Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Why can't we all just get along?

29 August - Got on the bike proper for the first time since the accident. Rode downtown and did some errands and in the afternoon headed over to North Sydney - had my first Mallacca Thai and Malay since my return and it was mmmm tasty. Met with Paul to dot some t's and cross some i's - all the paperwork seems to be going smoothly, the only issue is getting the 'other party' to abmit liability and i'm sure their lawyer is telling them to 'Admit Nothing!!' After seeing Paul rode down to Chatswood for coffee and cake with dad - I realised again how much I dislike chatswood but it was good to see the old gent. Having promised to assist someone with a transaction I rode back to the CBD and waited in Martin Place for the couriers to turn up. Whilst sitting with John from Avant a very irritable city dweller was ranting at us - apparently a courier had run a red light and hit him and then sped off. The offending courier had a beard and was an 'old c**t' - and if we didn’t rectify the problem he was going to smash up all the courier bikes in the city and if we didn't like it twenty of his Maori mates were going to come and beat up all the couriers. He rambled for about 20m before finally wandering off, promising his return at the hour of five and for his vengeance. Also, when I rode home down Broadway I found myself hugging the left hand side of the road, avoiding the transit lane because there was a bus ahead - got honked at twice by cars who didn’t like to share and as I hit the red light at Abercrombie I found both of them waitingfor me. I sidled up on the left only to have one of them turn left right up to the bus to cut me off. Well, if you're going to be like that i'll just go on the right hand side. Did that, brushing past a van (the other honker), only to find the first car trying to turn right into my path as well. He was already too far gone to take up the entire so I got past him easily but I had to listen to him swear 'why don't you leave the road to the cars, y'c**t' - I decided not to rise to the occasion but then the guy in the van got out of his car and shouted at me that i'd knocked his mirror going past and if I knew what was good for me i'd go back and fix it - he then tried to entice me into a game of fisticuffs but I didn't think it would be much of a fun game so I rode off into the sunset leaving the grumpy people to stew in their juices.
A few more adventures in the afternoon (events anyway) and headed out to the cinema to see Kenny - awesome, awesome, awesome - best australian movie I’ve seen in quite some years, sperbly acted and excellent documentary style direction - more than anything about it it would have to be the first movie i've seen where the naïve bumpkin australian reaction to the whacky exciting world of the USA didn’t make me want to throw up. Crocodile Dundee, Worlds Fastest Indian (kiwi, australian, whatever), The Dish (reaction to usa technology), that takeaway movie - all are guilty of embarassing the country despite their worthiness as entertaining films (a couple of them anyway). Worth seeing.

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

I don't know, I just don't know ...

28 august - Woke up in pain, took a few hours before the spasm subsided and wandered downtown to get more needles shoved in my back. Started pushing paper around in a vain effort to sort out my crap.

Monday, 28 August 2006

They're Coming

27 August - F**king PDA reset itself, lost all of my contacts and a bunch of scintillating drafts and worst of all, my list of what I should be googling and the films that I have yet to see. Damn you Lithium Ion battery, damn you all to hell. Ate some nice, albeit rather small, pancakes before setting off down Glebe Point Rd on my way to Gordon - as I passed the school an Asian woman me and with a rather unguessable accent asked me I could answer some questions for a survey. I looked at my wrist, indicating that I was in a rush but as I didn’t have a watchshe could only have concluded that I was in a rush to buy one. Only three questionsQ Oh well, fine.
What was the first thing you noticed about me? Um, you're a strange woman approaching me to complete a survey in Glebe. I ommitted the strange bit.
When did you last have a haircut? Easy, Wednesday.
Do you think that the people today work as hard as the people 50 years ago did? Absolutely and started a rant about how in my experience older people can be just as lazy, if not more so, than their youthful counterparts - I pulled myself in before questioning the iwalked 50miles in barefeet before licking the road clean with my bare tongue cliché that's often espoused by the grey generation. That was it - not really sure what kind of survey would require such randomly bizarre questions but by the next day had concluded it was probably a foreign student who misread the instructions in an assignment - or she may have been a Chinese agent examiningthe populace prior to an invasion - will random people suspect survey questionners of being agents? Has the populace become lazier and therefore more likely to capitulate to an invasion and thirdly, and probably most important, how often will we be able to get haircuts when we do invade. the .
Afterwards headed over to Gordon for lunch stayed for dinner, did some errands on the computer and cajoled permission to throw some washing in the machine. Weekends.
Fucking pda reset itself - lost all contacts and all settings
Asian woman approached me in Glebe. Three questions? What did you notice about me? When was the last time you had a haircut? Do the people of today work as hard as the people of 50 years ago?
Ate well
Spoke to an evil woman
Found a book, lost a book, found a book again

Sunday, 27 August 2006

The Pain! The Pain!

26 August - Wandered through Glebe Markets for the first time since my return - apart from a few new books popping up in the second hand stalls it doesn't seem to have changed at all.  There's a bit of a blank in the middle of the day where i think i might have created a new innovative approach to solving Fermat's Last Theorem but i also may have just read a book and popped some ibuprofen.  Well, it turned out that Chevette's damage was more serious than originally estimated.  Her back wheel was almost wrecked in the crash - three spokes broken and the rim totally warped - David from Cheeky Monkey's opinion was that it was pretty pointless to fix as there'd be no structural integrity and the only real option was to purchase a replacement.  I'd already gotten a quote to get replacement wheels from CTA but that would take at least a week from the time of placing the order so i had no choice but to get him to sell me a replacement on the spot. It's a very decent wheel that i bought but it doesn't have the aesthetic that i wanted so a little bit gray about that.  also, whilst riding home from the shop (very slowly mind you due to my back) what should happen but a f**king flat.  Had to push her home from Abercrombie St and then spent the next few hours trying to patch one of my old tubes - normally it's a fairly straightforward process but sometimes it just doesn't want to work. 
Took in a football game at the Nags Head with Ade and James and had a few pivos before some more muscle relaxant to take away the pain ... the pain, oh, the pain!

Saturday, 26 August 2006

M**herf**king needles in my m**herf**king back!

25 August - Morningstarted with heading downtown to see Priti, who stuck a bunch of needles in my back and told me a few stretches I should be doing and also got a little suggestion to quit the class (wasnt the firt, won’t be the last). Afterwards headed down to the not so collosal mall of Rhodes to see Snakes on a Plane with EK and Ethan. First time watching a movie in a crying room (couldnt get the cryinggame song out of head) whch probably wasn’t all that necessary (other than to keep Ethan within a 10m radius) as the cinema was completely empty apart from us. Movie was kind of okay, too much CGI, far too obvious that it was a film that couldn’t work out its target rating and obviously a work by committee (a committee of fanboys no less). Despite beingassured at the beginning by the bad guy that all the other options of bringing down a plane had been exhausted I’m still not sure how anyone could think that fillinga plane with snakes is the most effective way of getting someone on the flight. Still, it certainly wasn’t meant to make sense so i'm not going to knock the plot.
Headed home via the monkey and found that Chevette needs more work (the back wheel has three broken spokes and is completely knocked out of alignment), also took some photos of the scene of the crime while in town for what hopefullywill be a pretty amicable solution (although seeming more unlikely). had coffee with matt, beer with ade then went to the clare to meet Kate from London, once a wildchild with pink and red hair, apparntly now a sophisticated corporate brunette - saw some of the couriers, all expressed sympathy for my plight and self righteous anger at the 4 wheeled vehicle, then off to the chinese dumpling place for (you guessed it) where james hooked up then to the civic for beer and cocktails. Nice venue, hasn’t changed very much since the last time I was there but apart from the unisex toilets I was never that enamoured with it in the first place.

Friday, 25 August 2006

Wounded Soldier

24 August - Wounded back and wounded pride don't bode well for a good day. Had a niceish breakfast with EK and Ethan down at Badde Manors but couldn't get excited about much else. Watched a couple of classic movies (classic in that they were old not that they were any good) and finally managed to get to the last page of Little Drummer Girl, a literary struggle if ever i've had one. Got more advice on how to deal with the latest 'situation' from Paul, i've got to presume that he's been through this before so he should know what to do but none of its much fun anyway and spent the rest of the day filling in time - dinner with Angel and a few little tipples to ease the back but nowt to report really.

Thursday, 24 August 2006

To Kill A Mockingbird

23 August - Woke up, got of bed forgettingthat i'd hurt my back the previous day and felt the waves of pain pulse through my entire body. Resolved to be more careful. First thing was call the boss to let him know the situation, wasn't really too impressed with his advice on how to deal with it but took the bike down to a few shops to try to get her functioning correctly before I start to function correctly. Different diagnoses from different mechanics, neither of them very good. Tried to call Ms Frew, yesterday's nemesis but found that the number I had for her only had 7 digits. Couldn’t get her number from the white pages and didn’t think she'd be calling me any time so got a little stressed. After meeting mum and dad for lunch - not the best Yum Cha i've ever eaten and rather disappointing dessert as well but the company was good, so net gain. After I left I headed to the police station, not to file a report but to try to find the correct phone number for the driver. The young cop (i can't believe i'm older than the police ... that's got to be a sign of age) managed to find them without too much trouble and called them to see if they would allow him to give me their number. He was very clear for the purpose of the call but the husband (not the driver) seemed to take it as an accusation because he immediately told the cop that yesterday's incident was my fault. We had a little chat and before I knew it the constable was telling me that I had to make a statement. After explaining the situation it semeed i'd convinced him that I was in the right (did have to assure him that riding between cars is legal) but didn’t offer much hope them being made accountable either. I really don't want to seem cavalier about my personal safety - I do ride carefully, I am concerned for my well being but sometimes things happen that can't be avoided (admittedly, there are things that happen that could have been prevented). As I wandered back home through pyrmont I needed to go to the toilet so dropped into Robbie's house to use the facilities and spent the rest of the afternoon there reconciling and doing whatever it is that brothers do when they see each other. Found myself at Yum cha again, much beter than the lunch version..

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

The light was green, dammnit!

22 August - Well, it seemed to start with a decent day for the most part. I was in and out of Surry Hills, Chippendale and Pyrmont and was moving pretty constantly for a fair part of the day. Did get a good little run from Darlinghurst and Surry down to Pyrmont via the city. I was hauling some pretty massive folders which I was desperately waiting to get rid of and lanesplitting down Park Street when I came to the Castlereagh cross st - my light was green and the path was clear so I headed across through the backed up traffic when a big silver Rav 4 decided to turn right into the traffic and right into my path. Managed to slow down a bit but didn’t have the time to come to a complete stop and rather than get rammed by the front I found myself smashing into its side. Next thing I know i've been thrown down to the ground and the chunky folders were rammed into the small of my back. The car came to a stop a few metres up the road and I got up, picked up Chevette and stormed over shouting 'That was my green!' at the top of my voice. To give her credit she was very apologetic but kept on saying 'i just didn't see you' - well, that bit was pretty obvious. As I notified dispatch of the accident Jamie rocked up for a dropoff - he very kindly gave me a pill (pretty sure it was legal), sme disinfectant and a plaster for a skinned elbow. Despite being assured the disinfectawould stingterribly I couldn’t feea thing. In fact, it would be a while before i'd feel any pain at all. Awitness approached, saying it was my fault because I was weaving through traffic, conventiently forgetting that it's legal to ride in the middle and it was a f**king green light. Eventually headed off but within half an hour the shock wore off and the pain in my back started to ebb constantly and before I knew it, terribly. Got rid of my pyrmonts and then had to call in - handed of fa return to surry hills and made my way. Directly to RPA emergency. All in all, over three hours before I finallysaw a doctor - the pain slowly gettingworse and worse as my muscles seized up. Well, my uine was free of blood and I was told there was no serious damage but I knew that riding would be out of the question for a few days - especially since it wasn’t only me but chevette who suffered a bit of an injury. Walked home, ate something and smoked a joint (for muscle relaxing and pain distracting purposes of course) then headed out to see Miami vice, which I thought was kind of interesting but a combination of the shock, the drugs and the day's stresses had me struggling to stay awake. can't really say whether I enjoyed it or not because I can hardly remember what happened. Eventually got home and spent three hours tryng to write a 500 word autobiography ... failing miserably.

Live By The Wheelie, Die By The Wheelie

21 August - Turned on my PDA at 10 to 8 but before I could sit around for hour waiting for a trip I was dispatched to the city for a couple of expresses and had a pretty good morning after all. Predictably it all died in the afternoon but still i've a feeling its gettinga little better. Apparently one of the motorbike couriers was showing off by doing wheelies down Castlereagh St and lo and behold he crashed, ending up with one of his pegs going right through his foot - all a bit distressing but if you're going to be an idiot I guess you've got to reap the consequences. After work PJ headed over and we checked out the Cult Movie Night at the Annandale - saw a dodgy episode of the Twilight Zone, a couple of old Australian documentaries on trout fishing and childbirth and then a very amusing dwarfploitation Joan Collins vehicle 'The Devil Inside Her', will have to go there again methinks ...

Monday, 21 August 2006

Week One ... Done

18 August - A cunning ruse to see whether starting in Glebe makes a difference to early morning business resulted in me clocking on in the CBD (after a big ass sammich) - my idea paid off and I had few things happening as soon as I was on. Friday's supposed to be the good day for work and it was certainly the busiest i've been since starting. Pretty much moving constantly and although there was a little sitting around it was nothing like it had been earlier in the week. Learned a few shortcuts in the CBD of which I was previously unaware and am sure that there are lots more to come. Some dude was drafting me when I was coming back over the harbour bridge - not that there's anythingwrong with that but when I popped out of the ramp and headed left down Fort St he had presumed I was going right and he crashed right into the back of me. I was in a pretty good mood at the time so he got off lightly but next time he better leave a bit of space.
1 Martin Place seems to be the Sydney art gallery and a fair few of the couriers head there after picking up beer at the King St Liqourland - local Sydneysiders would certainly be familiar with them blocking off Martin Place - hung around there for a few hours it seems - various sorts practised wheelies and backwards circles up and down the place between George and Pitt, generally managing to avoid hitting pedestrians but not always. I had a little go on one of the maxibikes which is a rather strange experience - don't really know what the appeal is but apparently it's a highly sought after veeheecle at MailCall. Continued the small binge by headingdown to the Clare (yes, Kate, I was at the Clare) for more beer and pizza (as we lifted the slices out of the box and saw it completely stained by the excess oil Jamie sagely pointed out,'The great thing about being a courier is that you can eat whatever the f**k you want and it doesn't matter - yes Jamie, but what happens when you stop being a courier????), rolled drunkenlyout of the Clar and down to the Rose to meet Angel and Samira for another drink which was really not a good idea - next time i'll know better.

It's Boycott Day, It's Boycott Day, It's Bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-boycott day!

20 August - First boycott of the home - went to Lavera Café on Glebe Point Road for breakfast with the express wish of getting pancakes and what the f**k do they give me? Crepes! Now I know why the french pronounce them 'crap' - now, I know some people might like eating crepes and what the hell, even I like a nice crepe after i've eaten my fill of pancakes, but if you're going to sell crepes f**king advertise them as crepes and don't get this little boy with a runny nose's hopes up by saying that you sell pancakes. I'm an angry, angry man. Various errands were ignored and I rode over to Coogee to Chez Collins where we went for my first dip in the ocean since my return - a brief immersion was all that was really required to throw off any remnants of my hangover - still very chilly although 'fine ... Once you're in' - did some work on the CV and ate some beautiful fenna and lemon risotto before we went to see Brick at Fox Studios - a bit Bugsy Malone with teenagers playing roles in a film noir that could be much better served with adults if you ask me but halfway decent nonetheless which is something that cannot be said for Fox Studios - from the moment when I unsuccessfully tried to lock up Chevette at the Jamaica Blue café to the disgustingly overpriced candy bar and irritating staff - don't like Fox Studios very much at all. Another boycott perhaps?

Be very, very quiet ... we're hunting houses.

19 August - Started off the day (besides the inevitable hangover) with house hunting with Sammy and Mike - I hate house hunting, did find a couple of potentials but only time will tell whether they work out or not. Got a little bit lost running around the backstreets of Waterloo and Erskineville - if i'd been working a month I bet I would have had no problems finding my way around but its still early days. Matt and Charlotte came around and we lunched down at the fish markets on the grilled platter from the Fish Market Café (just because it's grilled doesn't make it good - i've had better from there) before we headed back over the bridge where I had the arduous task of feeding Lilith (my old cat) down at M&Ds - wilst there took the opportunity to do a few administrative life details - took forever to work out how to use the washing machine, eventually worked out (was told?) that you have to turn the taps on (why aren't they on all the time?) and as I was escaping bumped into a drunken brother, fresh from best man duties of giving speeches and forgetting the rings who gave me a lift up to the train station where I made the arduous journey back to town.
Rode over to Mikeyville for a duty free vodka night celebrating mike's return from Europe and also headed out to the Stonewall, which hasn’t changed at all in the past year (and really, hasn't seemed to have changed much in 8 years) - bouncers on each floor are just as pushy and irritating as always as are the patrons. Whilst I did miss mike I don't really miss that little strip of the world ...

Friday, 18 August 2006

Stop Showing Off

17 August - More big swathes of sitting around waiting for trips today. I know i'm at the bottom of the ladder but it is getting a little frustrating at times; that said, a few little rushes where I had a bag full of stuff and I pretended that they were all SHTs (when in actual fact, they had ages of times on them) and I had to do some careful routing to get them all off in the right order. Slowly getting on top of the crappy numbering of Sydney streets thanks to my map and the (mostly) helpful couriers who I bump into pretty constantly. The building security is far more intense than Vancouver - a lot of the time i'll go to a building and either be sent out to go to the loading dock underneath or I have to get a temporary I’D to access the floor. One building, Westfield at 100 William, all the couriers have to remove their helmets and leave their bags at the security desk before going up to the suites - I feel naked without my bag and helmet, very disconcerting. Had another fall due to trackstanding at the lights - I could feel myself tipping over and just couldn’t pop out of my clips (i've loosened them as much as they can go but they're a bit rusty and when they don't want to unclip, they just don't). Am pretty sure work is going to get a bit better as time goes on and people ahead of me in the queue start quitting (one thing I know about this industry is that there's a high turnover). Until then, just got to make sure i've got enough reading material to entertain me in the meantime.

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Gas Scares

The recent debate over the validity of introducing LPG cars to the roads seems to be taking a rather strange turn. Despite the fact that it was Howard who seemed to propose the idea as a response to high petrol prices it's a completely valid option. Australia has huge natural gas reserves and it doesn't have huge oil reserves so it would only seem natural for us to have an economy that is fuelled by gas rather than oil. The recent news reports of the dangers of exploding gas engines seems bizarre and is a complete media beatup - LPG cars have been on the roads in huge numbers for years - just about every taxi you see is powered by LPG and its only now that there's talk of LPG cars for regular consumers that this danger is being played up. LPG will not completely solve the problem of dependence on foreign oil - it doesn't have the power to push big trucks for the movement of freight but biodiesel can (and that's another story). Alternatives to petrol are going to become more and more prominent over the next few years and gas is just one of them. The real problem is not what fuels our vehicles but the fact that we drive them at all - one person in a vehicle that takes up as much space on the road as 50 people is just ridiculous. All on bikes I say ...

No Falls

16 August - Well, it SEEMS to be getting busier - certainly did a lot more trips today than the past couple but still takes an age in the morning before my first one and there's a lot of 'Standing By'. Confused my operator with some 10 codes and had my first major client stuffup (an express trip sent me to a place that didn’t exist although eventually managed to track down the guy on the street). Did a fair whack of riding and didn’t fall over although did feel a little bit of discomfort from adjusting to the new bike seat (wont go into details on that one suffice to say that it always happens when one spends 8 hours a day on a new bike seat). Have been visiting a few of my old buildings over the past few days but have not really bumped into anybody I know except for the old AAPT receptionist who didn’t recognise me anyway and have passed a few others I know but was just too damn fast for them to see me (if they even remember who I am) - not sure how keen I am to see people from the old life but am sure its bound to happen sooner or later.
Caught up with Mr Templeman the Younger and also Mr Templeman the Senior (and his lovely wife) for a quick beer in the evening and then wasted a key part of the night dealing with a particularly bad tempered and somewhat hypocritical young lout who was being a f**king pain in the arse - am sure there's a lacklustre reason for it but wasn’t too concerned with finding out what it was. Ended up eating a $5 Thai for dinner which was most agreeable and finishing off Simon Singh's 'The Code Book' - a rather capital explanation on the history of cryptography, notwithstanding the author's irritating haircut I found it to be most amusing (and like most pop science books, makes me feel smarter than I probably am).

Good Stuff ...

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Sky Is Falling

15 August - Work seemed to be a little busier today than it was yesterday but there was still far too much sitting around smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Had more problems with the data device battery dying on me repeatedly but there was nowt to be done about it - did a couple of sizeable distances including a trip over the bridge to the north side - still having a little bit of trouble navigating the city, most of the time I know where the streets are but the random numbering is still throwing me a bit and on the very few times when i've got a bunch of trips that require some proper routing i'm floundering a bit. Well, this hasn't happened to often thus far and that's not necessarily a good thing. Tried to show off with my masterful dismount in the morning where I unclip and jump off the back of the bike and let it fly out from under me only for me to catch it by the seat - had thought that this was pretty much down pat by now but when I did it in front of a bunch of other couriers my right foot clipped back into the pedal and I had my legs yanked out from under me and I was flat on my back. So much for impressing the locals. Weather was pretty much perfect all day until about four when a flashh hailstorm hit the city - at first it was just a little but within 10m it was like being stoned by fundamentalists - my helmet protected my head but my arms and feet were pocked red with little bruises from the hard ice. It never rained in Vancouver like this. Before I knew it I was riding through massive drifts of crunchy ice, great time to practice skids but a little terrifying especially on the downhills.
Spent the evening looking for some decent breakfast cereal - just when I thought i'd found the perfect breakfast cereal, the Lowan Honey Bran, I up and left the country then when I was over in Canadia I found an even better one - a granola (somewhat similar to muesli but crunchier) that didn’t have any f**king raisins or sultanas in it and I got hooked on that - now, I come back to Sydney to find Honey Bran nowhere to be found and nothing but crappy mueslis packed full of random collections of dried fruit. Have found Crunchola but its got apple in it, which has no place in a breakfast cereal, and it also costs a princes ransom, which makes a bowl of it with decent yoghurt and a banana a very costly endeavour indeed. What's a boy to do?

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Good Morning, Biker 220 Standing By @ glebe

14 August - Today, Ex Biker 313 became Biker 220. After getting himself up at half six to make sure that his equipment was working (it was, they shut down the network over the weekend) and logging in at 730 it was 2 hours before anything happened. Basically, spent the morning creeping slowly towards the CBD asking every once in a while if there was anything happening. Work eventually came but slowly and there was hardly any reason to be rushing around - more often than not I only had one or two trips on me and it didn't require too much taxation of the brain to work out which way I was supposed to go. Unlike Van where one can use the grid system to find the various buildings (all the north south and east west blocks have a numbering system based on 100s) I had no problem findingstreets but would often pop up on George or Castlereagh several blocks away from the building where I needed to go. Far too many one way streets in Sydney too. Did get a bit of riding done, out to Surrey Hills a few times (and off the map as well, very annoying) and Potts Point and Darlinghurst as well. And you couldn't have a first day without that glorious tidbit of bike couriering - a flat. Happened not too far away from the City Bike Depot (don't know where I put my pump) and got it fixed without too much trouble (although couldn't get the chain tight and it fell off twice during the day, not so good on a fixie). Also, in what hopefully will not be a taste of things to come the battery in my Intermec PDA (all the trips come through on this, totally paperless and very little radio chatter) decided to conk out after a couple of hours (after it had been charged all weekend). Got it swapped out at our hub in the rocks so didn't get delayed too much but like I said in yesterday's missive, nothing pisses me off more than faulty equipment (apart from bad drivers, crappy dispatchers, bitchy receptionists, know-it-all lifers, potholes etc). All in all, no real mistakes and got a taste of what it will be like when it gets busy (if it ever gets busy). Quite pleased with the palms coffee shack, much better coffees than 885 (sorry Maria, but that doesn't go for you Emilie, you sour faced witch ... I hope this never gets to her, she could be nice occasionally) although Marcelo seems to get very irritated with me ordering my coffee with skim milk. Ade swung round to pick me up for some proposal writing - not before the census girl came around to pick up the census form that I hadn't filed out. Not wanting to deny myself being counted in the statistical jumble (and also not wanting to set myself up for the fine) I filled it out on the spot. Didn’t put Sith as my religion this time around - the last star wars series disillusioned the dark side for me and there was no section to put in lapsed jedi.

Monday, 14 August 2006

Sydney Pancake Quest - Test 1

13 August - I'm hoping that the reason that my work PDA tool isn't working is because it's on the weekend and they shut down the system because otherwise tomorrow's going to start with the frustration of crappy tools. Nothing used to piss me off more than when my Blackberry or radio stuffed up in Vancouver (and for that matter, when my PC stopped working in my previous life that never helped my mood either). Well, there are many things that annoy more than crappy tools but it doesn't please me. Tried out Café Guilia pancakes in the morning - with maple strop and mascarpone, pretty decent but not to be compared to Fets or IHOP - coffee was rather awful, not bad enough to warrant a boycott but not going back there in search of pancakes until i've properly examined the other local options. Had a lovely luncheon out at Coogee with PJ and Kate, joined by the usual crew and Reed from Vancouver - headed out therer on the bike which isn't really that pleasant with the San Francisco style hills but decided that if I can handle the ride back and out of Coogee i'm going to be able to deal with the rest of the seeby-dee.

Saturday, 12 August 2006

One more for luck? I'm a genius, not a magician ...

10 August - A bit of a blank spot for the first half of the day but i'm sure I was reasonably productive with various errands and I also recall working on my looking skills by rewatching a fillum or two but there was nowt that really stuck out in my mind. Caught up with lovely Skye (let's tick another reunion off) out at Newtown and had a very nice chat - later on headed over to Ruthnade's for a trivia brainstorming session which could prove to be very fruitful but we won't know until we've got our proposal a bit more concreted but we really won't know until we get a chance to put it to the test. Slided back northwards via Samira's for a little whiskey which was probably not the wisest course after an afternoon of slowly falling into a wine bottle (and somehow falling into a cask, oh, the shame) but was VERY pleasant regardless.

Manwolfe ...

How come Ladyhawke was called Ladyhawke, she was just one character? Why didn't they call it Manwolfe or Lordwolfe?
You think about that ...


12 August - Woke up to find all of the cables and chargers and plugs switched and moved all around the house, presumably by a very annoying and silly ghost who also locked me inside without a key. Eventually managed to extricate myself from the house where I had a coffee and forgot to get a new key cut. Rode out to downtown to meet dad for luncheon at the Chinese Noodle place that ruth once forbid us to eat from (because it was her favourite we weren't going to eat there - of course) and a starbucks coffee. Can't really remember much else but i'm sure it was fascinating stuff because I live such an exicitng life.

Mail Order Bride

11 August - Well, had been getting a little concerned by the lack of bicycle to arrive from Melbourne. Ozzie Andy (aka Trackc**t) had assured me that a rebuilt Farleigh had been sent to Sydney via Greyhound Buses. Now, as a delivery professional a tracking number, date of post and estimated time of arrival should have been supplied but I didn’t want to pester him. Apparently Greyhound would deliver it to the closest depot to Glebe and give me a call. Well, noone was calling. Dropped into the Greyhound Terminal at Central and asked if bikes were delivered there and they gave me the number and address of their freight depot out at Banksmeadow which I duly called and found that yes, there was a bike waiting for pickup by Saxifrage Cucvara. A bit of a stress to actually get out to Banksmeadow (a place i'd not even heard of prior to that day) involving an attempt to borrow a car (which failed due to conflicting shower schedules), a thought of getting a bus (i hate buses) and an eventual rather expensive taxi ride. The unassembled track bike was there waiting for me - a broken valve on the front tyre and a stripped thread in the cranks meant I couldn't ride off straight away but managed to get a bus into town where Cheeky Monkey fixed the crank and the tube (making it ridable) but didn't have any brakes that would fit. Went to CBD but they didn't have brakes either then Clarence St Cyclery who had the brakes (but not the lever I wanted) but didn't have the time in the shop to install them. Bought the bits and took it back to CBD and all was sorted out, just in time for me to hightail it over to North Sydney for my induction with Crisis (it appears that they are willing to hire me after all - and apparently Sam, my overenergised 'trainer' hurt himself running into a pedestrian t'other day, meaning they needed me to start sooner -can't imagine how that could have happened). Met the dispatcher (operator), nigel, who seems like a fair minded fellow and filled out a bunch of paperwork and went over the technology (bit more high tech than Novex) and subjected Chevette (guess who Chevette is) to an inspection (which she passed with flying colours). So, Crisis, here we come aye?
Headed down to Macquarie Hotel for beers with a bunch of old chums. Rowan, Tom and I all lit a cigarette off one match which apparntly is bad luck but according to Groucho Marx three people lighting off one match is a sign that they only have one match or one with the matches is Scottish (and he was). Off to the Little Snail for Sandy's 30th (eek) where we ate overpriced but halfway decent Frog food. All got a bit traumatic when a couple of invitees turned out to be a little lesswanted than others and I got stuck with having the responsibility of dealing with one of them (pilled out drunkards are never that much fun to deal with especially when they're your friends) and somehow lost my house key over the night (landlord was thrilled to be woken up at 130am from a mostly sober tenant with a wastrel in tow) - ah, back in Sydney ... How I missed this crap ...


Originally uploaded by scucvara.

58cm Farleigh frame

26.8 Campagnolo post

Cinelli Seat

Campagnolo cranks

Campagnolo chainring (47:17)

Track chain

Suzue hubs on Mavic rims

Two bars

120mm stem

... 9 kilos total and nothing but bike ...

Thursday, 10 August 2006

9 O'Clock Shadow

9 August - Had my first taste of the messenger world of Sydney today with a runaround with Crisis. Rocked up to the coffee shack at 1 Farrer Place and awaited the arrival of Sam, No 222, who took a ways to get there. Had a bit of a chat with some of the others - didn’t know what this guy was supposed to look like so I asked a couple if they were Sam, one retort was a haughty, 'I don't take shadows, mate' - well, if you're going to be like that ... He eventually turned up and my task was to just follow him around (shadow) for a couple of hours and try to pick up how it worked. Well, when I train a new biker inever showed off by running reds and going straight into turning traffic - not 10m in and he was almost wiped out by a taxi - not that i'm complaining but a little restraint please mate. The tools are a bit more high tech than Novex but it's pretty simple, had no trouble keeping up but I do think its going to take a while to get to know Sydney well (the street numbers are pretty random and even though its my home town its a bit of a maze and good routing sense does take time). Sam mainly does a route from one client which is pretty easy work so it didn’t give me a good sense of what i'll expect but it did get me on the road and hopefully I should be starting pretty soon, I don’t know if i'll be clawing my way to the top for a while but for the moment the prospects seem okay. Afterwards went to the dentist for the first time in over a year, was paranoid that my teeth were falling out of my skull but the dentist assured me that everything seemed okay, still not flossing regularly but apart from that nothing too much to worry about (the way I see it starting to floss is as hard as stopping to smoke - so i'm doing two things bad right now). Mosied around in the afternoon for a while doing random things before heading off to the AB for a photoshoot for some local rags and media releases - all very amusing and helped out by liberal doses of booze from our good host, James. I just hope the punters don’t wonder why the hotel with two bars and multiple spaces is full of hundreds of people who are all clones of only 12 (albeit very attractive) people ...

Still Looking

8 August - Had a very long chat with the fleet manager from Crisis in the morning, discussed various ins and outs of the art of messengering in Sydney and despite being very impressed with the idea of using food as a fuel tax deduction he assured me that he couldn't guarantee me a job but i've a feeling that that could change rather soon if i'm lucky. Did some more tracking down of receipts for things lost overseas and also caught up with my old optometrist, Steve, for a bit of a checkup. Still no development on a cure for keretoconus but never had much hope for that anyway. Apparently there hasn’t been too much deterioration over the past year, or for the past four years for that matter, so it looks like i'll be keeping my corneas for a few more years to come.
Also got a first look at Chevette and am now just waiting for my new girl to arrive - hoping to have her in a day or two but you can never really rely on mail order brides so not holding my breath.
Spent the evening with the fam and afterwards went to the cinema - The Sentinel had all the cliches anyone could want in a fillum - completely implausibly appealing POTUS, made up eastern european rogue states, OTT chase scenes, expert protégé going after expert master, evil looking assassins and a twist that could be seen coming from pretty much the opening scene. Still, I do like a taut political thriller and this was better than most.

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Are We Clear? 10-4

7 August - Finally after a over a year of waiting I got my big-ass sandwich again - dozens of substandard international attempts to recreate the sammich failed to live up to the expectation, was almost granted the experience a week ago but the unreliability and crappy communication skills of an ex-girlfriend denied me the pleasure ... In any event, despite going up a dollar over the past year and a small rotation of the fat italian mamas it was as good as I remembered and i'm happy. Whilst downtown got some directions from a couple of mail call couriers - Smokin' Joe (of the nice red velocity rims - which I was told to look out for by the chainring transit authority) told me how to find the BNP Paribas building and reminded me that nicknames are far more prevalent over here than in Vancouver - got a letter from the Sydney Aviation Medical Centre approving me for bike courier duties (they have a wide range of expertise) and killed a few hours reacquainting myself with the intricacies of the downtown shopping.
Also checked out my local trivia competition in the evening and was both pleased and disappointed to note its all round general crappiness for reasons that will be kept to myself for the time being. Any quiz show that forces you to watch any number of skits from Mad TV is a trivia to be avoided. In any event, it appears that my skillz are still in order because we won first place and I personally won two schooies and a bag of chips for the team. Are 'the Usurpers' going to become a force in the local trivia circuit - we shall see.

Monday, 7 August 2006

Ships In The Night

6 August - i've missed triplej, the only ad-free radio in Canadia was CBC which didn’t really play any music at all besides the occasional classical sets, which certainly have their place but i've been becoming more and more cut off from any new music produced over the past year so its good to have it back. Nothing better than being able to listen to music and news (even if both are occasionally a bit grating) without having to change the channel. Getting a slight feeling of unease by the various claims that its only a matter of time before the ABC gives up its anti-ad stance and will suffer the infection of commercials but until that time I can listen to the radio again.
Boys night out was rather sedate but glad to reunite with me old school chums - next time probably in Brisbane. Stil not a vry productive day but managed to push through a pretty significan chunk of John le carre's very dry thiller, little drummer girl, before catching up with Angel and Sandy for crème brulee tea and a little bit of a walk around the backstreets of Glebe. Had a chat with Aletia, a blast from the past from Gordon Public days, someone who I kept on bumping into over the past decade or two before we finally were assured that we did know each other from way back when - got to know each other proper about a month before I left for Canadia last year and unfortunately upon speaking to her on my return today I was disappointed (but happy for her) to find that she was on her way off to Geneva, Switzerland, for a year this very night. So, I guess it's going to be another year before we get to see each other again.
Saw 10 canoes in the evening, not the most exciting Australian film i've ever seen but had if we don't go and see the bad ones they'll never make any good ones. In any event, I guess you could call it a (really, really, really) long slow burn and a half decent way of spending a few hours. And there were 19 canoes in the film so it wasn’t just a clever title.

A Wider Audience?

A censored rant from one of my less enthusiastic readers. Obviously The Last of the Mohicans didn't do it for him.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Paul"<>
Sent: 6/08/06 12:55:22 PM
To: ""<>

The smell of wet panties drying in the air always gives me a chill?
are you f**kin joking?
you dirty stinking filthy left wing f**got!
and you are a f**got too, don't think the rest of the world doesn't know that

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Wet and Cold? Just like home ...

4 August - Apparently I looked a little down in the morning to a passing motorist who decided to cheer me up by sending me a text message (???) - it was cold and it was wet, why would anyone have a big goofy smile on their face while they were walking up Glebe Point Road? Well, mayhap the miserable weather might have reminded a certain member of the IC of the glories of a Vancouver winter but it was more likely the glum appearance was just because that member of the IC hadn't had his morning fix of caffeine. Called up Crisis Couriers (again) to see if they'd changed their minds about hiring Novex's number one biker and gave them a tale of woe about another company refusing to hire fixie riders. As Lance Armstrong once said (or his biographer maybe) 'it's not about the bike' but it IS about the bike. one does this job because its enjoyable - riding a fixd gear is a lot of fun and when you invest a hefty sum into purchasing one and then find out that you can't work with it you find yourself asking, 'What's the point?' Because the fixed gear phenom hasn't really hit Sydney (there are quite a few who ride them but it's not endemic like Vancouver, Melbourne, New York, San Fran or ee London) anyone who does ride one has a reputation for being a hard core maniac and anyone who knows me knows that this is a pretty poor description.
In the evening caught up for a few beer with young Reed, my enthusiastic redheaded Canadian chum, always fondly remembered for his cheerfulness in fixing f**king disc brakes when they played up at the worst moment. Discussed the merits of working for Mail Call and just working in Sydney. Afterwards mosied off for the latest reunion with Samira to drink booze and other things bad for my body - the only person who actually made the connection between my leaving date and calculated when i'd be back (one year tickets mean you have to be back within one year ...)

You Snooze, You Lose ...

5 August - My plan to surprise me dad by intercepting him at the airport failed when I groggily woke up at quarter past six (his plane touched down at 6:05) and found that i'd misplaced my phone, which had been set for wakeup at 5. Considered panicking but was far too tired to bother and after trying to get in touch with him just jumped on the train back to Gordon for a reunion with much rejoicing (from him at the fact that i'd cut my hair) and wailing (the fact that i'm smoking, my insistence on him calling me by true name, my job prospects, etc ...) - ate some pancakes, went out for luncheon later and then went off to youngMr Gray's house to see AJ, down for a weekend of playing with power tools and seeing the boys. Took a ways to organise the lads but eventually made it to Glebe for pizza and off to Ran'wick for bowling (dodgy lanes that didn’t score properly but Saaaax managed to win the first game with a late in the game double strike recovery and AJ got the second (with onlya 100 points) - smallgoods didn’t manage to salvage a victory at all). Drank some beer and talked about various things which I could write here but then i'd have to kill you (and I really don’t have the time or inclination to wipe out the english reading universe so i'll just leave it be).

Saturday, 5 August 2006

Jolene ...

Jolene, jolene, jolene, jolene
Im begging of you please dont take my man
Jolene, jolene, jolene, jolene
Please dont take him just because you can
Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, jolene

He talks about you in his sleep
Theres nothing I can do to keep
From crying when he calls your name, jolene

And I can easily understand
How you could easily take my man
But you dont know what he means to me, jolene

Jolene, jolene, jolene, jolene
Im begging of you please dont take my man
Jolene, jolene, jolene, jolene
Please dont take him just because you can

You could have your choice of men
But I could never love again
Hes the only one for me, jolene

Friday, 4 August 2006

Scchhlloooccckkk ...

MS: What are you looking at sir?
DDL: I am looking at you miss ...

Ah, the smell of wet panties drying in the air ... always gives me a chill.

Little Drummer Boy

3 August - As unproductive a day as could be imagined - spent an age on the in'ernet (having trouble with my 't's again) trying to sort out my paypal account to no avail and had an extremely protracted discussion with Lynn from CTA about a new set of wheels (he's very passionate about his bicycle components and that can only be a good thing when it comes to a bike mechanic). Ate a banana (wouldn't mention such a mundane thing but it's kind of like eating caviar flavoured with abalone and saffron and smeared with truffle and foie gras paste these days). Struggled through a fair few chapters of The Little Drummer Girl, as fascinating as a taut political thriller can be but made slightly more interesting by its heavy references to Israel throwing its weight around in Lebanon, which, as we all know, is happening again with a slightly different cast of characters. Looks like Mail Call is interested in giving me a job although i've told them I can’t really start until next week (current financial situation is making me think I should start ASAP though).
Rode back to Gordon to strip the reflectors and a bell from my old junker MTB, which always seemed like an okay bike before I left Australia but now seems like a piece of crap relative to my slightly higher standards. She did me very well as a commuter bike and without her I would never have got myself into the condition I needed to be get in for my career diversion but when it comes down to it it's nothing more than Taiwenese welded aluminium junk with crappy parts, couldn't even be converted to a single speed if I wanted so I think she'll be living in storage for a ways. Forgot how far it actually is to Gordon and took an age to get back home on Baby Blue - can't say its a bad thing to do the large ride because my legs, bum arms were all very sore when I got home and this can only be a sign of things to come ...

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Up To Standard?

2 August - Ah, the joys of job hunting - after searching the backstreets of Willoughby for the hard to find main street of Willoughby Road (yes, i've been there before but it's been aways since i've had to get there from Glebe). Had an interview with the fleet manager of Mail Call, Tim, and all seemed to go pretty well until he found out that I was registered for the World Championships - apparently they're panicking that none of the Sydney couriers are going to show up for work on the Friday before and the Monday after. Apparently the photoshoot scheduled for noon on the Friday is going to shut the company down ... Also, my little scaphoid fracture from earlier in the year needs to be cleared by an Australian doctor despite the fact that i've been working on it for months. Had to submit Baby Blue for an inspection (they don't allow fixies) to see that he came up to Australian standards - he needs a rear reflector, front reflector and a bell and nowt to be done despite the fact that I keep my lights on my bag and my 'noise making device' is typically me yelling 'COMING THROUGH ON THE RIGHT!!!' (although over here it's most likely to be on the left). Later in the day, I was warned by a North Sydney bike mechanic that he wasn't the most pleasant of fellows to work with but time will tell on that one ... if I end up working for Mail Call. Earlier in the day after a vigorous game of squash with Robbie was wandering through Pyrmont and saw a familiar redhead in a Mail Call jersey riding past - one of my old Vancouver chums, Reed, a bike mechanic/courier who was always very helpful when it came to helping me adjust Baby Blue's tempramental brake. Good to know someone in the neighbourhood. Dropped by Farrer Place and met a few more couriers who all seemed rather nice - I don't know what Miranda Devine is talking about - they're such nice young men (and girls too)!
Had another reunion, this time with Mr Gregory May, who kindly provided the dinner and me the coffee (i like that kind of division but unfortunately it's probably not going to last) - no shortage of conversation, that particular gentleman, but always interesting so I won't complain (well, maybe a little but nobody reads this blether so nowt to worry about).

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

The Immortal Underclass?

1 August - Started the day with a café latte with no foam, more commonly known as a flat white in god's country. Had left my mobile phone at Matt's house the previous night (an absolute arse of a time trying to get in touch with him without a phone, managed a very sketchy conversation via Skype on the PDA) and he very kindly offered to drop it off in the morning. I'd promised him a coffee and, obviously not thinking too highly of my preparedness, he came over with my phone and some coffee grounds and some milk. I know i've not settled n yet but c'mon, a flat white is only two minutes away! Proceeded to get more and more wired throughout the day, first had a coffee with Karen, my old Optus pal now recruiter for Optus - put out a couple of feelers for going back to the horrific world of IT then had another coffee with Paul and Margaret from Gen-I (formally known as TCNZA) - i'm really enjoying this returning from another country thing, everyone buys you a coffee ... However, got a small taste of things to come if I decide to carry on with my latest career move - both times whilst waiting for my friends I was confronted by security guards wanting to know what the f**k I was doing sitting around. Perhaps they were just arseholes or perhaps they didn't like the fact that someone dressed as a messenger was hanging around the entrance but i've a feeling that couriers don't enjoy the warmth and affection of the business community that they do in vancouver (cough cough) - what, i'm not allowed to sit in this chair because i'm a courier? Well, I might be a courier in spirit but i'm not one in actuality right now so i'm going to carry on sitting here you supercilious f**k. Maybe they just didn't like my silly hat. Checked out a few more bikestores looking for just the right wheelset for the next vehicle but none seemed to have exactly what I wanted in obnoxiousness and price. In any event, I may have found my next bicycle - decisions must be made but when I made a few phone calls around the various courier companies in sydney I was told by one of the major hirers of newbies that they won't accept bikers who ride fixies - I don't know what to think about that - it's kind of amusing to think that they have such a bad reputation around town that even the courier companies are scared of them. In any event, i'm sure somethingcan be arranged, after all, I do use a brake. After returning the old car to mum I trained back to glebe anddid more errands before sidelining myself at the refurbished ancient briton where young mr templeman treattd me to a pivo - one beer led to another and before we knew it the lovely owners were feeding us peking duck, roast pigeon (with the head on the plate - one more animal ticked off the list) and some very expensive looking desserts. James and dot (the lovely sommelier (boozehound???) sister of one of the owners) were critical of the dessert's presentation but me and ade were more than happy to inhale them.

La Humoriste

19 July - Another decent sleep in despite the inhospitable surrounds. Ate the hostel's excuse for a breakfast then got in touch with Alex, a Vancouver girl who's a friend of Jolene's, who has kindly offered to put me up for the balance of my stay here. She didn’t live very far from the hostel so I transported my gear via bicycle (i'm beginning to think that bringing Celeste along was an absolutely fantastic idea). Alex had the afternoon free so she accompanied me to the Musee des beaux-Arts de Montreal where we both got a healthy injection of culture but were also suffering from a bit of art fatigue by the end of it so couldn’t really cope with the idea of doing another one. Went down to the tourist information centre to sort out a day tour to Quebec City then a few more errands.
My French obviously leaves a bit to be desired - ordering a coffee seems to pose not too much of a problem - 'Petite café, sil vous plait' usually meets the response of 'One small coffee?' with raised eyebrows or a flurry of French which means I have to admit that my ability to converse is limited to ordering a few select food items. Apparenty even the French immersion Canadian kids get similar treatment - apparently the Quebecois have an innate ability to sniff out anyone who isn’t a francophone and they don’t deign the other Canadians worthy of being able to speak French. Apparently the actual French also fare pretty badly, as Quebecois French is as incomprehensible to them as Ozzie Marcus's accent is to half of the couriers. One thing you can say about French speakers whether they're from Paris or Montreal - you can pretty much always guarantee that they will be snooty.
Did a little bit of wandering (but not much) and in the evening headed down to the dark side of town to fetch Roach (was provided with a very nice made from scratch quesadilla for dinner) then we rode down to the 'Just For Laughs' festival downtown (took a bit of an effort to keep up with him, Roach rides like a courier) - in order to take in the stuff that was free saw some very impressive Asian break dancers (not exactly sure what was funny about it), a rather unamusing dog doing some very unimpressive tricks, a bunch of side shows and parades and finished it off with a hypnotist - first time i've ever seen a stage hypnotist live and I have to say that i'm not completely convinced of its authenticity - without a doubt the people are doing things they didn’t expect they’d be doing but it seemed that the ones who weren't eliminated were mostly playing it up for the crowd. Maybe i'm just a cynic but I won’t believe it until its done to me and the language barrier excluded me from this guy. Tabernac, pretty f**king funny though.

Fwd: Tabernac! F**king Tyres!

18 July - despite the warning that breakfast would only be available until 1030 I didn't rouse untl 11 - the first decent night's sleep i've had for a god's age, despite being on a very uncomfortable top bunk with a plastic pillow.  Grabbed a stale pastry then went out for an incredibly expensive morning coffee and got some cash out (presumably to buy another incredibly expensive midday coffee).  Didn't get a hell of lot of help from the hostel staff and there were no other travellers around to speak of so got on Celeste and rode downtown to find the Tourist Information centre.  Have to say its quite fun if a bit unfuiiating to ride around a completely foreign city - didn't have a map and didn't really know what I was doing but you're not as helplessly beholden to the motion of the traffic when you're in a car and you're so much faster and mobile than on foot but, going into the unknown on crappy pot holled streets with slightly different traffic rules, balances it out a bit.  Couriering in vancouver would definitely have given me a different kind of confidence with traffic but I still got a few little reminders of Washington DC and Las Vegas driving.  Rode around for most of the day - obviously Celeste's rear tyre which was getting worn decided to finally get a flat but fixed without too much trouble (although I did get a cheap replacement tyre to prevent it from happening again) and got to ride around Old Montreal for a while and had a high cholestoral traditional Quebeccer lunch of smoked smeat sammich and poutine.  Rode around a bit more including a rather intense climb to the peak of Mont Royal - a pretty easy but steady incline up the mountain on a gravel road - beautiful view at the top and got to practice skidding on the loose gravel slopes on the way down.  Went back to the hostel where there was nobody very nice there, at least nobody who was speaking english; one of the other resident's dog tried to assassinate me by pushing a pot off a balcony so I decided to head off to see Roach, a qubeccer friend of Shadow's whom i'd met in vancouver one time where I was credited as the guy who introduced them to the kangaroo burger.   Very interesting night spent on his porch in a rather dodgy area of Francophone Montreal drinking beer and puffing away on the local variety of marijuana. Once I managed to cope with the harsh, sometimes incomprehensile, quebeccer dialect I found that he had a lot of very interesting things to say and I can probably credit that encounter as the most authentic montreal experience i'm likely to have.