Friday, February 25, 2005

the ice capades

One thing about New York is that it has the most ridiculous amount of static electricity I've ever seen. You touch anyone, you shock them. It's like a year 8's dream come true. Seriously, when I lie in bed, if I move my arm the room actually lights up with bluish sparks. It's insanity. And when I take off my woolen jumper at the end of the day, well...

Nothing but static on the box ton... oh wait I used that already.

Freezing! It's been snowing all afternoon. And I don't mean everyday "a little spoonful of sprinkle snow makes the medicine doctor go down" snowing (I have no idea where that mixed up Mary Poppins/Old adage mashup came from or what it means). I'm talking about 'spend 10 seconds outside and it looks like you've got mega-dandruff, spend 1 minute outside and you are a snowman' snowing. Still, it didn't stop me from having the coolest (seriously no pun) last day in NYC ever.

But just to show you how the weather changed over the course of the day, check out these three photos:

11am: Fine and dandy weather! Why, it's even above zero!

3pm: Getting a bit snappy (so cold your toes snap off).

7pm: Mother Nature is my ice sculptor!

Also, see that top photo of me in central park with what appears to be orange construction thingos behind me? Well that is actually a $20 Million, 2 week 'gates' installation by Christo that runs through the entire park and is drawing ridiculous amounts of tourists. If you ask me, they look like construction. In fact, mum told me to look for Christo's gates, so I went to central park and couldn't find anything. I had to look up on the net to find out that those crappy things that were getting in my way whilst looking for the gates actually were the main attraction. Oh and, they're not orange, they're "saffron". Ah, art.

When wonderful Will (walked west wildly without waking worrying wenda) told me that the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld was actually a real person with a real soup store in new york, the stalking fan within me exploded with excitement. So I made the trip there to west 55th st in the snow only to find it shut for renovations. But interestingly, instead of claiming to be the 'real Soup Nazi', he was claiming to be the real 'Soup Man'. Hmmm... any Seinfeld fan would know that he was definitley not just a man but a nazi of the soupest proportions. So what does this mean? He thinks that Nazi is interchangable with the word man? Man = Nazi? Nazi = Man? This is natural for him!? What a scary world we live in!

Or, less likely, it's just cultural sensitivity. Check out this
awesome returns policy from his website.

In England, all the signs were wankily grammatically correct. It's the total opposite in the US. The signs just get straight to the point. But look at this. Proof that there are THOUGHT POLICE active in the states!

Will they stop at nothing!??!? (they better not, they'll get a ticket).

Foolishly, I kept on walking in the snow (just because it looked so awesome). I got to the rockefeller centre (center) and watched the ice skating again. It was so pretty I decided to take a photo... but look what I caught on camera!

This guy blatantly pushed the other guy over (it's true, he fell after the photo). That's the true dog eat dog New York attitude I was expecting! Someone having an idle skate in front of you? DOWN WITH THEM!

Here's one thing that melted my brain. They have ads for porn movies on billboards here! Look!

And also an ad for some other romcom called "Krystal Method"...

And in total contrast:

You may think it's nice, but it's built on an indian burial ground! (maybe).

And finally... um, yeah.

$10 poorly spent.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

don't mug yourself or anyone else

Hurrah for New York! I've just spent the last 2 days looking at the most awesome museums I have ever seen (MoMA and the Met). They were made oh so much sweeter because I had my uncle's 'don't-have-to-wait-in -10-mile-long-queue-to-get-in' membership cards. The Met was great, it helped me solidify the growing feeling I had that any art made before 1850 is crap (I was a fool before with my classical loving ways... then again most of the stuff I thought was classical was post 1850 anyway... what type of art history student am I?). As for the MoMA, just take a look at this:

To cut a long story short: it's Danny DeVito (actual size)! I saw him looking at Kandinskys and stalked him for a while.

Central park is amazing. It has rocks to climb on! And ice skating. And a zoo. And squirrels. And tepid mud... ok so it got to the point where I was impressed by anything that central park had. For all the hype, I can't believe I didn't get mugged even once while I was walking there at night. I even took out my camera and made some timer shots, but nobody came and took my camera whilst their buddy beat me over the head with a bat and took my dollars. I was disappointed.

Even I'd mug me.

After my first failed attempt to get mugged, I decided to up the ante a bit and give the muggers an opportunity they couldn't pass up: I played on the rocks whilst simultaneously reading my lonely planet guide and pretending to be the bird lady from Home Alone 2.

Still no mugging, maybe I'd reached my mug quota for the day after all those starbucks hot chocolates...

I went to the Rockerfeller centre just as it was starting to snow 2 nights ago. It was fun to watch the ice skaters fall and hurt themselves.

I went to the Rockerfeller centre the other night and watched children fall over whilst ice skating. I'm sure they weren't as embarrassed as I was when I asked some people to take a photo of me:

And then they gave my camera back... New Yorkers won't even mug you if you hand them your goods!

The streets of New York spew out this mysterious steam/gas/other all day. I have no idea where it comes from, but it looks cool and it feels warm. Here's a photo of trump tower:

Note: trump tower is behind the awesome road chimney that is specially set up to funnel out the mystery gas, though I think it would be much cooler if THAT was trump tower.

It started snowing the other night, and it was very awesome. Look:

I hope in the morning that some kids thought it was a big soft snow dune to jump on.

Also here's a photo of me looking up. At flags. Ok there's nothing I can say to make this any more interesting.

Now I'm off to try and scalp tickets to a sold out futureheads concert in a bad area of town...

Monday, February 21, 2005

It's too early for my big fat greek wedding

When my aunt said she could get me cheaper accomodation in New York than the Holiday Inn at the Harvard Club, I figured it would be a dump. Just a crap place that steals the name of something famous to draw in customers. Like the suburb called Brooklyn just north of Turramurra. Instead I find myself completely delirious with the flu, staying in a 6 star hotel that is only avaliable to Harvard alumni and their guests. All anybody here talks about is how their servants forgot to bring the pheasants for hunting practice so they hunted the servants for sport instead. Meanwhile I'm so doped up on Codeine (which isn't avaliable in the US!?!) I don't even know what's going on around me. At breakfast a man came up, almost in tears, and told me I was ruining centuries of tradition by wearing jeans in the dining hall. When I said I had nothing else to wear, he seriously almost disintegrated. Good breakfast though.

So yeah, I've found myself on a Home Alone 2-like misadventure of all-expenses paid meals and accomodation (I had a $60 steak), where the staff can't legally kick me out but are trying their hardest (they gave away my room last nigth and I was originally going to have to sleep on the street, which I was kind of excited about), and the other guests turn their North Shore x 10000000 harvard noses at my converses. Hahaha! Oh wait now I've scared myself into thinking two bumbling crooks might come after me... don't worry, the old bird lady in central park will save me... no seriously no wonder codral isn't legal here.

Anyway, remember how my only goal for my entire world trip was to eat Cap'n Crunch? Success!

Tasted kind of like bad.

I went for a walk to Times Square yesterday. Of course it was face meltingly cool. Although I did read in lonely planet that everybody jaywalks to the extreme, and that if you don't jaywalk, then you will be seen as a tourist and killed. Possibly not good advice, because now I run into the middle of the street in front of taxis while every other person waits for the white (green) man to tell them to cross. I'm such a bad tourist.

I did stumble across an Aaron Carter concert though! I know you want some photos:

NYC, home of the world's biggest oxymoron.

Speaking of Aaron Carter, I read this crazy article a while back about how he nearly died in a freak car accident where a flaming mattress fell off the back of a truck and got stuck underneath his SUV.

Teenage girls waiting in line for Aaron carter... I'm at the front of the queue.

I've been spending most of my time (continuing my Home Alone 2 re-creation) in toy shops here. My favourite one so far has been the Toys R' Us in Times Square. They have a ferris wheel in there! And I conquered my fears and rode on it! Next to spongebob!

Ferris wheel in Toys R' Us or generic bookshelf in public library after codeine?

I woke up this morning and 'my big fat greek wedding' was on. I only watched half.

Friday, February 18, 2005

the underground

Presented specially in utter British boring wanker speak (see even this sentence is in it):
Also presented in 'didn't have photoshop so I had to use a shitty free image resizing program that puts a green thing at the corner of each photo' vision:

London is expensive. It's crazy. Another thing that is crazy is the fact that everybody here has at least 3 out of the following 6 things: a monobrow, a crappy 14 year old moustache, depression, anger, a wanky little dog, a boater. I can't wait to get out of here to New York tomorrow, although the parks here are really nice. I mean, they have squirrels. And squirrels have funny tails!

There are some other interesting things about London. Basically it's Sydney, but a lot bigger. All the place names are the same, but where King's Cross in Sydney is rife with hookers, here it's rife with expensive clothes on hooks (a tenuous pun for sure, but it's the truth!) . And Epping isn't some craphole. It's an expensive real estate location. Also, they vend the zaniest of things! Observe:

A scary look at the brash, mechanical chickens of the future.

Also, they are total wankers. For example, all their signs feature completely inappropriate uses of the english language, basically just to show of the fact that they invented it. For example, a sign that in anywhere else would say: "mind your step", here says "please observe the staircase whilst walking, as you risk a falling and hurting yourself". And "keep off the grass" = "Please do not place your feet on the grassed areas in this location as that may lead to a compromised appearance of this public park". And as for their movie ratings, check it for Spongebob:

No, you contains it buddy!

The thing that blew my mind the most about London was the fact that even the crappest of stores in Australia are actually giant franchises littering Oxford st. Remember Clarks, that horrible shoe brand that only makes crap school shoes that give you blisters? Think again!

This one was on Kent St... ok so I shamefully specially went there just for the lame joke. I was bored! I thought it would be a shoe in. Argh stop typing...

I love BB's muffins! But I figured I'd never see one outside of the wentworth building at sydney uni. Beware! Here comes another mind melting shock!

BB, you're a bigger shot than I previously thought!

Today I fulfilled the one thing I wanted to do in London: wait at an underground station whilst listening to 'Clark Gable' by the Postal Service at the bit where he says "I was waiting for a crosstown train in the London Underground when it struck me, since birth I've wanted a love that looks and feels like a movie". Except, instead of the scenario suggested in the utter wank of said song, while I was waiting for the train it struck me that since birth I've wanted a lane that looks and feels like monopoly. So I went to Park Lane. It was a dump actually.

Oh and here's a rad nixon stenci from Paris.

I am not a crooked wall... oh come on do I have to think of a sensical and good pun for every picture (ok so that rarely happens).

Here's the generic travel photo section! Huzzah!

Trafalgar Square has a lion. Check the ACTUAL drizzle.

Alys and me in a rad room in the pompidou centre.

And again. The place was called the ice cavern.

Look! It's Chris! He met us on my last day of Paris. A couple of wanky English tourists took this outside Notre Dame.

At an awesome bar near the Louvre. Chris is suprisingly undead after finishing his Lond Island Ice tea in 2 minutes.

Boring Picadilly Circus photo. To make it more interesting, try to form a sentence from the ads on the board behind me. I got "Sung to san".

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Do Not Touch

Also, on Saturday at the Angelina Cafe outside the Louvre (which serves the most ridiculously expensive and tasty 6,20 Euro hot chocolates in the world), we sat near Kirsten Dunst (the cover star of Austrian Airlines' finest and only in flight magazine) AND Jason Schwartzman (actor/ex-drummer of Phantom Planet... you know the "California here we coommme" band). I was so excited my brains melted out my ears as I sculled my hot chocolates and schemed over ways to talk/meet them (which included waiting outside the toilets... they are human too!). But you know, to respect their privacy and all (ie: I was too wussy and Alys would have killed me if I touched them), I just whispered "you are a god" under my breath to Jason Schwartzman as I walked past.

Best Paris sight ever!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pour for sortie out

The interent is hard to find in France. According to Alys, apparently it's because they got caught up in this strange thing called "minitel", which is basically the interent but instead of having internet things on it, it just has a text only phone directory. Because they were so engrossed in the minitel, they didn't notice the internet and it's non-text-only ways growing steadily in the entire rest of world. Plus, they vend EVERYTHING (flowers included).

They also seem to be a bit behind in their advertising. Look at what I found next to a whole bunch of ads for the upcoming Snoop Dogg concert (I can't believe I won't be here for that):

I'm pretty sure that means "Down with Reagan".

'Lost in Translation' is still playing at the movies here. And speaking of movies that are lost in the translation, look at how 'Meet the Fockers' turned out:

It's so funny on 0 levels.

Also there are some pretty ambitious people here in Paris. I mean, look at this tractor driver, tractors aren't meant to go down stairs!

Look at how he dropped his goods though.

Ok so you want photos?:

Alys at our awesome 1 star 'Perfect Hotel', complete with squeaking bed springs, screaming couples, and, on one night, a room with a view of the septic tank (and a brick wall).

Alys, the sun and Montmartre.

So many people have black cons here. Somehow, that doesn't make the fact that we both wear them everyday any better.

If I really look like this then I apologise to the eyes of anyone who's ever looked directly at my teeth.

The reason Alys is laughing is obviously because I just made a joke about it being my arch-nemisis.

And that is just a really big Louis Vuitton bag.

In other news, the Louvre totally sucks and is full of junk. But the Musee D'Orsay is the best place ever. Angelinas makes awesome hot chocolate. Wine costs less than coke and everything is measured in centilitres. German mtv sucks, German cartoon network only shows Scooby Doo and CNN is scary.

Also, happy birthday to Brydie, Pat and Will!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Sugar Daddy

We're staying with Alys' cousins in a remoteish area out of Paris (sort of like the distance from Turramurra to Sydney... obviously it's very close). It's fun here beacause they have baguettes, 24 hour Asterix tvm supermarket chains called ATAC and the family is really nice. But there are also children here. They are scary, happy children, who are, disturbingly, Michael Jackson's dream children. This is because they chase me around all night trying to touch and sit on me (and ofen suceeding). And then, when I'm having a (cold, showercurtainless, altogether dodgy) shower, they molest me with their eyes. Argh! Why is there such little belief in lockable bathroom doors in France? 24 hours a day I am faced with this:

No! She's doing it with the eyes again!

There is a brand of sugar here. It is called Daddy. During dessert last night (mmm, crepes), lines like this were spoken: "can you please pass me the Daddy sugar?", "stop hogging the Daddy", "can I take a photo of you with Daddy?" etc. The best thing about Daddy is the promotion on the packet:

With every pack of sugar Daddy, you get a free set of pimpin' gloves.

Sometimes things get a bit crazy in translation. For example, Michael Chrichton has a new book out called 'State of Fear'. Kind of a boring, generic title right? However, when they brought it out in Austria, they changed the title a tiny bit. What was once boring, now becomes:

The world's foremost emo author. (I was originally hoping that Cath's book title would have an awesome German translation, but seriously, 'Till Debt Do Us Part' could never be bettered. Ever.)

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Legal tortes

I'm here in France now, typing on an AZERTY keyboard. But I have some stored up Viennese fun facts to show you first.

I'm guessing that when you think of Austrian sculpture, the primary thing that would come to mind would be maybe some Baroque religious type figures adorning a giant cathedral right? Well think again! Look what was waiting to meet us at the entrance to Stephansplatz, Vienna's major U-Bahn staion:

Not even I'd wear that tie.

Vienna is a pretty conservative place. There's no crime, everywhere is clearly signposted and Alys' 'Fuck with us and we'll kill you' tshirt had the power to make everyone in Vienna's hippest underground club (though it's called Flex, it was awesome) run to their mothers in tears. I was interested to see this on one of my 'haven't bought a cd in over a week' withdrawl shopping sprees:

You'll notice eminem on the far right. Finally, he's been accepted!

As for local Viennese hip hop acts, this posted bill says more than their music ever could:

Danny DeVito's long lost twin brother knows how to get high on life.

When shopping in a foreign supermarket, there is only one rule: purchase the items with the most ridiculous names. And when it comes to brand names, you really can't go past:

Of course, the hag got us back. After Alys ended up feeling even more tired in the morning after a cup of hag, we realised it was actually caffeine free. Cursed cafe hag!

Also, this was just a really crazy concept for a shop:

Shouldn't that be 'Scale'?... um no I guess it shouldn't actually.

And this was one of those few things that had the chance to soil the entire trip:

Due to Australian customs regulations I can only bring $900 worth of these back with me as presents, so sorry in advance to people who miss out.

I'm still at a loss as to whether the thing detailed in this picture is a good or bad thing:

Obviously the guy has falled and hit his head (hence the bandage), which has broken his brain to such an extent that he thinks a teletubbie is growing out of his side and that he can speak to his portable tv.

In German, toilets are marked 'herrs' for men and 'damen' for women. This is confusing enough, but in an awesome coffeehouse that we went to (these places are so cool, they open till midnight, and after you buy a coffee you can stay sitting for as long as you want) some of the letters had fallen off, leaving 'HER S' and 'AMEN'. Let's never speak of the incident again.

More on Paris and the awesome 'Perfect Hotel' soon. Here was the awesome view out the plane window whilst coming in to land at Paris:

I could only look out for a few minutes at a time... it's a known fact that the engine explodes if you stare at it for too long!