huge produce in the world
GARGANTUAN is the only word I can use to explain the fruits and vegetables here. Avocados the size of a newborns head. Celery the length of my elbow to fingertips. Peaches the size of a Magic 8 Ball (the fortune telling kind, not the narcotic kind). A few examples, using my face for comparison purposes. A huge-ass lettuce:

And a huge-ass sweet potato:

Isn't Australia great for my look? I'm sweaty, sunburned and posing with an edible phallus. I have never been more glamorous. Somebody alert Robin Leach (provided he is still alive).

I wonder if you still need to eat "5 a day" when the produce is so big? If you do you might be the first person in history to get fat from eating a zero calorie food. It's taking quite some time for me to get over just how big it is.

- The healthiest, happiest most satisfied looking pigeons (and bums) I have ever seen
Literally, the pigeons glisten. They are actually attractive. They don't look like they have mange. I don't know what it is they are eating but, like the parrots, the pigeons must be living a dignified bird life because they don't look like disgusting rats with wings like they do everywhere else in the world.

The same goes for the bums on the street (of which they are very few). They seem cheerful and smiling, and usually have a great pair of tan, muscular legs. They don't look too different from surfer dudes, the only difference being bums are missing a tiny logo on the breast pocket of their flannel shirt to indicate the price point of the garment. Otherwise, they're virtually identical.

And finally:

-The genuinely most friendly, laid back people I have ever encountered
When talking with a rental agency on the phone a woman actually said "shit yeah" in response to a question I had. On a business phone call at her job. I suspect this woman had boundary issues (and/or diarrhea of the mouth) but on the whole people don't seem to be so uptight and formal about things. I'm not saying they're unprofessional or incompetent, they just get the job done without a stick up their ass.

Initially I thought that people really liked us because of how well we were treated. But then it struck me that they probably don't give a fat turd about us personally, they're just really, really friendly to everyone they encounter.

Hey, I'll take that. I think this is going to be an awesome two years.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Greatest Airport Ever

I need to make one thing clear right off the bat. Singapore's Changi airport is not to be confused with the rapper Chingy (warning: MySpace link, probably not safe for work or human dignity), whose 2003 musical number "Right Thurr" will inevitably lead him to a future stint on a VH1 "celebrity" "reality" "TV show".

So as to avoid confusion and stay true to my word, the airport will simply be referred to as The Greatest Airport Ever. TGAE, for short, trademark me, 2012.

Upon arriving at TGAE we headed straight to take a shower, which you can totally do! I'm sure this is a standard service at all international airports but this is the first time I've long hauled it long enough to actually utilize such a service. For $8 Singapore dollars you get all the hot water and athlete's foot you can handle. Eeeew, I forgot to pack flip flops in my carry-on. I wasn't about to shower in knee high boots so I'm just waiting to pay dearly for that mistake. It felt awesome.

After a quick 6 a.m. meal of spicy Thai green curry it was time for a stroll through the butterfly garden, yaaaaaay! I don't know what sorcery is afoot in that place but damn, putting a butterfly garden in an airport makes travelers a lot less grumpy and introverted than usual. Maybe it was only me squeeling like a stuck pig saying "Look at that butterfly!" every 4 seconds but I really felt a lot better about my existence on this planet by being surrounded by butterflies in an unlikely place.

One landed on Martin's arm but it flew away before he got a picture of it. One touched my head, but I didn't see it. The highlight for me were the rings of pineapple laying around, where butterflies would land and rub their unidentifiable butterfly parts in the sweet juicy fruit. Yeah...this story is turning out to be not as interesting as I imagined. But make no mistake, it kicked ass. I highly recommend you make a trip through it if you ever find yourself at TGAE.

By this point jet lag, exhaustion and lack of ownership over the movement of my own body was starting to make me loopy. Remember that funny YouTube video of the kid drugged up from the dentist asking "Is this real life?" Well I was wondering the same thing myself. I imagine it being the same feeling as having a newborn. Except when traveling for countless hours, it's not someone else I need to worry about having a disastrous incident involving bodily functions.

This was 2 days ago and I literally don't remember most of the flight from Singapore to Brisbane. I was out. of. it and slept a lot. I remember there was a baby on board and I only heard it cry a little bit during take off and landing. I should keep little Parents of the Year trophies in my carry-on for just such occasions. I made it through 2/3 of Tina Fey's Bossypants, for the second time, which, I'm going to call it right now, is my favorite (non-fiction) book ever. I could never cheat on my dead, elderly lover Kurt Vonnegut and declare it the number one #1 but man, it is SO GOOD!

I want Tina Fey to consume me but not kill me so I can live within her and be surrounded by her amazingness. I say that as un-creepily as possible. I love that book. I demand you all purchase and read it immediately, if you are to remain worthy of reading this dog and pony show blog I've got going here.

We got to Australia (early, even - Singapore Airlines is an absolutely awesome airline). The immigration agent did not ask us one single question about why we were entering, despite there being no sticker in our passports to indicate our legality. Our luggage got on the carousel immediately and the sniffer dog detected no illegal contraband in our luggage (whew!). We were out in the Australian 78-and-humid night within 25 minutes of leaving the plane. Gold star for Bisbane Airport. It is no TGAE but they get you in and out with minimal fuss.

We had pre-booked a van to take us to our temporary apartment and we zipped right on in to town and got checked in to our apartment by the friendliest Aussie stoner one could ever hope to meet. He gave us 24 hours of internet for free, a $20 value (extortion!) and has since let me copy and scan stuff for free. To quote a fine poet I cannot exactly remember:

"I like the way you do that right thurr (right thurr)"

For as long as we have this apartment (max 2 weeks) my only wish is to party with Patrick the reception guy. So help me god I'm going to make it happen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

All for Naught

For starters, sorry about the font change in the previous post. Let this be a demonstration of my frugality. I started writing that post in Open Office, since buying internet at our serviced apartment isn't cheap. Also, I use Open Office because I am too cheap to shell out for a Microsoft Office package, even when I could've got it for £20 as a student.

Now where were we on our epic journey? Ah yes, we miraculously made it to Frankfurt and had lots of butt space to spare on the flight to Singapore because so many of our compatriots didn't get to Frankfurt in time to make their connection.

We were informed that our scheduled 12 hour flight would only take 11 hours, 25 minutes (holler!). The food was surprisingly decent and, I get such a kick out of Asian airlines, they actually give you a menu of your options. A menu! On an airplane! How deliciously posh (note: we were in cattle class).

After I had consumed my required 500 grams of carbs it was time to get down to business, by which of course I mean snuggle up and watch the hours and hours of amazing programming I had stored on my computer. It must be noted here that my laptop is an HP and, as such, is a giant turd. The battery is completely dead so it has to be plugged in at all times if it is expected to function. My laptop has a British plug, which no place on the damn planet uses except that tiny island, so it's good thing I have this handy dandy little plug converter:

It allows you to go from any type of plug-in to any type of plug-in, which is a necessity for me because I have no less than three countries worth of electrical equipment. This baby is the best $30 I ever spent at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport - Charles Lindbergh terminal (and I have never met a burrito I could resist, so I've spent a lot of $30 there).

Except this baby doesn't have a third prong grounding! And the plug-in on the aircraft (A380-800, double decker jet, of which we were upper deck passengers) require a third prong grounding! My laptop won't work! For the entire flight!

I was going to insert a picture of the Golden Girls weeping here, but I found this image instead and thought it was much more apropo:

But really I was more sad than mad. Then I realized the in-flight entertainment system was pretty darn sweet, and have now developed a new found love for Modern Family.

All's well that ends well.

I wasn't planning on sleeping on Long Haul Flight #1 since I'd have all of Long Hall Flight #2 to do that (not to mention my hours upon hours of amazing entertainment reserved for LHF1). But then I realized I had 2 seats to myself (3, actually, since there were only 2 of us in my row, book ending a row of 4 seats).

After my carbo load and a few LOLz I decided to curl up with the various unused pillows and blankets that surrounded me and laid down for a good 4 or 5 hour nap. I had been up since 6 a.m. after all, and after hours of white knuckled, sphincter clenching tension at the Oslo airport I was ready for some snoozing.

The rest of the flight was uneventful. I watched One Day, which I really want to read, but I was pretty meh about Anne Hathaway's British accent. On several occasions I caught it slipping into Scottish territory, and since a few scenes were set in Edinburgh I didn't understand if she was meant to be Scottish or English, which believe me, is a very big deal. I spent a year in Edinburgh. I know these things.

*flips hair*

And for the record, yes I cried. It's not the first time I've cried over a movie on an airplane and it won't be the last. Boo hoo, life is hard for rich white people.

I would like to make a special shout out to Singapore Airlines for their seriously delicious breakfast selection of beef and noodles. Noodles for breakfast you say, how curious. I guess it's an Asian tradition but holy smokes was that good (the beef at least, the noodles did little more than add to my obesity-slash-carbo-count). I would order that beef at a restaurant. I would pay $15 for a plate of that beef.

I have shitty taste in food, clearly. What of it. I'll take my airplane beef over filet mignon any day.

A good chunk of time ahead of schedule we arrived at Singapore Changi airport, which will henceforth be known as The Greatest Airport Ever. It has a butterfly garden in it, people - a butterfly garden!

More on that in the next post. Spoiler alert: a butterfly touched my head! Yipee!

A Harrowing Tale of Airporting

The aforementioned 27 hours of travel did not take into account waiting at the Oslo airport for hours, praying to the sweet baby Jesus that our flight would actually take off. Adding this in, our total travel time was closer to 30 hours. I will not include our stay at the airport hotel in our total travel time because that was a pretty sweet stay, albeit lacking a much wanted bathtub.

So the following posts make sense, our flights were:

1. Oslo to Frankfurt

2. Frankfurt to Singapore

3. Singapore to Brisbane

We awoke at 5 a.m. on Monday for our 7:40 first flight. There were ground crew strikes at the Frankfurt airport the previous Thursday and Friday, which resulted in me threatening bodily harm on anybody who dares strike and interrupt my travel plans come Monday.

There were strikes come Monday.

Shit shit shit shit shit.

We were flying SAS from Oslo to Frankfurt, and several Lufthansa flights before and after ours were already cancelled by the time we got to the airport, pre-6 a.m. Not a good sign.

Shit shit shit shit shit.

We checked in our luggage and, at that point, all was well with our flight. Bonus points for us, both our suitcases came in 2 kg under weight.

It should be mentioned that when we realized there were strikes at Frankfurt we decided to go straight to the airport and forego the hotel breakfast, which I had been really looking forward to. As I have mentioned before, hotel breakfasts in Scandinavia are a true delicacy. My belly was too filled with fear and loathing to fill it with meatballs. Sad times.

As we waited for the flight to Frankfurt (or the ball to drop) the flight time changed from 7:40 to 8:30, chopping our leisurely two hour layover in Frankfurt down to one not-so-breezy hour. And that's assuming the flight wasn't delayed even further.

Shit shit shit shit shit.

But there were no further delays! We got boarded on the plane to Frankfurt in record time and were informed that our travel time was a good half hour less than planned. Sweet! But one caveat: It would take 55 minutes before we were allowed to take off. Turning our not-so-breezy hour layover in to no-chance-in-hell-your-ass-is-stuck-in-Frankfurt-for-at-least-ten-hours wait.

Shit shit shit shit shit.

At this time I feel it's appropriate to bring up my belief in “travel karma”. Whenever I see someone running at an airport or train station, I don't giggle and say “sucks to be you, sucka” or wish them ill. I physically send out karma vibes to them, however that's possible, so they don't miss their plane or train. I root so hard for that person to make their transport, in the hopes that I am rewarded in the future when I am in need of good karma.

And rewarded I was. We only had to sit on the tarmac for about a half hour, rather than the expected hour. If the plane landed on time (it did) and we got offboard (is that a thing?) in a timely manner (we did) and the immigration control lines weren't hellacious (they weren't) we'd make our flight to Singapore (we did).

When booking our journey we had two options of routing within Europe: Frankfurt or London Heathrow. It is my goal in life (no kidding; italics warranted) to never, ever, ever fly through Heathrow, the global clusterfuck of world transport. Plus, those British bastards strike all. the. time. No way was I choosing them over practical, efficient, obedient Germans.

How wrong I was.

We are very lucky to have made that connection, but many of our travel companions were not so lucky, which resulted in both of us having 2 seats to ourselves. Hahaha, sucks to be you, suckas! More space for us.

And that, folks, is an example of bad travel karma. Next time I go anywhere I'm screwed because I relished in the misery of others. The karma gods giveth, and the karma gods taketh away. Such is life.

An entire blog post and we've barely made it 2% in to the 30 hour journey. I'll save the rest for later. This 9 hour time difference ain't fun.

*faints dramatically on to couch*

Friday, February 17, 2012

27 Hours to Kill

The upcoming flight to Australia is, to put it mildly, a long one. Twice as long as I've ever flown before.


And by flight I mean three flights (2 hours 10 minutes + 12 hours + 8 hours 10 minutes and that's not counting layovers). So I've gotten busy gathering shows and movies on iTunes, the totally legal entertainment downloading system that I pay for. Yes...iTunes, I'll go with that explanation.

Here is a glimpse of the super amazing, sometimes embarrassing, often woefully outdated entertainment that I plan to enjoy while rubbing my ass back to life after it fell asleep. wake it from sleeping, I'll go with that explanation.

Will & Grace
Easy, easy, easily my favorite show of all time. Mainly because of Jack and Karen and the hilarity that they bring to the table, but uptight Will and harpy Grace will always have a special place in my heart.

That is...unless stupid sucky Leo is on screen ruining the entire show. In the words of the great Karen Walker, "He's dull, he's ugly and he don't make me laugh". Truer words have never been spoken! Leo ruined Will & Grace.

I don't find Harry Connick, Jr. unattractive but I loathe him on a personal level for taking my favorite show, the most hilarious awesome show of all time, and making it straight up suck. His character was clearly forced by the writers, having no chemistry with Grace and throwing off the mood and charm of the entire show. Usually this means I am forced to spend my Will & Grace energies on the first 4 seasons before Suckface McSuckerton shows up, but I will be feasting on season 7 during my travels, conveniently when Grace & Leo were divorced because he cheated on her which, eventually, Grace is totally cool with.

What the ever loving HELL?!?!?! Worst. Character. EVER!

There are precious few topics I am more passionate about than Leo's stupid appearance ruining Will & Grace. I could be fighting for human rights, or social justice, or environmental protection but nope, I use the fire that burns within me to bitch about a shitty character on a TV show that ended half a decade ago. If you hadn't guessed already, this planet is doomed. So let's move on to the next tasty morsel of entertainment.

Sex & the City
I purposely am using this old, grainy picture of the S&TC girls because I'm a sucker for nostalgia. I will be watching season 4, which aired in 2001/2002 which - holy shit - was a decade ago.

In this season Carrie is on-again-off-again with Aiden, whom I also have beef with for creating the Aiden (and general Hayden/Jayden/Schmlayden) baby naming craze of the early 00's. Painfully annoying, yes, but not enough to make me loathe the individual portraying the character (may you burn in hell, Harry Connick, Jr.).

Sam begins her relationship with Richard Wright, Charlotte's marriage to Trey MacViagara spirals down the toilet and Miranda gets knocked up by a bar keep. While the rest of America was busy giving their children ridiculous names life went on all hunky dory for the girls - until tragedy struck eight short years later.

That tragedy, of course, being that steaming pile of a movie they came out with to wring an extra buck out of the franchise. Kindly note that I am referring to the first movie here, not the second. I didn't even bother watching the sequel to the sequel for fear of permanent brain damage.

In the desperately-seeking-profit world of Sex & the City World Charlotte magically becomes fertile after years of infertility (which I predicted the second the movie was announced, *yawn*) and Miranda gets cheated on by the bar keep who knocked her up. Naturally, she was totally cool with this.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, what the ever loving HELL?!?!?!

At that point my brain shut off from what was happening on the screen, erased the previous 2 hours and the four girls will forever live in my mind as they did at the end of the glorious, magnificent, perfect series finale. Shitty movies? What shitty movies?

Groundhog Day
Should I be embarrassed to admit that I've never seen this movie? It's got quite a cult following and it was recently the sacred holiday of Groundhogs Day so I figured, why not? I'll be stuck in a metal tube for over a day so why not catch up on some classics that I missed.

I could write a book on the number of classics I have missed, as you will see.

Four Weddings & a Funeral (never seen) was on TV the other week, which got me thinking, what in the hell happened to Andie MacDowell's career? Let this be a lesson, Katherine-Reese-Jennifer-Sarah Jessica. The second that hot body of yours slips is the second the casting agents stop knocking on your door. Enjoy being insufferable on screen while you can, as it won't last forever.

How have I never seen Armageddon?! I don't know, especially when the name practically guarantees that I will love it. If the world is ending on film, there is no doubt I will enjoy watching it on screen. Bonus points for hoards of terrified citizens running in a single direction down the street.

Ahh, 1998. President Clinton was getting a little on the side, the Europeans devised this crazy currency called the €uro and the world was introduced to the greatest technological advancement of all time (bar none), Windows 98. Meanwhile, I was too busy wallowing in teenage angst to get to a cinema and see the freaking blockbuster of the year. I shall remedy this soon.

And last but not least we have:

Air Crash Investigation
I am told this show is called Mayday in the US. Semantics aside, it is a show about um, air crashes. And their investigations. And it is amazing.

"Watching a show about air crashes while on an airplane - why that's insanity!" you might be saying to yourself. But you know what? Because of that show I am 110% unafraid to fly. Every single crash, nay, every single "incident", regardless of how minor, receives YEARS of mind numbingly intense study and results in industry-wide changes to prevent future bad things from happening. Every incident improves the safety of air transport so by my calculations, in another 50 years the entire industry should be accident proof (I say that in jest, but for reals, it's super safe).

Plus, with my hardcore studying of Air Crash Investigation-slash-Mayday episodes I know the best ways to survive a plane crash. So if I ever happen to go down you damn well better believe my ass is going to survive. I bet you can't say that.

+1 for me, +1 for survival.

Don't think for one second I wouldn't crawl over your scorched corpse en route to my nearest exit, taking note that it may be behind me.

The above programming is, I'm sure, a solid 27 hours worth of entertainment but rest assured I have plenty more than that loaded up and ready to go. Shout out to the Airbus A380 for having electricity plug-ins at each seat, which makes all this entertainment possible.

I'd like to send an additional shout out to booze and pills which, when all else fails, will sedate me for 9,576 miles of travel.