It’s the end of the world as we know it.

When I lived in the US, there was a radio show from the Twin Cities that I listened to called Garage Logic. And on this radio show, people rang up occasionally with bizarre things that they saw or heard or read, and the host, Joe Soucheray, would sometimes call these things an “End of the World.” And then he’d play a clip from REM’s song “It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine).” Other times he’d just play the foghorn clip (basically an audible eyeroll).

Yesterday I heard about an almost definite End of the World.

It seems the US Government has banned Vegemite. Seriously. And why? Because it has folate/folic acid added. Which is currently only allowed to be added to breads and cereals. Link here.

Okay, people, basic nutrition lesson coming up. Folate is a B vitamin. The best source of B vitamins in nature is meat. Folate is something they tell pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant to have plenty of because it’s said to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Are they going to start banning meat next because it’s not supposed to have folate? Wouldn’t put it past them. Yeah, I know, it’s only because it’s been added in production, not because it occurs naturally. But really (and this is totally off the point)…adding vitamins & minerals during production takes them out of their natural environment, and in some cases, makes them unabsorbable. Not only that, but in the production of breads and cereals, they take a lot of things OUT of the grains and then add back in a fraction of what was there to begin with.

All that aside though, if folate is such a good thing, then why limit it to only breads and cereals?

Episode Nine

{mosimage}A postie just showed up with an envelope for me from the immigration department. As of Tuesday I have permanent residence.

And there was much rejoicing (yay).

Hey, I can quit my job and sign up for the dole now! 😉 As if….

Episode Eight

{mosimage}Today I submitted all my paperwork for the second stage of my visa application, minus the Australian Federal Police clearance, which hasn’t arrived yet, and could be another week or more. So I’m this close to being a permanent resident.

edit: Guess what was in the mail when I got home…

Episode…um, seven?

{mosimage}Today I received a big yellow envelope with all the forms and instructions for the second half of my visa application. And they only gave us a few weeks to get it all together. No matter though. I figure I can get most of it together in about a week, except for the police clearance, which they said could take six weeks, and the statutory declarations, which are kinda out of my hands since those have to be done by other people.

Anyway…hopefully the police clearance comes in LESS than the 30 days they estimated, and we can submit everything together for once, instead of in three separate bits like last time. And then the ONLY thing I won’t be able to do here is vote. Which is just as well, since I don’t think I’m familiar enough with things here to do so yet.

Things I definitely DON’T miss about living in America, and if I never saw them again, it’d be too soon.

1. The Menards guy. Although I do see his great-nephew every week playing Greg on CSI.

2. Old Navy commercials.

3. Politics. Sure, they have politics in Australia too, but nobody pays attention. At least not to the extent of demanding the resignation of a congressman who said something which, in the right frame of mind, was totally benign, but too many people took it out of context or got offended by it or whatever. In Australian Parliament, politicians call each other some pretty vulgar names, and nobody bats an eye.

4. Walking around at Christmas time and seeing “Merry Christmas” everywhere and not “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” Because apparently there aren’t enough extremists here to get upset by it yet.

5. The tax system. My last US tax return was something like nine pages, including the 2-page 1040A, an application form for Darrin’s Taxpayer ID number, and at least one separate form for reporting foreign income, plus my W-2. My last Australian tax return – which I filled out on THE SAME FORM that every other individual taxpayer in Australia uses – was just the one form, but I was ABLE TO DO IT ONLINE for no additional charge. And I didn’t have to file a state tax return either, because Australia doesn’t do that.

Of rice and men.

I never knew there were so many kinds of rice. Thanks to immigrants from Asia and Italy, in an Australian supermarket, you have long grain white rice, medium grain white rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, arborio rice, brown rice, and possibly others that I haven’t seen yet. I have yet to see a package of rice that simply says “rice.”

In American supermarkets, you see three main types of rice: white rice, brown or wild rice (which are rare enough to group them together) and Minute Rice.

Minute Rice? Yes. Minute Rice. Which bears little resemblance to actual rice, because it’s processed in such a way that you only need to boil it for five minutes and it’s ready to eat. Terribly convenient, easy, quick, and unhealthy. When I lived alone, I loved Minute Rice. I had it once or twice a week. I wouldn’t touch the stuff now even if I was eating rice.