Thursday, January 29, 2009

"A lot of people hate this hat. It angers a lot of people, just the sight of it"

Ah, Uncle Buck! A classic from 1989, I put this one up because it was a great film, took place during the winter, which most people reading this are going through, and as you'll read in a bit, was made in a year where I started a long streak that is coming to an end on Monday.

So... hows the weather there? I hear it is terrible for most of you in the states. Having a crazy heat wave here! You may have heard about Melbourne or Adelaide having 110 degree weather. It hasn't been that hot here thankfully, but its not cool either.

The train to work is pretty rough. I am getting up at 5:30am these days. Getting home at 6:15pm. So I basically work, go home, eat, play around on the computer for awhile and go to bed around 10. Its just miserably hot on the train. Sometimes I can't find a seat, like Good Will Hunting said, "The commute is killin' me." Or I just feel like Michael Douglas in the picture below.

Work is going well. I am officially a Delivery Support Consultant for Coca Cola. I am still training, and haven't taken any live calls yet but will in about a week. Most of my calls will be from salesman, drivers, and customers with inquiries about their orders. So a lot of that responsibility includes adding credit to invoices. It's really new for me, but I am getting the hang of it. Nervous about my first day of calls. The technology is unreal though. I know it's nothing new, but a customer may call me asking where there order is, and because the drivers have handhelds, I can pretty much predict when the order should be there.

I am missing my first Superbowl since I began watching Superbowls! My first one was back in 1989 Super Bowl 23!, second grade. I remember how excited I was, along with all my friends, about the Bud Bowl! Don't remember much of the game, but Joe Montana won another SuperBowl, they beat the Bengals.

Some memorable superbowls for me were watched at Ken Macie's house. His family always had a big pizza party. The company most of my family works for always had a company pool as well. I don't believe I ever won any money from that. I watched one SuperBowl in Denver CO in 2000, three in Waukesha, Wisconsin from 01-04, three on a Carnival Cruise ship from 05-07 and another very disappointing but memorable one back in Waukesha in 2008. I did win over $400 on the Carnival Fascination in the score pool in 2005.

I can't watch the game because it is on at 10am on Monday morning. I will be at work. I'm not entirely disappointed because I wouldn't be able to see the great ads anyway. The ads here would be the same as any other day in Oz. The papers here are having fun because the punter for the Cardinals is the first ever Aussie to make the Super Bowl. In fact, four months ago he was cut by the Jets I believe. Pretty cool story.

I went to the band Dropkick Murphy's on Sunday night with a co-worker. This band is from Boston. They sing a song called Tessie, that the Red Sox play at each game. I can't remember if it is after the game or not. I think it is. They play Sweet Caroline in the 8th, and also Dirty Water after the game. Anyhoo, this song, is about the Red Sox. They also sang a song called "Shipping up to Boston" which was in the movie The Departed. I only knew three songs they sang, but it was a high energy, loud show. Only about a 1000 person venue. I think if I saw them in Boston, they'd be sold out in an arena. So I feel fortunate. There were a lot of Sox, Bruins and Celtic jerseys there. My crew made it right up front.

Then on Monday was Australia Day, like our Independence day in the States. I went to Curt Yorks house and had a cook out (barbie), then went to the beach and another guy's pool. Pretty fun day, got sun burned again. Bummer. From now on, I will be more careful although didn't I saw that a few weeks back.

Another one of my fav's from 1989: Major League

See ya!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This is what I kind of look like at work....

Four days of work completed! It will take three weeks of training before I am ready to fully do my job, but in the first week I have learned a lot. I'm a customer service consultant for Coca-Cola Amatil. It is a 24-7 call center for customers, drivers, accounts, random questions and complaints for all of Australia. I think they mentioned having 120,000 accounts. It is that big. So I've been learning the computer system all week. Some very kind and intelligent people work there. It has been enjoyable. Too bad the office is located a good 1 hour and 20 minute commute away from my new apartment. But so far, the commute is a nice way to wake up. I need to find some good reading material. Books here are expensive, but so is everything else.

I hear my rollerblades have been sent out! I'm pretty excited. I believe I have my first game the first week of February. If they don't make it in time, make that the second week of February. Mike York will bring me to the games on Monday nights after work. I believe he said the games were close to Canberra, the country's capital city. If you ever read about Canberra you'll learn it is one of the strangest capital's in the world.

Its been ridiculously hot lately. Today was 96 I think with the humidity. It makes for a sweaty train ride home.

Monday is Australia Day. It is like America's Independence Day. So I already have a three day weekend to look forward to. From what I hear it is a big party much like the states. People are very patriotic here.

Everyone here is nuts about Obama. I think they are more into Obama than Americans are. The paper I read today must have had its first 15 pages dedicated to the new president. I have yet to meet one international republican. Are there any pro-republican articles that make it outside of the USA? Surely I would think to find one. But ya know what? Everybody here is happy about the future and so pro-United States. So that makes me happy.

I've missed the season premieres of LOST and 24. And due to international rights, I'm not even able to watch them onlin! So you're telling me I can't watch the NFL playoffs (well I could, but at 6am), LOST, 24, and obviously when it comes time, Major League Baseball. I knew it wouldn't be easy, so I sure hope I take a liking to Footy (soccer), Rugby league and Cricket. I have learned the rules of Cricket. Blah.

The Australian Open is going on right now in Melbourne. Of course I root for the Williams sisters or an American, but I kind of like Serbia's Jenena Jankovic also. She's the number one seed. From what I know, she's a real prima-donna. Why would I like her? Why not?
See ya!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The secret of my success....well no secret actually

And I am now a working man....

I wrote a bit of a story earlier about my first day on the job. The names and places were changed due to company security, but then I got a little paranoid and wondered if referring to a company without even mentioning its name is in some breach of the code of conduct. So I deleted it. I'll tell ya about my job in a personal email if you're interested. But it is customer service consulting. Not exactly the complaint department, but it could be some days. This call service center takes calls from all over Australia.

I had dinner with Judd Marcello last night. Great stat he told me: There are 20 million people living in Australia. There are about that many people living in the state of New York.
My roommates Steve and Jeff are nice guys, both Aussies, 28 and 30. It is Australia Day next Monday, which is like the 4th of July here. So after one week of work, I will already have my first 3 day weekend. How cool is that?
Hey Jon, I was thinking of "Hey is that Billy Shakespeare over there?" because I work with a guy whose last name is Shakespeare.

Talk to you all soon!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Living in the city for a few days

Hello there, it has been a few days, thought I'd give you an update. I moved out of Curt's house. He and his girlfriend came back from Finland after a one month vacation. The picture above is from the movie Deuce Bigalow where the main character house sits for a guy and messes the place up a bit. I left Curt's house in good shape with the exception of the plants. I am no botanist, but I believe they will live. I'd give more details of that movie, but I know for a fact some of my readers wouldn't want to see it. Yep all 12 of you. So I'm currently in a hostel right in the middle of Sydney. Its a pretty nice place and not ultra expensive. I'm rooming with three German guys who have never met each other. Das Gut! Nah I don't know any German. Nice guys. Hostel life is great because of the people you meet.

I went to a job placement agency today. I'll be starting Monday morning working at the NeverFail water headquarters about 20 minutes north of the city. Neverfail is like Dasani. Coke owns it. Or is it Aquafina? I get those two confused. So I'm not entirely sure of my role right now, but its really just going to be answering phones and taking orders. Not glamourous, but hey its $22 an hour ($14.50 USD). And it lasts for six weeks. So I'm not working for the Coca-Cola company, I work for the agency that placed me there. Get it?

Going to look at an apartment tonight in Sutherland (Sutherland...get the pic???) That's about 25 minutes south of the city or five stops closer from where I was living. I had written this woman about her extra room, so I hope it works out because I don't want to stay in the hostel too long. Finding a room isn't easy. I can't believe how many scam artists there are out there, but they are so obvious. On three or four different occasions someone has contacted me saying their husband is in London so they are there visiting them and all I have to do is Western Union them the rent money, then I can move in. Others have incredibly cheap apartments for rent right in Sydney Center ,but require $1500 deposit up front. I'm glad I'm not falling for these. I hear that sometimes rooms are actually cheap in the city because when you get there, there are 7 other roommates crammed into a small space. So that is why I'm hoping the place I look at tonight is good for me.

Well that's it for now. I need to get some rest. Not feeling so hot today. I think the move to the city and stressing a bit about the job and living situation have me under the weather. We will talk to ya soon!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Apartment and job hunt begins

So its been over a month since I arrived in Oz. I've played a bit. Saw the beach a lot, had some fun. But this weekend and next week I will focus on why I came here: to live and work. Finding a place is kind of tough for a couple reasons. The first one is that I've never done it before, and the second is because I don't know what the future holds. I might get a great job somewhere after I sign onto a place. I'm confident I'll find a place within a week, but to be certain that it is the best fit for me, I don't think I'll be able to know that for some time.

The job also won't be easy, but I'm going to be dropping my resume off at as many places as I can and try to get some interviews. One girl I know here is a recruiter for Coca-Cola Australia. Can you imagine if I went over to the evil empire? What would the sports equivalent of that be? Johnny Damon going to the Yankees? BABE RUTH going to the Yankees? Not sure. Anyway, I'm open to see what jobs she has to offer because a job is a job, and I don't believe Australia's Coke sales will effect g. housen's business much.

It is Friday evening. No plans tonight. I might just head out and see what I find. An amazing thing I've found is that the biggest drinking day of the weekend for Australians is Sunday! There's a club here in Cronulla where on Friday and Saturday night, I could get in without a line, but on Sunday night, there is a line halfway around the block with people dressed like they were going out on a Saturday night in the States.

I'm missing the NFL playoffs right now even if there are no Patriots present. I have the NCAA hoops tournament to look forward to. If it is like last year, CBS will broadcast each game online. Hopefully that happens.
Have a great weekend, stay warm.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 year in review

Happy New Year!

Today at 4pm I watched on TV the ball drop in New York City. It is so strange that I celebrated the new year 16 hours before most of you!

I was hoping to do this post before I rang in the new year, but I ran out of time. 2008 was one of the biggest travel years of my life and I saw some pretty great things. So this is a litte review of where I've been. Seeing as 9 is my lucky number, I have a good feeling about this next year.


I rang in the new year in Boston, MA then headed back to Keene, NH for a week before flying out to Maquoketa, Iowa as a event coordinator for Up with People. I can't say I have any plans for a return to Iowa. It was the the harshest winter I can remember experiencing.


Watching the Super Bowl at my friend Bear's house in Waukesha, WI was a fun time. The outcome of the game of course still saddens me. It was a long three hour drive in the snow back to Iowa. After that I traveled to Des Moines to spend a week with the Cast A 2008.


My next city was Enid, Oklahoma. I drove from Iowa, through Missouri, and then onto Enid. This is another state that I may have visited for the last time, but you never know.


I was in Enid less than four weeks and was happy to leave OK and head down to Brenham Texas with the cast. There, I visited the Blue Bell ice cream factory and also was part of a private tour of NASA in Houston, TX.


In May, my next city was New Braunfels, Texas. It was directly inbetween Austin and San Antonio, so I was able to visit the Alamo, Sea World and Six Flags.


I had a break from Up with People in June and flew home to Keene. While there, I took a weekend trip up to Ottawa, Ontario Canada and visited a former Carnival Cruise friend. I visited Parliament while I was there and also saw a friend from Up with People 2000. After that, I flew back out to Denver for one more stint with Up with People.

One of my biggest influences, George Carlin, died on June 22. It was the first time I can remember where a celebrities' death had me sad for some time. Growing up, I had dozens of his CDs, books and movies. I was fortunate to see him in concert in Minneapolis in 2003. He will be missed.

"Flammable, inflammable, non-inflammable....Why are there three? Doesn't it seem to you like two words ought to be able to handle that idea? I mean the thing either flams or it doesn't flam."

-George Carlin


July had me going to Breckenridge, Colorado for my last set up with Up with People. It was the toughest set up I had done and my body and mind were officially ready to leave Up with People. Breckenridge is truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to. Unlike Oklahoma and Iowa, I really look forward to returing.


I spent three more weeks in Denver after leaving Breck. It was a great time working for Up with People out of their warehouse. I then flew to see some Carroll College friends in Waukesha, WI. While there, I went down to Chicago to see my dad who happened to be there on business. I took in my first Cubs game and saw another old friend from Up with People 2000.

Back to Keene for what I believe was my longest stay at home since 2001. My job for the next three months was with g. housen in Brattelboro, Vermont. I must have drove a few thousand miles in that time, seeing New England's fall foliage at its finest. After 14 months with Up with People, returning to the beverage business felt so easy and comforting.


I visited Ottawa again and saw about 5 friends this time. Three of them work for Cirque du Soleil and they hooked me up with amazing tickets to Corteo.

I didn't go anywhere in November except to Durham, NH for my good friend Ken Macie's wedding.


My first month in Sydney had me visiting Sydney, Cains and Brisbane. I rang in the new year in Cronulla, a beach town about 40 minutes south of Sydney.

Thanks for taking time to read my blog. I'm having a lot of fun with it and realize that I've missed writing like I used to. Feel free to share this site with other people. Thanks for the comment too. I will check in again soon!