Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween in Oz Part 2

I had my Australian Halloween party this weekend.  Apparently, the folks putting on the party were a bit concerned that they had an American coming to the party so they really wanted to do everything up.  And they did a great job.  They had all kind of decorations and they even rented a bunch of B-Horror movies to show on the TV.  At one point they had "Nightmare on My Street" by Fresh Prince playing (though I'm not sure if that was on purpose or not).  They also carved their first pumpkin for the event.  So there was a bit of a competition between my pumpkin and theirs throughout the evening.  It was interesting overhearing the commentary.  I didn't get a picture of their pumpkin for comparison but I was very impressed with Cai's very sharp and clean edge cuts.

I was very impressed b/c Australian pumpkins are very thick.  I'd say the shell was probably around two inches thick.  That made it very had to do any circular cuts.  There were also a ton of seeds but the inside wasn't too terribly messy.  Here's a picture of my pumpkin.  What do you think?

Our costumes for the party didn't turn out as well as I would have liked.  The costume I ordered was a bit short (you could see my bum) and a bit tight.  Had I been going to a party where I knew everyone, I probably would have worn the outfit and just taking the crap I would have been given.  But since this was a party where I knew about 4 people, I decided it was inappropriate and had to quickly throw something else together.  We're having a 1920's themed Christmas party for work this year and when I was in the states in October, I bought a few props to go with my outfit.  I used those with a dress I already had and did a very lame version of a flapper.

We took along our friend MayDay who also had to throw together a last minute costume.  We went to the one costume shop in the city to try and find something but when we saw that the costumes averaged about $150, we quickly decided to come up with something else.  MayDay, in his cleverness, decided he'd go as a cricketer.  He was planning on buying the Aussie jersey for the Ashes anyway, so we did that and bought a cricket bat and some shin pads and he was ready to go.  I suspect that the Aussie's at the party thought he was a bit lame but I thought it was pretty clever for an American to go as a cricketer.

Everyone at the party got into the spirit and wore costumes.  Most of them were thrown together and included fake blood but there were a few good ones.  One of my good friends, Boris, bought a Captain America costume (clever since he's an Aussie).  He ended up winning the costume contest.  I have pictures of Captain America on my camera but I'll have to load them up later.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of me, HA, and MayDay.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Snap Happy

When I was in the States for September, I bought myself a really nice DSLR camera.  This purchase was triggered by our trip to South Africa where HA and I quickly got camera envy as all of our friends had DSLR's and their pictures came out 10x better than ours. 

Because I travel pretty regularly, I'd like to start taking some really nice pictures to better remember everything.  So, in order to do that, I've signed up for an online photography class.  I'm really excited about it and I've talked HA into a photo shoot this weekend so I can turn in my first assignment.

The problem is, as I start researching photography and looking at other people's work, I want to buy all kinds of accessories.  And today, I bought my first one.  The camera came with the typical slr camera bag - big, bulky, square, unmanageable to carry around, and just plain ugly.  So I started researching more...fashionable bags.  Don't get me wrong, I want it to be functional too but if I'm going to have my camera with me so I can take a picture when a good opportunity presents itself, I want something I'm not embarrassed to be seen in.

That's when I came across Epiphanie camera bags.  I fell in love immediately.  They were designed by a female professional photographer and all the reviews I've seen have been very positive.  On top of that, I would use this bag as a regular purse as well.  So..I ordered one for myself and am having it shipped to Australia.  I couldn't even wait until Thanksgiving where I could have picked it up from my folks for a much cheaper shipping charge.  I can't wait to get it - hopefully it will live up to all it's reviews!

Halloween in Oz

For the last two years, I've gone home in late October for a visit.  This usually gives me a good taste of Halloween so I don't generally miss it when I'm in Canberra.  This year however, I went home in October but it was for a wedding and it was too early in the month to get a real Halloween feel.  This year I'm actually in Canberra for Halloween.  It's a bit depressing.  I'm not sure how the kids get by.  There is no spending the month deciding what your costume is going to be.  Most people have never carved a pumpkin.

So this weekend, a friend of a friend is throwing a Halloween party and has invited HA and I.  She's even insisting that everyone come in costumes.  Most of the Australians don't know where to start for costumes.  They don't have many costume stores in Australia and those that they do have are outrageously priced (why am I surprised?)  Given this, HA and I ordered ours online from  They ship to Australia and guarantee delivery by Halloween (and still cheaper than buying them in a store).  I'll leave it as a surprise for what we decided to do.  Unfortunately we weren't able to do the outfits I really wanted b/c there weren't any stores online that carried the costume for HA.  Maybe next year.

In preparation for the party tomorrow, I've bought a pumpkin that I'm going to carve.  It cost $24.  You read that right.  Apparently, that's a good price.  Another store wanted $25 for really crappy pumpkins and if you try to buy them in Cairns, they're $30.  I had originally thought this was b/c they imported them from the US but, no it's because they grow them in Australia and they're out of season.  I do wonder if it'd be cheaper to just ship them into the country but the Aussies are weird about importing fruits and vegetables.

So I'm trying to come up with a creative but easy pumpkin carving idea.  I feel like there's some pressure as the only American going to this party that I should have a really cool pumpkin.  Anyone have any fun ideas?