Friday, December 28, 2007

Oh Yeah

And I'm getting on a train back to Paris soon, to spend some quality time with Audrey and Dom before I fly out to India tomorrow. So I may go quiet for about a week, not that many people are around to notice.

I'll try to take pictures, but there's no guarantee as to how long my camera battery will last so I may end up having to use stock photography from the internet at this rate. Which could be interesting. Check you later.

Maybe I'm Not Perfect

It's funny, I was intending to rant a bit more since I still don't have my luggage and will be lucky to have it by the time I fly out tomorrow to India. I mean I do think it's a bit ridiculous that it's been 4 days since they supposedly located my luggage at Heathrow, but have yet to call me to say it's in Paris and ask me where I want it sent.

But what is a bit more annoying is the fact that after4 days here, it's becoming apparent that I didn't need any of that luggage. Although I pack rather efficiently for a business trip of a few days, when I'm going on a two week trip in varying climates my policy tends to be to pack EVERYTHING and at least that way, I'm prepared. But really, the fact that I thought I needed several belts and shoes for a few days in the French countryside becomes rather ridiculous when I think about it properly.

Since I've been here I've bought a few things (that I will try to force Air France to reimburse me for) but other than a coat and maybe a couple of outfits in addition to the one I was wearing when I got here (and a few toiletries, obviously), the only other thing I've purchased is a duffel bag to carry all of this crap around for the rest of my trip. And it's not like I'm going to Mars -- I will be able to buy anything else I need at the next stop. Not to mention the added benefit of being able to say "Oh, it's just a little something I picked up in Paris" when someone asks me where I got it. Can't put a price on that.

So this rant is really about myself. Mostly because we all know perfectly well that the next time I'm packing to go somewhere, I will be trying to shove that eighth dress shirt into my suitcase JUST IN CASE. It's not easy being stupid.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Zander La Rock

I've only found about an hour out of my time here to sit around watching music videos and seeing what euro trashy dance music I've been deprived off by choosing to live somewhere other than the mother contintent, but here are a few gems so far:

Mondotek - Alive

The most awesome thing about this song is actually the video. I mean the song is catchy, but the video is BRILLIANT. I just really relate to it...or something. It's like someone made a music video of how I envision my own life.

Yves La Rock - Rise Up

The video is definitely pretty cool, although I actually love the song for this one too. I should mention that I'm a sucker for dance music that involves some sort of reggae or dancehall.

John Dahlback - Blink

I find this song rather generic, but the video is pretty cool. What is this style of dancing called? And where do I go to learn it? Having said that, if I actually saw someone dancing like this anywhere outside of Europe I'd be inclined to throw a bottle of beer at their head.

Sesa featuring Sharon Phillips - Like This Like That

More dance/reggae music (described on the web as ragga-house) that I actually have heard back in Australia, but deserved sharing here.

And of course if I make any other great discoveries during my travels, I'll be sure to spread the word to the people. Enjoy.

So Much For Things Going Smoothly

Hey, remember when I said my trip would only take 37 hours if things went smoothly? Well it took nearly 60. Yes, SIXTY. Let me explain why.

  • The check-in line at Sydney airport for economy looked about 2 hours long. Fortunately I fly so much that even when I'm flying with the poor people, I'm allowed to use the first class check-in counter and hang out in the Business Class lounge. But that didn't make up for what followed.
  • My plane left Sydney almost 4 hours late due to technical problems. Sorry, but even when that shit is fixed, the last thing I needed to hear was "The power on the plane has failed" AND "one of the fuel pumps isn't working". Good thing I'm not a nervous flyer.
  • My plane took an extra hour during the Singapore layover because, once again, "one of the fuel pumps isn't working". Funny how the more tired you get, the less you care about these things.
  • By the time I got to London, I had missed my connection to Paris by about 4 hours. My assumption was that they could stick me on the next flight, but the next one they could confirm me on was on a different airline EIGHT HOURS later. I reluctantly took this, as it was the best offer.
  • But wait -- due to the most ridiculous fog I have ever seen, most flights to Paris were cancelled. Mine was allowed to go -- over 4 hours late. That's over 12 hours in Heathrow. Once again, I was allowed access to the Air France lounge, so the free booze and snacks made me feel a little better, but not much.
  • Many thanks to the Greek quasi-midget I chatted with over dinner at a pub in the airport, and the random fat black American who happened to be stuck in the Air France lounge for far too long as well. I was desperate for company by that point.

Now let me say that I took all of this in stride, with a few low moments, understandably. I finally arrived in Paris over 12 hours later than planned, and realized I would have to spend the night (or at least a few hours) at an airport hotel before I could get on the next train to my mother's house. But just when I had thought to myself "well at least I'm in the right country", the other shoe dropped -- Air France had lost my luggage. I consider this the log that broke the camels back. I filed my lost luggage claim, checked into the crappiest little hotel at the airport, showered and shaved with a cheap plastic razor that makes those disposable Bic razors reek of luxury, and got into bed. And this is when it occurred to me that I might actually cry. I didn't, of course, but I don't think I could have been that far.

Anyway, I promptly headed to my mom's house the next day, and everything has been fantastic since. We went on a 100 Euro shopping spree that Air France will reimburse me for, and apparently my luggage was found at Heathrow and sent to Paris, so I will hopefully be able to pick it up either during my 24 hours in Paris on Friday, or before I fly to India on Saturday for my New Years celebrations. And I feel at least one more rant coming...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Longest. Trip. Ever.

Well folks, for the second year in a row I am about to embark on a journey that, door to door, will take me THIRTY-SEVEN HOURS, assuming all goes smoothly and according to plan.

I'll be exhausted by the time I get to my mother's house in the French countryside, but I clearly remember thinking last year that it was worth it, so I'll just stare at my postcard of the French village I will be in soon and hopefully that will get me through the ordeal. I'll be sure to post in a few days, once I'm at least a little recovered from the jetlag.

Friday, December 21, 2007

So Fired

I just had what might be my winning work moment of 2007, appropriately on our last working day of the year.

Our firm partner isn't in the office today, but left the team a Christmas gift. Around 9.45am, the PA said I should go ahead an open it. I unwrapped it, and it was a snow globe to add to our office collection. "Was" being the key word.

While attempting to remove the snow globe from its packaging, I managed to drop it on my desk, which is now covered in broken glass, glitter, sparking hearts and the odd gelatinous fluid that snow globes are apparently filled with. My entire team is very amused. I had to call the partner and explain the situation, she just laughed through the whole phone call.

This is following a week where on Wednesday, we all went out to lunch to bade farewell to a few colleagues, and by 2.30 I had a coworker telling me I should probably put down the wine. So it should be no surprise that the rest of my day and night included singalongs in taxis, dancing on tables, and repeated threats to show everyone my Mr. Perfect underwear that Sesame gave me as part of my Secret Santa gift.

I am leaving the country just in time...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Overheard At Dinner Last Week

Sesame: God, I can't wait to go to Europe for three weeks.

Murphy: Oh, do you have any plants or anything that need watering?

Sesame: Nope. Well, I do have a fish...but he's a trooper.

-- Nepalese Kitchen

Monday, December 17, 2007

How I Know I'm Getting Old

Because I have barely had anything to drink since Friday's work Christmas party, but I'm still aching and exhausted and dreaming of collapsing into my bed this evening.

Now to be fair, it did end up being an 11 hour drinking binge, including 4 hours of champagne, too much beer to count, dancing, karaoke, and at least a few minutes in a McDonald's, desperately trying to consume something that could possibly absorb the horrendous amounts of alcohol I had foolishly decided to pour down my throat just because I didn't have to pay for it.

Saturday was a simple lunch with the family (and a bottle of wine per person, now that I think about it), and Sunday was a viewing of Bee Movie (cute, amusing, but not on the level of Finding Nemo or anything like that) followed by Top Model at home with Fry, after which I fell asleep watching the Spice Girls Interview Special. I'm cultured like that.

And work so far today has included various stories about Friday's drunken tomfoolery, a donut eating contest (pictures will be posted when available) and we have free drinks upstairs in 10 minutes and I don't even remember why but I'll try to drag myself through a couple of champagnes before heading home. I'm a trooper.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...Betty Ford

This is really a fantastic time of year in Australia. Everyone in the country is still drunk all the time, HOWEVER it becomes even more socially (and even professionally) acceptable, and half of the drinks and meals are free.

Last night was a Christmas and Secret Santa dinner with about 12 friends, which may have been more energetic if half of the people weren't hungover from drinking for two days straight. It probably didn't help that one of the guys had managed to vomit in the middle of a bar the night before, so the fact that he showed up and drank anyway was impressive. And even on a mellow night, me and Murphy were clearly trashed, and Juice managed to be refused service at the bar. And I'm pretty sure we all headed home by 11.

Now I'm about to leave for our work Christmas party, which starts at 1pm and will keep going until we run out of money. I'm in a great mood thanks to plenty of good news about work throughout the week, however I'm also thinking it might be a good idea to leave the festivities before things get too messy and I end up the main topic of conversation in stories that are told on Monday morning.

And not that you care, but the place we're going for our lunch/drinks/disaster was listed in the 100 of the World's Best Bars coffee table book that I gave to Sesame last night. Cause we like to do things in style. And then make it trashy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wind Beneath My Wings

You know, it's very rare that someone can come along and give you new heights to aspire to in terms of being the biggest drunken asshole ON EARTH, but this guy is definitely up there:

I can only dream of being able to frame that sort of a story and hang it on my wall for the rest of my life. This man is amazing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


As is the nature of my job, I sometimes will go through a whole project working with people at my firm that I've never met before because they work in another state.

This recently happened with a relatively brief month-long project, where a Director from Melbourne and I were on the phone with each other several times a day, but we had never met in person.

This week he happened to be in Sydney for some meetings, so me and the main designer on the project went to breakfast with him as his way of thanking us for quite a large amount of stress during those four weeks.

Upon meeting us in the building lobby, his first words to me were "You look how you sound on the phone. LARGE."

Still not sure what I think of that, but the designer definitely almost pissed herself laughing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Starting The Week Right

I met up with a former colleague last night, and we decided to use the logic that if we're both drinking white wine, we may as well get a bottle! Which inevitably results in at least a bottle per person by the end of the night, and I'll go on record as saying that I had more than my fair share. There's a good chance my blood type is officially Sauvignon Blanc. And I'm okay with that.

And now a coworker has just called saying they are by the ice cream shop, and thought to pick me up a chocolate milkshake. And it's 10am. This does not bode well.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Getting A Bit Old For This

As usual, my birthday resulted in many people coming together to get drunk, act like jerks, and apologize to each other the next day.

Because my birthday two years ago was a total wash because I scheduled it for the evening and was far too drunk to actually remember anything (or stand up) by the time, my tactic both last year and this year has been to schedule it as an afternoon event and just see how long I can keep going before it's advised that I head home.

This year it started around 2pm, and from looking at my phone memory, I was most likely home and in bed around 11 that evening.

And so, the highlight reel:
  • I told a small group of friends to get there early so we could do lunch together first, and then I showed up around 45 minutes later. Not like me, but it really wasn't my fault.

  • I was determined to pace myself so I could last longer. Apparently my idea of pacing myself is drinking a coke first, and then heading straight into the beer (and eventually tequila shots) immediately after. Not so effective.

  • My colleague showed up already smashed from a lunch he had been to, and by the end of the night he had physically attacked two of my other party guests for no apparent reason. (He texted to apologize the next morning and I told him not to worry about it. He's English. It's just what they do.)

  • His friend who came with him and managed to give his number to at least 4 of my party guests within a few hours. We're still not sure what his intention was, since he was equally drunk.

Really this is the sort of thing I love about Australia. I can schedule an event for 2pm in the afternoon and people still manage to show up completely hammered.

As for my own drunken stupidity, most people have been polite enough not to tell too many stories. However one of my favorites was how, towards the end of the night, I took the bottle of Absolut Disco that had been given to me as a gift and started to put it in someone's purse, leading to this exchange:

Friend: Zander. What are you doing?

Zander: Putting this away before I lose it.

Friend: Do you know whose purse that is?

Zander: No.

Fortunately, it turned out to be Sesame's purse, and she was kind enough to return it to me the next day when the last thing I wanted to touch was a bottle of alcohol.

Now it's Monday, and we are well into the swing of things in terms of celebrating the holiday season. I've already been to a fantastic free lunch today, where the wine has left me extremely sleepy and rather useless, and this link was just circulated to my office. Yes, that is a woman's body my head is on. I'm over it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Drinkin' Bacardi Like It's Mah Birfday

Yes it's finally that time of year again. When I force everyone with whom I may even have only passing contact to celebrate the day I was born, 28 years ago.

Although I didn't really intend for it to happen, it looks like I may have something of a birthday week panning out. Tonight I will try to take it easy with just drinks and dinner (although considering the drinking is starting at 5 on the dot and dinner starts over 2 hours later, I'm not sure how low-key this will really end up) and there are vague plans for drinks over the next couple of days before my big bash on Saturday afternoon.

Most importantly, I have already taken this chance to solidify the perception that I am a raging narcissistic asshole by sending out the below image with my birthday drinks invite. Go me.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Karma's a Bitch

You know how sometimes you go to a cool laid-back party, and there's that one person who shows up and seems to be determined to impress everyone in stupid ways? (I know what you're thinking, and no it's not me. While I do have the habit of talking about myself a little too much, it's because I genuinely think know that I'm that interesting and funny and surely no one minds.) Well on Saturday, a friend of a friend showed up and did just that. I've hung out with him in a group before, and while he's a bit much, I can't say I minded too much when he insisted on getting the $300 bill himself.

This time, his tactic was to buy $200 bottles of vintage Moet and then insist that everyone else have some while talking about how great and expensive it was and they'd be insane to turn it down. So you can only begin to imagine my glee when one of his own careless hand gestures managed to knock the bottle over and send what must have been a good $70 worth of fine French champagne flying everywhere. Honestly dude, why don't you just tear up some money as an encore?

The rest of the weekend was fun but relatively uneventful, other than the very odd patch of sunburn I managed to get on the right side of my chest from the beach on Sunday. I guess that will teach me to apply my own sunblock while hungover.