Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Weekend in Northern Victoria

Sunday 29 November

Hi guys,
Just got back from Northern Victoria (or Southern NSW - depending on what time it was) spending the weekend with Chris Brady. Was a long trip on Saturday morning - left my place at 8:30am, and arrived in Lilydale just after 11 - then straight on to Chris' parents place in the country right at the top of Victoria. Had a few drinks - I bought some 42 below to the table, Chris bought some home-made Scotch - watched the cricket, played some darts, had some pizza from Tocumwal for dinner, and some more drinks. Chris's friends Michael and James came around, and we played killer darts for about 3 hours (it was really that fun) - to which somehow I managed to win 2/4 games and get 2nd the one of the others. Rained very heavily all night - a few inches of water carpeted the ground when I woke at 8... after spending the night on the couch - rather cramped, but didn't really want to go through the rain to go inside and use an actual bed... Who could be bothered, eh?

Was a great weekend - Chris is a good guy - thanks to my cousin for the introduction - and the stories I heard about her from his friends, was very entertaining.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Storms, Shows and Sunshine

Friday 27 November
Hi everyone,

As you may or may not have heard Victoria was hit by a brief and brutal storm yesterday afternoon. It was the strangest thing I have ever seen. Dad and I were having a coffee - was nice and sunny and warm outside, then went downstairs to JB Hi-Fi (which is in a cellar, so windowless). We would have been down there approx 20 mins, and when we came to the top of the escalator, it was dark; like darker than it was when Dad and I went to the airport at 6am this morning... and it was 2 in the afternoon. We took off back to the hotel, and couldn't go into our room (as housekeeping were fluffing our pillows, or some shit), so went upstairs and watched the storm from the pool/spa room. We noticed a sign in the elevator which told us of a fire drill occurring in a few minutes, so we decided to just get out of there - the rain had subsided. It wasn't until we got to Footscray, had been shopping (and ticket checked), that we noticed how destructive the storm had been. Train after train was cancelled, V-Lines were showing up everywhere, and we were hurried onto the next train and taken to the city - which was lucky since we had a show in an hour...

Strassman, a ventriloquist, was doing a live show last night, and we had tickets. Oh my it was funny, right from the outset. Ted-E and Chuck were funny as always, some of his other characters were a bit lame - especially his stupid female robot puppet thing, but there were so many laughs. If you happen to be able to go to this show in the future, I recommend it - totally worth the $50 or whatever it was.

As I eluded to earlier, I took dad to the airport this morning; early this morning. Since then, I have been alone in the big wide city. Its a strange feeling - both nerve wracking and exciting at the same time. I got a few things done, including picking up my Karnivool tickets from the city (which was a bad idea - as I also spent $100 on CDs...) I went to a laundromat around the corner and did my washing (which didn't cost all that much really). Had a really good chinese meal for lunch - never seen anything like it, and only $8 (will get a photo up soon).

Until next time, peace out.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another Busy Day

Wednesday 25 November

Hi all, another really busy day. We started by having a big breakfast at one of the street brekkie bars on Swanston street, before heading off to deliver the rest of my stuff to my flat. Was a bit of a haul, but not as long as some of the other days! Dad had a little panic as he lost his passport this morning, was quite worrying as we couldn't find it anywhere in the room. Had a good long chat with my flatmate Elliot, who I had briefly met the other day, but was nice to get to know him a little better. I decided I needed a printer, so we went to southlands, and again, another carry of a large object, but I hope that it all was worth it.

For dinner, we decided to go out to Brighton, as dad wanted to see the changing boxes (as they're an icon). We found them, but didn't really want to eat anything out there - it all looked mighty expensive, so we got in a train and got off at South Yarra, and walked down the main street of Toorak (not much cheaper, I know!) We stumbled on this quaint authentic 60s diner, which served some amazing hamburgers and a Dr. Pepper. A good find. Another busy day, but the days of dad being here and all my connections are slowly slipping away. Will be an interesting weekend - Chris has asked me to come and drink with him in Lilydale - that will be interesting - especially since I have to train back to Richmond before going to the end of another line. Out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Busiest Day so Far!

Tuesday 24 November

A lot was accomplished today. Went to Chadstone this morning, people always rave about how large this shopping centre is, but I just don't see it. I mean, it's big and everything, but it doesn't feel supersized. What was interesting (and disturbing) was the exhibition of handbags. Now, I know that us males aren't supposed to understand handbags, and I also know that we have no appreciation of style; but just what on earth do these Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags need four suited, armed, and scary-looking security guards defending them? After fighting a losing battle with Virgin Mobile in Swanston St, I decided to try the one in Chadstone whilst there. The guy who served me must've been new, as he didn't even ask me for ID (which was one of the main problems with the one in Swanston St.). That done, and no other shipping needs to be satisfied, we retired to the city, then onwards to St. Kilda for lunch.

And my, what a gorgeous day out on the waterfront. The place we chose to eat offered some fantastic meals, albeit slightly more expensive than was expected. We enjoyed a meal while watching a huge ship slowly float into Port Phillip, which I must say is an amazingly huge stretch of water. You look at it on the map, and it looks just like a small body of water. However, in practice (and I noticed this especially when travelling to Frankston the other day), you can't see across it!

After lunch, we headed off to find a desk for my room. Rhonwyn said that Ikea would be a good place to start, and oh my was she right. The place was mammoth. I haven't seen anything like it in my life. The showroom (unpictured) was a maze of little mock rooms: kitchens, lounges, studies, bedrooms, etc. We found a desk I wanted and proceeded to go and actually pick it up from the warehouse. And that was bigger again. It was just aisles and aisles of boxes with kitsets in them. After purchasing, we decided to carry (thats right, carry) it to a tram stop, then through Parliament station, onto a train, and through to Mentone, before carrying it further to my place. The arms and back hurt for a while after that!

Having received a phonecall from Virgin earlier in the day (stating that they are moronic, and I did need to bring in some ID), we hopped on a bus and headed for Chadstone once again. an 8km journey never seemed so long. There was no airconditioning in the bus, and it was sweltering. The "cool" air outside (of 28 degrees) was incredible when we finally stepped off at Chadstone 45 minutes later. The Virgin salesperson had also overcharged me, so I was told, so not only did they not even look at my ID (when they asked for 100 points, I gave them 2 of the same bank cards...), but I got my dinner for free too; which was some quite tasty nachos.

The best news came about lunchtime, however - I passed ACCT310. I now qualify forgraduation. I have my degree!

Overall, a very busy (and hot) day. Glad we filled it in though - and we got most of the things sorted that I needed to. Tomorrow we have to go to the flat and wait... and wait... and wait for the bed to show up. Here is hoping they won't be too late. Out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My First Few Days in Melbourne

Friday 20 November
After spending Thursday early morning hurrying around finding all my things and shoving them into a suitcase, I remained awake until the following morning when my Dad and I left Timaru for Christchurch to catch a 7am flight. Being prompt individuals, we ensured we were at the airport three and a half hours before departure. However, we were lucky enough to be able to check our bags in and go upstairs and get a coffee - if only to stay awake until 7. Just after 7 we left NZ, and into the air, the flight attendants called for assistance from any medical personnel on board. An hour into the flight, we were put on standby - and told we may be asked to return to Christchurch. After we crossed the halfway point, we breathed a sigh of relief as we knew we weren't returning to Christchurch.

We hopped on a train and spent the afternoon in Ormond, looking around the suburb where I had lined up a flat interview, but soon afterwards, we discovered that it would not occur. We sidled back into the city in a sweltering heat, had showers, and headed down to the docklands for a meal before Pearl Jam.
Pearl Jam was insane. It started with an impressive performance from Liam Finn, topped up with some incredible beats from Ben Harper, of whom I wasn't actually expecting much. When he invited Eddie out on stage during his set to perform a duet of Under Pressure, it boosted the expectations of the evening. As people poured into the stadium, Pearl Jam came on, and performed for nearly 1:45 before disappearing for a short (and I mean short) break. They returned and played for a further hour before concluding their set. As usual, the crowd begged for an encore, and back they came, bringing Ben Harper with, and performing a 4 song encore. By this time I was incredibly tired - been up for nearly 36 hours at this point. The cheeky sods in the mosh pit then demanded a second encore, which was adhered to, this time with Liam Finn accompanying them. They played an excellent version of Throw Your Arms Around Me. After this 6 song encore, we disappeared home and hit the hay.

Saturday 21 November:
Today we had arranged a meeting to look through a flat in Mentone, which is a good 45 minute train ride from the city. The suburb was very clean and pleasant, and automatically felt like a great place. The current tenant was a nice bloke who seems to be easy going and friendly; the flat was as expected, and fairly well priced. I paid a bond and took a set of keys, signing the accompanying documentation - I have somewhere to live! We went up a couple of stops and found an enormous mall (Southlands Shopping Centre), and had a poke around there, which filled in the day. Walking back to the train station, we came across a bed sales outlet, and went in to check it out. Found a comfortable queen sized bed, with a base, for $800 - down from $1600, and what would be worth over $2k in NZ. Ordered it on the spot, and will get it delivered next week. Went to see 2012 at the cinema at the Crown - quite disappointing - great SFX, but perhaps too much; made the story so unbelievable. Kate Roger from 3 News was right - if you see this movie, leave your brain at the door.

Sunday 22 November:
Didn't do too much today, just chilled out and went for a look around some clothes shops in Highpoint near Footscray. Good to get a bunch of new clothes, makes me feel like a new person. Pity the weather was so crap though, was pissing down - and it just so happened that I wasn't wearing very warm clothes. Luckily we caught our tram and connecting train without much delay. Spent the afternoon poking through Myers, JB Hi-Fi, and other assorted stores. Went to iMax to see a coral documentary narrated by Jim Carey on the humongosaurus 7 storey-high screen. Was insane.