Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When Good Bars Go Bad

Saturday night was a farewell party for Jules, and as the apparent resident expert on bars in Sydney, I was asked for recommendations.

I went with Doctor Pong's in Darlinghurst, as my recommendation. I hadn't been in a few months, but I remembered a casual bar with a great DJ playing classic hip hop. Sure the service was never particularly that great, and they often charged extortion-like rates for Patron XO Cafe (a cardinal sin amongst my circle of friends), but it was considered a favorite nonetheless.

Alas, even the best bars are capable of falling from their pedestal. And Doctor Pong's has fallen hard. Let me list the ways that this place was able to amaze us with their incompetence:

1) Confused about their opening times - Their website says they still open at noon (as they did until recently, from what we can tell), however they didn't actually open until 5pm.

2) Really, really horrible music - We got there around 5ish, and for well over an hour had to suffer through what I can only charitably describe as elevator music. When we pointed out that it wasn't really appropriate for a Saturday night, the bar manager actually said that no one there knew how to work the sound system (unlikely, since one of you would have turned it on, idiot), and we'd have to wait for the DJ to arrive and set up before the music would change. This eventually happened, but it was far too late to stop us from hating the bar and everyone who worked there.

3) They started running out of booze - First it was the Frangelico they didn't have any more of. Then it was vodka. Then it was beer. Did you know this actually happened in bars? I mean someone's house party, okay, sure. But a bar. Whose primary purpose is to sell alcohol to people. Ridiculous.

Clearly this is all a result of shockingly bad management on someone's part, but in the end there are more than enough awesome bars in Sydney that we won't be back. And there was even a rather solid rumor going around that Dr Pong's will be closing its doors soon (did they fail because of poor management? or did they stop caring because they were closing anyway? chicken or the egg situation there), so at least someone else will hopefully get a chance to turn it into somewhere that people would actually want to hang out again.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Suppose Halloween Could Have Turned Out Worse

Not much to say, other than the fact that I love this video. And not just because of all the cheesy euro dance pop music playing in the background.

(And if anyone knows how I can make this fit properly into my blog, I will promise not to post any similarly embarrassing video of you should it ever fall into my hands.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Good Time To Start Drinking Coffee

Well I have to say, I didn't think I still had it in me.

On Thursday evening, Benji was in town from NYC for one night, so it was my obligation to take him out for a few drinks. That finished up around 2am, and of course I had to wake up for work a few hours later. So that was awesome.

Friday night was a "chilled out reunion" with some former colleagues. That ended with break dancing at 1am. (Disclaimer: I have never, nor will ever, attempt breakdancing. Unfortunately I seem to associate with several people who don't share this aversion.)

Saturday morning I had to wake up to drive to the ungodly suburb of Castle Hill, some 45 minutes away from civilization, to visit my cousin's 10-day old baby. And if we're being quite honest, that was pretty generous considering babies don't actually do anything at that age.

It all caught up with me on the Saturday night, as I was supposed to be partying hard for Jules' farewell drinks, but decided to head home by 10pm to spare everyone my increasingly nasty attitude. I might be in my 30's, but when tired I revert to being a toddler.

And somehow, after a solid 9 hours of sleep, I woke up on Sunday morning and thought it would be fun to head to more drinks. I'm not quite sure why.

Needless to say, I am exhausted today, and not at all pleased at the prospect of drinks and dinner tonight, and no quiet nights at home until some point next week. Oh well, I guess it beats being fat and not having any friends.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And Then They Stopped Trying

I've complained before about the constantly declining standards of what passes for journalism in this country. Newspapers constantly have typos, and while there's no Australian equivalent of the always abhorrent Fox News, there's never a shortage of idiots with misleading information who are ready to take advantage of other idiots with no information.

And so, the latest example isn't quite that serious given it falls more under celebrity/entertainment news than anything else, but I want everyone to appreciate the caption on this photo from the Sydney Morning Herald website today:

Perhaps there's a major shortage of caption writers with 6th grade diplomas here in Australia.

Monday, March 21, 2011

You're Doing It Wrong

As you guys know, I simply hate being forced into a position of judging other people. I don't generally expect everyone to be as perfect as I am, but to be quite honest I don't think it's too much to ask that they try.

On that note, I want to introduce you to two people I met this weekend that I consider absolute failures at life:

1) On Friday night I went to a dinner at an Italian restaurant in a less than trendy location because a couple of friends were in town and I hadn't seen either of them in a year or so. What I forgot is that although they are cool, fun people who have traveled the world, not everyone they grew up with would fall into the same category.

And so I ended up sitting across the table from a girl who had never left Australia, loudly announced that she tried not to leave her suburb too often (some place I had never heard of, and hope never to visit), and exclaimed multiple times at how shocked she was that a glass of wine could possibly cost $8.50 - which is easily the least I've paid for a glass of wine in years, and I'm not even very fancy.

In any case, I mocked her so much before the main course was even served that she moved seats and ignored me for the rest of the meal. Sounds harsh, but it was necessary to maintain at least some sanity if I was going to make it to dessert.

2) The second is the type of person that I constantly encounter and have to make a fool out of to prove a point. The fake New Yorker. I am so sick of meeting people who clearly walk around introducing themselves as being "from New York", only to find out that they can't even claim to be from the same time zone as New York. In case anyone needs a guide, the following things do not make you a New Yorker:
  • Living in New York for two years in your adulthood...and then moving elsewhere
  • Being born in New York and leaving before you started forming actual memories
  • Actually being born and raised in Kentucky and having a job in New York for a year

This idiot belonged to the last group...which made it feel even better to make sure EVERYONE knew about it. He avoided me for the rest of the night.

In related news, there are two new people in Sydney who absolutely hate my guts.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nobody Likes a Fatty

Egged on by a couple of friends who are much healthier than I am, I recently downloaded an iPhone app (My Fitness Pal) that takes your age, height, weight, general activity level, and goal weight, and tells you your daily calorie limit. You then enter in anything you eat or drink, plus any cardio you do, and it lets you know if you're over or under your limit.

Being a bit bored at work for the time being, I gave in and decided I would use this app for a couple of weeks. I figured it wouldn't hurt to be a little more aware of what I put in my mouth every day. (I feel like I should change the way I ended that last sentence, but I really can't be bothered.)

What was probably most surprising was the fact that
my diet is apparently not nearly as hideous as I thought it was. Not that I tend to fall asleep with half a stick of butter hanging out of my mouth or anything, but I had just imagined that all the take away lunches and occasional cookies were doing more damage. Turns out you actually have to eat an entire box of cookies every day to get as huge as some of the people you see in any video footage of middle America. Good to know.

Of course those positive results were for most days. I quickly decided to stop recording what I consumed on the weekends, because as it turns out, just a few beers is like eating an additional meal. Which means the amount I drink on your average Friday or Saturday is akin to me eating two lunches and two dinners that day. Unhealthy ones, too. DAMNIT.

(Translation for Americans: "You gonna be FAT.")

In any case, I've decided that this is the last week I'll be recording any of this stuff. If I wanted to be told every day how fat I'm getting, I would have adopted a Jewish mother a long time ago.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It All Balances Out

Had a weekend away with a few friends, and spent most of the weekend eating, drinking, and sitting around chatting about god knows what. There were even moments where we discussed laundry, spreadsheets, and Australian immigration policies. All very mature.

Fortunately we had Scottie with us. Despite the fact that he arrived later than the rest of us on Friday night, he managed to kill a bottle of wine and several very strong rum drinks before going to bed. I was lucky enough to sleep through what was apparently a very messy affair involving him throwing up all over the upstairs bathroom at around 4 in the morning.

As a group, I think we're even for the weekend.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Shame Can Be A Good Thing

As I made my way through yesterday's issue of The New York Times I came across an article about St. Patrick's Day in Hoboken, New Jersey. Not only does it take place weeks before the day it should, but apparently it has turned into an orgy of drunken, lawless debauchery that would rival Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

All of that is something I'd classify as "not my problem", and I was about to close the article after a few paragraphs when I came across this part:

Nicole Magana, 33, said she kicked off a 15-hour spree on Saturday by taking a beer with her into the shower. Around 9 a.m., she arrived to a “kegs and eggs” themed party, which she left for a different “beer and bagels” event nearby.

On Tuesday, Ms. Magana, a real estate broker, was still carrying in her purse a color-coded itinerary she had drawn up of all the house parties she had planned to visit that day. Over the course of the festivities, she heard about a friend who was given a ticket for the unlikely offense of throwing meatballs out of a window.

I have SO many issues with these two paragraphs, that I will sum up with the following comments and questions:

1) Surely this girl was still drunk when she talked to this reporter? Why would you give you full name, age, and occupation to accompany it with what a retarded drunkard you are? Making the parents proud, I'm sure.

2) Since when is "throwing meatballs out of a window" a proper offense? And really, if the festivities get as out of hand as the article suggests, I would assume the police had better things to do.

3) Why has it never occurred to me to take a beer into the shower with me? (Probably related to the fact that I've never been invited to a "kegs and eggs" party.)

This idiot then goes on to blame the increase in arrests and injuries on "the bridge-and-tunnel crowd", apparently not realizing that by residing in New Jersey, that would include her. And really, honey, trying to blame "out-of-towners" for hooliganism when you've just admitted that you and all your friends started binge drinking before 9am is pretty lame.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Time To Find A New Favorite

Have you guys ever wondered if it's okay to go back to one of your favorite restaurants because the last time you were there you were completely hammered and can't remember if you did anything awful?

Yeah, me neither. But will let you know how tonight goes, regardless.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Don't Mind Me

This was Mardi Gras weekend in Sydney, which essentially means that everyone in the city (plus a million tourists or so) party for about 72 hours straight. Which made it extra sad that I headed home before 10pm on Saturday night before the parade had even ended, because I was tired and apparently needed some 9 hours of sleep to recover.

Fortunately I made up for this by following up yet another boozy book club session by organizing Sunday evening drinks at the pub. I have subsequently been blamed by Juice for the fact that he is still drunk at work this morning, despite the fact that I went home at a reasonable hour and definitely didn't chain him to the bar on my departure.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Had drinks at my place last night that devolved into the usual tequila shots and the neighbors getting annoyed with the blaring music. Fair enough, it was Tuesday night after all.

Just wanted to share the lamest thing that's ever been left at my place after a party - Cold & Flu tablets.

Seriously, WTF guys. Step up your game. This is just getting embarrassing.