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theZEBRA
just spent the weekend at the army barracks
Is Chewing On
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Everything in Transit
Jack's Mannequin
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Songs of the Plains
Family Court

One would be in less danger
From the wiles of a stranger
If one's own kin and kith
Were more fun to be with.

Ogden Nash
Deadly Animals (Come to Australia)
Tuesday. 11.7.06 10:57 am
We're in the shade, taking a break from kungfu drills. He's on his back with an arm thrown over his eyes and I'm sitting about three feet away, wishing that I hadn't thrown myself down so carelessly. If I move closer, will it be too obvious? What if I squeal at an imaginary beetle and jump away from it (and incidentally closer to him)? No, I don't want to seem too girly. Maybe if I subtly scoot closer, millimetre by millimetre…

"How would you like to learn to surf?"

My concentration is broken and my little toe stops in its 1mm journey towards my Kungfu Instructor. "Ugk?" My response is all eloquence.

"Well, I might go surfing this weekend or the next with a couple of mates. But if you like, I could teach you to surf instead," he elaborates.

"Yeah, I could be up for it," I reply after a bit of pretend consideration. KI in boardies. KI in boardies and no shirt. KI in boardies and no shirt, and dripping wet. Hmm, big decision there.

We lapse back into a comfortable silence. I'm torn between resuming my eventual migration westwards and examining the freckles on his arm (from behind my sunnies). They're fascinating. They're not a 'constellation' as some have charmingly named freckles. The explosion looks like someone carrying a bucket of freckles had tripped and upended it all over KI's arm. I wonder, how far do the freckles extend?

"…sharks."

"Mmh… Sharks?" I snap out of my reverie.

"Yeah, my mate reckons he saw one the last time we surfed. We shot out of the water pretty quickly, haha."

"Do you…do you think we'll see a shark?"

"Who knows? Maybe we won't even get to see it before…" he tails off with a wicked grin.

I take my sunnies off and stare at him in alarm.

"And I once had a huge stingray swim towards me."

Steve Irwin. My eyeballs threaten to pop out.

"But I reckon the ones you gotta watch out for are the jellyfish," he continues. "Those can hurt."

"Are they lethal?" I squeak.

"Only the box jellyfish. You won't even make it to shore if you get stung. So you definitely wanna watch out for those. Then again, their tentacles can stretch out so far that you can't actually see the jellyfish."

By now, he's nearly shaking with laughter at the horror on my face.

"And they're practically invisible."

I chuck a pinecone at him. The things I put up with when I like someone.

________________________________________________________________


This is art



Nic wished that we had eaten dinner after the pride parade

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I'm Seeing Double
Saturday. 2.18.06 10:22 pm
I have not spent any of the last six nights sober.

Australia may be a bad influence.

I shall update (and reply) when my hand-eye-keyboard coordination has returned to normal again. If ever.

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It's WAR
Friday. 2.10.06 1:47 pm
I’m in luck.

For the past week, Housemate P and I had been silently warring. It was a battle of wills, fierce and intense. But I prevailed, because the loser had to take out the trash.

When I first moved in on Monday, the garbage bin in the kitchen was already full. An empty Absolut bottle sat a good four inches above the brim, proclaiming itself as King of the heap. Obviously, HP would empty the bin soon, because nothing in it belonged to me.

I was wrong. A carton of chopped spinach and a Coke bottle soon joined the Absolut. Then an egg carton, a milk bottle and a greasy paper bag that used to contain pie. By Wednesday, we had to whisper in the kitchen, because anything louder would cause an avalanche of trash.

“The bin,” I whispered to HP when we bumped into each other by the fridge. “It’s rather full, isn’t it?”

“Hmm.”

“What do you think we should do about it?”

“Well,” he tossed at me challengingly. “I reckon someone should take it outside.”

“Hmm. Someone should.”

That night, the kitchen stank of the remains of someone’s vindaloo dinner. He was obviously trying to pong me into submission. Well, two could play at that game. I popped open an expired can of tuna that had been left in the cupboard and dumped it (carefully) onto the pile.

By Thursday, no one could cook in the kitchen. Or rather, HP couldn’t cook, while I couldn’t heat up a frozen pie in the oven. I was beginning to regret the tuna. But there was no way I would lose. Because the one who backed down would obviously be forced to assume the role of Janitor for the rest of the year. And if he thought that I was gonna be cleaning up after him, he was sadly, fucking mistaken.

This morning, I was awoken by someone dragging and thumping suitcases into the previously empty room next to mine. A new housemate. Curses.

About an hour later, I walked into the kitchen to find HP staring in astonishment at an empty garbage bin. He looked up as I approached, “Did you…?”

“Nope.”

We grinned at each other. We had found our Janitor.

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Westralian Mishaps
Wednesday. 2.8.06 1:10 pm
I was told that I would be bored to tears in Perth. The Melburnians said so and the Sydneysiders said so. And when even the Adelaidians looked at me with pity in their eyes, I resigned myself to a year of Sudoku and Futurama videos.

But I seem to have been worried over nothing. If the past couple of days were anything to go by, Perth promises to be quite an eventful village city. In this short period of time, I’ve already managed to:
  • Lock myself out of the house
    The front door is equipped with one of those secure locks – the sort that can only be opened by a coded metal tag – to keep out the plebs. Unfortunately, there’s also a trick to opening it, and I was somewhat distracted (i.e. too caught up admiring my reflection in the glass) when the lock mechanism was explained to me. It took a good half hour of running around with a threateningly full bladder before I finally found someone to let me into the house (and the loo).

  • Trap myself in the computer lab
    I was exploring the campus and thought I’d try out one of the computers. The thing is, I needed to swipe a student card to get in and I didn’t have one yet. Nothing to worry about as I simply slipped in after someone else. But what I didn’t know was that I needed to swipe out as well. When I finally got up to leave, the only other person in the lab had already disappeared (inconsiderate little shit). I had to hammer on the glass window till some guy noticed me from the outside. I just hope he’s not a Psych student too.

  • Set fire to my first self-cooked dinner
    How was I to know that fried steak’s so flammable? Lucky it happened in Wombat’s kitchen and not mine, since there’s a $300 fine for setting off the smoke alarm in my house. Note to self: blowing on a flaming pan only makes it worse.

  • Be groped by some perv on a bicycle
    In hindsight, “Dammit, he's ugly” should probably not have been my initial reaction.

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To-do List (Things, Not People)
Friday. 1.13.06 11:25 am
Only about three weeks (+2 days) now till I leave for Perth.

So that's 23 days to:

  • Learn how to cook without setting fire to the kitchen.
    Not that I don't know how already. But it's probably a good idea to be able to whip up something that's actually edible. *Flashes back to the time she tried making Fettucine Carbonara and how it ended up looking, smelling, and tasting like a volleyball-sized chunk of burnt bacon, disintegrated noodles, and white gunk, mainly because it was.*

  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher.
    See above.

  • Make sense of the different settings on a washing machine.
    They do have different settings, I assume?

  • Ditto for an iron.
    But this ought to be as easy as a teenage slut. After all, I did manage to iron two shirts last month. Without incident. *Preens*

  • Eat.
    To think I'll be forced to part with my favourite foods for a whole year. The thought is so upsetting that I cried tears of sorrow into my pan mee this afternoon.

  • Download enough tv shows and films to keep me occupied when the shops close at FRIGGIN' 5PM(!).
    It's inhumane the way Australia limits monthly downloads. I'll need care packages sent in somehow from KL's dvd shops.

  • Spend as much time with Pukeyface as possible.
    Being the old-ish fart that she is, I wouldn't put it past her to bite it while I'm away. I'm not sure what I'd do then. Probably get a new dachshund. But tears will be shed. For the first two minutes anyway.

  • Sort out what to pack.
    I honestly don't know what the hell they're trying to prove by setting just a 30kg limit. Packing for a week alone takes up 27.5kg. And it wasn't like I needed jackets to go to the beach.

Maybe I should just get a live-in boyfriend to handle the first four items.

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Hic!
Sunday. 2.26.06 4:42 pm
So it's been a week since my last post. It would've been a longer hiatus, if it weren't for Jay and Katy (*salutes them*), and the fact that classes start tomorrow and so everyone's been given a day off to sober up.

And since I cannot pinpoint anything specific (the brain's still a bit sluggish...might be withdrawal symptoms), I'm just gonna give you random tidbits. Unless you'd rather I give you a minute-by-minute account of making my own bed for the first time (and that's a whole lot of minutes, my friend).

__________________________________________________________


I'm going to start a toilet rating system soon. Over the past couple of weeks, I've gotten to know some pretty well...too well, as certain people have pointed out after having to forcibly separate us. Points will be awarded for proximity, ease of access, comfort (e.g. bathmats = gentler on the knees), hygiene, availability of tissue/toilet paper, and traffic.

__________________________________________________________


Spiders are not your friends here. And you should always check the walls and toilet before you drop your pants.

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I wake up with a fresh bruise every morning. And I don't know how I get them.

__________________________________________________________


The washing machines and dryers should be clearly marked as such. Really, you can't blame first-timers for loading washing powder into the dryer.

__________________________________________________________


One annoying thing about being a small female in a land of rugby lads is that I tend to get treated like a stuffed toy. I've lost count of the number of times I've been picked up (literally), and tossed over a shoulder or carried around like a kid. And it's not like I can run away, since they have the advantage of longer legs. Granted, it's nice to be carried to my room when I'm too pissed lazy to walk. But dammit, drunk guys are not the best at judging spatial distance! Those walls/doorframes/pillars/tree branches hurt!!

__________________________________________________________


The on-campus accommodation's got a good location. Just a four-minute walk from the supermarket and pub. Which means that at the pub's closing time (midnight, can you believe it?! Aussie slackers...), there're always a number of shopping trolleys lying around, waiting to cart intoxicated people home. The important thing to remember is not to let an equally intoxicated person do the carting. It's a good thing there was grass at the bottom of the slope when Paddy decided to push me home one day.

__________________________________________________________


Actually, I think I have a pretty good idea of where these bruises came from.

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Blubber
Friday. 4.21.06 11:28 pm
I have something to confess. I was terrified of coming to Australia. Let me explain why.

It’s true that people are bound to change after they’ve been away for some time. Nothing wrong there, that’s just the way it is. But when most of my friends came home after a stint in Oz, I just wasn’t prepared for how much change they had gone through.* About 10 kilos worth (the wrong way) each, to be precise.

These were the ones who, during lunch, used to argue over who was tubbier –

Anorexic: Oh, I can’t possibly eat this fried chicken.
Bulimic: Why not?
Anorexic: I’m fat.
Bulimic: You’re fat?! If you’re fat, what am I?!
Anorexic: What are you talking about? You’re so thin! I’m fat!
Bulimic: No, I’m fat!!
Anorexic: NO, I AM!
Bulimic: You’re just being nice. *Bursts into tears*
Me: If you’re not gonna eat that, can I have it?

What happened? While it’s great that fried drumsticks don’t send them screaming into the other room anymore, devouring a whole KFC bucket in one sitting isn’t a sign of good mental health either!

But maybe I was too quick to judge. What if the same thing happened to me once I set foot on Aussie soil? Bad enough that my old school teachers smirked at me when I went back for a visit – “Wahhh, you’re such a BIG girl now.” What if I turned into a bloody hippopotamus?!

So you can understand the turmoil I was in when picking which university to transfer to.

But I know better now. These friends grew bigger not because they lacked the willpower to say no to half-priced waffles, but because they were desperate. And so am I. Desperate, that is. Not bigger…yet.

It’s the clothes. When I first found out that I’m a size 6 here, I was ecstatic. And just a little bit smug. My self-esteem soars when I fit into the smallest size in the store.

And there’s the thing. They have very little size 6 clothes in stock. Which means that even if I love that jacket with the kick-ass logo on the sleeve, even if it’s on sale, even if I’d still pay for it at non-sale price, I won’t find one that fits. And that’s not all. When the salesperson’s eyes flick to the kids’ section, christ, now that’s a massive blow to the ego.

So, short of sending bomb threats to the head offices of the major brands, the only solution left is to simply grow one size bigger. In other words, I need blubber.

Fashion kills.

* If you’re a friend who studied/is studying in Australia, you’re in the leftover category. Which means you didn’t gain any weight at all. Really.

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You're Mad
Sunday. 6.18.06 2:51 pm
if you think I'm getting out of a nice, warm bed to play soccer when it's 1°C outside.

I don't want to hurt myself on someone's nipples.

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