Wednesday, March 25, 2009

All aboard....


That's what it's been like for the last 3 weeks. Absolutely crazy in all aspects. There has been ups, downs, lefts, rights more ups, more downs and it really can shake your faith in people and companies. Thankfully i've got a great network of friends and family that were paramount in helping me deal with the mountains of unbelievable crap that I found myself traversing. I think as of today the worst is over for a least....I hope.

If you're sick and tired of me whining about Melbourne...maybe skip down the page until you see the picture of a puppy.

As usual the thing that has taken up most of my "thinking time" is my seemingly perpetual struggle with finding my personal happiness. The last 3 weeks have firmly cemented in my mind that Melbourne is not the place for me as a place to spend and "live" my life (big surprise huh?). After living here for the last 5 years it's now completely and undeniably obvious to me (and most probably to anyone close to me) that I constantly feel I am in the wrong place. I feel even more alienated and detached from my own life with each passing week and a few friends have commented on my complete change of character before and after trips to Adelaide. It's true though, I *love* going Adelaide for many reasons and I *hate* having to come back here after every single jaunt. I'm trying my hardest, all the time to rectify this problem.

It seems like such an easy fix as the "fun" ratio of Adelaide:Melbourne is skewed WAY in favour of Adelaide.. I should just pack-up my stuff and go "home" ... However FEAR is always the mind killer. I have a job here that supplies me with money and while i've certainly done it before..throwing caution to the wind and quitting my job and going back to Adelaide to uncertain career prospects is probably foolish in the current economic climate. It's WHOLLY appealing on many other levels however but at the moment the most prudent course of action seems to be to find another job first before moving. The ultimate question is "how much is your happiness worth?"

I also had some of my longest serving friends visit Melbourne for their work these past 2 weeks and I made the effort to go catch them while they were here. I've know these guys (Matt and Ben) since..well forever it seems like. It was great to catch up with them (even though I saw them only a few weeks ago in Adelaide). We had a good night out on the town. Ben was also back here again this week for work again so on Sunday we went out again for dinner. This time to Brunswick St. and the "Little Creatures Ale House" which I didn't even know existed there. The food was pretty good and the beer was also ok too. Thanks to the Federal Government for both ;)

On my last trip to Adelaide you may recall I had some mobile phone problems, well 2 weeks ago they came to a head when my phone wouldn't connect to the phone network at all. So I had to go get another phone. I did my research and went with the Samsung Omnia (on a plan) because it was way cheaper. This phone is amazing, it is astounding what this thing can do. I have yet to find a task that I would "need" on a phone (or indeed a full computer) that this thing can't do. Let me illustrate:

(a) Makes calls (voice AND video) - "check"
(b) SMS and MMS - "check"
(c) Mobile intarwebs - "check"
(d) Plays MP3's - "check"
(e) Plays XviD movies - "check"
(f) GPS navigation - "check"
(g) Full MS Office suite - "Check"
(h) Games - "check"
(i) Ridiculously large mega-pixel camera/video - "check"
(j) Massive amount of storage space (16GB) - "check"

get the idea?

I know the term "Awesome" gets thrown around a lot these days and many say that this has devalued it as a superlative. But if there was a word which embodied all the traits of "awesome" and then took it 2 notches higher, that word* would be used -here - to describe this phone. Very happy with my purchase :)

On the work front, well....what can I say without being too negative. Not a lot :)
I *think* the project I have been working on is nearly finished, at least, we can see the end of it now...the problem is that we still don't know if the ending will be good or bad. Which I find utterly ludicrous at such a late stage. I also must say that [client] are the biggest bunch of illogical [expletive]'s that I have ever had the misfortune of working with. For that reason alone I can't wait to be off this project and hopefully rid of them.

I've been biking a fair bit lately (surprise surprise) when the weather allows it and have rapidly come to the conclusion that the Stumpjumper I bought late last year is quite possibly the best bike in the universe. It is so good that my other bike is now constantly looked on with derision and scorn. Undeserved of course because it's an excellent bike in it's own right ... it's just the Stumpy is like the biking equivalent of multi-orgasmic sex...and who doesn't like that??? The Avanti is sort of like that drunken shag on a park bench at 3am . You remember it fondly and it serves it's purpose .... but you see the Stumpy whenever you look at the Avanti and go for the guaranteed multi-orgasm nearly every time. It doesn't help the Avanti's cause that in comparison to the stumpy it is the slightly overweight girl that looked beautiful after 15 beers and a bottle of whiskey. Where as the Stumpy looks like Heather Graham when you're sober.

Just for the record..I thought that analogy was awesome :)

So the Avanti may soon be "surplus to requirements" and be looking for a new home. Like always if you would like it..let me know..any reasonable offer considered. Size XL frame by the way (which is BIG) suitable only for anyone 6'2" or over. Then I might have to see about getting a road bike (mmmm Avanti Blade 5).

Now I'm just hanging out for Easter and some time off away from Melbourne. The next 2 months are shaping up to be ok and I have some other plans in the works that I hope to be able to bring to fruition during that time too (think "decadent trips to exotic locations") so that is also a bit exciting.

Also, may I just say "logitech battery low warning pop-ups every 2 mins are ANNOYING!!" in the 2 tiered hope that some one, somewhere, some day googles that phrase and finds my blog and is exposed to the awesomeness of it. And also because that statement is true!! My keyboard here at work is wireless and has a little LCD screen built into the top that shows a picture of a battery when the batteries are low. I know from this that the batteries are low...I don't need a pop-up every 2 mins also saying "Your Batteries in your keyboard are low!!" especially when the keyboard still functions normally. I'll change the damn batteries when the keyboards ability to send it's data stops working. My experience with this "change the battery alert" is that it is a kin to the petrol warning light coming on when you still have 1/4 tank of petrol and can still drive for 250km.

In closing i'd also like to share something I heard on the weekend that really helped me with my problems (as I see them). The source is unimportant but the message is clear and insightful and may help you as it helped me.

"Everyone needs a goal, a prize, a desire to work towards in life. What that goal is only you can truly know but when you discover what it is there will be no doubt in your mind that it is right . Once you know what your goal is any effort you exert towards achieving it can only take you closer to it. Without that goal, no matter how insignificant it may seem to others, you are motionless in an infinite universe of possibilities. That is the epitome of unhappiness"

*some might say that that word does exist already and was in fact the word "Rachel" .... but I have far too much integrity to stoop to such predictability and cheap browny point scoring.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Whirlwind Birthday Visit.

Well here I am now entering my 37th year of being on Earth. Scary stuff indeed, nearly 40 and not a hell of a lot to show for it :P

I flew back to Adelaide to spend my Birthday with friends and family on Friday and came back on Sunday. It was really good (as always) to go back there and see all the familiar faces again. Though 1.5 days is really far too short and i'm already back in Melbourne wondering if it actually happened? I'm already looking forward to being back there at Easter.

My trip was actually pretty hectic and it all hinged on Tiger airways being "on time" on Friday night. As you may know from previous blogs of mine they (Tiger) have a REALLY hard time achieving this. This time however I was absolutely flabbergasted by their "on timedness". I got to the Airport at 6:15pm and then waited in the carpark for the shuttle bus for 20mins!!! Panicking a bit as I got into the terminal for Tiger at 6:45pm I rushed a peak at the departure board ..."No Delays"...WHAT THE?

So I join the end of the really long queue and think "No way am I going to get checked in in time!". Just then the Tiger Airways chick asks "Anyone else for the Adelaide flight?", I raise my hand and she says "Come down to the front here please" .. WHAT THE x2!!

So I get processed get my boarding pass and head for the metal detector entrances to the departure lounge. I had a 5 min wait in line while the huge volume of people filtered through the 1 gate they had operating. When I was nearly at the metal detector my plane started boarding so that when I eventually got through the gate I was ushered straight onto the plane and within minutes we were in the air and away to Radelaide.

My brother picked me up from the airport and graciously drove me out to Rachels place. I walked in to the final prep for her big wedding-catering-job-a-polooza where she and her parents were deciding on the merits of champagne and pineapple sorbet mixed together. It tasted weird .. not weird weird, but funky weird. I couldn't stop drinking it though for some reason even though I was contorting my face with each sip...see..weird :)

Went to sleep and prepared for the imminent "woken up by excited children" event that happens each time I am there. This time I was actually asleep though and not faking it like usual ;), I subconsciously detected the presence of 2 small, blond children in close proximity and wearily opened my eyes. That's all the excuse they needed and with a flurry of nighties, hair and blankets I was being flanked on each side by a small child both giggling and laughing hysterically as they joined me in the bed. I then had to listen to the "News of the world 5 y.o. edition" followed quickly by "News of the world: 3 y.o. edition". Awesome :)

I had been pre-warned that the kids wanted to take me to "Out breakfast" at the local pancake place in Gawler and I was instructed by Rach to act surprised and pretend that I had no idea where we were going. I accomplished that mission and Hannah was quite impressed that she got me to the Java Hut (the cafe in question) without me having any clue as to what she had planned. Adults 1 children 1...every one was a winner :)

After breakfast the day was pretty much a whirlwind of activity at Rachels house as she finished preparing for her massive wedding catering job that night and Ryan (her eldest) and I battled with the Wii to try and bend it to our will .... we were unsuccessful after about 3 hours of trying. We shall be victorious in the end though MARK MY WORDS Wii!!! I then had to abruptly leave as time had really got away from me and I was due at the venue of my birthday party in just 1.5hrs and that included a 1hr train trip. I quickly said goodbyes, much to the horror of Rach's children, and dashed for the train.

One disconcerting aspect of my visit to Gawler was that my mobile phone could not get any reception while there. Seems it was a problem with the phone as my sim card worked fine in Rachels phone and got a full signal. While riding on the train to Adelaide I still could not get a signal at all and in frustration smacked the crap out of my phone and shook it like an electrified shaking machine. It suddenly got perfect reception and I quickly called my sister in law to arrange a pick up from the Adelaide train station. Serendipitously, they were actually in Elizabeth at the time and my train was just about to pull into I hoped off and met with them and enjoyed a car ride to the city and a delightful chat with my 3y.o. niece Charlotte. It's really amazing to witness the passing of time in children, I remember when Charlotte was born and now she's 3 and talking about everything and every thing. She's quite clever and has a huge vocabulary and is such a sweet little girl. She provided the biggest laugh of the weekend when we were at dinner and I introduced her to one of my friends (Cash) who is a BIG guy easily 6ft tall and probably close to 200Kg. Upon being introduced Charlotte looked at him and with the sweetest little smile said "My my, you certainly are fat!". Of course it wasn't meant in malice and i'm pretty sure Cash would have been the biggest person she'd ever seen. But there certainly isn't any truth like that "out of the mouths of babes". Cash could see the funny side of it...and we both had a pretty big laugh about it. Kids are pretty cool :)

Anyway, Dinner was at the "Tap In" pub in Kent Town and I was really pleased by the amount of my friends and family that made the effort to attend. Many travelling quite some distance to get there and thus making the evening very enjoyable. I had the beef schnitzel with pepper sauce and it was divine almost (I said almost) as good as those served at the Earl of Leicester. Many laughs were had throughout the evening, many conversations had and many drinks consumed. I'm not exactly sure when it all ended but it was late and I was extremely drunk. So it was a two thumbs up event from me :) Cheers to Ben and Leah too who let me stay at their house for the evening. That bed was sooooOoooOo comfy :)

Sunday was my actual birthday and in all honesty when I woke up I had actually forgotten that it was. Leah greeted me in the morning with a big happy birthday hug and only then did I remember that it actually WAS my birthday. Pretty soon the SMS's and phone calls started wishing me the same. Due to me not really having too much time with Rachel at her place I asked her to meet me for lunch on Sunday if she had time. Thankfully she did and we met and went to lunch at the Exciter for some tasty eats. Had a good chat with her for an hour or so before she had to leave to go pick up her kids. I really appreciate you finding the time for me though Rach, you still Rock the hardest out of everyone I know :)

After lunch Ben, Leah and I went looking for some new headphones for me as I usually listen to my iPod when travelling. I pretty much only use my iPod in Melbourne when riding my bike and use a non-standard pair of headphones that I bought. This trip however I had only the original white headphones that came with the iPod when I bought it and which I had never used. When I tried them on the flight over the left one didn't even work .... gg Apple!

So we went looking and as we passed Target at the end of Rundle street I suggested we tried looking in there. Leah was adamant that Target didn't have headphones and it would be a waste of time and when it WAS proved to be a waste of time then *I* would owe her a Wendy's thickshake. Fine, I agreed, and thankfully Target DID have headphones ... much to Leah's disgust :)

After getting some awesome sony earphones we went and got my victory thickshake and then headed back to the car. Once mobile we embarked on what can only be described as "Leah's fruitless search for a luxury ocean liner that didn't exist" to fill in the last hour that we had before I had to be at the airport. We drove all the way out to outer harbour only to find it empty of all things shippy. Not a good day for Leah ;)

So we went back to Ben and Leah's place, collected my stuff and headed to the airport. I was pretty tired by this time and was hoping the flight would be as prompt and efficient as Fridays. True to form though Tiger wasn't on time and I had 2 hrs of "extra" time in the airport waiting for them to get their shit together (Is that even possible??). I went and got a coffee and took advantage of the free intarwebs and the all powerful iPod to update my Facebook profile about how much I really didn't want to go back to Melbourne....again :). Finally boarded the plane 2.5hrs after it was scheduled and headed back to Melbourne. I slept pretty much the whole way.

I got home with no drama's. Car was still in the car park which is always good and the drive home was pleasant. Got to my house at about 8:30pm and felt the familiar THUD of another awesome SA visit "officially" being over again. I unpacked and spent the next 2 hours discussing the problems of the world with Rachel via the internet. I actually enjoyed that quite a bit. Then it was time for bed and getting ready for another action packed excitement fest at work*

*may not accurately describe my job.
**This year I also almost made it through the whole day without thinking of the girl that unceremoniously broke my heart on my birthday in 2003 and had consequently tarnished and degraded every birthday since. It's actually rather pleasing to realise that time does actually heal most wounds and undo many wrongs. So thanks go out to everyone who made me enjoy myself so much this birthday that those memories got close to zero brain time this year. Much appreciated.