31 July 2012

Jennicki in Brissy - Day 2 - 28 May

"See how the light shines on the mall?
Like heaven shining down on consumerism"
It was a crisp Monday Morning, Sparrows farting until the the birds began yelling away at whatever the hell was rising over the horizon, and the gentle whisper of "Matt, Matt".

Up goes my head and there's mum whispering around the corner of the door.

"Can you come out here please?"

I clamber over a very sleepy Jenny to Mum in a bit of a panic. Her GoCard, that little card that holds her journey from home to work, was AWOL. And Mum didn't have any cash.

Jenny climbed out in a sleepy haze and helped with the search around the house for the elusive device, but to no avail. Lifting and searching and furrowing through everything that we could to find my necklace half hiding under the couch.

Luckily, we had an alternative. Kel and Tash happily provided Jenny and I a spare GoCard so Jenny could get around relatively cheaply. Works out to be about $2 a trip.

So to allow Mum to get to work we gave mum the card so she could get to work, while Jenny used the Pretty Money she collected yesterday on her way through the Duty Free section.

In the mean time, Jenny and I went back to bed and slept in until about Midday.  Because that's what you do the morning after your first bloody long overseas plane trip.

The day was taken easy too.  We were slow to rise from the warm envelope of the bed sheets, but we struggled our way to getting ready for our excursion to Chermside for lunch and a Movie.

Now, the thought of introducing my partner to a Shopping Centre seems a weird thing to do.  And that's a fair first thought since America is lauded for it's Shopping Malls as the popular teenage hangout.  Upon visiting one of the larger Malls of the 'Zoo, I was surprised to find it a little vacant.  Though that had something to do with the time period we attended.

Chermside was relatively vacant since it was a Monday day and children weren't allowed out of class except those who decided to wag.  But that was convenient since we didn't want to wade through the throngs of shoppers, and have Jennys various photos disrupted by the head of an oblivious passerby, giving us a strange looks as if we were some sort of spectacle to behold.

This was summarised by a friend: "They were looking because you're the first non-asian they've seen taking photos of a shopping centre"

But lunch was to be had.  We hadn't eaten anything for breakfast since we simply prepared ourselves and ran to the bus stop, had a crash course in Pretty Money, and Bussed our way through Jennys Motion sickness to our destination, where she quickly took a happy snap of the Police Beat placed out the front.

Little did she know it was primarily for one of the local franchise swill holes: Gilhooleys.

"We totally had to have lunch at the Irish Pub"
Now, I've never really heard a good thing about a Gilhooleys.  But Jenny wanted to go to an Australian-Irish Pub.  So fair enough, we went there and had our Lunch.

For Jenny a Chicken Caesar Salad, a food I could hardly see wrapped around the head of a Roman Dictator.  And a Fettucine Carbonara for myself.  Italian is kinda like Irish, right?

Our friend was disappointed. "you guys managed to order the two things I despise... plus why are you eating at gilhoolies if your not ordering a braised beef guiness pie FFS... Medway... this is all your fault"

Yep.  I'll cop that on the chin.  I didn't even think that the menu at Gilhooleys had even looked at an Irishman before, let alone had any food cooked to the theme.

But we enjoyed our overpriced meal as best we could.  Jenny didn't quite get through her whole salad so I finished it off well after my own Pasta was licked clean off the plate. Note: I didn't actually lick the plate, but damn if it wasn't tempting.

After lunch, our excursion through the shopping centre began, along with the gawking of what few strangers there were.  While we didn't get very far, we did take in the two sights that Jenny was very keen to see: Wendys and Target.  The 'Zoo has these establishments, however Wendys is actually a franchise Burger Restaurant, rather than an Ice Cream and Hotdog shop, and Target... well it's Target.

But she was most impressed by the hanging advertisement screen above the Cold Rock Ice Creamery.  It's nothing particularly special to myself, so I'll leave the description of awe to Jenny herself, while I move onto our Cinema experience.

"The movie theater! They actually give you an
assigned seat when you buy a ticket."
Jenny was undoubtably impressed by the size and design of the outside.  Then shocked and appalled when she saw the prices.  I assured her that the price gouging isn't the same everywhere, and that next time we would make a plan to go to the Imax Cinema at South Bank, where the prices are more reasonable and the screens are enormous.

The movie of choice though was the new Sasha Baron Cohen film, "The Dictator".  I can assure Mother Michelle* that while it's no Meatspin, it's still shocking where he loses his phone.
* Note: Must get Michelle a Habit for her Birthday.
The evening ended a little later than we had expected and we got home to a laughing Mum.  She was a little embarrassed at herself, but she was always one to laugh at the silliest things.

Such as where she left her GoCard, of which the realisation came to her during the day.  Through all our hard work early this morning, we missed the one spot that Mum had actually sworn she had already checked:  Between the envelopes she pulled out of the letter box yesterday.

We forgave her.  Especially since she made dinner.

24 July 2012

The Dramatisation of Conflict

D&D has gotten a little... Stale, and our DM has gotten a bit burnt out.  So it's been a point of fact to discuss alternatives.  One alternative I suggested was a Theatre of War Campaign. We've all played the Iron Kingdoms Wargames and we all have our different factions.

But after thinking about it for a second, we came across a problem: Not all of us play Warmachine.  Some of us play Hordes, and the Theatres of War we have available are each designed for the two games.

I plowed on with the idea though, tackling the other big problem we have: the Theatres of War are designed for a previous iteration of Warmachine.  There are a few things different betwen the two systems, but nothing that can't be fine tuned over time.

But I've gotten my first draft of changes up, along with variant ideas, and posted them up on their own little blog.  If anyone wants to put their two cents in, throw it up in the comments.


03 July 2012

Jennicki In Brissy - Day 1 - 27 May

In the two years and seven months that I have known Jenny, I have never seen a smile as big as hers. And I can remember the smile from when I first met her in person. She was smiling ear to ear. This time, her head was close to falling off.

That's what you get when you spend 12 days in a country you have been dreaming of since you were a kid. And I feel like AM the luckiest guy in the world to be part of her motivation to follow through on the act, and to escort her around Brisbane with the help of many of our friends.

I'll never forget waking up at Sparrows Fart o'clock on Sunday and getting myself dressed to pick up Jenny from the Airport with Mum. The trip was entertaining in itself. Mum and I driving down the highway, little idea what we should be looking out for, when suddenly I looked ahead and said to Mum "The Gateway Bridge, it's a bit close isn't it?"

Sure enough, it was. So over we went, and down the other side, through the e-toll gate and over the overpass, and back through the e-toll gate and then back down Southern Cross way, which Mum actually recognises.

That was when I started to Panic. Jenny was going to be at the airport, wasn't she. She was going to be waiting around looking for me and starting to think "He has forgotten about me and abandoned me" or something like that. She's going to be freaking out.

But no, it was half seven when Mum and I arrived. I bolted straight to the gate while Mum waited in the loading bay, the both of us thinking she will be fine waiting for a half hour or something.

A few minutes later, Mum calls me. "I can't wait in the loading bay, what should I do?"
"Go park, Mum"
"I don't know where it is!"
"There are signs, Mum. Should be one just as you leave the loading bay, or just as you come back in."

Sure enough, she quickly got her parking spot and joined me at the gate. Jenny hadn't come out yet, and it was past 8. I was panicking again. Have I missed her? Did she come out and I can't find her in the throng of people here? Or is she still in there and is lost since it's a very different place to America?

Turns out, her and the rest of the plane were held back, Quarantined, so to speak, because someone was Ill on the entire 14 hour flight from LAX. (One could not blame them. The smog will take your childrens lives, given the chance.)

Clever old me decided to make the announcement on Facebook that Jenny was finally here, and that she was Quarantined for a little bit.

Little did I know, that offhand comment caused a flurry of laughter and, more stressfully, worry. Jennys Mom and her Brother didn't quite understand the little joke, but luckily were easy to relieve after I told them what had actually happened.

It was a nice Sunday, and Jenny had about 3 hours sleep over the past 24+ hours. I had only had about 5 hours myself, which usually puts me into Zombie mode if it weren't for my excitement. But Jenny and I got to mine, I introduced her to the house we would (mostly) be staying at, and we crawled into bed for a couple hours of nap.

She couldn't sleep though. Why? Because she thought that someone was whistling outside the window.

"Can you hear it? Someone's whistling!"
"I don't know wha-"
*Bird Whistle* (I'll get back to you on what bird it is)
"Ohhhh, that's a bird, babe."

Back in the 'Zoo, you don't get that sort of background noise. I always knew something was off when I visited there, just something niggling in the back of my mind that something was missing that made Kalamazoo different, but little did I suspect that it would be the bloody birds.

Little did I realise before that day was that there was a festival on at Mcpherson Park. Every fourth Sunday of the Month the Miniature Steam Trains start running on the rails that were set back in '94, and the B-Ridge Central Lions Club run them along with a bunch of stalls and, much to my surprise, a concert stage. I thought it was perfect for such a nice day to go for a walk and get some lunch, since it was about 1pm before Jenny and I got up from our Nap.

It was an easy choice: Go to the Fish and Chip shop. Jenny wanted to try more fish, and she hasn't really had something like Fish and Chips before. Luckily, the shop around the corner from my mums place has the BEST fish and chips I've ever come across. And Jenny Agreed, between nibbling on her Crumbed Cod and taking photos of the Steam Trains as they circled around us.

She also took photos of all the unfamiliar birds, such as the Dumpster Ducks and the Willie Wagtails, to the Butcher Bird and even the Pigeons.

"Cool Tree!"
But on top of increasing her knowledge in Ornithology, she also dabbled in Botany starting with our own local plantlife. Gum Trees, Paper Bark trees and this one tree that I just couldn't Identify, though I think it's a small Paperbark with a bush that started growing at the base of its trunk. Cool though, and it's been there since I were a lad.

The sun beating down, Jenny was getting hot and cooling down when the wind blew her way, while I got a little chilly but braved it as best I could. We continued walking around, finding more interesting trees, houses and even got a few shots of Lorikeets as we followed the footpath around my old Primary School.

Now I wasn't sure if we were allowed, I don't think we were, but I stopped her for a moment to ask if she wanted to have a walk through the School. She was very keen, and very surprised.

"Why's that babe?"
"Well school at home is very enclosed, we have everything inside a building and it's not often that we go outside."
"Is that because only about 6 months of that time it's safe to go outside, and three of those months are School Holidays?"
"Exactly, so seeing your - What is it? Tuckshop? - and everything so open and in the sun, it's really amazing."

There you go, kiddilywinks. Appreciate the sunlight.

Mum gave us a mission before we had left. She wanted me to get ingredients for Dinner: A stuffed potato. I told her to write down the list of things we need because I'm either A: Bound to forget something, or B: get everything.

We slowly weaved through the aisles as she took photos of interesting things, and we discovered something as she took a photo of me holding a packet of Meat Pies.

"Matt holding his meat...pie. Meat pie."
*Jenny makes sound*
*I look up at her*
*She takes photo and starts laughing*
"Oh my god, I'm sorry!"
"For what babe?" I'm a little clueless
"I make that sound at Taz too when i want to take a photo of him."

She assured me that I'm not a puppy dog (though I do like a good petting) and she promised not to do it again. (She still did it though)

After that funny little episode at Woolworths, we got home and I gave Mum the groceries for her to start dinner. So she started it all off, and look at everything in front of her and thought 'There's something Missing'.

"Yeah, mum?"
"Did you remember everything?"
"Pretty sure I did"
"What about Potatos?"
"I'll be back in a few minutes, Mum."

02 July 2012

I got a Gal from Kalamazoo to Visit Brisbane

Jenny's first Crocodile
Okay, I'm a bit late (three weeks) with writing up my post about Jennys arrival to Australia.  Frankly, it's been difficult to really get it down.  Even Jenny is having similar problems, worrying that she might not be able to express how amazing and fulfilling the experience was, even though some (if not all) have had a similar experience attaining your life-long dream.

That's what Jenny did and I feel proud that we got in as much as we did in the two weeks that we had.  By the end of it we were basically running on empty, but we had fun meeting people and showing her some cool things here in Brisneyland.

I would like to thank everyone for their help and support.  Mum for cooking for Jenny and I, Monster Yuppy and Birmo for chauffeuring us around some of Brisbane's hotspots and giving both of us a History lesson, Kel and Tash for joining us for Dinner, Erin for showing us an awesome Thai restaurant, James and Adam for the tour around Surfers Paradise, Stacey and Kenny for housing us and helping me entertain Jenny, Girl Clumsy and Dan Beeston for joining us at Movie World and having us giggle our heads off at Impro Mafia...

And to everyone who turned up to the Lock'n'Load Bistro on the Saturday night, Thank you so much.  Jenny was extremely humbled to have met so many people who were there to see her, especially the half dozen or so who came interstate for the night.

There hasn't been a day that I haven't heard my Fiance say "I miss Australia" since she returned to the 'Zoo.  Thank you all again.