Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Eatin' & Readin' admittedly not as fun as eatin' and drinkin', but I take what I can get whilst unemployed.

I didn't realize until I started browsing through my pictures that I spend a lot of my time eating and reading these days.  Yes, applying for jobs too, and the occasional workout, but that's not nearly as interesting.

They have Pita Pit here!  Alert the press!  My eyes about popped out of my head cartoon-style the first time I saw this place.

But it ain't that great, if I'm honest.  I couldn't seem to recreate my usual order, even with the same ingredients, and I paid easily double for a super small size.  I don't even remember if they do small versus large at home, but I know that I won't be rushing back to Brisbane's pita emporium.  Ain't nobody [me] got money for that!

Now this is a culinary delight I'll gladly pay an obscene amount of money for.  Pork belly quesadilla with apple salsa!

This divine morsel of deliciousness was found at Brisbane's Eat Street Markets, which is essentially a collection of food trucks erected in...a bunch of shipping containers.  Quite the hipster concept, but it is legit awesome in execution.  Especially this quesadilla!

The food is pretty pricey (gourmet, novelty, Australian - an unholy trifecta) but I vote worth it.  I can't wait to go back and get my eat on!

Speaking of pork...

Nobody on this planet loves a plate of ribs more than Martin.  So when we got within 50 miles of Hurricane's Grill on the Gold Coast Martin quickly decided where we'd be dining for lunch.  This is BJ classing it up, gnawing on a rack.

We even got bibs!  I've never been offered a rib bib before, and I must say it did make the rib eating experience that much more enjoyable.

We were in the Gold Coast, a mere hour away but still considered an actual holiday, for Australia Day.  We didn't go far, but Martin felt the need to spring for this accessory:

Never you mind that he's got one identical to it, without the Australian flag and stupid logo, but he found it necessary to add this to his hat collect.  Fetching, no?

Now on to my other (f)unemployment hobby, reading.

I dig the library because it's free.  There's also a good selection of books, air conditioning and it's free.  Did I mention that already?  However when there are rows and rows of books waiting to be purchased for mere dollars at Bookfest, I can't resist the temptation.

I keep a running list of books that I want to read (am always open to suggestions, by the way) so I'm always on the lookout for the titles on The List.  Let me tell you what, that is not an easy task when wading through literally hundreds of copies of Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight!  You've got to wade through a lot of crap.  A lot of it.

It's not all crap, though.  Since 2014 is the year of the staycation I picked up this little number:

Can you believe this is the first travel book I've ever owned?  I've checked them out of libraries before, but never owned.  I'm working my way up to normal-ness by buying one second hand (and a few years out of date).

I got a super pleasant book surprise in the mail today, from my friend Aly in MN:

According to the New York Times, "Kaling is like Tina Fey's cool little sister" and since Tina Fey is my own personal Jesus I have found the next book up on my (f)unemployment reading list!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fun with Groupon - Part 2

It's been well over a year since I went through my first adventures in Groupon-ing, so it's now time to revisit all the fun stuff we've done thanks to the various daily deals sites.

Visit @ MacArthur Museum
I read a really, really good book and from that moment forward a huge interest in WWII history was born.  Like, I cannot get enough.  Fascinating.

From this new found nerd interest I discovered that General Douglas MacArthur spent time in Brisbane during WWII, leading the allied forces Pacific headquarters, in a building I've walked past a million times.  There's a small museum at the top of this building, which was his actual office.

Actual office that I got to sit in!

The old volunteer dudes who run the museum let me go behind the barrier and sit in the desk.  MacArthur's desk!  Or as I learned later, a reproduction of his desk.  A war, a very interesting war, was fought and won in the very room I sat in.

Movie @ Blue Room Cinebar
There are movie theaters, and then there is this:

Cinematic luxury!  Blue Room Cinebar shows movies in style, and even has a full restaurant and bar to keep you fed and liquored up.  The biggest kick for me, though, are the pillows.  Comfy!

We watched Gravity, and had a nosh and some booze to go along with the zero G's.

Movie @ Ben & Jerry's Open Air Cinema
Every year for a few weeks during the least rainy season an outdoor cinema is erected with beautiful skyline views of the city.  

We got one of these seats, as I didn't realize before booking that there are beanbags to sit on.  Beanbags!  How fun!

Ben & Jerry's sponsors the event, so of course there are way overpriced pints of ice cream available for purchase.  So of course we bought one.  So of course we ate the whole thing in one sitting.

We went on Halloween, which isn't the brouhaha that it is in the US, and watched Beetlejuice.  I hadn't seen that movie since I was a kid and it was great fun.  The shrimp cocktail scene is one of the best musical montages in cinematic history, bar none!

Speaking of musicals...

Live production of Grease

I adore the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), which houses stage productions and things that theater nerds like.  A scandalous sum of my money has gone to them recently, in my unemployed state.  They don't do Groupons very often, unfortunately for my broke ass.

I was able to tick Grease off my To See list (yes, I have one of those just for musicals) and realized just how dirty a lot of the lyrics are.  I don't know if I was too naive to pick up on them as a kid, or was watching an edited version, but I didn't realize until this show that Greased Lightening is referred to as a pussy wagon.  That is high brow entertainment right there!

Tour @ Boggo Road Gaol
What is a "gaol" you might be asking yourself.

It's a jail!  No idea what's up with the funny spelling.

The "gaol" housed prisoners in some pretty appalling conditions up until quite recently, 1989.  There was no running water in 1989!  How Amnesty International let them get away with that I will never understand.  You do the crime, you pay the time...and shit in a bucket.  Now there's an anti-crime slogan for you.

We got to tour the grounds, hear about the history and look at the lovely graffiti left by prisoners on the walls of their cells.  Have you ever noticed when people draw swastikas they do so very poorly?  And usually accompany their crappy drawings with misspelled epithets and slogans.  If you're going to spew hate, at least do so coherently.  I don't know what they had against a poor, drought-ridden West African country, anyway.

The sooner I get a job the sooner I won't have to rely on daily deals sites to entertain me.  Oh who am I kidding?  I'm a Groupon devotee regardless of employment status!

Monday, February 3, 2014

End of 2013 & Start of 2014

...and I'm back after a 5+ week hiatus of blogging!

Is there some sort of award for sucking at blogging?  If so, I'd be preparing my acceptance speech to the Academy right now.  Case in point: My one and only New Years resolution for 2013 was to blog more.  I find blogging akin to writing a diary, and I know that in the future I'll be grateful for the photographic evidence of my awesome life that once was.

2013 post count: 26
2012 post count: 28

Epic fail!  I squeezed one a post every other week.  Clearly I didn't bust my hide too much on this dog and pony show last year.

And yet I managed to write all those posts while employed, from the very first day of the year to the very last.  I wish I could say the same for 2014.

My job was a maternity leave cover contract, that morphed into an extended maternity leave cover contract.  But it didn't morph again into a permanent maternity leave cover contract.  18 great months I had at my job.  So where does that leave me now?


At this stage I'm still able to keep a smile on my face and call it funemployment, because thankfully I've got a sugar daddy named Martin who is willing to indulge my frivolous desires such as food and shelter.  It's been a month now (34 days sans paycheck, but who's counting?) and the first time around it took me 10 weeks to get a job offer.  Ten weeks is not unreasonable, I keep telling myself, so I'm hoping I have to wait even less time this time around until I convince somebody to hire me.

We'll see what happens first, an offer of employment or the release of my grip on sanity.  In related news: I made rice and beans for dinner tonight.  It did contain ground beef, though, and was quite tasty if I do say so myself!  But if ever there comes a time when the ground beef is left out I know it will be time to sell my body to the night.  Watch this space for updates.

Back in December something awesome happened.  No, I'm not talking about receiving a paycheck.  Martin's parents visited!

It has been waaaaaaaay too long since we had seen them, since we left Norway in February 2012.  We prioritized local travel in 2013 and couldn't make it back to the northern hemisphere to see them.  So they came to us!

For 2 glorious weeks we participated in our favorite activities: Eating, drinking, napping and reading.

To keep the 5 of us properly boozed up for the first week (where we were on an island with no access to more booze) we loaded up the trunk of our car with $600+ worth of tasty alcoholic beverages:

We turned our car into a low rider with all that sweet hooch!  We got through most of it, too!  The beer and wine, at least.  Liquor and liqueur was harder to get through, so we did manage to have a little bit of that leftover.  Note I said this was for the first week only!  We had to restock for the second week back on the mainland.

Martin's family = hardcore

Christmas in a warm climate is....bizarre.

It's the dead of summer here over Christmas, so the weather is at its hottest.

During our week on the mainland we did a bunch of day trips to places around Brisbane, including the main tourist attraction in town that we hadn't made it to in 22 months of living here, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

In our defense, I didn't want to go there by ourselves and then have to go back again when visitors come.  I like looking at koalas as much as the next person, but a trip out there ain't cheap, yo!

They have lots of other Aussie animals besides koalas, many of which are tame because people feed them (let me be clear: not the koalas, though. Sadly).  I thought this was funny: Martin, his dad and brother were totally scared to get near this emu:

But not me!

Speaking of emu, I had a burger made out of one just the other day (bottom dish):

The top dish is a kangaroo steak sandwich.  Both of these delish dishes were consumed at Tukka, a really awesome restaurant in Brisbane that serves native "tucker", Australian food.  I highly recommend it if you're ever in town.

To wrap up what I've been doing on my hiatus from blogging:

-Spending time with family
-Being unemployed
-Not being scared of an emu
-Eating emu

That about wraps it up nicely!  I'll try my damnest to be better at this in the coming months because 1) I've got the time and 2) who knows how long this amazing Aussie adventure will last.

Wish me luck, folks!