Sunday, November 20, 2011

And why are all these points sooo bad?

I found this list on Twitter, but had to post it on my blog because... it applies to me almost 100%.

My husband doesn't get me either...he should have read this list before he married me. Alas, now he is stuck with my 'weird' self, studying patterns in his shirts, comparing the minute differences between Arial and Helvetica, and getting all agitated over it.

Why is this SO bad? I could be cut from the same cloth as everyone else, eating not so tastebud simulating foods and listening to ordinary music. Nah!

Originally here:

50 reasons not to date a graphic designer

1. They are very weird people.

2. There are billions of them in the world, like colors on the screen of your computer.

3. They will analyse conversations in layers.

4. You will spend the day assembling furniture from IKEA.

5. They drink and eat all kinds of weird shit just because they like the packaging.

6. They hate each other.

7. You’ll come out the last out of the movies because you have to see the full list of credits.

8. They cant change a light bulb or without making a sketch.

9. They fuck up all the tables with their cutters.

10. They rather study the paisley pattern on your outfit than listen to what you have to say.

11. They will fill your house with magazines and whatever is out there that has drawings.

12. You never know if it is really an original or a copy.

13. They make collages with your photos.

14. They do not know how to add and subtract, they just understand letters.

15. They idolize people who nobody knows and speak of them as if they were his colleagues.

16. They take pictures almost daily and all are cut in weird shapes.

17. They ask your opinion about everything but they do whatever they want.

18. Everything is left justified, right or center unless they arrive late.

19. They hate Comic Sans with the same passion they love Helvetica.

20. They use iPhone for everything, because everyone has one.

21. You can not decorate the house without consulting them.

22. They steal street signs.

23. Always carry their hands painted with something.

24. They buy dolls unfinished for them to paint.

25. Everything becomes something other than what it really is: cards as tickets, cards as …

26. When arguing, you will be nicknamed like the OSX spinning wheel (not affectionately)

27. Do not know how to dress without consulting the Pantone book.

28. They hate Excel.

29. They read comics.

30. They want to save the world only with a poster.

31. You will spend the day brainstorming.

32. On vacation they will take you to countries that you do not know exist and have no beach.

33. Museums are their second home.

34. They know more positions than the Kamasutra.

35. They can’t go to a restaurant without secretly critiquing the menu design.

36. They listen to music you have never heard of.

37. They can´t cook a normal dish, they always have to experiment with new ingredients.

38. They read rare books: stories of children, Semiotics …

39. When you are going to tell you something, everyone has read it in their facebook and twitter.

40. They have own iPods before you knew they existed.

41. The orgasm they remember is when they heard that Adobe was acquiring Macromedia.

42. They have their own shops just for them and there are the most expensive in the city.

43. They want to spend all the money in the Apple Store.

44. You will never understand their gifts.

45. They see ordinary objects and laugh.

46. You wake up in the middle of the night hearim them screaming “When is the deadline?”

47. They see CMYK and RGB like Neo sees the Matrix.

48. They dream of the day nobody will make a single change to their designs.

49. They rather pay for a font than for a special birthday gift.

50. They are always sleepy because they work 24/7.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hamilton Island

A rare opportunity fell into my lap (via a dear friend of mine) to experience Hamilton Island, for a work/holiday.

Having been a bit stressed lately, I accepted the offer wholeheartedly, and off we went.

I had heard of Hamilton Island, but knew not what to expect. Apparently it looks like Hawaii and it smells like Hawaii, but it's on the Great Barrier Reef, and no ALOHAs are ever extended as a greeting.

Our flight from Melbourne was approximately three hours long. We arrived to a microscopic airport, which much to my surprise, had no luggage carousel. When the luggage arrived, we descended on it like ants on a pic nick basket. It was a bit of a pandemonium.

The local temperature can be compared to any tropical city in the world...Cartagena, Honolulu, Miami or Denpasar. They all have that common balminess to them, which you experience upon exiting a temperature controlled aircraft.

My hair immediately becomes wiry and out of control in all of these places. I must have been a desert Bedouin in another lifetime, for in this current one I cannot be exposed to humidity. My body rebels against it. I absolutely adore the tropics, but my body does not.

It's the hair first, then the face (pores produce way too much oil), and eventually the local mosquitos detect my presence and descend on me to feast on my internationally renown 'sweet' blood, marking my flesh up with itchy red welts for the next month or so. There must have been one mosquito somewhere who tasted my blood and sent an email to his buddies around the world, telling them to keep a lookout for me. An almost "top ten best blood"...and I'm number one.

My Hamilton Island adventure thus far (thank God all mighty) has been mosquito free. Almost too good to be true, and I have not spritzed one drop of mosquito repellant. Go figure. However, the hair is beyond repair and my face shines from a mile away, I'm sure light can be reflected off it at night to act like a lighthouse.

The island is lush and very green; apparently 75% of the island is bush land and it is intended to remain that way. The tallest buildings are hotels, but they are a far cry from Honolulu's skyscrapers, which allows for the nature to outshine the man made structures.

There is a quaint marina, with the strip of shops and restaurants. The restaurants are beyond expensive, unfortunately, so I have opted to cook most of my meals.

There are no true locals. Most people living here are from other parts of Australia, brought to the island to work in the tourist industry. They are for the most part friendly and helpful, all except one...there always is one, isn't there? The free shuttle bus driver lady...she is a little 'challenging', to say the least. I've attempted to engage her in conversation, to no avail. On the other hand, the night bus driver is super friendly, and plays Elvis music ALL the time. The foreign tourists absolutely love him! His bus can be heard blocks away, because of the roaring laughter from its passengers.

As this is a work holiday, I've been dutifully working wherever I can find free WiFi. My favorite hot spot has been the Reef Lounge, a large open area with comfortable rattan chairs spread throughout. I sit in the same spot, see the same bartender and wave at little kids who wonder in with their folks looking for the bathroom and recognize me. My favorite though, is the daily group of newly arrived Japanese tourists and their guide.

Around 10:00am each morning, a soft spoken young Japanese woman (different each day), brings in about a dozen Japanese couples, and she begins her presentation. I don't understand Japanese, but because I've heard the instructional speech several times so far, I've been able to decipher the word 'restaurant' and 'buggy'. I'm sure she lists the restaurants in the marina, then warns them of the rogue buggies.

There are approximately 1,500 golf buggies on the island - this according to my Elvis aficionado bus driver - and all road rules which apply to regular cars, do also to the gulf buggies. They seem innocent enough, but apparently folks drink quite a bit, and accidents happen. I don't doubt it...I've heard lots of spine chilling screeches of sudden breaks being applied. I know that, if i see one on the road, I run for cover. But, buggies are better than cars, since they don't produce toxic exhaust, I give the idea a great big thumbs up.

Cockatoos are native to Australia, and I think they have found their ideal paradise here on Hamilton Island. They are everywhere! The reception desk girl actually warned us about them, stating that we should always close our balcony doors before leaving our rooms. The cockatoos have been known to wonder into the hotel rooms looking for food and completely trash it. As many as 40 cockatoos have been found in one room, going at pillows, drapes, whatever they can destroy, they do. They are the 'rock stars' of the animal kingdom.

The water surrounding the island is crystal clear, turquoise blue. Breathtaking! The tide goes out toward the evening and families go sea shell scavenging.

I haven't ventured to the actual coral reef yet, because of my unfortunate experience on a boat while in Apollo Bay back in October, but if I find a really big boat, I'll go.

My take on this celebrated island is, that it is what Hawaii (Honolulu) may have been 40 years ago. Hamilton Island is tranquil, natural, quaint and family friendly. It's definitely worth coming back with the kids some day, even if no one says ALOHA to us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I found the Australia I was looking for

When I arrived to the land of Oz nearly four years ago, I must admit that I was a wee bit disappointed. Where were the beautiful beaches? The Aussie twang? The kangaroos?

I admit that all my years of preconceived expectations of a land I had never set foot on, fed to me by movies and Fosters beer commercials was difficult to shed, and much like many Americans before me, I wanted to see all the stereotypes I had 'signed up to to experience' when we made the conscious decision to move to Australia. family and I saw no tin roofed outback huts like the ones in the kids claymation TV show Koala Brothers; no kangaroos crossed our path (until this year); no one even said "g'day" to me until i visited Queensland. Was I disappointed? Fer darn skippy I was!

As time passed, so too I began to notice Aussie jewels which I had been looking for. One by one I have been collecting and storing them in my memory banks and snapping pictures of the physical ones, so to almost document their existence. I sill haven't seen an outback tin roofed hut, but I'm sure eventually I will...but I have watched a documentary about beer in Australia (quite interesting) and found out that Fosters is only one brand of literally thousands of Aussie beers, but because of Paul Hogan's 80s TV commercials, it gained huge popularity in the UK and US, making it THE 'Australian beer'...I've yet to find it on the shelves here, by the way.

I could go on and on...but I'll focus on what I finally found last weekend, which has been truly Australian for me. The Great Ocean Road. Wow!

We decided to finally go and see the famous 12 Apostles (huge rocks along side of Victorian coastline by Port Campbell). I wasn't expecting much really. I had seen them in photos and thought..."yeah...they're rocks, no biggie."

We drove from Melbourne to Geelong by highway, then from there we took The Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay. The road is windy and made me very nauseous. Arriving to our hotel was an extremely welcome moment. I was dreading the second half of our journey. "I came to see rocks!?!" I thought to myself.

The next day (my birthday) we went on a marvelous four hour fishing trip. A life changing experience, one might even venture in declaring. It convinced me to never ever go on another boat in my life. EVER! I was violently ill the entire time, I was on that 'dingy' of a boat, and we only caught one youngest fished herself a flathead.

Again, the sight of our hotel was a welcome one.

Finally, with much trepidation and anxiety, we embarked on our journey to the freakin' rocks!

The road was as windy, if not more so, on the way to the Apostles (the hotel manager lied), and I was certain that I was going to lose my lunch once again.

Finally, in the hopes to catch some fresh air, I stopped at a little rest area. I noticed people snapping pictures, and heading down some steep steps. Much like lemmings heading to their doom, our little clan followed the others down the stairs, only focusing on NOT falling, and ignoring what was on the beach below.

Once at the bottom we were mesmerized, to say the least. The sand was a bright orange, the water a turquoise blue, the waves massive, and wayyyy on the right a majestic rock as large as a NY skyscraper standing...beckoning us.

The last time I experienced something like this was when I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time. Simply amazing. Spine chilling even. Yes! I'm not joking.

The air smelled sweet and the sea mist, though frizzing my hair out, was also lovely.

I was experiencing the Australia from the tourist brochures. That which 'they' promise you to see when you embark down under. Raw natural beauty unparalleled anywhere else on our blue marble.

In that moment, I could not stop smiling. I was happy to be in Australia.

That feeling was interrupted by: "mommy, I need to go to the bathroom," which we found just half a mile down the road, at the official tourist information, where the great big busses stop, and the hordes of tourists pile out to see the rest of the Apostles.

Those...though also majestic and beautiful; their impact was dimmed by the plethora of rude and pushy tourists who were climbing over one another in the quest of the 'perfect' picture of the natural wonders.

No worries...I choose to only remember my first glimpse.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My article was quoted online... I'm very happy

Exposing children to more of the Arts

OPINION: That which someone else might deem inappropriate for their kids, I might embrace for my children's developmental enrichment.


In America, from the 40s and well into the 80s, a lot of useful information on the topic of taking care of children, was made available to parents and caregivers via Dr. Benjamin Spock’s The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, who became a sort of ‘guru’ on the subject and people used his book almost like a ‘bible’ when approaching any hurdle with their offspring.

Though Dr. Spock was an intelligent and reputable pediatrician, he did have some professional opinions which I in particular do not agree with, one of which is the topic of multi-lingual children’s struggle with learning. Because of Dr. Spock’s view/opinion on this subject, thousands of immigrant families in America abandoned their native tongue – believing that their children would not be able to develop to their full potential, due to the ‘handicap’ of having to deal with two languages at a time – and only spoke in English... broken English at best, but definitely only English. In the 90s, in research conducted at the University of California Berkeley, a study confirmed that in the development years (0 – 7) children are capable of learning up to seven languages, at the same level of a mother tongue. Though initially children struggle with having to handle multiple languages, but eventually they master all and retain them – with practice – for life.

I was fortunate enough – though at the time I dreaded the idea of it – that my parents moved a lot when I was a child, and I picked up a new language wherever we landed next. My parents were fond of the idea that their daughter could switch from Italian to Serbian, and vice versa, so they encouraged me to study more languages, as in their opinion I had the ‘gift’ for language. What I also liked was art and performing, and I was quite good at it, but I was discouraged from that on what seemed a regular basis.

At first, I was praised for being able to draw pretty pictures, but the first time I expressed a desire to pursue art further than the compulsory art class in the 8th grade, I was told by my father that I should instead look to a ‘real’ career, like a doctor or a lawyer. Gradually the discouragements escalated to comments like: “You’re not that good, and people who tell you that you are, are simply lying to you.” My parents suffered from the stigma – as do people still in some parts of the world and in socio-economical levels – that artists are bound to suffer, and will never be able to put food on their family’s table.

Eventually I pushed toward my dream of working in the arts hard enough that my parents were supportive of my ambitions, and paid for my degree from Art School, and bragged to their friends that their daughter had become a Graphic Designer (whatever that was), but they bragged, and that’s all that is important.

Having experienced the hurdles of misinformation about the arts first hand, and still having to prove myself to my parents (“yes, my children do have food on their table, mom”), I vowed that I would introduce my children to art from infancy. They might not know what the hell they were looking at, listening to or touching, but they were going to experience great museums, hole-in-the wall galleries, theatre or street performances, symphonies or a steel drum bands, whatever was ‘wow’ producing or for that matter ‘groan’ extruding, my kids were going to live and breathe it, so that they became familiar with that part of the world, which lies in the shadows because of a certain ‘shame’ which has been imposed upon it by people who don’t know or don’t wish to know any better.

Armed with information from Psychology Today – among other sources – I have become a one woman crusader for the Arts and its impact on children’s development. i.e.: According to the Association for Psychological Science, intelligence test scores grew higher in children who took lessons in keyboarding or singing. In another study, boys between the ages of 6 and 15 who took music lessons scored higher on tests of verbal memory than a control group of students without musical training. (Source

Another example: Physiologically, the human brain consists of two parts, the left and the right hemisphere. The left brain is used in logical thinking and analytical processes. This is typically what is trained in school work that consists of math, reading and science. The right brain is used in emotional perception, intuition and creativity. It is the right brain that is mainly used when a person is involved in creative endeavours such as making art. It is this part of the brain that typical school environment neglects to train.

It is shown that when gifted kids solve problems in their areas of giftedness, there is increased electrical activity in both hemispheres. It appears that for the brain to be efficient, the two hemispheres of the brains must work together. (Source: Raise Smart Kids)

My cheat sheets or note cards have not been pulled out very often these days, in the attempt of convincing... or perhaps defending the reason why I insist on exposing my daughters to the right brain world. I have reached a new level of their exposure though, where I am no longer posed the question: “Why do you take them to so many museums?” instead I find myself defending my values, or views on foul language and nudity in the performances I have taken them to lately.

My daughters are ten, eight and six years old. I realise that too much of even a good thing is not healthy for their growing and pliable little brains, so obviously the ‘bad things’ are worse for them, right? I admit that my point of view may be perceived as a little skewed, by some, but my father’s advice stands true – in my opinion – and that is: “everything in moderation is OK”... (he added to that... “it says so in the Bible”).

Hey! If it is written in the Bible, who am I to go against it? Therefore, I believe that an occasional swear word – which they hear on the school yard anyway – is not necessarily going to make my daughters into habitual foul mouths. For that matter, if a mostly naked man (NEXT WAVE FESTIAL - Comfort zones) runs across the stage singing a mere three feet from my ten year old daughter, it will not be the end of the world. After all she can go on the Internet, while at her friend’s house, look up porn sites and see plenty worse all the while claiming that she is playing on Club Penguin.

As my girls grow older, I introduce them to the next level of what I deem appropriate for their maturity level. As their Arts experience ‘bucket’ fills, so they grow more confident about different mediums, and express a desire to see more specific performance pieces, or art exhibitions. I try not to gush with joy, when they meet a famous artist (John Olsen or Michael Johnson) or when they start explaining to me what the artist envisioned when producing a specific painting, but secretly my heart swells with pride, and I think that I am aiding in the development of a human being who will hopefully be more complete, because of the fact that they have been raised in an Arts environment, and they find it as welcoming as that of Sports, or Sciences.

They will be able to then choose their path in life, whatever that may be, without ever feeling that they were not given the full spectrum to pick from.


This article/opinion was published on in May 2010, to read it on the AH site click here.

I found my article quoted here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gold Class at last

I thought I knew comfort. I thought I had experienced the nicer things in life. Well... it seems I have so much more to learn and live, as today was the first time I watched a movie in Gold Class.

Australians watch movies just like Americans. They have the same type of cinemas as are often found throughout the 50 US states... same popcorn and sodas too. There are a few things which are different though:

1. Specific seats are assigned to you when you purchase the tickets. If you decide to ignore the seat which you have been allotted, chances are that you're going to be asked to move by the person who is supposed to sit there. It's happened to me... by accident. I didn't know about the rule.

2. At the refreshments counter, you will not be given a carrying tray for your popcorn, sodas and candy. If you happened to come along with a little army of kids to watch the recent kids' flick, you've got to leave them alone in the cinema while you go back and forth from lobby to cinema, until you have transported all refreshments successfully.

3. If you drop your popcorn or soda on the floor, they will not issue you a new one... just 'cause they're nice. You are out of luck and will have to purchase another one, no matter whose fault it is.

There is one type of cinema which we do not have in the US... this is the crème de la crème movie theater. This is the Mecca of all picture shows! This is GOLD CLASS.

We received five Gold Class movie tickets as a Christmas gift back in December, and we've been saving them for a "special movie"... which seemed to never come along. Until that is... the latest and final installment of the Harry Potter odyssey was announced to be released this July.

Oh the joy... oh the anticipation, for both the movie as well as the experience of watching in the comfy arm chairs in Gold Class.

We were instructed to arrive at least 30 minutes before the film was to commence, so to enjoy some refreshments in the waiting area. We did as we were told.

A handsome young man greeted us at the door, requesting to see our tickets. We were then lead to the lounge area where our orders taken for refreshments and food which was to be consumed in the cinema. The menus were abundant with choices... but leave it to my husband to pick the one thing they were all out of... a Bloody Mary. Then, he asked for a Grey Goose Martini... they were out of Grey Goose too. *SIGH* Alas, all was well with the world when a suitable substitution was found for him... Johnny Walker Black Label Whiskey. Yes! They had that and so much more at this place. When's the last time you went to a cinema and sipped on anything but a Coke or Sprite?

Finally a lovely young woman approached us with a smile and told us that she had been assigned to escort us to our seats. That she did. We were like children in a candy store... well... the girls and I were... my husband is too cool to exude any sort of public glee. We played with the seats... pushing them way back to an almost horizontal position (God I wish I had a seat like it in an airplane), lifting the compartment where you are to store your personal belongings, etc. There are 24 seats in total... it's like you're at someone's personal screening room.

Finally our food was brought to us about a quarter of the way into the movie. Linen napkins and real silverware instead of sporks. And my eldest daughter discovered the call button on side of her armchair, to beckon the attendant/waiter for additional refreshments.

At the end, we paid for our bill, and left extremely satisfied with the entire experience. I wish I could watch all my movies in this lap of luxury. The kids certainly do... that's for sure.

Oh... Harry Potter: Deathly Hollows II did not disappoint, I'm glad we saved our Gold Class tickets for it. Now, if anyone wishes to gift us with move Gold Class tickets... there are a couple of birthdays coming up in October which you can plan for.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bill Hunter finds a new pub in heaven

Before coming to Australia I didn't really know much about its films or actors. There were some I was acquainted with due to the simple fact that I was a bit of a film buff, and I don't mean the obvious films like Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee, but like Malcom or Strictly Ballroom. Ballroom was first a put off for me, because I thought it was going to be yet another dance movie, still riding on the coattails of Dirty Dancing, but a good friend recommended it so highly that I had to watch it just to get her off my back. I'm glad that I did, because I fell in love with the movie and the Aussie accent.

The story was very tongue and cheek and borderline bizarre, but I adored it. All the actors were very much over the top in their acting (except the 'Romeo and Juliet' couple), but the actor who stood out for me was Bill Hunter. He was loud, crass, manipulative, fat and wore a very bad rug. His 'extreme personality' emblazoned itself permanently in my memory.

I began seeing him everywhere after that first 'encounter'. I loved to hate him in Muriel's Wedding. I found a soft spot for him after experiencing Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and hardly recognized him in Finding Nemo (he was the dentist).

When I moved to Melbourne I began to immerse myself into the Arts scene due to my job at ArtsHub, and always secretly hoped that I'd run into Bill Hunter along the way somewhere... at a movie premiere or theater function... or at a pub, since he frequented them quite fondly. I didn't have this luck, but... at least I was living in the same city as he... until...

Actor Bill Hunter passed away last weekend the 21st of May, due to cancer
. He will be remembered fondly by so many who knew him personally, and by such like myself who only knew him through his acting. He was the stereotypical 'Aussie bloke', and loved because of this no-nonsense sort of demeanor and earthiness about him. RIP

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finally kangaroos in the wild.

You would think that after almost three years (YES 3) in the 'sunburnt country' I would have seen kangaroos and koalas in the wild... well I haven't. Until this past weekend.

While trekking through the Victorian countryside, getting lost at every turn, but enjoying the fresh eucalyptus laden air, I saw out of the corner of my eye what appeared to be a deer leaping across the road. With a quick stomp on my brakes, I stopped my vehicle and felt the adrenaline rush through me. I then realized that the deer was actually a big kangaroo, which by now had jumped over the wire fence edging the road, into the grassy field.

I had to squint a bit to make her out, as she had blended well in the beige dry grass, and stood very still... staring at me. My kids could not see her at first, but when they did, they let out a squeal of excitement... then I did too. We were so overjoyed to finally see a real-life roo, in its natural habitat. To the right were two more, playing and bouncing around. We could have stayed in the middle of the dirt road forever, watching them, watching us... but after they had enough of the staring match, the odd little guys disappeared into the bushes.

We recanted the story to a local we met in a restaurant, who was amused by our bewilderment. She told us that kangaroos come onto her property all the time, and she has to shoo them away almost like pests. There you go... proof that the grass is always greener on the other side. We are tickled pink by the encounter with a roo, the locals are more miffed by them.