Friday, September 18, 2009

My final Australia Post

By now, you probably know I’ve left Australia and am enjoying being back in New Hampshire. I never announced that I was leaving until after I actually left Oz. The purpose of this was so I could surprise a couple of my family members. I wrote the following blog while sitting in the airport in Sydney on August 27 (Sydney time) waiting for my flight to depart. I forgot to post it when I returned home.

August 27, 2009

The final 10 days of my Australia trip were fun. I initially thought they would be grueling because all I would be thinking about was going home. But, they proved to be relaxing.

I was pretty hurting on cash and knew I’d have to get creative with meals for 10 days. Thank goodness I am a master of the grilled cheese. I bought some incredibly cheap bread and cheese, and some apples, and had grilled cheese sandwiches and apples for most of my meals for a week. One might think that’s awful, but I don’t think you understand how much I enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches. It was heavenly.

The rest of that week I listened to a lot of Red Sox games on the internet and slowly packed a little every day.

On my final Saturday night, I went to an ice hockey game with the York Brothers, as well as a few of the guys we play hockey with. It was great to see some ice hockey even if it was pretty awful. It featured the Sydney Bears vs. the Canberra Knights. Mike and Curt have a couple friends I’d met a couple of times on the Canberra team.

The Knights and the Bears were the league’s worst two teams. They were telling me this was Australia’s best hockey league, but I honestly think I could have contributed out there. I’m sure the top teams have some solid players. I think there are a lot of European and Canadian players on the better teams, so there has to be talent. But on this occasion, it looked like men’s league.
The next day, Curt York had his final soccer match of the year. He was playing in the championship game, which in Australia is called the Grand Finale. It’s hard to explain but I’ll try.

Where I live, there are tons of soccer leagues. Or rather, levels. So each town has their own team, for example, Curt plays for Lilli Pilli (Yeah the name of an actual suburb) and Lilli Pilli has around 16 teams. Curt was telling me it is the largest football organization in the Southern Hemisphere.

Anyway, if your team has success in the league it is in, then the next season the team moves up a level. So Curt’s team was playing in the Level 6 Grand Finale, and if they won, would move up to Level 5 next season.

It was a gorgeous day for a soccer game. I think it hit 75 degrees and was sunny all day. I walked a good three or four miles to the game, underestimating the walk. So I missed the first 15 minutes or so. When I arrived, Lilli Pilli was up 1-0.

Right before the end of the half, a Lilli Pilli player and a Miranda player collided while attacking the ball and the Lilli Pilli player broke his leg! It just sounded bad. I didn’t have a great look at it, but I heard it. The ambulance took forever to get there, and the game ended up being stopped for 90 minutes while they took the poor guy off to the hospital. (Or as that sentence would read in Australia….”…ended up being stopped for 90 minutes while they took the poor guy to hospital.” They don’t use THE when referring to the hospital)

In the second half, Miranda scored on a penalty kick and seemed to have the momentum for the remainder of the game. Neither team could score until the second overtime, Lilli Pilli got a breakaway and capitalized. They won 2-1. It was an exciting finish.

It was good to say goodbye to Curt’s parents and a couple other friends I’d met along the way.
On my final night in the Shire, Curt and his girlfriend Paivi, Mike, Eoin and his girlfriend Steph, Bryce and Mick took me out to dinner to say farewell. I was really touched by this. I wasn’t expecting anything really. I chose a Mexican restaurant that I had wanted to try for a few months because I didn’t have Mexican food my entire stay in Australia. It was okay, a little overpriced. In Australia they don’t give out free nachos and salsa. But I had a beef enchilada. It tasted great.

It was sad saying goodbye to all of them, but goodbyes are sad. In the morning I got up early and said goodbye to my roommate Steve. Jeff then brought me to the airport where I had to wait six hours for my flight.

And that was the end of the post. I should have documented the rest of the trip because it was fairly eventful. Here is what I remember from that flight home...

Written on September 17, 2009

My flight home from Sydney consisted of three flights: Sydney to Fiji, Fiji to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Boston. The flight from Sydney to Fiji is the one I will always remember. I was in the aisle seat, with an Australian guy sitting next to me and a British woman who was about 20, sitting in the window seat.

Prior to takeoff, we talked about our travel habits and if we liked to sleep or move around. The woman seemed nice and I felt it would be a smooth ride having her there.

Let's fast forward to the middle of the night. It's dark, I'm sound asleep, just like most of the rest of the plane is when I awake to the sound of someone vomiting. Is it the guy next to me? Nope. But it is the nice British 20 something woman next to him. What a nightmare. Can you imagine that this plane has probably 400 or more passengers and the woman in MY ROW throws up! What are the odds?!

It was a long night of cleaning up for that young lady. I was so turned off that I didn't help her much. I don't think I should feel guilty about that. The Australian guy who was sitting next to me was pretty horrified but did a decent job at helping her out at first. Eventually he and I just went and stood by the bathrooms for what seemed a good half hour. Luckily for him, there was one empty seat left on the plane so he was able to sit there. I, on the other hand, had to sit there all night.

At this point, I took advantage of the "Free booze on international flights" policy and ordered a couple of Jim Beam and Cokes. I watched a couple movies to distract me. Honestly there wasn't much smell so it wasn't unbearable, but the sick British woman now was sitting right next to me because here seat was just a mess.

The rest of the night I stayed awake making sure she didn't deliver a repeat performance. A couple times I thought sure she was going to lose it again. My attitude was a tad on the annoyed side. This woman had told me she was on one of the beginning legs of an around the world trip. I guess as someone who considers himself to be the lowest of the low maintenance travel companions, I can't understand why some people travel when it is such a hassle to get from point A to point B.

The rest of the flights went smoothly. LAX was great to spend eight or nine hours in. The first thing I had was a Burger King Coffee, then several Bud Lights. I made it home about 36 hours after I left Sydney.

Look forward to more blog posts coming soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My facebook rules and complaints

Some of you may have seen my facebook page on 9/11. A couple of my "friends" had an argument on my wall after I posted the phrase, "Taking time to remember..." An innocent comment by one friend led to a full on fight about not taking 9/11 seriously enough and who had more patriotism than who. It got ugly and I had the opportunity early in the day to delete the thread, but decided I would keep it up there and see where it went. By the end of the day, there were about 20 replies from five or six different people.

In my mind, I kept it up there to show people just how misunderstanding and miscommunication leads to hurt feelings and anger. I wish that the people who were making the comments could have personally emailed each other and discovered that they probably were both on the same side. They were all Americans. They were all attacked on 9/11. Why were they fighting with each other? I hope some people learned a lesson from it.

I guess that's a good transition into my facebook rules. Some of you have thought of these. You may have heard some of them from someone else, but these are some things that drive me crazy about facebook. I do love checking my facebook everyday, but these are things I could do without.

If you are going to write more than 20 words to someone, please put it in an email. The personal wall posts are - well personal. Keep it that way. I wonder if some people post that kind of stuff on other people's wall, so other people will know what they are chatting about. Or maybe they like that other people can see who they are contacting. It could be an ego thing.

Relationship updates. Since I created my facebook page in 2006, I have never updated my relationship status. Honestly I've only been in one relationship that would have been suitable for me to change it. But I think most people get annoyed by those friends who change their relationship status more than five times a year. It's a lot like "too much of a good thing is a bad for you." I would never write these people saying congrats on their new relationship because I would have to do it again in six weeks. Again, I think it has to do with insecurities. Some people want to be in a relationship so bad and let people know about it when they do. Trust me people, being single is great. Great on the wallet too.

I'm going to leave facebook for one paragraph while I'm thinking of this next one. Here's a good one for twitter. If you're not famous and you have nothing interesting to say, please don't tweet 25 times a day. You fill up my page and keep me from seeing funny people's tweets like Kevin Smith, Dane Cook, Shaq, Bill Simmons and Penn Jillette. I was talking with my brother about how tweets should be interesting or clever. I guess you going to the grocery store is just not interesting.

Back to facebook. Photo albums with more than 60 photos are too big. I used to like the 60 photo limit. It made facebook stalking so much faster! Just kidding. But 120 pics in one album? Too many. What I do is weed out the crappy photos and keep my albums between 40 and 60 photos. You don't have to put every photo from the digital camera on there. Be selective, weed out the junk.

Also, people love pictures with people in them. Your landscape photos or pictures of flowers are boring. I am guilty of having one album of a day where I walked through a park. It is my most boring photo album.

I've heard some people complain about mothers putting up their child's photo as their profile pic instead of them. I really don't have a problem with this one. If you think your kid is amazing and you want it to be your profile pic, I have no problems there. I find that most people who put their kids on there do not like having their picture taken.

Learn how to post pictures that aren't the size of a thumb tack.

Don't use the F word in your status updates. It is trashy.

Also, going back to the first one, don't be rude on my wall. I have family, former teachers, co workers who are my facebook friends and will have to read it.

Please stop sending me "Mafia Wars" requests. Or any facebook game. I will never join. The only one I join is NCAA March Madness.

I'm not a fan of "Becoming a Fan" of...I will become a fan of my friend's businesses or if a friend asks me to become a fan of something, but most of the time, I don't like looking at that box on the right side of my facebook page. I've seen Become a fan of God, Jesus, and most recently, Worshipping God. Because I don't become a fan of these does not mean I am not a fan. I'm a fan of the Boston Red Sox, but not on the interweb.

Here's one you've heard before: I wish facebook would stop suggesting friends to me. Maybe once or twice I have appreciated who they suggest, but most of the time, NOPE!

If we've never hung out before, weren't in the same class, and probably never will get together, how come you're requesting me as a friend? Does that make sense to you?

Oh here's one that I have strong feelings about. When you request me as a friend, and I accept and say a nice hello, and then you never write back....what was the point of the friend request? I'm still waiting to hear from a couple of you.

Wow, I went on a rant there! (Calm down...Calm down)

Some of my friends have told me they do a yearly "pruning" of their friends. I need to get into this. What would your rules be for that? I would say if you haven't spoken or emailed for three years, off you go! I think I'm being nice there. The reason I don't delete friends is because I never know where I'm going to be down the road. Maybe I'll be in Virginia or Texas or New York and I have a random facebook friend I can look up. Actually, now that I think of it, I put this plan into play in Australia and a handful of my Aussie "friends" did not respond to my request to get together... Yep, I'm all for the pruning!

A couple more for you...

Several times in my facebook "career," some female "friends" have deleted me as their friend due to them being in a relasionship, then requested me again, once things were smooth with their boyfriends. Ladies, if you are deleting male friends from your facebook out of fear of the boyfriend, it is not a healthy relationship.

Don't take it personal if I miss your birthday on facebook. Somedays I don't check the birthday list. And sometimes there are six people with a birthday that day! I guess it's just luck of the draw. I think for every person I've ever wished a happy birthday to on facebook, I've included the phrase, "Hope it's a great one." So that's all you're missing if I forget to wish you a happy birthday this year.

Finally, I have no problem with older generations being on facebook. Good for them!

Feel free to leave your comments at the bottom with ones I forgot. I hope facebook doesn't delete my account for making fun of them a little. Imagine if facebook facebook-stalked me!

Finally I have to say I still do enjoy facebook. It is somewhat addictive but I'm not to the point of needing help yet. Have a good day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9:09am: 9/9/09

Today is September 9, 2009. This post will be published at 9:09am. My favorite number is nine. For that one minute I imagine I'll concentrate on all the good things in my life and appreciate that in my lifetime, there will never be another 9/9/09. There will be a 9/18/27 (hopefully) and a 10/10/10 but this date will have more meaning than any of the others.

I don't believe anything crazy will happen. Someone was telling me about July 7, 2007 and how many people were married on that day and how some people believe seven brings good luck. No spaceships will land to pick me up. It will be just another minute in my life. But it will be my moment, unless I oversleep.

So here are some photos of the nine. Enjoy.

Ted Williams

Wayne Gretzky (2 nine's!)
Gordie Howe

Kasey Kahne

Roger Maris

Bobby Hull

Mia Hamm

Michael Jordan (The original Dream Team)

Roy Hobbs, The Natural

Maurice "Rocket" Richard

My news in New Hampshire is provided by channel 9

Baseball has nine innings. People compare dramatic or stressful situations to "the bottom of the ninth."

When you have good luck, some might say you have 9 lives. It's also a very popular cat food.

And there's actually a potion named after 9. Trust me, it works.

New Hampshire, my home state, is the ninth official state.

"Two, four, NINER, five, six seven..."

There are nine Supreme Court Justices

Nine Inch Nails, the band

"Nine times..."

Thanks for enjoying the number nine with me for a few minutes. Til next time...