Wednesday, June 29, 2005

winter days

I gather that some people are still a bit confused about 'winter' in Australia. Today I had an around Melbourne adventure and took my camera along to show you what it's like. It is supposedly not always such nice weather here, but I can only go by what I've seen, and its been not to bad so far.
Anyway, these are a few views I get on a near daily basis...

(I've tried another photopublishing tool, so please let me know if you have trouble with the pics)

The corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets.

Windsor Station
Dandenong Rd. Some Roofs

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

and one more thing

I have just realised that the six month mark passed with nary a mention in this chroncle. The halfway point has passed completely and I didn't even give it a mention. How unlike me...
er, so here is a picture, I took in Canberra when I was there about three months ago, to celebrate 6 months, which happened a while ago.
confusing and nonsencical? yes of course!

kicking loose the teen years

So, this is what 20 feels like. Yuk.
Yesterday was a decent day by most counts. I wolk up earlier than I expected to (there had been some drinks at work the night before). Andy was calling me to make plans for later on, which we did. I got out of bed and made myself a cup of tea and sat in the sunshine. I couldn’t seem to wipe off the dopey smile I was wearing; happy birthday to me. I had a good long birthday chat with mum and dad while I had my tea and then set about planning my day.
I was meeting Andy around 2. I was meeting Mette to say goodbye sometime in the afternoon. I had to get baby spinach.
I lazed around a bit and then had to run to catch the train. I got into the city and met up with Andy. We had coffee and then went for sushi. In between tuna rolls and green tea I got a birthday call from poppa. The connection was really bad, but it was good to hear his voice. After sushi, I bought myself a new shirt and pair of trousers (happy birthday to me). Mette called; “…corner of Collins and Swanston in about ten minutes”. Andy and I hit a tea shop and then headed to meet her. Mette had to go and have words with her mobile company, which she did and then we all went for coffee. During coffee, Claire called with birthday wishes. At five o’clock, Mette had to be heading back to her hotel before going to the airport, so we parted ways. A hug, safe travel wishes and an invite to Oslo or Scotland and then she was off. Andy and I hopped in the car and with a quick stop for baby spinach and wine made our way home. We arrived back to a flat that smelled of a delicious meal in preparation. For the next 4 hours we ate, drank and made merry. (For the detail inclined: Master stock quail with wakami, baby spinach and rocket salad, roasted pork belly with truffled potatoes. Joseph Cab-Sav, Miller Creek Chard and Toohey’s Extra Dry). Around 10 we walked down to a bar on Chapel St and continued to make merry. Nick, Jane, Simon and Stacey all made appearances. Somebody thought it would be a great idea to give Tim black sambuca which brought the evening to an earlier than expected end. Toddy got me home in one piece and kindly supplied a bedside bucket.
I spent from 9 this morning until nearly 6 this evening curled up on the floor in the lounge room only moving for essentials: water, toilet, email. Todd cooked again tonight (somehow truffles still taste good through a hangover) and he, Steph and I sat around and ate like a family.
I have another day off tomorrow; I’ll have to find something productive to do…

Monday, June 27, 2005

for it was on the twenty seventh....


Friday, June 24, 2005

the grass and the feet

I stood in a morning after stupor, head resting back against the window, eyes half closed, right hand hooked loosely 'round the grab rail, left hand holding the empty paper cup that had held the days first coffee until a few minutes before. A general numbness was all I could feel; massaged by the gentle sway and rattle of the tram as it moved along. Disjointed fragments of thoughts floated randomly through my head and I did my best not to notice them; something about needing more coffee and the importance of coins to society.
"what are you doing?" It came like a whisper but cut through the haze the haze surrounding me with startling clarity. My eyes snapped fully open. I glanced around me looking for the speaker; but the only other person on the tram was sitting up front near the driver. I blinked. And in the single instant the my eyes were closed a snapshot picture seared itself into the backs of my eyelids. Under a blazing blue sky, I'm standing beside a road clad in hiking boots, frayed camouflage print shorts, my pirate t-shirt and sunnies with my pack strapped to my back. I'm smiling.
Then it's gone.
I stare at my reflection in the opposite window, have a few stunned moments trying to comprehend what has just happened. I rationalize that it must be like the mind's version of a static ghost and begin to drift back into the stupor. And then it hits me: "what AM I doing here?"

I think it's time to travel again.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

park-a your parka

Yesterday I had a phone call with the parents. As they called me, they were watching a summer storm gather and begin. As I talked to them, I was walking out of Flinders St Station, up a few blocks and over to a kitchen store on Elizabeth St. They were sitting inside watching a summer storm and I was walking through a sunny winter day.
Mum said that I should post something about the seasons being opposite here. "How was I going to make that interesting and worth reading" I thought. And then, in a happening that writers would salivate over, inspiration walked right past me. Inspiration in this case was female, about 5' 2", caucasian, blonde, and wearing a parka. I nearly dropped the phone.
Please understand that by 'winter day' I meant that the day fell during the winter season. It was infact about 13 degrees and, like I said, sunny. I was wearing a very light sweater over a t-shirt and was totally comfortable. She must have been warm, but the whole 'antarctic expedition' look just didn't fit in. I did my best to control myself until she was out of earshot and then, outright hilarity in check, explained to mum what had just happened.
so yeah, it's winter here. Hooray!

In other news, I visited the doctor about my thumb. After much poking and prodding, he said that I would live and that the tendons were intact. He did say that there was inflamation in the joint itself, which would account for the pain, and that it was too early to rule out cartilage damage. He then gave me a band-aid and said I could be on my way; as long as I paused with my Visa card at reception on the way out...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

early night

I'm still alive.

I hardly slept Saturday night. I kept rolling over on my hand or shifting position just enough to cause enough pain to wake up.
Sunday morning I was still bleeding a bit on and off so I re-taped (with proper medical tape) and used a custom cut chopstick to splint my whole thumb (the theroy being that the skin surface wouldn't move as much if the whole finger didn't). Sunday lunch was crazy busy as usual, but I managed a 15 minute break around five o'clock for pain pills and juice. Dinner was painfully slow and at 9 Shaun decided that we should close the kitchen and get out of there. Noone objected so by 10 we were on our way out the door. Simon, Shaun, Sweden (Andy) and I decided an early finishing drink was in order. I was soon introduced to a Melbourne institution; The Esplenade. or "the espie" as locals call it. The place is a total dive, but the beer was cold, the smiles were friendly and I was with some guys that I can call good mates. All in all a good time was had, and because we started early, we finished early too! I was home in bed by 1am.
Anyway.... The thumb came out of the bandage and splint tonight and looks ok concidering. We'll see how the next few days go...


Sunday, June 19, 2005

blood runs thicker than cayenne

This post contains no stitches. Though it almost did. Service tonight was a beautiful smooth ride through 260 covers. Well almost.
At ten to six, I was moving to fast to take a break so my staff meal sat tucked away at the far end of the bench waiting for a spare moment. Shaun saw it and reamed me out for not taking a break to eat something and put it in the microwave for me. Five minutes later I had enough time to have a few mouthfulls so I grabbed my bowl and headed out back. Something was different. There were tiny flecks mixed through my food.
Cayenne pepper.
I was so hungry that I didn't care and forced six spoonfuls down before I had to stop. It was insanely hot. My mouth was on fire and my stomach was already rumbling. I swore a curse on Shaun under my breath and went back into the kitchen. "hilarious chef" I spat across the bench at Shaun in the most acidic tone I've ever used. "Absolutely hilarious" He laughed "don't leave your food out eh?" I didn't reply. "Come on Canada, it wasn't that hot..." I slid the bowl across to him and went back to setting up. He got two mouthfulls down and stopped. I fixed him with a blank stare and cocked an eyebrow. "hooh, that is a bit spicy." It was a s close to an apology as I could expect.
I had another five minutes before service so I grabbed a steel and ran all my knives over it. Just as I was finishing, Jane asked me if I could do her french knife too. I grabbed it and made two passes over the steel. The third pass the knife slipped and clipped by thumb. It felt like it had just grazed me and I stopped to check for blood. There was none; just a scratch. I flexed my thumb and stopped dead. I saw it for a good second, there at the bottom of the 'scratch' was a tendon and my thumb bone (easily identifiable by their movement as I flexed my thumb), and then came the blood. Just a trickle, then pouring out over my entire hand. I looked at the clock, the first bookings arrived in 5 minutes. I looked back at my blood covered hand. "Shoot me now" I muttered under my breath as I headed for the first aid kit. As is to be expected, there were no proper first aid supplies in the kit. I slapped on a couple steri-strips, grabbed a cotton pad and (in true hastings style) used a stolen role of masking tape to complete the bandaging process. The blood was already seeping through as I pulled on a glove while the printer began to chatter.
Within five minutes I began to go into shock. "I don't have time for this shit!" With the dockets piling up on the printer, I sprinted to the bar and ordered a liter of apple juice with sugar syrup, downed it, and headed back to service. It was mind and gritted teeth over injury for the next four hours, and I won.
As service began to wind down, Jane and I began to pack up the station. As luck would have it, I caught my thumb (right on the cut) in the door of the under-bench cooler. My vision went stary and I dropped the container I was holding. I stumbled off the line (my only thought to get out of the kitchen) and into the cool room. The door slammed shut behind me, I let loose a yell that could only be inspired by the white agony shooting through my hand. When I had regained my composure and gone back packing up, Jane sidled up to me and quietly commented "you know Tim, those coolrooms aren't as soundproof as you think they are."
I grabbed a double scotch from the bar and downed it as I was leaving. Marc offered me a lift to the hospital, but I opted for stopping for Advil and Elastoplasts on the way home instead of a three hour wait at in the ER for stitches.
When I got inside, I discovered I'd left the Advil in Marc's car...

So, the bleeding's stopped for now. My thumb is bandaged up. And I have a 16 hour solo shift to look forward to tomorrow.

Three more weeks.
three more weeks.
three. more. weeks.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

you can't escape

Through the marvels of modern technology, I have tuned in to CBC on the computer.
What is the first thing that I hear, of anything I can hear from the other side of the world?
The Vancouver traffic report.
I have to laugh, or I will smash things.

It's been another long day at work, and I'm trying to decide what i'm going to do with the morning off tomorrow. At this point, sleep is making a fairly strong case for occupying the majority of the morning; surpassing grocery shopping (and I NEED to go grocery shopping). Today was payday, and with that came another chapter in the pay saga. For the first time in over two months, my pay was correct! I nearly fainted from shock, but came closer still to passing out when Chef began trying to convince me that I was actually recieving a raise... *cough* bullshit *cough* *cough* You see, he keeps telling me about an international tax treaty that says that I don't have to pay Australian tax. Unfortunately for him, I have researched this treaty through the Foreign Affairs people and know what it says. So every time he trys to tell me my pay is screwed up or I'm getting a raise or ________ (fill in the blank) because of this treaty, it further cements my oppinion that he is, in fact, quite full of shit.

In other news; I made a new personal best on the rowing machine today, and (amazingly) I can still walk. Maybe this fitness thing won't kill me after all.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

one two, one two, this is just a test...

Hello blog readers,
this is a test to see if there are any bugs in the photo-publishing software that I've aquired.
could you please comment if you can see the picture below, and if you can't, let me know what system you are using?
That would be great!

-les opera

Monday, June 13, 2005

back pay (part ii)

It worked!

I shall sleep easier tonight...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

back pay

Dear Chef,
if i don't get my back pay today, I will not come to work tomorrow.


Today I went to the gym on my break and used the rowing machine for the first time. It was great, except now (despite vigorous stretching) going up or down stairs is incredibly painful. *sigh* health at what cost...
Work was ok today. No severe problems or issues other than the fact it was a fifteen+ hour day. I am very tired.

also happy birthday to jenna
(its tomorrow here, so today here is the day at home... i think...)

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Today, I told a lie.
I told Chef that the embassy had offered me legal representation to help with my pay dispute.
He turned three shades whiter than he usually is and stuttered something about making a phone call. Next thing, he was reportedly on the phone screaming at the payroll department to fix my pay before it turned into an international incident.
It was a little lie, but it had the effect that 7 weeks of truth had failed to produce.
It may be wrong, but I consider it worth it.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

the art of train missing

To fill in after this morning's post...
I was in Ballarat for my days off, more on that later. I am back in Melbourne tonight in preparedness for work in the morning. I managed to miss TWO trains back into the city this afternoon so I am home much later than I had anticipated. ah well, the laundry is in the machine and can dry overnight and one of my French knives is sharp. I will survive.
This week has been mildly eventful.
I joined a Gym. So far I've only been on the treadmill and the LeMonde bike; improve your cardio health first children...
Nathan, the guy that Jane and I have been training, got sacked on Sunday after an exchange with Chef Shaun during which he told Shaun to "fuck off".
I did prep and service by myself Sunday night and Monday morning. It looked like my Monday night off and my days off on Wednesday and Thursday were in serious jeopardy, but Curtis rode in with a white jacket and saved my Monday night (the days off were still in question). I took the opportunity the early finish presented to visit the consulate and make inquiries about my pay dispute. The consulate 'knew nothing' (I'm not kidding, the blond girl behind the desk honestly said "I'm sorry, we don't know anything...") but referred me to a representive at the High Commission. I exchanged some emails during the week and concluded that I'm being screwed over royally (more details to follow tomorrow's meeting with chef). Curtis came in on Tuesday afternoon as well so I scored and early night. I hit the gym for a bit and then headed home for an early night.
Wednesday was scheduled to be one of my days off, but was also the day I was planning to go to Ballarat. I waited for the phone call from work and when it hadn’t come by ten thirty, I headed to the train station to get the hell out of the city. By two I was in the kitchen at Cincotta's talking to Andy. I chatted to people there for a bit before I grabbed Andy's keys and took off with his car. Ballarat is further into fall than Melbourne and I just drove around for a while looking at how fall looked (predictably, the trees were losing leaves, the grass was going brown and the wind was blowing). I went by the old house and saw Georgie and Paul and then went to the Lakeview (my old work) to see people I knew there. All my catching up done, I got a cryptic message from Andy: "Come by around nine- eating adventure". The eating adventure turned out to be a trip BACK TO MELBOURNE with him and John (the restaurant owner). We headed into Chinatown for a feed at The Supper Inn. We ate lots of Chinese food and after a brief meeting with one of John's business friends, drove back to Ballarat and crashed into bed.


This was going to be a big post, full of adventures happenings and thoughts.
But it won't be.
A funeral, no matter the religion is really just saying to whatever power "We're sending a good person back to you, Thanks for letting us know them for a while."
I couldn't be there; and I'm sorry.
But for what it's worth...

God, thank you for the gift of Barry Grannery's life.
His humour, smile and calming guidance will stay with me always.
He will be missed by all who knew him.

Friday, June 03, 2005


I'm sitting around with todd, eating pizza, drinking beer, watching a bad action flick and using power tools to assemble my ikea funiture. It's great to be male.

The Blue Cube of Happiness

It is the morning and I am sitting in the living room having a cup of tea. I don’t have to be at work until 3, so why am I awake at this time you may ask? IKEA IS COMING!!!!!
*does a little dance* yes that’s right! In their yellow and blue Ikea truck to my house!!! SO exciting! I have been a part of purchasing items large enough to warrant delivery before, but this is the first time it is actually happening (the other time I seem to recall a 5 hour trip with a sofa roped to the roof of the car….). The big ticket item requiring delivery here is my new mattress. Goodbye to the air mattress that has been my slumber’s home for the last month and a bit, hello proper back support and cushiony beauty…
The weather today looks remarkably good; blue sky and sun showing through the window. Today I’m going to drop off some film on my way to work, a couple of the rolls are from the very beginning of my trip and I can’t remember what is on them, it should be exciting… check back for updates on the film and my pay situation… there’s never a dull moment…
And oh! OH! Can it be? CAN IT BE??? The man on the phone says the delivery truck is out front!!!!!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Light Saber

Days off this week were pretty low key. Wednesday I went over to Simon’s about noon and we hung out for a while and fed his fish. Bored with fish feeding and drinking instant coffee we went to see star wars. Simon beat me in the ‘who can fall asleep first during the movie’ race. After the movie we went back to his flat to find Stacey and Curtis already there. We chilled out for a while and had some wine. We all started to get pretty hungry so we went around the corner to an ‘Italian fusion’ place to get some food. You know how they say that if you are hungry enough you will eat anything? Well, the length of time that we had to wait for our food, pretty much ensured that we were going to eat it. It wasn’t bad food; it just wasn’t good food either. Simon had a few rum and cokes and that was the end of him. I drank water as did Stacey (who was driving) and we used our sobriety to let loose lightning zingers at our less than sober companions. After dinner, I decided that I wanted to be getting home, so I got dropped off and pretty much headed to bed right away.
Thursday. I wolk up and did some stuff around the house before embarking on the great Ikea expedition. I walked to Chapel Street and hopped a tram all the way to its last stop (Victoria St?) and then walked a few blocks before the blue and yellow flags of home furnishings heaven came into view. I wandered through the isles of the showroom showing remarkable self restraint and making a list. Finished with the showroom, I paused for a breather in the café and, to my amazement, managed to resist the call of the little meatballs. Half an hour later I was through the marketplace and at the checkout with a half full yellow bag, a mattress and a bedside table in a box. Home delivery counter was next, followed by the candy counter (Andy from work is Swedish and had pleaded with me to being him some Swedish confectionary) and then outside to the tram home! Once home, I put together my new lamp and clicked it on and off several times just because I could and then had a snooze. The evening involved dinner, some unbridled creativity, some emails, the Amazing Race and now sleep. Hurrah.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Welcome to june; possibly the best month in the year because it has my birthday in it. The very fact that the sixth month has arrived makes me happy.
In Australia, june means it is winter. The very fact that it was 6 degrees, windy and rainy as I waited for my tram today made me unhappy.
I am planning an Ikea trip on my days off. It makes me happy.
My pay dispute has still not been resolved. I'm pissed off.