Sunday, January 29, 2012


This is going to be more contentious than a coffee or bread argument, so I'll just stick to the facts on how to order a beer in a pub.  A 'pot' is a 10 oz glass, good if you are watching your figure because you'll need to make lots of trips to the bar to ingest a decent amount of beer.  A 'schooner' is a 15 oz glass, getting closer to a reasonable size.  Order a pint and you'll get a 20 oz glass, that's half the trips back to the bar a pot would cost you!  Of course, this is in Queensland and will vary from state to state.

Ah, hell with it.  Beer here is generally pretty good, but it will cost you.  If you've taken a liking to some of the finer beers America has to offer, you're out of luck.  There isn't anything comparable to Rogue, New Belgium, Stone, Full Sail, or Sierra Nevada, but the microbrew trend started later here and still has a ways to go.  People will tell you American beer is crap, but that's because we export Bud and Miller.  Same as judging Australian beer by Foster's.

You can find some Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada brews at larger bottle shops and online, a six pack costing what you'd pay for a twelve in the U.S.  I have a really hard time paying $22 for a six of Boston Lager.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Seems like every pub, butcher shop (yes, they still exist here), and supermarket has some variant of schnitzel.  It's meat pounded thin and coated in bread crumbs.  Sounds a lot like Shake 'n Bake to me, which means Australians are really
only cheese in a can away from being Americans.

Long black

I want coffee.  Preferably drip, lava hot, in a large paperish cup with some kind of dorky sleeve on it to keep the lava from burning the crap out of my hand as I try to sip it and burn the crap out of my tongue instead.  Starbucks is only on every other corner here, so at some point you will need to visit one of the native coffee vendors.

Try to find a drip coffee on the menu.  You'll find it if you get out of line and walk a few blocks over to Starbucks.

What's an American that wants a big cup of black coffee to do?  The drinks are all espresso-based. Check the menu and you'll see a flat white and a long black.  Flat white is espresso and microfoamed milk (more or less a latte) and a long black is an Americano.

You know which one I order.  Strong and bitter, like my women.

Shifting gears a little

It's been a long, long time since I've written anything here for you, kiddo.  Being a dad means being prone to repeating yourself and since I have a natural tendency to do that anyway, I thought it better to shut up until I had something new to say.  "New material? From my dad?" I can hear you say, but it's true.

Stuff I Should Have Figured Out About Australia Sooner.

Consider it things left out of the travel guides, or maybe an American to Australian translation service.  However you want to view it, I'll throw in my observations and will even take requests.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Speeding Tickets

Obviously, the best thing to do is not to get them.  However, if you drive enough for long enough, it is probably going to happen.  I got one in September without even trying.  The cop was sitting in the perfect spot to nail someone before they even knew it and I walked (haha) right into it.  I wasn't trying to speed, more like not trying to slow down.  The result was the same, so it doesn't really matter.

Here's what you do: don't just pay it, go to court.  You'll still end up paying, but there's a good chance it will be less than the bail amount on the notice you get in the mail.  My ticket was cut in half just for showing up and pleading guilty.  Also, take the traffic school.  It is a few hours of boredom and a little bit of money in exchange for keeping your record a little cleaner.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm not as hardcore as Ben

There is a motorcycle racer named Ben Spies.  His mom was interviewed for a British bike magazine and she told a couple of stories involving crashes.  In the first story, Ben's teammate was killed in a crash during a race.  Ben told his mom that he knew what she was thinking and that as much as it would hurt him to cause that kind of pain to his family it would hurt him more if he had to quit racing.

The second story involved him crashing and leaving half his ass on the track. Literally.  Banged up enough where he told his mom while in the ER that he knew what she was thinking, not to say it, and that he needed support to get back to racing.

Clearly I'm not a racer.  I do have a love for riding, though.  I can tell you about those moments when everything fell into place and me and my bike were like one.  On the gas, brake, lean in, roll into it, back on the gas, like one motion.  I can tell you about the times I had the crap scared out of me getting into a corner too hot, having a bad line, or coming around the bend to find a big ass rock right in my path.  I'll tell you about all those things some other time when I can do a little more explaining and bench racing.

Right now, I can only tell you I miss it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Listen to your kids

I think a lot of people think this parenting thing is a one way street: kids, bask in the glory of my awesomeness and do as I say (but may be not as I do.)  Truth is, that's a sure way to miss out on some really good ideas.  Take learning a language, for example.

You, Miss Over-Achiever, are working on your third language.  Third language!  Shit, I have a hard enough time with English.  Seeing you dive into French, I thought, "wow, I should learn another language."  Japanese has fascinated me since we hosted exchange students when I was a kid.  Half an hour on a teach yourself site and I quickly started thinking of a new course.

I had three years of Latin in junior high and two years of Spanish in high school.  I can remember very little of the former and some slang and swear words in the latter.  Swearing is fun, so Spanish it is.  Oh, and it's probably more practical.  If I ever make it to Argentina I'll be able to communicate, which is infinitely more likely than me attending a church service conducted in a dead language.

So, thanks, kiddo.  You've inspired me to abandon my monolinguistic ways.  I don't think I'll be catching up to you, but that's cool.  You can translate Chris and Lolo's Facebook updates for me.