Monday, October 24, 2011

Dear Gangstas

To the so-called 'gangstas', hoodlums and hoons of Melbourne,

1. You live in Australia; a country in which it is illegal to peel out ANYWHERE and it's easier to get a date with the Queen than it is to get a gun - you are not a gangsta.
2. That shaved head and rat-tail of which you're so blatantly proud? Australia is the only country in the world where people think that's even remotely cool. The rest of the world thinks you look like an idiot, including me.

3. Skinny jeans that only come to the bottom of your buttcheeks are even more stupid-looking than baggy jeans that rest at a similar level.
4. I shouldn't even have to tell you this but gangstas don't wear skinny jeans.
5. You cannot be a gangsta on a skateboard - have you never heard of the Crips and Bloods?
6. I am NOT your baby - stay the eff away from me before I judo chop your ass.

Brandi L. Buzzard

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's Bloody Hot

That's my way of saying it's hot as hell here - it was 90 degrees (F) on Wednesday and guess what - the ole flat doesn't have A/C. It does have windows that open about 3 inches but no wind = no air movement.

My darling husband knows how much I LOATHE being hot (seriously, the thermostat in our house is never above 60 in the winter) so he surprised me yesterday with a new friend:

Meet Phan. She's neato - not only does she keep me cool at night but when she is whirring away on "High", she drowns out the sound of the extremely near-by four lane road that connects two highways.

For privacy purposes, I cannot reveal her origin but she too will be leaving the flat in approximately seven weeks.

I foresee a beautiful, short-lived friendship in the making.

Peace out!
~ Buzzard ~

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Caviar and Tentacles

We had an amazing night out last Saturday. We didn’t stay out very late,
because we’re lame-o, but we did have a great time.

We had dinner at Little Creatures (sound familiar? There was one in Perth, too) where I tried caviar, WHICH IS DISGUSTING, but even more unusual was that my pan fried calamari was not breaded and therefore looked like this at dinner:

If you can’t see very clearly, that is a ball of tentacles and the SUCKERS WERE STILL ON THEM! I tried a bite of it but the texture was too much for me. So I threw it in the traveling garbage disposal, aka Hyatt. Also, if you look closely you can still see the scar on my chin from the stupid boar attack during Hyatt’s trial.
As the evening progressed, so did the weird-ity.
We found Waldo, in case you had lost him.

And Vickey made friends with a pseudo pregnant guy…

And finally, I know I’ve been telling you how expensive Australia is for
quite some time but I thought you needed a visual aid:
Yes, one shot of Jagermeister is ten freakin’ bucks. Also, one bottle of cider is $7.50 (not a big bottle, but a normal sized drink bottle). That is ridiculousness in its finest form, folks (try saying that five times fast). 

And last but not least, the ying to my yang, Vickey.
She’s lovely and I love her.

Until next tiiiiiiiime,
~ Buzzard ~

p.s. YKWRGMG update: I am so ticked off at Blogger right now for not allowing me to cut and paste in the funny pictures I had edited directly from Word. I'm never doing that again. I might stop blogging for awhile, I'm that mad.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hyatt and NHS

Hyatt sometimes gets what I lovingly refer to as NHS (Nappy Hair Syndrome) and therefore, to save $$$$, I have to practice my expert hair shaping skills. It’s gonna get real, folks. Here’s happy Hyatt prior to the hair cutting extravaganza
Check out my tools – clippers, backcomb (mine and lives in my purse) and utility scissors.
To begin with, you wet the hair. Try not to get water in his eyes or he whines and it’s annoying – then make a Mohawk because seriously, what other chance do I have while he’s sitting still and not squirming around. Bam!
Isn’t he dashing?

OK – next step, attempt layering. He likes it a little longer on top and short on the sides so I clip the sides with the comb and clippers and then I pull the middle together and trim and trim and trim and trim.

I come it to the front to see if I’m doing well and realize that maybe I shouldn’t be cutting hair.
Me thinks it looks a little uneven. Or it’s his weird hairline and misshapen head. I think the latter.

He cut me off from taking pictures after this but I should let you know that I totally evened it up and he looks fantastic. I took this picture the next day when he was in a better mood. See???
Well, his hair looks fantastic. His face looks grouchy.

And that’s how you cut your hubsy’s hair, friends.
 Please, soak up the knowledge that is emanating from this blog.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Friday, October 14, 2011

Side Kiss Greeting Thing...Awkward

Today marks the completion of this goal "98. Post every day for 1 month on From Oz to Aus" from this list. So yay me (and Hyatt helped too)!

But I feel like posting that above paragraph doesn't really count as a post so I better come up with something real, right?

Ok - random thoughts and events for the week.

1 - Australians greet people with the side cheek kiss thing. I think it comes from the British influence. Regardless, it makes me feel super awkward. If you still don't know what I'm talking about, here's a visual:
This lady looks much happier than I am when she's being greeted.

I feel like this is a semi invasion of my personal space but I go along with it because it's hard to avoid an incoming kiss-greeting and it's also a little bit rude to turn it down, I think. But it still makes me feel weird and I never kiss back. Next time you meet someone new, speak with an Australian accent and do the side kiss greeting - you'll freak people out. I think I'm going to do it when I return to stateside.

2 -  Tonight while on our way to dinner at our friend's house, I started walking a pipe fence. I made it 16 steps without falling off - woo. Big life accomplishment. So on the way home, Hyatt decided to try his hand. **Sidenote**: Hyatt is NOT coordinated. Although he tries very hard. Anyway, for 20 flippin minutes he tried walking the fence to beat me. Unsuccessful - personal best 11 steps. I wish I had a video of it, because you would have peed your pants from laughter. I love him but wow.

3 - Tomorrow (Saturday) marks the first weekend that I haven't had to get up early for a conference, meeting, work or to catch a flight. Amen to that.

4 - Two months from today (Friday) we will be doing some major life changes..... drumroll............................................. We will be returing to the states that day. Only two short months left and we've got them jam packed - trip to Tasmania, trip to Alice Springs/Uluru/Coober Pedy, two research projects (not Hyatt's) and a conference in Adelaide where Hyatt and I will both be presenting. Time will fly by and we're going to try to fit as much time in with our friends here in Melbourne before we leave. :(

Ok- that's about all for today. Thanks for reading and commenting. I noticed that commenting has started to drop off towards the end of the 30 day goal so I/we must have been annoying you. No worries, you can expect to only have 2-3 posts/week from here on out. Much more manageable I hope.

Lastly, at the conclusion of this little adventure, what would you like to see done with this blog? Should I add the phrase 'and back again' to the original title? Continue with our random life happenings? Cease the blog? Looking for some comment love here, folks

~ Brandi ~

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Top Pics from Perth

We got back to Melbourne late this afternoon (Thursday). I didn't really want to return to Melbourne but all good things must come to an end (that's a stupid saying, I think).

Anywho, I'd like to share my favorite pictures from our lovely week spent in Perth. Enjoy!

View from our hotel room - stunning
Whale tail!
I love boats.

She is so precious!

Cottesloe Beach - a man was attacked by a shark the day after we were there. Sad and scary :(

A lizard of some sort - can't remember what kind but cool picture!

Gemma and Zoe - double preciousness

I love ships....and the water in general.
Cows - well marbled ones, actually. Wagyu-Angus cross
Standing in the Indian Ocean - p.s. by the time I leave Australia, I will have stood in 4/5 oceans. Booyah :)

Hope you got a little bit of enjoyment out of our Perth exploits!

Until tomorrow,
~ Buzzard ~

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beef Cattle for a Change!

Hello readers,

   Hyatt here again, for better or worse. I wanted to briefly share with you our experience at Joanna Plains, a division of Carpenter Beef in Cataby, Western Australia.

  For our last day of agricultural 'touring', we got to meet up with a good friend of mine, Hayley Robinson. First thing in the morning, she drove us out to the largest pig abattoir in WA, Linley Valley Pork, where we toured the facility and met with Dr. Megan Trezona and other employees at the facility.

 However, I wanted to focus on the afternoon trip to the feedlot. Joanna Plains is a cattle operation specializing in producing high marbling cattle for export to Japan. Their cow base is made up primarily of Angus x Wagyu females, who are usually crossed with purebred Wagyu bulls to produce long-fed feedlot cattle. The offspring are grass-fed for approximately 12 to 18 months before entering the feedlot for a slow, but steady grain finishing period of approximately 300 days. Wagyu cattle grow much more slowly than most beef breeds, but because of hundreds of years of genetic selection, have the unique capability of producing extremely high quality beef without excessive external fat.

The feedlot's main feed sources are locally-produced oat hay, barley and lupins. Lupins are a legume that are primarily raised in WA and serve as a drought-tolerant crop that is similar in composition to soybeans and serves as a protein source for livestock.

Our friend Hayley, and her husband Brad, who is the feedlot manager at Joanna Plains, were both great hosts and also took us to see the plans for the new feedlot, set to hold an additional 6,000 head as well as the state-of-the-art abattoir that they have invested in and is close to being complete. The owners of the operation have decided to build their own abattoir in order to improve their marketability to Japan and improve their ability to capitalize on the superior quality of their beef.

All in all, it was a great visit and we really enjoyed catching up with Hayley and Brad, who will be coming out to the US in January with the Australian Meats Judging Team to compete at the Denver Stock Show and Southwestern Livestock Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas.

Finally, for those of you who like my nature pics, we also stopped to see a shingleback lizard who was sunning himself in the road. It was our first time seeing one in the wild, which was pretty cool.

As you can see, Brandi was pretty excited about it!

Thats all for now, enjoy!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Piggery: Western Australia Style

Loyal Aus to Oz readers,

First of all, this is Hyatt. Brandi decided that you all needed a break from her discussion so I'm back to change things up a bit. Also, she didn't come with me today so her blog would mostly be about looking at the computer in the hotel room and having a caramel cookie McFlurry at McDonald's (excellent by the way but not worth $4.00).

Two quick remarks before I get to the 'meat' of the story. Referring to Brandi's last blog, I agree that she must be the only person who appreciates the American airline security system. It is retarded, takes too long, and flying in Australia is much quicker, easier and less annoying.
Second, I don't know if she told you all that we went to a famous beach outside of Perth on Saturday, Cottesloe Beach, but we just heard on the radio tonight that a 65-year old man is believed to have been eaten by a shark at the same spot today!

Moving on. This morning I went with Dr. Bruce Mullan to visit the biggest piggery in Western Australia, known as Westpork. After about a 90 minute drive into BFE, we arrived at a very modern grower-finisher site with a weekly production of about 3,000 market hogs. We visited with one of the managers, a Zimbabwean fellow named Paul Rigeul. The facilities were in the process of switching over from hoop-barn eco-shelters with straw bedding to brand-new tunnel ventilated systems with pen sorting systems.

I was intrigued to find out that when the new barns had been built, they had concrete floor slats custom-made by an Australian company, rather than pay to import slats from another country. This seemed sensible, but the Aussie company failed to produce them to specifications, and they ended up with wider gaps and rougher surfaces, which caused alot of lameness issues. As such, they've had to rip out the old slats and import new, high-quality slats from Germany to replace them.

After finishing the tour of the new facilities, we also went up to see the newly-weaned pigs which were still housed in the hoop-barns with straw bedding. The pig operation was shifting away from these production systems because of the cost of providing such large quantities of straw and the lack of environmental control which can cause problems during stretches of cold, wet or extremely hot weather. The pigs came up to me right away, certainly because they were used to being fed a milk-slurry by the workers.

All in all, it was a great day trip to a really well-run piggery in Australia, and the weather was awesome. We even got to see a wild emu and her young in the paddock on the way out!



Monday, October 10, 2011

Sketchy Security

I think I'm one of the rare Americans that actually appreciates the extensive TSA airline security checks. I know that TSA has a bad rep for embarrassing people and I'd be ticked if such an event ever happened to me or a family member or friend but for the time being, I"m all for the hassle. By no means do I enjoy the waiting in line to sort all my personal belongings into plastic tubs but I get the point and I appreciate it.

That being said, I do NOT appreciate the fact that, despite posted signs in Austrailan airports about no open drinks going through security and having liquids be 300 ml or less, I was able to get this through the security checkpoint. It was an experiment of sorts.

That is a regular sized bottle of water that is half full (or half empty, depending on how you view life).

Not only did it go through the scanner but I was randomly selected to have my bag checked and the intimidating 'bag checker' also let it through. Cripes.

Until tomorrow,
~ Buzzard ~

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Exploring Perth

Well today was another day in Perth full of sight-seeing and adventures. First the day started with a little walk by the Swan River which kind of runs through the middle of Perth, it was a really pretty park that had a really great view of the CBD.

We were pretty hungry after walking around for what seemed like ages, so we stopped at a little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant called 'China Court' - prior to entering Hyatt and I had mixed opinions. This was mine...
'eh, seems sketch'

Buy Hyatt seemed pretty excited for some good food.

So we went in and sat down and had a fairly unique experience.
Sweet ceiling...

my sweet n' sour pork was delish - check out the tablecloth btw, doesn't exactly match the rest of the decor.

Hyatt was less than pleased about his seafood something or other.

On a sidenote - we ordered a 'jug' of Coke Zero. It came with a welcomed surprise...

Nothing like drinking Coke out of a wine glass to make you feel ultra classy.

At the end of this escapade, our final thoughts were as follows:
Hyatt was less than happy with the turnout but..

I thought it was great!

With full stomachs and new-found energy, we set out for King's Park which is near the CBD (a long ways away if you take a look at how far we were in the first picture) so we had a lot of walking. To get up to the top of King's Park, which has several war memorials and a quite gorgeous botanical garden, you have to climb Jacob's Ladder. This is Jacob's Ladder...
Holy cripes - I can't describe how tired I was. blah

One of the look out points in King's Park.

A memorial for the soldiers of WA who lost their lives in the Great War, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Another view of the war memorial. Gorgeous.

We also went to the shipwreck museum (pics on Facebook soon) and finally had dinner with Duncan and Marina and their two girls, Gemma and Zoe. Hyatt and I had a blast playing with Gemma who is two and is uber smart and energetic. Zoe is only about 5 weeks old and spent most of the night sleeping so I don't have any pics of Hyatt or I playing with her.

Hyatt and Gemma playing 'jumpy jumpy' - it was entertaining.

 I enthralled her with my book reading skills - I read no less than eight books!

More to come this week - our time at Cottesloe Beach, a hog farm, feedlot and 'best of' pics from the trip. Be sure to check out my FB albums for extensive collections of A+ quality photos (sarcasm).

Until tomorrow,
~ Brandi ~