Friday, December 26, 2008

Worst. Christmas. Ever.

I had a lovely Christmas lunch with my family yesterday, and then came home to have a quiet and relaxing evening on the couch watching some of my favorite TV shows. Normally this would have been just fine. However, Santa must have decided I was a very naughty boy in 2008, because for Christmas I got...my first cold sore.

I had always assumed that I was one of those people who just didn't get cold sores. But as it turns out, anyone can get them if you get stressed enough, so I'm assuming this is a result of 12 hour work days followed by dinner and drinks every single night for almost a month.

My family and flatmate have all laughed at me because they claim they wouldn't have noticed it at all if I hadn't gotten ridiculously close to them and pointed it out, however it's really more about the fact that even if no one can see it, I feel like I should have half my face covered a la Phantom of the Opera.

Perhaps I should really put things into perspective and consider all the people who are losing their homes or can't afford to even feed their children this holiday season, but instead I intend to stay inside my apartment and feel sorry for myself until this situation is all cleared up. See you all next year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Cheer

So I had a few people over yesterday for some drinks. The idea was that we'd do something a bit more wholesome, like play games etc., but we just ended up getting drunk and forgetting that part.

To sum up the evening, here's a bit of a countdown of my favorite moments:

5) Ginny looking at the people on the balcony across from us and asking "Are those mops?"

4) Me trying to drink out of an unopened bottle of beer. Repeatedly.

3) Stranger complaining that he wasn't able to find tickets for a music festival in February, and that when he looked online they were only selling tickets for 2009. Um...

2) Me not realizing someone had closed the glass door to my balcony, and walking into it face first.

1) Ginny leaving the party to meet her boyfriend downstairs to go to dinner with him and his parents...and then coming back upstairs because he told her she was too drunk.


I'm sure this just what the baby Jesus had in mind. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for Christmas Eve drinks...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

R.I.P.

While attempting to rearrange my freezer to fit bags of ice in there for my Christmas/Belated B-Day drinks that are starting any moment now, I dropped a half-full bottle of vodka on the floor and it smashed everywhere.

I'm saddened by the loss of booze, which is always a tragedy, however I'm really enjoying the way my apartment now reeks of vodka. It reminds me of Christmas with the family.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's All Relative

I've had a couple of pretty messy nights in the last week or so, but what I love about those nights is that as embarrassed as you might feel for yourself, it only takes one person to tell you about their night for you to feel almost completely vindicated.

Example #1: Saturday Session In Perth

The aftermath of this one included vague memories of the afternoon pub crawl with Chappy and J, plus new friends picked up along the way, and meeting up with Newman to drink an unnecessary amount of his duty free vodka before heading to the club. This was topped off by cuts on my hands, chipped fingernails (I can only assume I took a few falls on the way back to my hotel), and no recollection of how I could have gotten home.

I was rather angry at myself for being so ridiculous, until Newman called -- he didn't know how he got home either, but was at first just happy he had woken up alone in his hotel room. That is, until he got up and found a stranger's underwear in the bathroom, a used condom on the floor, and a note with a phone number on the bedside table, but still no idea who he had brought home. He wins. Or loses, I suppose.

Example #2: Work Christmas Party In Sydney

I got back to Sydney in time to head out on a yacht on the harbour for 4 hours, which involved me telling far too many embarrassing stories about myself, berating at least one colleague, and stumbling out of the bar without saying goodbye.

My personal humilation was quickly trumped the next day by stories of how one of our graduates had woken up in a towel storage closet at the Park Hyatt, and our boss' corporate card in his pocket.

I am basically a saint in comparison, and will just think about them the next time I do something completely retarded (likely to happen within the next 48 hours).

Friday, December 12, 2008

The City That Sleeps

I've been in Perth for around 5 days now, and I'm finding it hard to sum up for people. Yes, it's relatively small (less than 2 million people), but I would still consider it a city. The weird thing about Perth is how you can actually walk down the main strip in the middle of the day with more than a few massive skyscrapers around you, and feel like you're in a ghost town. Very odd. I've actually had this strange feeling every now and then that it's all just a big set being staged for my benefit. Very Truman Show-ish.

There's actually plenty going on, but you have to be shown where it is. More importantly, the weather has been almost flawless, meaning I've been able to spend what little down time I have laying out by the pool and working on getting my tan out of hibernation. And now I'm looking forward to having at least one day at the beach this weekend, followed by a night of drinking myself silly to make up for all the good behavior of the last few weeks. Time to find out how much these small-towners can take.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Business Travel - Not So Glamorous

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted, but I doubt many have noticed considering how sporadic my updates have been lately.

To recap the weekend very quickly, Brisbane was really good, even though it involved me having the most low-key birthday in possibly my entire 29 years. Better yet is my ability to say that even though it definitely included at least 7 hours of drinking. I'm getting there.

Now I'm in Perth in Western Australia, which I believe has the formal title of "Most Isolated City In The World". It's definitely a bit of a tease being in such a beautiful part of the world and on day 3 all I've really seen is the street between my hotel and the client office, one pub, and a McDonald's (as a result of the pub). I have a few friends here so I'm looking forward to seeing more of the area this week and over the weekend, but my new workaholic ways are threatening to put a stop to that. I know. I don't recognize myself either.

And because I'm working so much, I'm also extremely boring at the moment, evidenced by this post. Expect more painfully boring updates until I get back to Sydney in a week and a half, where I then I have 2 weeks of nothing to do other than get drunk, act stupid, and blog about it. I'm excited too.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Other Kind Of "-holic" Is More Fun

For perhaps a month or two each year, I go from being a pointless drain on my company's financial resources to the kind of person I usually make fun of after meeting some friends at a pub well before any of us should even be leaving the office -- a workaholic.

This is that moment in 2008. I've managed to coast through most of the year based on the fact that I was promoted last December (so who do I really need to impress for another year or two?) and that I have already taken over 6 weeks of vacation, which tended to be a good excuse to not accept any significant piece of work since I'd be laying on a beach somewhere on the other side of the world before it was finished anyway.

However it's come up to mid-year review time, and I've found myself with an embarrassingly low productivity rating that would reflect someone who was hired to fill some sort of special needs government quota for companies of a certain size. As luck would have it, in the weeks before offical reviews started, I landed two pretty impressive deals -- one through a personal connection and another one because I was just in the right place at the right time, and both have kicked off in the last few days. As a result, I will be traveling to Brisbane for work tomorrow, and Perth for 2 weeks after that. It also means that I've been working 12 hours days and a few hours on the weekends, and that shows no sign of stopping until around February.

I don't handle stress very well. I get even more self-absorbed, I actually socialize a lot less, I get cranky more often than usual. I also don't sleep well because I wake up at 4 in the morning thinking about all the things I need to do when I get to work, and often have to email myself reminders so that I can stop obsessing about them and go back to sleep. But in the end, I generally do really good work for the few weeks that I actually put any effort into it, and it pays off when it comes time to evaluate my performance.

A lot of people are pretty appalled by this approach. Apart from a clear lack of a general work ethic, I will admit that it's pretty sad to know that I am more than capable of being a truly productive member of my team all the time, but just can't be bothered unless there's something in it for me. In my defense though, by setting the bar so low, just a few weeks of actual work really impresses people and probably gets more attention than the people who are working hard all the time. Cynical, but true.

Also, consider this post an excuse for any lack of attention to the blog over the next couple of weeks, while I pretend I have any idea what I'm talking about on a daily basis. Which I suppose isn't that different from the usual.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I Am Not An Imposter

I haven't really blogged in the last few days because I really didn't have much to report. I achieved a relatively quiet weekend, meaning just a handful of beers on Friday night and not a drop of alchohol on Saturday, even after helping a friend move. Australians are very insistent on moving themselves with the help of friends, which I don't feel like I'd ever witnessed until I moved here. In NYC we tend to just hire some guys with a van and watch from the sidelines, eventually shelling out a couple thousand dollars at the end of it all and just being grateful that we're not movers ourselves.

It also annoys me that Australians refer to moving companies as "removalists". It just seems like an unnecessarily complicated word. Not to mention that it's a bit one-sided, as it ignores the fact that after they've removed the items, they place them in a new location. But I digress.

On Sunday I actually came into work for a couple of hours (please, pick your jaws up off the floor), simply to clear my conscience of the few items that I thought it would make sense to just take care of before the onslaught of client workshops and meetings the next day. Once that was done, I felt more than justified in meeting the Hickster at the Yacht Club for "lunch". There was food, but when it's a few pieces of squid after a bottle of wine and then followed by three more bottles of wine, I'm not sure there's any point in pretending that the focus was on the food.

Nonetheless, I consider this success in terms of achieving a quiet weekend, and my last weekend in Sydney until it's almost Christmas, as I'm off to Brisbane on Friday, spending the weekend there, and then flying to Perth on Sunday to spend a couple of weeks there for work. I fully expect both cities to be thoroughly traumatized by the time I'm done. Stories to follow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Arrrgh Mateys

That subject line actually reminds me of the time I was visiting Australia for the first time around 5 years ago and received an email from Drama with the subject line "Ahoy matey!", as she thought that's what they said to each other here. I had to explain that it was Australia, not Pirate Island, and the term she was trying to think of was "G'day mate". Good times.

But no, this time I use that subject for my post because I actually had a minor operation this morning to remove a small lump from my eyelid. It wasn't particularly noticeable (the proof of that being that I've had it for well over 6 months and almost no one has noticed it until I've pointed it out) but being the vain bastard that I am, I decided to have it removed. As a result I've spent most of today with a ridiculous patch over my eye, which is uncomfortable and about to "accidentally" come loose so I can watch a couple of hours of TV without getting a headache.

Naturally, this has also managed to coincide with the week that I've kicked off two important new projects with two important new clients, so despite being a bit drugged up and unable to see properly, I've spent much of the day sending work emails and on the phone with clients. Considering I have a questionable work ethic at the best of times, I think we can all be sure this won't last long at all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gobble Gobble


My Thanksgiving dinner party went off without any major hitches on Saturday afternoon. People started showing up around 3pm and many didn't leave until after 1am -- and security didn't even shut off my power this time!

Probably my favorite moment of the evening was when my flatmate joined us for a bit, and the Hickster - after around 9 hours of drinking, I should mention - had a conversation that involved her establishing that he was my flatmate (although she had met him at least once before) asking him where he worked about 3 times in 10 minutes, and then asking him where he lived. Smooth.

Not long after finishing the food, we cranked up the music, focused on the drinking, and ended up dancing and singing along to modern classics like "Shoop" and "Drop It Like It's Hot", just like the pilgrims did with the Native Americans back in the day. It feels good to keep the traditions alive.

Also fantastic is how the drunkest friends always the ones who want to keep going. There are two I can think of who could barely talk or stand up by the time they left my apartment, and were demanding to know which bar they should go to in order to continue the festivities. Whatever people, just get out of my house.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Relatively Speaking, One Could Think Of Me As A Teetotaler

I actually haven't had a drink since Tuesday night, when the only reason I was out drinking was because a friend was visiting. And I'm aiming to abstain from (or at least limit my exposure to) alcohol this evening as well, since I'm having some 25 people over to my place tomorrow afternoon for an early Thanksgiving dinner and I can't imagine anything worse than cooking a 15 pound turkey and sides while severely hungover.

In the meantime though, I figured I would share a link to some drinking stories that put most of this blog to shame. It's good to know that there are people out there that make me seem like one of the most conservative and boring party people to grace our kind. I also hope that tonight I dream of booze in fountains and rushing through the streets.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Redemption

So after writing myself off on Thursday and Friday, and then following that up with a booze cruise on the harbour for around 5 hours on Saturday, I was feeling pretty wretched on Sunday morning. Since I wasn't too hungover though, I ended up spending most of Sunday doing the one thing that makes me feel better about being such a useless member of society -- I cleaned like a maniac all afternoon.

I cleaned the stove. I cleared out everything questionable in the fridge. I even mopped and cleaned the balcony, which I've never done before in over a year and a half of being in that apartment, and is possibly one of the more pointless activities I've bothered with lately considering the balcony is like outside and stuff, and will be filthy again with a week or so.

I am now attempting a relatively quiet week in preparation for the massive Thanksgiving dinner I'm hosting at my place this coming Saturday. At which point, it starts all over again. Life is funny that way...

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's All A Blur

Quite literally -- I am having trouble focusing on what is actually displayed on my computer monitors at work. I've found myself in that limbo of hungoverness, where I'm far too hungover to do anything productive at work, but not too hungover that I would be opposed to a few more drinks this afternoon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

That Would Be Unfortunate

Based on a mention of it in a Time magazine article, I checked out http://www.livingto100.com and took the Life Expectancy quiz or whatever to see how long it thought I would live based on my various health habits, or lack thereof.

My result was nothing short of horrifying:

Some of you would be surprised to know that I'm a relatively healthy person. I get exercise, I generally don't eat too badly, try to sleep for close to 8 hours a night, all those sorts of things.

I will also readily admit that I got off easy on the drinking question. As with many of these things, their options for the "How many drinks do you have in one sitting?" question were something like a) 1, b) 2, c) 3+, d) I don't drink. I'm sure it would have shaved at least a decade off of my life if they'd kept going and I'd been forced to select q) 17.

And let's hope so, because I can't imagine anything worse than living past 80 years old -- no offense to my absolutely lovely 96-year old grandmother.

I'd write more, but I have a bar to get to if I'm going to get that life expectancy down. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ah, Right...

Just remembered the other item I meant to add to the previous list...and I will own up to this one. I spent so much time out partying this weekend that on Sunday evening when I got home and ran into my flatmate (that's right, not "roommate", get over it), he actually thought I'd been away for the weekend. Nice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Signs You Had Too Much Fun This Weekend

Had an absolutely huge weekend -- so huge that I'm pretty sure I'm still recovering, as I can't seem to wake up in time to head to the pool in the mornings.

In any case, I would like to add a disclaimer to the following, as not all of them are actually my highlights, but shared between three of us. So without further ado, here are some signs you may have had too much fun this weekend:

1) You claim you're going to have a quiet Friday night, start drinking at 4pm, and head home trashed at 2am thinking you've just managed it.

2) You somehow think it's acceptable to be having a few beers in a bar at 10.30am on a Saturday while waiting for the real drinking to start at lunchtime.

3) Arriving at a cafe for another birthday party after lunch, you sit down to chat with some very sober friends who just happen to be there, and only then realize what a drunken idiot you must sound like, at only 6pm.

4) After meeting a new person, having to sit next to them for a few minutes and realizing you don't like them, you actually signal a big thumbs down to your friend to let them know that the new person sucks. While the new person is still looking at you.

5) You get to an apartment building for a house party, and while waiting for someone to figure out which apartment we need to buzz up to, you turn to your friend and ask him why he can't just let us into his apartment -- and are then informed that it's not his building, which looks nothing like this and is on the other side of the city.

6) While at the house party, you knock a potted plant off the 5th floor balcony -- and are asked to leave the party.



The last one is my favorite, because seriously, who is kicked out of a house party without having started a fight? With one of the hosts? But after 12 hours of celebrating various birthdays, I think it's only fair.

Sadly I think I've forgotten a couple of great moments (go figure!) but if anything comes to mind maybe I'll try to slip it in there without anyone noticing. Haha that made me laugh. Okay, I will stop typing now.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Am I Dead Yet?


Cup Day was the usual madness, and we even ended up at an afterparty to cap off 9 hours of heavy drinking.

And so I woke up feeling awful on Wednesday, but ridiculously excited at the prospect of positive election results. I was stressed and cranky until around 3pm when Obama was announced, and have been completely elated ever since.

Left work early and grabbed a few friends to meet up at the Democrats Abroad party at Slide Lounge, and downed so much champagne that I might actually be part French now.

Alas, the buzz is finally fading, and I think I might die when I get home in just over an hour. Which would be totally worth it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Giddy Up

Apologies if I've used that same subject line in years previous, but it's Melbourne Cup Day here in Australia, so we're all about to leave the office to spend the afternoon drinking and betting on horses.

This year I was the social chair for Cup Day, so they gave me a $1000 budget to play with, and I've booked a room for 25 of us at the Dolphin Hotel, plus food and a few bottles of champagne.

Pictures to follow, I'm sure.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Scary Stuff

Friday night's big Halloween party went off without a hitch, and I was pretty impressed with most of the Australian's effort, considering they're not really used to celebrating.

The only issue was creativity. Not that mine was particularly mind-blowing, but I made the mistake of telling a couple of people that I had decided to be a cop, and thus ended up with about 4 female partners at the party. Some of the numbers:

Police officer: 5
Amy Winehouse: 3
Pirates: 3
Playboy bunnies: 2
She-devils: 2


And I'm probably a little biased since I was the one who forced Juice to get this one, but this was definitely my favorite:


Full album with captions coming shortly.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Call Me Nostradamus

I've decided to go ahead and post my prediction for the Election Day results. I think the vast majority of people at this point are assuming that Obama will win, and I hope with every fiber of my being that it's true.

In the meantime, here is my call on the actual electoral outcome -- let's see how badly I can embarrass myself:


My biggest dilemma was deciding which one would take Ohio, so I am going to assume that racism is alive and well in the Buckeye state and say that they send their electoral votes McCain's way. I was also wondering about Florida, but I'm pretty sure they will manage to fuck up the vote count yet again and some Republican nobody will hijack the state. Probably to no avail. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Unfortunate Events

Well it had been a few months since I'd had a truly embarrassing drunken moment (I think we can all agree I've been relatively well-behaved lately) so I suppose it was overdue.

On Friday, as mentioned, we had our work quarterly event. Someone who was definitely not me thought that 80's tennis was a great theme. Might have worked out better for some if we hadn't started drinking before the tournament. My doubles partner and I made it to the Grand Final (with little to no help from me) only for me to choke and us to lose the game. Other highlights:

1) Accidentally telling my boss to "fuck off" in the middle of a conversation. It wasn't in a mean way, just one of those moments where you say something really casually and there are major consequences for your career as a result. You know how it is.

2) Falling on the ground (because a colleague had decided to jump on me) and my boss telling me that I am a "sad, pathetic man". Bitter much?

3) Losing my bottle of wine at the club at least twice. It was like an easter egg hunt for alcoholics.

4) Dragging around 10 people to a friend's apartment across the street from the club, and partying very loudly and drunkenly there until close to 2am. Casualties seem to include a few wine glasses and a clothes hamper. And one of my coworkers claims to have a bruise on his arm because I fell on him at one point. Score.


Needless to say, I only left my apartment on Saturday in order to rent a DVD that I could watch while eating the pizza I ordered. I backed it up on Sunday with a few bottles of wine, but decided it was time to go home when I looked at my hand and it was bleeding. WTF. Not my weekend.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Back At Square One

I've actually had a relatively quiet week. There was most likely a little too much wine at the Night Noodle Markets on Tuesday night (after wine and a shot at lunch), but I was functional on Wednesday and haven't had a drink since.

And so tonight promises to be a glorious disaster. We are leaving the office at 2pm and heading to some tennis courts for our work quarterly event, the theme of which today is "Wimbledon '82" -- so we will basically dress up like assholes (my head and wristbands are ready to go, and I already see some wigs in the office), pretend we can play tennis (I believe 4 out of 25 people have played in the last year, if ever), and then focus very hard on getting obliterated on the company's dime.


Have I mentioned I love Australia?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It Shouldn't Be That Hard

*Please forgive any grammar or spelling mistakes, I am sitting in my office at 2pm on a Tuesday smelling like white wine and sour apple schnappes.

As I'm sure I've mentioned here, I'm throwing a huge Halloween bash on the 31st. I've booked out a couple of spaces at a fun bar with a DJ, costumes have been delivered, and we are in the process of selecting which food we want served.

However what's been causing me the most grief over the last couple of days is determining a Halloween cocktail that I want added to the drinks menu that night. All I want is something green (I think red or orange is too common, and black is too difficult) that isn't too hard for the bartenders to make and tastes half decent, but all I can find is ghetto websites with extremely complicated suggestions. Surely we can just throw some vodka, tonic water, and midori in a glass and give it a cheesy Halloween name?

I love that typing this post is what helped me come up with that. Name suggestions are still welcome, though. Maybe a "Witches Tit"?

Monday, October 20, 2008

The End Of The Blog?

No, not really. Although I am feeling rather lonely these days since most of my blogging compatriots seem to have abandoned their sites. But no, I posed that question because I just had possibly the quietest weekend I've had in longer than I can remember.

I did have a few drinks on Friday night, but didn't have a drop of alcohol on Saturday, which is easily my biggest accomplishment. Sunday included a few glasses of champagne in the park in the afternoon, but still ended with me laying on my couch, almost completely sober.

I'm pretty excited that I finally managed to have the quiet weekend I've been trying to have since I got back from my ridiculous trip. Mostly because I feel like I've earned some of the messy weekends that I know I have coming up in the near future. I've even just planned a minor surgery around my upcoming drinking schedule. More details on that to follow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Website of the Month

Yesterday I mailed in my absentee ballot, I think it goes without saying that I am voting for Obama/Biden. I would make more political commentary on here, but I find the whole situation so shocking and upsetting that I'm afraid it would turn into an insane rant.

As it is, I will just leave you with this fantastic website to play around with -- click around the room for laughs:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Older or Dumber?

I was trying to decide which of those resulted in me ending up totally trashed and in bed before midnight on both Friday and Saturday. I'm guessing it was the latter. I love how after 3 years of Fridays in this country, I still say "I can just eat at the end of the night, don't want to ruin my buzz", and quickly find myself unable to see or walk and desperate for a taxi home.

Saturday was the most ridiculous -- after breakfast and meeting a couple of friends (who were both still drunk from the night before, I should mention) at the Costume Shop in preparation for my Halloween party, we decided it couldn't hurt to head back to my place and drink a couple of beers on the balcony. At 1pm.

It would have been bad enough that we were blasting music and singing along by 7pm, but that was all topped off by security actually SHUTTING OFF POWER TO MY APARTMENT to make it all stop. Yeah, for reals.

So I guess that's a new low, considering it's not like it was the middle of the night or anything, so we must have been REALLY loud. I barely remember that stage of the evening to be honest.

The plus side of getting wasted and passing out so early is that you wake up the next day feeling pretty good and ready for more, or at least a lazy afternoon on the beach like yesterday. Now if I can just stay away from the booze for a few days...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Party Foul

Earlier this year, I realized that Halloween actually fell on a Friday this year. Australians don't really celebrate anywhere near the same way that we do back in the U.S., and since it's easily one of my favorite holidays, I decided I would throw a party with my friend Jules and show the Aussies how it's done.

So I booked the biggest room at one of my favorite bars in Sydney, and even had a designer at work create an invite for me to email out:


And as I always do, I wrote up a long email to set the scene and get people interested in the party, and emailed it out last week. I also decided to create it as a Facebook event, since I actually don't have email addresses for a lot of friends.

So you can imagine my shock when I caught up with Busty on Saturday for some drinks, and she asked me if I had found my Halloween invitation text on the internet. When I asked why she would think that, she told me that she had actually received almost the exact same invitation on Facebook from a different friend a day after she had received and accepted mine.

That's right -- her friend saw my invite on Facebook, COPIED AND PASTED the text over to her own invite, and after some minor changes (including location and date, of course) sent it out to all of her friends. Naturally I had a few questions:

1) Who does that?!

2) If you are going to do something that tacky and unoriginal, wouldn't you at least NOT invite the person who received my invite the previous day?

3) WHO DOES THAT?!!


I immediately had Busty text message this chick to let her know that I thought she was a thief. Most people have told me that I should be flattered, but I think I'm more bothered by the fact that others might see my invite and think that it was ME who was being unoriginal. As if.

The thief (who I feel I should mention is Canadian - figures) has since admitted to stealing my invite, and said I should come to her party, which I think I find even more insulting. I have passed along my own invitation to her, saying she should come to my party as "a Plagiarist", and I will be more than happy to have a shirt waiting for her with "COPY" on the front and "PASTE" on the back.

Loser.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Weight Watchers, Here I Come!

I'm a little disappointed in myself for not blogging for an entire week -- I think I posted more often during my hectic trip around the world. If I have any excuse at all (and trust me, I know this is a flimsy one) I was drunk Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday AND Sunday nights, and Monday night was much needed recovery before I went to a dinner party last night and once again consumed far too much wine.

Which all ties pretty neatly into something I'm trying to make a focus at the moment, and that's my health. After a month of traveling around the world, getting little to no exercise (unless you include dancing the night away in a trashy club, I don't), and eating complete and utter crap, I arrived back in Sydney feeling pretty disgusting. Not that I've ever been the epitome of healthy living, but in the last couple of years I've tended to balance out the bad drinking and eating habits with at least a few healthy things like swimming and the occasional multi-vitamin.

So now I need to focus. And here are the three rules I am trying to set for myself at the moment:

1) Exercise more. It's not that hard for me -- when I first started swimming in the mornings early last year, I did it every single day including weekends. In the past 6 months that's tapered off to around every other day, but that's still not too bad. And considering I'm one of the few people who seems to even look forward to waking up at 6am to jump into a pool that's not nearly heated enough, the prospects on this one look good. Especially when I wake up in the morning and see a fatty staring back at me.

2) Eat less. Probably the most obvious one for most people, but consider that I'm one of those people who has never had to think about what he eats. So my new rules around eating are that lunch needs only consist of one serving (one burrito will suffice, I don't need two quesadillas to go with it), and the afternoon trips to McDonald's to "hold me over until dinner" are completely unnecessary. And if I feel any hunger pains, I can think of that as what it feels like to get skinnier. I learned that one from an actual anorexic.

3) Drink less. So this is the trickiest one. Not only because I am a really social person who finds it hard to turn down an invitation to drinks (and please don't make the ridiculous suggestion that I should go to a bar but not drink, it ain't gonna happen), but mostly because it completely screws me over for the first two rules. Generally I drink for a few hours after work, and then get something ridiculously unhealthy on the way home, which is the only way to soften the blow of the hangover the next morning, which still isn't enough to make me feel like going swimming when I wake up.


Notice none of this refers to any proper diet or detox. I find it amazing that people still do those things even though any doctor, medical study, or person with an ounce of common sense could tell you that cutting anything out of your life completely for some time, only to start up again weeks or months later, probably just reduces your body's ability to process it, and makes you feel even worse in the long run.

So this week, I've turned over a new leaf. Since last night was a dinner party with a family friend, I have excused the few glasses of wine. I was just being polite. Otherwise, I am going to attempt to limit my drinking to 3 nights a week, and I will also aim to drink less beer, since I think it's no coincidence that my general weight gain started to happen around the time I moved to Australia and started drinking beer for many hours at a time, several times a week.

We'll see how I go -- I'm not actually fat (although the bitchier people in my life would tend to disagree), so it's just about feeling a bit better and if I lose a little of the chubbiness in my face and also regain something that could at least resemble abdominal muscles in certain light, then I'll be more than happy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Easing Back Into It

Well folks, I'm back in Sydney. By the end of my trip, all I really wanted was to just get back here and return to my life, since I think a month is kind of a long time to be away from it all. Not that I've had that much to come back to in terms of work, especially. Sure a couple more people have resigned, including my arch-nemesis, which I've found strangely unsatisfactory, since I love having enemies. But other than that the only real exciting development has been a huge new monitor to hook up to my existing work computer, which means I can read my Gmail and check my Facebook account at the same time. Yes, really.

In the meantime, I should probably get to work on the rest of my photos from the big trip, although I have a new favorite photo ever of myself that Emla was kind enough to send through -- HOT STUFF. I think the extra chromosome really brings out my eyes.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Still Globetrotting

My ridiculous journey is almost over, which I'm more than grateful for. As much as I love travel and adventure, I've discovered that jetsetting from one country to another for an entire 4 weeks can actually get kind of old. Not to mention expensive and exhausting.

Clearly I had to put my blogging duties on the backburner for a couple of weeks while I continued my attempt to hang out with everyone I've ever known around the world within a short month, but hopefully things will get back to normal when I'm back in Sydney next week.

I'm not even sure if I should bother telling any of the random stories here, since I will hopefully document them well enough in my photo album. I will however say that a highlight of the last couple of weeks was spending some time with my 96-year old grandmother in Yorkshire for a few days, which was the first time I'd seen her in 3 years. I can't even begin to tell people how immensely proud I am of my genetic heritage from a woman who consistently tells us how blind she is, and yet is more than capable of rattling off a quick list of who in the family needs to lose some weight, including those who have recently given birth. Bless.

Anyway, I got into San Francisco last night, so I'm going to spend today relaxing by the pool and/or napping, followed by a few drinks tonight, and perhaps a little sightseeing in the city tomorrow if I feel so inclined (which I very well might not, after the last few weeks). Here's hoping I at least catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Monday, September 15, 2008

When I Grow Up

The trip continues, and as exhausted and hungover as I increasingly find myself each day along the way, it's all been far too good a time to want it to be over quite yet. (I may have a very different opinion in a week's time).

Either way, Paris ended up being a blast, not least because we met up with Vix and let her show us her version of a good night out, which was surprisingly similar to our usual, except that innocent bystanders would have not understood quite how obnoxious we were being if they didn't speak English.

I still don't have enough time to blog properly, but here's a taste of the evening with a couple of selected photos:



Friday, September 12, 2008

...For All The Bitches Out There...

I'm about to head to Paris for the night, and then London tomorrow (hopefully), however I couldn't leave the continent without providing some new euro trash for you to snack on.

The clear gem of the collection this trip is by someone calling herself "Discobitch". We're still not sure where she's from, as she 'sings' in both French and English extremely poorly, but between the trashy video and the retarded but catchy dance track, we are in heaven:
Other winners include the latest from Mylene Farmer (decent track but brilliant video) and the new one from Eric Prydz, which has a great beat but wins extra points for inaccuracy and insensitivity regarding the Native American culture.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

No Respect

Well I'm currently in France, mostly relaxing, and drinking enough that I would normally consider it partying, but in a civilized manner and with cheese that somehow means we're just being really sophisticated.

Nothing much to report, although we do have some great pictures already that will be posted at some point. Amsterdam was a blast, and as seen in this photo that recently surfaced, I still have no respect for even the most sacred of cermonies and cultures...but I'm not the only one:

More to come eventually, if i can drag myself away from the French wine and Russian vodka...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Seriously? Did You Say That?

Still loving my holiday, and Sri Lanka was amazing. Between great food, playing with elephants, and getting some serious sun by the pool, there's not much to complain about.

But as always, I can think of something. The first night in Sri Lanka, Emla and Presto decided they were going to have a big night. I was exhausted from the travel and the jetlag, and shuffled off to bed around midnight. The two of them, on the other hand, decided to keep going until around 6 in the morning. And they still managed to meet me for breakfast at 9.30am. Impressive.

Emla put on a good face, but by the afternoon she was feeling ill. That's expected, of course. What annoyed me, however, was that she committed one of my top alcohol-related crimes -- at one point during her suffering, she actually said "Ugh...maybe it was something I ate."

Um, no. I'm guessing it's more likely it was one of the 1) 8 pints of beer you drank, 2) 6 glasses of whisky, or 3) 5 hours of sleep you didn't get. To suggest it might have been "something [you] ate" is almost an insult to the very power of alcohol, and I personally won't stand for it.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

2-minute Review of Singapore

I flew in around midnight, went straight to my hotel. Overslept, cutting into the time I had planned to use to take a stroll around the city. Was about to finish breakfast when I saw that they were setting up an omelette station, so weighed seeing a new city against my new option, and chose to wait for an omelette. Yes, really.

But from my 5 minute walk around the block, it's officially the only clean and orderly Asian city I've been to, and the absolute lack of poor people in public makes me want to considering moving here in my later years.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Another quick one, since my flight doesn't board for a few minutes -- I was sleeping on the flight from Sydney to Singapore when I woke up to the sound of an arguably male flight attendant yelling "Miss! Miss! Are you okay?! Miss! Are you okay?!". Guessing from the fact that the woman in question was sprawled out unconcious on the floor, I'm guessing the answer to that was probably "no", had she been in any condition to answer.

The whole situation annoyed me for several reasons. First, can't a brotha get some sleep on a long haul flight? Second, the flight attendant's voice. I can't stand Asian accents (call me racist, I don't care) and overly flamboyant gay voice isn't acceptable. The combination, and at a loud volume, was aggravating at best. And finally, I don't believe in fainting. It's the kind of thing that happens in movies. Or to overly dramatic people who want some attention. I'm guessing her husband was more interested in the latest Cameron Diaz movie than talking to her, so she decided to put on a show. Whatever, lady.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Here I Go Again...

So it's the day I leave on my month long trip around the world. For those who didn't already know, the itinerary includes:
  • Singapore
  • Kandy, Sri Lanka
  • Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Chennai, India
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Brittany, France
  • Paris, France
  • London, UK
  • Yorkshire, UK
  • NYC, USA
  • SF, USA

...and then back to Sydney.

My flight is in a few hours, so naturally I have not only failed to finish my laundry and pack, but I haven't even bought the suitcase I want so that I can travel in a little more style. This all occurred to me yesterday, but I still decided to spend my entire evening in a bar throwing myself farewell drinks instead of taking care of any of that.

Gonna head off and do it all that now, but if I'm quiet for a few days or even a couple of weeks, there's my excuse.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So Much For Professionalism

As much of a douche bag as I can generally be when I'm out partying, I tend to tone it down just a touch when I'm with work people, believe it or not. Make no mistake, I am still completely offensive and most people would never say half of the things that come out of my mouth if they were in professional company, but I'm nowhere near as bad as we all know I can be.

I continued to behave on Friday night when I was in Melbourne and drinking with a few people from our Sydney and Melbourne offices. We'd been in a boring workshop all day, and needed to let off a bit of steam. For me, this meant having a few cocktails and telling a racist joke or two. For one of my Melbourne colleagues, this meant she should get completely sloshed, spend half the night insisting that she is my new best friend, and then get frisky in a bathroom with the friend of one of our other coworkers.

This was the conversation that we endured in a taxi going from bar #2 to bar #3:

Melbourne colleague: Oh my god, he was so hot. And such a good kisser.

Zander & other coworker: Uh huh.

Melbourne colleague: And you would not believe how quickly he got my shirt off in the bathroom. I didn't even know what had happened!

Zander & other colleague: Nice.

Melbourne colleague (to cab driver): Oh my god, I'm not offending you am I? I don't want to, like, offend your culture and stuff.

[cab driver remains silent, probably calling on Allah to strike her down in a fit of rage]


To her credit, she did drink and dance with us until almost 3am without dinner, around which time we left her standing on a curb with her love interest for the night while we headed back to our hotel room to die a slow and painful death. Needless to say, I thought she was fantastic and can't wait to hang out with her again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Exhibit A

Some photos have surfaced from Thursday night's fashion party thingy. Conclusion: I am still an asshole.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

On A Roll

I had told myself I would take it easy in the final stretch to my world tour, however it is now Thursday, I am about to head out for another fashion week party that will be my third night of drinking in a row.

This is all sure to be something I will regret tomorrow morning at 7:30am when I'm boarding a flight to Melbourne to sit in a workshop for 6 hours, only to drink even more once the sun shows any sign of going down, and come back on Saturday feeling even worse...and just in time to meet friends at a pub.

I'd ask someone to knock some sense into me, but I'm having way too much fun.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Surely There's An Award For This Sort Of Thing

Just wanted to share my shining moment from the weekend -- on my "quiet night", Saturday, I was at a club around 2am, talking to some friends at the bar. I was so consumed by my own hilarious story that I didn't see the guy walking behind me with a tray full of drinks, and definitely knocked all of them over, although he did manage to save something resembling a rum and coke that ended up swimming in cheap beer.

You'd think they would have banned me from the more popular nightspots by now...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Night With The D-List

After being so well behaved for the beginning of the week, I decided I had earned a few drinks by Wednesday night. The event I had been invited to didn't start until 6.30, and so I harangued a few colleagues into killing some time at a bar near work with me. None of them had really wanted to come, and I promised to let them leave after 2 drinks, so considering I left before 7pm, I was surprised to hear that two of them ended up partying until after midnight, and now blame me for leading them astray. Pussies.

Anyway, the highlight of the night was a fashion week party at Cargo Lounge. I had primarily wanted to go because there were free drinks, and the host is one of the main personalities on Australia's Next Top Model, so I'd hoped they would be filming the new season of the show at the same time, and maybe we'd get to see some of the new girls trip and fall off the runway.

The result was even better -- I spent the night surrounded by girls from the last couple of seasons of the show. I also may have dropped and broken a champagne glass on one of their feet while talking to her, but considering I think she's weird and alien looking (the one on the right in the image below) and never should have gotten her own show, I actually didn't feel that bad.


The night ended with me sharing a taxi back home with a couple of very drunk Irish people who I'd met at the party and happened to live on my street. I may have plans to attend their BBQ on the weekend, as they've texted me already. If only I could remember their names.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Can't Wait To See The Wedding Photos

I'm only reinforcing my official Bitch status with this one, but when I got this in the mail last week I simply had to take pictures and email them to various people around the world, and now I've decided to blog about it as well, because this sort of tackiness can't just slip under the radar.

After some 10 years or so of doing as close to nothing as should be possible if not an actual paraplegic, my lovely cousin in Jamaica has decided to get married. It makes sense, considering getting married and squirting out babies has been a chosen method of legitimizing women doing nothing for centuries. (I'm only kidding ladies, don't get all feminist on me now.)

Anyway, regardless of how much free time a girl might have to come up with unnecessary wedding expenditures, I still don't consider it an excuse for this:



In case you are blinded by the cheap gold packaging (it took me a few minutes to process what I was seeing as well), it actually opened up to contain a plastic scroll with the wedding details on it. I assume that's some sort of reference to religion, since the original wedding announcement kept saying something about how they met through God, which is pretty much the opposite of how I ever meet any romantic interest, unless by "God" they actually mean "a bottle of Grey Goose and a case of beer", in which case I am so on the same page. Or should I say scroll.

Reactions to these photos have ranged from sheer disgust to giddy and emphatic insistence that I attend the wedding and take photos because "if this is the invitation, can you imagine how awful everything else about the wedding is going to be?!" Needless to say, they will be lucky if I purchase half a set of coasters off the registry.

I'll probably go to hell for this blog post, but I figure I'll write it anyway based on the fact that:
  1. Nothing that interesting really happened to me this weekend (other than a friend getting kicked out of a club after we drank about 3 bottles of wine - who could have seen that coming)
  2. I don't think anyone in my Jamaican family reads this blog
  3. Going to hell would probably still be a better option that actually going to this wedding.

Friday, August 08, 2008

I Would Never Wear Those Shoes

Well there have been more updates on my antics from Saturday night, a.k.a the greatest night of my life that I don't remember (the highlight being that I apparently got an entire birthday party of 25 people kicked out of a bar where we had a reserved area...something about "strip dancing"), but I've decided not to dwell on such things as they're all in the past.

Instead, just thought I would share a quick announcement that Google Maps has finally started up the Street View feature for Australia this week, and we are already able to appreciate the subtle nuances of the Australian lifestyle:


I should probably be a little more concerned by the fact that when I sent this out, every single person to respond asked "Is that you??", but once again, I won't dwell on such things. Everyone have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Facebook Message Of The Week

"Hey Zander! Really great to meet you on Saturday night. Never met anyone who knew all the words to every R&B song ever haha. How did you end up? Trashed I hope."


What my new BFF here doesn't seem to realize is that was already trashed beyond belief by the time I got to my second party of the night, and even after looking through as many Facebook photos as I could find, I still don't think I could recognize this person or anyone else from that evening with a gun to my head.

Monday, August 04, 2008

It All Evens Out

After having such a ridiculous Thursday night, I forced myself to head home after only 4 beers on Friday night, even though I had gotten a second wind and probably could have kept going. Being at home on a Friday night still utterly depresses me, but the knowledge that I would be starting early on Saturday helped me hold on.

And Saturday did not disappoint. I met up with Marina to stop by the bottle shop and head to a BBQ in Paddington, where the host was serving the most dangerous sangria I think I've ever encountered. Despite tasting like fruit punch, it apparently contained red wine, vodka, rum, tequila, and banana liqueur, and after about two glasses I was already light-headed.

I don't remember much beyond that -- I stopped into a friend's place for a glass of wine, and then headed to someone else's birthday at a bar, before we all went to his place and danced and acted like dickheads until a time in the morning I would be hard-pressed to identify. I also have a vague recollection of chugging white wine directly from a bottle, but since there are no photographs to prove it (just yet), I might just pretend it never happened.

I didn't leave my apartment on Sunday, and 94% of my time was spent laying on the couch and ignoring phone calls. And after about 12 hours of sleep, I'm feeling quite fresh again, and considering stopping in for "just a couple" with Busty this evening. It's all about the rebound.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Signs You're In For A Painful Hangover

  • The bar you're in has a Thursday night special that gets you a meal and a 40 oz beer for $10
  • None of the wait staff blinks (or even hesitates) when you order your 7th bottle of wine or champagne, even though you can barely hold yourself up at the bar
  • In a room of 200 people, you and your friends are the only ones dancing...wildly
  • You wake up with a woman's change purse in your coat
  • The following mementos are in your pocket:

For the love of god, someone let this day be over. I can barely see the computer monitor anyway.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Money, Cash, Hoes

This is purely a post to gloat about the fact that I went and got my taxes done the other day, and while hoping for a return around the 5k mark, it actually came in at about $7,000. I tried to conceal my glee from the accountant who gave me this fortuitous news, however I have never come so close to dry humping someone whose name I couldn't have remembered with a gun to my head.*

It doesn't actually leave me with a ton of cash to play with, but at least it spares me the image of myself begging for spare change in the office so that I can afford lunch when I get back from my month-long vacation..

*This statement is an absolute lie.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shut Up And Die

Okay, I think I need to make a confession. One that may make me somewhat unpopular here on the interweb. But I have to say it -- I can't stand Rihanna. That's right -- despite the fact that the entire world has been sucking at her teet for every single bit of pop crap that might dribble out, I just want to punch her in the face.

This confession was so much harder to publish after being intimidated a few weeks back by Cristin's "Ode To Rihanna", as I like to call it. That is easily one of my least favorite Rihanna songs (I have tried several times to listen to it the whole way through and simply can't do it) and yet there it is, at the top of the charts, along with everything else she even farts on.

I even had so much trouble attempting to find a truly bad picture of this girl that I had to settle for a doctored one that mocks a facial flaw so obvious (her "fivehead") that it seems pointless to even mention it. Either there is a team of chimps that has been trained by DefJam Records to constantly prowl the internet for unattractive photos of Rihanna and somehow remove them, or she actually looks that good all the time. How irritating.

I didn't always harbour such a dislike for her -- I absolutely loved "Pon De Replay", her first song, even when it seemed like it was destined to be a one-hit wonder. And anyone who claims they didn't think "S.O.S. (Rescue Me)" was a fantastic party song is most likely a terrible liar, and at least this I know Cristin would probably agree with.

But then came a few painful songs, including the absolutely awful "Unfaithful". I generally think that any song I know I could improve upon must be complete crap, and the vocals a recording of someone murdering an old cat. And most importantly, I saw Rihanna in concert -- for someone who was just establishing herself as an artist, I was pretty sure she could have made a little more of an effort to a) sing live and b) at least PRETEND to be somewhat humble, a.k.a. not look at everyone around her, including the audience, like we were a stale collection of turds.

I also think everything from this new album is kind of generic crap, including "Umbrella" (annoying), "Shut Up And Drive" (painfully stupid), "Take A Bow" (whiny), and that song with Ne-Yo which sounds like every other song that Ne-Yo has ever done. I almost wanted to like "Don't Stop The Music", and might have succeeded if it weren't for the already unoriginal and overused "mama say mama sa mama coo sa" which makes me want to slap various songwriters silly.

And so, you can imagine my annoyance this week when I realized that I might genuinely like her new one "Disturbia". I still have no idea what she's talking about and I'm afraid to look up the lyrics in fear of suddenly hating it, but it now resides on my current iPod playlist, and will remain there until I either get tired of it or find a reason to despise it along with everything else she's done lately.

Rant over.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Half The Man I Used To Be

This weekend was really just another reminder of how old I'm getting.

I made sure to take Thursday night off from drinking, as I knew I had a lot going on Friday and Saturday.

Friday night I started drinking in the office, per usual, and then went to dinner with my colleagues before a bunch of us headed to a small agency party with both free beer and an intimate acoustic performance from Faker, who is currently one of the more popular Aussie bands on the charts.

Not one to be starstruck, I generally talked and acted like a dick throughout the entire set. This included a clapping competition with a coworker, arguing with the coworker over if the lead singer was checking me or him out (most of the band is gay), and when they got ready to perform their biggest hit and everyone else clapped and cheered, I decided to yell out "NEVER HEARD OF IT!" even though it had been stuck in my head all day.

This was followed by drinks at a bar and then dancing at a club, where around 2am I decided 10 hours of drinking was just about enough, and I grabbed some pizza and headed home.

And thus, I ended up feeling absolutely horrible on Saturday morning, but had already committed to start drinking at lunch. I lasted around 10 hours, but come midnight at my former flatmate's 30th, I hit a wall (no, not literally) and couldn't even imagine drinking more beer or even having to talk to my friends anymore, and I went home.

This just reminds me of the days when we were all 22 and could party all night and then go to work with barely any sleep and look and feel pretty close to fine. Now I can't even go to 2am without whining about it for 3 days. Somebody euthanize me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Must Be Funny, In A Rich Man's World

I had hoped to have a relatively quiet weekend, but I suppose it goes without saying that I didn't manage to do anything of the sort. There was one birthday and 4 bars on Friday night (according to reliable sources), a dinner party and then birthday drinks on Saturday night, and more birthday drinks on Sunday.

As I walked home on Sunday, I felt like I finally had just a glimmer of understanding of how a fat person's mind must work. Despite telling myself that once Belle left Australia, I was going to go on a financial diet, I either found excuses to spend unnecessarily, or simply got too drunk to care. And there's the feeling that once you've started, you may as well keep going. Minus some $400 later, all I was left with was the shame and disgust. With the prospect of 3 more friends celebrating their birthdays this weekend (clearly October is a popular time for old people to decide they want babies), I doubt my ATM card will go unused for more than a few hours at a time.

I've never been one to be overly concerned with money. There always seems to be enough there, and although I haven't checked it since I moved to Australia, I imagine that my credit rating is close to perfect.

However, the last few months have been excessive, even for me. I was spending large for the first half of the year, even though I managed to avoid international travel until June, which is usually where most of my money seems to go.

And then, it was June. Between airfare, shopping, drinking, eating, taxis, and whatever else, I imagine that I spent around $4000 on 10 days in NYC. A couple of weeks later, Belle arrived in Sydney, and apart from taking her to some of my favorite bars and restaurants in a desperate (but successful) attempt to impress her with Sydney, we also took a few days to fly up to Port Douglas, which would have cost me another $1500 or so.

In what I wish was my last act of idiotic spending for the year, I spent almost $4500 on a round-the-world ticket for 4 weeks in September, two of which I am required to take without pay. And over the next couple of weeks I will have to buy one more flight, plus 4 sets of train tickets. This doesn't include the hotels for Sri Lanka and India, the car rental in the UK, and of course all of the shopping, eating, and drinking in all 6 or so countries I currently plan to visit. It's safe to say that I will be returning from this trip completely destitute and unable to carry on my life in any recognizable fashion.

Fortunately, fate has stepped in and given me a few helping hands. Earlier this month, I received a check for about $600 from my insurance company, because they've been purchased by some other company. I don't really understand how that entitles me to anything, but I was happy to deposit it into my account.

And then a few days ago, I actually received a $300 stimulus check from the US government, despite the fact that I haven't lived there for almost 3 years now, and haven't paid any tax as a result.

Combined with my recent raise and a hopefully similar Australian tax refund to last year of around $5000 or so, I can only pray that I can keep my head above water long enough to learn how to budget starting some time in October.

In the meantime...can you help a brotha out? (PayPal account for donations will be set up shortly.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's Never Too Late...

I absolutely love to read. Unfortunately, it also takes me an extraordinarily long time to read any book.

I have plenty of excuses for this. I'm not actually a slow reader by any means, however the amount of time I manage to devote to reading is embarrassingly tiny. If I'm at home, I find it hard to sit down and read a book when the TV and internet are right there, and I often try to read a bit before I fall asleep at night, but I generally last about 2 paragraphs before I can literally do nothing to keep my eyes open any longer.

This means that the only time I read is on the bus. And only in the mornings, because my brain tends to shut down around 4pm and becomes available exclusively for insulting people and talking about myself (and then only with constant infusions of cheap Australian beer). To add to the pressure of completing an actual book, I also have to read my Time magazine each week. And so, this person who "loves to read" ends up spending 30 minutes a week reading, at most. (The actual amount of time reading might actually be less considering I have an unstoppable need to check out and evaluate each and every person who gets on the bus, rather blatantly as well.)

Given all of the above, I should have foreseen issues when I started to read The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Even if the book wasn't heading for 700 pages long with tiny font, I had been told by several people that it was "such a good book, but the first 500 pages are kinda boring".

I started reading this book in April. So when I found myself still trying to make my way through the same book in early July, I started to get a very real complex about the people on my bus route actually thinking I was mentally disabled. Granted, I'm pretty sure most of them seem to be satisfied with staring at a pole each and every morning, and have probably never even attempted to read anything more complex than Famous Weekly, but that did nothing to make me feel better.

And so, the reason for this rambling blog post is that I am oh so proud to announce that after a concerted effort during my few days in Port Douglas, I have actually finished The Blind Assassin. At this point I don't even care if it was good (I suppose I found it entertaining overall, although I had determined all of the supposed "twists" when I was still in the first boring 500 pages), but it's no longer my mark of shame in the mornings and I'm not sure any words can describe my sense of relief.

As a mental break, I've now started reading the latest from David Sedaris, which I am sure I will not only find amusing, but will probably be a very light effort in the reading department. Now I only have to worry about laughing to myself at 8am in the morning, and I will take insane over retarded any day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Really, He's Just Another Creepy Guy In A Hat

I am thoroughly annoyed these last few days, mostly due to the "celebration" of World Youth Day here in Sydney all week. I use quotes around "celebration" because I'm not sure how appropriate that word is for what has to be the most unappealing and boring half million people that have ever descended on what should otherwise be a raucous and drunken city.

Tuesday was pretty painful, with so many Catholic pilgrims walking down the street outside my office that I was actually concerned I might snap and tackle several of them to the ground. It's not their religion or faith that bothers me so much. And I haven't loved the constant singing and religious chanting, but that hasn't been the clincher either. It's surprisingly been the absolutely awful way each and every one of them is dressed. Seriously people, you haven't seen this many pairs of tapered jeans since the early 90's, and paired with the hideous orange, red and yellow backpack they've all been equipped with, it's all just a little too much for my only somewhat fashion conscious eyes.

And so, since today is when the Pope himself will be getting off a ferry and walking down the street right outside my building, while all 500,000 of these asshole groupies follow him all afternoon, I have opted to "work from home". As of 1.37pm today, this has consisted of getting out of bed late, going for a long swim, sitting in the sauna for a bit, and then splitting my time between eating and cleaning my apartment. My company definitely got its money's worth today.

Now I'm off to a boozy lunch with a colleague who has found herself in a similar situation, but if I'm home before my dinner plans this evening, maybe I will use all this free time to post again on my somewhat neglected blog.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Life How It Should Be

The weekend in Port Douglas was pretty much perfect. As much fun as New York was, there was pretty much nothing truly relaxing about my time there, so a weekend of minimal partying was just what I needed.

After arriving there late Thursday night, we spent Friday morning on the beach, before heading into town for some food and then drinking ourselves silly all afternoon. My big mistake there was not taking into account the fact that Belle a) isn't used to Australian style drinking and b) is about 3 feet tall. By 7pm she was too drunk to make sense of anything going on around us, and we had to grab her a coffee and head back to the hotel room, where she passed out by 8pm.

Saturday was spent on the reef where we snorkeled, ate tons of food, and made a few friends, including a chick from London who lives in Sydney. She joined us for dinner and drinks that night (along with a friend of mine who happened to be in town) but we managed to keep things civilized.

On Sunday we'd had a mild inclination to head to the rainforest nearby, but it essentially came down to choosing between that or a couple of hours at a spa getting massages and facials. I'll let you guess which option won out.

So now I'm back in Sydney with even less motivation than I had last week, which I didn't think was possible. I'm also in the process of booking my next vacation, which will involve being in 8 countries on 4 continents over the course of 4 weeks. Because why do anything half-assed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yes, Another One

That's right, despite just getting back from NYC around 2 weeks ago, I'm going on another vacation -- flying up to Port Douglas this evening with Belle, who is visiting from LA.

Not that I've been blogging with abandon lately, but at least this time I have a valid excuse. See you in a few days.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Huh? "Dignity"? What?

I knew the weekend wouldn't be particularly respectable when I had this MSN conversation with a my work friend at 3pm:

Coworker: i'm bored

Zander: same...i'm officially not doing anything work-related until monday

Coworker: pub?

Zander: pub.


Needless to say, we were both drunk for the 4.30pm Friday meeting (where we drank more) and in fine form by the time we finished up at another bar around 8ish. Fortunately, it still ended up being a quiet-ish night.

Saturday, not so much. I started at 1pm at a lawn bowls birthday party, stopped into a bar for a couple of hours with some other friends, and ended up at The Retro from 8pm onwards for a friend's farewell bash.

The Retro is one of those ridiculously tacky places that plays 80's and 90's music (or basically, anything you should be embarrassed to love), so I spent the whole day beforehand telling everyone how I was totally just going to stop in to show face and then leave as soon as possible. Naturally, I ended up singing and dancing along for hours, have absolutely no recollection of how or when I got home (although the time I can figure out from all of the unintelligible text messages I apparently sent), and woke up still drunk and wearing a glowstick band around my wrist.

The photos have begun to surface on Facebook, so I may as well share one here before retreating into myself for a few days before the stench of shame has faded:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Ouch

Easily my favorite moment from all of Saturday night was around halfway through, when I looked up and saw my coworker Chrissy dancing on the stage, across the ballroom. I took off my glittery silver hat and waved it in the air to get her attention.

Upon seeing me, she waved back, clearly excited...and then dropped out of view. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in a room full of 2,000 of our colleagues, she fell off the stage.

At first I was a bit shocked and concerned, and headed straight over to where she would have fallen. Not seeing here there, I went to our table, where she was sitting at a chair while another team member asked if she was okay. She was a bit bruised, but mostly fine, not including the fact that one of the straps on her dress had completely broken when she apparently fell right into the middle of a circle of people dancing.

And so, I did what any concerned manager would do in that situation -- I literally fell down on the floor and laughed until I cried. All while she sat there glaring at me. Later on, after she'd recovered a bit, she said to me "Zander, of all the people who could possibly have seen that happen to me, you definitely would have been my last choice. I hate you."

She totally meant that in an endearing way, though.

While you ponder if I'm deluding myself or not, here are the pictures from Saturday night.

Monday, June 30, 2008

*Sophistication not required

This Saturday was our annual ball. Last year we were really able to let loose with the Gotham City Black & White Ball theme, which is probably part of the reason we ended up with a bit of a boring theme this year: Sparkle & Sophistication.

I personally chose to dispense with the sophistication and focus purely on the SPARKLE, and I think I did pretty well considering I purchased my accessories only hours before the event:




To add to the obnoxiousness (is that a word? I feel like I should know the answer to that), I also bought a small container of glitter, and once everyone was drunk enough, dumped it over a couple of my colleagues. Needless to say, we've all since been picking glitter out of our hair, clothes, and beds. And everyone hates me. Per usual.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NY Style

I have long maintained that despite how much of a drunken moron I am in Sydney, I was much more of a drunken asshole in New York.

Of the many times I displayed that character trait over the past 10 days, I'm pretty sure that Thursday night was my shining moment.

After drinking far too much vodka in a short space of time, I met some friends at a bar where there happened to be a drag show on that night. A friend ended up on stage, so I pulled out my camera to take a picture. Upon seeing this, the drag queen yelled at me to "Make [her] look pretty!"

Without missing a beat, my mouth responded with "It's not a magic wand, sweetheart.", to which the entire bar went "Ooohhhhhhh", all prompting the drag queen to completely flip out, come through the crowd, grab me by my collar, and spit in my face.

I don't claim for a moment that I didn't deserve that. I'm more amazed that NYC seems to bring out some untapped reserve of bitchy comments that seem to remain at least slightly concealed when I'm in Sydney. Seems a bit of a waste, really.

Pictures from New York coming soon...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How Am I Still Alive?

Sometimes the amount of energy I'm able to drum up to keep partying amazes even me.

My flight landed a little before 6pm on Friday, and after a quick shower and a change, I proceeded to go to dinner, drinks, and then party until 5 in the morning. And even though I was the one who had just gotten off a 24 hour flight, it was all of the New Yorkers who were dropping like flies. In the end it was only me and Jaya, who always puts in a good effort, but when she went to put down her drink on the table and missed by several feet (essentially dropping it in the middle of the dancefloor, and on someone's foot, no less), I knew that our night had ended.

Saturday was more of the same, and we ended up in Hell's Kitchen dancing like idiots and taking stupid photos.

And Sunday managed to be just as ridiculous, as we decided to hit up Libation for their $19 brunch special that now includes three premium cocktails (usually worth some $15 each) before moving on to a few more bars, including Porch in Alphabet City which apparently turns into an afternoon dance party - with free dumplings. Ah, the randomness of NYC.

As usual, Jaya and I were the last ones standing (or maybe 'swaying' would be more accurate by that point), so we made our pilgrimage to Tribe and ended up dancing at a packed Le Souk after 1am, which was around the time Jaya remembered she actually had a job to go to the next day.

From the looks of it, today (Monday) is the only day I'm here that has even the potential to be a relatively quiet night involving less than 10 alcoholic beverages. Wish me luck.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

First Class Comes To Me

One thing a lot of people comment on when I say I'm flying from Sydney to NYC and back is the 24 hour trip each way. I generally don't mind it too much, partially because I've always loved flying, and partially because it's all part of the journey to me. But of course, I like it a little better when I'm able to upgrade and fly in luxury.

Unfortunately, the airline I usually fly decided that I wasn't allowed to use my points to upgrade to Business class because I had supposedly bought the ticket on sale. I'm not sure when an airfare to anywhere that costs more than $2300 started to be considered a bargain, but I figured I would just deal with the situation and save my points for another day.

But then fate stepped in to lend a helping hand. I still ended up in Economy, but the woman checking me in was good enough to get me an exit row seat, and even tagged my bags as Priority just to help me get to the bar a little faster once I finally got to NY.

I also ended up sitting next to a pretty cool guy for the entire trip. I didn't talk to him much on the long first leg as I was busy catching up on movies and taking naps in between, but ran into him during the LAX layover and was a bit friendlier for the LAX to NYC leg. More importantly, an older and ridiculously gay (not to mention hilarious) flight attendant took a liking to him. I almost wanted to be offended that I was completely overlooked, but in all fairness the guy did look a lot like Matt Damon, and was insanely nice (he looks after his down syndrome brother when he's home in Australia, and was on his way to teach kids how to swim at summer camp in Maine), and while I am pretty full of myself, I didn't really ever think I could compete with a guy who seems like a character out of some dippy romantic comedy that tends to set women's expectations of "real men" way too high.

So, the flight attendant started bringing us stuff from first class. This included:
  • Fancy desserts
  • An entire cheese and fruit platter
  • Bottle of port
  • Half bottle of Dom Perignon
  • First class headphones (supposedly valued at $450, still in my possession)
  • Travel kits

He even offered to steal some bottles of booze from Duty Free for us, but at that point we had to decline, since that sounded a little too sketchy.

The one good thing about being the wingman in this situation was that I didn't feel like I personally had to return any favors (not that any were involved, that I know of), since I was just benefiting from association.

And now I'm in NYC, unable to describe how thrilled I am to be here, and have already had the greatest night of dinner, drinks, and dancing, which will likely be blogged about in a few days. Greatest. City. Ever.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finally...

As mentioned in my last post, work has been ridiculous for the last couple of weeks. My client seems to be getting steadily more demanding AND idiotic, which is a truly powerful combination of traits to have to deal with on a daily basis.

For example - yesterday, I had a meeting to review some creatives with the client. My designer and I had already decided which one we preferred and would recommend, so of course as soon as we pulled the two designs out, my client says he loves the hideous one that we would never want to take credit for.

A ten minute discussion ensued that focused only on the colors used in each design, with him advocating the use of the one that combined an awful orange and light blue theme, while we argued for the simple and striking design.

And after all of that, he actually leaned back and said to us: "Well, I'm actually color blind, so I shouldn't have an opinion." He went on to explain that he actually can't tell any dark colors apart. I found the entire situation so ludicrous that all I could do was attempt to hold in my laughter at how such a person could even get to a mid-level position in marketing.

A few weeks ago, that situation would have sent me over the edge, and I would have returned to the office fuming and ranting. But it doesn't matter. It really doesn't affect my life simply because I am flying out to New York this morning. And no half-witted marketing peon is going to ruin my mood. Updates coming shortly...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Once Again...

...the blog was forgotten. This week has been completely insane, since we had Monday off for a public holiday, and I am not working tomorrow because I will be on a plane back to NYC.

However, this weekend did have a few highlights. Friday, I was exhausted after only a few hours of sleep, but give myself a pat on the back for drinking through my last conference call of the day, polishing off half a bottle of wine at a bar, and then heading to a friend's place for a beer and probably a few insults before going to a friend's birthday dinner.

Once there, I asked some guy I'd never met if he was dating a girl at the table. Turned out they were brother and sister. So much for first impressions. I eventually knocked over and broke a glass of wine while teaching people what "The Spiderman" was in sexual slang, and even went to Trademark for a few beers and a couple of tequila shots before quickly leaving when I realized that I was likely to topple over at any second.


Saturday was pretty low-key -- drinks in Newtown for a few hours, followed by a birthday party at Arthouse, and I got myself home and in bed by around midnight.

And Sunday was probably the most interesting. It looked like I was going to finally have a quiet evening at home -- and it was depressing me to the point of tears. Just when I'd decided I had given up, and the next person to invite me to something that evening was going to get an affirmative answer, I had a call from friends drinking in Paddington, and got to the pub in 20 minutes. Turned out we were celebrating the fact that one of them had been arrested for drunk driving (which they annoyingly call "drink driving" here), but by the time he got to the station and took another test he was just below the limit, and was released.

Once the drunkest of the crew went home, LuLu and I decided to hang out with her friends at the pub, who happened to also be the owners and managers. Far too many free beers and tequila shots later, we got the hell out of there when it became apparent that a couple of lesbians were about to instigate World War III, and didn't care who was caught in the crossfire. Still, I'm a firm believer that free shots and lesbian drama are key ingredients for a perfect night.

And Monday was just more drinking from 2pm onwards. My poor liver.


So now I've just had the craziest week, while barely having 5 minutes to plan who I'm going to be able to meet up with while I'm back in NY after the first time in 16 months, and while some friends have been more than accomodating, others have been less than helpful, which just gives me visions of people giving me shit about not spending enough time with them -- and me not caring.

And although I sound like a bitter jerk at the moment, I am actually ridiculously excited to spend 10 days in NY after so long, so much so that the antics of my Client From Hell are purely amusing at this point. I need to go away more often...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Alive and Kicking

Apologies for the blog silence lately. Apart from a drunken dance party at a friend's place on Saturday after I was finished at work, and then offending a friend's mother at lunch on Sunday, I've actually been pretty quiet.

Last night was my first night being out and social after the weekend. We actually started at lunchtime at Opera Bar for a farewell, moved to our local work pub, and stopped into a Korean BBQ joint for dinner. I made the very wise decision to go home after dinner and turn down karaoke, which I'm thanking myself for having seen the condition of several of my colleagues. One has already admitted he is still drunk and literally looks like he is about to pass out on his desk.

Meanwhile I've got plans tonight and tomorrow, and we have a long weekend coming up, so there may be some stories, although I'm trying to keep things relatively low key, as I should probably be saving my energy (and money) for my trip to NYC next Friday. Fat chance, I know, but it's good to have goals.