Monthly Archives: November 2007

Birthday Present To Me!!!

Mood: Excited!!!

So I’ve finally worked out what I’m doing for my birthday this year … I’m going to run away!!!

The perfect solution landed in my lap yesterday. My friend Megan (the critically acclaimed actress and hugely successful producer) is appearing in a play in Melbourne for the next few weeks and sent an email to a few of us, letting us know what she’s been up to and how life in the arts lane is travelling for her.

Megan also made a suggestion that if any of us wanted to get away from Sydney for a weekend, there was a space on her floor in Melbourne during the run of the play. And a little light bulb went off inside my head.

I asked her if she would still be in Melbourne with the play over my birthday weekend, to which I received a positive response.

I asked her if I could visit during my birthday weekend and crash on her floor, to which I received a positive and excited response.

So, without further ado, I hopped online to Virgin Blue and booked myself a return flight to Melbourne.

I am now confirmed to fly out of Sydney on my birthday to spend 2 days and 2 nights in Melbourne. I am so excited – not only to see Megan’s play, but to also have a chance to explore Melbourne city with a good mate and an opportunity to do something completely different on what to me is a big birthday this year. Plus Megan’s birthday is only a few days before mine, so it will be great to toast her birthday too!

Hip hip hooray!!!

Fight Club Rule #1: You Don’t Talk About Fight Club

Mood: Sheepish

BOY STABS BROTHER OVER TV PROGRAM
November 21, 2007 – 6:13AM, SMH Online

A 12-year-old Arizona boy stabbed his 13-year-old brother during a fight over what to watch on TV, seriously hurting him, say US police.

The older brother was in extremely critical condition, authorities said.

The two had been fighting when the younger boy allegedly went to the kitchen, returned with a 12 cm knife and stabbed his brother in the abdomen, said Phoenix Police Lieutenant Rob Howe.

Their father heard them fighting over the TV.

The younger brother was in police custody.

What is the world coming to when a 12-year-old would stab his own brother over a TV program?

I shook my head when I read this article. Not only because of the violence that a 12-year-old kid is capable of, but also because it brought back a memory from the early 90s, of another altercation between two siblings over a VCR.

Whilst it is not a suppressed memory, I have not spoken of this incident in a long time. Just like Rule #1 of Fight Club: you don’t talk about Fight Club.

I feel very sheepish reminiscing about the incident. I was old enough to know better, but I still resorted to physical violence in a moment of sheer frustration. In hindsight, I should have walked away and dropped the subject, but in my mind at the time, I wanted to teach my youngest sister a lesson – she shouldn’t expect to get her way every time.

The source of the argument was the use of the TV, the VCR and a video tape. I might add that there were 2 TVs in our house – one that was off limits to the kids (Dad was very finicky about his entertainment equipment) and one that was strictly for our use. In cases of "emergency", where 2 TV programs were on at the same time and both needed to be recorded for later viewing, Dad would be happy to accommodate our needs provided we asked politely.

I digress. I was always knocked back on my requests to Dad, but my sister (the family favourite) was always permitted to use Dad’s equipment. The unwritten arrangement was my sister would use the kids’ equipment as a last resort. One evening, before I went out, I set our VCR to tape a TV program on a brand new tape. I checked and double checked the settings and made sure it was all set to go. I went out for the evening and didn’t think anything more of it.

The next day, I went to watch the TV program, only to find that it was not recorded. My sister had instead watched another tape of her recordings and forgot to reset my programming. All she had to do after she was done with the VCR was switch it off, but she forgot. I was seething mad, and in my anger, I took one of her treasured tapes and recorded over a number of shows I knew she had not watched.

Fast forward to a week later, and I picked up my tape containing my favourite movie "When Harry Met Sally" and put the tape into the VCR. I had set myself a carpet picnic and was looking forward to a nice relaxing afternoon. The movie started, and I was enjoying myself when all of a sudden, random scenes from the movie were being replaced by random ads.

You guessed it. My sister ran the movie and taped over all the bits I loved the most.

Something in my head snapped. All I could see was red. My blood was boiling and I wanted her to pay.

I ripped the tape out of the VCR and went in search of my sister. I stormed into her bedroom and started throwing her stuff around. I stomped around upstairs screaming out her name. I flew downstairs and eventually found her in the study, sitting in front of the computer, pretending not to notice me.

I stood next to her and asked her why. She ignored me. I screamed at her and asked her why she did such a despicable thing. She continued to ignore me. I ranted and raved right next to her ear. It was as if I wasn’t there.

Gripping the cassette in my hands, I smashed the plastic casing over her head. It broke into two pieces. Even I was stunned by my own actions as I stood there, holding a piece of cassette in each hand, still joined by the thin shiny black tape.

My sister stood up and pushed me out into the living room. She threw a few punches at me, some of which landed. I pushed her away, but she kept coming at me. One large push saw her fall to the ground. She got up and made her final move.

My sister roundhouse kicked me in the guts.

The fight ended. I limped away in tears. My sister did the same.

What an awful sister I was!

I’ve since apologised to my sister and we get along very well now – I’m even Godmother to her eldest son. But what a wretched, horrible, selfish act of mine!

I just hope those kids in America learn a lesson from this – violence solves nothing, and a TV program is not worth dying for.

A Big Weekend

Mood: Tired

Things are not looking good for me when it’s only Tuesday and I’m exhausted.

The party season has well and truly started. I’ve had 2 alcohol-free days since Melbourne Cup Day 14 days ago, and my body is struggling to keep up.

Even the fact that I was working from home didn’t stop me from drinking with my work colleagues last week – a truck load of wines on Thursday night was backed up by a barrel of beers on Friday afternoon. Never one to shy away from a party, I think I need to learn to say no, and soon.

This past weekend was another massive event. I was invited to 6 things on Saturday, and thankfully, one of the events was postponed by the organiser. Out of the 5 other things, one was a lunch in Neutral Bay, while the other 4 were evening functions. As I knew someone is bound to get upset with me, I went to 2 out of the 4, which also happened to be the first 2 invitations that came along.

Lunch with Suz was great. We had long organised a catch up at The Oaks over some drinks and a pot of mussels. We love the mussels at The Oaks and it’s a special treat that we always look forward to. We both had evening commitments (she with her mother and sister to see Miss Saigon, and me with my 2 parties), so we had a couple of quiet drinks before parting ways at around 3.30pm.

Marko’s birthday party was my next destination. Marko and I use to work together at a pub in Chatswood some years ago when we were both finishing our respective degrees. We have remained friends over the years, but it has been about 12 months since we last saw each other. His birthday party was something I was really looking forward to, so off to The Argyle I trekked. I should have been pacing myself at this event – after all, I had another function to go to after Marko’s – but when someone yelled those magic words, I couldn’t help myself.

Jager Bombs.

Fuelled by a fair few vodka cranberries, I charged to the bar with Russell and Jack in tow, and proceeded to bomb away. The second round came way too quickly, but I wasn’t about to say no.

All too soon (or should I say: "thankfully"), the little hand on my watch was pointing at 11 and I knew I had to make my way to Ian’s birthday party in Chatswood, or perish in a sea of Red Bull surrounded by other Bombers.

A couple more drinks at Ian’s party and I had to take myself home. It was getting late, and I had an early start. I had put my hand up to help at the Day of Difference Foundation Inaugural Acceptance Day Walk, and it was going to be an early start and a relatively long day. By the time I dragged my weary body into my bed, it was just after 1am.

This also meant I had been drinking for about 12 hours in a row.

Little wonder then that I crashed out very early on Sunday night.

Photos from weekend are here (for Saturday) and here (for Sunday).

I can’t wait till Christmas!!!

Blogthings!!!

Mood: Smiling

It’s been a while since I’ve Blogthingsed. Randomly, I elected to find out what my handwriting says about me.

What Your Handwriting Says About You

You are a fairly energetic person. You know how to pace yourself,
and you deal well with stress.

You are very extroverted and outgoing.
You are loving, friendly, and supportive.
However, you are also manipulative and controlling at times.

You are balanced and grounded.
You know how to get along well with others.

You need a bit of space in your life, but you’re not a recluse.
You expect people to give you a small amount of privacy,
and you respect their privacy as well.

You are somewhat traditional, but you are also open to change.
You listen to your head and your heart.

You are a good communicator.
You work hard to get your ideas across effectively.

I like it. I like it a lot.

Melting Moments

Mood: Overheated

Today marks the fifth working day that our office building has been without air conditioning, but we are assured the situation will be rectified today.

It’s not been fun for the folks here – especially when it’s cooler outside than in, and Sydney has been turning on some spectacular summer days over the past week with outside temperatures reaching high 20s. We have been recording temperatures of 30C+ inside our offices for the entire week, with some of the recordings taken at 7am.

It hasn’t been so bad for me, as I was sent home on Tuesday afternoon at around 4pm, and then again on Wednesday at around midday. Temporary cooling units were delivered to our offices late on Tuesday, which were finally connected on Wednesday afternoon. The reason they sent me home was because I am highly allergic to the fibres from the ceiling tiles in our office, which had to be moved in order to install the temporary cooling units. And they had to be moved so that the tube that sucks out the hot air from the room for dissipation can be slid into the roof space.

Moving the ceiling tiles was bad enough. Hot air blowing around in the ceiling space and stirring up the fibres, which are then pumped back into the office as part of the cold air transfer was hideously dangerous to my allergies. Whilst it’s not a life and death scenario, I do break out in ugly big hives when my skin comes in contact with the ceiling tile fibres, and my eyelids and lips have been known to swell up as well. So, as a precautionary measure, I was sent home.

To be honest, I couldn’t complain about working from home. And to be honest, how much work do you think I actually did at home.

I welcomed the unexpected break, during which time I was paid my usual salary with no impact on my annual leave or sick leave days. I saw a few Midday Movies, caught up on Day of Our Lives and The Bold & The Beautiful, and made sure my energy levels were at an optimum by snoozing and eating as required (which were often). But by Friday, I was starting to feel very guilty.

For most of the company, they all soldiered on as best as they could in the stifling conditions. The temporary cooling units were not really cooling the air. The cool air being blown out of these noisy contraptions could only be felt if you were standing directly in front of the vents, where the noise was at a point of unbearable. My colleagues told me stories of swollen legs and ankles, swimming vision, dizzy spells, breathing difficulties and general fatigue while they were in the office slaving away.

I also heard stories of people going out to lunch and not returning, and a lot of my colleagues chose to work from home because it was just too unbearable in the office.

The conditions were so bad that the CEO sent everyone home at 2pm on Friday afternoon, after sitting in the sauna conditions for only 15 minutes.

As I type this, I’m sitting at my desk in the office, in the relatively cool settings of 28C. The air conditioning towers have been repaired and the vents are finally blowing cool air, but the inside temperature is still struggling to get below 25C. I brought in my desk fan today to combat the sub-tropical conditions, which is still on to push the air around my desk.

I’m struggling to stay awake, and have resorted to unloading the work dishwasher to ensure I’m moving out to keep me from falling asleep. I hope the air conditioning continues to work, because people are threatening to quit the company if they are forced to work in these horrid humid conditions any longer!

Updated at 3.40pm

My work phone just rang – it was a "wrong number" – the caller asked for a company called "Cool Change Air Conditioning". I had a loud giggle.

The Past Fortnight

Mood: Waiting to Chill Out

The last couple of weeks have been consumed by work and way too much play, and I can’t wait to kick back and relax for a bit.

Not that I’m complaining – I love the fact that I’m busy and have things to do. My bones are just tired is all.

Work has been good – we have been busy on a big project and I’m pleased to say I’m settling in well with the project. Besides earning my keep as a project manager, I have also been playing team coordinator to my division in a "as a last resort" capacity. It was frustrating at first – considering how hard I had worked to move forward in my career (done my stint in admin, want to do more in project management) – but I have finally learned to balance the two. And until such time as we find a permanent replacement (who will do the work willingly and happily as opposed to sitting at the desk and organise their wedding/family/life at the top of their voice all day long), I’m ok with taking on a little bit more responsibilities.

In all honesty, I’m good at that job – the admin stuff. I can do that job with my eyes closed and hands tied behind my back and mouth duct taped. It’s not rocket science, and that was the main reason I strove to become a project manager. Without meaning to sound all arrogant and uppity, I need a bigger challenge than what an admin role can offer to me. If I was married with children and had to work to supplement my husband’s income, then I would happily work in admin for the rest of my life. Truth remains that I’m single, footloose and fancy free, and I need the intellectual stimulation that a challenging job brings.

Anyway, it’s been kind of nice to multi-task. And it is also lovely that my general manager has been very kind with recognising my little bit of "over and above" contribution.

The party season has well and truly started. Not only are the drinks more frequent, they seem to be flowing more freely. Last week was a good case in point.

It all started with the Melbourne Cup luncheon. My company put on a spread for everyone to enjoy the race in style, and there were plenty of beers, wines and food to go around. The race itself was not run until 3pm, but the luncheon kicked off at around 1.30pm, so you can imagine how happy the party crowd was by the time the race began. For the sensible ones, they went back to work. But there is always a small group – the life of the party – who remain and charge on. And I was part of that group.

By 5pm, I was in no state to see straight, let alone read emails and reply with any form of coherence. So when it was announced that most of the party group was heading across the road to the "offsite meeting room", aka the pub, I obediently followed.

I really should have gone home after a couple more drinks, but for some reason, I found myself staying for another, and then another. And I even thought it was a great idea to join the group for a few more drinks in the city a few hours later.

Let’s just say that I got home close to 1am after a 12-hour bender and the party in my belly wasn’t happy about letting rum through the door.

Wednesday was a write-off for most people – we were physically in the office but not many of us were doing much work until after an egg & filthy swine roll and/or a greasy lunch. I was in bed and asleep by 8.30pm (after a couple of beers to soothe the throat and clear the nose).

Thursday was the theme party that my colleagues in the "penthouse" (aka top floor of the building) were throwing as their "housewarming party" after a minor relocation. Drinks, food, more drinks, and to finish off the night, I found myself on my usual perch on the balcony belonging to my work mate S, drinking more wine and smoking a tonne of cigarettes. In recent weeks, S and I have made Thursday night our night to catch up and this week was not to be any different. I found myself sitting in a taxi heading home with a belly full of Evans & Tate Classic Dry White at close to 1am.

Friday was terrible – my alcohol fuelled week was catching up to me, and I had forgotten I had booked myself and 2 other team members into a training session that afternoon. With much work to complete in preparation for a big project meeting on Monday, I was in no mood to work. It wasn’t helped by the fact that when I arrived on Friday morning, I witnessed a secret squirrel meeting that involved my manager’s office door opening and closing a large number of times. In my experience, these meetings signify either someone asking to leave the company or someone being asked to leave. Either way, it appeared that neither my manager nor the person he was meeting with were happy.

By 4pm, I was well and truly over the week – my health kick had been flung out the window and my body was tired from the restless nights of sleep. So it seemed like a good idea to accept a glass of wine that was being proffered by my team members.

A full bottle of Oyster Bay Sav Blanc later and I took myself home to a bag of microwave popcorn.

I had a lovely weekend planned for last weekend – movies and dinner with Danie on Saturday, and a completely chilled out Sunday of laundry, Sunday papers and DVDs. I must admit I felt extremely flat on Saturday morning when I woke to a text message at 7.30am from some guy I met on Tuesday night.

Luckily for me, my day would vastly improve. My date with Danie was great. We saw Hairspray (which I thoroughly loved!) and then took our time to walk from Broadway to Darling Harbour for cocktails and dinner at the Blackbird Café, chatting all the way. Hilariously, we noticed 2 G-strings on the glass roof of the restaurant below us – in aquamarine and black. Discrete enquiry followed and we were informed the G-strings were once part of a rowdy Bucks Night. A very full and yummy meal (including dessert – a rarity for me!) and 2 delicious cocktails later, we felt the need to stroll around Darling Harbour to work off some of the food.

We happened upon the Yann Arthus-Bertrand Earth From Above photographic exhibition. 120 photographs featuring landscapes and people from an aerial perspective are on display along the fountains in Darling Harbour and we wandered at leisure looking at all the amazing photos. Free to the public, I didn’t know the display had been there since June (and will be there until Boxing Day this year), and both Danie and I enjoyed looking at all the pictures and reading the facts that accompanied the photos.

My Sunday included an additional activity – yum cha with my friends Clayton and Mollie. I love seeing Clay, who lives and works in Scone and is an infrequent visitor to Sydney. Clay’s last visit was only a few weeks ago, so it was a lovely surprise to get a call from him on Friday night, asking if I was free to catch up for lunch on Sunday.

After battling Chatswood’s horrendous Sunday morning traffic, I found Clay and Mollie (Clay’s younger sister) waiting for me outside the restaurant. I hadn’t seen Mollie in a few months, and the 3 of us chatted animatedly away through baskets of steamed goodness. Lunch was over way too quickly, and while Clay and Mollie went off to the movies, I shopped for groceries before heading home to continue my weekend.

This week has been hectic so far. The work team grew by one (newbie started yesterday morning – nice fella – looks and sounds smart – looking forward to working with him) and then very quickly shrank again when my general manager announced the resignation of a Sydney-based team member. To be honest, the announcement was neither unexpected nor surprising. A few of us had seen something brewing for a while and it was becoming all too clear that the departing team member was not playing well with others. Hence the secret squirrel meeting on Friday last week. In the end, it was best for everyone that she and the company parted ways.

A big project meeting yesterday has yielded a fair bit more work for me today, but the very toasty conditions of the office were not conducive to productivity. The air conditioning units failed today and the whole building was under sweltering conditions. It was cooler outside than in – and today wasn’t a cold day. By 4pm, all staff had just about had enough and emergency portable cooling units were rented and delivered. By the look of things, we can expect to live with the loud cooling units for at least a week.

And after the 4 beers last night, I think I’ll lay off the booze tonight for a change.

Life is going well, even though it feels like I’m stuck in the fast lane at times. I just want Christmas to come so I can lay down for a few days!

For Vanora

Mood: Blowing Kisses