ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
So [personal profile] rix_scaedu gave me this prompt about the Spectrum:

After Spectrum move to Australia to try and distance themselves from their PR issues they find that the seasons, weather, language, food, gun laws, etc aren't what they're used to nor what they were expecting. :)

For anyone new, those self-proclaimed 'superheroes' cracked open a lab and released venomous gengineered insects to terrorize New Orleans.

Okay, folks, I could use some help from my friends Down Under.   What things do Americans or other foreigners most often have trouble with when visiting Australia?  No, they don't have permission to be there, but they're good at hiding.  Good at practical matters?  Not so much.  Safety?  A great big fuck no to that.

Here are the squeaky toys.  Stomp away.


EDIT 12-2-15: I have written the poem, but may keep coming back here to mine more ideas for future reference.

Thanks to some very enthusiastic input about the challenges of Australia, I present the free-verse poem "Like a Shag on a Rock." Tanger, Blastwave, and Levinbolt have found an overseas assignment but are having trouble getting supplies. Or anything else. Won't this be fun?
220 lines, Buy It Now = $110

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-02 07:16 am (UTC)
moonvoice: (Default)
From: [personal profile] moonvoice
Actually I've just had my sister's boyfriend visit from the US, so I can actually...comment on this. Lol. (Also been talking to USians for a long time).

There's a lot of basic things like - the language differences. We swear a lot more, and we swear creatively a lot more (think the Irish). Cunt can be an affectionate term in some circles. 'Take the piss' is a regular part of life and wouldn't be considered swearing to many. Pisstake/fuckwit/fuckhead and more are all part of the daily vernacular - not for all, but for anyone who would swear casually in many other parts of the world.

Another thing is being used to inspecting things for spiders and such. This depends on the region in the world. But most people here leave their shoes inside, or if not, hit their shoes really hard against something to startle out venomous spiders. You're a lot more vigilant about biting things, sunscreen, venomous creatures in general. A lot of us are raised with this from birth, so we know instinctively not to walk in places with tall grass, or go off the track while bushwalking (snakes, other things).

I *really* depends on where they're going through. Melbourne weather is a bit more like Europe and has a more distinctive four seasons. Broome only has 'the dry' and 'the wet' and the the wet is hotter than the dry. Tasmania can be cold and has snow. Sydney has tropical cyclones and storms and warm weather but perfect days on occasion and is very metropolitan/cosmopolitan. There's nothing that can apply across the board, really, aside from language - and even that changes (a deli here is a milkbar in some parts of Melbourne - having recently done an Aussie dialect study, I can quite happily say that there are different Aussie dialects and things I understand as being one thing here won't be something else, elsewhere - like hook turns in Melbourne!)

They will find it very fucking hard to get a gun legally, lol. Especially if they can't prove citizenship or a legal visa. Even if they can, it's still hard here. (Thank god). A lot of people from the US struggle with ordering coffees here, of all things (and Starbucks is risibly unpopular, and doesn't exist in most states). Here you order things like a 'long black' or a 'short white' or a 'flat white' and so on, or we use Italian terms like espresso, affogato, etc. Perth and Sydney are two of the most expensive places in the world - and are more expensive than New York or London, so people might not be expecting that. A general cup of black coffee in Perth now costs around $5-6.

But things like seasons/weather I can't answer. Honestly, it varies so hugely. Think about it like someone saying in Australia 'what's the weather like in the entirety of the US?' - it's really not a question you can answer, because there's so many different biomes and climatic regions. You'd really need an idea of where you want them to go, in that sense. And then the answers can get a lot more specific. I can drive four hours south and get a completely different climate. And I can drive four hours east and ditto - and four hours north and the same. And I'm still in the same state.

(Oh, I will say, our money is plastic and super colourful and different sizes, and that seems to shock some people who've never seen it before).

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-02 07:22 am (UTC)
moonvoice: (Default)
From: [personal profile] moonvoice
He was generally surprised by how much we (in Perth) swear (and he's not...a precious sort known for not swearing, lol). Also some of the sayings we have: 'chuck a u-ey, chuck a left, chuck me that, chuck a sickey' - he didn't know what those things were. (Do a u-turn, turn left, give me that, call sick to work respectively).

He also found some things bemusing. Because of where he comes from, he can't watch the sun set over the ocean - we can. But then if you go to the eastern states of Australia, you can't. So that's not a US vs. Australia thing.

Our love of sports tends to shock some visitors. Also how many joggers / dog-walkers / runners you will pretty much *always* see, all the time, in rain, shine or...very rarely, snow. But again, that will depend on where they're coming from in the first place. England had way more dogs *in cafes* than we have here.

Driving on the left stumps some people, lol.

Then there's the 'obvious' things - the power sockets will be different, they'll need adaptors. Getting medical attention without a Medicare card is really hard, and some places will refuse you. That being said, all healthcare will be cheaper than the US, even if you're not on insurance or can't go through the public system because you're not an Australian citizen. It's actually really hard to get LSD here, compared to other drugs (I know weird things about this country, lol). People don't do Thanksgiving and they don't really do Halloween, but they DO often do a Eurovision Party. A lot of people love Triple J (a radio station) even if they don't listen to it anymore.

Also kangaroos. I have never seen a USian visiting who doesn't find it amazing that we actually have kangaroos grazing out in cow fields, or on golf courses, etc. Even when they know it's coming, that moment they see kangaroos just hanging out it's like 'KANGAROOS.' And then you get quickly used to it. Lol.

Oh and our magpies sound completely different and most people freak out the first time they hear a kookaburra in person. Also the parrots. People seem to like all the parrots. And fruit bats (that's only in some places).

Edited Date: 2015-12-02 07:23 am (UTC)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-12-02 12:50 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lone_cat
>>Then there's the 'obvious' things - the power sockets will be different, they'll need adaptors.<<

No way are these chumps smart enough to think of that. :D


Also, according to Wikipedia and http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plug-voltage-by-country/ , Australia uses 230 V/50 Hz AC instead of the North American 120 V/60 Hz.

Also, according to Wikipedia on voltage converters voltage converters don't change the frequency, and "Equipment with high-powered motors or internal transformers designed to operate at 60 Hz may overheat at 50 Hz even if the voltage supplied is correct."
Edited Date: 2015-12-02 01:20 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-12-03 02:05 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Kangaroos also have wicked senses of humor.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-12-02 09:02 am (UTC)
moonvoice: (wczuciki - wolverine snow)
From: [personal profile] moonvoice
Melbourne is the organised crime capital in Australia, with both a high profile gang underbelly (that regularly features the news), as well as low profile gang activity as well. Shows about Melbourne's seamy organised crime organisations have made it out into shows like Underbelly where the characters have been based on real people (focused on the Melbourne gangland killings between 1995 and 2004).

You can read a great deal more about organised crime in Australia here - it's a pretty huge subject.

If you were to aim for somewhere like Melbourne, you're looking at a more typical 'four seasons' kind of climate, though very low possibility of snow in winter. Melbourne has extremely changeable weather, and a song was written about it: 'Four seasons in one day.' You can leave the house and it be hot enough to need a singlet/shorts, and end up in the pouring rain two hours later. It's not tropical, in Melbourne, and Melbourne city itself is pretty famous for its rejuvenated alleyways, street art, arts culture in general, and fairly famous Australia wide for its coffee.

But Melbourne isn't highly aggravating. It's actually pretty comfortable as a place to live, lol.

For aggravating places in terms of weather, I'd suggest the Northern Territory, which has the highest crime rate of any major city in Australia and is also fairly easy to access as it's the northern part of Australia. Motorcycle gangs, particularly the Hell's Angels, are the biggest organised crime presence there.

Weather in somewhere like Darwin - the weather rarely dips below the 90s during the day, all year around, and it has huge monsoonal seasons (so it's another state that gets 'the wet' and 'the dry'). It's one of the most lightning prone areas in the country. They once had 5000 recorded strokes of lightning in a 60km radius in one day, which is three times more than what Perth, Western Australia experiences in a year.

Extremely high humidity, and going consecutive months with zero rainfall (sometimes around 4-5 months) happens. Its classification is a 'tropical savanna climate.' Also, crocodiles. Or 'salties.'

Alice Springs, in the south of the NT, can be considered. That has a desert climate, so it's much drier than Darwin. I don't know much about the Alice Springs, mostly because a lot of coastal folks don't go there unless they're going to see Uluru specifically (which is a 4 hour drive out of Alice). It's not uncommon for most Australians to never visit the Northern Territory, even as tourists.

All I can think of for now, but hopefully it gives you some good starting points!

singlet

Date: 2015-12-02 08:01 pm (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
For other possibly confused USAians, what they call a "singlet" (in this context) is what we call a "tank top":

a piece of clothing that covers the upper part of the body but not the arms, and usually has a U-shaped opening at the neck

Respectfully submitted,
Dr. Whom: Consulting Linguist, Grammarian, Orthoëpist, and Philological Busybody

Re: singlet

Date: 2015-12-03 06:59 am (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
Quibbling Australian - it is a singlet if worn underneath something else, unless you are blue collar male. Tank tops are things girls wear. And a singlet is almost always made by Bonds.

Re: singlet

Date: 2015-12-03 03:52 pm (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Fred, how does that fit with what I was responding to?:
You can leave the house and it be hot enough to need a singlet/shorts, and end up in the pouring rain two hours later.
That doesn't sound as if it's being worn under anything. [personal profile] moonvoice's self-description doesn't sound at all like a blue-collar male. And I said that "tank top" is one of our (USA) names for it, not Aussie; I don't like the term "wife-beater" that is also fairly common here.
Edited Date: 2015-12-03 07:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-12-02 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Reading with fascination! My friends in Melbourne would probably be giggling at me now, for that.

Just out of curiosity... three so-called superheroes? If it's not spoilerific to ask, did Limestrike get himself half a clue and turn himself in? *hopeful*

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-12-02 12:29 pm (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a cream-colored yellow Labrador lying at the top of a staircase, one paw draped over the top step (mellow yellow)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
:) He may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but Limestrike reads as an okay guy, to borrow a phrase from Love Is For Children. Very much the same kind of situation/personality as that defecting toy soldier... or at least, that's how he pings from over here.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-12-02 03:06 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
I could see Ashley smacking him [lightly] upside the back of the head and asking him what he was doing hanging around with those no-good losers.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-12-03 12:30 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Re: good guy unintentionally taking a turn at bad guy: It's fixable, thankfully, and at least he had sense and courage enough to bail out when his conscience got too loud to ignore. That speaks to the possibility of his sliding brightwards if given opportunity, means and possibly some careful mentoring from people who won't condemn the heck out of him... hm? Darnit, the guy's already growing on me.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-02 03:07 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
You know you're going to have to have them encounter some example of nasty wildlife, right?

Oh gods, please let someone convince them to watch out for drop-bears!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-02 05:49 pm (UTC)
librarygeek: cute cartoon fox with nose in book (Default)
From: [personal profile] librarygeek
OMG, my friend who moved to Australia from NJ regularly sends articles about beautiful spiders, you know, ones that can EAT snakes. I'm arachnophobic, and he knows it. :-)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-12-03 12:24 am (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
I quibble - huntsmen are only the size of little crabs.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-12-03 12:40 am (UTC)
librarygeek: cute cartoon fox with nose in book (Default)
From: [personal profile] librarygeek
Here's the link my now Aussie friend likes to send me. http://geekologie.com/2012/04/oh-you-know-just-a-giant-spider-eating-a.php

NOT looking, not reading, but that should be good for tying someone up, at least their guts into knots!

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-12-03 07:02 am (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
Different sizes - maaaybe? Again, it's a 'where on the continent are you? Huntsmen are pretty much it where I come from.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-12-03 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Eep, Ysabet! You just gave me an idea with that spider size description. One or more of the Spectrum have a run-in with Nerissa, and Nerissa comes off better!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-03 12:23 am (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
I haven't read through the other comments, so some of this might be repeating, but the stuff off the top of my head
- being told to 'bring a plate' to a party means you are being asked to bring food, BYOG means being your own grog (as in, yes, you can drink, but I'm too tight (which means both too broke *or* too stingy, depending on context) to supply it).
- depending on location, the fierceness of the sun. We once went bushwalking with a couple of English women who had been here long enough to understand that the sun was hot. They turned up in shorts and sleeveless shirts. The locals turned up in jeans, closed in shoes (or bare feet, it was that kind of group), big hats and long sleeved shirts. Loose clothing that isn't that much warmer, but does prevent sunburn.
- 'Slip, slop, slap' is a phrase people just use - comes from an ad campaign to slip on a t-shirt, slap on some sunscreen and slap on a hat. More sunburn prevention.
- partner jokes that Australian's are the one people in the world who know they have an accent. Which is not strictly true, as there are many. One friend talks about hitchhiking with a country guy who spoke as if he didn't know what a vowel is.
- distances/lack of things to see (not specific to Aust, depends on where you are). For example, I drove back from Broome with a friend who hadn't done much distance driving. She complained about the fact that there was 'nothing to see'. I was bemused - it was quite a pretty bit of road, there were hills, and the odd building, and so on.
- weather. It has been joked that Australian's have a contractual obligation to mention the weather at least once in every conversation, although there are a number of circumlocutions that are allowed, such as "Nice day for it", which is known to prompt the query 'for what?'
- heat. Depends in where you are, but the heat can be quite debilitating for some. And if you are talking Queensland, the humidity is horrid.
- thongs - they go on your feet.
- 'next Friday' means different things to different people - could be the one less than a week hence, or the one a week after
- again a regional thing - frogs. I stayed in a camping park in Ballina where there were tree frogs on all the walls of he ablutions block. And friends out at Cue have (had?) frogs in the toilet (including the cistern), so they would get flushed.
- Australians are *very* suburban. Most of the population lives in the big cities, and we haven't got much past the post-War obsession with owning a bit of land, which usually translates into a quarter acre block. But many know (of) someone who farms, so watches the weather, and who gets rain.
- white ants = termites. Destructive little buggers (note on the word 'bugger' - if you have seen one of those lists on 25 ways to use the work 'fuck' - bugger does the same thing. Except that it is polite enough that it can be used in an advert during general viewing times)
- 'pick me Fat Cat' and going to bed with .fat .cat - refers to a specific character, who used to wave goodnight to the children at 7:30, on ? Channel 7



Will query co-workers about what they find.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-03 02:15 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Thongs went on your feet in the US when I was growing up in the 60s. I'm not sure when the shift to "thong = butt-floss underwear" came in and the shoe variety began to be called "flip-flops" instead. These days it's difficult to find pretty shoes that aren't made thong-style!

Re: Well...

Date: 2015-12-03 03:01 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Disagree somewhat. Shoes with no back anchoring that don't have the thong construction are mules. (I hate mules -- can't keep the damn things on my feet.) I'm not sure if there's a specific term for a thong-style shoe with a securing strap, although I'll agree that they aren't flip-flops.

The other issue I have with the term is that so many of the things it's used to describe are cheap-ass rubber or vinyl that won't last 6 months. I wear the kind that have rubber soles but fabric straps, which I call "surfer flops" because most people seem to get what I mean by that. And I get good-quality ones that I can wear for years, about 9 months out of the year.

Re: Well...

Date: 2015-12-03 07:05 am (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
When I was a kid, thongs were cheap, rubber, and expected to last you the summer. They rubbed your feet raw for the first week, and were fine after that. The tops of the soles were white, shading to grey, and the thong section and the bottom of the sole were some brightly coloured solid.

These days, they come in all sorts of materials, but they need the strap between your toes to be the only attachment to the feet to qualify.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-04 12:52 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
"Nice day for it."
"There'll be more tomorrow."

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-03 07:19 am (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
Having now read through the comments, what I'm not seeing mention of is the large wildlife, which are problematic when driving, particularly at dusk. While more of a problem on country roads, there are certainly 'city' (by which the typical Australian probably means 'greater metropolitan area') accidents. Note - everything here is about South West Western Australia, unless otherwise noted.

Horses - hitting one almost guaranteed to total your car. I know of three serious hitting a horse accidents amongst my friends, two of which were heading 'up the hill' - ie, driving up on to the Darling Scarp, well within the Perth metro area (although somewhat sparsely settled).

'Roos - dusk. Dawn. Buggers move fast. If you are lucky, they are travelling parallel when you spot them, and you can slow down enough that when they go across the road in front of you, you aren't moving fast. I hit one with a '73 honda civic at 2am, and did almost no damage to either car or roo, because I was down to <20km/h by the time I hit it. Worst time for roos is after rain - water pools on the road, so they will cluster, particularly at low points in the road. Travelling the Nullabor (which roughly means Norseman to Ceduna, even though only a bit of that is actually Nullabor Plain) after rain, we estimated a dead roo on the road every km, hit by road trains*. Hitting a roo can flip it on to the bonnet, and straight through the windscreen. At which point, you hope it is dead/stunned, and not kicking. i once got a terrifying lift to a tiny country town from someone who believed it was safer to drive at dusk with the ligts off, because you would see the lights of other cars coming towards you, but you are less likely to spook roos on to the road.

Camels - I've only seen these crossing the Nullabor, but I'm betting that has to do with where I've travelled. Bloody big animals, travel at dusk/dawn, completely unpredicatble a to which way they are going to move. Pretty to watch though.

Emus - relatively fragile stick legs, great heavy body that is usually at the right height to go straight in the front window. And they kick.

Crocodiles - can't add to what has been said, as I've never lived in a croc area. No idea whether you get them on roads.

* road trains are only legal out of cities. Prime mover plus three trailers. Big, terrifying to have one up your butt when you aren't travelling as fast as they want to be.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-05 07:25 pm (UTC)
apatheia_jane: (Default)
From: [personal profile] apatheia_jane
Crossing the nullabor, especially at dawn, also involves wedgies* sitting on every carcass. And they're big enough they can only take off into the wind, which often means they will wait til you approach and then launch into your windscreen.

Wombats are amazingly dense, they can rip out your undercarriage if you go over them.

wedge tail eagles. only eagle in the world that will attack paragliders, apparently. Can also herd goats off cliffs and take out emus, but is just as happy eating roadkill.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-02 11:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rix-scaedu.livejournal.com
Unless they are good with accents, they will sound like North Americans - although the Australians may not be able to pick which region of North America they come from. (My humble apologies to all Canadians.)

We drive (and ideally walk)on the left.

We don't tip nearly as much (because we assume what we are charged to include the associated labour costs.)

American visitors can appear amazed by our birds. I don't see sulphur crested cockatoos, galahs, lorikeets as exotic...


(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-03 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lunar-scythe.livejournal.com
Unfortunately, I am not Australian, but I do have a few small things that might help you?
The food will probably be quite different as far as spices used and so on, here in the US we tend to add spices from different regions into a dish from another one, like adding chili pepper to Chinese Peanut Sauces.

I learned from a bus full of tourists from Australia that sprite(or whatever fizzy lemon lime soft drink of your choice) is considered lemonade, and what we in the US call lemonade is *old fashioned lemonade*, not a major thing but the little things are what throw beings off the most.

Fairy bread is another minor thing that no one else seems to do; it's basically buttered white bread with candy sprinkles on it?

I've also been lead to believe that most Australian birds have no real fear of humans, and will fly into rooms to investigate things, I've seen pictures of wild birds taking the keys off of keyboards, but that's just second(or would it be third?) hand.

I'm sure there are lots of other things someone from Australia will chime in with. :)
Edited Date: 2015-12-03 12:31 am (UTC)

Oooo! Ooo! Oooooh!

Date: 2015-12-03 10:12 am (UTC)
ng_moonmoth: The Moon-Moth (Default)
From: [personal profile] ng_moonmoth
I've been following the comments on the DW post. That, and your mentioning you'd written the poem, got me thinking...

A DW commenter mentioned that Melbourne has a significant concentration of Australian organized crime. Melbourne also just happens (literally -- I picked an Australian city at random for it) to be the headquarters of ZMT. This actually works well, because it will be a likely spot for clandestine labs, and also a friendly place for Kraken to operate.

Now, tell me -- and make me believe it. Did Kraken just snooker the Spectrum into coming to Australia to bust open a lab stuffed full of ZMT safeguards specifically targeted to take them out of circulation in a very embarrassing public manner?

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-04 06:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rix-scaedu.livejournal.com
I remembered something that no-one else seems to have mentioned - police. We have State-based police forces, one for each state, and the Australian Federal Police (sort of like the FBI), and that's it. The State-based forces are local law enforcement, and highway patrol, and state-level task forces. There are police stations covering the state, but in isolated areas there can be big distances between them and small places might have one officer. (Isolated postings like that can come with supplied housing for the officer and his/her family.)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-12-04 05:46 pm (UTC)

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