Day 22 – Friday 1st August

Media total: 1.5 hours.

SOOOOOOOOOOO busy today. Doing training at work during month end. I was exhausted by lunch.

Tried to go to a nice cafe to eat, but there was nowhere to sit inside, and I didn’t want to sit outside. Had fish and chips, but it wasn’t that good today – this was strange.

Kept doing more training after lunch. More exhausted. You may not believe me, but I hate having to talk all day non-stop. IT IS TRUE! It’s tiring. And if I’m quiet, it doesn’t mean I’m in a bad mood. I like quiet too. YES IT IS TRUE!

Enough whining now.

After work, met up with Rowena, Charles, David J and Dean at The Green Park pub for a few drinks. Then we went to Phamish for a yummy dinner. I had salt and pepper squid (only a little too salty). You order at the counter, and there was a massive queue, so when everyone else ran out of rice, they decided not to bother. Would like to go back there another time when it’s not so packed.

Then it was off to The Hordern Pavillion for Regurgitator and Devo. Got to see 45 minutes of Regurgitator, which was a lot of fun. Their drummer was new – she had a haircut like my brother Chris had a few years ago. Maybe drummers like having hair in their faces whilst going nuts! They really got everyone into the mood for Devo.

Then it was a short wait for Devo, who were great, and a lot of fun too. Dave and I saw them in Barcelona last year, and they did a lot of the same tracks, just in quite a different order. They wore the yellow suits and lego hats again, and threw quite a few hats, suits, and little balls into the audience over the 1.5 hour show. I was hoping they’d play “Beautiful World” but they did it in quite an unusual way, which made me wish they hadn’t done it. But everything else suited me to a T.

The audience was mostly good. I felt quite young!!! A few knobs in front of us, and some people who don’t know when to shut up, but otherwise great. Ended up chatting to a few randoms as well, which doesn’t really happen as much. Nice friendly vibe.

I was dropped home by Rowena and Charles (THANKYOU!) and then tried to sleep. Too awake though. Watched an hour of “No Country for Old Men”, so got to bed way later than I should have. Bad move.

Dave, Friends, Food, High Tea, Shopping, DVDs.

After an awful Thursday night, partly my own fault and partly some bastard who let Dave down, I thought we were in for a crap weekend. Thankfully, we sorted things out, and ended up having a great time.

Friday night

* Dinner at Bravo in Crows Nest
Dave and I hadn’t been to Bravo in months, and the food was better than before. We both had spaghetti – Dave’s was with meatballs, and I had a spicy sauce. Followed by gelato – chocolate & lemon for me, and chocolate, lemon & pistachio for Dave. Which was not a very good idea as it was damn cold (probably 11 degrees YUCK!). On leaving Bravo and venturing to the bus stop, we felt like we were going to freeze both internally and externally!

* Nothing that exciting
The rest of Friday night was spent doing various things including:
– Watching some shows we’d recorded during the week
– Dave playing computer games

Saturday
* High Tea at Lilianfels in Katoomba.

Met Mark, Helen F and Stephanie at Central to get the “fast” train to Katoomba. “Fast” is in inverted commas due to the fact that the trip from Central takes 2 hours, and probably 3 in total including getting to Central. I think driving takes about 1.5 hours from my place.

We were made a little late by a medical issue at Strathfield, so instead of getting to Katoomba at 12.29, we got off at Leura at about 12.45 and got a taxi.

I didn’t realise until I got on the train that the annual “Katoomba Winter Festival” (or “Feral Festival as our friendly taxi driver called it) was going on in Katoomba, which explained all the unusually dressed people on the train. Also, the inappropriately dressed, being that the maximum temperature in Katoomba was going to be 11 degrees, and a girl wearing only a t-shirt and a small skirt (I think) was spotted on our train. This was not a great thing to find out, as there were 12 of us going to High Tea, and it may mean it would be harder to find seating.

Well we all found seating, but not together at first. Unfortunately you can’t book High Tea in Lilianfels, so we were told that as we were having high tea at 12.30, instead of later in the day, we would be fine. I think they forgot about the “Feral Festival”. The staff were extremely flat out.

As soon as we got there, poor Karen and Sean had to take their little boys (Matthew and Benjamin) elsewhere, as they’d been there for an hour and the kids were running riot. But we got to chat a bit to Juliet, John, Amy and Dave Gi.

It wasn’t the fabulous service I got last time I had high tea there, but I think the problem was mostly that they had loads of people there at a time much earlier than usual. But I will go back again, and make sure it doesn’t clash with any festival!

* Shopping in Leura
Afterwards, Amy & Dave Gi went up to Katoomba to check out the “Feral Fest” and the rest of us went to Leura for some shopping. We only had an hour before the train headed back to the city, so we made our ways to the shops we liked best, and then met up at Leura Station.

As usual, the first stop was Megalong Books, where I found “A guide to modern + conetmporary Art in the city Paris” , and “Stalin’s Nose” by Rory Maclean, which looks like a fiction travel book of the eastern parts of Europe. Yes, I liked the Trabi on the front cover (it reminds me of Berlin) ;). I also mentioned on the way in that I’d found a really good Berlin book last time I was in there, and someone overheard me and asked where they could find it. Unfortunately I took the last copy.

Then it was off to “Leura Whisk” to decide if I wanted the tea cups I found a few weeks ago. I yet again decided that I already had too many tea cups, and continued up the road.

I went into a great gallery, “Michael White Art” where I found a print I really liked, but left with cards when I found out the cost of the print. There were quite a few lovely prints. I must go back there next time.

And then it was quickly through a few other stores, a quick farewell to Juliet & John, and off to Cafe Josophan’s to get a hot chocolate, before heading up to the train station.

Thankfully we only had to wait about 5 minutes on the incredibly cold train station. The train ride on the way back went very quickly. Luckily we got seats, and we also got to see more unusual costumes of people returning to the city after the festival.

It was a very nice way to spend a day with friends, just felt so rushed!

* Dinner, DVDs and no clubbing

On the way home I picked up some DVDs and dinner for Davo and I. I was too tired to consider clubbing (although I did want to see Heiko Laux).

We watched “Rendition” which we really liked, but I think the ending was a bit abrupt. I always like to see movies with Peter Sarsgaard and Jake Gyllenhaal, as I think they are quite good actors. Their looks help too 🙂 Dave reckons I like Peter Sarsgaard as he’s like the Andrew McCarthy of the present day. I hadn’t picked up on that before, but definitely agree.

And then Davo decided more computer games were in order, while I tried to watch “Sweeney Todd”. It was hard to decide whether I wanted to watch it. I tend to despise muscials. They really drive me nuts. But a great cast and the fact that the director also hates musicals changed my mind. It’s not that bad, but I haven’t had time to watch the last hour. Will finish it tonight.

By this stage, it was time for some reading and then sleep. I thought we’d watch “3:10 to Yuma” on Sunday, but that went out the window!

Sunday

* Breakfast at Epitome
Another place we hadn’t been to in ages – Epitome in Lane Cove. Was acutally a good experience this time. Food was great and service was quick. Haven’t had a big fry-up for breakfast in sooooooooo long.

* Shopping in Crows Nest

We’d seen a book in the window of “The Constant Reader” that we wanted to check out. So we went, found it, didn’t want it, and I ended up leaving with a book on Chagall. How surprising!

Then we just ventured around Crows Nest checking out some shops, but didn’t find anything else we really wanted, apart from more gelato at Bravo (even better than yesterday – yum!) so headed home. I had a short nap, and Dave played more of GTA4!

* Balmain

Dave, Rowena, Charles, and I met up with Monica in Balmain. We found a cafe and spent a good 2.5 hours there catching up. Charles had KB beer, which I took a photo of, but has somehow magically disappeared off my phone 🙁

Then we decided to have dinner, and ventured up the street to “La Boheme”. It has all sorts of food – Bavarian, Belgian, European, German, Hungarian, Vegetarian. I love the layout of the restaurant too. Dave remembers being there before with Rowena and Charles, but we think it was called something else.

We had a great time – the food was excellent and we had a lot of laughs. For entree, I shared Escargot with Garlic Sauce with Rowena (yum), for main I had Hungarian goulash & dumplings (more yum) and for dessert had Belgian Chocolate Mousse with Berries (excellent way to finish off the meal!). Also drank Staropramen beer, although most of that was finished by Dave (I rarely drink beer, and when I do it has to be extremely cold or I can’t finish it). Everyone else had wine, the first bottle of which was called “Vampire”. They all seemed to enjoy the Australian wine better 🙂

Monica and I were almost in shock when we realised we both liked Foals. In 20 years, Monica and I have NEVER agreed on any music. It was very distressing and we must never admit this again 😛

It was a very entertaining evening, including a drunken Dave when we got home. I don’t think anyone else realised!

* Home

It was so cold last night. I thought we’d freeze. We both did a few things on the internet, and time got away from us. I got more engrossed in my book, and didn’t get to sleep until 11. Which was early considering the last week, but I want more!

We had a great week, so much of it being spontaneous. Dave and I would like more weekends like that!

Monday

I woke up feeling crapulous. So sick of getting colds constantly. Erika went home sick after lunch – she didn’t look too good. Had auditors hassling me all day. I wanna go home!!!!

Weeks blurring

I’ve not had much of a chance to blog recently. So I will do a summary of the few weeks since I went to the Blue Mountains:

* Got a promotion. Now am doing my old job as well as doing the Transactional Products area, and am responsible for training another staff member now. This has resulted in me being much busier than expected, as this was done just as we were getting ready just for year end.

* Have had many lovely work lunches with friends – Alisia at GPO, Michael T at David Jones Food Court and Helen F at Suminoya.

* Had a filling replaced, which means no more pain when having cold things.

* Jenny, Fiona, Fiona, Karen, Deborah and Christa came over for a night of nice smelly things and relaxation.

* Went to Ettalong with Sandra, on a beautiful and not too cold day. We had lunch at the RSL (!) and I got a little drunk on Smirnoff Double Blacks. Really enjoyed the ferry ride there and back from Palm Beach. Have to do this again.

* Missed the wedding of Dave & Valli in Brisbane. Have seen the photos and it looked gorgeous. Wish we could have gone.

* Lots of clubbing:
– Lost Baggage at The Cross, with Gaiser and Marc Houle. Gaiser is brilliant and hot, hot, hot 🙂 Marc Houle was the same as every other time I’ve seen him. Enjoyed hanging out with Dave, Tad, Liz, Lisa, Ant, Brad, Hayley, Wowk and Jarrad. But the crowd, as usual at those parties, was appalling.
– Arq, with Stephan Bodzin and Dubfire. Bodzin played live, was amusing (he wore rubber gloves and played with phallic looking things) and was nice to hear a few of my favourite tracks of his. Dubfire was not bad, but was too tired to stay for the whole set.
– We Love Sounds at the Hordern Pavillion, Royal Hall of Industries and The Forum, with Dave, Rowena, Charles and Tad. I had a lot of fun, especially getting to hear (and see 🙂 ) Gaiser again, enjoyed Ellen Alien’s set and thought Dubfire played 45 minutes of good stuff, which he could have mixed with a bit more interest. Was bored to death by Lindstrom, Steve Lawler and Marc Houle. Not too many crappy people. Not too cold. Was too tired to go to the after party at The Cross but wish I had. Dave, Ant and Tad all enjoyed it!

* Many lovely dinners with friends. Been lucky with restaurants lately. Will be going back to all of these:
– Atelier in Glebe with Josie. Excellent company, food, Cosmopolitans, decor and staff.
– RedOak in Clarence St for Vanessa’s birthday. Hadn’t seen Vanessa & Jason in over a year, and was great catching up. Excellent food there too. Lovely tasting plates, of which Dave had a meat one. Will be getting one next time!
– Catalonia in Kirribilli with Dave, Lisa and Ant. More excellent company, tapas to die for, Caprihini’s.
– Ainoya in Kirribilli for Brad’s birthday, with Dave, Brad, Hayley, Lisa, Ant, Sylvana, Ben, Verity and Brad. Even more excellent company, lots of laughs, excellent Japanese, great Lychee Cocktails, and our own private area. I think our noise scared everyone else off though!

* A relaxing facial.

* Sex & The City at The Entertainment Quarter with Tad and Liz. Unfortunately no Cosmopolitans were available at La Premiere, so I had to settle for Frangelico, followed by Smirnoff Black. We had yummy food too. Liked the movie a lot.

* Reminiscing over our late European trip. Right now, a year ago, Dave and I would have been in Barcelona. And tonight we would have been going to the Minus party, with Magda & Rebecca Aff playing. We’ve been missing the warmth of Barcelona, the brilliant tapas, and the fun times we had together and with our friends. Dave and I have since decided to go to as many Spanish restaurants as possible until we find Patatas Bravas EXACTLY like we had in Barcelona. So, after going to Catalonia last week, we went to Raquels in Darlinghurst this week. Excellent food, but we still have to search for the patatas bravas. Wonder where we shall go to next week?

* Met up with a very old friend, Samia. Had a great lunch out in Max Brenner at Parramatta. Got to meet Sam’s lovely children, Audrey and Marc-Antony too. We haven’t seen each other in about 15 years, and had a great catch up over waffles. Am looking forward to our next outing!

* The first lecture in the series of “Monet’s World The Cultural Background to Impressionism” at the NSW Art Gallery with Alisia. This is a brief description of the lectures today:

– The Paris of the Impressionists – Professor Roger Benjamin
Paris was a magnet for the artists of the 19th century. Roger Benjamin, research professor in the history of art at the University of Sydney, looks at how the cultural and intellectual ferment of the city influenced artistic practice.

– Literature and the modern city – Professor Margaret Sankey
In the age of Impressionism urban life formed the backdrop to the work of novelists and poets. Margaret Sankey, McCaughey Professor of French Studies at the University of Sydney and a specialist in the history of ideas, provides a map to literary Paris.

Professor Benjamin was brilliant. An excellent presentation, very amusing at times (Crikey!) and lots of lovely works to see. Professor Sankey basically read off her notes, and I didn’t take in a lot of what she was talking about. Not well prepared to use Powerpoint either. Overall though highly enjoyable.

Afterwards, we tried to find somewhere to eat, and it took us an hour to find something that wasn’t full or closed. High Tea at the NSW Art Gallery wasn’t available until 2pm, and the lunch menu didn’t grab us. We tried the cafeteria at the gallery (full), The Tea Rooms at the QVB (closed for a private function), Glass at The Hilton (closed), Ivy (closed), The Observatory for High Tea (full), and Swissotel for High Tea (full). We couldn’t believe it. We basically were ready to give up, but then I remembered Max Brenner at MetCentre. Thankfully it was open and had seating. We had lovely sweet lunch: Alisia had waffles, and I had Fondue. It was a lovely way to keep out of the cold.

After our experience of full places to eat, I wondered a couple of things. Is there really a recession coming? And what do tourists say when they can’t find a nice place to eat, on the spur of the moment, on a weekend. I tend to book things way in advance, as most of my friends know. But the one time I don’t, it’s almost impossible. A taxi driver we had today told us of a couple of ladies from Melbourne who had a similar problem recently. Why are so many places closed on a Sunday? After my experiences in Melbourne, I can see why they are now the tourism capital of Australia. I don’t think I’ve ever had trouble finding a good place to eat there. Do I have to go to a crappy food court even on the weekend, if it’s a spur of the moment thing?

Anyway, it’s been a mostly enjoyable few weeks, albeit a bit busy with work. I just wish it wasn’t so cold!

Long Weekend

I had a great weekend! Was filled with lots of friends, family, music, movies and relaxing. If only I could have the rest of the week off!

In summary:

Thursday
Disco Nap!
Tad’s Birthday Bash at the Burdekin. Davo was DJing too. Fun, nice to sit down for a while and chat with Davo, Tad, Liz, Kelly-Anne (sp?), Josie and Mark.
Lost Baggage at The Cross. Claire Morgan (excellent!), Layo and Bushwaka (ok), Aril Brikha (mostly meh) and Joris Voorn (mostly meh – and upsettlingly so, as we had to wait until 3.30am to see him, and he was the only reason I went!). Got to spend the night with fun friends (Davo, Lisa, Ant, Wowk, Seb, Ed, Claudia, Bekk, Rod etc) so made the best of it. Annoying as all hell crowd though. Man, find some manners!
Took 2 hours to get home. One hour trying to find a taxi. Giving up, then getting two trains and a taxi home. Arrived after 7am.

Friday
Sleep until 3. Was supposed to go to movies during the day, but had to pull out, as I wouldn’t have coped on 3.5 hours sleep.
Bread & Butter harbour cruise on The Lady Rose. Much better night! Music was better, if a bit all over the place. Joris improved dramatically, but still, his set flow is not conducive to dancing. Had a fun night with friends (Davo, Tad, Dave & Kelly-Anne, Wowk, Seb, Nick, Sara, Jarrad, Tim, Tom, Michael, and more people who I met but can’t remember the names of now!). Was considerably amused by Wowk and Seb’s dancing “skillz” 😛 I really enjoyed Seb’s Fully Hektik Bro dancing, and Wowk’s Borat stylee dancing. Best parts of the harbour cruise. Am wishing Joris played “Lost” though. I listen to it every day on my ipod. And what was with dropping us off at Pier 1, when we started at Opera House? Annoying! Thanks to Wowk & friends for trip to Maccas (ergh) and lift home (yay!). No taxi hell!

Saturday
Sleep until 10-ish. Think I stuffed around on the internet. And Davo and I watched Dexter – yay!
Met Josie at Greater Union George Street for “Juno”. Nice feelgood movie. Started off worried by the language (really annoying teenage talk) but either it didn’t worry me after a while, or they started speaking like humans most of the time.
Josie and I went to Lindt Cafe at Cockle Bay. I had a yummy 70% dark chocolate Sundae. Josie had a passionfruit thing.
Got back home around 6. Bl00dy tired. Think I cleaned up a bit, and so did Davo. Then watched the Brad Pitt “Jesse James” movie. Very good – wasn’t your typical movie experience. Took a while to build up to major events. Was impressed by how horrid “Robert Ford” character was. He’s not usually as horrible in other movies. Great acting, nice pace for a Saturday night after 2 very full on days! Watched a bit of “Control” before falling asleep.

Sunday
Sleep until 10-ish. Watched a bit more of “Control” whilst waiting for my parents.
My brother Phillip turned up about 1.30 and drove us to my brother Michael’s for a family Easter lunch. First time we’ve done an Easter lunch in years! There was me, Davo, Dad, Ros, Phillip, Michael, Tracy, Sascha, Tyarna, Skye, Trent, Summer & Phoenix. Nice relaxing afternoon, spent chilling out, playing with nieces and nephews, annoying the dog whilst everyone watched football and bad movies, and talking with Rowena.
Dad, Ros and Phillip dropped us off at home and had a coffee.
Yummy dinner made by Dave was Chilli Con Carne. Watched the remainder of “Control” (I love that movie), “The Tudors” and “Meadowlands”.

Monday
Sleep until 12-ish. The day of relaxing!
Dave did a lovely fry-up for breakfast.
Spent most of the day catching up on some viewing – mostly “Underbelly” and “Meadowlands”.
Davo made a great chicken and vegetable curry for dinner 🙂
Had weird dreams last night, that involved going from Epping towards Sydney on some magic transport system!!!!

And today I’ve been at work. It’s been busy. So I decided to treat myself to a facial to slowly get into my week 🙂

Yay!

Not only is it a very long weekend, but a really annoying work person is not in next week. Bliss!!!!!

It’s been ages…

Can’t believe it’s been over 4 months since I posted. Where did the time go? As always, it’s the busiest time of year for work for me. And lots of things have been happening. I recently started planning my trip to Europe, and as that is less than2 months away now, I’ll be REALLY busy.

Had a great day yesterday. My performance appraisal went well, so that was a massive relief after all the time I spent preparing. I new I’d done a good job, but sometimes they say something that completely comes out of nowhere. Nothing like that this time. Had lunch with Helen, her daughter who is 11 and 2 of her daughter’s friends at Lindt Cafe. Lindt Chocolate Brownie – YUM! Got a few of the Quarterly work returns out of the way. And then, I found out that Kozzmozz is on in Ghent, Belgium on 10th September. AND I CAN GO!!!!! The lineup is brilliant:

Cabanne, Deetron, Joel Mull, Justin Berkovi, Kozz, Kr!z, Len Faki, Lysergic, Petar Dundov, Regis, Seba Lecompte, Sebastian Kramer, Spacid, Surgeon and T-Quest.

So I basically get to hear LOADS of awesome music at the one party. And I get to see quite a few of my favourite artists at the same party. All for only 23 Euros, which is about $37. WOOHOO!!! A line-up like that here would be over $100

Went to dinner with Davo and Matt last night at Cafe Santone in Lane Cove, and had a great time. The food was exellent. I spent half of last night being excited about Kozzmozz. Davo is already sick of hearing about this. He can’t wait for me to sms him constantly when I’m there, going “SURGEON IS ON” and “JOEL IS ON” and “THERE’S SOOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE HERE” and “REGIS IS YELLING INTO THE MICROPHONE” and “SURGEON’S PLAYING SLEEP ULTRA VIOLET”…. you get the drift 😛

And I’m also going to the live show of Little Britain on 24th October, the night before I come back home. And Monica’s coming with me – YAY!. So I basically start and end my trip doing 2 things I REALLY want to do!!!!! Well, I hope so.

Can’t believe my luck really. It’s been such a stressful time lately, and then this good stuff happens. I hope to complete my itinerary by the end of July. Need to book Malta as soon as possible.

Will be interesting to go to Malta again. Haven’t been in nearly 30 years. Want to go back to the Blue Grotto. And get the ferry to Gozo. When we did that last time, as we got close to Gozo, people started diving into the water from the top deck of the ferry. Wonder if they still do that? There were people playing bingo by the beach. And there was a massive cliff (well, I was 6, so maybe it’s not massive) where I heard my first Maltese swear words!!! I was 17 before I found out what they meant, as nobody would tell me, they were that bad.

I wanted to go to Almeria in Spain to visit friends, but it was going to take 2 flights and 3 trains to get there, over about 2 days. So I’m going to have to wait until I go again (hopefully in 2007). I’m disappointed, but 2 days travel each way would mean I’d get to spend only 2 days there. I wanted to spend a week there. So now I’m going to Brugges and Amsterdam instead.

So now I think I’ll be doing Frankfurt, Ghent, Brugges, Amsterdam, Cologne, back to Frankfurt, Prague, Karlovy Vary, Vienna, Brno, Bratislava, Budapest, Malta, Belfast, Birmingham, London and Portsmouth. Just waiting to find out a few more things to figure out exactly what order I’m going to do it, and if I go to one or 2 more places.

And I can spend Bec’s birthday with her, as I’ll be in London, YAY!

I’m all over the place today. Was supposed to go walking with Monica at lunch, but not too sure what’s happening now. Was going to drinks later with Lisa, Ant, Brad, Hayley and possibly Matt, but will catch up with them earlier, and see if I can catch up with Monica later. She’s going back to Belfast tomorrow, so want to see her before she goes.

I’d better hurry up. It’s so lovely and sunny outside. Oh my gawd, it’s 15 degrees, and it’s going to be 17 degrees maximum. YAY! How warm is that for winter!