Category Archives: My relentlessly fascinating life

The Reduced Drink Experience: Day Eight

A rainy day. Dreary, in a pleasant, relaxing way.

Ended up driving down to Brighton Le Sands and then the northern part of The Shire (Caringbah) for no reason in particular, whilst listening to The Counting Crows. I figure it was a form of meditation on what I was due to write on in my diary today, as well as to simply enjoy the freedom of not being constrained to a desk and job that made me absolutely miserable, and learning to enjoy life again – or at least continuing to learn how to enjoy life again.

Returned home and read for a bit – am trying to finish ‘Dust of Dreams’ – Steven Erikson’s ninth  – and penultimate – Malazan novel. Following a few hours of reading, I began cooking dinner for a friend who was visiting to announce some excellent and totally smile-inducing news (she quit her job, which, like my previous job, made her miserable, for impressively similar reasons).

Managed to cook some fish, rice (with a bit of spice sprinkled into it), and some steamed vegetables smeared in pesto. We enjoyed them with a six pack of XXXX. Had three myself over the course of the evening, before returning to my desk to focus on my homework for my psychologist and write up the events of the preceding days.

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Filed under Drinking habits, Food and Drink, My hilarious friends, My relentlessly fascinating life

The Reduced Drink Experience: Day Seven


A busy day. An educational day.

Following a stop-in at my local cafe for a cappuccino, I wound my way to Ashfield, to help a friend take care of her 18 month old son (she’d had an operation involving the appendix leaking a bit like a mostly ok but not quite perfect kitchen faucet where the nobs never seem to be tight enough).

I learned a bit about baby poo – which, when it involves diapers, really looks like an accident was perpetrated against a chocolate cake that involved collapsing knees, gravity, and a severe lack of pants.

Following several wonderful hours of taking care of the most adorable 18 month old baby I have ever met, I hightailed it for the city, for trivia training. See, I’m training to become a trivia host. Stuff working in finance – being a trivia host is just a billion times most interesting and rewarding (isn’t hyperbole just the best thing ever?).

Following my bit of the show, I took the time to sit and enjoy a pint of cider with a Russian guy that the host introduced me to. A Russian who grew up in the same city as my father.

And attended the same university as my father.

And studied in the same faculty as my father.

And in all likelihood, probably knows my father.

We spent a bit of time chatting after trivia wrapped up. A pint of cider was followed by a pint of Kosciuszko beer, followed later by one final schooner of Coopers before heading home. (I paced myself, fret not!)

What a tremendously weird and awesome experience though, to meet someone that’s a quarter of a degree removed from my father. And who’s also a Frank Herbert fan too!

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Filed under Drinking habits, Food and Drink, My relentlessly fascinating life, Ruminations and Musings, Telling stories

Wherein Author Begins a Gloriously Stupid Plan

Tomorrow morning I’m going to wake up and not have to go to work because the Queen Has Spoken, and declared that all shall party because it’s her birthday. Mind you, I’m not sure which Queen, nor when a policy of rocking out to her birthday during the work-week was initiated, but I’m honestly not going to complain.

It’s also my thirty-second birthday, which really isn’t that big a deal when you’re a baby-faced monstrosity like me, who has to maintain a beard to keep from getting carded and not be asked if my parents accidentally abandoned me at Toys R Us. But it’s still a birthday, and I’m still going to have to remind myself that I’m not 22, which is what I actually feel like most days.

So I’ve decided that Monday will used as the launching pad for yours truly to begin work on a novel that I’ve long let lie dormant because, well, life put a few fucking crimps into my path (you savvy?). First I was sitting around waiting for the government to decide whether or not it was going to drop-kick me beyond its borders, then moved house, and then I started a new job. Shit got real, yo. Who the hell can write when life’s one giant, angry super-squid trying to pull you down into the murky depths of social and emotional oblivion?

But that’s all better now. There’s stability now. Citizenship looms jovially, with stubby cooler and meat pie on a plate with my name engraved on the rim, sparkling not at all like certain vampires I know under a cloudless mid-day sun. And the new job seems to have become stable, and I’m not moving any time soon.

Which means it’s time to treat this writing thing seriously. And fuck, I’ve already done some preliminary outlining work on the damn thing anyway, so there’s no reason to not commence with Step (writing), so that come June 9 2014, when my lanky Slavic arse is on the precipice of rolling into its 33rd year of vaguely human existence, I’ll be able to say: “Shit yeah, I’ve actually written this novel and gotten it out of my head and can now continue onto the next book”, because there are just so many stories that have built up over time in this little grey-matter nuthouse, and they deserve to be put down on paper so that they can be shared with the poor, unsuspecting populace out there beyond the confines of my skull.

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Filed under My relentlessly fascinating life, Ruminating on fiction, Telling stories

Nice Weather For Words

Two weeks. That’s how long it took me to feel like I knew how to do my job.

Well…just under two weeks, really. That’s how long it took me to become accustomed to the many quirks, procedures, rules, demands, and oddities involved in my new job. It’s stopped being terrifying, and has instead become immensely satisfying, and something to which I look forward each morning. But never mind all that, because I get to wear a suit to work, and that’s cool.

But really, it’s quite the lovely job. The responsibilities are varied, and complicated. And each day is full of variety. Oh, and the salary’s not too bad either.

Did I mention that I get to wear a suit to work? Suits are cool.

The workaholic in me loves it. Long hours, funny co-workers, nice perks, funny co-workers, and more potential for career-development.

Publishing’s a cool biz, folks. Seriously.


Filed under My relentlessly fascinating life, Telling stories

Job Hunts and Salutations

So I’m currently job-hunting, and it’s a drag. There is absolutely nothing fun about it. Job hunting is like the administrative work that one does at the end of a massive project: a neatly bow-tied set of annoying tasks that need to be completed, and in a certain order, for there to be microcosmic harmony in thy microverse.

Luckily, I happen to know people who understand that being unemployed sucks, and have gone out of their way to do what they can to assist me, so as to minimise the amount of time I spend sitting at home, firing off CVs at websites and making phone-calls to people who would rather not have to suffer one more dire American accent interrupting the flow of calls from otherwise entirely more delightful Australian accents (I don’t think much of my accent, and I’m stuck with it for life, so what can I do but mock myself?).

One such friend just happens to be a pro at this whole job hunting thing. And so today our lessons began. In an empty pub.

There I sat, at the Royal Hotel, preparing cue-cards, nursing a Coke (as one does on St. Paddy’s Day) when my friend walked in. A quick meal later, we were sitting on the couches near the front entrance, doing our best not to fall in (due to there being a distinct lack of springs in the mattresses, a by-product of many years of abuse from students – mainly engineers), and she was prepping me. “So, begin” she said.


Her eyebrows flickered like a match that had just been lit. 

So I began. And blustered my way through about 2 minutes of incomprehensible nonsense about…a career path layered in the blood of cheesecake-making virgins and there’s a butterfly over there and who the fuck else knows what else. She took notes. Serious notes. The kind that I took when listening with deadly urgency to lectures on Thomas Pynchon.

And that’s when the feedback and the graphical structuring began. But only after first having the wind taken out of the sails of my ego.

The presentation needed a lot of work. A lot. So the exercises continue tomorrow. And possibly several more times throughout the rest of the week, until I can comfortably sit down in front of a group of random strangers and communicate in an intelligent way with them the way I would with friends, or family.

Oh, and before I forget, in far more important news, my friend Malcolm was appointed the new Australian Marriage Equality NSW convener, so many claps, hurrahs, and salutations to him on this most excellent appointment. Also, he throws wicked dinner parties.



Filed under My relentlessly fascinating life, Telling stories, Where We Are

The First Sleepless Night

It’s 3:49 AM in Moscow, which makes it, if my internal body clock is correct, daylight in Sydney. It’s 7 hours ahead of us in time. It’s strange to think of any place as being somehow chronologically ahead of the rest of us, but right now, that’s how my brain is seeing Australia, as this lovely, warm place that’s magically time-travelled into the near future. And in that near future, there’s good coffee, beer that tastes like it wasn’t fermented in a vat of stale, ionised H2O, and weather that’s agreeable.

It’s alright to feel homesick the first night after a long flight that leaves one’s soul feeling like a withered husk, more an outline of a person than a person in full. Sydney, Beijing, Moscow. Three Triple AAA cities in so many hours, comma’d only by wholly unsatisfying sandiwches and coffee in-between. It’s become my mission now to hunt down coffee that won’t taste like flavoured dirt tomorrow morning.

Being. Memories of it still flit around my head. The Godzilla-like orange pylons straddling sheer walls of glass like an unfriendly leech coming in for the final assault, vast ceilings, doing their very best impression of making one feel as though they’re in big sky country, where the sky is in fact nothing more than girders and rebar cross-stitched to provide some sort of weird Escher-like sensation if stared at.

Sometime past 8 AM, gave in to Sydney-bred coffee urges, after attempting Costa’s Coffee, and attempted to make taste-bud love to a Starbucks cappuccino. A fatal mistake. They do not reside in flavour country. A fellow from Victoria, sitting alone at a bar-stool, upon being asked about it said: It tastes like it does anywhere else, if that helps.

It didn’t.

It’s Moscow’s turn now.

3:59 AM Moscow time, and the sky is still awash in a night-time glow of hazy pollution and illuminated diodes emanating from the uncountable number of apartment buildings that dominate the horizon like a set of detonated Legos, but with all trace or hint of colour washed away.

Now it’s down to hoping the sleeping pills kick in soon, to lure the suprachiasmatic nucleus system into a synched circadian state, to align with Moscow. And if I’m spared the usual march of perversely bizarre dreams, all the better.

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Filed under My relentlessly fascinating life, Telling stories

Camping (In the Kitchen)

One can’t take camping lightly. If you’re going camping somewhere, make sure you’ve taken all that you need. Especially the food.

Thus, after having spent all day in the kitchen, the tally is thus:

6 sandwiches, 8 slices of pizza, one roll of garlic bread, 1 bag of tomatoes, 1 bag of cucumbers, 5 pasta bolognaise containers, 4 pasta narbanara containers, 1 bag of fish, 1 container of hash browns, a box of tea, and a bag of muesli. And this doesn’t even include whatever we’ll pick up near the camp-grounds for our epic, week-long New Years camp-out

Thus: let the camping ensue!

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