Wednesday, August 31

Large Quantities of the Day or Night

Together with Tim's other friends (see here and here), I feel a need to link to this disturbing collage.

. . .

I just returned from a fantastic surfing trip to Denmark, WA. I'd love to post about it in excruciating detail but I won't. Instead, I'll leave you with this fascinating fact:

In Melbourne there is a public swimming complex called the Harold Holt Swim Centre. Americans may need to visit this link to discover why this is hilarious/sad/weird.

Can you imagine a JFK memorial rifle range in the USA?

Friday, August 19

Jan Juc Flu

I'm getting sick of errands. Unfortunately, tomorrow will be another errand-filled day as I get the keys to my new apartment and start finding things to make it livable (like a bed, forks, at least one pillow, a phone, etc, etc, etc).

My search for a car has been as difficult and frustrating as my apartment hunt was easy. I'm still carless (although I've seen a lot of expensive bombs). Today I gave in and rented a car so I could get to the coast. I've had a noisome flu/cold since I was in Sydney and I really wasn't in any state for a surf but the forecast said the waves were small so I thought I'd be able to handle it. After a light headed and feverish drive to Torquay I had an excellent surf at Jan Juc. The water was a crystal aqua blue after the slate and black of the North Atlantic (but still a chilly midwinter 12C/54F). Cold salt water will really clear out those sinuses when you're sick.

Afterwards I drove over for my first look at the famous break at Bells (anyone remember Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reaves at the end of Point Break?). It was breaking head high on the sets even though there wasn't much swell. It must be fearsome on a big swell.

. . .

Two things you don't see in America:

1. Extraordinarily graphic road safety ads. Victoria has a seat belt ad with slow motion footage of a guy going through his windscreen.

2. Syringe dispositories in the public toilet in the Federal Court building.

. . .

I visited the Federal Court and was given some reading to help me prepare. Doing this reading has felt like an exam anxiety dream - - the kind where you've worked hard and the questions seem familiar but ultimately everything is incomprehensible. I hope this isn't a bad sign.

The most notable thing I have learned is that I, like the judge, will be required to wear a robe in court. Maybe I'll start wearing it socially.

. . .

Tuesday, August 9

So Here I Am

The trip was hell. It always is, of course. But I made it worse with some ill-considered heavy drinking on my last night in NY. Malcolm and Patrick were bad influences (ok, I'm an idiot). When I got back to Washington Heights at 4am I had to park the tiger (I hadn't done that from drinking in nearly two years). When I woke up to pack at 8:30, I was still drunk. I didn't start feeling human until the cab ride to JFK. Given that start, I should be thankful that the trip wasn't worse. The main problem was freezing on the plane to Melbourne after leaving my jacket on the plane to LA (again, idiot).

One of my least favorite things to do while suffering from extreme jetlag is clean up cat vomit. Nevertheless, after stumbling into Chuck's dark and cold house in Melbourne, my first task was to locate the source of a very bad smell - it turned out to be multiple sources - and clean it up. Whoever looked after Chuck's house over the weekend must have left the cats way too much food. Not only did I find many piles of puke but there were also places where the cats had strewn kangaroo meat or mushed it into the carpet.

Cat puke aside, Melbourne is working for me so far. For starters, there are bike lanes everywhere. It's like some public policy makers actually tried to make the city bikeable. Imagine that. In the NY area a successful bike trip is one that doesn't include a side trip to the emergency room. But from Thornbury into the city I ride down a bike lane on a median strip with tended gardens on each side.

I have already found an apartment in Fitzroy. It took me a day an a half (clearly, Melbourne is not NYC). It's a tiny studio but, since I don't have any possessions, that hardly matters. It has a view of downtown and is half way between Smith Street and Brunswick Street (if that means anything to you). I was worried that Fitzroy would be gentrified to hell (it's been nearly 10 years since I was last in Melbourne) but it's not as bad as I had feared.

It is with increasing horror that I come to terms with how Americanized my voice is. Yesterday, someone asked me if if this was my first trip to Australia. I seem to recall that this isn't my first time here.