Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Brisbane suburbs

On Facebook, there is a popular quiz around at the moment called "Whereabouts in the Brisbane region do you belong?"

I got Manly. I went to school there.

Ellie completed the quiz "Whereabouts in the Brisbane region do you belong?" with the result Manly.
No one ever pays you out for living here, it's just a great place, nothing ever happens here (things like stabbings, drugs etc). People probably like you a lot, and you live close to a lot of friends.

No stabbings and no drugs? This is the suburb next to Wynnum - place of dodgy underage house parties, Bundy Rum drinkers and hoons. 

The first person I ever met who took drugs was from Manly, so there you go. The quiz is wrong.

My friend Josh from 4ZZZ got this result:
Josh completed the quiz "Whereabouts in the Brisbane region do you belong?" with the result Cleveland.
Your from Cleveland. You have a lot of money at your disposal, you've probably never got in a fight, and your just pretty much safer than anyone. Except you gotta travel a million km just to get anywhere, and people aren't exactly safe at your pub - so jokes on you fucker.

I grew up in Alex Hills, the suburb next to Cleveland, place of the infamous Alex Hills Hotel (and my old workplace!). Cleveland is indeed full of mansions and rich old bastards, but "safe" and no fights? No way. I used to work in a newsagency in Cleveland and often witnessed drunken fights and public domestics on a day-to-day basis. On a Sunday morning. In the middle of town. The train station is a hotspot for young hoods on their way to a dodgy Wynnum house party. 

So whoever made this quiz has obviously only been to the east side and doesn't know Brisbane that well at all. 

Suburbs indeed have their own personality. I grew up on the Bayside, dated boys on the westside and northside (what a slut!), worked in the inner south side, used to go to uni and taekwondo training on the southside, and now currently work inner city.

So I'm pretty sure I know Brisbane way better than whoever made that quiz.

Match up the suburbs to your personality and see how you go.

Bayside (Wynnum, Alex Hills, Cleveland)
You may either come from a filthy rich or super poor family, had a state or private school education, but it doesn't matter - you are a bogan. You enjoy driving very old, crappy cars and putting rear spoilers made out of a few bits of scrap metal on the back. Or a ute. Anyway, cars are very important because the public transport is so rubbish where you live. In your spare time, you enjoy getting as drunk as possible, and have done so since an early age. But you're an angry drunk and you fight in public a lot. Your drink of choice is Jim Beam or Bundy Rum. You wear boardshorts everywhere. But if you escape where you live, you'll probably end up being famous and successful.

Indie rock wet dream The Grates are from the Bayside. So is Karl Stefanovic, but The Grates are prettier. Sorry Karl. My mum thinks you're hot though.

East side (Carindale, Carina, Hawthorne, Norman Park)
You are a 15 year old private school girl who is constantly at a Westfield shopping centre - especially Supre - or trendily drinking a skinny latte on Oxford St. You love fashion that doesn't last - skinny jeans, fashionable mullets, those stupid tights that don't have feet, etc. You're a bit sheltered; things like people with piercings, pubs that are frequented by old men and alternative music tends to confuse and scare you.

What's the bloody point?!

South Side (Mt Gravatt, Sunnybank,  Greenslopes, Annerley)
You are a bit of a conundrum. At times you are studious, wholesome, family-oriented and avidly attend university. But other times, you're in a gang who likes beating up people other gangs and putting the footage on YouTube. You like Asian food a lot.

Inner south side (South Brisbane, West End, Woolloongabba)
You're very political or radical in some way. Basically, you're not a middle class, straight, conservative white guy. You don't have a lot of money but it doesn't stop you from making your own fun. You love music, art and getting involved in local politics. Other people try and change you to be  modern and trendy but it doesn't really suit you.

North side (Lutwyche, Kedron, Newmarket)
Overall, you're a pretty peaceful, quiet sort. But others tend to ruin your day by building busways around you, or submerging you in water.

You're a big shopping centre. Mothers are cheating on their husbands with you because you have a fine taste for fashion and you're good with kids.

Inner north (Red Hill, Kelvin Grove, Herston, Normanby)
You're the new kid from out of town, seeking your future - an education, a job, or maybe just a beer on Sunday afternoon.

West side (Toowong, Indooroopilly, St Lucia, Kenmore, Milton)
You're a university student who is doing a Bachelor of Arts... forever. Or you're a rich private school boy. Either way you will probably become a famous writer or super rich lawyer in the future.

Although the street Nick Earls's ZigZag Street is actually in Red Hill (inner north), most of the book is set in Toowong, Milton and the University of Queensland at St Lucia.

You can take the virtual tour here. Very cool!

Rebecca Sparrow's book The Girl Most Likely is also set on the west side. My favourite quote: "It's just that... we love shopping at POOwong!"

Inner city (Fortitude Valley, Spring Hill, New Farm)
You love partying a lot, having casual sex and urinating in public. On the other hand you dress well and probably have an awesome day job (graphic designer, proprietor of an independent coffee shop, radio host, nightclub DJ). You like eating expensive gourmet hamburgers.

North east side (Breakfast Creek, Hamilton, Ascot)
You are filthy rich, old, like drinking beer from a barrel and smell faintly of fish. 

As for my Brisbane suburban personality? I guess because I travel around town a lot I'm a bit of everything - a bogan-ish university student who likes partying, Asian food and local politics and was once a naive 15 year old private school girl. Oh, and I've been submerged in water for the last few days

I've obviously missed out the areas I don't know that well. I've never really been northwest around Ferny Grove and the like, and even though everybody tells me that Logan and Ipswich are full of bogans, I've never actually spent time there.

If any readers out there want to fill me in on other Brisbane suburb personalities, be my guest.

Or if you're from another city, tell me about yours.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Full Moon Strikes Again

The moon is a mysterious entity. It's responsible for the tides, menstrual cycles, werewolves and general insanity.

For long-time readers of this blog you may remember this post, in which I had to put up with a suspiciously increased number of drunks, fights, super-rudeness and swearing during a shift at work when the moon was nigh.

This year was no different. The following things happened:

- Two bar staff mysteriously quit on Friday night so we were understaffed on Saturday night.

- According to the drunk girl I cut off from the bar, I "ruined her night" because "she washhn't ddddjunk k?" Poor diddums. 

- Had to explain to a woman that Coopers Pale Ale was not a dark stout. And neither is Coopers Sparkling.

I believe the key word here is "pale."

- Observed an increase of people milling about aimlessly at the and had the following conversation for every 2nd person I served:

Me: "Hello. What would you like to drink?"
Customer: "...Duuuuhhhh?"

- Not sure if this one is true, but I'm very sure the Mustang Bar caught on fire. I heard a fire alarm (the back of my work is across the road from it) and saw a fire engine parked outside. More alarmingly, heard groups of patrons scream "Woooooo!" Burning to our deaths, how exciting!

- The soft drink guns stopped working so I had to tell people that they couldn't have soft drink for a while. It was fixed within 15 minutes but most people just didn't understand.

Customer: "Can I have a vodka and soda?"
Me: "Sorry, the soft drink guns aren't working."
Customer: "But I want a vodka soda."
Me: "The soft drink guns aren't working. So I can't give you soda."
Customer: "Oh okay, can I have a vodka and coke then?"

- A girl I work with cut off two drunk dudes. One started screaming, "I KNOW YOUR MOTHER AND I AM GOING TO TELL HER" (oh noes). He raised his fist and I ran to get security.

- No less than 5 minutes later, the same girl told a patron to move because a glassy needed to sweep up a broken glass. The patron swore abusively at her. I ran off to the get the security guard again. The angry patron bitch-slapped him furiously. Sigh.

- Was myself very very angry. The peak of my anger hit when a man changed his order 3 times in a very confusing way and still wouldn't tell me how many scotches he wanted altogether. 

He told me to "smile." 

I responded using words that were not very nice. Sorry Mum.

- But despite the existential rage and tiredness building inside me, I got heaps of tips. Just like last year. Weird.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

10 things I like about bartending

This is my bartending face.

Kristine Bottone of one of my favourite blogs, LA Bartender Examiner, emailed me and asked me 10 things I hate about bartenders and customers - research for her newest article.

After sending off a long, ranty e-mail, I decided to counteract all that negativity with...

10 things I like about bartending.

1. When I manage to remember what the regulars drink. Good for my terrible short term memory, and the customers really like it too.

2. Getting high fived by friendly drunks.

3. Free drinks. Knock-off drinks are great and my boss is a pretty generous lady. Not to mention the rad sort of customers that buy you one so you can drink with them!

4. Customers who make the effort to leave tips. Tipping isn't compulsory here in Australia so it's pretty exciting when it happens. I usually manage to make around $20 (about an hour's work). The most I've ever made was $60, which I promptly spent at the bar the next night. Awesome!

5. Being constantly surrounded by music. Bartending is one of the few jobs where it's not just okay to dance at work - its encouraged. I also get to see a lot of bands and meet the musicians at the bar.

The Mercy Beat - a rad band and some of the nicest bar patrons ever
(photographed at my old workplace, the Clarence Corner Hotel)

6. Flirty glances over the bar.

7. The pride of making a tasty, well-presented cocktail and watching the customer get excited.

8. Other bartenders are, on the whole, pretty cool. Most of them are friendly and a bit eccentric in some way - hospitality does that to you - which is a good thing if you're working with them. The crap ones usually don't stick around for too long anyway.

9. Watching drunk people dance when you're stone cold sober is way more entertaining than it sounds.

10. Meeting people and making new friends. Not all pub-goers are drunken idiots, you know.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What I have learnt about marriage from STFU Marrieds

Marriage. It's not on the top of my list of priorities in life and I could live without it, but I do like the idea of having a big party to celebrate loving someone for the rest of your life. Mainly because I like parties, especially cake. 

Mmm, cake.

Josh and I are not traditional romantics. We would both rather have a messy, beery night at Inferno than go out to a fancy dinner. We give each other a cuddle as often as we smack each other over the head when one of us makes a terrible joke. We say "I love you' as often as "You're a douchebag". In a loving, juvenile way, of course. And that's the way I like it. Sure, we have our mushy, sentimental moments, but I'd rather keep those private because that's how they're supposed to be.

So I'm fascinated by the discovery of a blog called STFU Marrieds, a blog that chronicles the Facebook activities between married couples.

I'm pretty crap at relationships in general, so I guess it does no harm to learn about the institution of marriage. Doesn't look like it'll get any better in the future if this blog is anything to go by.

- You're not allowed to stay the night at your friend's house. That's a bummer. I used to stay over at my mate's house all the time after work and would pass out on his couch after getting disgustingly drunk. Josh never had a problem with it, mainly cuz this was at 3 in the morning and he was usually asleep. Can't say he's ever thrown me out of the house because of it either. 

Husbands who work are obviously neglecting their wifey poos, too.


- Sniffing your husband or watching your wife sleep is romantic, not creepy.

- You must update your Facebook whenever you're doing anything with your loved one.

"Here you go babe, I made breakfast in bed because I love you so much."
"Awesome! (stuffs toast in mouth) I have to tell everybody on Facebook! (whips out laptop out of nowhere and munches on bacon)"
"Um...babe? Hello?"

Even on your honeymoon!

- It's totally okay to air your passive-aggressive relationship problems that most people would struggle to say in private... on Facebook.

Do these couples not have mutual friends? Pretty sure Josh's friends on my friends list wouldn't be impressed if I posted on Facebook every time we had a fight.

- There is nothing to do in life except wait for your husband to come home.

- Forget going to the movies, to the pub, out for a drive, out to dinner, or to a show... All married couples do is watch TV on the couch together. I barely watch TV. Obviously I will be a crap wife.

- It's not TMI if you're married. Everyone on Facebook needs to know about your sex life, cuz you're married and it's very very special.

- But I guess the crux of all this Facebook married business is that married couples think everybody on the Internet wants to know everything they're doing and that they're married.

- And that marriage destroys every piece of individuality you have to the point where you cannot function without them.Hobbies? Interest in the world around you? Personality? Nah, the only thing that matters is anything your significant other says or does. You're not two people going out with each other. You're one being - a couple.


- Moreover, saying inimate, loving things to your partner should be splashed all over Facebook for everyone to see, even when they're right next to you.

Remember, Romeos and Juliets: One person's "romantic" is another person's "nauseous."

Please slap me if I ever get married and make Facebook posts like that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He Died with a Bowl of Mould in his Hand

I recently went to see the stage production of He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, an adaptation of one of my very favourite books. 

"Oh god," I muttered after watching various actors dance around giant joints, passing out on the couch with empty bottles of scotch and singing the praises of milk crates. "It's our house."

In case you haven't seen/read it, Felafel is an autobiographical story by John Birmingham about all the nutty housemates he's lived with and their crazy antics. Drug addicts, militant vegans, a dominatrix, porn addicts, crap rockstars, moon tanners, etc.


It's easy to think it's an entertaining work of fiction. When I read it at the tender age of 17, while I was still enrolled in private school and living in my mummy and daddy's house, I merely thought it was a very funny story and there's no way people could be that weird.

Now that I live in a sort of share house situation and found half a bowl full of mould, flies and ash sitting on the sink, it suddenly hit home that the myths of weird housemates are ALL TRUE. 

Take my housemate who lives with my boyfriend Josh and I. Let's call him Dexter (for he enjoys watching the show)(and has significant social problems).

The first time I met Dexter I thought he was a nice chap, but gave off some weird vibes. Not watching-you-shower-creepy, not I'm-going-to-kill-you scary, just...weird. He kept bringing up his ex-wife randomly in conversation. Apologising, he explained that they'd been married for a few years but had since gotten divorced. But he was over it. Totally over it. Yeah right.

We felt a bit sorry for the lad, so his weirdness and tendency to sit on the couch for days on end and never actually sleep in his bed was excused. 

Until I found out that they'd separated years ago and he had since gotten a girlfriend, so my sympathy went out the window.

It was the little things at first. Like the way he'd walk past me while I was sitting at the computer in the middle of the house and make a succession of clicking noises every time he walked past.

Or that he watches Fox News and actually believes every word they're saying, especially Bill O'Reilly. As an aspiring journalist who subscribes to the the idea of objectivity, ethics, and sanity in the media - plus I think Barack Obama is adorable - Fox News offends my intelligence more than A Current Affair. 

Or the way he'd leave food out, or start making a cup of tea, and completely forget about it until it was crawling with flies.

Or when Josh decided invited him out to the pub with us one time and, for some odd reason, he ran off without telling anybody. I thought he'd gone to the bar or to the loo, but he was gone for some time so I went to look for him. I found him round the corner, talking to some completely random people. 

Trying to be sympathetic to the guy who is letting Josh and I live in his house for very little rent, I decided to overlook it. But it just got worse.

The first thing that happened that seriously annoyed me was running out of milk when I was trying to make a coffee. Not really a big deal, except that I'd bought a litre of milk the day before and the next morning it was completely gone.

Considering I'm lactose intolerant and barely drink any milk and my boyfriend doesn't drink it either, I concluded that Dexter had drunk an entire litre of milk in less than 24 hours.

No milk and no coffee makes Ellie a very angry, cranky, lethargic person for the rest of the day.

The next thing that shot my blood pressure through the roof was when Dexter was talking to his girlfriend, who is from the Phillipines, over Skype.

As he strolled through the house, carrying his laptop, he nudged me conspiratorially and giggled. "Doesn't she sound funny?" he asked.
"Um. What?" I replied.
"She has a funny voice."
"... Why do you say that?"
"Cuz, um, you know, she has an accent."
"Isn't she Filipino and lives in the Phillipines?"
"Uh, yeah."
"I don't understand why that's funny."
"Er. Oh." 

In case you didn't know, I am Australian but of Korean descent. Not terribly sure why he thought that making fun of his girlfriend's Asian accent to his Asian housemate would be a good idea, but it wasn't.

And then I saw this sitting on the sink the other day. It is not mine. Josh uses an ashtray when he smokes, as opposed to a bowl half-filled with food. I was so enraged that I left a note. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of it, so here's an MS Paint representation of what I saw on the sink.

Amazingly, he washed it.

I have never seen Dexter clean in the three months we've been living here. Ever. I wash the dishes most of the time. After I finish washing piles of dishes that have accumulated over the last few weeks, Dexter will sail in with a pile of dirty bowls, plates and coffee mugs, plonk it on the sink and go back to the couch. 

I don't mind washing dishes. But I draw the line when the dishes are not mine and encrusted with something that looks like, and will cause me, to vomit. So I was very, very angry that he actually expected me to wash his disgusting bowl of mould.

My friends reckon I should just dump it on his bed (well, couch, he never sleeps in his bed) the next time it happens.

Then the other night, I heard Dexter talking to his friend on the phone. I couldn't quite hear what he was saying, but I sort of got the gist that his friend was upset about something. To cheer him up, Dexter decided to blast cheesy Neil Diamond ballads to him from his stereo over the phone.

At 1 in the morning.

Apparently Dexter's girlfriend is coming round to stay soon. He described her as "stubborn", which I hope means she is a martial arts expert who will kick his arse and make him get his shit together before I commit housemate-icide.

But on second thought, perhaps I'm being a bit too hard on Dexter. Perhaps we are the shit housemates. 

We constantly get intoxicated next door and occasionally stumble back into the kitchen and play Iron Chef: The Near-Empty Fridge edition.

At the moment I can see empty bottles of tequila, scotch and a Tooheys New tallie sitting on the table. 

We are goon enthusiasts. Last weekend we held the Drinklympics. I did not participate because I had to work later that night, but it basically involved noisy beer pong, using a nasty mix of fruit salad and Coolabah dry white. A larger friend of ours broke a flimsy chair, which my mate Bob tried to fix, failed, then threw out the window.

Preparing for goon pong

To top it all off, we're noisy. It's not uncommon to have all three radios on, all playing Triple J. Either that or Dutch hardstyle techno blaring from Bob's subwoofer speakers. Josh also recently acquired a turntable for some vinyl-scratchin' good times and plays the drums. Prefered style? Heavy metal.

And Josh and I are, um, a couple. We're both fairly young. You can figure out the rest.

Dexter came round to me the other night with a big box. It was full of peanut M&Ms. And they were for me! Perhaps it was a peace offering.
"Oh, thankyou!" I said. "That's really nice of you. Where did you find them?"
"Well, they're from my vending business. They've been sitting under the house for a while."
Uh oh.
I checked the date on the side of the box. 

Then I ate one of the M&Ms. It tasted like cardboard and the peanut had gone squishy.

Who knows. Maybe funny ol' Dexter wants to commit some serious housemate-icide too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Things that have made me cringe as of late

- Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen's decisions and quotes during the whole Pauline Hanson debacle.

I knew on Saturday when I had those photos and I knew that if I published something like that and they're wrong then I'm in huge trouble.
(Radio 2UE, Breakfast with Mike Carlton and Sandy Aloisi, 16th March, 2009)

- Particularly when 90% of Australia realised the photos were fake, but Breen kept insisting they were real.

Less than a week later...

...Pauline, I'm sorry. We should never have published them.
(from the Sunday Tele)

Well, no, it's usually not an awesome idea to publish incriminating photos coming from a man who can't get the dates of his lies right, and who also claims to have dirty pics of other female politicians and is probably crazy.

Photos from Sunday Telegraph. Photographed in the 70s? Yeah right...

- Tabloid journalism at its lowest: Paula Murray in the UK's Sunday Express condemns teenagers who post drunk photos and rude messages on their social networking profiles. Not just any teenagers, but ones who were killed in a massacre.

...some have them have boasted about alcoholic binges.

Bad idea, Paula. The team at Bloggerheads are outraged, and are getting their revenge by posting classy photos from her own Facebook profile.

And this is why I try not to post too many drunken photos of myself on Facebook.

- A Twitter exchange, in which Demi Moore says something dumb that will cause glee for atheists all around the world.

@Pathofreason: "Prayer: how to do nothing and still feel like you are helping."
@mrskutcher: "Everything is energy my friend, that is science."
@megsandbacon's reply: "That isn't science actually. That's faith. All great and stuff...but not science."

- When it's painfully obvious that the person leaving hundreds of little messages and "Like" clicks on someone else's Facebook has a crush.

- Especially when the commenter writes "I dreamt about you the other night..."

- And the recipient never replies.

- Ever.

(*Disclaimer: Before anyone replies saying "OMG YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ME", please note that I have seen this happen on a few different profiles. So this isn't a personal attack)

(Though it is very funny.)

(Sorry, sorry. I'm going to hell.)

(Feel free to make fun of me for Facebook stalking to find out this information.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Why I'm a Twit OR How many twitter users can I link to in this post?

As you may have noticed from my spiffy gadget on the right side of my page, I have become addicted to Twitter.

It seems like everybody else is too. Spencer Howson from ABC radio station 612 Brisbane confessed to my journalism lecture that he is a Twitter addict. Major news services like The Courier Mail, ABC News and the New York Times provide on-the-go news on Twitter. Triple J Super Request takes requests from Twitter now. Even my journalism lecturers dig it!

As with any new hyped-up technological thing, it receives a fair bit of criticism.

“Why would I want people to read about my every day life? Why would I want to read about what other people do? This is pointless. I’m so angry that I’m going to go outside and go clubbing, get laid and play contact sports, you geeky basement-dwelling losers."

Etc, etc, we've all heard it before.

This video sums up a lot of criticism about Twitter (Twittercism?)

As hilarious as that video is, I think a lot of people are missing the point. Twitter is not like Myspace and Facebook. The point is not to meet friends or internet girlfriends on it. Its strengths lie in professional networking, self-promotion for freelancers and collecting information. A lot of media types have added me to Twitter, which is handy, networking-wise, for an aspiring journalist/dirty new media yuppie like myself. I have gotten a few little interesting news stories from Twitter to put into 4ZZZ news bulletins. It makes my job a whole lot easier, which is pretty awesome.

They tend to post journalism industry happenings, interesting links and news. I am also following some very excellent comedians, very funny bloggers and generally some other cool or interesting Twitterers who always seem to write something entertaining. QUT students love it too, which is great for solidarity when I’m lamenting over my latest uni assignment. Brisneyland is great for chatting about stuff happening locally. The QUT Lolly Shop used to have a Twitter account (until it unfortunately got shut down by the Student Guild) which talked about what was happening around campus – handy things to know, like the busway elevator was broken (again) and pop tarts were for sale!

I do have friends on there, but that is because I am genuinely interested in what they have to say. Why would you add someone very boring that you don’t know? A few people I don’t know, who live in completely different areas and have very little in common with me are following me on Twitter. Here’s a hint: You can ignore them.
That’s not to say there aren’t boring Twits out there. That’s not the fault of the application itself, but rather the people using it. The critics are right in a way – why would you update the internet with every boring, mundane detail of your life? It’s easy to fall into that trap I suppose. I try to put a bit of thought into it. Will people be interested in what I have to say? Would anybody find it worthy to respond to? Is it funny? Is it informative? If not, then I don’t bother. Here's another hint: You don't have to update your Twitter every five seconds for the sake of updating it. 

I suppose Twitter is not for everybody. If you are interested in the world and people around you and have something to say, by all means Twit away until your fingers fall off. But if you only believe that Twitter exists to tell people when you’re on the toilet, trimming your nose hair, purchasing a bag of cheese or anything else that happens in your immensely boring life, then you should probably not get a Twitter account.

Because nobody's forcing you to get one.

Past posts