Monday, August 31, 2009


As I start looking at ways to make my residency in Australia more permanent, a small part of me wonders if I'm turning my back on being an American, even if it means I'm only here another couple of years.

And then, I read things like this...
Who knew President Obama was not born in the United States? Nearly four in ten Americans in a Public Policy Polling survey. But he was born in Hawaii! Yes, but six percent of those in the same poll said Hawaii was not part of the United States. Another four percent were not sure of Hawaii’s status.

...and all I can think is that I should just start a fire and burn all evidence that I was born in a country of such fat, stupid people. If nothing else, I suppose we should appreciate the awesome entertainment value of watching the world's only super power self-implode before our eyes.

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's Like Watching An Entire Nation Go Extinct

In the absence of having anything original or entertaining to say, I thought I'd share this with you -- People of Walmart: a collection of all the creatures that grace us with their presence at Walmart, America's favorite store.

If you're thinking for even a second that you might not have to click on that link, I give you this teaser:

Happy Friday. Go get fat.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Most Reliable Sources of Schadenfreude on Facebook

Last week I was reading a CNN article profiling "The 12 most annoying types of Facebookers", and while we could all easily categorize most of our friends (and maybe even ourselves) into those types, it started me thinking about why I haven't deleted (or at least used the "Hide" feature on) some of the people on my own list. And I realized...I take some serious pleasure in getting regular confirmation that there are people in the world who make me look like a hard working, well-balanced individual.

And so, here's the rundown of the biggest assholes in my Facebook feed (who hopefully don't read my blog):

Who (is this loser?): Male, early 30s
How (do I know this person?): Worked with him for possibly a year at my last job in NYC
What (makes him one of the biggest douchebags ever?): Approximately once every three months, this dude updates his status to tell everyone he's met the most amazing girl. Possibly a week later we get another update saying that he can't stop thinking about his fantastic new girlfriend, which is consistently accompanied by a change in his Relationship Status to indicate he is "In A Relationship". And approximately a week after that we get an bitching about how people are passive-aggressive and should say what they mean, despite the fact that his chosen method of communicating this is a vague and broadly directed Facebook status.
Why (am I still friends with him?): Just to be clear, this guy is a complete douchebag. He constantly talks about how various women aren't up to his personal standards in looks or education, despite the fact that he is overweight and sounds like a neanderthal in both style and content. And so you can only imagine how good it feels to see this delusional twerp get trounced every financial quarter as a reminder that even single, desperate 30-something women think there's a limit to what they will settle for.

Who: Female, late 20s
How: Was a receptionist at my company a few jobs back
What: This nutjob added me to her list of friends just in time for her divorce, which she decided to recount in a blow-by-blow detail via her FB status. This included updates such as "The husband, well I guess now ex-husband, has moved out...I feel so alone" and "I should just get some cats and call it a life". As the months have gone by, she has graduated to that sad specimen of divorced women who tries as hard to convince everyone else as she's trying to convince herself that she's having a great time. "Yeah awesome I forgot how great it was to be single and independent!" or today's update of "I should probably stop turning down hot lawyers who ask me out on dates". Actually, you should stop completely making up unbelievable statuses on online social networks full of people who don't actually like you, dumbass.
Why: Because it's good to know that as pathetic as I've been after a few of my breakups, I will never be as sorry as this chick.

Who: Male, late 20s
How: Friend of a friend, who lives near me
What: Constantly posts new photos of himself that have been airbrushed within an inch of not looking anything like him, which are even more ridiculous when you know that he has a lisp and a lazy eye in real life. His shockingly bad spelling abilities also make me question how he could possibly be employed.
Why: If nothing else, this is an emotional insurance policy - no matter how freakish I may look one day, or how retarded I might get, airbrushing and government hiring quotas for "special needs" applicants will apparently be there to keep me afloat.

Who: Female, mid 20s
How: Friend of a friend of a my uncle's former roommate's dog
What: Is apparently a fan of every single singer, actor, artist, and inanimate object known to humankind. She is even a fan of "Not Being On Fire", most likely in a completely unironic way. She also feels the need to several times a day update her FB status with song lyrics -- as in ALL of the lyrics to any particular song. It's the kind of shit that makes you wonder why FB removed character limits.
Why: Whenever I comment on one of these to tell her what a loser she is, she tends to respond with "LOL ur so funny", which makes her a fantastic virtual abused wife. We all need one.

Who: Female, early 30s
How: Went to college with her
What: Generally has the typical lame statuses of anyone with a young child about whatever supposedly cute thing their little snot factory has managed to do in the last two days without choking on creamed peas. However every couple of months, she suddenly makes some ominous reference about her father-in-law coming to town which always ends with a frowny face, and the reactions of her friends ("Oh my god, I am so sorry to hear that!" or "Call me if you need anything") makes one start to wonder what in the hell this guy has done to her that requires such serious and dramatic reactions from her friends.
Why: She bores me to tears, but this weirdness with her father-in-law has "America's Most Wanted" written all over it, and I am collecting screenshots of these status updates to sell to the highest bidding news media organisation when shit goes down.

I actually have a ton more of these dickwads, but these are probably some of the best ones, and I may as well save a few for the next time I have to endure 4 consecutive days of not drinking.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sincerest Apologies

On Saturday I was excited about my plans to meet up with Pak, a new friend who is from NYC but also lives in Sydney. We'd had a few lunches together in the city during the week, but this would be our first boozing session.

As a result of this highly anticipated get together, I have a few people to whom I owe apologies for the events that ensued:
  • Deeply sorry to the waitress who turned out to be standing right behind me as I muttered something about "Well at this rate it doesn't matter what we want because it doesn't look like anyone's ever going to take our order..." - you the situation very well, I have to say.
  • Apologies to the wine bar that we showed up at around 2pm and then proceeded to stay in the exact same seats for 5 hours. While I'm sure you appreciated the extra income, the beligerence was probably unnecessary.
  • I beg forgiveness of the two friends who met us at the wine bar about 4 hours into our session, as I barely remember you were there and can only pray that you didn't tell me anything important.
  • I regret having whipped out my iPod while Pak and I were heading into the city on the bus (because we couldn't find a taxi for the life of us) and instigating our rapping session, including a full length version of "Shoop". I don't think the two people sitting directly in front of us but too afraid to turn around appreciated it.

In the end our night only lasted about another hour before we realized we were in no condition to be in public, even if it was in the privacy of a friend's house, and we headed home. Between the shockingly painful hangover in the morning and the fact that I blew through last week's target budget by around 50%, I will be aiming to keep a low profile until Friday, at which points all bets are off, per usual.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Texts From The Weekend

(Juice): Dude come down to Bondi, we're here with beers in hand

(Zander): It's 11am.

(Juice): Well come over when you can, it's a gorgeous day

(Juice): Are you on your way?

(Zander): No.

(Juice): I'm hanging out with awesome Irish people

(Zander): That's not good.

(Juice): They're brilliant...are you almost here?

(Juice): Hello?

* * * * * * * * * * NEXT DAY * * * * * * * * * *

(Zander): Hey dude, how was the rest of your night? Are you still alive?

(Juice): Oh my god. What a night. The bar kept telling us to be quiet because people were complaining about all the Irish people singing. Then [redacted] was running to the bathroom because she was feeling sick but she didn't make it and threw up next to a family eating dinner. We were all kicked out. Kept partying at another bar though.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Weekend Starts Early

I agreed to go out for Thursday night drinks only because I was meeting up with Becs, who tends to be one of my more sensible friends and is less likely to get carried away in the moment.

Two bottles of wine and something called a "Midori Illusion" says she might need to be recategorized.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Goodbye, Civilization

I've been informed that a project in Perth we've been waiting on for ages is finally coming through, and I will be the project manager.

I generally wouldn't mind this, except that they believe that it's best that I essentially live in Perth for the duration of the project, and potentially longer depending on various client relationships.

The thought of spending more than a couple of weeks in a city with less than 2 million people, even if it was apparently ranked #5 in the World's Most Livable Cities, is almost heartbreaking. To fight the chances that I'll commit suicide within the first few days, I'm starting a list of things that should make me happy about this development:

The frequent flyer points - lame, yes, but a few round trips to Perth and I should make it to the next level of flyer on my usual airline. I'm pretty sure that means that each time I arrive at the airport I'll be massaged while carried to my flight by Burmese virgins.

Proximity to some of my favorite wineries - if I can drink 3 bottles of the stuff at 4,000km away, imagine the damage I can do if I'm actually over there!

Cold, hard, cash - for each month I spend out there I'll be entitled to collect close to $2000 extra in my paycheck, which is just a little bit amazing considering accomodation and travel will already be covered.

And by focusing on all of those things, I've almost dulled the pain of realizing that my social life is about to be decimated for the rest of the year. Almost.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Alert: Brain Cell Count Dangerously Low

After last weekend where I went out drinking and singing karaoke with a sore throat and then lost my voice, you'd think I would know to take it easy for at least a little while. But you'd be wrong.

While I managed to exert a little self-control on Friday night and headed home around 10, I seemed to see no issues with meeting Ginny and Jam at 5pm on Saturday and ordering wine by the bottle.

The last things I remember of the evening were possibly falling on someone I had just met, and inhaling a slice of pizza on the way home.

Needless to say I had even less of a voice on Sunday morning and declined to leave the apartment in fear of scaring any young children that might not be comfortable with the fact that I sounded like Cancer Man.

I am now aiming to not drink (much) until Friday, and would appreciate your support through these hard times.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Can't Liiiiiiive, If Living Is Without Youuu

With Twitter down for the second time in less than 24 hours, my colleagues and I have had to find other ways to distract ourselves in the office (doing work not being a serious option) and I came across this article that reminds me of one of the main regrets I have about moving to Australia -- no McRibs!

I realize some people are utterly disgusted by these things, as they probably should be, but I have been known to eat four of these in one go after a big night out, and it's hard to describe how much I need one right now after attending an MTV party last night that involved free wine, beer, and Jager shots for three hours. If I hadn't destroyed so many brain cells, I'd be starting a petition.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

I'm A Simple Man

Why are you squinting at that piece of paper?

Zander: I have really bad eyesight.

Colleague: Really? Why don't you get glasses?

Zander: I refuse to wear glasses until I'm 30 -- only 4 months to go!

Colleague: Are you serious? Don't you get headaches?

Zander: Nope.

Colleague: But what do you do when you can't see something far away?

Zander: I stop looking at it.

Colleague: ...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Why There Are So Many Shitty Products On The Market

I somehow almost forgot to write about my amazing focus group experience last week. For the two-second backstory, I met up with a friend for drinks a few months back and she had just come from a focus group. She recommended I sign up, seeing as I love giving my opinion on pointless nonsense all the time, so why not get paid for it?

I eventually did register with a market research company, and finally last week, one of them called me and asked me to attend a focus group after work one day. This was after they'd sent me a survey where I claimed that I drink sparkling water all the time, which is an out and out lie considering I can't stand sparkling water. But why worry about these minor details?

Anyway, I went to the focus group, and while my attempts to drink sparkling water without gagging were amusing and all, easily the best part about it was meeting the people who apparently do these sorts of things all the time. Here's a rundown of the characters I was paid spend a glorious 90 minutes with:

The Country Bumpkin - Guy who apparently just moved to Sydney from the asshole of nowhere, and spent the first 5 minutes of the session ranting about how when he first moved to the city the water made him violently ill for 2 weeks straight. He had almost nothing to say for the remaining 88 minutes. Thanks for your contribution.

The Chauvinist Pig - As soon as the facilitator asked us if we drank water for a specific reason and gave an example, this guy would respond with something along the lines of "Nah mate, only chicks care about shit like that..." or "We're blokes! That crap doesn't matter!" I am willing to put money on the likelihood that this dude sleeps in women's underwear.

The Wannabe Advertiser - When asked about the intended advertising campaign for this new brand of sparkling water, this guy not only disliked the one they had, but then took several minutes describing what he thought were better marketing concepts, as if he thought he was in a job interview.

The Faux Doctor - Kept reminding us all that he worked "in the medical profession", although the fact that he never said he was a doctor makes me assume he is a hospital janitor. Used his "expertise" to repeatedly dismiss any benefits the brand attempted to advertise about water being good for you.

Those were easily my favorites, and I'm not sure what they would have thought of me considering I had so little to say other than nit-picking at some sort of marketing pamphlet we were asked to look at (" I don't know, using the word 'fairly' here sounds very non-committal..."), so I was probably the OCD American, which sums me up pretty accurately.

In any case, I really hope I get another invitation to one of these, I think I would actually pay them for this kind of entertainment.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I Should Go To The Supermarket More Often

After having a bit of a sore throat for a few days and doing the opposite of taking it easy on Friday night, I woke up on Saturday with an even sorer throat and no voice. Deciding to act like a remotely intelligent mammal, I made Saturday a quiet one. I skipped a BBQ with some friends, met some others in the evening for two glasses of red wine (which is basically cough syrup) and then went to dinner before heading home and going to bed early.

Sunday was heading in the same direction, until I headed out the door to pick up some food at the supermarket and ended up meeting a friend for breakfast. It seemed harmless enough at the time, but when one considers that I was meeting Juice, then it seems less than surprising that I found myself at a trashy bar in Kings Cross before noon ordering jugs of cheap beer.

If nothing else, I will congratulate myself on making it home before 7pm and getting to bed at a reasonable time. The same can't be said for Juice, unfortunately, who has no recollection of when or how he got home on Sunday night (or perhaps Monday morning) and didn't see the inside of his office until Tuesday.

In the meantime, my throat will clearly need a few extra days to heal. Shame about the drinks scheduled from Wednesday thru Saturday nights.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Nice Working With You, Bruce Lee

Normally I'd blog about something silly or offensive I'd done as part of my usual Friday night routine. Maybe I would mention the fact that we went to karaoke, and when the Chinese girl from work decided to sing a song in Mandarin, I grabbed the other microphone and sang backup with lyrics like "spicy pork dumplings" and "bok choy in oyster sauce". Or the latest offensive joke that I decided to tell at a work event.

But all of that pales in comparison to the fact that around 9pm, as I was standing chatting to a few of my colleagues, one of them suddenly went flying and landed on the ground halfway across the room. Turns out that another coworker had been discussing fly kicking with some of our young graduates, and decided to show off his skills on an unsuspecting victim standing nearby.

Needless to say he was immediately kicked out of the bar, and I'm sure this will result in us having to listen to some pointless speech on "drinking and violence at work events" and which parts of company policy they violate. But as one of the graduates summed it up with wide eyes immediately afterwards, 'That's the coolest thing I've ever seen!"

Damn right.