Irrational irritations and other unnecessary issues (15/3/16)

Yesterday was the fourteenth of March, 14.3 for most of the world but 3.14 for these arrogant North American wankers. Now I can complain long and hard about the American system of dating things, and I will at some point in the not too distant future, but this time I want to talk about something else. Y’see, thanks to the entirely irrational dating system used in North America yesterday was Pi day. Y’know, π. That number that ‘geniuses’ on TV use to prove that they’re geniuses by quoting it to the sixty-third decimal or some such bullshit, but us mere mortals usually round up to 3.14 (but never to exactly 3).

So yesterday was Pi day and that seems as good as any reason to complain about the lack of pies in Canada. The edible kind, not the numerical kind.

Well, there are pies up here in the northern hemisphere I suppose. I had pumpkin pie for the first time last Thanksgiving. It was alright, tasty enough, though it still doesn’t quite feel like it should be a dessert if you get my meaning. And other dessert pies aren’t unusual. It’s possible to get the occasional shepard’s pie floating around, made with mince that might even have come from a cow and reconstituted potato.

But I’m not talking about any of that, I’m talking about the proper Aussie meat pie. The kind that comes in a foil tin, fits in your hand and available from anywhere with a power outlet to plug in one of those mini-ovens (for keeping things warm and on display). Fuck 420, I wanna fuckin’ Four’N Twenty meat pie at that perfect temperature where the heat brings out the flavour of the beef and gravy but doesn’t burn the roof of your mouth. Mrs Mac or Sargents, drenched in tomato sauce (not ketchup, bloody tomato sauce) I wanna walk into a Vietnamese bakery (they don’t seem to have those here either, damnit) and a grab a steak and pepper pie on my way home from work, or suddenly realise that since I’m in Newtown I can sneak into a gourmet bakery and switch things up with a curry chicken or lamb and rosemary pie. I wanna goddamn meat pie. And a lamington. But mostly a goddamn meat pie.

There are a few places around that cater to the Aussie palate, but the only one that’s worth getting from a pie from is all the way up in Whistler (Peaked Pies, give it a go if you’re up there). Not surprising given the concentration of Australians up in Whistralia, but not a practical option down here in Vancouver. The other places just tasted… not good… enough? Yeah, not good enough. Like the meat was worse than the lowest grade horsemeat put into a service station pastry or the gravy tasted chalky and had the consistency of flubber or the pastry lacked the structural integrity to hold everything together or some combination of things. Just, not good enough. And still difficult to get to.

But good god I miss pies.

Irrational irritations and other unnecessary issues (16/2/2016)

Have I complained about North American toilets yet? I’m gonna complain about North American toilets. What is there to complain about North American toilets you ask? Calm the hell down son, I’m about to tell you what there is to complain about North American toilets.

There’s too much fucking water in North American toilets.

Don’t give me that look, this is a serious issue. It really is. Listen, the country I come from is mostly desert. The rest spends five out of ten years in drought. We are a very water conscious people, and our dunnys reflect that. The half flush? Aussie invention. Waterless urinals? Aussie invention. Toilet bowls that aren’t filled unnecessarily near to the brim? Not sure if that’s an Aussie invention, but we certainly seemed to clue into it before everyone else.

High efficiency and low water usage, because we actually act on concerns about water-security in our day-to-day, unlike some countries and cities I’ve visited. Seriously, what the fuck California? When I was in LA we drove by what looked like a fast food joint that had fucking water misters for keeping customers cool. Fucking water misters spraying an empty patio. I mean, no wonder you lot are running out of water. That is not how you do water restrictions America. Not at all. And it’s reflected in your loos.

They’re loud, they’re wasteful, and there’s a very real danger of splashback. C’mon guys, shape up and get yourselves proper crappers. You too Canada, you’re not getting out of this unscathed.

This is a classy blog. I’m gonna stop while I can still make that claim with a straight face.

God I miss Australian toilets. Amazing what you miss most about home, yeah?

Irrational irritations and other unnecessary issues (1/9/2015)

Hey folks, sorry I missed last Tuesday. And the Tuesday before. My bad, and a frequent lack of wifi. I’ll make it up to you next week. Maybe. Or something. We’ll see. How are you guys doing? Great. I’m also gonna make it up to you now, and have not one, not two, but three (count’em three) things to talk about. The first of this week’s topics is people who struggle with taxi ranks.

I mean, fuck me dead mate, it’s really not that hard. You talk to the dispatcher, you line up or walk over to the appropriate bay, and when it’s your turn you climb into cab. Simple right? But some people really struggle with the concept.

About a year ago I was in Melbourne about to meet some mates to go see the Formula 1. I was at the airport standing in front of bay some-random-number waiting for a taxi to pull in front of me. Patiently, because what’s the bloody point of getting stressed about it. But two bays away was a lady freaking the hell out. Seriously, stamping her foot and ‘muttering’ complaints loud enough for the whole goddamn airport to hear her. Far worse though was that she kept trying to steal other people’s taxis. A cab would be driving past to go to the next person waiting she’d step out onto the fucking road and try and get it to pull over. Meanwhile the rest of us are just watching her, thinking “just calm down, wait your turn, and stop almost stepping into the way of moving traffic.”

Last week, me and my sister were waiting in the queue at the New Orleans airport once again waiting for the taxi. Unfortunately the arsehole behind us didn’t understand how “waiting your fucking turn you ignorant jackass” works. He was yelling and mumbling and spitting (what is with white Americans and spitting? They’re worse than a llama eyeing a fountain and thinking “I can beat that”) The dispatcher helped the group in front of us into a taxi and he began to bellow that he and his friend were ready to go RIGHT NOW as if the rest of us didn’t matter. I wanted to spin around and mention that so were goddamn we. The dispatcher ignored him, bless her patient soul. We got in a taxi before him, and he was still bitching and moaning. Meanwhile his poor mate (looking incredibly embarrassed) was trying to calm the guy down, telling him to relax and be patient. After all, what’s five extra minutes? Quite a lot, apparently, if some people are to be believed.

Moving on to the second of this week’s topics. Cold weather dogs in warm weather climes.

I mean, this is just cruel. You shouldn’t have a Husky, built for belting through the snow in minus whatever conditions, running down a sunny street in Sydney or Los Angeles where the weather regularly tops out around 40 degrees Celsius. Yeah, a lot of these dogs sit somewhere on the cuteness scale between ‘adorable’ and ‘majestic’ but that’s no reason to put them through the hell of existing in places that they were not designed to exist in. But even then, it would be alright if you the owners then had the good sense to keep their coats short. Clipper’em down so they aren’t stuck wearing a thicker fur jacket than the only teetotaller Russian trying to survive the Siberian winter. You still see dogs though wandering around that’d give polar bears a run for their money, because their owners are lazy or too busy or far more concerned about their dog’s appearance than comfort.

And that just ain’t fucking right. Part of the culture though, I guess, of treating household pets more like a lifestyle choice or accessory than friend, companion and sentient being capable of feeling pain, pleasure and discomfort. Because humans are arseholes sometimes. Oftentimes. Don’t be an arsehole, clipper their coats when the warm weather hits.

Speaking of dogs let’s move onto our third topic: do you have any goddamn idea how hard it is to find the Harry Potter books in US airports?

I am the king of segues.

Anyway, the answer is: alarmingly goddamn hard. Seriously. I’ve recently been convinced to get into the Harry Potter books (more on that on a later occasion), and figured that my current travel arrangements made for a good time to get through’em. Lotta time on planes (and a literally day-long bus trip) for reading. Figured that I’d be able to pick up each book as I got through the previous. Turns out I was wrong. First book wasn’t too hard to get at LAX, since those crazy Californians reckon they’re cultured or something. But trying to get hold of Harry Potter… the second one… The Chamber of Secrets I think it was? Yeah, that’s it, was a proper challenge. Finding places that sold books was hard enough (lots of news agencies selling magazines, not many selling books apparently), but thorough searches of those surprisingly rare bookshops failed to turn up the desired literature about a twelve year old boy being allowed to put himself into a dangerous situation by the supposedly responsible adults. Not a one.

Crazy, right? I mean, this is Harry fucking Potter we’re talking about, not its Polish homage Harry Pottski. One of the biggest literary phenomenons to have ever struck the world, inspiration and bed-time reading for millions of kids and kid-at-hearts, and no one seemed to stock the second book. Crazy right? Couldn’t even get hold of an e-book because of the shitty wifi. Drove me nuts.

Got it eventually, but it was still way more difficult then it should’ve been. Up to the fifth book now.

Alright. There we are. Nice talking to you all again. Sorry for the hiatus. Life happens, yeah? I’ve been having a good time. I’ll tell you about it in not too long.