Balkan Bonanza

We didn’t make it to Romania. It would have been nice, but we didn’t have time with all the other places we wanted to see. Perhaps it was a bit of a bad decision in the end, as Varna was rather disappointing, although it did give us a chance to see the Black Sea. It wasn’t black.

We spent 3 nights in a cute little town just on the edge of Varna, the name escapes me but I managed to take some photos of the funny little old lady inhabitants. As soon as I find a computer that lets me copy off my pictures I’ll upload them and share them all with you, my loyal readers.

Actually, the best thing we saw in Varna was a local football match. The owner of the hostel took a few of us to a game and we got to see a near-riot, and that was just due to celebrating… before the kick-off. Thankfully, the home team won the match convincingly so only one plastic chair was set on fire and the flares and smoke bombs were only ignited in a pleasant way. I took videos of the crowd, it was fun.

We took an overnight train back to Sofia from Varna, it was rather uneventful but Emily failed to get much sleep, as trains don’t seem to do it for her. We had to kill an entire day in Sofia and it rained inconsistently, preventing us from simply sitting in a park and waiting. As soon as our train arrived that morning we thought we’d be good and organised and responsible and purchase our ticket to Belgrade immediately and some scummy little bastard led us around showing us the ticket offices and pointed us in the direction of a net cafe before demanding we pay him for his guidance. I threw some coins at him in disgust as I knew it would happen but we were too dazed from the overnight train ride to tell him to clear off when he first approached us.

It turns out the ticket we bought was only for the sleeper carriage, not for the journey. We discovered this 5 minutes before the train departed from the non-English speaking conductor. Basically we got ripped off not only for the price of the sleeper but also because we didn’t even get a ticket from it. With a little translation help from other passengers we managed to buy a ticket to the Serbian border from another conductor on the platform and then we would have to buy a second ticket once we got across the line.

In the meantime, an apparently possessed, psychotic, potentially violent, drunken woman kept looking at me as we discussed tickets, then followed Em and I into our sleeper carriage, all the while holding a glass bottle of some vodka pre-mix. At first we thought we were just having a ridiculously, pathetically, unlucky day. Being the kind and tolerant souls that we are, we quietly lay on our bunks, waiting for the nutbag to go to sleep. We changed our minds when she started examining her breasts in front of us in-between demented stares. I sent Em off to find the conductor while I lay nearly frozen in fear, attempting to protect our belongings. She got kicked out of the cabin and gave Em one of those smiles that simply say something along the lines of “I really like you, you’re nice, now let me cut your eyeballs out”. The door stayed locked the rest of the night.

I failed to fall fast asleep at all, half in anxiety and half in expectation of the quiet knock on the door from a Serbian ticket collector. He arrived and unfortunately he wouldn’t accept Bulgarian money, only Euros. I managed to scrape just enough together by trading currencies with the Bulgarian conductor and then we finally got some sleep, more than expected as the train was 2 hours late. We didn’t mind.

What I did mind was finding out that no one outside of Bulgaria will exchange Bulgarian currency. This was and still is very frustrating, as we now have the equivalent of 30 Euros that we cannot spend. Now we always exchange before we leave. Bastards.

Belgrade was worth the hassle, at least. I liked it. It reminded me of Sydney, kind of like how Zagreb reminds me of Melbourne. I don’t know why, they just do. Our hostel was very quiet but nice enough, apart from the mosquitoes. I’ll extrapolate in my next post, this one is long enough. Just to keep you all up to date, we afterwards went to Zagreb and now we’re in Sarajevo (I love it). Soon we’re going to Mostar before re-entering Croatia and hitting up Dubrovnik. Stay tuned.

Movie marathon

I’ve been gathering a decent little collection of movies these last few days. It’s beginning to get quite a lot colder and combining that with the lack of daylight makes a big incentive to stay inside.

Since we’re all lazy we just watch films on the projector, in between foosball matches and maybe the odd gin and tonic.

I’ve been re-educating myself about Dirty Harry and its sequels; modernising the vigilante in The Punisher; trying to share the beauty that is the Evil Dead; finding new perverted cult films like Frankenhooker and reliving the glory of the 80s with The Goonies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and of course, Ghostbusters.

The cool part? Dirty Harry the video game.

The scary part? Dirty Harry would have been the lamest character ever if this happened: The first choice for director was between Irvin Kershner or Sydney Pollack. Kershner ended up getting the job, only to be let go after Frank Sinatra declined the role of Harry Callahan.

Bus drivers: universal arseholes

Time for a quick Seinfeld impersonation:

What’s the deal with bus drivers? Why are they always in such bad moods? You’d think you’d be happy if you got to cruise around all day in a vehicle so big only a monster truck or a semi trailer would mess with you. It’s not like they’re frustrated with traffic; they’re not trying to get home in a hurry.

Ok. Hopefully that set the tone for this piece.

I’ve never had good experiences with bus drivers. The only memories I’ve ever had are of them being aggressive and mean, horrible people. I never really took the bus to school when I was young but I remember everyone had to have a bus pass. I also remember that the bus drivers would act as if they were working border patrol as customs officers whenever an 8 year old would hop on without the correct papers. What’s the big deal? Who the hell cares if a couple of schoolkids hop on a bus without a pass? It’s not costing the bus driver anything and the kids only need to ask their school to give them the pass and they get one. They still don’t pay for anything. The same goes for trains, but I’m not going to go into that here.

Even after my schooling days, they still run around as if they’re upholding some important station in society. I got verbally assaulted once by a bus driver because I didn’t have small enough change for my ticket. I believe the fare was meant to be $2.40. I only had a $10 note but I did have $0.40 in coins on me, so to be considerate and make the drivers job easier for me I handed him $10.40 so that he could just scrape up my $8 in change without having to think about it. Boy was I wrong.

Apparently I was out of line. I was meant to have THE CORRECT CHANGE. Taken aback, I stammered something out about how I didn’t have any change and couldn’t help it. Livid, the driver yanked the cash out of my hand and with a red face and steaming ears, went to all the trouble of picking up a $5 note and two little golden coins and threw them at me along with my ticket. He then continued to complain about how I was somehow fucking up the system because he didn’t have enough money in his till to break $10 notes… Even though he did. To cut a long description of a pointless argument short, he was a prick.

I’ve had other ridiculous experiences in Sydney but there’s no point rehashing them now. I will, however, share a brief whine about one of my Finnish bus mishaps.

Being a good commuter, I arrived 15 minutes early at the bus stop, eagerly waiting for my ride to the city centre of Lahti in order to frolick down to the main bus terminal and take a 2 hour trip to Tampere for a night of fun and alcoholism. Again, story short, the bus was 10 minutes late and drove straight past me while I stood in front on the bus stand. I waited another 20 minutes for the next bus even though it should only have been 10 and in frustration decided to simply walk to town. Of course, I’d already missed my scheduled bus by then and had to make my friend wait for me and watch our bus drive off, as he was there on time. I think he got a lift or something.
The good news is that while bus drivers may be pricks, they’re also stupid. When I finally got onto the bus headed for Tampere I managed to down a whole bottle of vodka in the back seat while I listened to my 80s pop collection on my iPod.

It’s not easy being this hardcore.

Prague.

Ok, because I’m too lazy to update my travelpod at the moment, here’s an email I just sent to work (yes, I’m still attached).

Hello all,

yes, it’s been a while. This email will be a bit shorter as I’m on the verge of being physically ill, mainly because I’m in Prague and have been savouring the $2 pints.

I hope everyone is well. I am too (apart from my current condition) and I’ve been meeting people from all over the place (as one would expect, I suppose).

In the tradition of my last email, here’s yet another run-down of my travels:

Dubrovnik: as I said, cool. Worth visiting. Nothing really of great notice apart from the old town which got shelled in the early 90s and rebuilt. I think I mentioned this before. I can’t really remember. Anyway, definitely tick it off if you consider visiting Croatia (or Hrvatska, if you want to be down with the local language).

Kolocep: an Island near Dubrovnik (or Dubbo, as I like to call it). We visited here for a day, nothing extraordinary but it was nice. I hiked for about 3 hours and took the odd photo here and there of the views. Yeah, amazing, I know.

Mljet: Nice, foresty island. Pronounced Mil-yet. I got eaten alive by ants because I slept outdoors in a campground (too proud to rent a tent). The bites have only just disappeared (after about 3 weeks, I had scary black spots on my fingers and everything). I swam in Odysseus’ cave (ask Homer) and literally nearly had a heart attack because I was terrified of the fish in the water. I then had to climb back up a cliff in wet thongs, which is impossible if anyone’s ever tried it.

Split: Goran Ivanisevich (?sp) is from here. Cool town. I liked it better than Dubrovnik. We actually stayed in an apartment owned by a guy called Goran. One day he confronted me in his tight white underwear and a singlet asking for money for the other nights that we’d be staying. It was dirt cheap, though. About $15 a night. By the way, beer is disturbingly cheap in Croatian supermarkets. They even sell their own brand (Konsume is the store, K-Plus is the brand. 2 litre plastic bottle go for about $2.50 Australian). If anyone’s even heard of Gregor of Nin (or his “famous” statue), I’ve rubbed his toe (for luck).

In Split we met a French Canadian girl (Quebec) that I’ve ended up travelling with. My group split (pardon the pun) from her when we returned from Hvar (another Croatian resort island, apparently popular with Paris Hilton [yawn]) and we went to Sibenik.

Sibenik: small but has the largest stone cathedral built without wooden support (or whatever else) in Europe. Sounds amazing but it’s really just a small church. Still, I took photos (ask me if you really care). I also scored free Internet here because no one was around to charge me (even though I looked for someone to pay) and I walked out. Yes, I’m a rebel.

Krka national park: people swim under the waterfalls (they even made it a hydroelectric plant, thanks Mr Tesla). I didn’t swim because I was too scared of the fish.

Zagreb: the capital of Croatia. No one knows that. Well, barely anyone. It’s a nice place, reminds me of Melbourne but about 4 times bigger and with 1/4 of the people. The nightlife was pretty lame (ie, Sydney’s sad, lonely clubs are basically more popular on bad nights compared to a busy night in Zagreb) but I didn’t care that much as I can’t dance and don’t really like much beyond cheap beer and good company (hi, Andrew).

Ok, this is getting a bit long. If you’ve made it this far I thank you for persisting with my writings. If you’re still interested I pity you, but for the sake of sympathy I’ll continue with my journey.

Budapest: Massive, masive city (two cities in fact, which I found strange and didn’t learn until about 2 days before I arrived). Monuments are spaced out everywhere and I bought an AWESOME Spider-Man t-shirt in a supermarket there, then started wearing it as I sat around the Danube. Apparently the night-life is really fun there but my trio failed to discover it. We still amused ourselves and I met some other Aussies, which is always nice. Most are from Melbourne though, which is always a little depressing. ;)

Krakow: Nice, nice city. I had two nights here in a really good hostel, unfortunately there were a big group of Americans staying so I didn’t bother socialising (I had early mornings anyway). I went to Auschwitz, which I thought was very… interesting. It’s very touristy now, unfortunately, so it lost (at least, I felt) a lot of impact. Still, I’m glad I went there.

Olomouc: Billed as “Prague without the tourists”, this place is about 5 hours west of Krakow by train, in the Czech Republic. I loved it here even though I only had 1 night to explore it. An Australian couple ran the hostel I stayed in and although they were somewhat inexplicably timid they still gave us some good advice, so I ticked off basically everything in town within 6 hours. One day I’d definitely like to return, though.

Prague: This is were I am now. I’m staying in an Anglo-friendly hostel called the “Clown and Bard”. Mainly it’s Canadians and Americans but it’s not so bad. ;) The Quebec girl I’ve been travelling with is leaving for Berlin tomorrow so I’m going to have a few nights alone (ahh!). It’s a nice enough city, I guess. I’ve heard so many stories about it but I certainly think there are better ones out there. I’m probably going to end up knowing it better than Paris, as I have to stay here until Wednesday as I’ve booked a flight to Helsinki that evening (for only 120 Euros!). Hopefully I don’t get quite as frequently inebriated as I have tonight.

Well, that’s about it so far. Thanks for reading. I’m sure you haven’t. If you have, you’ll probably have been given a warning for not doing enough work (I’ve heard the rule have gotten a bit strict lately, you poor folk).

As always, I’m delighted to hear from anyone that can be bothered emailing me (but no, this isn’t a desperate plea for attention, even though it may look like it). Don’t be shy! :)

Bah, I’m still dizzy from all my cheap beer. I haven’t used the spell checker on this email so if I’ve made mistakes forgive me. If I haven’t made mistakes it’s simply testament to my meticulous spelling and typing ability. Hurrah for me.

Ok, I’ll stop now, this is getting ridiculous.

All the best!
Ollie. :)

Montmartre

I haven’t even updated my own journal, yet here I am informing all of you about my antics! Talk about getting my priorities mixed up.

After my last update on Saturday I went wandering past L’église Saint-Eustache, taking a few happy snaps of it and the surrounding gardens. Not much else happened during the day apart from my purchase of jellybeans and beer to keep me entertained as I whiled away the afternoon and Parisien humidity in my hotel bedroom.

That evening (although it was still as bright as a typical Sydney day at 3pm) I blindly walked in the direction of Montmartre. As I went back past Gare de L’est and Gare du Nord I walked through a quaint market filled with fruit and vegetable sellers, cheese stalls, butchers and fishmongers. The fish stunk from being exposed to the heat for the entire day, causing me to gag as I hurried past them.

There was an increase in commotion and commuters further up the road. I turned into a densely crowded street of what appeared to be predominantly tourists walking by a carousel. My curiosity forced me to investigate.

They weren’t there to ride the carousel. They were there to marvel at the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart). It sits high upon a hill overlooking Paris. Definitely something one has to see for themselves as no words can describe it, inside and out. I spent some time listening to people pray as I sat on a pew with Jesus looking down at me from a dome above the altar. I’m sure he wanted me to purchase a souvenier coin from one of the vending machines surrounding the church’s exit.

I returned to the road and the ubiquitous French restaurants, passing by a cemetary that I would have entered if the entrance wasn’t on the direct opposite side of where I stood. The Moulin Rouge had to be somewhere. I knew it. For some reason there didn’t seem to be any street signs to give me clues as to its location. I was about to give up and check my map but resisted defeat.

Deciding it could be time to get some food and perhaps (on the off chance) find something interesting to do, I walked south, past the cemetary, into an area named Clichy-something. It was humming with activity. That’s if you call eating in restaurants a humming activity. Spotting two dressed-up young Frenchwomen walking by, I (in an act completely out-of-character, I assure you) began following them in the hope that they were going somewhere interesting to do something interesting. My discreet prowling lasted for about 30 minutes as I shadowed them off the main roads and eventually into a back street. They disappeared inside a non-distinct residential building and left me alone and lost with nothing to show for it.

I spent an hour walking back home via yet another direction only to return disgusted with the lack of Paris’ nightlife on a summer Saturday.

Korean layover

So, I made it to South Korea even though the pilot made a bumpy mess of the landing. The pricks played “Failure to Launch” as one of the in-flight movies. What a smart choice.

I wasn’t sure if I was meant to collect my bag or not seein as I didn’t really understand what the lady said when I checked in at Sydney. I wasted about 40 minutes at the carousel just to find out it indeed had gone through into a waiting area to fly out to Paris the next afternoon.

I had to declare the jerky palmy bought me when I went through customs. I got it through without too much trouble but the official had to run around double checking that dried emu meat was permissible (it tastes horrible, by the way).

Working out how to get to the hotel was a bitch at first but I eventually made it onto the shuttle and queued for a while to check in. Boy was my showering refreshing. Unfortunately, I was too far away from town to explore (seeing as I was in a hotel next to the airport) so I read my books and wrote in my journal after eating my complimentary dinner.

This entry is backdated, by the way. I managed to get online at an Internet kiosk at the airport again before I flew to Paris but didn’t have time to write much up.

Incheon airport is massive. 3 stories with 50 gates and a lot of football advertising hanging off the walls and ceilings. They’re soccer-mad there and are undoubtedly hoping to reach the semi-finals of the world cup or better for the second time in a row.

Crap.

The hot water tap in my shower broke so that it won’t turn off. I’ve decided that’s a good enough reason to not go to work. I managed to turn off the water main which is conveniently located inside the wall beside the front door, behind a panel held on by four screws that take approximately 2 minutes each to remove. I’m not built to be a handyman.

Heli and Krista have returned to Sydney in preparation for their departure back home next week. Ross wove a web of deceit around all of us so that we all bumped into each other “accidentally” at Subway last night without telling anyone what was actually happening. I was meant to meet up with them again tonight on my break at work with palmy but I’ve graciously decided to let him fly this one solo so that I can stay home.

Staying home is actually going to be more work than if I really did go to work. This place is really quite a disgusting mess. It’s messy enough that it’s just depressing trying to comprehend cleaning the place, if you know what I mean. I suppose I’ll have to make some effort very shortly if I’m to evade the painful whine of my father when he arrives.

I’ve been procrastinating well enough that I have a big fat list of things I’m meant to (and can completely) do tomorrow. They’re all relatively boring tasks, mostly related to tying up loose ends. Things not really worth mentioning except for future reference so that when I whinge about not having done them you’ll understand when I was planning to do it. I hope that made sense.

Today I went on a little splurge on eBay and ordered some accessories for my new (inherited) phone from palmy. Just a spare battery, USB charger, headset, red cover and a car charger for my iPod. AUD$25.28 + $11.90 express postage (including $2 insurance). Cheap. On Monday I bought a data cable for the phone from Hong Kong, too. Now I just have to work out an efficient way to cram it all this shit into my bag. My survival kits rock. I bought a acrylic “unbreakable” mirror that slots in beautifully. Vanity, here I come!

Speaking of bags, I believe I’ll be getting one of these from somewhere. I played with one in Paddy Pallin’s on Kent Street on Sunday. They’re pretty hunky. Oh, the fun I’ll have living out of a bag!

I still need to book accommodation in Paris. Technically that’s on my list of things to do tomorrow, but I figured it’s something interesting to share. I figured I’d spoil myself and avoid hostels for the first couple of nights, just to get familiar with everything and recover from the 29 hour trip. It’d also be nice to have my own room to sink into and cry inside of when I realise I’m all alone and can’t speak French.

palmy’s moving out soon. I don’t know when. Neither does he. Probably the week I depart. I wonder how he’ll cope back at home? I’m sure he’ll complain about it to me. At least when he’s gone I won’t find tools that he hasn’t put back in the toolbox lying around all over the place, or every glass in the flat left somewhere, or empty drink bottles rinsed out and dumped in the sink, or containers of Thai takeaway sitting on the kitchen counter, or breakfast bowls left on the coffee table, or boxes and his uni shit left all over the computer room floor, or other crap I haven’t thought of. I feel better now. I won’t when I still have to take out the garbage on my own again while he’s playing Counter-Strike or World of Warcraft. Don’t worry if you’re reading this palmy, you know I’ll be over it in no time.

Things with Emily are going well. Too well, in fact. It’s really going to suck when I leave. One of her co-workers keeps hitting on her and it’s pissing her off. I got to meet him the other day. He’s a deadshit. I keep thinking his name is Gil. How appropriate.

While I’m on the topic of deadshits, apparently I am. It seems I made (what my hazy memory tells me) a good-natured drunken comment somewhere on the Internet that caused a lot more grief than I expected a standard passing comment to make. Oh well, shit happens.

Tea.

Behold a different icon for once!

I’m drinking what I think is my first Earl Grey. With milk. No sugar. Is that protocol?

Tea isn’t my thing, really. I’ve never really been into drinking it. Sometimes I have odd cravings/curiosities about it, like today, so I drink a cup. I have to use coffee mugs as I have no teacups in my cupboards.

My highlight for today is that I don’t have to go to court tomorrow due to there being a guilty plea. The lady on the phone said I may need to still do something next Tuesday, but that’s alright. Whatever.

My highlight for yesterday is that the man from Mantech contacted me with a new job at the Australian Stock Exchange. It’s some kind of helpdesk position but it is 24/7 with weekend shifts, too. It could be real hard work but really fun, or at least interesting. “Mantech Mike”, as I like to call him, will take care of it for me, he said. Hurrah!

It’s started to disturb me that it seems 90% of the listed IT jobs are based in North Sydney. What’s the deal with that? I wouldn’t mind so much if it wasn’t such a bitch to get there from Newtown. If I get this ASX job it’s irrelevant, I know, seeing as it’s on Bridge street and all. Still, there’s clearly some conspiracy going on. I’ll crack it one day. When I care.

Tonight I’m meant to be going to a 20th at the Lowenbrau. I feel so old. Last weekend I went to a 21st so everything’s going backwards. Perhaps the world is letting me catch up for lost time. Or fate or destiny or some other guiding hand. Maybe it’s just because I have more younger friends these days. That could be it. Good thinking, old man Ollie.

The Electric Lady website is trickling along on the wheels of progression. I’ve been teaching myself PHP as I go. Most of what I’m doing is very basic but I suppose if you’re teaching yourself that’s how you start out. Jolly good.

I’ve just noticed I seem to have a weird habit of finishing my inane story paragraphs (ie, all of them) with some short sentence that almost looks like I’m talking to myself, or checking off each statement as I go. I don’t know if this revelation is important or not, even indicative. I don’t really enjoy reading over what I’ve written while I show this particular tendency, so I’m going to make a conscious effort to stop. Unless, of course, I realise that I have no other way to neatly finish off each paragraph.

See, that last one just feels like it’s hanging. I need my “full stop statement”.

Even that one seems cut off. Argh, this will be a challenge!

Just to show I’m not all class with my fancy pants Earl Grey, yesterday I finished off my last can of KB for lunch with some sickening Maggi noodles. I even whacked in a wee bit of sesame oil and soy sauce when I cookd them but I think the flavour sachet is what kills me every time. I’m going to throw the rest out if I can summon the courage/energy. I suppose I really should confess one more thing: I drank the KB out of a beer glass. Yes, I poured it out. That probably makes the whole event a little classier, unless it’s considered as a tacky action, seeing as it’s only KB.

I’m scared. I think my RSI-afflicted arms are going to haunt me forever. Pain is bad. :'( It hurts to use computers. How ironic. I think it’s irony. Let’s pretend.

By the way (I know none of you care, but I’ll mention it anyway), I made a last.fm account for myself. I left TISM playing overnight just to be stupid. I wanted to pump up their presence on the site. What a dedicated fan I am.

Warudo.

Well, last week was certainly a busy one.

I went to that Mantech thingy. It was a recruitment company assessing me, after all. I had to do some weird 10 question written quiz to see what I knew. It was written for experienced workers but the guy said the client was looking for either “a graduate” or someone “with about 8 years experience”. It’s nice to know they really narrowed down the field. Anyway, I couldn’t answer most of the questions since they were basically experience-specific, but I did what I could. I haven’t heard back, but oh well. I don’t really care.

The same day I went to visit Ross and his Finnish friends Krista and Heli. Ross mentioned earlier that they might need a place to stay in the following week, so I said they could crash here. I also caught up with his neighbour Greg (another guy I went to school with) and Kerry, Ross’ wing chun instructor or something. Nice guy. Turns out he was doing the same major project course as I was this semester at Sydney. He recognised the group name “RailTech”. I felt like a C grade celebrity. Funky.

So, yeah, I saw Corpse Bride (or is it The Corpse Bride?) on Tuesday afternoon with Ross and the girls. I quite liked that movie, actually. Some of the songs at the start bugged me, but that’s normal for musical scenes in film for me. Whatever. After that Ross managed to talk me into attending his dance class. Now I know I officially can’t dance. I can sort of pop, though. Awesome? You tell me.

Continuing on, Wednesday included working then dropping by Ross’ again after work to say farewell before he left for Finland on Thursday afternoon. Somehow I agreed to let Andrew come around to the flat afterwards with his PC so we could work on a website for a friend of his who’s in a band. Electric Lady, they’re called. 2 points to anyone who can guess where that came from.

The site is sort of coming together. palmy’s done the pretty web page design stuff and I’ve been working on the backend database (although the design keeps changing). I’m going to have to whack out some more PHP goodness to act as an interface, too. I’m sure only about 2 people reading this understand/care about this paragraph, so I’ll stop now.

Thursday involved meeting up with Emmeline again when she came around on a break from work at “The Entertainment Quarter” (or Fox Studios if you will). I managed to convince both Em and Andrew that the chips at Jesters are supreme. I wish Jesters used an apostrophe. It looks stupid. Tools.

Friday was a boring old Friday. Andrew left when I had to go to work, without having showered once. Slick. Work was uneventful, as usual. I usually buy a couple of bananas on my dinner break from the local supermarket and I’ve decided to start a ritual. It’s only a primitive one but it pleases me so perhaps it pleases the banana gods, too. Basically I just eat a banana on my way back out through the car park and then dump the empty skin in the same spot as always. I’m getting a nice little pile of banana skins at various stages of decomposition. It makes me feel like I’m contributing to something, so it’s clearly “all good”. I made a little shrine with a banana skin on an abandoned chair near a bus stop once. It remained for a while until it disappeared along with the chair. :(

Saturday was pretty cool. Leola brought in brownies at work, so I munched on a couple. I have no idea if they were homemade or not but it didn’t matter. They had my required levels of chewiness and crunchiness and therefore were found to be satisfactory. Brownies are serious business.

Another friend, Johnny (or del or Johnny Hero as I like to call him [which has actually stuck]) invited me around to his place earlier in the week as he was going to have a mini LAN (or larn). I just rocked up for an hour to catch up with him and some other buddies as I really didn’t feel like dragging my PC around with me for half the weekend. I think I made the right decision, as they all looked very sweaty and expended after their big night out clubbing on Friday. Another small victory for me.

I went out on Saturday night with Lloyd, Frank and Byrne. Lloydie wanted to start somewhere around the casino, so we did. After 2 drinks we left. Nice. We cabbed it back to King street and spent a bit of time at the Marly and in Kelly’s then shuffled back up for what I like to call the “Istanbul on King experience” for some premium kebabs. Unfortunately I managed to get some barbecue sauce on my shirt in the 10 seconds that I wasn’t concentrating for the entire time I was eating it. Fortunately it wasn’t too big a spillage. I’m sure Napisan will come to my rescue, otherwise mum will have to.

It should be recorded that Lloyd actually stayed out with us the whole time and didn’t soft out and go home. Then again, he’d already planned to crash here so I guess he didn’t have much choice as to when he could go to bed. We stayed all up for about 2 hours after getting back. Most of this time was spent watching Frank reading through the SuicideGirls website. That sounds a lot dodgier than it was, I promise.

The only real highlight of Sunday was that we won netball, 20-14 I think. Woo! I was all pumped up on energy that afternoon. I’m not sure if it was due to chance or the high amount of kilojoules I’d eaten an hour or so earlier at Hungry Jack’s, but I was ready to run all night! Instead I only played 3 quarters. Oh well.

On Sunday night I found out Krista and Heli wanted to stay down here on Monday. That meant we had to frantically clean up (well, Scott did) all the shit that was lying around. The place hasn’t looked this good since we moved in, basically. We went to pick them up on Monday night and they made us the richest, most fattening chocolate cake you could ever imagine as a thank you. It’s basically milk, flour, cream, butter and two blocks of hazlenut and dairy milk chocolate all churned together. Man, it tastes awesome. I’m not sure if my body could handle another mouthful, though.

I ran up to the Marly again last night while the girls were baking to meet up with Benecke and Frank and their significant others the small celebration of praising Benecke for finishing his exams for the year. Somehow I managed to down about 3 schooners in about 50 minutes and steal two swizzle sticks before scooting back down to the flat in the rain. It was quite a new experience to enter the front door and actually be able to smell something had been cooking. Especially when that smell involves a chocolate cake.

I need to shave my neck. Hair sucks. Stupid itchiness.

P.S. if you made it this far, I pity you for not having anything better to do.

WINMAEN.

This is the journal of one of the members of the University of Sydney’s top information systems project team for 2005.

Sup Accenture say we’re elite to the tune of $1000.

BOOYAH.