Tuesday, 9 January 2018

9 Truths, 2 Lies (a short post?? who's writing this???)

In my Liebster Award post I promised I was saving the eleven random facts (about me!) for another post. This is that post.

But I lied.

I'm only going to give you nine. And two lies.

It's your job to tell me which you think is which.

(One of them I've mentioned before - little hint for those of you who've been reading my blog a while. ;)



 When I was [various stages of] young (such a long time ago!), I:


1. Could not BEAR shortbread

2. Tipped a jar of baby powder on my brother and then explained, "...it's snowing"


3. Learned to drive the tractor standing up so I could reach the pedal

4. Planned to marry my brother

5. Said I was going to run away as soon as I turned 18 because I hated the speargrass on our new property

6. Put my glasses down on the trampoline that oNE TIME


7. Hit a tree in the farm ute while fleeing a fire

8. Internally judged those who'd read LotR

9. Put a cereal box on my head and, according to unfortunate video footage, flapped my arms like a T-Rex doing breaststroke

10. Tore strips off pages of library books and ate the paper


11. Never had a nickname (beyond a shortening of my full name)


...I was going to put "Thought 'socialization' meant 'meet new bookcases'," but figured that one would be fairly easy to identify as truth...

This is probably unfairly hard? since I've never talked much about my life beyond what books I spend my time reading... but hey, you get to test out your guessing skills!


Which two do you think are the lies? Put them in the comments, and on - (ahhh - Saturday?) - ...Saturday! I will update this post to include the answers! 

(Also, do you have any comments to make about any of these facts? because I do. What were you doing, young me. What.)

Also also. This is one of my shortest posts in a looong time. Which is probably good?? they've been getting a bit unwieldy... xD

-------

Annnd... here's the update with the answers.


When I was [various stages of] young (such a long time ago!), I:



1. Could not BEAR shortbread - I don't know why? I'm only just starting to enjoy it. It's still not something I can eat heaps of, though.

2. Tipped a jar of baby powder on my brother and then explained, "...it's snowing" - I was very small at this time. Mum says she had to pretend to be cross, but actually found it pretty funny. We have a photo of my brother - he's so big-eyed about the whole thing. ;)

3. Learned to drive the tractor standing up so I could reach the pedal - I've only just learned to drive the tractor, despite living on a property for many years now. I was pretty young when I learned to drive the quad ("four-wheeler"?), but I could reach everything comfortably.

4. Planned to marry my brother - Not sure what my reasoning was for this decision, but my mother crushed my poor little plan fairly promptly. xD You can read a little more here - Q14 of the Summer Fun Tag.

5. Said I was going to run away as soon as I turned 18 because I hated the speargrass on our new property - At the time, I was sobbing and wouldn't get off the ground and everything. Speargrass seeds sticking into your socks and jabbing your legs, which get all itchy... well, it's traumatic for a smol kid who was raised in the suburbs. ;P

6. Put my glasses down on the trampoline that oNE TIME - I've never broken my glasses - in fact, I still have my first pair. Also, I'd never put them down on a trampoline. My mother trained me well - no floors, chairs, anything like that.

7. Hit a tree in the farm ute while fleeing a fire - This one tied with 10 for most voted a lie. Not sure why?? I may have made it sound worse than it was, though... I'd gotten separated from the other people who were burning this paddock, and thought I saw one through the trees. Turned out it was an orange flame, not a hi-vis shirt. I reversed into a tree, also knocking off a mirror, but it was a small fire and I was over-reacting.

8. Internally judged those who'd read LotR - Again, not sure what was going on in my head. I was a very judgemental kid, apparently. >.<

9. Put a cereal box on my head and, according to unfortunate video footage, flapped my arms like a T-Rex doing breaststroke - My family laughed... but with the box on my head, I couldn't tell they'd gotten the camera out.

10. Tore strips off pages of library books and ate the paper - *...dies* You trusted me, I know. FORGIVE MEEE. They were all old yellow-paged books too - old Nancy Drews and the like - which is gross??

11. Never had a nickname (beyond a shortening of my full name) - Despite being Aussie - and knowing people called "Hoppy" and "Trigger" and such - I never got a serious nickname. My full name's long, so I got a short version of that, but never a creative one. Julian tried with "Sam" (and I figured I'd be in good company there ;) but it hasn't seemed to stick?? (Although... maybe "Jem" counts as a nickname, now?)


So now you know alll my secrets. *looks around furtively* Don't tell the internet goblins... or the librarians. Help.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Liebster Award || just ONE OF THE MANY tags I'm behind on

Okay so hERE'S AN EXAMPLE OF MY PROCRASTINATION LEVELS for you.


In October, Lila Kims at The Cheapskate Bibliomaniac nominated my blog for the 2017 Liebster Award. I accepted and had every intention of writing the post.

Five days later, Mary Katherine from Sarcastic Scribblings nominated my blog for the 2017 Liebster Award. Again, I accepted, and increased the urgency level for writing my post.

Come December, and The Temperamental Writer at All Things Trivial and Insignificant nOMINATED MY BLOG BECAUSE GUESS WHAT I HAVEN'T WRITTEN THE POST YET.

*slaps self*

I'd done a Liebster Award post before, back in July, but there was a bit of confusion about what that actually meant, and it got treated basically like a tag. This time, however, there were lovely clear lists of rules/guidelines in the posts:
........
1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those whom you nominate will also help you out as well. (Or, as MK put it, gush about how wonderful the person who nominated you is.)

2. Display the award on your blog – by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (There are lots of options for pictures if you go here!)

3. Write a 150-300 word rave about your favorite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.

4. Nominate 5–11 blogs – who have less than 200 followers – that you feel deserve the award.

5. List these rules in your post.

6. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post. (They might not have ever heard of it!)

7. Post a comment in the comments of the award post so your post and blog can be viewed. (This... was only open until mid-December... oh well ;)

Additionally, some included the rules:
1. Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you
2. Give 11 random facts about yourself
3. Give the bloggers you tag 11 questions to answer

...this is going to be a long post. xD

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Australian Culture (Mostly the Food)

Sometimes I discover something about another country, or the way someone else lives, and it shocks me because I never even thought about the fact that someone could live differently in that regard.

For example, not everyone eats Vegemite. And while I may have been able to accept that, apparently there are countries in which shops don't even sell Vegemite?? My uncle lives in an Asian country, and my grandmother has to ship him big jars of it. The downside of international travel/living.

Recently, someone told me that in Europe, people don't eat pumpkin. I don't know how true this is, but I can't even imagine. No roast pumpkin? No pumpkin scones? Pumpkin fruit cake? Pumpkin is such a common vegetable in my life, the idea that some people don't even consider eating it made me think more about differences in culture.

And I think I'm rambling here, because I was thinking of another post and then decided to go with food and I'm writing posts at 11pm again and why do I do this to myself.

BASICALLY. AUSTRALIAN FOOD TODAY. Because I know a lot of the blogosphere is based in the U.S.A. And I thought I might introduce you to a new culture.

...I know. It isn't as though I don't speak English. (And only English, sadly.) How different could the culture be??

...and that is what I'm arguing against today. Just because Australia is an English-speaking country doesn't mean it can't have a culture different to other English-speaking countries.

And so. many. people. don't know what they're missing. Because we have some good stuff here, mate. Today: the food.


I'm going to start with the obvious. If you didn't read my Of Cookies and Books tag (WHAT why not??) then you won't have seen my confession: I've never eaten a cookie in my life

(For those of you who have read my Cookies/Books post, that probably seemed... a little melodramatic and repetitive??)

Anyway. I've never eaten a cookie, because we call them biscuits.

In the comments of that post, Kate Marie and I tried to figure out the various differences between the Americans' and the Aussies' terms for various foods. It was hard! And I still don't know! So here's a little run-down of some of the Aussie foods involved in the discussion; please tell me if you have them in America and what you call them!

Biscuits: Your "cookies" (I know this one! I'm so proud of myself. I'm basically multicultural now.)
Scones: Round biscuity things except taller and made of dough; can be made with pumpkin or dried fruit; sweet, typically eaten with jam (and cream, if you're feeling Pommy ;P).
Damper: (we did not discuss this one) Like a giant scone, except wrapped in alfoil and buried in coals to cook, instead of an oven.
Dumplings: These ones aren't sweet; we put them in stew and stuff. Sometimes.

(I'm still confused as to what your "biscuits" are. I thought they might have been our scones, or dumplings, but maybe not??)

........
Now we have all those excellent and dictionary-worthy definitions of the various doughy things out of the way, I'm going to go into detail about a few important biscuits.

Anzac biscuits. Made with syrup, coconut and rolled oats. Named after the Anzacs - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - in WWI and II. Very culturally significant. Turning down an Anzac biscuit is equivalent to refusing to have a barbecue and the locals will turn you over to the drop bears.

(That last sentence is also in spirit of the Australian Culture. We may pull your leg occasionally. When we do so, we will likely drop into the most stereotypical, overdone accent you've ever heard and call you mate at least once in every sentence. Unfortunately I can't give you the accent over the internet.)

TimTams. Ohhh, TimTams. Two rectangles of light biscuit with chocolate cream inside and the whole lot covered with soft chocolate. The outer chocolate layer inevitably melts onto your fingers, but that means you can enjoy it longer! The only problem with bringing these to a party is that they're always the first thing to disappear.

Hundreds and Thousands. I haven't had one of these for so long, wow. So it's a biscuit, like - do you have Arnott's biscuits?? - just a plain rectangle biscuit. But with sugar icing on the top and sprinkles (hundreds and thousands) on embedded in the hardened icing. My memory of them is of general childhood nostalgia. Now I'm afraid to eat one. What if it's just my memory and they're not good?? help I'm having a crisis
........
Next, I must talk about lamingtons. Whenever I mention lamingtons in the blogosphere, I get polite responses asking what they are. The answer is: squares of sponge cake, rolled in chocolate icing and then desiccated coconut. They are fluffy and delicious and if you have a party and there are no lamingtons, it is not a real party. (I'm barely exaggerating here.)

(Since seeing people's responses, I've tried to make a habit of mentioning lamingtons on alll the blogs. People need to know. They're missing out.)

http://www.tastespotting.com/tag/lamingtons

Some lamingtons even have jam in the middle.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/lamington-roll/2ac4aa39-0bf5-4fa6-ba7a-c5581f1c89ab

And sometimes they're in a roll, which is gorgeous. (Even though it theoretically should be exactly the same...)

........
Moving away from the sweet food, let's head to barbecues. Americans have barbecues, right? Well, they're a stereotypical part of the Aussie culture... for a good reason. Family gathering? Barbecue. Christmas party? Barbecue. End-of-year break-up? Barbecue. Birthday party? Barbecue.

I'd like to insert here that you will never find shrimp at an Aussie barbecue. They are prawns, mate. (And if you're silly, someone might call you a king prawn. Or maybe it's just my grandmother who call people silly prawns.)

And you'll never find me eating prawns at a barbecue. Ew no. Sausage on bread with tomato sauce for me, thanks. I'm still a kid. I'm not ready for adult food. Like... steak. Or vegetables with my sausage on bread. Why would you do that.


A group gathering - e.g. an end-of-year party for a community group - is 95.3% of the time going to be a barbecue. There's a couple of fold-up tables in a line, with the barbecue behind, tended by the blokes. On the tables, you'll have: Serviettes. White bread. Trays of sausages. Tray of barbecued onion. Plate of sliced tomato. Plate of shredded lettuce. Plate of grated cheese. Tinned beetroot. Pineapple (either tinned or fresh). Bottle of tomato sauce. Bottle of barbecue sauce. (The sauce is very important.) Together, these constitute a balanced meal.
 ........
And since we just did barbecues, I'd better cover chips.

US:            chips     fries
England:   crisps     chips
Australia:  chips     chips

Basically, here's something I stole off Pinterest:

Now I think about it, there's no reason for that to be hard?? We just call everything chips. (Except Cheezles, which I call Cheezles. They're food you can wear on your fingers. All kids' parties need Cheezles.)
 ........
And I'll just quickly go over some fruit and stuff so you know I don't just eat junk food [which I honestly don't eat very often].

Mangoes and pineapples - we grow them locally. (Actually, we're coming into mango season, just in time for Christmas, which is great! The smell of mangoes makes me think of the beach at Christmas. :) Do you have kiwi-fruit? And you eat bananas, right? (it's just that there aren't any books that mention bananas coming to mind.)

Pumpkins - as I said above, someone recently cast doubt into my mind as to whether everyone ate pumpkin. If you have any information, please confirm or deny. (Also some cows apparently eat pumpkin? our cows don't eat pumpkin. But maybe that was because we were trying to feed them the rotten ones.)

Macadamia nuts - I'm pretty sure these grow in Hawaii. And you might call them Hawaii nuts? But their original name is Queensland nuts. Because they're ours. There's your piece of trivia for today: Hawaii nuts came from Australia.
 ........


So. Lots of food in this post!

Dear Aussies: please jump into the comments and explain to our international friends what I was talking about this whole post?? because if I were American, I'm pretty sure I would be confused. And what iconic foods did I miss?

Dear Americans, potential British readers?, and every lovely person from every other part of the world (please tell me if you're non-American, I'd love to know): I hope you enjoyed! Do you have these foods? What do you call them? Are you now going to visit Australia so you can try TimTams and lamingtons? (I might even cook you a damper. And johnny-cakes, if you ask nicely. How can you say no to this deal.)

...And to pretend that this is a writing post, I'm going to suggest you use this as potential worldbuilding inspiration. It can be hard to write something different from what's normal for your life, because you just don't think of the possibility of it being different. So. Worldbuilding. xP

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Weak excuses + The Writer's Book Tag

Over the last week, I disappeared off the face of the earth blogosphere.

This was not, good idea though it would have been, so I could focus on NaNo. No. It was... so I could... that is, I've been... doing...

I don't know.

I don't know why for a whole week I didn't have any time to comment on blogs, since I did not write a. single. word. on my NaNo draft either??

Here's what I know I did do:
  • One morning: Spent an hour on remedial reading with a  at a local primary school
  • One evening: Submitted last TAFE assessment for this year. 
  • One morning: Swimming instructor for a bunch of homeschooling kids
  • One weekend: Read 5 books (and a frankly embarrassing amount of fanfiction throughout the week)
  • Over two days: Read a 300+ fancomic series. I have now caught up. I am displeased. 
  • One evening: Watched The Battle of the Five Armies with my brother (the one I'm slowly converting to the fandom. Only he has an actual job and studies full-time, so he doesn't usually have time. He makes me feel so lazy :P)
  • This morning: Got on the tractor and buried a feral pig Dad shot. 

And it doesn't feel like that's enough serious things happening to justify a word count that's gone up by zero??

...

I always knew I was a Master Procrastinator. 


Anyway, here's a book tag! Because I've been reading far more this month than anyone doing NaNo has a right to do. The Temperamental Writer (well, her ghost, at least ;) at All Things Trivial and Insignificant tagged me for the Writer's Book Tag, and I love the way it uses various elements of a writer's life as book categories. (Kudos to Katie at The Act Diary for creating the tag!)



First Draft: A book or series you’ve never read before


There are... a lot.

Which I suppose is to be expected.

(This question would be much easier to answer if it wasn't so open??)

I'm just going to go with a few books that bloggers talk about, but I haven't read:

Allegiant (Veronica Roth) || Percy Jackson [#4-#?] (Rick Riordan) || Caraval (Stephanie Garber)
Tales of Goldstone Wood (Anne Elisabeth Stengl) || The Wingfeather Saga (Andrew Peterson)


Second Draft: A book or series you didn’t like as much the second time you read it


Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz. I read the original series, which was all very exciting and explosion-y, then a few years later read the newest book, Never Say Die. (Because surprise! The big finale wasn't the end after all!!)

Now, one of my pet peeves is when a author/publisher drags something on for too long. I believe The 39 Clues suffered TERRIBLY from this. So discovering that there would be a new series about Alex didn't enthuse me as much as it could have.