Sunday, May 31, 2009

Music Video

As a result of my having 12 days until my next final, I have free time. I've been photoshopping, video editing, napping, sleeping late, and generally being lazy but also productive in a weird sort of way. Here are some things that I've been working on.

New Website

And what you've all been waiting for:

Underwater Princess Land from Kevin Weir on Vimeo.

No worries,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Australia Rocks

I've been a little long winded lately, so I'm going to shorten up the writing style. I'm also extremely tired, as a result of three straight days of sightseeing. Wednesday I took about 2 hours of bus/train transportation to get to an aquarium, which was great. There was a giant tank filled with huge manta rays, sharks, and sea turtles, with a circular underwater tunnel (complete with moving walkway for old and/or lazy people) that sat beneath the tank. Over the past few days I've been working on putting my video footage from the aquarium to the hit single Underwater Princess Land - it's finished but I've been having some trouble loading it. Hang in there, though. It's going to blow you away.

These past two days, a bunch of us rented one car and borrowed another, and took a few spontaneous road trips to various Australian rocks, hence the titular pun. Our borrowed car, for some infuriating reason, would only start for strangers. As soon as one of us tried to turn the key, the wheel would lock and th
e car would start crying like a wounded seal. Not to worry though, Australia has a plentiful supply of friendly strangers with magical car powers.

Rock formation #1: The Pinnacles. These are a bunch of rock pillars that stick out of the desert, formed about 50,000 years ago by calcium deposits, then eroded/buried/unburied/eroded/buried/unburied/national parked. Like any mature group of 20-something year old college students, we used it
as a giant playground and remarked, as tastefully as you can imagine, on the phallic structure of many of the formations. Not sure what else you could expect, honestly.

Rock formation #2: Wave Rock. Big rock formation that looks like a wave. We did the tourist thing and pretended to surf the 15 meter granite swell, and then took about 800 other pi
ctures (to be fair, my camera whoring is partially/entirely to blame). We then hiked to the top of the rock, where there were giant boulders just ASKING for a lion king opening scene reenactment.

Went for a run this morning with my friend Nichole, got lost, ended up running about 7-8 miles. Once we regained our bearings, I sprinted the last half mile so I wouldn't miss the wave rock expedition. I arrived, breathless, to find that I had like 30 minutes before they were going to leave. I then realized that I had locked my room key in my flat, and since none of my roommates were around, I had to climb about 15 feet up to my flat balcony, like spiderman. The balcony is a sharp place, and I look like I've been cutting myself. Add boulder climbing, sprinting like a mad fool to catch a sunset, and 8 hours in a cramped car, and you might begin to understand how badly I want to pass out and sleep for 18 hours right now. Oh, and I haven't slept properly since 12:30am, because my body decided to wake up to an accidental alarm and not want to go back to sleep. wtf. Unfortunately, I have a test tomorrow at 9:30am / death 'o clock. Still, going to pass out. Hard. Goodnight.

No worries,

Friday, May 22, 2009

The 2009 Australian Rock Paper Scissors Championship


5/20: Attended the 2009 Australian Rock Paper Scissors Championships
5/21: Slept through my last class of the semester
5/21: Received confirmation on my summer internship! 40 hours/week, $10/hour, NYC, woo!
5/22: Perth is battered by cyclone-force winds, and it rains for the first time in two months


Rock, Paper, Scissors, Machine:
The Rise of a Legend

Once a year, Australians all over Australia put aside their differences to compete in the most epic challenge of wit, mental fortitude, and wrist strength that the civilized world has seen since the savage Incan-style basketball where the losing team was sacrificed to some kind of jaguar/spaceship god. I'm speaking, of course, of the Australian Rock Paper Scissors Championship. Imagine my delight when I heard that several rounds of semifinal heats were to be held right here in Perth! I was ecstatic for the opportunity to spectate, but was almost overwhelmed with excitement when I discovered that I would actually have a chance to participate. Upon our arrival, we learned that the arena was housed in the upstairs room of a rather nice bar, where two referees were begging people to sign up for the 32 slot bracket of competition. We obliged, giddy with anticipation for the brutal gameplay soon to come. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a lone figure casting an ominous shadow on the dark wooden panels of the bar area. The fire in his eyes reflected the grim red top of his stained shirt. I saw greatness in those eyes, and an eternal sorrow. I later came to know this man as "The Machine."

Unfortunately, my hopes were crushed, like a tender grape beneath a calloused brontosaurus foot, in the first round of competition
. My aspirations of fame as the lethal "Paperkut Kev" were short-lived. Oh, what could have been.

One by one, my friends were eliminated from the competition, until only one remained. Charlotte, aka "Spitfire," rose through the bracket, laying waste to unsuspecting competitors with her small but formidable hands. In similar fashion, "The Machine" ruthlessly flattened his opponents, like a triceratops tromping on plums, leaving dreams and wrists ruined for years to come. In what can only be described as "apocalypse/crash of rhinos/epic," these two titans found themselves facing each other in the final round.

Spitfire vs. The Machine. Could the earth survive such a clash? Or would the collision of two such forces cause a cataclysm unlike the world has ever seen? As it turns out, it would. As they approached the stage, the crowd watched in wordless, unspeakably tense anticipation. The Machine throws a rock. Spitfire counters, cool, with paper. Visibly shaken at this bold opening move from the rookie, The Machine weighs his options. He doesn't have enough time. The referee signals. Spitfire's rock crushes his hastily produced scissors like a stegosaurus would pound an avocado. In the pandemonium that followed, rule #2 was brought out, stating that all contestants must be Australian citizens, which didn't really bother Charlotte because she was going to be in New Zealand during the next round of the competition. She went home with a gift pack, and The Machine would represent Western Australia in the finals.

And so The Machine, with that unquenchable thirst for victory in his burning eyes, rubbed his balding head and disappeared back into the mists of legend from whence he came, now sporting an official "Rock Paper Scissors Australia and NZ Championships" wristband. One day he will have his revenge.

Afterwards, we celebrated. Hard. How often do you compete in the National Australian Rock Paper Scissors Championship, and how often do you get to wear matching Rock Paper Scissors wristbands into the clubs? Not often, my friends. Not often.

No worries,

Friday, May 15, 2009

packing up the circus

I have four weeks left in Australia. The nearing proximity of my departure doesn't seem real to me. I feel like I've been studying at murdoch for at least a year. I can barely remember my last semester at penn state, and can't really recall what it's like to live in state college. I can look back at pictures, but it all seems less "real" than this semester has been. I guess that's sort of what I set out to do with study abroad - distance myself from the collegiate routine that has composed my first 2.5 years of university academia. I've definitely accomplished that. In a sense, I feel revitalized, recharged and raring to go at one more year of penn state. The experience has also opened my eyes to how close-mindedly I have viewed the world, and my place in it. There's an entire planet of experiences, and I've sampled a very pathetically small portion of it. I've resolved to travel the world at some point. Back to reality, though. With only four weeks left - four weeks that will probably be consumed by finals, last experiences, and goodbyes - I feel like I've finished already. It's hard to believe that most of the friendships I've made here are more or less going to fade away, like happy friendship wounds becoming happy friendship scars. Macabre analogy, I know.

So I sort of meant for this post to contain things that have been happening to me lately, but in an infinitely more productive investment of my time, I've written a short story about a woodsman who travels to a foreign land.

Yes, it is a true story, and yes, it is based upon recent events in my life.

A Story
Imagine a grassy, wooded land of limited appeal. You were raised there, you made acquaintences, you had dreams, you built a sturdy log cabin in the wilderness from which you operated your small moose pelt business. One day, wandering the far reaches of the forest, you stumble upon the border of your woodland home, formed by an impossibly deep ravine. Squinting your eyes, you convince yourself that there is a blurred outline of land on the other side. There's something strange about that smudge, that distant possibility, that you can't seem to place. Turning to leave, you gasp and collapse unexpectedly. Light-headed and reeling, and you're seized with a spiritual feeling that you've never felt before, in all your years of moose trapping. Something wild, hot and primal has gripped you with the iron grip of a platypus; you feel it enter your tangled and confused mind, feel it sniff out your dreams, feel it lay a perfect marsupial dream egg. Barely a minute later, you wake in a cold sweat at the edge of the ravine. Shaken, you return to your cabin, visions of wonder and amazement swirling about your head. You sleep. You dream. Hot, arid dreams of adventure, each wondrous moment holding more excitement than the last.

Waking in the morning, you find your thoughts clouded by sleepiness. The events of the previous day seem unlikely, you persuade yourself, so you set off to check your traps. The first trap is empty. The second trap is not. A dying moose, held tight by the cunning design of your contraption, lies there majestically. As you gaze into the creature's huge amber eyes, it suddenly speaks. "I will take you there," it rumbles. The moose does not move it's lips, but you hear the voice in astounding volume. The thunderously deep moose voice resounds in your skull, and the events of the other day are shaken into perfect clarity. You realize exactly what the moose is offering. Resolution grimly writ on your humble woodsman face, you release the beast from the trap. It shudders, rises, and kicks you in the face. Bright lights pirhouette in front of your eyes, then the world goes dark.

"Rise" says a voice. With a calm that you cannot comprehend, you realize that you are now a moose.
Opening your eyes, you struggle to stand. Your four hooves seem unable to find purchase in the leafy undergrowth, but after several trials, you stand. You run. Great galloping moose strides. You know exactly which direction to go. The forest races by. You reach the crevasse. You leap.

(that was for you, Dad)

Monday, May 11, 2009

quick weather update

It has rained four times since I've been in Australia.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


First off, I'm 21! Hurrah! To celebrate, I roused a Mongolian horde composed of 30ish friends, and conquered a small bar called the Orient. As you can imagine, it was an easy victory, and I was granted several free shots for my leadership (and/or birthday). It was a night to be remembered (or not).

Now, on to
strawberries. I've found, throughout my abroad experience, that I've always taken certain fruits for granted. For some strange reason, strawberries hold some strange allure to me, and my few experiences with them in Australia have been rife with infatuation, lust, and sensory exhilaration. This isn't something I can easily explain, but I'd guess that this happens to a lot of people studying abroad, with certain foods/things. To put the extremity of my delicious obsession into context, I've prepared this short narrative:

Dusk approaches King's Park like a wounded moose, as a haze of red gathers low in the sky. We wander the flowered trail, ignoring the night's shadowy advance, as young people do. I glance about, admiring the cut of the mulch, when I see something that sets my heart racing. A glimmer of red in the shade of an old gnarled eucalyptus tree. A bright red strawberry, glistening and ripe. My eyes dart about, searching for the trace of the picnic from which this impossibly passionate fruit had escaped. Nothing. Without any further pondering, I gently pluck my discovery from the ground. Aside from a few specks of dirt and pieces of quality mulch, the strawberry is flawless. I hold it under my nose and allow its sweet perfume to flood my senses. My mind reels as my heart explodes with passion...

This is getting weird. I need to stop
. Anyways, I gave it Patten, who washed it off, and we split it and ate it. I don't think I would do that with any other random fruit stuck in mulch. More recently, one of my roommates has purchased a carton of strawberries. I discovered them in the fridge yesterday, and flipped out (made this sound, "huhhhhooooohhhhhhhhhhhheeeeaaaahhh"). I've since engaged in a covert strawberry stealing operation. I doubt I've ever been sneakier. Basically, I wait for him (or her, I don't really know whose they are), to fall asleep, I tiptoe into the kitchen, gently lift the plastic wrap away from the strawberries, select one so as my theft is unnoticed (sort of like Jenga), and then ever so carefully replace the plastic. I'm not sure how much longer this can go on, but the strawberries have awoken something deep inside me. I'm not sure what it is, or what I can do about it, but I thought I'd mention it.

I'm going back for one now. Wish me luck.
Oh, has anyone ever read the story "The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Hungry Bear?" Come to think of it, that's probably where these feelings stem from. That was like my fave book growing up. Damn good book.

No worries,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Welcome to the Future

Since Australia is in the future (about 12 hours from the Eastern US), it gets certain future-benefits, including CRAZY ROBOT DEATH MACHINE GARBAGE TRUCKS! I saw one of these the other day and flipped out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Big Things in Australia

This past study break, eleven friends and I took a bit of an epic coming-of-age road trip along the southern coast of Western Australia. Our rapscallious band was composed of nine naive Americans, two incomprehensible Norwegians, and one intrepid Australian. Challenging the perilous Australian freeways with our indomitable rental cars, we paid friendly visits to the smallish towns/villages of Dunsborough, Margaret River, and Albany. In alphabetical order, our activities included: beaching, bodyboarding, brewery-ing, casual drinking, caving, fishing (failure), modeling, photography, raving, tree climbing, winery-ing, and zleeping. Altogether, the achieved amount of fun rivaled a week at Disney with your two favorite celebrities: Antonio Banderas and Cher. I got a good taste of the backpacker/hostel lifestyle, which will come in handy when I graduate, make a religious pilgrimage to Potterworld, then backpack across Europe for several months.

The journey was rather uneventful in terms of revelations into Australian culture, UNTIL halfway through the ride home when we made an important discovery. We saw a sign for "The Giant Ram," and followed our hearts all the way to the center of a small town. In a surprising and completely unexpected turn of events, what should we see but... a giant ram!When you're a small Australian town in the middle of the outback, you obviously want to get put on the map so you get some traffic. So you think to yourself: "What are the ways I can do this? Wage war on another small Australian town? Build a nice tourist center and run a small ad campaign? Create a town blog? WAIT! Let's make big things!" From this dialogue, about 150 large objects have been created and bragged about in small towns all over Australia. There's a full list here. Among my favorites are the giant avocado, beer can, guitar, mango, scotsman, and rolling pin. Us lucky blokes got to witness the giant ram, in the town of Wagin. It was a life changing experience, I can tell you that much.

In closing, I invite you to witness the pinnacle of my modeling career, in a piece I like to call "The Dutchman Sights a Ship on the Horizon That is Likely Also Dutch." Cheers.

No worries,

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The closest I've ever come to a vicious street fight

Last night was probably one of the most eventful nights I've had in a long long time. It started, innocently enough, with a birthday party held at a club called the Geisha Bar (it's not what you think) in the downtown area of Northbridge. Although there were no geishas to be found, it was an excellent night with lots of dancing in and around the fog machine area (note to future roommates, that's you Mike, we need a fog machine REAL BAD). Passion was in the air, and young bodies danced and sparked against each other in a wild frenzy, as if that night at the Geisha bar was their last on this earth. We left the club in high spirits.

A few minutes later my friend got attacked by an aboriginal woman! I had broken away from the group with a couple guys because I was impatient and the girls were being slow. They stopped to get food and lagged behind a bit more. Kebabs in hand, they started walking towards the train station when a couple aboriginal women walked past them, bumping their shoulders and calling them "American sluts." My friend April turned around, and yelled something back at them (she was in a bad mood). She had just turned back around when she was kicked in the leg, punched in the back of the head, and then punched in the face. Before she could react, the aboriginals scurried off into an alleyway.

We reunited at the train station, and then WHO SHOULD WE SEE coming down the escalator but the two aboriginal women?! One of them spotted April and started throwing not one but TWO middle fingers and swearing at us. While April was restrained, I engaged in an intense staredown / gestural battle with the aboriginal woman. My modeling skills came in very handy here, as I was able to convey an extreme level of ferocity. Though enflamed and angered by my tenacity, they were too scared by my street presence, notorious reputation, and imposing figure to advance on us.
Great success.

Later that night, I earned the title "champion bloke" from an Australian friend. Though it was bestowed upon me after an unrelated incident, I felt that an incredible honor had been placed on my shoulders. It was a big night.

Naturally, I celebrated by sleeping until 2:30 today.

No worries,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Footy and my Foolish Dutch Sleeping Disorder

Ahoy. In direct defiance to the listed title that I have just created, I am going to jump ahead to the second, more pertinent topic of note. I have not slept in about 27 hours. The fact that I am still functional right now can be attributed to my batshit insane sleeping schedule, and the energy that I've stored within the fat reserves in my upper thighs (like a walrus). Additionally, my internal clock is operated by a foolish Dutchman by the name of Johanne, whose idea of a good time happens to involve tricking me into being a doofish nap-mongrel. The Dutch aside, I've had a rather stressful week. I'll use bullets to describe these events in a way that will be both engaging and lethal.
  • sunday: struggled with beginning my Australian literature/film paper on how nationalistic myth has driven Australia's tenuous anthropological history from the nation's cultural mythos. (bedtime: 4:15am)
  • monday: seduced into attending ultimate frisbee practice and movie night (intensely violent and irish!), followed by further attempts to attack the aforementioned paper. (bedtime 4:30am)
  • tuesday: woke up at 9, got back from class at 10, checked email, got rejected from Ogilvy (grrrrrRRR), fell into an anger-induced 6 hour nap (thanks a lot Johanne), woke up extremely disoriented, and managed to finish my essay. (bedtime: 4:45am)
  • wednesday: woke up at 2:30, worked on my abnormal psychology essay on OCD, which I've actually diagnosed Mike with, for almost... 18 straight hours? yeah. (bedtime: n/a)
I sit before you battered, bruised and sleep-deprived. The good news is that my essays are done and that I can now devote time to my favorite past-time of huddling into a small sleep-ball and dreaming of dinosaurs. Something of note: I think that the only reason I made it through this vicious half-week from hell was because of some excellent new/old music, namely Phoenix (new album), Andrew Bird (new album), Bon Iver (not very new), Of Montreal (the old stuff), and my rediscovery of Simon and Garfunkel's soothing power.

Alright, since you're probably all sitting there saying "shut up Kevin, we don't want to hear about how stressed out and sleepy you've been lately, we all know that you're just a lazy curmudgeon," (who uses that word, seriously?) "what about the Australian culture? have you learned anything interesting lately? Seriously Kevin we need to know!! Blearghdasfkjl!!!!"

The answer is yes. Yes I have. And take it easy, please. No need to get all crazypants on me. I recently attended a match of Australian rules football (Footy), which is sort of a mix between soccer, rugby, quidditch, and Calvinball. Basically, you punch/kick the ball to your teammates and try to kick it through the middle of these big poles at the ends of an oval-shaped field. It's the most popular sport in Australia, just ahead of "Synchronized Throwing of a Boomerang in the General Direction of a Wombat." Aside from quarter and halftime breaks, there was almost no stop in gameplay, which is something I respect in a sport and its players. The West Coast Eagles won! They were the team that we were supposed to be for. Oh! Australian culture! In Australia, you don't "root" for a team, because "to root" literally means "to f***." Instead, you "barrack" for your team. I got some weird looks in the beginning of the game, before I remembered this.

(Wikipedia can give you a super good better explanation if you're really interested.)

Next monday I will be taking a road trip down South to some of Western Australia's nicest beaches and wineries. In the absence of the guides that kept me down during my Northwest trip, I think I will finally be able to conquer the Australian wilderness like I've always wanted. Look out, kangaroos. I'm coming. To ride you.

No worries,

Friday, April 3, 2009

Skipping Spring

As the Australian Summer transitions into the slightly cooler Fall, I'm realizing that I have completely skipped out on Spring this year. Spring is my favorite season, and having experienced the winter-spring transition for the past 20 years of my life (yes, I'm including year zero), I'm feeling a little thrown off. I was feeling a little despondent today (partially because Ogilvy is either being a tease or a dick), and wrote this.

When April makes her entrance
Dancing light steps 'cross the stage
March, forgotten, bows to
No one, and fades away
We are all watching April
Swing 'round her corn field sky
A colourful parasol
Warm colors we know and love
A moment passes, we ask -
Has it been that long, April?
Since we hummed in your breeze?
Since small newborn grasshoppers,
Grass-hopped in tender fields?
Since new leaves reminded us
How green green can be?
But that moment passes too,
As we smile, taking April's hand.

No worries,

Monday, March 30, 2009

Gory Goya Allegory

In this post, I plan to use a famous painting (one of my favorites) by Francisco de Goya, wherein the titan Saturn devours one of his sons in a grisly fashion, to create several metaphors through which you might better understand some things I'm going through. These are my plans. Whether or not everything will go accordingly, I have no idea. Something unforeseen and drastic may happen, and you may cry out as if you've learned something terrifyingly disturbing, found out about an unplanned pregnancy on national television, or witnessed the sudden appearance of a velociraptor. Hopefully the graphic nature of this painting will allow me to draw vivid connections that would otherwise command lots of description. There's only one way to find out.

1. I have been attempting to learn how to surf with a short board. It is MUCH harder than surfing with a long board, as I have found out on several occasions. The key to getting better, as I've learned, is to ignore that voice inside that tells you to stop doing things that will endanger your life gravely. In this metaphor, imagine that I am being devoured by giant waves that crush my body as if they were large godlike things. See how this works? (The waves are big and scary.)

2. Thus far, I've had about 6 weeks of classes and one assignment. Australian university is slightly less demanding in terms of the workload, compared to American university. However, in the next few weeks, I am about to be eaten alive by some huge assignments.

3. I find out whether I got an internship with Ogilvy tomorrow. This has been such a long ridiculous process, and I'm incredibly nervous about it. It's tearing me apart.

4. The other day I was picked up and viciously chewed on by a massive, titan, naked, brutally macabre godlike being. Don't worry though. In Australia, your limbs grow back in like a day. Also, it might have been a dream.

5. I can't decide whether to go to Thailand or not! You can invent your own metaphor for this one, I don't want to step over any cultural boundaries. Any thoughts?

Hopefully you got a lot out of this. I know I did.

No worries,

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kevin vs. Wild

So a few weeks ago, I got this crazy thought. "Oprah in space!" After deep consideration and more than a few self-inflicted slaps to the face, I rejected this thought and conceived a second, even crazier thought. I thought to myself, "Kevin, you should randomly and spontaneously go out and experience the outback for yourself, on a university-organized trip that you've been planning to go on for several months with thirty other students!" I briefly swooned with excitement and then finished shaving the space between my eyebrows. In compliance with this brave resolution, I went on the "Northwest Trip," a 10-day outback adventure offered to Murdoch University international students. This trip was super great times ten, like a cross between going to underwater princess land, and finding out that Hogwarts is real. So, pretty damn great. If you have facebook, my two albums from this trip can be used as a neat visual aid for the rundown I'm about to give you. If you are facebookless (MARK) I will throw in some pics so you don't feel blind and lost in the world.

Prelude: I successfully drag myself out of bed and wander aimlessly until I arrive at the parking lot, where I find that I will be traveling in an interestingly shaped bus, with two guides who are not unlike the older, disgruntled versions of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (but far less fun). After climbing aboard the bus, I get myself mentally ready for the adventure to follow by promptly passing out in my seat.

DAY 1: We drive for 700 kilometers (500 something miles), stopping every once in a while for food/peeing, and I discover that the outback is FLAT. It was not at all the small cozy restaurant-shaped area with booths and a friendly atmosphere that I had imagined. The land stretches on and on, populated with scrubby little bushes and the occasional tree. We spend the night at the Wogarno sheep station, where we were greeted by THE MOST ANNOYING FLIES EVER. So think about the encounters with flies that you've had in the past. Now stop. Have an image in your head? Those flies are HEAVEN AND GUMDROPS compared to Australian flies. If you do not wear a fly net (which everyone resigned to doing), the flies will go in your nose, in your ears, on top of your eyes, and will not give up until they have invaded your body in some godforsaken way. They sucked. On the bright side of the animal kingdom, there was Andy the Australian shepherd! He loved to fetch, jump over huge fences, and get rubbed. Unfortunately, in playing fetch with him, I sent a two inch wooden splinter across my hand and through my finger, in one end and out the other. It hurt, it bled, I manned up, ripped it out, went about my bizness, and then cried myself to sleep.

DAY 2: Another pretty long bus ride, through the mining towns of Cue and Meekatharra, to Newman Caravan Park. We found a swimming pool and, as responsible 20-something year old university students, made a HUGE WHIRLPOOL. In our ill-advised quest to find a pub that night, we discovered that Aboriginal people are SCARY AS HELL. A couple of my friends asked a group of them for directions, and were then fondled and told "this is not your country, be afraid." We probably would have been knifed if we didn't have Stein on our side. Stein is a 6'6" Norwegian mountain of a man. Turned out everything was closed, so we just went back to the park and slept.

DAY 3 and 4: We head to Karijini National Park, which is a crazy awesome place filled with gorges, dingos, spiders, and unbridled beauty. The spiders are HUGE, and are pretty much between every single tree. They don't all have fatal bites, but it's generally "bad" to get bit anyways. We hike gorges and swim in waterfall pools during the day, and get surrounded by howling dingos at night. At one of the waterfalls, we saw what was either a Taipan or a Brown snake, respectively the #1 and #2 most venemous snakes in the world! It was a little guy, but one bite contains enough venom to kill probably 50 adults. We also saw a small water python, which isn't venemous, but can grow up to 15 feet long. There's a famous picture from Karijini in which a monstrous water python is lifting a large waterlogged kangaroo from the gorge. Ridiculous.

DAY 5: REALLY LONG DRIVE. Like 14 hours on the bus. Towards the end of the journey, as we neared Warroora station, we finally saw kangaroos! I saw at least 10 roos near the road - they would bounce away as the bus came close. Needless to say, I was pumped. Seeing a kangaroo is the first step to riding it. Saw a scorpion that night (whom I dubbed Josh), as well as a very large hairy spider in my shower (whom I also dubbed Josh).

DAY 6: Awesome day. Went to Coral Bay, and snorkeled in Ningaloo Reef (2nd largest reef in the world), where I saw sea turtles, a myriad of fish, stingrays, and all sorts of awesome things. We spent the rest of the day drinking on the beach, in shallow water, surrounded by huge spotted emperor fish that would swim all around and between your legs. Paradise. That night, while trying to photograph the beautiful sunset, I saw more kangaroos! I tried to sneak up on them to take pictures, but failed pretty miserably. I settled for some really blurry pictures, then turned back to the sunset, which was BANGIN. bangin bangin.

DAY 7: We head to Hamelin Pool, which is home to stromatolites! These rock-things are the oldest living organism on earth, and exist in only three places all over the world. They're pretty uninteresting, otherwise. Really cool place though. The surrounding area was a shell beach - 6000 years of storms had deposited tiny shells all over the ground, which had the composite effect of making the area absolutely beautiful as well as absolutely sharp and painful to walk on.

DAY 8: We feed dolphins at Monkey Mia (which was kinda touristy and lame, standing on a beach with like 200 other tourists), and then take a catamaran (read: BOAT) out through Shark Bay, where we run into a pod of dolphins that follows us for good 10 minutes. We played some beach volleyball, fought off a bunch of stupid hungry emus, and then returned to camp for some dinner and drinking games.

DAY 9: Drove for a few hours, stopped at a beautiful beach for a few hours, CUT MY FOOT ON A SHELL (shells: 2/10, cuts my foot), drove more, arrived at Lynton station, where we climbed a small hill and watched the orange sun slowly set on our dreams and our journey.

DAY 10: We went home.

Reliving these memories has been extremely tiring for me, so many emotional ups and downs, highs and lows, balloons and spelunks, so if you'll excuse me I will go to bed. The night after the trip, I slept about 0 hours, so disoriented was I by not sleeping in a tent surrounded by 5 spooning friends. The next day, COMA. And today I'm super tired again, having been to the beach and having played some extremely extreme volleyball. Farewell, fellow travelers.<3 No worries,


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kevin's Official List of Things to Ride in Australia

Alright, it's what you've all been patiently waiting for, my OFFICIAL list of things to ride in Australia. You can put away all of those worthless pirated copies that you got off the internet, this is the real deal. As many of you know, I came to Australia with a single goal that bordered on obsession and insanity: to ride a kangaroo. Since my arrival, I've realized that there is a lot more to Australia than ride kangaroos. In retrospect, it really was kind of a childish goal. I should have known that there are so many other things to ride!

  1. Kangaroo: DONE sort of. (small plastic carousel kangaroo, for 2-6 year olds.)
  2. Manta Ray: DONE came within 3 feet of one, so I'm gonna count it. Also, WTF?
  3. Killer Whale: chances: very likely
  4. Dolphin: chances: very probable, since I'm going to Shark Bay next week.
  5. Velociraptor: chances: very low, their backs are scaly and hard to climb.
  6. Naomi Watts: chances: you tell me. what's that you say? sure thing? agreed
  7. Wave: DONE easy. surfing is a lot harder than it looks, for everyone except me.
  8. Camel: chances: high, since Australia has the most wild camels of any place on earth.
  9. Emu: only so I can tire one out, wrestle it to the ground, and kill it. I hate emus.

In closing, this is what one kilogram of bacon looks like:

MMMM. Alright, l8r.

No worries (actually maybe a little worrying about the risk of heart disease),


Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Have Lain in Heath Ledger's Ashes.

That's right. Heath Ledger's remains were spread across Cottesloe beach in Western Australia, a beach that I have been to twice. This probably explains why my acting skills have increased almost tenfold in the past few weeks. For instance, I can now imagine original scripts in my head and monologue them, simultaneously! I'm sure Heath would be proud. I wish I could get a job with my acting.


I went job hunting today! This is something I would probably not do if I were home, so it's surprising to even me that I'm doing it while I'm abroad. But, when you have two days of class per week and the minimum wage is something like 15 dollars/hour, it starts to seem like a good idea. Plus, it might be a good way to get immersed in the Australian Culture, which so far seems to be very interesting.

HISTORY LESSON: Up until about the 1980's, most Australians have been ashamed to refer to themselves as Australian, as a result of their heritage as England's refuse (criminals). They have also been extremely racist towards the aboriginal people, who have resided peacefully in Australia for tens of thousands of years. At the root of the issue is the concept of what "Australia" actually is, and what it means to be "Australian." When the indigenous people have lived here about 500 times (probably very off) longer than the European settlers, who are the real Australians? Until the 1960's, the Aboriginal people had about the same legal standing as a tree. It's really messed up. Recently, there's been a sort of nationalistic movement and people are starting to be proud of their heritage, and being proud of their nationality. Interesting stuff. I'll find out more. In the meantime, how about a linguistic update?!

boxed wine = goon
sunglasses = sunnies (they don't even know that the word "sunglasses" exists)
breakfast = brekky
how are you doing? = how are you going?
red pepper = capsicum
arugula = rocket
cookies = biscuits
kevin = kev

English 284: Sweet sweet class. Reminiscent of my Comm 410 class last semester, seems to focus on a very intense analysis of the true identity of Australia, and what it means to be Australian, through literature and film. Professor Moody (like from Harry Potter) is a large walrus-like man that excitedly huffs and puffs his way through the lecture, probably on the verge of a heart attack. I'm pumped for it.

Psych 213: Abnormal Psychology, which is like crazy people studies. Will probably be my hardest class, since I'm not a psych major, but should be interesting. Focuses on what "abnormal" actually entails, and if it's even possible to define normality within a cultural context.

Business 339: Advertising Production, taught by a super awesome genius creative director guy who has worked for pretty much everyone and won tons of awards. It's going to be sweet. I don't think that many of my classmates really understand the concept of advertising. On our first tutorial day, we were asked to design a print ad for Burger King that worked through the idea that BK's burgers are bigger than the competition. By the way, Burger King is called "Hungry Jacks" here. Same exact restaurant, different name. Hmm?! Anyways, back to the ad. We were split into groups of two, and since 75% of the class is Asian, there were about 5 Asian groups. Independently, every single one of these groups came up with this as their ad:I have absolutely no idea why. I thought it was hilarious, but sadly had nobody to share my laughter with. I could tell that the professor was dying inside, but he sort of just acknowledged the large burgers with eyes and moved on.

Mine, of course, was brilliant. You should know this.

Tomorrow I'm going back to Cottesloe beach to lay in Heath again. I'll whisper to the sands, tell him of his victory at the Oscars, and of my love for his films (especially A Knight's Tale, first movie I ever cried during, maybe). It will be beautiful, and I will tan, and then I will be beautiful, and maybe then I will find myself an Australian bride.

No worries,

Saturday, February 21, 2009

we're going to the zoo today!

Misleading title! I already went to the zoo. The great thing about having two days of class per week is that I can do things like go the beach, the zoo, downtown, or just hang out by the pool, at times that I would usually be sitting in a classroom. This is not to say that I don't hold my classes in very high priority, but it's a big change of pace going from two day weekends to five day weekends. Anyways, on to the zoo. It was a pretty good zoo, but I was sort of underwhelmed by most of the sections (especially the australian section). I guess in a place like Australia you don't really have to try too hard in your zoo, since the rest of the nation is full of awesome animals that you pretty much see on a daily basis. It was a really hot day, so most of the animals were huge slackers and napping in the shade.

Tricia (score: 7/10): Tricia was quite the independent woman, she escaped from the zoo like twice while we there there, and was also a proficient painter. However, she loses points for leaving poop all over the sidewalks.

Crocodile (score: 9/10): Intimidating, powerful, and probably ready to smash through the glass to attack at a moments notice, the crocodile was one of the fiercer contestants at the zoo. It was able to smell the fear of my friend Maya, who fears crocodiles, and followed her movements with its sinister reptilean eyes.

Penguins! (score: 6/10): Though cute and excellent swimmers, these penguins lack original material. March of the penguins, happy feet, that disney penguin surfing movie, I mean come on. It's been done, penguins.

Long-necked turtle (score: 3/10): Though being well-known for setting certain style trends (turtleneck) popular in certain Swiss villages, this narcissistic guy was too busy checking himself out to notice his visitors. Self absorption is not something I look for in a turtle, sorry.

Monitor Lizard (score: 8/10): Huge lizard, capable of growing up to like 8 feet long, can probably eat people = BOSS. Boss in the connotation of being badass, but also in the manner that this lizard could act as an excellent boss in a video game. High level of difficulty, since it probably shoots fire out of its mouth.

Ghost bats (score: 10/10): GHOST BATS. Name something cooler. TRY. You can't.

Sun bear (score: 7/10): Symbol of purity, beauty, and bears. The sun bear was one of the most active animals at the zoo, because they feed on solar energy. Everyone knows that.

Dingo (score: 5/10): The dingo is essentially an Australian dog. It was not the most fascinating of beasts, from what I could tell. No special abilities, but it is a dingo, so props for that.

Wombat! (score: 10/10): The wombat is just great. I think this is a good time to talk about one of my classes: Australian Film and Literature, taught by PROFESSOR MOODY. Like from harry potter. Same guy, I'm pretty sure. He is very cool, seems to have an interesting view on Australian nationalism. Our first assignment is to bring an object to class that represents something quintessentially "Australian." I wish I could take a wombat. Instead, I'll use my bottle-opener shaped like a kangaroo. Trust me, I'll make it work.

Emu (score: 0/10): EMUS ARE SO ANNOYING. Stupid bird wouldn't let me take a picture of it, kept hiding behind a tree and insulting me in its stupid emu language. You suck, emu.

Echidna? (score: 6/10): Sort of an ambiguous animal, I wasn't entirely sure that it was alive since it was hiding in the sand (keeping cool in the heat, assumedly, but more likely plotting something big), but the spikes were cool. This is not a hedgehog, since it is a marsupial, although it seems to be hiding its pouch so we can't really verify this entirely.

Kangaroo (score: 10/10, of course): Since it is my lifelong goal to ride a kangaroo, I have to give them full points, in case there are any reading my blog. Shout out to all my kangaroo friends! (text me if you're offering rides)

Koala (score: 8/10): Apparently koalas hallucinate from eating like anything, so a day in the life of a koala is like: sleep for 20 hours, wake up eat/trip on acid, do other koalas, sleep again. Pretty unfair for the rest of the animal kingdom. Koalas, have you ever seen march of the penguins? You have it way too easy.

Kevin (score: N/A (bias)): At this point you might be asking yourself, "Why has Kevin been rating all of these animals on a 10 point scale? These are God's creatures, and they were all created equally!" At this point, I think I should tell you. It's been you the whole time. Judging the animals, one by one. It's been you. Now at this point you might say, "But Kevin, it hasn't been me, I've been reading a blog that you yourself wrote!" Ah, but you've forgotten that in this blog, anything can happen. Toilets can flush in the other direction, grown men can relive their childhood days, butterflies can sprout legs and race in a 5k against Roger Rabbit and Batman. At this point, you might be asking, "Is Kevin drunk, or on some kind of controlled substance?" I would respond:

No I am not. I am bored. And making dinner. (my apartment cooking skills are improving!)

Alright, that's it for now. The pasta is cooked.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rottnest Island / Ratnest Island / Rotto

I just got back from a weekend CIEE (my study abroad program, led by an intrepid and hilarious guy named Paul) trip to Rottnest Island, which is about 30 minutes away from Fremantle on a ferry. Despite not seeing any snakes ANYWHERE, it was awesome. The island is home to a huge population of rat/kangaroo ish creatures named quokkas, but the Dutch settlers thought they were rats (hence Rottsnest / Rat's nest island). They are very very cute and approachable (think chubby mini-kangaroos). We did a lot of biking, snorkelling, swimming, sightseeing, and that sort of thing. Snorkelling was AWESOME. I dove through a reef-enclosed cave and saw some huge colorful fish (like Planet Earth fish) in the reefs. My favorite was a huge white angry looking fish that decided to hang out with us for a few minutes, probably plotting to eat our young. The coolest thing I saw, however, was a 7 foot wide stingray that came within reaching distance of me while I was playing frisbee in the water. 7. foot. stingray. HUGE and within kicking distance. Where else does that happen? Last night I got to see the sun set over the ocean, which was incredibly beautiful. I had an "omg" moment while I was standing there watching the sun gently set, while the warm breeze played with my hair like a mournful lover. Later we went up by a lighthouse where you could see the beams of light in the air for miles because it was so powerful. And we saw the southern cross constellation! Cool! Unrelated, but the other day I got to eat crocodile (kind of fishy but with a thicker texture) and kangaroo (like steak but richer and slightly gamey). Yum! Animals! (sorry Allie)

I start classes tomorrow, and hopefully I'll have everything figured out enough to make it to all my classes in the right places. I may be switching out my Aboriginal studies class for an Australian Film and Literature class that looked more interesting and fit my schedule better. That will bring me up to Advertising Production, Abnormal Psychology, and Australian Film and Literature for a total of 12 credits. Uni is pretty laid back here for international students, which is something you won't find me complaining about. I'll probably be attending an ultimate frisbee meeting tomorrow, thinking of joining the team to meet people and do something athletic. I'm also going to try to join the table tennis club, and hope that there's some competition since I'm so close to Asia, and therefore azns. Also might try to do intramural volleyball - figuring that sports are a good way to meet people. So far my core group of friends extends to the Penn State people, along with a few people from my CIEE group and a group from Wisconsin. I hope to branch out to Australians soon, since they are awesome.

That is it for now. My shoulders are burned, despite putting sunscreen on every 20 minutes this weekend. Stupid ozone layer (or lack thereof). 7 foot stingray. Think about it. Think about me riding it. Underwater. Through underwater princess land. There is a crown on my head. You are my queen. We will live forever. On this stingray of ours.

No worries,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kill Teen Angst and the French Rockets

So last night I got to take a bit of a break from intense socializing and went downtown with some people to the Fremantle Film Festival. Although it started about 3 hours after we expected, it turned out to be really really cool. Two bands opened for the festival (for an audience of about 15), the French Rockets (sort of bloc party/helio sequence/whatever i have no idea) and Kill Teen Angst, which were a cool sort of ska ish band. They were Australian, so that was cool. We got to talk to them after the show, since there was nobody really around, and learned a lot about how difficult it is for a band to tour from Western Australia. Since Perth is the most isolated capitol in the WORLD, bands really have to build up a bit of a following in WA before traversing the entire nation to the eastern cities. They said that it's a lot easier to tour and become popular in America, since you can literally string together a thousand cities to play concerts in. Cultural differences!

The film itself was a documentary of the dynamic differences and similarities of The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. It ran a little long, and after a while it felt that there was a repetitive theme of the Dandy Warhols being slightly less gifted but succeeding a lot more than the Jonestown Massacre, who were constantly screwed over by their lead singer/songwriter Anton, who was apparently a musical genius but thought he was God. Interesting stuff, since I had listened to a lot of the dandy warhols and had never heard of the brian jonestown massacre. It was kind of too bad that the documentary had absolutely nothing to do with Australia, but whatever. There was another documentary being advertised that's playing there in about a week, wherein two Australian dudes move to Iowa (WHY) to investigate corn. Yeah, corn. I guess we eat a lot of it, which makes it important.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nobody actually says g'day

Life here at Murdoch University is truly incredible. I live in a brand new apartment flat in my own room with four other flatmates: Maisey from Manhattan, Katie from Minnesota, Andrew from Singapore, and Liza (I think) from Zambia. Cool lot of people, though I am disappointed that I'm not with any Australians. Australians are awesome people. They are the most laid back people I have ever known. Very very friendly to strangers and Americans. And the accent is hilarious to listen to. I will grin like an idiot in any situation where I'm surrounded by Aussies.

It's going to be really hard to catch up to where I am right now with details, but I'll do my best. This is going to be sort of rapid fire so strap yourselves in plz. Alright: I've been in a flurry of orientation and social activities. A lot of the time I'm with people from my CIEE study abroad program, and other times I'm with a general group of international students. There's another program here from Wisconsin - roommate Katie is in it - and that's mostly a bunch of girls, but we usually end up at the same places. Since there aren't many Australians in the student village now - they move in when classes start next week - it's mostly Americans so far. Which kind of sucks, but hopefully I'll be surrounded by Aussies in the future. I've been going to a lot of clubs and bars for some casual, legal, social interaction (I'm being safe, mom) with these groups of people. During the day when we aren't involved in a bunch of orientation stuff, we go to beaches and go shopping and stuff. I recently found out that I suck at grocery shopping. So I'm going to be eating some pretty interesting meals.

On to some more interesting things! So, I sort of became a small celebrity among the international students recently, as a result of some skills that I gained during sculpture 100 at Penn State. All the international students were at a free dinner doing some silly orientation activities wherein we were all split into small groups doing contest things. One of the contests was to create an aluminum foil sculpture of something inherently "Australian" and present it to the rest of the students. Since we were the kangaroo group, we (I) decided to make a kangaroo family. However, I wasn't paying attention to the other girl doing the sculpting, and she made a cockatoo. What the hell. So, to redeem the situation, I finished the kangaroos and put them on top of the large bird. In presenting this to the rest of the international students, I gave a profoundly poetic explanation (harking back to sculpture 100, where I would give epic bullshit explanations of stupid modern art sculpture things with a straight face) about how the cockatoo represents "the soaring aspirations of our academic dreams" and the kangaroo family represents "the idea that despite we come from background all over the world... (theatrical sigh) we really are one family." This received thunderous applause and we won the contest. So that was really fun. I also danced like a fool (read: incredibly well) last night so my reputation is growing.

That's all for now! I'll try to think of cool things to put here that are more about Australia and not my ego, but I've been in a crazy whirlwind of activity and I haven't even had time to nap!

Also, if anyone has some shopping tips I would love them forever.

This weekend we're going to Rottnest Island, where I will go biking, sunning, and I will meet some small creatures called quokkas. Oh, and as per the title, nobody in Australia says "g'day." "No worries" is used in like every sentence though. So, that's it for now. Hopefully that's a sufficient post. I think I wrote a lot.

Australia is awesome! I do miss everyone though, so try to keep in touch. <3

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Alright, so I just finished packing, and thought I would throw this together, just in case I run into anything interesting/awesome down under. I'll probably post pictures and stuff here as well.

Things you can expect from me: a deeply intense cultural analysis, pictures of cute animals, and epic stories that someday you will tell your grandchildren. Or grandparents. I don't know, I'm not going to tell you who you can and can't talk to about these things. What sort of country would we live in then? Maybe Australia? Which reminds me, I'll have to check my rights before I do anything rash. There are probably a bunch of weird ones, like "the right to resist police only while wearing kitchen utensils." This might actually exist. There's an Australian folk hero named Ned Kelly who was pretty much a lawless bandit who (incoming gross graphics) did things like twisting the balls of policemen until they died of blood loss. Anyway, the police weren't too happy about this and they surrounded him and his gang, whereupon Ned Kelly emerged from his hideout wearing makeshift iron armor, complete with an iron pot as a helmet, and attempted to shoot down the police force a la Ironman. Pretty sure he died, but he is now a fondly remembered legend? Interesting society. I think I'll like it there.