Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Strange Day

Today was an interesting day. I went to get my RSA (Responsible serving of Alcohol certificate). What started out as a normal six hour course, evolved into one of the most random, and pretty humorous days I can remember. Before I jump into it, I just have to say I will cover more mature subjects than I normally do, and while I try to paint a comical picture of what happened, the material is supposed to be informative, even educational. It isn’t meant to offend or disrespect.

The class consisted of myself, nine other students and an instructor named Danny. Danny was probably between 32 and 35. He teaches the class five days a week and also has been a manager at a bar in Wollongong and will soon be opening his own pub. He has a beard and the build of Seth Rogen. Actually he looked kind of like a clean cut Seth Rogen.


Seth Rogen

The class covered many topics including ways to prevent intoxication, consequences of binge drinking, effects of alcohol, types of alcohol, how to properly cut someone off, blood alcohol content and much more. It consisted of everything you would need to know to serve alcohol.

When I arrived, most of the people in the room were pretty quiet. Little did I know that by the end of the day, we’d all share a few laughs together. At this point I might as well introduce you to them.

Brett: This guy is about 19 or 20. Has all the expensive accessories that a popular kid his age would have. Prada sunglasses, new leather wallet, trendy cigarettes.

Michael: Big guy, with some native blood in him, shaved bald head. He said he was interested in doing this because he was being hired as security at a bottle shop (Liquor store). Not the brightest bulb, but a guy you’d want on your side in a fight.

Nicole: Pretty blonde, 18. She wore a black top and leopard print skirt. Her current job is a hair stylist and she wants to be a bartender over in England. Judging by her demeanor and by how much she interacted with all of us, she is one of the cool girls.

Thomas: At least 50 years old, but you can tell he’s smoked so much he definitely looks 65. Tom has one of those accents that I cannot understand. Maybe one out of every ten words I picked up. For example when asked what the legal drinking age is, Tom said, “Ay’deen.” That’s eighteen. But everything he said was usually finished off with a laugh.

Michelle: Oh Michelle. An ex vegan, but still current vegetarian. Definitely a free spirt who asked lots of questions and was responsible for keeping unnecessary conversation flowing. I think she revealed she was 29 or 30. Nice smile, fun personality to have in class, but not everyday.

Nathan: Another young guy, probably 21. Typical Aussie guy, not sure how to describe that. I guess he has the maturity of Brett. Which you’ll find out soon enough what I mean.

?: Nice Asian girl, I didn’t catch her name. She had a bit of input, is currently working the door at a club, but wants to serve drinks.

Tom Lee: Quiet Asian guy who sat in the back. He said one sentence all day.

Maxim: Another guy who didn’t speak all day. Max was definitely of eastern European descent and his English is going to be a problem I can tell.

One of the first things Danny said to us was “At the conclusion of the class, you’ll be given a 20 question test. But if you have trouble with the questions, don’t worry, I’ll give you the answers.” Well that took all tension out of the room.

The morning went smooth. Danny had a lot of good stories from working so many years in a bar. They did slowly get a little bit looser, more graphic and included more four letter swears. For example he was referring to women as chicks and “Sheila’s” which is an Australian nickname for a woman. He also recommended we take a course on what to do if we are ever in a holdup or robbery. He and Michael then both told us about the times they were held up and had a “shotty” (Shotgun) held to their head.

During all these “fun” stories, Danny would give us many drinking statistics about Australia. They are pretty horrific. In fact, a lot of the stories I heard today make me NOT want to serve drinks. There’s a term called “glassing” that has become very big here. It is where someone (most of the time women) break off the end of a beer bottle and use it as a knife on someone else. I do feel as if I’m always reading about a stabbing in Sydney. Then I remember that people don’t have guns here like in the USA. The cops and the criminals have the guns here, that's it.

Here are a couple examples of Australian drinking stats Danny gave us:
Alcohol is the second largest cause of drug-related deaths and hospitalizations in Australia (after tobacco).
Alcohol is the main cause of deaths on Australian roads. In 1998, over 2,000 deaths of the total 7,000 deaths of persons under 65 years, were related to alcohol (Ridolfo and Stevenson, 1998).

Those statistics are obviously somewhat old, but if you Google searched Australian binge drinking or Australian Alcohol related deaths, you would be supplied with list after list of numbers about people dying from alcohol related causes. Australians have a reputation for being drinkers. It is scary how true it really is.


The morning was as typical as a day at the Office.

The morning class lasted 2 and a half hours. We were given an hour lunch break, then went back for another 2 hours. At the conclusion, I realized that we could have done this whole class in 90 minutes to 2 hours tops. It wasn’t all that bad though as conversation ventured away from the course and went onto subjects like:

In Australia, not too long ago, meat pies were found to have Wombat and Possum meat in them. At one point, the companies producing the meat pies were found out and now you will find mostly beef pies. I’m not sure what wombat is, but he mentioned it was basically roadkill meat.

Danny told us he “accidentally electrocuted my mother once – Addams Family style.” I honestly can’t remember how it came up. But that sentence alone has comic value.

He explained to us about men’s urinal pucks and prostate exams that you can use in public bathrooms. There are apparently little tests you can buy in public restrooms to check the prostate. Who knew?

Other Danny quotes:
“Guitar Hero is best played when you’re smashed.”

“You need to get a job dude if you’re watching Oprah.” (Said to Brett after Brett began a sentence with "I saw the other day on Oprah..."

With lines like that, Danny had my utmost attention. I couldn’t wait to hear what else he might say.

It felt like The Breakfast Club on steroids.

One part of the course had us looking at pictures of people and guessing how old they were. The exercise taught us how hard it is to tell someone’s age and some signs that we should look for. Danny told us they were a couple years old and were taken in America, so he apologized for the fashion. Actually, all day we had some fun comparing Americans to Australians. The Aussies are fascinated with Las Vegas. Most I talk to have been there or want to go there. Of course their obsession and the world's obsession with Texas is normal. One linguistic laugh we had was when Danny spelled the word jail the way some people still do here which is "gaol." I believe that goes way back to the English spelling of the word.

Back to the photos...After going through the seven photos and guessing, he asked each of us what we guessed. Everyone gave a number, except for Tom, who every time he was asked what age he wrote down he’d say “Accepted!.” or “Denied!” as in he would or wouldn’t let them into his bar. Funny thing is we did this seven times and he never caught on that Danny was looking for a number. Just comical. All day, Tom would pitch in his thoughts, but they were so hard to understand.

Another comical exchange was with Danny, Michael the bouncer and Michelle the vegetarian. They were looking at one photo of a young girl. Danny says “Now men grow facial hair early on and use that to conceal age. What do you think women use?” and Michelle pipes up “Breasts!” (Long Pause) Danny: “Um no…makeup.” But Michael then puts his foot in his mouth and attempted to agree with Michelle and basically sounded like he can tell all women’s ages just by looking at her, and not at her face.

I mentioned Tom Lee only said one sentence all day. It was when we were on another foul subject of why it is unhygienic to have free peanut bowls in bars. Danny went through his normal routine of painting a gross picture: person goes to bathroom, doesn’t wash hands, goes back to peanut bowl…and right then, Tom pipes up and says “There’s traces of **** on them!” And then slips quietly back into the room. Again, sorry about the profanity, but at this point in the day, I have heard every offensive word I can think of either from Danny, Brett, Michael or Nathan. And who knows what words Thomas may have been saying? Truth be told, we did get Tom to say a few more words at the end of the day when we found out his name was Tommy Lee. A couple Pam Anderson Jokes were made at his expense. Oddly enough he said most people called him Tommy Lee Jones…strange friends.

Tommy Lee


Regarding the profanity, Australia is a different culture than the USA. From what I’ve read and witnessed, swearing in the workplace isn’t uncommon. Even in my training at Coke, I would here the occasional crass comment. In one news blurb I read, it was typical for Americans to find Australian’s work etiquette offensive. It is just more laid back, that’s for sure. People work hard here; no doubt, they just do not have the most strict office rules.

To wrap this story up, there is a class tomorrow called RSG – which is a class more focused on working at a gaming site. I am tempted to take that class on entertainment value alone, but have decided I don’t need that right now.

Also on a strange note, my employment agency called today. They said that Coke was looking for someone at a different location. Same job that I just lost! But the location is even more of a hike to get to than the first one. So I declined the offer.

Keep sending those emails.

Ryan

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fall Out Boy, The Oscars, life, etc.


Had a bit of writers block for the first time this week. Not sure if it was having no work, or just running out of ideas of what to tell you about. I was even struggling finding pictures to post this week. The new photo at the top is just temporary until I find something better. Any ideas? I did come up with a recap of the week for you. Enjoy.

Saturday night I finally went to see Fall Out Boy for the first time in concert. I had been looking forward to this night for a long time. Over six weeks ago I bought tickets online and finally the day arrived. I went with my roommate and a friend of his. Sadly I couldn't find anyone else to go with. Not a lot of Fall Out Boy fans my age apparently.


Before I tell you about the concert, I should say I first heard Fall Out Boy in 2005. I was working on the Carnival Fantasy when they started getting a lot of radio play. Then at some point, Joel Reil from Swanzey took me to an ECW wrestling event in Durham and he played Fall Out Boy the whole way there and back. So I listened to them for probably 8 months or more and had no idea what they looked like or what their image was. I only knew that they sounded great.

video

Here's a little video I took at the concert. Nothing special. Except that it rocks.


Alright, this story I'm telling you is kind of boring even to me. So I'll get to the point ASAP.


All I gotta say is there were a ton of 10-15 year olds there and also their soccer moms and dads. I sat next to a mom with her daughter and best friend, both about 13 and the dad on the end. So I may have stuck out like a sore thumb but I knew every word to every song they played, sang as loud as I could, and therefore, had an amazing time.

Vinny, at least he was wearin' cowboy boots.

The venue was at Olympic park where the 2000 Summer Games were held. Kind of cool to see where it all took place. The concert venue was where the men's Basketball team won gold.

Some randomness for the rest of this post:

Gram asked me how hockey went last Monday. We lost. Wasn't really close. I think we lost by five or six goals. We just didn't have it, couldn't put the puck in the net. I was pretty hurting once again, but felt better than the week before. Tonight is our third game. Will let you know how it goes.

Job hunt continues tomorrow. Actually looked at getting some licenses like bartending or forklift, both affordable and can be obtained in one day. So Wednesday I'll get my RSA which I believe stands for Responsible sales of Alcohol. It means I can serve drinks.

I watched the Oscars today. I don' think I've ever watched the Oscars start to finish but as I watched them, I jotted down a few thoughts.

It is interesting that an Australian is hosting the Oscars.

12:30pm Oscars begin. Good think I'm not working and have time for this.

Good opening number.

I always think the part where they show who died in the previous 365 days is very classy. But I was disappointed not to see George Carlin's face. So he wasn't big in the movies, I thought it was show biz.

Art Direction, Animation, Costumes, makeup, Screenplays...they should get all these awards out of the way at the beginning, then let me know when the good awards start. I could have been doing something a bit more productive.

Jack Black and Jennifer Aniston, good pair. Could just watch Jack Black comedy all night.

Seth Rogen cracking up at James Franco was a funny moment during the presentation of best short action film.

Heath Ledger winning Best Supporting Actor: Such a sad story. I was in Iowa last year when I heard he died. Didn't realize how big he was going to be. Now that I'm in Australia, Ledger's homeland, I realize how special he was.

Bill Maher is nuts.

This is the most boring television. Honestly. Now that I think of it, I have sat through an entire academy awards, but vowed never to do it again. They are that long.

What happened to Adrien Brody? Looks a bit different. Very hairy.

I think on a long enough time line, every A-List celebrity gets an oscar. Think about your top 20 actors. I bet most of them have one.

I didn't see any of the nominated movies this year. Not one of them. Was still a fun show.



Joe Dirt never won any awards, but I still like it.


In case any of you wonder where I live: I live in Sydney which is in the state of New South Wales. (In Bill Bryson's book Down Under, he writes, "Among the many small and interesting mysteries of Australia in its early days is where so many of its names come from. Captain Cook called the eastern coast New South Wales, and no one now has any idea why. Did he mean to signify that this would be a new Wales of the South or merely a newer version of South Wales? If the latter, why just South Wales and not the whole of it? No one can say. What is certain is that he had no known connection to that principality, southerly or otherwise."

The fires you probably heard about recently were in Victoria, where Melbourne is located.

Cairns and Brisbane are in Queensland along with the Great Barrier Reef going up the coast. As you can see by the map (and what a colorful map it is!) there isn't much in South Australia besides Adelaide, Western Australia besides Perth, and the Northern Territory.

Tasmania, well, everyone makes fun of Tasmania like it really isn't a state.

Alright, I'm about off to my hockey game. Rywatts9@hotmail.com if you want to email

UPDATE: Just walked in from the hockey game. We won 15-8, I think I had another three goals. The team we played wasn't as strong as the one we played last weekend so we were able to pass a bit more and skate it out of our end. Here is the link to the hockey league I'm in with results. I don't believe stats are on there yet, but they do have a stat keeper. http://www.skatensw.org.au/pages.asp?page=&pubid=159&issid=166&artid=683&pgid=785

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Curveball, swing and a miss, did not see that one coming

I don't want to disappoint my readers out there, but it seems, for the time being, my career with Coca-Cola is over. After a lengthy 21 day tenure, the beverage giant has decided to part ways with me.

In all seriousness, I was let go today. I had just finished for the day when my agency called and told me that due to low call intake in the recent months, CCA decided to cut 10 positions, one of them being mine. I'm not positive on all the details yet, but I will have a better explanation of the situation soon.

I have to admit, it was one of the most foreign feelings I've ever experienced. Never have I been told to leave a job. Fired...you mean really fired? Well they don't call it that here. I believe the slang term is sacked. Actually the PC term would be that my position "became redundant." The good news is that I did not get fired from my employment agency. I'm meeting with them later this week. They said they will continue to assist me in finding employment.

Of course it is disappointing. Some emotions I've felt today are sadness, shock, excitement that I may find some new and more exciting job, a bit of fear. And just as I was really getting the hang of my job and beginning to bond with the team. But I understand the business side of it. Australia is having just as much trouble as the US financially right now.

So what do you do when you get fired?

I'll tell ya what I did.

The first thing was to take the one hour train back home. I played some angry music on my Ipod, mostly Metallica the Black Album and some other random racket.

Then I went out to bingo and trivia night at the Gymea Pub with my roommates and won the first game of bingo. The prize was a very large tray of beef, chicken and lamb. My roommate also won a tray. Life is funny sometimes. Yep! I got canned, but I did win a tray of meat that can feed a family of five. How bad can it be?

I've kept my sense of humor in this obviously. But I don't want you to be confused with me not taking this seriously. As always, something good will happen out of this. I know for a fact that many people in my situation would go home and get depressed or angry or do something irrational. Most of you know by now that that's not me. I'm not even going to dwell on it. What's done is done. To use the most overused term of this decade, "It is what it is." (2nd most would be the annoying sports caster saying "You talk about...")

I'm going to keep searching for work and just stay positive. Good things happen when you stay positive. Wow...deep Ryan. But it's true.

In the meantime, enjoy some photos and quotes that make me smile when I think of the idea of being fired.

My childhood idol George Carlin once talked about getting his walking papers....

"Walking papers. You know, a guy gets fired. You say, “Geez, poor guy. Well, they give him his walking papers today.” Did you ever get any walking papers? Seriously. Believe me, in my life, I’ve got fired a lot of times. Never got any walking papers. Never got a pink slip, either. You know what I would get? A guy would come around to my desk and say “Get the @@@@ out of here.” You don’t need paper for that. "

Sometimes being fired can be your own fault...






Sometimes it's not your fault...(Schottenheimer went 14-2 before getting fired)


Sometimes you get rehired, then fired again... and again (Billy Martin: firingX8)


It can come in the form of a fax...McFly

or on television..

And sometimes, well...
I suppose on a lighter note, the World Baseball Classic will be taking place in a couple weeks and I believe it will be on the television here. I cannot wait to see some baseball. The cricket here just doesn't cut it.



Thanks for the support. Mom, don't worry about me too much. I really am doing fine.

Talk to ya soon, Ry

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How to speak Australian

Parlez-Usted Anglais?!

Australians have a very different way of speaking than what I'm used to back in the states. Now that I've been here for 10 weeks or so, the language isn't so foreign anymore. But I can imagine coming back home and using some of these words while you stare back at me with confusion. Today I'm going to share a few slangs with you.
People here abbreivate everything. Some words are just too darn long for the folks downunder, so who wants to waste time saying the whole thing? Not these people. So for example, a word like university, that's a big one, the Australians chopped off the last three syllables and just call it uni. Barbecue, another big word, is a barbie.
Other notables: Sunglasses=Sunnies, McDonald's=Maccas, Swimming Trunks=Boardies or togs, Flip Flops=Thongs, Footy=Australian rules football, Esky=cooler for your beers, and Ute=any pickup truck or utility vehicle.
One I've encountered at work is when Australians say numbers, they abbreviate it by saying "double" or "triple" if there are consecutive numbers. For example a customer is giving me their outlet number that is 5522210, they will say "double five, triple two, one, zero." But if you add up the syllables, it takes longer to say the double and triple than it would be to just say "five five, two two two one zero" So far everybody used the double or triple slang when speaking to me.

Chief wore # zero zero

Nicknames are popular here. Most last names are changed by adding a Y or an O at the end. So my friends the York brothers are referred to as "Yorky" and their friends refer to me as "Watto"....which makes me laugh, I think in my life, We've exhausted every nickname you can think of for Watterson...watts, watty, watto...

There's actually a Star Wars character named Watt-O


Food is a bit different. Any candy's are called lollies. French Fries are referred to as chips, and potato chips are also called chips. That's not confusing.

Australians put sauce on everything. What type of sauce? Who knows...barbecue, ketchup, mystery sauce, gravy. Everything I order, I am asked "Want sauce with that?....sounds vaguely familiar to "Want fries with that?" wouldn't you say?

I eat a lot of chicken schnitzel here. which is a fancy term for flattened chicken with bread crumbs. It's a pretty good meal.

Schnitzel and Chips, no sauce

Here's a word that I hear almost everyday: suss. It looks like this in a sentence, "This party seems a bit suss." (as in suspicious) or it can also mean to work things out like "Lets suss it out." I actually was confused just writing this paragraph as I asked my roommate to use it in a sentence.

Feel free to ask me about other slangs you might know about.

Switching gears now, I'll give you a little update on my last week. Work is getting better. I took almost 50 calls on Friday. So I'm starting to get the hang of things. The computer systems are beginning to make a bit more sense.

I talked to my friend Bear today for the first tme in a good few months. I went to Carroll College with Bear. Here's a picture from February 2008. I have never showed anyone these photos because it was the day the Patriots lost in the Superbowl and I didn't feel like remembering that game for a long time.

Ryan and Bear, Feb 2008, Waukesha WI

Tomorrow night I have my second hockey game. Say a prayer for me.

I've been thinking that Ryan Down Under is kind of a boring and easy name for my blog, so in the next 10 days to two weeks, if you want to send me some ideas for a new title, I will collect all the ideas and then we'll have a vote. There's an option on here to post a poll or a vote. So please send any ideas for a new name of this blog to Rywatts9@hotmail.com I will post them when I get four or five and you can vote for your favorite.

Alright, off to meet a friend for dinner.


Let's put another shrimp on the barbie...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hockey

Great moments... are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here, tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight. One game. If we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw 'em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it. - Herb Brooks

I wanted to start this blog off with a quote from SlapShot to get the hockey themed blog rolling, but really there are no quotes that I could put up. I think you understand.

Tonight was my first hockey game. I am spent. After hustling home from work, Mike York picked me up and we drove to Penrith, a good hour and ten minute drive, for our first inline hockey game. They loved that I carried all my equipment in the same cardboard box it was sent in. Hey I don't have a hockey bag, gotta make due. I think Curt York has an extra bag floating around somewhere.


I thought I might look like Happy Gilmore on ice.


So if you said I was in pain, I'd say that was an understatement. Tonight reminded me of 1995-1997 when I was playing for KHS and coach Jim Jimaki would break out his whistle with about 30 minutes left in practice. He then proceeded to push the team harder than most of us probably have ever been pushed. I can picture Kyle Brown laying on the ice in exhaustion, or Rich Gallup throwing up over the boards. We were probably in the best shape of our lives then. Maybe I was anyway. I do remember thinking how slow time moved when we were skating from red line to red line.

Jimaki (circled) knew how to run a practice.

So that brings me to tonight. I haven't been on skates of anykind since the winter of 2004! 5 years in total. I was a bit nervous because the guys I some of the guys on the court tonight play for the Australia National Team.


I wore #96, not exactly #99 like the Great One.

My first shift I went out there and busted my tail as hard as I could for a couple minutes. Then when I had my first line change, I sat down and realized I just used all my energy for the night. We still had four 12 minute periods to go. I can't really say my heart has ever beat faster. I thought I was dying. Three years on cruise ships, 2 years traveling around, and I just didn't make much time for the gym. Tonight I paid for it.
I think the other guys were having a good laugh at my red face, but giving encouragement. We were in the lead the whole game, so there wasn't a whole lot of pressure. The guys we played against were good, but they didn't really have a knack for the net. They also were kind of in awe of the helmet I wore. I had my only helmet I ever wore sent over. I believe I got it for Christmas in 1988 or 1989. It is nasty. It is falling apart, beat up, maybe a little moldy, but a darn fine helmet.


Messier knows what I'm talking about with the old school helmet.

In the fourth period, I did score four goals in a two shift span. Natural hat trick right? So it was good to tuck a few in and get some high fives. Oh its a 3 on 3 format with two goalies who rotate sides. We won 18-7.

Not a bad deal for the league either. $150 for 13 weeks. Can't beat that really.


On a sad note, I'm sure you've heard of the wild bush fires happening in Victoria, Australia right now. It really is tragic how many people have lost their lives. It is hard to imagine what people are going through right now down there as some communities have been completely destroyed. I want to let everyone know that I am not located anywhere near the fires so I am safe here in Sydney. It is an amazing country, while the fires still burn, there are floods taking lives and homes up in the north.

Well I'm off to bed. Had another good day at work. I took 30 calls today at work, better than my 20 on Friday. Talk to you all soon.

Love Ryan
Old time Hockey!

Friday, February 6, 2009

"I need all of you, to stop what you're doing and listen. Cannonball!"


Friday night! I haven't appreciated a weekend so much since....its hard to say really. I wasn't really doing much on the weekends back in Keene and when I worked for Up with People, there were no weekends to relax. The cruise ship industry also had no weekends. So this is a treat.

I finished my three week training period today. I also took calls for the majority of the day from real customers so it was exciting. I was told I received the highest marks out of our training class on the assessment. I was surprised to hear that actually. My impression is that some of the people in my class are good at acting like they know what they're doing. So it was comforting to hear compliments from my new supervisor and the woman who trained us for three weeks. It doesn't sound like much, but I took 20 calls today and feel as if I learned a ton. The fear of taking the calls is still there, but I can feel how much I learned in just one day.
When I start talking on the phones, everyone is asking themselves "Is this an American on the phone?" I've only had a conversation with a couple people about it. Hopefully as I get better at the job, maybe it will come in handy. For now, I kind of wish I could just blend in.

I received a generous box in the mail from the family this week. After the hockey equipment came in, another one came that included Planters Peanuts, Twizzlers, Cheez its, Goldfish, and ironically some rice Krispies treats with Michael Phelps on the box. I wonder how long his picture will be on any Kelloggs brand item.

This weekend Im going to go to the movies for the first time since August! It was a chick flick, so I won't mention the title. Tonight I think I will see Role Models. Gram do you know what a chick flick is? My Grandma reads this blog also. Hey Gram! Miss ya, do you have the golf clubs ready to go yet?

Gram, this is a chick flick....ask Shelby about it.

Saturday I'm meeting a friend for lunch near the Opera House at Circular Quay. Should be a good time. Not to rub it in, but every day on the way to work, I take a train over the Harbour Bridge and have about a 15 second look at the Opera House. Whenever I think I don't want to go to work, seeing that Opera House reminds me of how lucky I am to be here. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten how lucky I am.

I can't get tired of this view.

Have you heard about the weather we're going to expect this weekend? Its going to be in the high 90s. Actually as I type this, it is 86 in Sydney and -2 in Keene NH! An 88 degree difference! Anyone feel like visiting me now?

Sunday it is my friend Eoin's 28th birthday, so he's invited a big group out to celebrate. I'm really still not used to the idea of partying on a Sunday when 5 work days lay ahead, but I think I will "make an appearance" and "take it easy" and not get "hammered."

Well it seems like I have a good habit of updating this thing every four days, so for now, that's probably what you'll get, maybe every fifth day. I'm trying to get a guest book here to see who is reading, but haven't figured that out yet. If you are not one of the followers, no worries (That's an Aussie saying!), you can always email me at Rywatts9@hotmail.com if you want to say hey.


You stay classy...

Monday, February 2, 2009

This one's for you mom!

Happy Birthday Mom! And also a very happy Groundhog Day to you all. I'm not positive anyone here knows what GroundHog Day is, but how cool is that that my mom's birthday is on a holiday?! Well I don't believe they close schools for Groundhog day, but I think they should. I can one-up anyone who mentions it is there mother's birthday... "Oh yeah? My mom's b-day is on Groundhog day...." Let me know the outcome, here I think we're having six more weeks of summer. Tragic.

So happy Birthday mom, I miss you.

I had a pretty lazy weekend. Recovered from the previous weekend's Australia Day activities. So I spent most of the weekend just cleaning up my room, doing laundry, doing my Sunday food shopping.

Today I missed the Superbowl as I mentioned last week. During my breaks and lunch I was able to watch some of it. Nothing special. My last break finished right at the start of the the 4th quarter, so I understand I missed another very exciting finish. Dang. When I arrived at work, for some strange reason, ESPN was on and I had the chance to watch one quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Detroit Pistons. I really appreciated it. Watching A.I. and LeBron was a treat.

Australians find the NFL a bit strange. I always hear "It's so stop and go!" because in their rugby league games, the whistle, basically never blows and the game is just back and forth for an hour. As Carlin said, "None of this standing around the sidelines (blank blank)."

Tomorrow I take my first live call for work. I'm ready although kind of nervous. I know what to do though and there is a lot of help around me. Lets hope I don't get too many complaints. One of my bosses went to McGill University in Montreal and another lived in LA for five years.

My rollerblades and hockey gear showed up today. I believe I will play in my first game next Monday. Will keep you posted on that. The Australian government is known as being pretty ruthless about what they allow into the country, so mom, the box you sent was opened at the airport. But the good thing is, they didn't take anything. Maybe they should have taken my hockey helmet. Something is growing in there. But if any of you do want to send me something (April 11, anyone?) just don't send food or plants. Candy is good, but no nuts. Good thing I am not a plant enthusiast.

Switching subjects now, do any of you know what a meat pie is? Not only is it one of Australia's most eaten snacks/meals, it is also something I eat pretty frequently here. See picture below. There are all different kinds. Everyone puts some sort of sauce on the top. It looked pretty boring when I first saw one, but have really come to enjoy them. I'm not postive what the nutrition value is, but there must be something good in there.


What else? Last night was the Australian Open final between Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal. I was really pulling for Federer but it wasn't meant to be. I wanted to get a good night sleep. Luckily, my roommates have such a technologically advanced remote and TV system, I couldn't figure out how to turn on the match, hence, I got a great night sleep. The match went well past midnight.


Talk soon, Ry