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 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


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.