Toxic Custard Workshop FilesGuide to Australia

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We want to surprise somebody with a bungyjump close by Brisbane. We have to arange this from Holland. We can't find adresses of people aranging bungyjumping. Can you help????- Marjole, Netherlands
Queensland Holidays: Bungee jumping

Brisbane City Search

 

How much do you want to surprise them? For instance, should they awaken one morning to find they are not curled up in a cozy bed as they thought, but are in fact standing on top of a rickety bridge, a stringy piece of elastic wrapped around their ankles, being pushed into oblivion.

That's probably a little ambitious, and might involve kidnapping or other such unsavoury activity. Perhaps just a gift certificate would be preferable.

The Queensland Holidays site links to one operator, and also claims there are a bunch of others in Queensland, while avoiding actually listing any of them. CitySearch comes back with a bunch of businesses in the Outdoor Adventure Activities category, and from the looks of some of their names, a few of them do bungy jumping.

Perhaps the most critical thing when you get in contact with one of these companies is to ask them: is it spelt "bungee" or "bungy"?

I'd like to know whether Patrick Rafter has a web site created by himself (not fans)or any address he usually visit. - Paulina, location unknown

Cherish The Children: About Pat

Official Patrick Rafter Supporters Club

Australian Open

I wasn't sure about this, so I gave Patrick a ring. "Pat", I said, "Ma-a-a-a-ate! Big P!" "Daniel you bastard, howareya!" he replied. We had a good chinwag about the old days. About how we used to go out drinking. About how I got him interested in tennis.

Anyway eventually I was able to ask him about web sites. He said his favourite web site is toxiccustard.com. And he also said...

Oh bugger it, okay, I admit it, I don't really know him. But I went Googling, and the only semi-official site I could find for Pat was that of his charity, Cherish The Children, which is the sort of charity I'd be suspicious of if it were run by Michael Jackson, but with Pat at the helm, I bet they're doing good things. That site has an About Pat page which might be the closest thing you'll find to his official page at the moment. I don't know if he wrote it himself though. Maybe after a long day at a Grand Slam event he sits down to a computer and starts HTML coding... but somehow I doubt it.

All the other sites seem to be run by fans. Even an "official" fan club site, though it's not immediately clear in this context what "official" means. From the looks of it, patrickrafter.com has been nabbed by a British domain name squatter called Kenneth.

Did you really like the olympic games .no really i mean relly find them interesting and worth staying in the country for cos all my friends wrecken they were annoying and just a waste of time and money for our government. i thought they were crap. - Domo, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

  After reading what you've written, I now think that perhaps they should have spent the money on education instead.
Is there any site which will give details of flags and countries for Sydney 2000? - Chandra
Links:

Search AltaVista for "olympics"

Search Excite for "olympics"

Perhaps you haven't been on the Internet very long, in which case I'd like to welcome you, and tell you about something they have here: search engines. They're very clever, and they allow you to search for particular topics (eg the Olympics) and find web pages about them. The really cool thing about this is that they tell you pages to look at straight away, rather than waiting for some human to be bothered to read your query and respond to it several weeks later.

I'd heard about these search engines, so I did a little search on Alta Vista for "olympics". And you know what? The very first hit was the official Olympics web site. And you know what? On the official Olympics web site, I found a link that said "Every country". And there I found a list of countries (since deleted), with pictures of their flags, statistics, even encyclopaedia entries. How good is that?

So keep that in mind next time you're looking for something on the Internet. Search engines. They're good.

Who are some famous Australian athletes? I have heard of Greg Norman, and the guy who's won the last two tennis US Opens. Patrick Rafter.. Can you tell me the names of any others and the sports they play? - David, probably USA
Links:

ABC News - Sport

The Age Sport

SportProfiles - Australian and international athletes

Apart from Patrick Rafter and Greg Norman (how Australian is he really, I mean, he's got an American accent and lives in America!) some Australian sportsmen and women who are (or should be) famous internationally include:
  • Mark Philippousis, who was last year's US Open runner-up (to Patrick Rafter), though he's dropped out of it this year 'cos he's chicken. And because his doctor said it wouldn't be a good idea.
  • Numerous other tennis players, including emerging stars Lleyton Hewitt and Jelena Dokic, and the champion doubles team "The Woodies"
  • Susie Maroney - swimmer who from time to time feels inclined to swim long distances - such as Cuba to Florida. And it was by choice too, she wasn't just trying to emigrate without a visa! She'll be attempting to swim from Jamaica to Cuba next week. Just for the heck of it.
  • Cathy Freeman - runner who won her second consecutive 400 metres final last week at the World Athletic Championships in Seville, Spain.
  • The "Hockeyroos" Australian Women's Hockey team, who've won the world championship so many times now that most people have lost count
  • Mick Doohan - 5 times consecutive 500 cc world motorcycle racing champion - well, that is until a few months ago when he came off his bike and broke numerous bones. Oops.
  • Ian Thorpe - 16 year old swimmer who broke 3, count them, THREE world records last week (plus one as part of a relay team)
I want to know where I can purchase tickets for the Footy finals in Melbourne on Sept17,18 and mostly Sept 25, 1999. Can they be purchased anywhere in the usa? I will be in Melbourne over that time frame. Please help.....have to have them..2 for each - dhenrichsen, probably USA
Links:

Ticketmaster

AFL

The Age Footy '99

Ah, finals time in Melbourne. Late September, glorious spring weather, and the city is buzzing. In the last few years, fans from whichever interstate team(s) make it into the Grand Final have swarmed through the streets in their scarves and beanies, not minding one little bit if all the locals unite to support whichever local team is playing.

After the game, if they win, they're almost intolerably cheerful for the rest of the weekend. If not, well, they all pack their team colours away and just kind of disappear.

As for getting tickets... well, that could be tricky. The bulk of tickets don't go on sale until they know which teams will be playing in each game, which is frequently the week before. And even then, despite the 100,000 or so capacity of the MCG (used for most finals games), they are frequently sold out.

For buying from overseas, probably your best bet is to keep an eye on the AFL web site for news of the finals teams and what days the tickets go on sale. Then keep your mouse finger hovering as you keep watch for sales to open on the Ticketmaster Australia web site. You can arrange to have tickets ready for pick-up at the ground if you don't have an Australian address to get them mailed to.

Do you *actually* understand cricket? I can't seem to find a single person, even some fans of the game, who has a 100% grasp on it. It seems quite nonsensical, as if someone took lawn bowling, hockey, and pickle, decided to combine them, and then left the rules open to be made up as you play. - Greg Bulmash, USA
Links:

CricInfo

CricInfo: About cricket

ABC News: Cricket

CNN Cricket

The Age Cricket

I think that Americans have something genetic that leaves them unable to understand the rules of cricket. In a similar way, if you ask almost any Australian what's going on in a game of Gridiron (American Football), they'll have absolutely no idea. Heck, most of us are confused by the positions in basketball. In fact, show the CNN sports home page to an Australian, and they probably won't understand any of the headlines.

There have been a few occasions that I've attempted to explain the game to visiting Americans, and I find it easiest to start with baseball - because everyone understands baseball, even me - and explain the differences from there.

Here are the basics, and take note, people who can't answer the questions later will be forced to sit through a five day test match.

For maximum comic effect, announce to your non-cricket-literate friends that you're about to explain the rules to them, then read the following text to them at high speed:

The bases are called wickets. There are always two batsmen in play. Runs are earned every time the two batsmen run between the wickets after hitting the ball. The batsman scores four runs automatically if the ball reaches the boundary, or six if it reaches the boundary without bouncing.

Every six (or eight) balls is an over. For each over, a different bowler takes the ball, and the fielders all change around so the second batsman is being bowled to.

A batsman is out if the bowler hits the wicket, or the bat hits the wicket, or if it's going to hit the wicket but hits the batsman's leg instead, or the batsman hits the ball and it is caught without bouncing, or if the batsman is running between the wickets and the fielders hit the wicket with the ball. When ten batsmen are out, the teams change sides. There are eleven on each side.

In backyard games of cricket, hitting the ball onto the roof or over the fence is commonly scored as "six and out", though this is rather less common in international games.

There are numerous cricket terms, coined principally to make the game as confusing as possible to Americans. These include: square leg, wicket (it actually has about three different meanings), silly-mid-on, and googly.

I heard on the BBC...world service that your country won the Cricket World Cup. When a team up here in the states wins a championship in hockey, basketball, football or any other number of sports, parades are held. Well, the steps of various government buildings are crowded with politicians and well wishers who then congratulate the team. Then from there they hold a parade down a wide street. 

What is happening in Australia to Celebrate this World Cup victory?? - David, USA

Links:

CricInfo

The Age: Melbourne World Cup parade story

Being Australia, we tend do things upside down, or if that's not possible, at the very least backwards. Our World Cup winning cricket team have participated in two celebrations of public adulation, in Melbourne and Sydney. But the parade happens first.

The team are put in open-top cars and driven at low speed through the streets, as the crowds cheer and wave flags, and ticker-tape floats down from above. Thankfully ticker-tape is now obsolete in the computer world, and therefore is available for throwing down on sporting heroes. Throwing floppy disks out the window just wouldn't be the same.

Then the team stand on balconies and/or the steps of public buildings holding the Cup aloft, while lots of less sportingly talented politicians and other hangers-on stand around congratulating the team and trying to revel in the publicity.

The city mayor then generally gives the team "the keys to the city", which despite the name does not enable them to break into any city building undetected. This is generally followed by a state reception where the team can have a bite of lunch and a drinkie or two with more politicians.

The celebrations for lower-profile (but no less deserving) teams are generally somewhat less chaotic and public. The many-times world champion Australian women's hockey team the "Hockeyroos" this time seem to have been limited to just a reception hosted by the Prime Minister.

What is footy, is it anything like American Football? Do you get to see NFL American Football? - David, probably USA
Links:

Australian Football League

AFL International TV schedules

The Age RealFooty

Northern District Pirates Gridiron Club, South Australia

Australian Rules football is probably the most popular sport in all Australian states except NSW and Qld, where Rugby is king. But Aussie Rules' similarity with American football pretty much ends with the use of an oval-shaped ball.

Here's a quick comparison:

Australian Rules American Football (Gridiron)
Oval-shaped ball Oval-shaped ball
Oval-shaped ground with a square painted in the middle Rectangular ground with lines all over it
Four goal posts of varying lengths at each goal Kind of Y or H-shaped goal
Score 6 points by kicking between the two large middle posts, or 1 point inside the smaller posts Score by a "touch down", which for some unfathomable reason doesn't actually involve touching the ball down - just throwing it down; or by kicking through the top of the goal
Teams of 18 players wearing skimpy shorts and sleeveless jumpers and only mouthguards for protection Teams of 11 players wearing long pants and shirts, and more wimpy padding than the entire cast of Dynasty
Four quarters of about 25 minutes each Four quarters of 15 minutes playing time each
Six umpires, including the famous goal umpires with their hats, raincoats and funny hand signals Around seven referees with a variety of whistles and little flags
Season culminates in "that one day in September" with the Grand Final, played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of about 100,000 enthralled spectators. Season culminates in January with the Superbowl. The 1999 Superbowl was at the Pro Player stadium in Miami, Florida in front of around 74,000 enthralled spectators.
Origins in rugby and Gaelic football, which is similar. AFL (then VFL) formed in 1899. Probably developed from Rugby, which is a very very similar game (but without all the padding). NFL formed in 1922

If you're an insomniac or have a VCR, you can generally catch NFL highlights on late-night TV in Australia, and the Superbowl is generally shown live, with some local commentators attempting to explain to Australian audiences just what the hell is going on.

AFL highlights are aired in other parts of the world, go to the official AFL site for details. Carn the Cats!

I'm a tech-head/computer geek otherwise known as a contract systems consultant. I'm considering Australia as a possible place to work for a while. Am I gonna get in? Are women respected in this field? Is everyone panicking about the "millennium bug"? Finally and most importantly - am I going to be able to join a curling club? - Nancy, Toronto, Canada
Links:

Department of Immigration

Federal/NSW Government Year 2000 Site

Australian Sports Industry Directory

My perception of the computer industry at the moment is that like in a lot of countries, there's a shortage of personnel. I don't have any official figures to back me up on this, but being a computer contractor myself, judging from the number of calls I get about jobs, this would appear to be the case. (By the way if anybody in Australia reading this needs a programming job, drop me a line mentioning what you can do, I may have a lead for you.)

Your main problem would be getting a visa to work. I suggest inquiring with the Department of Immigration. There are plenty of women in the IT industry in Australia. Not as many men of course (why are fewer women inclined to geekdom?) but yes, women are well respected by their colleagues. Just not by anybody else.

(Joke!)

The millennium bug issue is currently hotting up with TV and newspaper campaigns promoting awareness.

As for curling, in the big cities of Australia, there are clubs for just about everything. But not curling. If I'm right, curling requires ice, right? That, at least outside ice rinks in the dead of winter, could be a problem. But there are some curlers around in the colder regions:

AUSTRALIAN CURLING FEDERATION
PO Box 267
Bright VIC 3741
Phone/fax: (03) 5750 1357
Email: joastler@netc.net.au
President: James Oastler

(Information courtesy of the Australian Sports Industry Directory / Eva Zsigri)

Is Melbourne really bent that Sydney's finally getting an Olympic Games? - John, USA
Links:

Sydney Olympics

Melbourne Public Transport (VicTrip)

Heck no! Melbourne had a highly successful (if our forebears are to be believed) Olympic Games back in 1956. No doubt those who were around at the time will be making comparisons in 2000. Let's just hope all the wonderful new technology they're installing at the Homebush Olympic site is 2000 compliant.

We were a little peeved when Atlanta got the '96 games, since we were one of the contenders. I think I'm safe in saying that our train and other public transport systems crap all over theirs and probably no bombs would have gone off, but that's life.

Why don't Victorians play Rugby Union instead of the blousy game of Aussie Rules? - Dave, Australia
Links:

AFL

For info on Rugby Union in Victoria, contact the Victorian Rugby Union (in Jolimont, Melbourne - look in the phone book)

You can also contact Kirsten at the Maroondah Rugby Club - kirstyc@yahoo.com

Pardon? Blousy?

It's probably worth pointing out that a couple of weeks ago, somebody got killed playing a game of Aussie Rules. Now, I know that Rugby has its fair share of fatalities too, but in my book, any game that involves a bunch of blokes with no protection outside a flimsy pair of shorts and a mouthguard piling on top of each other to try and gain possession of a football is not blousy.

It's also probably worth pointing out that in Rugby League, the new team Melbourne Storm is leading the competition. So any more blouse jokes about Victorians, and me and the lads will be heading up or over to wherever you are Davey mate, to teach you a few things about blouses!

Now NFL - that's blousy! With all that protective gear, they might as well not bother. And those shoulderpads are so eighties!

When will two Melbourne teams play in the AFL grand final? - Graeme, location unknown (but I'm guessing in Melbourne)
Related sites:

The AFL

This will happen as soon as two Melbourne teams are good enough to stop those upstart interstate AFL teams making it to the Grand Final. Unless Melburnians pressure the AFL to kick out all the other teams because they're too good.
Do the majority of Aussies feel that the full cooked chicken thrown at the South African fielder in a recent cricket match was an acceptable use of food? - Steve in California
Related sites:

Nandos

That depends on whether or not:

a) it hit him
b) he ate it

What is your opinion of cricket and cricket in Australia? How popular is it? - Zafar Kazmi
Related sites:
CricInfo (Cricket information, scores, etc)
How popular is cricket in Australia? Put it this way - most of the country today was sporting black armbands, mourning our loss to the West Indies yesterday and subsequent failure to make the finals of the current World Series. Many people joined in that traditional marking of an Australian loss, publicly hitting themselves over the head with their own cricket bats.

It should be noted that the World Series doesn't include the whole world, nor in any year does it include every cricket playing country, but it certainly does include a wider variety of countries than the World Series Baseball in the US seems to include. Call me crazy, but shouldn't a World Series in any sport include teams from more than two countries?

For those of you unfamiliar with cricket, let me summarise. Cricket involves twenty two players in two teams. During each team's innings, an entire team fields, and the other team bats two players at a time. To prevent the batsmen scoring runs, the fielders take up positions around the field with such ludicrous names as Square Leg and Silly Mid On.

The batsmen wear helmets to stop their heads being knocked off by the bits of wood wrapped in leather that the bowlers send their way (after rubbing them on or about their private parts leaving a lovely stain on their trousers), and try to hit the ball to score runs whilst guarding their wicket.

Cricket also involves wicket-keepers, stumps, bails, bats that require a good deal of castor oil to keep in good condition, Leg Before Wicket, googlies, byes, ducks, golden ducks and maiden overs.

So now you know all about cricket. For more information on cricket, try the CricInfo pages.

Is it true you have a holiday for a horse race?
Related sites:
TAB 
Ozracing
Yes, the day of the Melbourne Cup (first Tuesday in November) is a public holiday in Melbourne. Obviously when the legislators looked at making a holiday in November, they thought "what occasions do we have that we could make public holidays... hmm... the 11th, Remembrance Day? Nahhhh... The Cup! Yeah!"

The Melbourne Cup is known as "the race that stops a nation", because, well, basically just about everybody drops what they're doing to watch the race and see if the useless pile of dogmeat they drew in their local sweep or backed at the TAB somehow manages to come in a position other than last. Quite frankly, I wouldn't want to be undergoing surgery at the time.

Actually, all this may be just hype on the part of the Victoria Racing Club. But while the race was running last Tuesday, I looked out into our street, which is normally pretty busy, and not a single vehicle or person was out there. Not a soul. I think even the birds stopped tweeting for the three minutes so they could hear the commentator.

After the race, the country starts up again, as most of the eighteen million population swear and curse for backing <horse x>, instead of the winner.

Why is League IT in NSW and Aussie Rules IT in Victoria? - Dave Barry (no, not THE Dave Barry, just A Dave Barry)
Related sites:
AFL
Good question. Rugby of the Union and League persuasions are the leading football codes in north eastern states, whereas Australian Rules is the leading code in most of the rest of the country, especially Victoria where it started. The two games are, of course, radically different. To summarise:

Aussie Rules involves 36 men in skimpy shorts and shirts and not much else, running around an oval shaped field trying to kick the football through their goals, and prevent the other team from doing the same by using a combination of ingenuity, team-work and physical violence.

Rugby involves 13 or 15 men in slightly less skimpy shorts and jumpers and not much else, running around a rectangular field trying to get the football touched onto the ground at their end of the field, and prevent the other team from doing the same by using a combination of physical violence, team-work and more physical violence.

Aussie Rules also has bizarre things such as ball bounces, goal umpires with flags and raincoats and funny little hats, jumping on other players to catch the ball, and TV promotions featuring George Burns and Desmond Tutu (though not together - I'd like to see that!)

Rugby also has bizarre things such as scrum(mage)s, conversions, that bit where a tackled player kicks the ball behind him a bit like a dog trying to bury a do-do, building little piles of sand to hold the football in place before a conversion, and TV promotions featuring Tina Turner singing "Simply The Best".

Both Rugby and Australian Rules are trying to increase their share of the football market in every state. Aussie Rules probably gained the upper hand when the Sydney Swans got into the Grand Final last year, even if they did lose. (Nyah nyah...)

The one or two Rugby games that have been held in Melbourne have been popular, but probably only because of all the people coming down from Sydney and Brisbane to watch it! It certainly made my tram ride home one night a lot more fun than usual when it was packed with drunken rugby fans heading to the MCG and singing raucously.

"<Incomprehensible>* on the tram! Doo dah! Doo dah!
<Incomprehensible> on the tram! Doo dah doo dah day!"

*But I'm sure they knew what they were singing.

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