Every year I tell people I don’t like making a fuss over my birthday. But then as my birthday draws nearer, I start to get a little more excited and I start telling everyone within earshot that my birthday is coming up. Since my birthday is on the last day of the month, it always feels like such a long wait from when September comes to when it is actually “the big day”.
For the past couple of years, my birthday has been a bittersweet time of year. I spent my birthday in 2010 flying halfway across the world to be by my grandmother’s bedside as she laid in a hospital bed, and since she passed away four weeks later, my birthday has been a constant reminder of those last days I got to spend with her. But that emotional period also serves as a reminder of how blessed I am and how far my friends are prepared to go to make me happy. (You can catch up on my birthday posts for 2010 and 2011).
September 2012 got off to a wonderful start. First, I got a new contract, thus keeping alive my much-coveted dream of a trip back to the US (which I last visited in 1998). Then came the presents. The first completely knocked me off my feet with amazement because of the sheer unexpectedness of it.
I openly admit I have a massive crush on the writers of TV show White Collar. Everyone who follows me on Twitter or is a Facebook friend regularly see me post undeniably over-the-top comments about how in awe I am of them. So, imagine my surprise when I got a notice in my letterbox to pick up a parcel from the post office, which contained an autographed copy of the script from one of my favourite episodes of the show (it was the season 2 mid-season finale “Point Blank”)! It was signed by the entire staff in the White Collarwriters room!!!
Signatures clockwise from top: Matt Negrete, Jim Campolongo, Dan Shattuck, Eddie Serrano, Jeff Eastin, Sara Wright, Alexandra McNally, Bob DeRosa, Mark Goffman, Chris Masi, Channing Powell, Joe Henderson
For those of you who have been following me on Twitter, you will have noticed my recent excitement over a visit to everyone’s favourite Swedish furniture store. Yes, I am talking about IKEA, home of flat-packed, D.I.Y., stress-tested furniture. I love the idea of being able to put furniture together myself like this. It makes me feel like I am building something which, for a person who can’t even be bothered sewing up a loose button on a shirt, is a huge deal. Some of you may well argue whether the furniture-maker should be stress-testing the effects installation of their products might have on their customers as well.
If you are an IKEA fan like me, you will know that their instruction manuals don’t have any text at all. This is a great idea as it overcomes any language barriers that are commonly found in products made in non-English-speaking countries with badly translated instructions such as “insert screw in round hole behind floor” or “hook nail with driver in proper hammer”. Huh? (Ok, so I may have made those two up, but you get the idea.)
When I recently brought up the topic of building my new IKEA desk with colleagues, this brought up a new debate that went something like this:
“Oh, I hate it when you get to the end and you find there’s a piece missing from the box!”
“No, no! What’s worse is if you find at the end there’s an extra piece and you don’t know where it’s supposed to go!”
G’day mate! ‘Owyagoinmateawright? (Translation: Hello! How are you going, mate, all right?”)
For a long time, Aussies like me have been complaining about how our country and people are portrayed and perceived by people in other countries. The kinds of questions I get asked about Australia whenever I travel abroad never cease to amaze me – sometimes they make me laugh, while other times, they just make me shake my head and wonder what kind of education people are getting about us.
Let’s start with some basics: we don’t all have kangaroos hopping around in our backyards or cuddly koalas perched in our trees chewing on eucalyptus leaves. Thankfully, I have not had these questions in a very long time. Maybe if I lived in the bush or in the Outback, I might find them, but out here in the ‘burbs in metropolitan Sydney, the only place where I would see said natives is at the zoo or wildlife park.
On my first visit to the US in 1995, I was constantly asked “Do you have a lot of flies in Australia?” The first time I was asked this question, I replied “yeah, that’s why this [waving hand in front of my face as if swatting away flies] is called the Australian salute”. Now this is actually true. But when I was asked this a couple more times as I met different groups of Americans, it suddenly occurred to me I might have been missing something. When I asked why everyone was asking me this (as opposed to the typical “do kangaroos really know how to box?”) I became curious. It turned out the Discovery Channel had just aired a program about flies and apparently Australian flies were heavily featured. Mystery solved!
Mobilisation. Yes, we have heard that word used a lot when it comes to wars and flash mobs. I guess this is not too far off. Maybe I’m exaggerating. What I’m trying to say is, never underestimate what a group of determined fans can do, especially when armed with the technological wonders of webcams, iPhones and peer-to-peer file sharing.
Confused? Let me explain.
OK, so my last post on this blog was a little tribute to my favourite TV showrunner, Jeff Eastin, and a little recap of what happened in the WHITE COLLAR season finale. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you are way behind the 400+ readers who have hit that page in the week since I posted it but it’s never too late. You can still read it here 🙂
Several weeks ago, frustrated by the fact that international fans of WHITE COLLAR like myself are never eligible to enter competitions related to the show, I suggested to some of my fellow “Collars” that we make our own fan video to show how deserving we are of getting recognition for our fanliness (I admit, this is not a real word but neither was “google” until recent years). I mean, why should we get left out just because we don’t happen to live in the US? Continue reading →
Black Friday. Consumerism at its best. Or worst. It really depends on whether you’re someone who’s prepared to camp out in front of Wal-Mart overnight in the cold in the hopes of “saving money” or if you value sleep, comfort, warmth and your sanity.
We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia. We’re the “lucky country”. We’re thankful everyday. Instead of stuffing a turkey on Thanksgiving day, we stuff ourselves on Christmas day with a barbie – no, not the toy with the unrealistic physical proportions, I mean a barbecue. Instead of Black Friday, we have “Boxing Day Sales”.
For the past week, I have seen segments on American news and talk shows such as Today, The View (don’t judge me!) and The Ellen DeGeneres Show talk about Thanksgiving and about shopping for bargains on Black Friday. Not surprisingly, advice from some money management experts have been to stay home and shop online or to wait for another day.