Saturday, December 15, 2012

Men on Film

First off, if you get the title of this post you are my new BFF.

Men on Film was a reoccurring skit on the best sketch comedy show ever, In Living Color (sorry, SNL).  When I was ten I wanted to be a fly girl (where J.Lo got her start, FYI) and it was the closest I had been to a black person up to that point in my life.  I loved it, and I'd like to thank my parents for allowing me to watch such wildly age inappropriate programming.  A+ parenting that I intend to emulate if I ever have kids.

But this post is not about the glories of early 90's urban TV or the genius of the Wayans brothers.  It is about movies.  Australian movies, on which I have a lot of catching up to do.

A Cry in the Dark

Not ringing any bells?

                "The dingo ate my baby!"

How about now?  Yes, that's the one!

I caught this on TV, but the listing said it was called "Evil Angels".  That's the name it had in Australia and New Zealand, and that title makes no. freaking. sense.  There's nobody (or nothing) evil in this movie, nor are there any angels.  A Cry in the Dark makes much more sense because the whole movie is based around.....a cry in the dark.

The movie is true life case of the Chamberlain family who were camping in the Outback in 1980.  Their 9-week old baby Azaria disappeared from their tent, presumably taken by a dingo, but the family was immediately presumed guilty of wrongdoing in the court of public opinion.

They found most (but not all) of the clothes the baby was wearing in the Outback, soaked in blood, but never found the body.  So, naturally, ritualistic religious sacrifice was the easiest assumption to make.

The mother, played by Meryl Streep, was locked up for a lot of the 80's for the "murder of her child".  Only when they found a jacket the baby was wearing inside a dingo den did anybody consider that maybe the dingo did take the baby, and human sacrifice didn't really happen.

It was a surprisingly good movie, and a historical view in to the hugest course case/murder mystery of Australian history.  Meryl pulled off a decent Australian accent if I do say so myself, but didn't actually ever say the words "the dingo ate my baby".  She said, "The dingo's got my baby", which begs the question: Who in their right goddamn mind would take a 9-week-old child camping?  In a tent?  Where there are wild animals?

Hmm....on a scale of letting your kid watch bad TV to turning them in to dingo feed, I say my parents erred on the side of caution.

The rest of these movies are ones I want to see, but have not yet.  It'll be quick, as I don't know too awful much about them, and I'm using this post as a list I can reference in the future.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

If you hadn't noticed already by my prepubescent love of Men on Film, I love me some gays.  And nobody's gayer than a drag queen.

Which is what Priscilla is all about.

One of my favorite movies of all time is To Wong Foo, an American drag queen roadtrip movie.  I expect this movie to be almost exactly the same as that.  However nobody could ever be as fabulous as these queens:

Muriel's Wedding

I only know 2 things about his movie: It's a chick flick haters chick flick (a la Love Actually) and it has ABBA music.

Epic win!  Must see.

It stars Toni Collette, who I legit did not know was Australian until embarrassingly recently.  She's what I like to call a "clandestine foreigner".  An actor or actress who is so good at their American accent, and acts in so many American shows, you don't even know they're not American.  See also: Anthony LaPaglia, Hugh Laurie and Damian Lewis.  The foreigners are invading our shores!  And we don't even know it.

Mad Max

All I know about this movie is it is set in post-apocalyptic Australia, and I looooove post-apocalyptic movies.  It stars Mel Gibson before he was famous and before he was an anti-Semitic asshole, so it will be fun to see him so young, nubile and not-yet-Jew hating.

Crocodile Dundee

This can hardly be classified as an "Australian movie" but it's a shame I've never seen it.

So on the To See list it goes!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

On Oz

Save for a brief spell in the motherland, I've spent the last nine solid months on this isolated island.  In this short gestational time period I've done two random observation posts (here and here) and it's about damn time I do one more.

It's fun, you learn something, and I look wise like Yoda.  Enjoy it you will I hope.

I'm pretty sure Brisbane at one time housed Jurassic Park.

What else could explain this structure?

A bar is called a "hotel".

It often looks like this (unfortunately not all have the gay pride flag flying out front):

I imagine this makes it difficult for out-of-towners to book a place to stay (you know, a freaking hotel) since regular sleeping hotels are also called hotels.

There's often several bars under one roof of a hotel, so you can drink from different establishments without ever having to move seats.  A genius idea to be sure, just a confusing name.

Birds are murderously aggressive here.

I noticed a ton of bikers with zip ties sticking out of their helmet, like this:

I thought they did it just for funsies or to be fashionable or something, but it turns out it's to protect birds from swooping down and attacking their head.  

Now, these birds (magpies) exist in Norway but I don't recall any tales of bird-on-human crime.  I don't know how vicious the attacks are (Are eyes pecked?  Could they even do that to a moving target?) but it's apparently serious enough of a problem for people to bike around with spikes sticking out of their head.

What the eff, Australian fauna.

Australians are nuts - nuts - about their coffee.

You've never met a race of people so snooty about their coffee.  It's like the French and their wine, with 30% more snoot and 60% less body odor.

Secret code words and elitism surround the humble coffee bar in Australia.  Ordering from one is not for the faint of heart, so here is a handy ordering guide for those new to the game (but beware, the game is a blood sport):

Flat white: Steamed milk over espresso

Long black: Espresso + water, somehow different from an Americano

Short black: Just espresso, but Australians are too damn fancy about their coffee to simply call it espresso

God help you if you order "just a coffee".  There's no such thing and your request will not compute.  You might get laughed out of the joint or detained by authorities.

They're serious about their coffee, yo.

Eew, bugs.

The other day a cockroach fell from the ceiling on to my colleague's head.

Again, what the eff, Australian fauna!

When you're biotching about your below zero temperatures repeat after me: "At least there are not cockroaches falling on my head".

I can't afford this shit.

Seriously, the cost of living here is off the chain.  This is just one (albeit egregious) example.  Salaries are good, yes, but a large portion of my soul died when I saw avocados that cost $4 a piece.

I mean it, I can't afford this shit.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wedding Bells

I am six years older than my baby sister; she's 23, I'm 29.  There are three of us girls, so when the elder two don't appear to give a rat's ass about marriage you inevitably wind up with the youngest one getting married first.

"But how do you feel about it, Heidi?" I so often got asked before the wedding.  Like I was supposed to mourn the fact that the baby beat me to the altar.  To which I responded, "I feel real good about it, thankyouverymuch."

My hitched sister Jenna is, proudly, the country bumpkin of the family.  Hell, of the upper Midwest, even.  Horses, livestock, the whole nine yards. While I enjoy the occasional foray in to the agricultural life (ahem, livestock shit smell lover over here) I am no country girl.

And do you know what country girls do?  They get married at age 23.

And I feel real good about that, thankyouverymuch.

The ceremony and reception were held at a really cool venue, Usher's House, on the banks of the Red River.  The only downside being that it is located in Moorhead, Minnesota.

I effing hate Moorhead, Minnesota.

After a disastrous freshman year of college spent there I vowed never spend more time in Moorhead than it takes me to zip through the interstate on my way through.  Oh, the things we do for family!  Usher's House, though, is a really nice place that gets a free too-bad-you're-located-in-a-sucky-city pass from me.

The wedding day was unseasonably freezing cold.  I felt bad for Jenna because she had to rejig all her plans, because you literally could not be outside for more than 5 minutes without wanting to pee our pants, just to feel some warmth.  The guests had to smush inside for the ceremony, but the fall colors still shone through and all was well.

We couldn't take many pictures outside, either, because the wind was blowing so bad.  Unsurprisingly, the two days after the wedding were beautiful, season-appropriate fall days.  Screw you, Mother Nature.

You read that right: PHOTO BOOTH!  Holler!

I maintain that there is nothing funner in this world when you're drunk than a photo booth.  I made great use of one at Martin's company ball a few months ago, and I showed Jenna's wedding booth the same level of disrespect. So. Much. Fun.

This was my first flight between the USA and Australia, which means I had the distinct pleasure of taking the longest flight of my life.  In fact, it is one of the longest flights available in the whole entire world, and I had two other flights to bookend The Big One.  Fifteen hours!  If I ever hear someone complain about their 8-hour flight again so help me god, I will cut a bitch.

Amazingly, though, it really wasn't that bad.  My secret?  Booze and pills.  The 'ol Marilyn Monroe special.  Take 1 glass of wine + 2 sleeping pills with dinner, put on your eye mask and noise cancelling headphones, and off to medically sedated sleepy land you go.  I slept the vast majority of the way over the Pacific ocean, which I hadn't realized is like freaking double the size of the Atlantic.  There's a reason Americans don't say "across the pond" about Australia, the way they do about the UK.  Australia is on the goddamn other side of the planet, while the UK is, like, just down the block.

As with all of my trips home my absolute favorite part is spending time with my niece Brynn.  She's 7 years old now, but when I moved abroad she was only 2.  The first time I came home after moving overseas she didn't recognize me or know who I was, which sucked royally, but she sure knows who I am now.  I'm the one who did this to her when she was at her most innocent and vulnerable:

And I'm the one who does this to her now:

Why bother having children if they're not going to entertain you, I ask?!

Which reminds me...

Dear Jenna,

Please make me some nieces or nephews ASAP so I can do hilarious stuff to them as well.  Please!

Thanks, love you, bye.