Monday, December 05, 2005

До свидания

in the words of the infamous benevolent quiz master, aunty jack (whose 70th i was lucky enough to celebrate on saturday),

"thank you ball boys, thank you linesmen, thanks for coming".

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

the best birthday ever in the entire history of birthdays

we got pixellated.

you shall soon see...


As the light sprinkle gradually turned into steady rain, Uncle Winston
said, "I'm glad I remembered to carry my bumbershoot!"

i get these things emailed to me. this one i liked enough to share with you.


Friday, November 18, 2005


i've had it. so i can't update this blog now but i do know it's high time. and there is actually a small but growing desire in me to do so...

Monday, September 05, 2005

my beloved melbourne

dear you overseas person you*,

well, i've made it, as you may already know, back to my beloved melbourne.  tomorrow it will be two weeks that i've been HOME and, i have to say, despite the persistent chill factor that requires me to pull out my eccles fingerless gloves slash mittens in one, melbourne life is deliciously easy to slip right back into!

so far, i guess it's true, i've had it pretty easy.  my days have been filled with plenty of homecoming excitement, catching up with lots of friends, and, to borrow some words from lovely lou my soon to be new housemate(!) "the delight of anticipation".  and anticipation of what, you may well ask!

well, firstly and most urgently, there's anticipation of the great new job which i'm CERTAIN is just around the corner.  i've been in semi job search mode ever since i dragged my travel weary butt off the plane but have now decided to gear into overdrive and REALLY get it happening because...

the anticipation of sharing a great new house (with lou) has just reached paramount after the glowing references provided by norm and tanya (spanks to ya) outweighed my hard to ignore (un)employment situation and lou's lack of rental experience!!  and that, my dears, is an achievement in itself!!

SO, you're among the first to know that, if all goes according to plan with the signing of the lease this very evening, lou and i will soon be the tenants of a quaint (i know its real estate speak but lou said it suits!) edwardian house in north fitzroy, just a short ride downhill(!) to brunswick street and all the old haunts....

apart from all that jazz, everything goes well in melbourne.

i've managed to acquaint myself with the newest and currently cutest addition to our big family, the not-so-tiny-anymore aurora jane, aged almost five months and that, has been a source of great wonder for me as well as admiration for her young and very capable mother, lisa!

in between job interviews and various social engagements(!) i've been awandering wide-eyed through the city streets searching for my favourite cafes and marvelling at all the changes that have happened in six short months i've been gone.  dunno if it's just the spring sunshine but everything just feels so very possible to me!

it's also time for the melbourne fringe festival to start, one of my favourite melbourne arts events, which will be closely followed by the melbourne international arts festival featuring the one and only spiegeltent.  and i've jumped right into all that too, volunteering for fringe and hopefully, very likely, doing tv reviews of some of the performances.

but now, having spent far too much time at this computer today, i'll leave you with this bizarre australian english expression of the day: according to the university of queensland's language talkback website, "Mrs Kafoops is an Australian expression for a woman whose name you don't know."  yeh right!

oh, before i nick off...

i just wanna say that twas truly grand to meetcha and see ya again wherever it was that we crossed paths.  tis unlikely that i will continue this blog now that i'm back in melbourne but i certainly wont forget about YOU and hopefully we'll meet again soon.

oh, and if you do find yourself in this fine town in need of a roof over your head or something crazy to do, DEFINITELY let me know coz i've always got a couch space reserved for you and time for a beer or two...or more...but NO drinking games, ya hear me, michi??!

lotsalovenluck xx

*full credit slash apologies slash thanks to luke of dear you fame ~ read his work, it rawks!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

hard to pinpoint

i'd like to revise that last statement. it was made in haste.

please excuse my resemblance to a broken record...

whether because the teaching itself gets easier as i go along, whether because markus visited me on saturday and cheered me immensely, whether because i just finished the mill on the floss and just loved it, whether because i went out for not-as-good-as-mumbo mexican last night with three like(ish) minded souls, whether because sqodge called and woke me up first thing this morn, whether because i rode 28 km (or something) in the sun around millstättersee this afternoon, or whether because i've changed my flight and am now arriving home on the 23rd, at the same time as originally planned, 1.30, i dunno. all i know is i'm feelin mighty fine and sunshiney and hope you are too.

oh, and the food is still shite.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

belasaraskaya peninsula and beyond

a bit late but here ya go xx


the trip from downtown mariupol to the belasaraskaya peninsula on the sea of azov, takes about an hour in a mashrutny taxi ~ otherwise known as a minibus ~ and costs around about AUD$1.

but! in the careening comfort of piotr viktorovich's lada, it's not only much quicker but another kind of adventure altogether. especially, if you're spoilt rotten like i was and forever given the privilege of the front seat sans ankle-biters while between five and seven passengers cram into the back...

i expect piotr's family are quite well off, having two televisions, a washing machine (that even works!), a car AND a garage in which to store it are all pretty strong indications. but even so, piotr turned the car engine off while we waited at traffic lights and always liked to coast downhill.

of course, he never but NEVER turned the blaring russian musika off, not even when the engine was off. i guess this is why the battery went flat and all six passengers had to get out and push ~ this preference for music over starting your car was a situation i saw repeated time and time again.

we could have gone swimming in mariupol, t'is true. it is, after all, a port city. they say the water's much cleaner on the peninsula but the rubbish strewn streets and lack of bins anywhere in sight lead me to think otherwise.

when we got there, piotr's mate's place was full so we wandered round the corner past shipping containers converted into summer homes, past piles of rubbish beneath signs declaring 100 hrv fines (AUD$25) for just that, past absolute mansions that looked like they belonged on the OC...well...almost, and found ourselves a room at rima ivanovna's place for about AUD$5 a night.

it was nothin fancy, just a room with four beds in it. but the bonuses included a shared fridge, an air-conditioner, of sorts, and lo and behold ~ a tv, snowier you never did see: we were content.

the days that followed, five of them, consisted entirely of sleeping, eating, drinking and lazing around on the beach with the many bikini-clad dyevushki ~ and yes, your typical ukrainian glamour queens they were but i, myself, was fascinated by the constant stream of, it's not what you think! i don't mean the ones stumbling drunkenly around in what looked like their sunday undies!!

i mean the ones who, along with young girls and babushka's, roamed the sands touting all manner of yummy treats: piroshki, ice-cream, wafered caramel wraps, sweet corn treats, fruity cakes and, what trip to ukraine would be complete without sunflower seeds! so impressed was i that i contemplated taking their portraits for a ukrainsky beach calendar ~ if they can sell a moe girls' calendar*, i can damn well sell a ukrainsky beach calendar and WHAT a souvenir!!

*darren6964 is selling one on e-bay if you're interested!

amidst all this was beer for breakfast, wine for lunch and vodka for dinner, followed by beer of course but, never fear, the alcohol didn't even attempt to replace the food, merely thoughtfully augmented the steady flow of fried delicacies and the remnants of salad buried beneath mountains of mayonnaise. yup, NOW you might understand that spare tyre i mentioned...

but after five sweet sun-drenched days and not ONE visit to the pricey discos ~ AUD$2.50, i mean really, how dare they?! ~ piotr viktorovich reappeared and our trip back to the mud-streaked streets of nikolayevka aka home sweet home began. the power station was still in a state of disrepair thus, there was no hot water and the task of daily ablution as challenging as ever.

now i'm in austria and yea, it's clean. but it's a helluva lot less interesting.

Monday, August 01, 2005


oh yea, i sorta forgot to mention a few things. got back to vienna on thursday morn after a grand total of sixty hours unterwegs from nikolayevka and GOD was it good to get "home" and shower.

spent thursday swimming in the sun (been about 37 degrees i think) with the kburg kids before they buggered off to bregenz guessed it...wasserball!

friday was just hanging out and cooking with helmtraud (and visiting the cops to report my 2nd mobile phone theft in six months) and checking out the vienna film festival with markus, that is, the soon to be visiting india followed by melbourne markus, YUP, the one and the same!

and on saturday just slept in and bludged around til beer o'clock with jolly & co. now am spending a couple of weeks in carinthia (see below!). after the pain of actually working is over, i'm back to kburg for TWO NIGHTS ONLY (blink and you'll miss it) and then farewell dear österreich, i loved you once.

coupla nights in chiavenna, coupla weeks in holland meeting up with me cuz kate n dave n later a weekend with SUPER ECCLES!! and then i think i got me a date with melbourne town...

just in case you were wonderin, that is



sunday night, nearly 10pm.

this morning helmtraud drove me to südbahnhof, we said our goodbyes for who knows how long, and i climbed on a train, make that two trains (but not at once), to spittal an der drau. it was a queasy ride after last night's jollyness at alte akh and beyond, but i made it. funny how somehow five hours can be harder to sit through than thirty-three.

along the way i saw endless beaches and sunbathers, but here, i've only seen the inside of my hostel. apparently there's a beautiful lake not far away which is 150m deep but as warm as 23 degrees. i plan to swim as much as possible and try and lose my ukrainsky spare tyre!

in mariupol they kept telling me i needed to eat meat, for the calories. i tried to explain i had no shortage of calories but they just thought that was a joke. i'm trying to write up my travellers tale at present but my stomach keeps getting in the way. will post it later this week.

apart from swimming and various excursions around the area, florence and i have seven english students on our hands for the next two weeks. so from 8am til 10pm we're mostly on duty, teaching that is, and conducting various activities.

not sure how it's gonna go coz old man mandl says we have to do all the preparation ourselves ~ a far cry from the good old days of bad ischl! florence doesn't seem to think there's anything to worry about but i'm not so sure...a good sleep'll help tho methinks.

oh yeh, and apparently there are no rocks in holland.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

киіб уже

я не знаю как баша сомрютер роботает, but for me, that comes up in russian! and WHY?! coz i've made it back to ukraine and am currently in kiev awaiting my "connecting" train to slavyansk so that i can get the bus to nikolayevka and be there for диедушка vanya's birthday tomoz which is exciting coz i get to give him mach III razors and chemist glasses.

i tell ya, that damn ukrainian embassy must be halfway up the steepest hill in vienna (! and listen, my suitcase and i have already, after a LONG discussion, agreed on this fact so DON'T bother arguing, you'll only lose!) and hell, when i got there, there was about twenty uki's hugging the damn gates, and no, that is not a joke.

now, maybe i've just been lucky but, there has NEVER been that many people there before. not more than one or two. so i asked someone what was happening. "nothing," she said, "this is the embassy, nothing happens here." oh, how sadly true. in the next two hours they let in about eight people. and i wasn't one of them.

but, stay there for long enough, [and i don't mean INSIDE the grand gardens on the benches nicely arranged in a horseshoe formation, i mean outside on the street with their audi's listening to the rich neighbours playing tennis and the rest of the uki's sighing and pushing their way to the front of the queue], watch the suits all leave for lunch, wait for them to come back and THEN...

bring on the wailing!!! and, don't forget the waterworks and, amazingly, you get what you're after. it only too me about five or six hours and some manufactured tears and a non-existent "already paid for" train ticket to wail about and i was IN, mate. the funny slash scary part is, they lock the gates and then wont let you out when you're done. i think that's ukrainian humour.

oh hang on, i forgot a bit. they DO let you out, they send you to the bank to deposit the fee. and that's fun too coz the banks in austria close for lunch as well. and then re-open for an hour or two and close again at three. if you're lucky, and lucky i WAS, you get there when they're open. and then, if you're EXTRA lucky, they let you back in to the consulate ~ but not the rest of the wailing masses, unfortunately.

so, finally got me visa and, spanks to helmtraud [the one and only], got me a ticket that same night on a "DIRECT" [so they say] train to kiev ~ which really means that it goes via slovakia and takes approximately 33 hours and gets ya there at 5.26am...wicked. so i'm here. and there's now only about three and a half hours to kill til i get on the nikolayevka.

howz this for a farkin astronomical difference in price: the train to nikolayevka is a twelve hour trip and costs 37 hryvna, roughly equivalent to 10 australian dollars or 6.20 euro. BUT a ticket to budapest, which takes twice as long, costs 550 hryvna, or 147 aussie dollars slash 91 euros...fark! so, dad, you know how you said you'd lend me some more money if i needed it...

well, yeh, i might need it. but let's not worry bout that for now. how bout leavin it til the very last minute. yep, methinks that's a SUPER idea. okay, the heavies behind me are starting to put me off now so i'll be goin. am hopin to *maybe* be able to use sasha's internet in nikolayevka and find myself a cushy job before i get home but, yeh, we'll see how that goes.

in the meantime, enjoy being yourself [if that's who you are right now], coz it truly sucks when you wake up and you're someone else entirely and there's no back button and yeh, it's like when the wind changed..only much much worse and you might need a markus to drag you out but there's only ONE markus. don't worry too much tho, i hear he's heading to melbourne [via jaipur] pretty soon.

love n luck

Sunday, July 03, 2005

jiggedy jig - the revised edition

it's sunday afternoon and i've just been at mary wild's birthday brunch and i reckon, but not for that reason alone, that this week has been [at least CLOSE to] the most excellent one i've had the whole time i've been in austria.

but, tis true, i've never been much good at making comparisons.

when i was a kid i had a green notebook in which i recorded the title and author of every book i read. then i gave them a star rating. in the beginning, i rated them out of five. by the end of the book the stars filled pages because each new book always seemed better than the last.

but i think this week HAS been great because i've finally given up. not something i ever like doing but something i sort of felt i had to do here coz working in vienna with an aussie passport is almost impossible. and, since i've given up, i've felt more like myself than i have since birmingham not alabama and its wild ways.

and, as i've already reported to various transcontinental eavesdroppers, it feels SO damn good to feel like myself again. to be in a good mood is something i never appreciated so much before. and i thank all the posse i hung out with all week for dragging me out of the dumps and making me laugh my silly lookin head off.

so, tomorrow i leave for a last long look at ukraine ~ three weeks actually. then i'll be back in austria for a few weeks in august and in the latest breaking news, MEETING ECCLES IN AMSTERDAM FOR A WEEKEND!!! then...home again home again jiggedy jig. see ya there.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

alive, just bearly

i meant barely but what i mean doesn't seem to come out right very often over here. lou says it's understandable, not me, i mean i am, but that's not what she meant.

i guess that proves that point pretty unarguably.

sew, things be hokay but the pieces of me are disintegrating with the excess indulgence found so often in the company of the finest echelons of my freundin circle.

see what i mean?

things just don't come out right, or maybe they aint goin in right, it's hard to know the difference sometimes.

sqodge n dom have been here since thursday last week. they reckon they're goin to europe tomorra tho, i can't decide if i believe them.

oh yea and och aye the lou arrived on a hoovercraft* for a few slumber partees over tha wockenende auch and that, my dears, has been tres fine.

'cept i lost my engraved birthday pen, sorry straubs n mike, i am planning to go back to goodman's to find it but i'm kinda afraid to go on my own.

plus it might just be in one of the many taxis we caught that dark warm night in wien. after all, my jacket was on the dashboard of the bus, wasn't it?


sorry for long silences. i've been a bit shakey. evil of evilness hangovers from the "cheap and fine" wine at singvögel rückwarts can't be discounted.

that's my local, can see it from my parquetry floors, or the boudoir cum balcony. s'kinda unreliably houred but i quite like it.

specially after a trek home from charlie p's ~ i suppose i'll never understand why österreiches love irish pubs so much.

but as the sq says himself, we do so like österreichish bars. and that from the man who invented antiminding...really, need i say more.

oh yea, plan, i had one of those.

can't remember WOT i did with it. think i left it under a pillow somewhere between nowhere and goodbye. i do so like that expression.

um, plan.

i got a new one. i reckon i might leave austria. not entirely sure when and jolly's doin a fine job of talkin me round. a longer happy hour at spark and i'd be a goner, or rather an antigoner...

hang on, who's antigone again? oooh, i LIKE that!

so, yea, movin on methinks. well, i wouldn't be starnawskirestlessness if i didn't and there IS my reputation to consider.

she who is so very excited at the capacity to write** for ONCE*** in her fuckin wienertime.

* i gotta say it even if the mighty danube was closed and she had to complete her journey on a boring old bus ~ sorry bob.

** if by write you mean leak out a miniscule confusing amount of information relating to the past twoish weeks of her existence.

***many spanks to oh! lou the lovely, the one and the only sqodgelator and his inimitable superfantasticness and dom

...or was it tom...somehow i can't exactly recall but he was fine methinks even tho me cannae think


ps ~ i KNOW that wasn't soon but soon never really means soon in real life (that's not supposed to be condescending in any way shape or form, just so you know).

Thursday, June 02, 2005

ukrainsky contortionists

i was kinda suss when a dodgy lookin ukrainsky woman joined us in our sleeping cabin even though it was already full. but i just kept dozing on my top bunk and tried, for a change to keep myself outta trouble.

she was there for a while though. some of the others left and she was still there making all kinds of racket with plastic wrappers, tape, screwdrivers and a snazzy little tool that could turn any seemingly innocent wall into a SECRET COMPARTMENT!

she pulled the table down, the wall apart and stashed cigarettes in the floor! she turned the ceiling into a door, opened it and stashed some there. they were seriously everywhere. and she wasn't shy bout it either. but when we got to poland, the border guards [six or seven of them in all] took the train apart. and when i say apart, i guess what i mean is A -farking- P A R T. the ceiling came down, the floors came up, all along the corridor the walls came off, bit by bit.

we could either watch or stare at the floor coz we were kicked out of our cabins. the fat controller was pretty nice to me, grinning and asking me, "nice?" i replied, "strange." and he said, "very, and all for work." or was it "awful work". i don't know. just the same as when he checked my passport i couldn't be quite sure if he said "good way" or "go away". benefit of the doubt, i say. yea, so my train was delayed at the border for about an hour an forty minutes due to impressively contortionistic cigarette smugglers. but, after only 36 hours, i have made it from nikolayevka to warsawa!

but somehow i don't feel much like roaming the streets right now. could be due to the shock of below 30 degree temperatures after absolutely roasting every day in nikolayevka. could be the "flat" ukrainsky shoes i bought ~ sqodge said they make me walk like a girl, can you imagine! could be the lack of alcohol intake, my last dosage was two beers with vareniky for breakfast yesterday morn at kiev station with yura pre-teary goodbye.

and i really don't know where to start right now with the whole ukraine slash budapest slash poland extravaganza. i feel like the first things that come to mind about nikolayevka will only make it sound bad: the next to useless power station is undergoing works at present so there's no hot water; there's high unemployment (partly because of the power station's uselesness) and not a whole lot to do which is probably largely why people drink so much; there's a lot of illness and poverty including my (2nd) cousin andrei who i think has killed his liver but keeps drinking and keeps putting himself in hospital. he's 28.

but at the same time, and even more than those negative aspects, it's a really lovely place and kinda feels like my second home now, despite the fact that i still can't navigate myself around ~ again, i blame it on the alcohol intake, it's damn hard to avoid. i know you wont believe me but i HAVE tried. the people in nikolayevka are really lovely but i'll hafta tell ya bout them next time COZ i gots a train to catch. meeting mum n kevin in a few hours somewhere between warsaw and gdynia. don't know what's next.

hope you're ace, spanks fer the mails n comments, i will be back in vienna next week and will definitely write ya then.

love n stuff


Monday, May 30, 2005


i'm here, it's hot, sqodge left amid nemnoshka tears yestereve.  tomorrow tanuka, yura and i head back to kiev.  bye bye nikolayevka.  can't see through the fog of brekkie shots to describe it properly for you right now.  suffice to say,  it's hard to get clean and impossible to cool down.  if you don't want samagon (home brew), you get vodka, if you don't want vodka, you get beer, if you don't want beer, you get rumcola, if you don't want that you might get wine.  the options are: drink or drink.  and people insist on giving you presents which is kinda nice but somewhat guilt inducing.  my plans are still changing every day so i wont bother trying to explain where they're at now.  i don't mind the wandering around at night, finding yozhik (hedgehogs) n stuff  but the mornings...let's not get into that.  back in vienna on the 5th or 6th of june.  after my detox (yea right!), i'll updaytcha xx

Monday, May 09, 2005


dearest you,

if you get this via email it's because i've got an email in my inbox from you and a very scary [and ongoing] lack of motivation to write anything, not just anything back, but anything at all - moleskin, blog or otherwise.  i AM sorry but this thing called life has been simply indescribable of late so here i am trying to rectify that but...madonna over yorkshire, whilst perfect listening, is not helping.  perhaps i'll try something a little different

you shall be pleased to know that le sqodge arrived safely and wonderfully [from melbourne via new york] at four something am on the 29th of april [after i'd spent a long evening at shebeen's trivia night with jolly, alex and co] and he n i been having a verrückt adventure ever since as one can only do here in chaos house, kierling:

seeing the sights slash experiencing the mania of maifest im wiener prater; taking a tour at the impressive slash excessive schönbrunn palace and gardens; traipsing the streets of vienna's first district and beyond; munching the langos, various delightful schokolades and yet more savoury and breakfasty treats; paying jackie o style visits (!) to random wiener-apartment and klosterneuburg-house slash wheelchair parties courtesy of carola and gerald, all has been grand.

but i've also found myself continuously feeling like the ground keeps moving under my feet...and there's no safety net.  it's not really as dramatic as all that and i'm certainly not writing to make you worry slash sympathise coz i know, logically and realistically, that there's really nothing to worry about.  but, the uncertainty that everyone keeps telling me they couldn't throw themselves into, yea, well, it's starting to become a leetle irksome.

but, the good news is that mumbo n kevin will be arriving tomorrow evening [from melbourne via milan]  with five glorious italians in tow.  we've got a couple of days here exploring wien n kburg, then the italians are heading back to italy and us australians will be off to kiev via budapest.  so, i probably wont be writing much for the next month.  i'll be trying to find out about job potentials in kiev slash st petersburg and i'll be consuming vast quantities of samogon, only coz the water's contaminated , y'know...

love n luck


Monday, April 25, 2005

bad ischl

i’m back und ich habe ein brand OR, for you monolingual folk, “i have a fire in me” ~ otherwise known as a hangover ‘cept it doesn’t mean you feel sick, or have a headache, it literally means you have a fire in you (curable by drinking cream, apparently) and, after a night out [at bloody irish and australian pubs] with my favourite fugazi and a bunch of austrian/british/american rugby players (spanks aplenty must go to alex and his broken nose!), that fire should come as NO surprise! now, after a lazy day in the klosterneuburg sunshine, i’m relaxing on the best balcony in the world, listening to cat empire, and attempting in some way to relay my experiences in bad ischl, home of the famous zaunerstolle...

it started seven days ago, challengingly early on an intensely wintery monday morning ~ really i thought i’d done a dorothy, somehow clicking my red sparkly heels together in my sleep and waking up in mid-winter melbourne complete with howling wind, driving rain, gloom and doom fixed on everyone’s tired n grumpy faces, red-suited ambulance workers disappearing off the bus and into the misty streets of the city. i had no idea what lay ahead, hutteldorf u-bahn station and a green minibus being my only clues to the exhaustingly enjoyable schnitzeljagd that would become my week with mandl sprachkurse.

i got there half an hour early and sat in the railway station cafe, injecting the necessary caffeine i knew i’d need just to get as far as the exit, let alone all the way to bad ischl. when i’d had my fix and made my way out into the dim light of that day, i was greeted by a cold n sorry looking bunch of auslanders and mr mandl’s somewhat anxious welcome. johnny, a scotsman, and steve, a brit, introduced themselves straight up and when i climbed in the car alex, jolly and florence said hi. but when i replied “hi i’m leonie”, pete [later to be known as “the controller”] retorted “WOT?” and complained that i was the third australian he’d met recently with a name like that ~ i almost turned around n went home, hey.

after a few minutes little miss late turned up, introduced herself as beata and we were on our way to the youth hostel that would become our home and school for the week. the three hour~ish trip passed quickly and, considering only a few of our group had met before, tales of getting shot at and mugged in norfolk [virginia], performing jackass~esque stunts and meeting traditional austrian farmers who played guitar [but only whilst atop their tractors with the engines running] were not what i’d call par for the course. although you prob’ly wont believe it, i was pretty quiet, partly from my usual nonmorningness, but mostly just coz i was trying to figure out what strange track i’d suddenly found myself wandering along.

so now, having done full circle along that curious path, to salzkammergut and back (!), i’ve had my first real osterreichisch teaching experience and, if i was forced to describe it in one word, that word would definitely be AWESOME!! but you must know i’m not much chop at one word answers so, indulge me, if you will: five long and mostly misty days; nine pretty fun native english~speakers harking from england, scotland, wales, canada and australia; four friendly and yet characteristically quite reserved austrian teachers; the one and the only mr wilfried mandl; and 73 fresh-faced austrian schoolgirls from vöcklabruck! oh, CAN you imAGINE??!

the first afternoon was pretty cruisy: we met the four friendly austrian teachers [joe, margit, mary and christine], had some lunch [vegetarians also provided for, except on fish friday] and a preparatory meeting and launched straight into classes. there were nine groups, with seven or eight girls in each. at first it was a bit daunting, the 20~something male native~speakers amongst us [and me] particularly nervous about being confronted by a bunch of thirteen year old girls.

but our worries were entirely unfounded, these girls were lovely, sweet, smiley, curious and polite little things who behaved themselves almost too well all through the week. and mr mandl, to give him credit, had prepared more than enough material for the twenty classes we were to carry out and, while there was a leetle leeway and room for impromptu activities, he was the boss and he knew what he wanted which made it, honestly, pretty easy for us...well, the classes anyway.

the hardest part was finding the energy to keep up with all those girls, high on excitement and wide~eyed with fascination at these strange foreigners in their midst. our job was really to get these girls more comfortable with speaking english, shyness being a tricky hurdle for many of them. but i also felt like i was in a bit of a big~sister role too.

so we really tried to spend as much time with them as possible, eating a few meals with them, playing cards with them in our free time, joining in some of their afternoon and evening activities even though we weren’t obliged to, even performing a half-hour play for them on the last night. jeez, that play is a blog entry in itself (!) but i think i’ll let the photos do the talking (more coming soon). suffice to say, our efforts made a difference ~ the deafening roar of applause and cheers we got from the kids on our last day confirmed their appreciation beyond a shadow of doubt.

kanyeshna, there were the usual hiccups associated with having 70+ kids cooped up inside all day and a bunch of pommy bastards trying to get along (!) but minor theft, illness and injury was really nothing out of the ordinary and certainly NOTHING like you’d expect from a bunch of british or even viennese schoolkids, or so i’ve heard. and when the leetle treasures finally went to bed each night, we native~speakers were free freE frEE fREE FREEEEE to roam those dark shiny cobblestoned streets in search of that precious amber liquid we know fondly as beer.

and, our search having been a roaring success, i can highly recommend k n k and stehbeisl, should you ever find yourself in the beautiful mountain village that is bad ischl. but please, bear in mind, if you fall asleep at the bar and you wind up late for breakfast you just wont get none ~ luckily there’s a “bar” at the hostel so if you’re a likely contender, i’d suggest you drink there. AND they certainly don’t expect foreigners to order a radler at stehbeisl so if you try it and get yourself a macchiato instead, don’t say i didn’t warn you. lastly, it could be good to remember, that five grosses weissbeers after a long day at the “office” will probably NOT find you fighting fit the next grey morn.

other highlights of the week included:
visiting the imperial palace where the anorexic empress sissi and her opium smokin hubby lived;
steve and johnny’s irish/scottish/english violin/guitar and strange drum performance;
the siriuskogel which we reached via the schnitzel hunt (otherwise known as a treasure hunt) on a sunshiney thursday arvo;
the final concert on thursday night complete with our ten million euro lottery winning play and numerous singing, dancing and comedy performances from 70 something not so shy teenage girls!

and finally, coming home to receive a pile of much welcome international snail mail including cocktail recipes (spanks mumbo), the fine work of mr alex parr international man of art, as well as YOU letters aplenty and wicked zines from the superhero himself!! keep your eyes peeled ‘round smelbourne town for the latest installment of starnawskirestlessness in YOU letter form and if you see luke, tell him he RAWKS!!!

and this week’s potentials??
teaching zeiselmauer swimming teaching st andrä-wördern arrinking schikaneder swimming and trivia~ing and anD aND AND...the thursday night arrival of the one and only, the wandering adventurer, the chocolate fiend, the tofu theif, that’s right, you heard it slash read it here first, the SQODGELATORRRRRRRR is soon to be here, caught in the clutches of chaos house kburg city...look out grumpy weiners!!


oh yea and mumbo jumbo, can you puh~leeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaase bring me some peanut butter! and either a kangaroo or a crocodile for markus ~ he’s not fussy. tarr muchly, love lots xx

Monday, April 18, 2005

mad maD mAD MAD goa party!!

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well, i might be a beer* with a sore head today but it's worth it coz the goa party that stephan and claudia took me to last night was, as above, mad maD mAD MAD!!

whether we would actually go or not was doubtful coz after sitting around at stephan's place for hours, we [especially HE] was feeling a leetle, how you say...? *lethargic* and asked me if i really wanted to go.

an outdoor goa party? do i wanna go? kanyeshna! who do you think you're talking to??!

i just said i didn't mind where we went as long as we went SOMEWHERE. lucky for me, niko was coming with us and stephan didn't think he could be talked out of going. so, after we picked him up from weidlinger bahnhof, we were on our way.

it was supposed to be about a forty minute drive or so, south of vienna, and our directions were pretty sketchy. somehow, after an uncountable number of wrong turns and calls to ingo, we found ourselves driving up a dark narrow road into the forest.

at the end of the road we were met by torch-weilding party people. in the darkness we shook hands and introduced ourselves (standard practise in austria the first time you meet someone) and they led us a short distance to the wicked leetle party set up in what may or may not have been a disused quarry.

pics can be found in my photobucket but they just DON'T slash CAN'T do justice to the amazing location and the craZy excited feeling that hit us as soon as we saw it. the whole party was set up in a grassy clearing almost entirely surrounded by sheer rockfaces.

there was a good fire going, surrounded by logs to sit on, a bbq with free potatoes (oh, they know the way to my heart!!), a bar backed by a massive horizontal tree trunk, laser projections on the rock face, other cool decorations and even a tiny vip chill out tent but, as ingo told me, everyone that was there was a vip.

there was probably about forty people or so and all the ones i spoke to were really friendly and interested slash bemused by my presence in austria ~ i'm actually having to learn to speak slowly now coz otherwise there's a lotta people i just can't have a conversation with and you must KNOW that i couldn't handle that!

there wasn't a whole lotta dancing happening but we got a few ottakringers into me n my posse ~ claudia, stephan, niko, markus, gerald & dani ~ and we were havin a boogie before long. it was the first party put on by this crew ~ and i reckon i'm not the only one who's hoping there'll be more!

heading to bad ischl early tomorrow morning and wont be back til friday evening so YOU will have to survive the week without any starnawskirestlessness ranting...think you'll be hokay?

hope you're all awesome!!


oh yea, forgot to say, i went swimming yesterday too! OUTDOORS at happyland!! i thought i was going to die either from the cold or the strange sensation of physical exertion but well, i guess it's obvious i survived.

*note: bear is often mispronounced as beer by austrians, the the funniest incident was gerald showing me photos from romania and telling me that the area was famous for it's beer ~ a believable statement until he told me he'd seen a mother beer a baby beer!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

beer cerveza pivo biere beer ol birra bier bere piwo sor etc

we're all here drinkin beer...o! sorry, seems it's just me...but ade n stav, well, dear family in your entirety, you'll be proud to know, i''m drinkin none other than austria's finest, goesser! and how piss funny (pun, NOT intended) that the website asks you if you're over 18 or not!!

yeh, so it's late~ish on friday night and everyone who's anyone in chaos house is already sleeping. fugazi and supermum have got an excuse, they're heading off to italy at 2am. but me, well, i couldn't be arsed going out to the goa party that stephan called me about tonight. just couldn't face the bus slash u-bahn shemozzle to be honest. and, my seesaw-atop-a-rollercoaster-on-the-edge-of-the-ravine-over-the-void-of-the
-indefinable-future week has been a bit much for leetle ole me.

but, first things first, congratu-spatu-fatu-farking-superfantastic-lations to poppadaddysupapaddy and the uberlubblylisa for the six week early appearance of the healthily adorable aurora jane!! sorry if you can't handle the gushiness but i've moved onto a stiegl now and there aint no holding me back...

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(the proud grandfather and impatient aurora jane ~ sorry they're a bit squished, i couldn't resize the picture properly)

...cept p'rhaps that damn big nasty looking eight-legged so-and-so that's crawling right by me looking rather deadly...deep breath squeonie, gulp that stiegl and keep your feet up high...katie! i think it's the same one!! and now it's disappeared back down to the nether regions where, unfortunately, i have to stand at some stage...okay, more breathing, have to cope, haven't blogged for way too long.

Monday, April 04, 2005

loneliness disappears at the end of a pen*

it’s sunday night and we just came back from a sexfest...

oh, sorry! i mean a sexTETTfest, kanyeshna!! which, in case you’re too lowbrow slash uncultured to know, actually means a classical music concert performed by a string sextet. and in this case, ensemble neues kunstlerforum at the camineum-saal (hofburg) performing the work of strauss, mozart, dvorak and a contemporary viennese composer, barcaba. yea, that’s me...high society n all that.

well okay, do ya wanna hear the truth? or would you rather my highly fabricated version of reality?! oh, if only i could write this blog as a choose your own adventure ~ maybe that’ll be my next project. after getting a job or two and writing a travel piece for the age and finishing the da vinci code...

shite, i didn’t think i’d admit it but, yea, i’m reading THAT bloody book. don’t ask me about it now though. according to the meticulous review system christian suggested, i will only rate books in comparison to the one or two i’ve read before it. and given that the two before it were pattern recognition and down and out in paris and london, well...i reckon dan brown’s got two chances.

truth is, i’ve had a wickedly fun AND cultured AND musical weekend which started with a surprisingly fine evening out at cafe kafka on friday. i was in two minds about going coz i don’t usually get into open mic all that much (or poetry for that matter) but i thought an opportunity to meet some english speaking arty farty types was probably a good idea.

unfortunately, or so i thought at the time, no one could be convinced to come with me. i guess it was friday night, end of the working week, waterpolo training night, scout meeting night and all that and...well, let’s face it, poetry can be rather dull at the best of times. so, i put off my departure, not quite making up my mind whether to go or not and then it was already ten past eight by the time i finished blogging to you lot.

one small thing that must be considered when you’re planning a night out in wien is that the buses from maria gugging to heiligenstadt (the nearest u-bahn/underground station) only come every half hour. and we ALL know how superfantastically good i am at missing those things with wheels, don’t we?! so sure enough, i decide to leave at exactly the time the bus is due.

shoving my feet into passion t-bars, dropping things left right and centre, hurriedly double-kissing supermum and markus their goodbyes, slamming the gate and racing time to the bus to the stop was, if not a good start to the evening, also not an unusual one. a coupla u-bahn’s later and i was at mariahilferstrasse, shopping district massive by day (see flickr pics for some idea) but at this time of night, almost a leetle threatening ~ probly just coz i didn’t know where THE HELL i was going!

cafe kafka was quiet when i walked in. someone was reading german. and there was nowhere to sit. it didn’t seem particularly exciting, but at least it was no carl rickard "book" launch, someplace where you want to hide your head and pretend you’ve never HEARD of poetry, let alone coordinated a writers’ festival ~ that bloody apostrophe still makes my blood boil!

so, pretty soon i realised how practical it was that i’d come alone. for who, but the deeelightful sqodger perhaps (and even then only with a steady stream of amber ale), could have been convinced to stay there with me, propping up the bar whilst simultaneously drowning in a mass of nyemetski yazik of the self-indulgent kind and rapidly running out of cashola.

but i stayed, and i’m damn glad i did. after poring through a vegan magazine for wiener vegetarian eateries, gulping a stiegl or two whilst waiting out the guest speaker’s incomprehensible (to monolinguistic moi) forty minute rant and buying a somewhat average english poetry zine, this tall, kinda daggy looking guy got between me n my beer and, well, if that wouldn’t make me talk, nothing would.

after the break and some impromptu menu translation, steve performed two pieces one of which [it’s a fucking bad day ~ check out his site for the mp3] had me laughing out loud and then clapping my hand across my mouth in embarassed surprise. it was a pretty friendly crowd though and i found a guy across the room imitating me in my embarassment: grinning and putting his hand over his mouth too. steve’s second piece was “a word from our sponsors” and was about “vienna, where death is at home,” an interesting comment about this city i don’t know so well yet which, according to supermum, IS kinda obsessed with death.

so yea, there was a bit more poetry in english and some which was annoyingly introduced in english but read in german. they also announced a few other literary events that are coming up, i met a few more people and then it was time to hightail back to the u-bahn. there was a half-hour wait at heiligenstadt where the april air closed around me like an unfriendly lover and i tried to ignore it by noting down the entire bus timetable. but eventually the last bus to maria gugging came and twenty minutes of tousled hair and brake lights later i was home sweet chaos house again.

saturday morning came, apparently, but no bastard woke me up so i missed it. by the time i dragged my lazy arse outta bed the sun was high in the sky and cousin gunter was over with his maniac kids. supposedly he was asking for me but, as usual, little to no conversation ensued and he showed extremely predictable reluctance in helping me get a job in a bar. but meh, who needs his help?! well, yea, okay, maybe me...

anyway, i’m getting tired so here’s saturday in fifty words or less:
museum quartier
meeting victoria!
buying californian wine
drinking an apfelsaft gespritz
square time at spunky werner’s supercool flat
planet music
death metal avoidance
muchos beeros
girlie chats mit fugazi
milk plus’ psychedelic rock!!
bastard hill climb
fire on the buchberg
hiccups n home

you’ll just hafta wait for the malakofftorte and rudesheim kaffee update (~ yes! they really serve it in a cup like that!), patience my dear sweet things...oh no, i’m so tired i’m confusing YOU with the malakofftorte...

bed beckons, immediately!

*thanks to victoria the unknown at the labyrinth reading for the quote about loneliness...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

und then there were zehn

chaos house. i'm sitting at a computer desk in a room which contains more bookshelves than i can count ~ let's go with nine for now ~ as well as a dining table that seats eight, two couches, a sewing desk, the tv, two computers including mine and more...the floor is covered with three or four different carpets and the dining table with a colourful cotton cloth. the walls, or what remains between the bookshelves and the windows, are adorned with large photographic prints of africa ~ libya, i guess.

s'mum is sleeping soundly (slash having a nap) on one of the couches ~ her current bedroom because of oma's recently broken leg and subsequent extended stay at chaos house. we've had dinner already but it's still light outside coz it's daylight savings. atop the computer monitor in front of me lies a mini zezbbles and beyond that an array of baseballs, photos, trophies, statues, candles, vases, ashtrays and other odds n ends. i can see, but just barely, the mammoth front hedge and the top of elisabeth's house across the road.

nichts (pronounced "nix" = nothing) but my fingers clicking on the keyboard. the coffee was bubbling but it's stopped now. s'mum was snoring but she's stopped too. i think she operates in tandem with the coffee, you would too if you drank that much of the stuff! i can hear the cars going by outside on kierling hauptstrasse, that's the main street between klosterneuberg, tulln and beyond.

every now and then oma (grandma) coughs or shuffles about. but the house is quieter than it's been all week coz the schierach kids are all at waterpolo training and markus is keeping to his sleepy self upstairs. it's a good opportunity to complete the final module of my tefl course, the young learners module. but i can't be arsed.
i got my grammar results a couple of days ago and with 94%, i'm giving myself a break. don't actually know how useful or necessary that piece of paper is going to be. seems i might be okay for a job without it.

today, s'mum and i met with stella (christian's friend AC's mum), who's british and teaches at the vienna international school. we talked a bit about different teaching opportunities in vienna, and a lot about travel and life and all sorts of other things. i'm going to meet her next week at the school, hopefully to meet with the head of her department and some other teachers from australia and nz and see if they've got any ideas for me.

but i'm not too worried coz i had a pretty successful day yesterday. i met with the principal of zeiselmauer primary school where our neighbour elisabeth teaches. i visited the school a few times last time i was staying in kierling and, together with gabs once, managed to teach the kids a few games and some bad habits! it was a lot of fun though and i'd be keen to work there again...if i get paid, and it seems i might!

the principal, karin, was really friendly and excited to meet me and keen to have me working there assisting the other teachers with their english classes. only thing is, she has to find out how keen THEY are. and how much the parents are prepared to pay. it probably wont be all that much per student but, because of the number of students, will work out to be more than enough for me.

karin also made an appointment next tuesday, for me to meet with the principal of klosterneuberg gymnasium (that's what they call the more academic high schools here, as far as i can gather) which is closer to home and would involve working (potentially) as a teacher's assistant with high-school aged kids, i think 12-18 or we'll see how that goes!

oh yea, and i've got an interview with biztalk on monday too. and another meeting scheduled for the following week with teachers representing all of lower austria and the man who writes the english language books for each year level for ALL the schools. should be interesting whether or not it involves any chance of employment.

so my life's been pretty busy coz that's not even the half of it. yea, if you can believe it, chaos house got even MORE chaotic this week. with the sudden arrival of cousin olivia from salzburg, our population rose to zehn (ten, duh!)...including the ghost and the dog. i wouldn't have thought there was room for more but i don't know that s'mum would be able to say no if she tried.

olivia's gone home now though so we'll be back down to seven, coz i don't really include the ghost and the dog! fugazi and i have been hangin out a bit too, which has been cool. we met with J meister T (fugazi's mate who travelled to oz with her last year) and her brother gerald (fugazi's ex who used to live at chaos house too) at cafe leopold last sunday and it was, honestly, much better than i expected. JT was FULL of beans and had a million ideas for us to go out dancing, to bars, to yoga(!) and to circus workshops too!

but for now, i gots to GO, coz there's english language poetry on tonight at cafe kafka and i wanna check it out!!

Friday, March 25, 2005

joogling an abundance of cheese

i’m blogging offline, if that’s not a contradiction in terms, coz i get the feeling the dial-up internet connection could be a bit pricey and i still haven’t got a job. it’s funny coz i was thinkin i should really get one and that everyone in the house must be thinking what a lazy leetle so-and-so i am but then last night supermum told me that, while i was out visiting six irish pubs to proffer my services, markus commented that i’m a workaholic! really?! me?? i think not, but i’ll willingly let others continue to think so, perhaps it might help my trashbag reputation...

speaking of laziness, today i didn’t even get outta bed til nearly midday. i made the fateful mistake of putting curtains up on my windows a few days ago and ever since then i have not been able to get up, regardless of what time i set my alarm. of course, it could have something to do with the fact that i have no real need to get up, or that i go to bed between midnight and 1am most nights, but no, let’s blame it on the curtains which, silky dark blue with stars on them, must be convincing my slumbering brain that it really is still night outside.

when i finally did get up it was a breakfast outside kinda day, so sunshiney and warm that the butter was melting on the table. after a bread roll n coffee for breakfast and attempting (unsuccessfully) to read my horoscope in german, i decided to practise my juggling, yup, for practically the first time since i learnt how from astroturf puddle boy in birmingham, not alabama.

thing is (here’s my list of excuses), i don’t really wanna practise inside coz the ceiling’s too low in my room and the rest of the house is pretty chaotic and...well...let’s just say i don’t have supreme command over my juggling balls yet. so on a day where bare feet are perfectly applicable and a singlet can be worn sans ensuing goosebumps, i say some juggling is in order!

the best thing about being pretty damn average at it, is that it actually works out to be a form of exercise too. i’m not sure if this still applies when you get good at it, but when you’re not much chop, like me, you’ll be forever bending down to pick up the balls from the ground. when i learnt, i spent an hour or so doing this and ended up hobbling around like an old witch for days as a result ~ seriozna! but today i warmed up~ish, clever, no? well, i’ll letcha know tomorrow...

oh! i’m sorry if i shocked you with the mention of exercise, i’m not going all tom of finland on you, i just know that the situation could get dire pretty quickly when i’m living with such an abundance of cheese!! we gots emmentaler, butter kase, mozarella, camembert, fraisch kase...and they’re just the ones i can remember without looking, there’s at least three other types in the fridge and it’s scarily easier to eat them than it is to avoid them.

and then there’s these things that call themselves krapfen. as unappetising as that may sound, they’re actually donuts! apricot filled, no less!! so yea, they’re only easy to avoid because they evaporate almost as soon as they’re brought back from the s’market. on another food note, we had beer-battered vegetables for dinner tonight and no, i don’t mean the vegetables were beaten over the head with beer bottles (although that would go well with the smashed potatoes we had last time i was here and the spring rolls i massacred a few weeks ago), they were fried in beer batter ~ how much more of a perfect meal could be invented pour moi?!

and i haven’t even BEGUN to tell you about salzburg?! oh, i’m really gonna have to revert to dot points for that one!

7am - wakeup!!!!!!!!!! (not without difficulty, kanyeshna)
spoke to supermum BEFORE she’d had her coffee
got a stern request NOT to do so again, PLEASE

8.30am - departure
snow AND sunshine all the way
stopped at mondsee
(crescent shaped “moon lake”)
a-bloody-mazing view
(check the photo link on the right)
back on the road with cirque du soleil playin on the stereo
spanks puddle boy

1pm - Salzburg (& the high snobiety according to supermum)
mountainous backdrop every which way
more kinds of more gigantic pretzels than previously imaginable
-chocolate and jam
-and not so ordinary pretzels too!
TREE CAKE - omg!!
beidermeier kaffee (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm)
tiny streets, no cars in the centre
old fashioned gents cycling by
salzburger hats and a clear blue sky
mozart is everywhere
despite being long gone
uni choir from san antonio
sang in a freezing church
we met with some of them
(daughter of a friend of supermum
~ from years ago in libya)
dinner...ish & radlers,
that’s beer n lemonade
search for the bus
one way streets
car horns honking
tally for nice vs nasty salzburgers see-sawing til even
goodbye to americans choristers

7pm - head home accompanied by the eagles and tiredness
10.30pm - go directly to bed, do not pass go, do not eat krapfen OR pretzels OR cheese, just go to bloody bed

yea, so that was that.

other weird things about austria:

they drive on the WRONG side of the road. i know this because, despite being observant, i also drove MYSELF to the video shop the other night in grandma’s car! everyone had a great deal of amusement at my expense about how i wouldn’t be able to drive and they should warn all their friends to stay off the roads but i’m glad to say that i haven’t forgotten the entirety of eight years driving experience and managed to make it there and back unscathed.

they have strange toilets that allow you to examine your waste before you flush it away, you know, in case you had to stash your grandfathers’ watch (a la pulp fiction) or something, i guess...

vegetables are more expensive than cheese and meat! strange. but i’m coping just fine thanks to the efforts and tolerance of my most gracious hosts...does that sound sincere? yea, nah, really, i AM coping. the only stomach churning moment was ordering cheese sandwiches from a late night sausage stand and then watching a mouse run by our feet while we waited for our food, yummo.

so, i’m goin to a goa party in the city tonight with flower-stick stephan and his tres lovely girlfriend claudia. progress learning german: nonexistent at this point. progress with job: had an interview last night. said i could pull a beer even though i never have. plan to do extensive research watching various bar staff pull beers for me all over the city between now and my trial shift...fingers crossed!

tchuss lovelies, hopin you’re all smilin, i have GOTS to get off this thing NOW, love ya xx

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

chapter zwei: the eastern empire

the skz outside mz window is turning a hayz pink on its waz to turning
a cold blue~black and its coy iäve been in this goddamn pc-raum for
too manz hours, quite probablz nearly three alreadz.

so, iäm sorrz if i havenät written zou individuallz and i promise i
will just as soon as mz internet horror stories are over and i
certainlt WONÄT bore zou with them in the meantime and THANK ZOU THANK
ZOU THANK ZOU ever so superfantasticallz much for all zour lovelz

as zou could probablz tell bz this goddamn kezboard which iäve given
up trzing to correct, i have made it to austria, kierling, käburg citz
to be exact and zes, i will change to heinous location indicator on mz
blog just as soon as i can log into the bloodz sing!!

the first night i got here, i was picked up at the airport bz supermum
herself, kanzeshna, weäre talking about a woman here who KNOWS that
she does it best and as a result spends just a leetle too much time
making sure that no one else does what she can do better.   if that
makes sense.

anzwaz, so she picked me up and we headed straight to hansel (a posh
restaurant in the basement of the grand 19th centurz building which is
the former stock exchange) where the all grown up seventeen zear old
version of supermumäs son michi works as a superschmick waiter.  and
where i was subsequentlz treated to some fine wine and a FRESH welcome
to wien flower ~ zah, i gots the wilted ones too when we got back to
kburg citz too.

yah, so since then, thereäs been a schooldaz in a place called laa
(serioyna!), much in the waz of domestic duties (but hez, i can handle
it, i havenät done anz of that for at least a zear an a half now,
right sqodge?!), a new mobile (number below should zou wish to text
me!), a night out on the town at an RnB bar and an irish bar ~ for
which i had to get changed THREE times to meet with michiäs approval
and had to raid fugayiäs closet to do so!!

iäve so far seen most of the lovelz ones i remember from last time i
was here: supermum, fugayi, michi, richard & markus ~ all of whom i am
living with in käburg citz as well as edeltrude, supermumäs mumma who
is currentlz in a wheelchair so is stazing at käburg citz too.

iäve also caught up, albeit brieflz with gerald (with whom i travelled
to ukraine a few zears ago), andi the lovelz, eliyabeth the teacher
from across the road and a host of newbies too.  its kinda nice
feeling like a bit of a celebritz but iäm sure thezäll tire of me soon

the other night eliyabeth joked that we should put a picture of me in
the paper and richard said something back that made everzone laugh and
me wonder if it could possiblz have been complimentarz...turns out he
said "zou have to experience leonie, not just see her", which i
decided was not meant to be an insult...hopefullz.

hokaz, so all is well, even more than, but i reallz have to head home
now coy even though itäs warming up, thereäs still a lotta snow around
and when night-time hits, itäs bloodz cold.  AND i didnät bring a
scarf or a hat!  i hope zouäre all feeling superfantastic in zour
worlds wherever thez are and i canät wait to see zou all again,
whenever that maz be.

some answers:

stansted and that IS how zou spell it is one of the airports thez
claim is a london airport but i aint falling for THAT again!!  itäs 40
miles north of central london,  about a four hour bus trip from
birmingham, not alabama, and costs about twenty-four squid.

the bumps on the head in brighton were from god knows
what...spunkztrunks, you got an answer for mumbo jumbo on that one??
after all YOU were SUPPOSED to be taking care of me!!  oh, i know it's
a hard task, really, zou did remarkably well.

oh, and the blisters, thez were from me n elli dancing to live
brazilian jazz at casablanca (in brighton) and me grabbing her hands
without looking and while she was holding a cigarette.  yea, thez
don't put THAT warning on the cigarette packs, do thez??  bloodz
useless governments!!

and just in case zou want to be COMPLETELZ and UTTERLY revolted,
here's the transcript of the monster memorz game (hats off to monsieur
patrick king) we (that is: me, spunkztrunks, red ikea cheese grater
man and the golem peackock) plazed on car trip from brighton to
birmingham, not alabama, a week or two ago...

(*note* this is a game where each person sazs one characteristic of a
monster and zou each have to remember everzthing that was said before,
and so on.)

has green fangs
a large patch of acne on her neck
a bout of herpes
facial warts on her feet
mucus ooying out of all her pores
a bachelor(ette) in astrophzsics
chronic diarrhea
is a midget
has a beer bellz as big as a house
is suicidal (wouldn't ZOU be?!)
burps smellz farts from her mouth
BUT, she is REALLZ good at juggling seven rings and balancing a broom
on her nose at the same time
has a pet lickalottapus (lesbian dinosaur) with whom she shares a
genital infection from a camping trip in '94
AND has just got her period.

tchuss my lovelies,
leonie xx

ps ~ SWEATZZZ!!!  i absolutelz LOVED zour drinking poem, kanzeshna, so
please please please can zou send it to me so as i can make zou
famous?  please?  or i'll come back there and torment zou, and thatäs
a promise!!

zea, no reallz, bzeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

pps ~ eastern empire coy thatäs what österreich (austria) actuallz
means and doesnät it sounds SO much besser?!

Friday, March 11, 2005

stanstead if that's how you spell it

AT THE AIRPORT now, leaving england finally and only five days after i planned to. an extended visit was very necessary, in case you don't know, for "personal" reasons as in, not ones you get to read about on this blog! at least not now you don't.... but apart from it being "necessary" for reasons beyond explanation at present, it was also a very sensible decision in a fiscal sense, coz it would'a cost me about three times as much to leave on sunday (original plan) as it did today.

kanyeshna, this is at least partly due to the fact that i was so "distracted" that i didn't get around to booking my flight til the saturday. but anyway, the only negative side-effect of my delayed departure is that i didn't communicate it very well to supermum which resulted in much deserved annoyance on her part, trekking to the airport late at night, and the soon to be receipt of wilted dying flowers on my part, also deserved methinks.

but aside from this inconsideration and subsequent guilty horror, the last few days have been absolutely loovly. a lotta film watching and bludging about coz there's not a whole lot in the way of scenery in birmingham and also just coz i could think of better things to do. last night we went to a "scream" bar, just me, spunkytrunks astroturf puddle boy, eccles and simon ~ alackaday i forgot to make him up a nickname! and it was anything but a quiet night!

spunkytrunks and i both had a brief but deep dip in spirits early in the evening and, as a result, we cancelled our dinner plans. t'was a bit of a shame but also understandable coz we've had such a superfantastic time and yeh, well, now it's on hiatus so that's a leetle bit of a shock to the system as i'm sure you understand. but anyway, we had three vodka shots (had to use starbursts as chasers!!) and headed out to consume pitchers aplenty.

now, i tell ya something, they haven't got what i'd call much of a clue in this country but those pitchers are a damn fine invention. just like jugs, y'see, only think of the proportion of pots to pints and you've got some idea of the magnitude of amber indulgence ensconced in a pitcher of stella. i think they cost about eight quid maybe?

oh yea, and here's one for the tales of starnawskirestlessness' travel hopelessness: do we all remember the one about going to switzerland by mistake? and the one about missing the plane to italy and leaving lovely lou sitting on the steps of the station til three am? and the one about getting on the train AFTER it had started moving in ukraine? and the other one, the worst one, about missing the plane outta turkey on september twelve when it really did feel like the world had turned upside down and was trying to shake us all out?

yea, well, i tend to laugh about these things EXCEPT WHEN THEY'RE HAPPENING!!! and today, yea, about an hour or so before my bus was leaving birmingham i realised that it said about two or three times on my ticket confirmation that i had to actually print the ticket in order to travel. and kanyeshna, i hadn't actually read the bloody thing prior to that, had i? so i didn't have any farking idea, did i?!

what ensued was christian getting home from his driving lesson and us heading out in a frenzy of packs on backs on buses and the internet search mission worthy of an indiana jones film. oh okay, i'm exaggerating, you knew it...but the rest of it is sadly, embarassingly, hopelessly true. and as i pointed out to astroturf puddle boy, i'm really good at arriving, just not so good at's the serial goodbye-ER in me.

gotta go get corfee now, love and luck to you all and a huge mumma shout to those i've partied with in england! thanks for the good times, the blisters, the bumps on my head, for it all. it's been loovly!!


Sunday, March 06, 2005


check this out for a rockin night, kids!!

that was the drum n bass night we went to last monday...tuesday...?? someday!

back from brighton and reading now, just been to see the awe inspiring cirque du soleil, they have a show in melbourne soon and if you haven't booked yet you better bloody do it coz you canNOT miss out!!

GOT to book my flight to austria NOW!! meant to be leaving tomorrow...aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

love to you all, i can't wait to see you again somewhere, somewhen.
take care and gluck in all that you do, all my lovin, leonie xx

Saturday, March 05, 2005

oh well okay, one more then...

dear you,

disaster morning
lots of snow ~ lovely
dead guinea pig
spit in face
rugova leaving
trudy very upset
and a bit mean
cold mashed potatoes
horrid vegie sausages

birmingham new street station hell
train to reading
lost babushka brooch
shall we leg it?
sweaty and shelley
yahtzee winner!!

a real fucking shower finally
STAR motif firmly attached to duffel coat (spank you so very much
sqodger, you IS da greatest!!
amazing vegie brekkie at cafe iguana
fried potatoes
grilled mushrooms
poached egg
baked beans
vegie sausages

lucky fucking something
smelly alley (it's REALLY called that!)
net cafe - duh!

train to theale
lunch with sweaty and roo

train to brighton
alien creature
beer, oh...ya reckon??
portslade by the sea oh ahhhhh dahling

drum n bass
see me online at something like it!!
no time for internet
sorry so sorry but
absolutely loving it
and sort of missing you



Tuesday, March 01, 2005

email that i should have sent you but which might have gone to your spam folder

aloo gobi funsters,

this is SERIOUSLY the ONLY group email i am going to send you and i'm sending it to you all because i want you to know how absolutely superfantastic my leaving aus was.  totally couldn't have been better!!

sqodger says i'm a serial goodbye-er and what can i say but...yea?!  i am but only coz you're so great to say goodbye on...i think that came out wrong!  you're great to say hello to too i promise!!  but i just felt so...yea, loved.  by ALL the phone calls and ALL the company.

RIGHT, enough gushing.

am now in birmingham and using my lovely laptop at a cafe that has wireless.  have sent spunkytrunks (that's christian, the hot water service for those who don't know and SHOULD!) home for the power plug coz i'm running out of battery.  christian is a fantastic host, i tell ya.  cannot be faulted in ANY. WHICH. WAY.  BUT BUt But but...i guess i should start at the start.

yah, plane was shitty.  fullstop.  mumbo n sqodge: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ORDERED VEGETARIAN FOOD or live on bread, salad (if lettuce can be called salad) and peanuts for two days like i did.  yup, shite.  oh, and MAKE damn sure you've got ear plugs and LOTS of sleeping drugs. hokay, sermon over.

had a fun night in tokyo.  didn't make it to the big smoke coz my "contact" turned out to be Useless with a capital U.  but didn't really matter, me and cameron from north dandenong (all bright eyed and excited that he was, having never left aus before) found ourselves...well, what do YOU think?  a bar of course!  and what do they have at bars?  well, BEER of course!!  and in tokyo...they also have strange old men that try and read your palm but can't speak english so you just have to guess if it's good news or bad by the looks on their faces.  it was wicked!  i will try and upload some photos for youse all today too.

yea, so narita was fine n good.  then got to london and it was about one or two am melbourne/tokyo time so i was pretty much a zombie freak but just got me straight on a train to bognor and met era (my cousin), her son and hubby and went out for an indian meal.

bognor was as good as bognor could possibly have been.  was really really super to see era and victor again, typical insane eight year old that he is, and yea, well, y'all know it but i was REALLY hangin to meet up with christian.

so, on friday, after beer n chips at the pub in bognor, i jumped on a train for about 45 minutes and was met by the beanie clad joogling star 'imself.  and things could, quite simply, not have been better since then.  the trip to birmingham took about three more hours in the car, then another hour on a train, then a fifteen or twenty minute bus ride and THEN we just got stuck into the beer didn't we?  and the absolut vanilla that i bought duty free.

okay, i'm not telling you the sordid details!!  saturday night we had a raucous debaucherous night out which you will see from the pics (there's links to my pics at the bottom of my blog page and there's a link to the blog at the bottom of this email, right?!).

sunday we had a sunday drive and a walk along the muddy canal with christian's parents.  his ma is superlovely and his dad, well, he was nice but i don't think he's a very happy man and i know too much not so nice stuff about him to have liked him much anyway.  yea, but it
was a good day and an exhaustingly hungover day and last night was a
very quiet one.

today?  it's snowing out there.  cold, yea.  but as you well know, it suits me JUST FINE.  so, from here on in i will most definitely reply to yer emails (coz i love youse) but i wont send a group mail so please read my blog and keep in touch.  love ya and miss ya, leonie xx

oh yea, and you can still text me on my melbourne number if you want. i'll let you know when i get a new number in vienna...


Saturday, February 26, 2005

just a quickie out the back...

oh, sorry! i didn't mean it THAT way!!

last night era*, fawad** and i went to a salsa club in southsea, portsmouth. we had a few shots of vodka (WHAT ELSE!) before we left because they thought it'd make me dance. and dance i did, albeit briefly.

i know you might not believe this but i actually felt shy. i used the same excuse i use when i don't want to dance at virus: "'m not really dressed right..." which, in this case, was sorta kinda true. but really, you and i both know it's a load of rubbish. or bollocks, as they say in these parts. so i just sat and drank pints instead.

yea, so yesterday was lubbly. got to sleep in, that is, have a REAL sleep for the first time in at least a week. picked up victor, that's era's eight year old son, from school and visited era's friend john who works in the william hardwicke hotel (that's hard willie's if you're a local) here in bognor.

and today, after era and i had a much needed greasy english fry-up and she went off to work (in the post office), i went for a walk on the "beach" and...IT WAS SNOWING ~ no shit! not much, just gentle flakes but enough to get in your hair and look pretty. hope this isn't turning into one of THOSE travel blogs...


*that's iryna, my ukrainsky cousin ~ her mum and my grandma were first cousins if you MUST know!
**era's lovely twenty-two year old afghani hubby who she met salsa dancing!!

ps ~ i still can't access my gmail but should be able to sometime over the weekend

Friday, February 25, 2005


I CAN'T LOG in to email and i can't get the dvd player to work (which would only allow me to watch american pie III anyway) so until the lovely era gets home from work, i'm here to tell ya bout bognor and tokyo, i guess.

yah, hokay, well my tokyo plans ENTIRELY fell through (thanks for NOTHIN, sam) so i ended up hanging out with cameron from north dandenong. it's not as bad as it sounds though.

cameron is the TPB* who was sitting next to me on the plane. twenty-three years of age and leaving australia for the first time, he was all cute and excited. but, better than that, he was allergic to nuts so i scored all his peanuts amongst other goodies!

this, in the end, was rather lucky coz i forgot to order vegetarian meals (yup, clever, i know), so those peanuts really got me through. plus, plane food sucks no matter what so i reckon you're better off sticking to the salad and bread rolls (AND ALCOHOL) anyway.

nah, i actually didn't drink much at all even tho they had the cutest little bottles of absolut you've ever seen! i just had one mini bottle of red (jacob's creek if you MUST know) and steered clear for the rest of the trip.

well, i was asleep most of the time so it might'a been a leetle hard to be getting drunk at the same time. although in future i might try it just for the challenge!

anyway, as i said, tokyo plans fell through so cameron and i just caught the shuttle into narita for a couple of hours. narita is where the airport is so it's about an hour and a half from anything else.

but there's a little city there, which may or may not have just sprung up around the airport, and we found some crazy patchinko hall ~ i gather this is kinda like a cross between the pokies and timezone. but played using ball bearings...yah...

anyway, after that our exploring encountered a bar. a tiny bar** with a funny sign out front saying "welcome to warika pub" or something. mr north dandenong was a bit cautious about going in but must have sensed that i would have either dragged him in or left him for dead, so he came.

unsurprisingly, it turned out to be a fine idea (no false modesty, please). the owner of the bar, hiro, and his few "customers" one of whom was definitely his guitar teacher, were superlovely...i think.

we couldn't understand them much and they couldn't understand us much. but we had some beer and peanuts and our palms examined ~ really couldn't tell you what was the outcome of that. hiro told me "good health" which made me laugh but his mate, nagasawa, made ominous noises which were, it seemed, untranslatable. meh!

true to form we missed the shuttle bus back to our hotel by merely seconds. but luckily cameron north dandenong is a fit n healthy leetle munchkin so he bolted after it, making it wait for me!

anyway, era's home from work now so youse can all just WAIT for the rest. oh, just in case you DON'T know, the weather in england is bloody miserable. yesterday i think it was snowing, or if not it was damn heavy hail.

but guess who couldn't care less bout the cold??!! more updates sooneo, love youse heaps...and miss youse too...(a bit anyway). have fun & be cheerful xx

*TPB = totally pashable boy
** if you happen to get standed out in narita, this bar is right outside keisei narita station near the am/pm.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

mornings still suck

even when there's planes to catch. i guess it's more likely that this morning sucks coz i had such a hugely fantastic weekend that didn't involve much sleep. and i feel ill but can't tell if it's coz i'm sad (only a tiny bit coz i'm gonna miss my lovelies so much!), nervous, excited, hungover or otherwise.

oh, and speaking of hungover...thank YOU oh so very much to all of you that came to the napier on saturday ~ i had THE most superfantastic night and, although my memory is shot to pieces, i well remember looking around the room at you all and marvelling at my luck. and how many people get to have a farewell that lasts...oh about three days? (if you weren't there, don't panic, i still love ya!)

so now i'm at melbourne airport, having checked-in, reorganised my luggage so they'd let me on, made it through customs unscathed and duty-free too but i can't say my wallet is unscathed after that! nah, i didn't spend much, just couldn't walk past the absolut stand. hey! it's not my fault, it's my genes!!

anyway, in about eleven hours i'll be in tokyo. no confirmed plans coz i haven't heard anything from rainbow sam dagnabbit. hopefully, his friend kev will hang out with me. or a couple of japanese s. but yea...we'll see. will keep ya posted. don't be havin too much fun without me now, ya hear??!!

dasvidanya from the serial goodbyer aka a wandering emulsifier aka...yea, just me.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

four sleeps

yea, so i've four sleeps to go. and i'm in the soon-not-to-be my loungeroom getting very random messages from people and generally just wanting to go out.

but, tomorrow is moving day. so i really should be in bed by now. or at least sorting my shit out. but where am i? here, kanyeshna.

today was a weird day. i woke up to a dead arm. i'd (obviously) been sleeping on it for hours and it was this strange limp limb that didn't look like it belonged to me. the kind you see in your half-sleep and have to manually move to a more comfortable position. so that was my wake up.

then i spent the morning* packing and, about five~ish, met the old man for a schooner (or five) at the napes. t'was grand to see him and have a proper dad~style philosophical un-emotive discussion bout all things me. but getting home afterwards/afterwords was severely UNmotivating.

but pack i did. and i can't/shan't complain about it, 'specially as it's nearly all done. but i also wont say i wasn't glad when sqodge texted me to meet him n jo at the pub. turned out i was meeting them and my "replacement", jemima. and her "bestie" amy. which was okay too.

however, it all went severly down hill went jo and i ventured to brunswick street for some chips. okay, you're right, souvlaki king was NOT the best idea at around 11.30 on a friday night. but i haven't done it for a while and had forgotten how atrocious it could be.

suffice to say, i've discovered how easy it is to simultaneously love and hate fitzroy.



Friday, February 18, 2005


YES. IT'S THURSDAY and yes. i haven't posted since sunday. i've been packing. sorry. not sorry for not posting. not sorry for packing. sorry for using packing as an excuse for not posting. all big eyes and oh glum.

i'm not glum. but i have started feeling guilty about whinging about packing and organising travel plans ~ how DO you spell whinge+ing? i feel this is important to know as a pending english teacher...

oh yea, pending english teacher, nice segue huh? elisabeth, my soon-to-be neighbour from across the road, is a teacher. grade three if i remember correctly. and last time i was staying in downtown k-burg city* i went to the school she teaches at.

ostensibly, i went to help the kiddies with their english. i only went a few times. we played a few games. everything went well. they even LIKED me. not sure why but guessed it must have been the language barrier, protecting them from my hating-children-ness.**

but then, all of a sudden, the gorgeous gabs came to crashing into my little idyll of lederhosen and sturm. and, together, we tried to teach the kids a song that we thought would help them the learn ordinal [check out my tefl lingo!] numbers in english. the song was
99 bottles of beer.

i know what you're thinking but really, we DID have good intentions! we even tried to change "beer" to "milk" every time but it just didn't quite come off. i blame it on the almighty hangover.

on my last day the kids drew me some pictures. and this one girl called alice, she drew a picture of gabs and i going swimming. it was pretty good, it even had speech bubbles. it was when i read those speech bubbles that i knew i was cut out for teaching english to foreign kiddies.

gabs was saying "hey leonie, let's going swimming" and i was saying "nah, let's go drinking". some would probably say that picture was accurate, true to life even. but elisabeth told me alice was just talking about cordial or juice or something. in which case, it's a big fat lie.

you can decide for yourself.

*technically, i was [and soon will be] staying in kierling but downtown k-burg city sounds much cooler, non?

**just in case you DON'T know and so there's no misunderstanding, i don't hate children ~ it's just a preposterous thing a stupid person once said and is now a running joke between me and, i guess

oh yea, here's something i've been meaning to do for a while.

i met this girl last year, her name is emma. i met her through the festival of which we do not speak. we had a couple of pints at hell's kitchen which, as you'll know is a good way to charm me. not that she needed to.

time went by, that festival chewed me up and spat me out, and emma was there. a little while later, another, quite different festival came along. it was a little kinder to me, as you might know.

at this festival, i hung out with emma a bit. and her boyF, brad. i wasn't very communicable at the time and i think emma may have taken it personally. emma also mentioned her disappointment at not having been mentioned in this blog and followed this up by performing two very impressive feats.

ONE: tipping someone out of a hammock matrix-style by just looking at them.
TWO: enlisting the services of said boyF to destroy another hammock, possibly unintentionally, possibly by falling through it.

just one of the above is true.

you decide which.

today smells like ambiguity. oh, and i hope you like the new design. i decided to try and be reader-friendly, for a change.


Friday, February 11, 2005

platters, whitegoods and closer

I'VE BEEN SPENDING a lotta time dining with [read: getting fed by] married people of late.

"married people?!" i hear you exclaim, rearing back from your computer in shock, mouth agape, eyeballs popping.

i know, I KNOW. i'm sorry i've mislead you. i don't often fraternise with such devoted vowing types but sometimes it seems almost unavoidable. and really, they DO seem to be multiplying, which only makes it harder to avoid them!

and then there's the ones that aren't technically married but soon will/may as well be. they're even harder to avoid ~ like plain clothes inspectors!

and i know YOU know some married people too, there's no use denying it. they're the ones we all know who have moved out to the burbs and in with hubby/wifey [zoe & jordan, kizza & kizza ~ you're temporarily safe from my sanctimonious drivel, fitzroy and flemington are definitely NOT "the burbs" but mei & gor, you're teetering...let this be a warning!]; the ones who don't go out much anymore; and the ones who, as a consequence, city cats like us just don't get [around] to see[ing] very often...and no, i DON'T mean your parents!

i mean...

  • those people who used to steal into your bedroom late at night in cahoots with your older brother, both wearing freddy kruger gloves they got at the show for the sole purpose of tormenting YOU;

    [AND YES! you too can torment your pre-teen younger sister and her friend for only US $4...or just make the cocktail ~ who knew freddy kruger was a drink??!]

  • those people we first got drunk on subzeros [or e33s or stones green ginger wine or southern comfort] with and got the money from our parents on the pretext of buying "lollies" or "women's products";

  • and, those people we use to take high dosages of travel sickness tablets with in an effort to induce hallucinations ~ or, in my case just watch others take them coz i was too scared to do it myself - jeez, i was too scared to even kiss my boyfriends before year nine, we just held hands and even THAT was daring!

  • and, what have i learned from my recent experiences with married people??

  • they can COOK!!

  • they have whitegoods that WORK [but not washing machines that sing]

  • they have platters aplenty, one of which i gave them[!] which they either set up to look like they're using or...are ACTUALLY using, SHOCK HORROR!

  • yea, it SOUNDS okay, quite manageable in fact. but...all these positive experiences of married-ness came to a nasty head on tuesday when, post lubbly ICI blunch with sqodge & mumma sqodge, the three of us traipsed off to the cinema to see closer, the julia-roberts-can't-decide-who-she-wants-to-be-married-to-let-alone-who-she-wants-to-sleep-with film.

    roberts' character, "don't stop loving me" anna, IS admittedly, more than a leetle starved for choice.

    there's dan "what's so great about the truth?" ~ the endlessly irritating *writer* [his book failed, he writes obituaries, i DON'T think he can call himself a writer ESPECIALLY when he uses "disarming" as a euphemism FOR DISARMING] who you get the feeling you're supposed to like despite his self-absorption;

    or larry ~ the revoltingly neanderthal emotionally-childish slimeball dermatologist who anna meets at the aquarium purely coz of dan's practical joke slash obsession with her and somehow ends up getting married to [this part of the story is, not surprisingly, glossed over coz HOW could an audience believe THAT?!]

    and then, kinda hangin around in the background for key moments [read: bouncing up and down in slow-motion amongst the greyness of the rat race; sharing intimate moments with larry in the paradise room of a london strip club; playing "ha ha, made ya look" games when dan tries to break up with her], is the "beguiling" alice/jane/whatever her name is who's after some kind of tangible love, or maybe just a new plaything.

    the coolest thing about the movie is that you too can web chat to complete strangers on the official website thereby completely trashing YOUR insignificant relationship just as they show you how in the film, awesome!

    UPDATE: the aliases in this chat window are DEFINITELY not real people but are automated responses which repeat at such high frequency that, surely, they are not intended to be believed?!


    tonight is soon to be smelling of nachos pizza