Friday, 5 April 2013

Today I Learnt.... I have a new musical calling

I like music. I like singing loudly and out of tune (cars and showers being my specialty). I like dancing like a loser. I like overly bright Hawaiian shirts. 

Too uncoordinated for the piano or the guitar

Not serious enough for the flute or the violin

Lungs not big enough for the trumpet, trombone, tuba or French horn (also, incapable of doing the buzzing thing required for them to make a sound)

Definitely not cool enough for the drums

And have way too much pride for the triangle and the recorder.

If only there was an instrument that suited me!! Oh wait, there is!!

Drum roll.....

....... THE UKULELE!!

My only problem with it is that for some reason it has become cool to play the ukulele; and I'm not really ready for all that pressure to be cool.

But never fear, I have found a way to de-cool-ify the ukulele!!

I have joined the hospital ukulele band. That's right. There is such a thing! 8 middle aged researchers with their over-zealous, over-ambitious, slightly-mad-scientist-crazy conductor, come together every Friday lunchtime to practice for 90min over hot cups of tea and coffee. They even play in competitions and put on shows with PowerPoint presentations featuring lasers (just like playing in a real rock band! Ha. Ha.)

Downside: they play songs by old bands I don't know, like the Carpenters (who apparently were this crazy brother-sister band who were madly in love with each other)

Upside: not knowing the songs gives me an excellent excuse to be terrible at them! Winning!

I know exactly 4 chords now, which pretty much makes me a ukulele expert, and I have to say it is a damn fine instrument.

Housemates, start looking forward to my endless strumming of the same chords and excellent monotonal singing voice. I know you'll have as much fun with this new adventure of mine as I will!

Ah, life is so happy! Ukulele happy!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Today I Learnt.... Of the World of IPhone Dating Apps

This year I have decided to "actively date" (whatever that means, but, yay for me!) and so considering I don't know people up in Darwin, I have decided to check out the world of IPhone Dating apps in all of their glory.

I have learnt many things through this process. Mostly, that I'm extremely (and borderline unreasonably) picky with my taste in men. Oh and also, I'm a very superficial person when it comes to choosing possible "matches" as these apps like to call them.

Seriously though,

-- Anyone who uses "me" instead of "my" in their 'about me' section ("I love me job") ..... No Deal

-- Anyone with "niceguy" or "shyguy" or "lookingforlove" as their username ..... No deal

-- Anyone who manages to write three paragraphs with no fullstops or commas .... No deal

-- Mullets, missing teeth, sleeve tattoos, multiple piercings ...... All no deal

-- Over 27 or under 21? .... No deal

-- Anyone whose top hobbies are shooting, fishing and BMX riding (99% of Darwin men).... No deal. (Seriously, what is with the need to fish here?)

Now most of those I can possibly justify, but then there are my restrictions which really are just unnecessary:

-- Come off needy or desperate ... No deal

-- Too blokey? Not blokey enough? .... Not deal

-- Too tall? Too short? Overweight? ..... No deal

-- Wearing a backwards cap in all photos ..... No deal

-- Describing themselves as a "true Aussie bloke" ... No deal

-- Even crooked teeth = probs not going to make the cut.

I'm taking a wild guess here in saying that maybe IPhone Dating Apps are not going to be my most successful avenue. I swear I'm not this bad when I meet people in real life! Part of me believes I can be this picky because it's the Internet, and then a part of me realises just how many good guys I'm potentially culling.

It's a good thing I'm having fun reading all these profiles though (there are some weird characters on these apps!) , if nothing else, it's an excellent way to procrastinate!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Today I learnt..... I like to dance. On Buses.

I know my last few posts have all been about bus rides, and yes, this is yet another event that took place on my morning route to the hospital. It turns out most amazing things that happen to me up here, happen on the bus!

So I got on the bus this morning to find a group of aborginal people, still slightly drunk from the night before, playing their music off their phones attached to speakers. They were having a jolly time, so I sat near them so that I too could enjoy the wide variety of music they were pumping out.

Then one of them began to dance in his seat. Then the others started to dance. And so I'm sitting there smiling and enjoying the show; and the rest of the bus is just politely ignoring them.

Then one of them yells to me:
"Ey, Sister, Why you white people not dance?"

And so I contemplate this, and figure, why not?? And I join in. I whip out all of my best moves; the sprinkler, the shopping trolley, the box, the mr.bean, the body roll. Which they all found both hilarious and entertaining. Some even tried to copy me. I thought about telling them most of my moves come from television ads, but I decided against this and took credit for all of them.

Then the most amazing thing of all happened. An elderly lady down the front of the bus started clapping along to the music. And then someone in the middle seats started dancing too. And suddenly everyone was dancing!!! Well, not everyone, there were a few stiff-suit wearing- business focused people who sat there shaking their heads. Clearly either they were against dancing completely, or 7am was just too early to get up and boogy. These folks had music for everyone, heart felt ballads, bolllywood, showtunes, disco, pop; the lot!

And the bus driver? what was he doing while all of this madness was going on? He was just laughing his head off and tapping his fingers against the steering wheel in time to the music.

Everytime someone got onto the bus everyone cheered them! And everytime someone had to depart everyone made a sad "awww!" sound.

It was fantastic! It was like life said "Bron, you're most likely going to have a boring day of research ahead of you, so let me make your morning so incredible you'll be able to smile the whole day".

And by golly it did!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Today I Learnt..... Buses are Dangerous Places

I got on the bus this morning to go to the hospital (because my bike is still missing a pedal) at 6:50am, which is really too early for anyone to be awake let alone already be on a bus! It was pretty much empty so I took a seat near the window and sleepily gazed out at all the crazy people wandering the streets going to work this early.

Just minding my own business, in my own little world when.......


Suddenly my head is hurting and the guy opposite the aisle from me is pissing himself laughing. I, extremely confused and disorientated but now wide awake, flailed around with exaggerated arm movements, sort of like I was drowning. Which only made the guy laugh harder.

What happened you ask?? Good question!! I'll tell you what happened, the entire 1.5m plastic light covering fell off the ceiling and landed on me. Yep, thats right, it was like the sky was falling.

Eventually the laughing guy gets up and picks up the large piece of plastic, of which I was still battling (I personally think I was winning), and together we put it in the aisle.

What did the bus driver do you ask?! Absolutely nothing. Didn't even notice. As the bus pulled up to the hospital the guy and I picked up the plastic light covering and took it to the driver:

Me: "Ahhh, the light fell down?"
Bus Driver: "Oh yeh, that tends to happen, just put it over there"

Fantastic. Guess this is a regular occurence on the Darwin public transport!

On the upside I wrote a very polite email to the NT public transport department and secretly I hope I get free public transport for the rest of the year to cover my "emotional suffering".

P.S - Apart from a cut and slightly bruised eye, I was otherwise uninjured in this event. Although, all sympathetic comments and concerned texts are still welcome after this traumatic event i've had to endure.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Today I Learnt.... Footy Is Better In The NT

Yesterday a friend and I fly to the Nguiu, one of the Tiwi Islands, for the footy grand final.

Now I know nothing about AFL and therefore tend to avoid it at all costs. Well, I don’t know nothing. I know that the whistle gets blown a lot, every time someone catches the ball everyone jumps on them, the players like to punch each other and that if you kick the ball through the middle two posts its 6 points; but that’s about it.

But everyone told me that this event was not to be missed, so I paid my $320.00 for a 20min flight and got excited to learn about AFL (finally).

Nguiu is an indigenous-only island and a government dry zone (no alcohol) which is not open to non-residents except for this one day a year. So I was really looking forward to going there.

The footy itself was pretty much the same as in Victoria, the whistle was still blown every 2 seconds and all the players still jumped on each other every time someone caught the ball; but somehow I had a fantastic time.

It could have been the passion of the Indigenous residents cheering on their team,

or the little white boy who asked the Indigenous elder who was yelling fanatically at the players “are you so crazy because you have no teeth?”,

or the indigenous girl who asked me “if you stay in the sun and all of your spots (freckles) join together, will you have skin like me?”,

or the overzealous lady who had to be escorted off the ground the ground due to foul language (“what do you mean I’m f**ing swearing? You f**ing f**wit!! I’m not f**ing being an f**ing swearer),

or the Indigenous boy who, after asking where I was from and I responded “Melbourne” , then went to on to say “You’re from Melbourne! Do you know Emma? Or Uncle Ricki? Or Aunty susan?” and just kept going until I decided to say “Yes” instead of “No” which seemed to make me his best friend

or the fact that the indigenous players didn’t even notice the stray dogs running on the field and simply played around them

or that you can buy 2L of cold water for $1

or maybe it was simply the fact that I won a free paddlepop icecream

or maybe it was all of the above.

All I know is that it turns out AFL isn’t such a bad sport to watch after all!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Today I Learnt.... That I Am Not A Hero

I take a lot of online quizzes, just for the fun of it. Once I took one that told me that I was "emotionally brave" and another one told me I was "courageous enough to change the world". The problem with these quizzes is that you answer the questions the way you see yourself, and in fact, the reality of who you are is so very different.

I got on the bus this afternoon, paid for my ticket, sat in my usual spot and idly stared out the window, not really taking notice of the people coming on and leaving. Two Indigenous people got onto the bus, I only noticed because of the immediate tension that filled the air, one young woman and an older looking guy.

Were they a couple? Were they father and daughter? Were they family or friends? I could not tell. What I could tell was that the young woman was obvisouly uncomfortable. The guy made her sit against the window and then sat next to her, blocking her escape. The whole bus was uncomfortably watching this encounter, where the man would lean into her and she would lean as close to the window as possible to get away from him. She slapped his hands away, and muttered uncomforatbly to him, and he took no notice. He touched her and whispered in her ear and aggressively pulled her toward him when she was defiant. I was sitting a fair way behind them so I could not see the extent of what was happening, but the feeling in the bus told me enough.

They got off at the same stop as me, the man leading the young woman down the park path with a firm hand. The woman did not cry out, or fight or scream, she just half heartedly tried not to be pulled by him into a place she clearly did not want to enter. And I was left there, alone, standing in the middle of the footpath watching. And then they were gone.

I so badly wanted to be like superman and save her. Do something or say something, just flagging to everyone that this wasn't right. Anything. It was more than just something I wanted to do, it was something I knew I should do, it would have been the right thing to do. The brave thing.

But I didn't. And for a while I pondered why, which was really just a way to make excuses for myself. It wasn't my place to get involved. There was a cultural barrier. I wasn't even sure there was a problem. Someone else would have said something if we were meant to. There was nothing I could have done.

But let's face it; I was scared.

Those quizzes lied. I was not emotionally brave and I certainly was not courageous enough to change the world.

I should have been a hero today. Instead I just blended into the crowd of bystanders whispering "that poor woman", full of regret and realising that on this day reality shattered my quiz filled fantasy of my identity.    

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Today I Learnt..... The Wildlife Here Will Kill You!

Today I learnt that the wildlife here is 1. Everywhere and 2. Will kill you. In fact, there's a whole museum dedicated to it! There's also an iphone app.

Firstly, you've got your salt water crocodiles which get up to 7m long and are found anywhere from the local swimming pool to your back garden. Everyone here has a "salty" story it seems. Mostly they are of near misses, but some are not misses at all. I asked how you can distinguish them from the harmless fresh water crocs and was told "The freshies are smaller. And don't look like they want to eat you".

Then you have the "sea wasp". This is a wasp that hangs out on the Darwin beaches. If you're stung by it you're apparently dead within 10min. End of story. Guess I won't be going to the beach!

If you decide to risk the crocodiles and go for a swim in the sea, you've also got to avoid the deadly box jelly fish and these tiny octopuses (?octopi) that will, just going with a theme here, also kill you.

Decide you don't want to risk your life on the beach or in the water? Think you're safe on land? Wrong! You now have to deal with the endless species of swooping birds whose sole purpose in life seems to be to knock you off your bike. You can get these funky looking hats to wear here to "scare off the birds" but then you just look ridiculous. Probably less ridiculous than screaming your lungs off and fleeing from your bike (I may have done this).

This is of course just disregarding the numerous posionous spiders which seem to occupy your room, bed, shower and are  probably camping out under the pillow i'm sitting on right now. Because, in Darwin, they simply aren't dangerous enough to even make the list of ways the wildlife will end your life.

If you manage to survive surrounded by all of these deadly creatures, it's the tropical diseases that will get you for sure!

You've got: Ross River Fever, Farmer's Fever and of course Dengue Fever. You've even got this new one called "Nightcliff Fever". I live in the suburb next to Nightcliff. Yes, that's right, Darwin discovered it's own unique bacteria that rises up from the soil in the rain and enters cuts in your feet and guess what? It will also kill you. Fantastic.

Guess I'll just stay inside my room and never leave! Oh wait, what's that? A snake chilling on my bed? Why yes it is! Guess I'm not safe anywhere!