Internet access here is kind of tricky, in that it either costs $5 an hour from our hotel, or occasionally works for free thanks to the kind soul in a nearby apartment with an unsecured wifi access point. Because of both the spotty connectivity and the fact that this kind soul is paying for metered access, I've opted to not upload the pictures I've taken thus far. I think Tuesday we move from our downtown Sydney hotel to a much nicer one on the beach, courtesy of D's new employers. I'm led to believe that wifi at the nicer hotel will be of a more "unlimited" nature, which hopefully should allow for better access then. The Internet withdrawal is actually worse than the jetlag was. We are apparently pretty hard-core connectivity addicts.
I've spent too much time and money over the last two days trying to get my iPhone up and connected to both the phone network and the data network, all of which has been entirely fruitless thus far. It SHOULD work, though, so I suspect that something got botched when I unlocked it. On the plus side, the really nice guy at Telstra broke the rules and gave me a returned Nokia and charger so that I could use the pre-paid SIM for which I had already paid, activated, and funded with enough money to get me data access for my entire stay. I'm incredibly indebted to this fine young man because I would have either wasted the heaps of money I had already spent, or had to waste heaps more buying a phone in order to not feel like I had wasted it.
We spent most of the day yesterday playing tourists, spending heaps of cash on the Sydney Aquarium and the Sydney Animal World. (Or something like that; I' a bit sketchy on the name, and I can't look it up from here.) The aquarium had some really impressive habitats filled with the largest fish I had ever seen. I tried again and again to capture them with my camera, but they always came out looking like just fish; the enormous magesty of them was completely lost, so I ultimately gave up. I didn't get many good pics of fish but I did get some good surrepticious shots of people and kids looking at them. At the animal park there were wallabies (no hoofs), wombats, koalas and a veritable cornucopia of rodents that this rodent-lover would love to be able to smuggle home. Practically every exhibit we came to drew a 'ooh, let's get some of THOSE' from one or both of us. One of the advertised perks of the place was that you could pet a koala, but as it turns out, it cost extra to do so, so D opted not to pet one. (Though tomorrow we are going to the Torranga(?) Zoo, where one of the advertised perks is being able to pet a koala, so I guess we'll see.)
Speaking of costing extra: Sydney is bloody expensive. The exchange rate now between American dollars and Australian dollars is now pretty close to negligible, easing the mental calculations before purchases -- but straining our wallets. Depending upon where you are, a small bottled soft drink ranges from $4-$6. Last night I popped down to a nearby convenience store, leaving with two quart-size bottles of water, two small bottles of juice, six twenty-oz-size soft drinks, and two Girl-Scout-Cookie-box-sized packs of biscuits, totalling (apparently 'totalling' has two 'l's here) $46.50. Taking into account both the 'package deal' and D's student discount, our entry fees into both the aqaurium and the animal place was over $80 a person. Youch.
To my eternal shame, we've been playing the stereotypical Americans, eating an alarming percentage of our food from the nearby McDonald's and Hungry Jack's franchises. In my defense, it's (relatively) cheap, only one of us is currently bringing in money, and the fast food here is (thus far, anyway) way better than in the states. 'Hungry Jack' is what they call Burger King here, which makes me wonder whether Jack in the Box is going to say 'screw the disdain for monarchy' and co-opt the 'King' name since Burger King already took 'Jack.' This morning I had an 'Aussie Breky' from Hungry Jack, which is, essentially, a Sausage Biscuit with Egg, except disassembled and with an extra egg. The flavor of the sausage startled me a mite bit; it's not the familiar maple-y 'breakfast sausage' flavor to which I'm accustomed. It was, instead, a bit like salisbury steak. And very delicious. (They do have Sausage Biscuits with Egg, but I wanted to say 'Aussie Breky.')
After wandering through the aquarium for awhile, we were amused to realize that we were both reading all the information displays in our heads with Aussie accents. This, combined with the fact that I'm not really noticing any Aussie accents anymore, has me worried that I'm walking around doing a bad Crocodile Hunter impression. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm even more worried. I was just asked for directions by a couple of cute Japanese touristas who looked incredulous when I told them that I don't actually know how to get them where they're going, and that I'm not actually from here. I would really like to be, though.
11:45 am, Sunday:
Just had a 10-minute conversation with an American couple enthralled by my OLPC. I'm pretty good at giving people the sales spiel now, which is unfortunate since the only place they can be acquired is eBay. I think they would have done well to have some in the wild before ending the Give One Get One promotion, because the number of people that see mine in action and want to get one for their kids is staggering. Anyway, I better go back to my hotel and see whether I can get online and post this. I've spent the last hour sitting at the Australian version of Starbucks, called 'Gloria Jean's Coffees' ("Escape the daily grind.™"), which I'd feel kind of silly about if it weren't across the street from an Actual Starbucks. Bloody Americans, always expanding, trying to take over the whole world...
I recently saw a huge McDonalds billboard that said "Fresh Cracked Eggs." Not "fresh-cracked" or "freshly cracked." Regardless of the freshness of the eggs, I'd prefer if they weren't sitting there with cracks in them.
Now today I saw a sign for Happy Meals depicting a tower of carefully stacked Chicken McNuggets that proclaimed "Food To Grow On." We all know that crap makes people fat, but it seems like somrthing they'd want to avoid inadvertently pointing out to us.
I can't be the only one seeing these unfortunate wording choices and thinking they reflect more negatively onMcDonalds than positively.
Yesterday was quite possibly the worst day of my life.
It started like any other, with me rolling out of bed at 5:15 and jumping in the shower. About midway through the shower I suddenly felt like I was going to throw up, which actually happens fairly frequently. I have a weak stomach and mornings suck. Some days the simple act of brushing my teeth causes the dry heaves. In any case, this time was different... not only did I feel like vomiting while showering, I actually vomited too. Multiple times.
I decided I better call in sick, at least for a couple hours to see if it would pass or get worse. It got worse.
I spent the whole day alternating between feeling like I was going to throw up and actually throwing up. (I was just about to type "I'm not sure which was worse," but then I remembered that the throwing up was far, far worse. How anyone can do it on purpose is completely beyond me. Those people have a much, much greater committment to Sparkle Motion than I.)
Late in the evening I took one of the anti-nausea suppositories that D had left over from her knee surgery (boy THOSE things are hard to swallow...) and that seemed to temper the pukey feeling enough to let me choke down 5 saltines and some ginger ale so that the aspirin I wanted to take to knock down my severe fever wouldnt burn a hole in my stomach.
So that was my day. Total food intake: 5 saltines and some ginger ale. Total food output: the previous night's dinner from Hawaiian Charbroil and all liquids I tried to consume before the anti-nausea medication.
I would have taken it sooner, but it had the classic warning of "may cause ", and I couldn't face the idea that it might get worse.
See, I never used to eat fast food. Never at all. I was lean, mean, and healthier than anyone I knew. Chicks dug me. My doctor wrote a paper on human bodily health using me as a benchmark for perfection.
Then I saw you eating all that delicious-looking food in your film Super-Size Me and everything changed. I had to have some. Then I had to have more. Now I can't go a day without eating greasy, fried, DELICIOUS food from any number of drive-thru eating establishments. The larger the portions the better. Hell yes I'd like bigger fries for just $0.39 more.
Thanks a lot,
p.s. "30 Days" is very enjoyable, even when I can see the hands of the editors shaping things according to the message you want to put forth.
One of my favorite guilty pleasures over the last 10 years has been the occasional consumption of Arby's Chicken Bacon Swiss sandwiches. I don't partake of them often, because they're freakin' expensive (and really bad for me), but I really enjoy them. Today I decided to hit up Arby's and grab one, on account of how I haven't had one in over a year.
So I'm at the drive-thru, just finishing up my order when I begin to worry. Through the crackle and hiss of the drive-thru speaker, I hear the question that will change my life forever:
"Do you want that crispy or grilled?"
"Wait, what?" I inquire. "I don't follow you."
"You can have the chicken on that either fried or grilled. Which do you want?"
Upon thinking about it a little bit, I have absolutely no idea how they used to do them, but I decide on grilled. As I pull up to the window I see a big banner proclaiming how the chicken they serve is all 100% natural, grain fed, each feather lovingly removed by an aging Hippie.
Let me tell you, the new "improved" Chicken Bacon Swiss 100% sucks. The meat was as dull in flavor as it was in color and texture, and I doubt getting the "crispy" variation would improve matters much.
I guess that's one less thing I have to feel guilty about.
Every time that I order a hamburger at a restaurant, I enjoy having a carbonated beverage made from a nut fallen from the kola tree. What I've found is that most restaurants have some sort of exclusive deal with one of 3 large corporations: Coke, Pepsi and RC. 1 Honestly, I don't give a flying offensive reproductive slang term which brand I drink, I just want a cola and to be efficient about it.
What has always happened in the past is that I would try to premptively guess which company they have a relationship with and order that. Example: "I'd also like a... Coke... please."
"Is Pepsi OK?" my helpful server asks.
So next time I try it the other way: "I'd also like a... Pepsi... please."
"Is Coke OK?"
Tired of this crap, I recently decided to just premptively cover my bases and order a non-brand-specific beverage type: "I'd like a... cola please.."
to which has been responded with, "Is Pepsi/Coke OK2?" every single time.
The only thing I can think of to rectify this situation is to order like this: "I'd also like one of whichever cola flavored carbonated beverage your soft drink partner provides you with -- and don't you dare ask me if one or the other is OK, or it's no tip for you," but that will undoubtedly make me look like the asshole, so I can't do that.
This also brings up fast food drive-throughs. I always place my order followed with "and nothing else." They always ask "Do you want a Mountain Dew or some Mexi-fries??" No, I just flipping told you I wanted nothing else. Arg. But then if I angrily hit the talking clown speaker with my car, that makes me the asshole?
1: Essentially, it is only Coke and Pepsi, I can probably count the number of restaurants that have offered me RC Cola on my offensive gesture finger.
2: I seriously wish that the failed cola company named "OK Cola" were still around so that I could hear "Is OK OK?" from a helpful server.
Know those annoying "Support our XXXXX" ribbon magnets I'm always going on about? I think those have tiny RFID chips built into them, allowing the government to track the most trendy, patriotic, easily manipulated citizens.
How does the government know who has what magnets, or know when you replace your worn ones for newer ones? Simple: fast food restaurants.
Bear with me here.
Every fast food chain has closed circuit cameras pointed at the front of your car while you are at the drivethru, in case you rob the place or something. A computer uses the camera to read your license plate, cross references that with the unique ID that the ribbon magnet transmits, and then adds it to a database if it isn't there already. Because of the highly sophisticated computer software our government is using to curb the threat of terrorism, we know that people who eat chicken sandwiches are 37% more likely to be terrorists than people who eat only beef sandwiches. Also, terrorists prefer the Vinagrette dressing on their salads a whopping 43% over both Ranch and Thousand Island combined. A terrorist will never, ever Supersize, so that's an easy flag right there.
"Surely America's fast food restaurants would never join forces with the government," you might say. Well, I have some startling evidence to support my claim. Have you noticed all the fast food chains here in America are changing the color schemes of their restaurants and logos to contain more red, white and blue? I have. Take a look. All of them are now red white and blue. Case closed.
DAYTON, Ohio — David Scheiding is suing a fast-food restaurant operator for more than $50,000, claiming he found a slice of skin on his chicken sandwich.
Scheiding said he realized something wasn't right when he bit into the sandwich on June 18 and found a piece of flesh about three-fourths of an inch long.
"It looked like I was seeing fingerprints on it," he said. "I got sick and went to the bathroom."
Miami County (search) health investigators talked to the restaurant manager, who had a bandage on his right thumb and wore a latex glove, according to a health district report. The manager said he sliced skin from the thumb while shredding lettuce, and sanitized the area but didn't throw away the bin of lettuce, the report said. Scheiding's sandwich contained lettuce.
This is really gross, but is it worth $50,000?
The restaurant should apologize, replace the mans meal and give him some free food coupons as incentive to keep eating there, but a huge fucking pile of cash? No.
Picture this: your loved one has just prepared a lovely meal for you. You fork a mouthful of casserole into your mouth and begin chewing. You notice something oddly fibrous in your mouth, and upon reaching in with finger and thumb, pull out a small curly hair.
a) not make a big deal out of it
b) get your lawyer on the phone to start drafing a $50,000 lawsuit?
Americans are so caught up with making money off every little thing. I think it's just plain wrong to sue Arby's over this. It's not like they told the manager to not throw away the lettuce in the bin, he just didn't realize his missing skin went in there. He reportedly "did destroy product that was in and around the slicer immediately, and did everything that he thought was appropriate to do." If he had intentionally put something in the man's sandwich, then the man might have a case against the individual, but suing the corporation is just plain silly.
Sure its gross, but if you had any idea the kind of shit that's in nearly all the food you eat -- not just the food handled by minimum wage fast food workers -- you would probably never eat again.
You know, some cultures treat human flesh as a delicacy. These people finding "bonus" flesh in their food should just count themselves lucky and keep quiet, otherwise everyone will want some.
The woman who found a finger in her Wendy's chili was arrested thursday and charged with attempted larceny involving the finger incident. It is still unknown where she got the finger from, but her failed attempt at a fraudulent lawsuit cost Wendy's $2.5 million in the Bay area alone due to lost sales.
Fake story ending:
Adding to the costs, Kentucky Fried Chicken has filed a lawsuit alleging that Wendy's "Finger in the Chili" news stories were really part of a viral ad campaign attempting to violate KFC's "Finger Lickin' Good" trademark without fear of legal repercussion.
Alternate fake story ending:
It is assumed the woman wasn't acting alone, she probably had several accomplices. Neither Ronald McDonald, Carl Jr, Col. Sanders, the Burger King, nor the Dairy Queen could be reached for comment.