Saturday, November 27, 2010

Queensland bound

I'm helping to run a field course for undergraduate students in a week's time and am heading off to a tropical island on the Great Barrier Reef. After the initial excitement had worn off, I soon realised I was ill prepared for my trip and desperately needed to go shopping.

I took advantage of recent sales at the DFO to invest in a good pair of fins, a mask and snorkel.

My priority, however, was a rash vest to keep the sun off my back so I left work early yesterday to go shopping for more stuff. Rash vests are great for guys with perfectly toned bodies but for those of us who simply don't have the time to go to the gym (i.e. lazy), the contour fitting form of these shirts make it very hard to hide unsightly bulges. I figure that a week of intense sit ups is unlikely to make much of a difference to my physique so I decided to go for the lesser evil and settled for a black-coloured shirt, which was (as I very quickly found out) far less unflattering than the white version (so it's true, black really is slimming).

Rash vest in the bag, I tried to look for a pair of bathers. I don't get to the beach much and the swimming shorts I have at home are seriously outdated (they are the size of a one-man tent which means they blow up like a floatation device when I first hit the water before releasing all the trapped air in a most embarassing fashion). Call me shallow but I needed to update my swim wear.

Still, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I ventured up the escalators at DJs and was confronted with an overwhelming selection of swim shorts in a myriad of patterns, colours and forms. I made a half-baked effort to sift through the selection, got a shock when I saw the price tag on a pair I liked (who the hell pays $200 for a pair of swimming trunks?), and promptly decided I had had enough shopping for one day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birthday surprise

The reason we were heading to Canberra was to surprise mum for her 60th. My siblings and I had invested in a very expensive handbag (purchased from one of those up market stores at the "Paris end" of Collins Street) which I then proceeded to misplace in the Tiger Airways terminal. The realisation I had lost the bag came three hours after clearing security. We were waiting at the terminal to board our delayed flight when I suddenly remembered the bag. The conversation then went something like this:

Me: Where's the Louis Vuitton bag?
Nathan: You're kiding me right?
Me: Shit. Where did I put it?
Nathan: Fuck.

I then tried to retrace my steps. Newslink. Nope. Cafe. Nope. We then ended up at the security check point.

Nathan (to security guy): This might sound like a strange question but did someone hand in a Louis Vuitton bag?
Security guy: No, it's not a strange question. And 'yes' we have it out the back.

Phew. The bag was delivered to mum on the Sunday and I avoided the potential wrath of the siblings.

Tiger tantrums

Nate and I went up to Canberra for the weekend. We flew Tiger Airways so there shouldn't be any surprises that (a) both the outbound and inbound flights were delayed (3 and 1.5 hours respectively) and (b) we were slugged with an extra $80 for not pre-purchasing our luggage (Nathan's fault) and checking in online (a flow on effect of thinking we had to check in in person because we had luggage) . Silly us. The woman at check in was actually surprised how good we were taking the extra charges. in truth, Nate had worked for another low-budget carrier and is always insistent it's the passenger's fault for not reading their terms and condition and, more importantly, we were trying not to attract the camera crew who were standing around filming for the Airlines reality program.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Public interior?

I spend quite a bit of time flipping through interior magazines at Borders (spot the gay). I often wondered how people's homes end up in these publications. Then, on Sunday, whilst chatting to the store manager of a favourite shop on Chapple St (who knows me well enough to know what kind of stuff I have in my apartment) referred me to a freelance writer/interior stylist who is now interested in featuring our apartment in a weekly column she writes for a magazine. I don't think the interior of my apartment looks quite like some of the houses featured in these sorts of things but let's see how it plays out.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday Shopping

Met up with Nathan during his lunch break yesterday to do some shopping at the 'new' Myer store in Bourke Street. The upper floors are still a construction site but the $300 million make-over is starting to take shape and is looking really good. There are still some teething problems though. As I attempted to get to the 4th floor fitting room to try on a t-shirt, I was told by security staff that there was a water leak in that section of the building. A few minutes later, a quater of the floor was plunged into darkness.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Birthday surprise

We celebrated brother-in-law's 30th yesterday with a surprise lunch party at Shoya. My sister asked us (Nathan, my other sister and I) to pick up the birthday cake from Brunetti's on Swanston Street. Boy did we get a shock when the lady behind the counter emerged from the back with a towering 'croc en bouche' (I blame Master chef) which we then had to transport along Swanston and Bourke (all the while trying to dodge our way around tourists and Saturday shoppers).

Glad to say that the cake made it to the restaurant in one piece and brother-in-law was suitably surprised when he arrived a short time later and saw us all at the restaurant.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reality check

Some people are born survivors. When confronted with a challenge, these are the kinds of people that can quickly grasp reality and look for tangible solutions to get out of their predicaments. Take the example of Aron Ralston, the hiker who found himself trapped by a boulder whilst canyoneering in Utah in 2003. While many would have languished (and possibly died), Aron took drastic action by cutting his own arm off with a knife to free himself. In so doing, he lived to tell the tale.

At the other end of the extreme are people who seem incapable of confronting reality. My friend Pete, for instance, wasted a great deal of effort once trying to get himself a seat on a plane. He simply couldn't accept the fact that the flight was full and after 20 minute yelling at the airline company still had to settle for a later flight.

More recently, a work colleague has been trying to grapple with the reality of his employment situation. The guy's been on a one year contract and our employer has always been upfront about the nature of the fixed term position right from the beginning. Now that the contract is about to come to an end, my colleague is getting increasingly bitter. He can't seem to understand why his contract is not being renewed. I can see that this will not end well. The more he tries to hold onto an outcome that simply won't eventuate, the less time he is leaving himself to exploring alternative solutions to his employment situation. My colleague is unable to come to grips with his reality and to take the action necessary to free himself.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The sculpture

My cubist-inspired piece is on the right.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Weekend in the Hunter

Went up to the Newcastle for a rock carving weekend with my friends Sarah and Hanna.

Took the plane to Sydney on Friday and then caught the train up to Sarah's place at Morisset. Saturday and Sunday were spent hacking into our blocks of limestone and covering ourselves in dust. I decided to do a figurative piece which became more and more abstract (and a little bit pornographic) as the weekend progressed. I'm quite happy with the finished product, which I have named 'Unitled No. 35'.

Caught the train back to Sydney this morning and then the bus from Central to Canberra. Boy does the country side look green. I don't think I've ever seen it so lush. Yay for 'La nina'.

Am in Canberra today and tomorrow. I have a fancy dinner to attend tonight and then some work stuff tomorrow morning at the ANU but am hoping to find some time to visit the new wing of the National Gallery.