Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Team That Eats Together Works Together

30 January – Coming home after a fitful night’s sleep at Chez Grey was a bit disappointing as I waltzed into the house only to find my beloved American Psycho framed film poster lying on the ground, the front smashed beyond recognition with jagged glass strewing the floor.  Obviously too much weight for the wall but we may never have discovered this unfortunate fact if the pictures weren’t swapped around so often but im not the kind of guy to get upset over broken glass.  Despite hauling myself into town early to get my skin checked for cancer by the surly Dr Whatever I ended up having to wait for half an hour only to be told not to come back for three years (unless I see anything of course in which case expect a verbal bollocking out whilst he checks again).  No permanents at all today as individuals worked themselves into the gap created by Shifty’s missing finger but a fair swathe of good quality work and a bunch of crap stuff that had me riding pretty much non stop for the entire day – not very good routing but not terrible and nobody tried to steal my trips this time.  The long awaited team dinner was held in the evening with an excellent turnout of almost the entire fleet including those currently out of action, Shifty seemed in relatively good spirits considering his ailments and everyone could hear themselves talk because of one of the notable absences.  Excellent high volume thai food at Dao Toya (or something like that) - got the banquet which is always a risky thing because I feel I’ve got to inhale as much food as possible in as short a time as possible because all my eating companions are also hungry and want the same food that I want (especially when they’re our couriers) and I then end up completely overstuffed and unable to move afterwards.  I had an inkling what it’s like to be Evil Kath or Good Kate – not very pleasant but they’re built for it and I’m not.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Fabled Fourth Page

29 January – First day back after the long weekend didn’t bode too well because I knew we were going to be down riders and down dispatchers – three of us doing what is normally done by six or seven and Butters off to Qantas to throw bags meant being stuck with a couple of car dispatchers who don’t really know the city as intimately as one would hope.  Assigned to the late shift again despite starting at quarter to eight – probably moved more items than any day since I’ve started with Toll but far too messy to enjoy it, some bad routing, lots of burned jobs and even a couple lifted by one particular biker (who was only trying to help ... Yeah right, help out his bank balance maybe).  Got through the day with all parts intact and presume the rest of the week is only going to get better with a slightly better compliment of riders but this week is going to be tough.  Evening was spent over in Willoughby sorting out some technical issues for the boutique plastic corporation – most of it seemed to go pretty well this time and that will bode well for the future I’m sure.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Pancakes Versus Petrol

28 January started off with pancakes which had to bode well for the rest of the day, and it did, for the most part.  Journeyed out to Coogee to help a beaming Kate and PJ move my literary collection from the side of the bed to under the bed.  Unexpected benefit of this was finding a couple of books I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time – increasing my backlog of books significantly (I’m pretty sure I’ve got months worth of eminently readable books at my disposal now although this could be weeks if they’re good enough or maybe even years if I have to struggle through them).  Rode out to Bondi Beach and was just cruising along when I saw myself passed by the radiant couple on the Suzuki petrol sipper and ancient instincts awoke in me, stirring my blood and my feet to action as I felt urged, nay, compelled to race them to the end.  The powerful machine growled at my silent engine as it whipped past while they were stuck at the lights.  There was traffic a plenty but it only moved to swallow up the motorised vehicles and I slipped through its steel gullet towards the beach ... And glory.  Handed out some flyers and had some lunch then went home.  I don’t like the people at Woolies Wheels but then again, I don’t like the people at many of the bike shops.

Letter to Gateway

Baby Blue Rides Again

27 January – Went to the Blue Mountains to kill a few birds – helped move a table, saw Evil Kath and ever growing family and finally managed to get some good use out of my trusty old steed (who really is quite a young steed but he’s been through a lot) - his brakes, which were completely shot, seemed to be irreplacable due to Vancouver Simon’s policy of using the cheapest parts he can find (which are of decent quality but are impossible to find outside of Vancouver) - managed to fix them up enough to do the Oaks Firetrail – fantastic riding, lots of downhill sections and nothing outside my comfort zone – however, realised when he finished the trail and were on the streets that his brake shoes were so gone I may as well not have had any – going down the steep hill to the causeway with several hairpins meant I had to use grind my own shoe right into the road and even then had to make a very awkward swerve to avoid throwing myself into the steel guard that hid the fifty foot cliff over the water.  I think I might wait until I’ve got the brake thing sorted before I try him again.  Long train ride home but was looking forward to it because I was laden with books, several of which I’d been seeking for many months, but got stuck chatting with an asanine golfer who had a nice road bike for the first chunk of the journey and was so wrecked by the day and the conversation that I slept through the rest of the journey, only to be woken by the ticket inspector (no doubt thinking me some freeloading bum).  Watched Dreamgirls at night, which despite being a diva’d up musical was relatively entertaining and even a little bit moving at time.  But not that much.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

National Day of Argument

26 January – And a happy Australia Day to you (or Invasion Day if you want to be confrontational but I’m just in it for the beer) ... Having been cancelled by my mum for an AD picnic I took it upon myself to collect Old Baby Blue from his temporary Pyrmont home – upon picking him up I remembered that his brakes were completely dysfunctional – not good for someone used to riding a fixie and I found myself having to slow down by putting my dragging my foot against the ground (not very safe).  Errands and bicycle repair took up a fair part of the day but did manage to celebrate the day at Bronte Beach (which was mercifully much warmer than it was last week), drink some beer and celebrate in other less talked about but equally valid and enjoyable celebratory activities.  Time was getting away by this stage and I found myself heading home with still more things to do but in between little errands did watch the latter half of a bad movie (Blue Crush) and the latter half of a great movie (Predator – has there ever been a better looking alien?  Maybe once ... And the one time that those two faced off was like watching somebody else play a computer game).

Friday, 26 January 2007

Skin Grows Back (Fingers Don't)

25 January – A relatively normal morning where I did my final permanent mail runs for Kathlicks and Kapers before I hand them back to their rightful owner when Swalls returns from his semi-hiatus on Monday – at least, a relatively normal morning until I received a phone call from Kurt asking me if I was willing to work the late shift because our venerable juicer, Shifty, had been involved in a rather nasty accident, somehow catching his right index finger in his chain when he fell off, severing the end of it.  After briefly debating whether I should offer my resignation (because this job is f**king dangerous at times) I accepted and was given his permanent work for the day – barely left the core of the CBD all day after that – a couple of serious delays caused by mailroom incompetence and technical failures but other than that was moving constantly with a swathe of profitable trips and had what was probably my highest earning day of the year.  Was a bit strange having to explain to the various mailrooms and receptionists that their regular guy was out for the second time in the week – especially when they probed me for details.  The sewing circle spread the story around pretty quickly and I’m sure my Monday the injury will be recounted as losing his arm.  Still, after doing the last job at 10 past 5 there was nothing at all until I logged off except to smoke cigarettes and have a textual chat with the man who has taken over Butter’s role at dispatch.  He’s promised to study the city map over the weekend and he seems to be as aware of his failings as we are.  A few beverages and a few bits of much needed soul bearing were afterwards – glad I finally got some of it out of the way but also think its another step over the edge into a realm where I dare not tread.  After this draining experience rolled down past Martin Place to find the last bedraggled remnants of the drinking set sprawled across the benches under the suspicious eyes of the new restaurant – their contempt was palpable – the alcohol differential was a bit too much to engage them too much that didn’t stop South African Brian give me a his rather interesting and unexpected life history (and his age, 21, God!) nor Ian give me rather baffling advice on the etiquette of working as a courier.  Whilst I respect the young man’s worldwide experience immensely I think he’s woefully misinformed of the nature of this business.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Come Again Another Day

24 January – So much for the endless summer with a little bit of a torrent coming down for most of the morning –wore my trusty Novex jacket which is so waterproof that in the Sydney downpour I get wetter on the inside from overheating than I do from the rain.  An absolute plethora of standards that involved me delivering a job to the character at TCNZA who is doing my old job (twould have been delivered to me had my career never progressed for the past four years) and a run that lasted almost two hours with me going from end of town to the other and back, never riding for more than a few blocks at a time.  Would have been great if the jobs were worth something.  Long black patch and then a fairly hot afternoon, slightly complicated with a bunch of VIPs from the mysterious van driver who I’m helping out this week.  Had an inkling of what it’s like trying to do side work whilst working for a company – pretending to take longer in between assigned picks and drops by claiming delays and drinking fictional coffee whilst you’re dashing to the indie addresses – kind of exciting though.  Afternoon was with the dreaded American dispatching – I wish he wasn’t such a nice guy so I could hate him more viscerally every time he f**ks things up (which he does without fail).  Scored the great Wednesday deal at Forresters with the schoolboys before searching Crown St for a coffee and then trying to convince one of my companions that you cannot complain about the coffee you get at a pub because you’re not supposed to buy coffee at a pub (unless its been pulled by Master Templeman of course in which case its the best coffee you’ve ever had and you better let him know that or there’ll be hell to pay).

A Man Of Means

23 January – A fairly decent day helped out by the fact that we were down a few bikers because one was out with a migraine (see hangover?) and one had gone off to pick watermelons (I don’t even know where to start on that one).  Also, due to another biker’s injuries, I was offered his ‘on the side’ jobs which unfortunately only added up to one job but considering how busy I was for the rest of the day it wasn’t such a disappointment.  All the wear from the constant skidding on the back tyre all seemed to pop up this week and one of the bare patches was so bad that the stitching was worn through and the tyre seemed ready to split in twain – managed to get it to the bike shop before disaster but a small dent in the rim caused two inner tubes to explode whilst inflating, deafening me and everyone else in the bike shop (I bet I’ll hear about that tomorrow).  Had a bit of a practice with the new toe-clips by riding down to Broadway for a very nice movie experience with the limited family (nice as in the movie was so sickeningly pleasant from the super friendly rich stockbrokers and CEOs to the endearing crazy man and the only signs of evil in the movie were ‘the man’ (who was keeping the main character down) and a thieving hippie).  Apparently Roger from Palms coffee shop doesn’t like me very much – I find that particularly surprising.

Early Warning

22 January – Back to work and back to the bridge – a relatively flowing day with only a few mishaps – walked into one office and dropped off an envelope and found myself face to face with our sales manager on a customer relationship binge – uniform was on (sans sleeves) so nothing too worry about but did get a chance to warn him of the perils that will hit the bike fleet if a new dispatcher isn’t sorted by the end of the week.  Did finish on what could have been a sour note – last drop of the day, I’d literally hung up on the dispatcher seconds before discovering that my destination was closed – despite notifying dispatch immediately there was no response whatsoever – Butters must have just walked out the door and there nobody was picking up the phone or monitoring the text chat system.  Managed to get through to the sender and had to listen to her um and ah about all her options – she seemed particularly worried by the the charges that would be incurred - didn’t want me to leave it under the door, was terrified about me keeping it overnight so I could deliver it in the morning and was paranoid about me returning it (extra charge) and then having to pay for it again to be delivered (lady, there’s a reason why the cost of these jobs is a pittance – apart from a myriad of other reasons it means if you f**k up you pay for it).  All was right with the world eventually.  An evening of bicycle maintenance awaited me – found an OCB type workshop seemingly run by the ‘Critical Mass’ crowd who are always people to be wary about but a nice young gentleman trued my wheels then I went home and followed suit with some limited cleaning and my first practice with my new toe-clips.  

Monday, 22 January 2007

Get Thee Away, Sun

21 January – Once again, despite drawing blinds for a change, I found myself being woke at a quarter to 10 by Mr Sun, who’s determined to make me suffer through my hangovers rather than letting me try to sleep through them.  I can’t be too angry with him, mind you, because he does force me to avoid wasting the day.  This time, however, I upped him by completely wasting the day until about half two when I pulled myself out of the house for foodstuffs and the delivery of Stinkwater! postcards to the far edges of the land (which is mostly limited to Glebe and Newtown).  An evening of movie watching – was quite surprised that I far more concerned about the sleaziness and ineptitude of Harvey Keitel’s character in the piano than my female companion was.  Both of the men in the movie seemed, to me, posterboys for a feminist view of all that is bad about the male gender but apparently not.  Who’d have thought.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Once You're In

20 January – Woke up to find myself getting a suntan whilst still in bed which prevented further sleeping in (something that would have been definitely appreciated in my fragile state).  Had planned on riding out to the beach in the morning, had missed the initial cutoff time but English Dave was keen and we found ourselves riding out towards Bronte – got a bit lost in Centennial Park on the way but once we broke free of the one-way loop it was a relatively simple matter to get to the beach.  Let myself cool down a bit too much before actually braving the water which was absolutely freezing – refreshed myself but couldn’t give it to the time to adjust to the water so was out after a pretty short time.  Having things to do I left Dave to his own devices and rolled up the hill and towards home.  Took the pre-op over to Darlinghurst for a late afternoon late new year’s barbecue at R&E’s – front tyre seems to be incapable of holding air and could feel the tyre twisting in on itself every time I turned a corner – I must get around to fixing that one of these days.  A lot of meat was consumed followed by a lot of greens and a lot of water (water in the more refined sense) and was even forced on doing the unthinkable and taking a taxi home in the end.  What have I become?

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Awesome Day

19 January – An absolutely blasting day at work despite a few moments of solitude, made a shedload of sheckels for Toll and I’m pretty sure a few of those will flow into my meagre cup.  Lots of big things and lots of urgent things and my powerful legs were more than up to the task this time.  The Martin Place congregation was hassled again by the man – the security guard getting more and more aggravated with our presence - ‘We don’t want you here!’ (obviously the royal we) - I think we’ve really got to take a proactive stance and find out what our legal rights are in this situation and even find out what the police attitude is about it because otherwise it’s just going to be a new hassle every week.  Ian’s ‘S**t Your Pants’ competition was held after work (a bad pun on the fact that it was mainly an event testing the tyre wasting practice of skidding) - started with a hard and fast race from Martin Place to Ultimo – relatively happy with my performance of fifth or so – my strategy was letting the lead two crazy nuts break through the traffic ahead of me – running all the reds and getting the traffic ahead of me to stop or at least slow down while I slipped through.  Got my free beer and headed home for another poker night – Scottish one was not nearly as obnoxious as he has been in previous games and we had a very good turnout, especially in the high stakes second game (which I lost but I did win the smaller first game so it was net positive on gambling front).  
I’ve been informed that I’m using the word ‘awesome’ far too much these days – was not aware of that fact but it might be a Canadian hangover which is strange because I used to make fun of one of my housemate’s for his own excessive use of the term that annoys the English when it’s used inappropriately.  Maybe I’ll just have to up the use of ‘Sweet!’ ...


18 January – What eventuated to be due to Mr Butter’s going for a job interview in the morning (which, it appears that he subsequently got) I expected an enormous amount of incompetence on the dispatch front.  There was a full hour of absolutely nothing after doing the two trip mail run but I was eventually pleasantly surprised to be issued with a couple of relatively well organised runs from the fillin.  Apparently he had the map out in front of him and was giving a lot of thought to it because of the recent complaints but if it works i’m not going to criticise.  All in all, a relatively dead January day – what i’ve come to expect for this month. Enacted the ancient courier tradition of the jersey swap with Mr Vo, sacrificing my beloved Vancouver Corporate Couriers jersey (which I only ended up wearing once but it was stretched far beyond even my mighty frame so I’d never really planned to keep it) for a couple of Australian ones. Well, when in Australia.  Bit worried about post-25 January life at Toll with the loss of Butters departure but apparently Shifty will have words and his complaints are a little bit louder in management’s ears than mine.  
In the evening had my rusty technical skills tested with a small project from a boutique plastics importing firm – was unable to complete planned task due to bureaucratic incompetence beyond our control but did a few little things that should help in the future.  Am sure all will work out in the end.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

The Mail Thief

17 January – The promising return to form from the early week were knocked on the head today by ear splitting silence.  Started with a malfunctioning XDA and was followed by the discovery that my permanent mail run had been stolen by another courier ... A driver no less!  Hardly any work all day ... Had only done 10 trips by midday when I had a small break where I experienced a new extreme event – adrenal glands haven’t pumped this hard for a while - had a few relatively distant but very easy high quality jobs in the afternoon but no excitement at all.  Had some halfway decent Thai food in Kirribilli with Louisa but think my appetite was spoiled by the muffin donated to me by Moe at Palms – his generosity with the muffins (and other assorted pastries) is venerated by many but the sheer inferiority of Australian muffins to their Canadian counterparts makes me taste gluggy ashes whenever I eat them – I yearn for the muffins and the muffin from JJ Beans deep and I cannot rest until I get the recipe (and find someone who will bake them for me).  Realised that I am my brother’s brother with a late night episode of forgetfulness but all was solved in the end.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Good Times Are Back

16 January – Was in an exceptionally good mood for most of the day, pretty inexplicable but wasn’t going to question it.  Met up with Mike for coffee (in the form of a tea) and a delivery in the morning – there wasn’t an enormous number of trips and a few weak moments but what work there was involved some hard riding and even a bit of shred routing was required at one point and it was also relatively well paid (we really overcharge some of our clients – which is however completely offset by the undercharging we offer to other clients).  Had a bit of a run-in with Sam, the Palms barista, in the afternoon when I needed to retrieve something from the locked up coffee shop – that man has serious anger management issues and the capacity to swear like a drill sergeant.  Evening was taken up by Apocalypto, bought tickets straight after work to ensure they weren’t sold out to the people ahead of us (like the last time me and the Collins-Mills crew tried to see a movie) - even still we couldn’t find three consecutive seats together, hell, we couldn’t find two consecutive seats so were scattered throughout the cinema, much like the Mayan Indians were scattered throughout the empire by their well-tattooed overlords.  Well, I thought it was incredibly engaging and entertaining and it was a very interesting recreation of an alien Mayan society, accuracy might have been sacrificed for the sake of the artist’s rendition but every director takes a lot of poetic licence in any historical epic – it certainly indulged Mel’s penchant for gore and violence and was a bit predictable but altogether it was a hell of a lot better than it could have been.  PJ’s rant was kind of unexpected – he must have spent the entire evening plotting it, probably even started before he’d seen the film and he shredded it to pieces afterwards ... Every Marg needs a Dave.

Music For Musicians

15 January – Did I like the Sydney Festival show at the Smeagol (I think it at least sounds like Smeagol) .... Yaaiiiirrss ... Would I see it again ... Hmmm, probably not.  Watching an hour of virtuoso improv music was always going to be a little difficult – when the bass player doesn’t open his eyes for the entire performance because he’s so entranced with his own ... Virtuosity, is probably a bad sign but there were a couple of familiar melodies and it was certainly a lesson in endurance – I got RSI just by looking at the drummer who’s wrists must have been made of boron.  Work was also pretty decent – because it was Monday I was bridge bitch for the entire day – made a full five trips over which is a bit excessive but also cracked the elusive third page which hasn’t been done since Christmas.  Nothing like the glory day but a good tiding.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Someone's getting married

14 January – Blinding light and hot hot heat meant there was no sleeping in this morning.  I’m not the type of person who really enjoys sleeping in but that’s what weekends are for.  However, due to a last minute invite to my ex’s engagement party out Newcastle way it was probably a good thing.  Wandered over to the station in the morning to find out when there was a train was actually going to Hamilton and was rather dismayed to find out they were hourly and the journey would take about two and a half hours.  Realised I should probably actually get my arse into gear so before long was taking the marathon journey up there.  Ensured I had ample reading material so it didn’t seem to take that long but the pangs of withdrawal reminded me unpleasantly of my addiction.  Two and a half hours is not that long.    Eventually hit the destination and was slightly overwhelmed by the large family present but a select group who were not related to the red headed one by blood were also there and I soon found myself between a circus performer and a renegade punk sculptor (I think).  Very pleasant afternoon and it all seemed to wrap up at a relatively early hour – ended up spending more time on the train than at the party and still a hell of a long day.  Train sure is a great place for reading – finally cracked Immortality.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

A Road

Road: A strip of ground over which one walks.  A route differs from a road because it is solely intended for vehicles, but also because it is merely a line that connects one point with another. A route has no meaning in itself; its meaning derives entirely from the two points it connects.  A road is a tribute to space. Every stretch of road has meaning in itself and invites us to stop. A route is the triumphant devaluation of space, which thanks to it has been reduced to a mere obstacle to human movement and a waste of time.
Milan Kundera, Immortality

The Summer of Bat and Ball

13 January – Took a different approach on cracking the bandwidth conundrum today and have sourced an unusual alternative – promising solution but not verified as viable just yet.  To celebrate Patrick’s 36th (???) birthday rode up to Coogee, followed (at an occasional distance) by Dave – my policy when someone is following is that I’ll go at the pace I want (fixie hill climbing is far harder when you go slow) and when I come to a turn (or anywhere where a directional decision has to be made) I’ll stop and wait for my companion.  Dave’s response to this was that “In England, mates stick together!” ... A fair point but we’re in Australia, and mates keep up with mates ... Huzzah.  Caprioscas followed by Caprinis (once the rum arrived) and the general Brazilian theme led to a revealing of the cyclist’s physique clad only in black Speedos, at least until the cold prompted a return of the rest of the clothing, played some bat and ball on the beach with Kate until she got exhausted from the vicious onslaught of my fearsome backhand and tried to film a YouTube classic of a passed out Phil getting simulated oral sex from a seagull until we gave up when we realised that the seagulls were too freaked out by the picnic mat that Phil was sleeping on.  Evening was a fine dinner in Surry Hills with Mike and Justin and all of their gay friends – was amused by the banter, bit too ‘club’ and ‘party’ oriented but that is the world I lived in.  First drink at the midnight shift for quite some times, my brand of personal protection seems to slipped out the scene which is very disappointing.  Have been searching far and wide for my brand but to no avail.  It’s not everyone who has personalised protection and I miss it terribly.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Boozy Cat

12 January – Not setting my alarm caused a late wakeup and although I could have made it in to town on time the knowledge of the previous day’s quietetude made me decide that it was more important to have a decent breakfast (even if it was bolted down so fast that I barely tasted it) than to get to the CBD by 0800.  Of course, the fact that I wasn’t in town meant a little bunch of expresses were summoned from Hermes Hell but nothing was late and it went back to its snail’s pace by half 9.  Twas a slow day but better than the previous one – barely covered two pages but think I had enough high paying trips (including a couple of rescue jobs that required a bit of a long haul ride) but because Toll’s policy of calculating commission on a weekly basis rather than daily this meant that it was for nowt financial reward beyond the half decent retainer. However, despite there not being any immediate financial reward there is the satisfaction of actually doing difficult work and cementing my reputation as a can-do team orientated kind of guy.  The kind of guy you should take care of in the good times and the bad.  Maybe.
After work Mr Two Fat Ladies, mindful of his imminent departure and birthday, had his planned Boozy Cat.  Basically, a combined bike race and drinking game designed to sort out the drinkers from the tetotallers.  Started by gulping down a bottle of beer before following a series of six different checkpoints where one as required to take a shot of a different kind of alcohol.  Due to the inherent sketchiness of the design I originally just planned to participate but not race – I even volunteered to take it slow so that I could guide Olly (a very enthusiastic German tourist – enthusiastic about everything) but after the second checkpoint the adrenalin had kicked in and I had a vague idea that I could win the race and I lost him when I headed into Millers Point.  Couldn’t find the fourth point but spotted a phalanx of couriers led by Andreas heading down King St so decided just to follow them.  However, our fearless leader led us straight to the finish line in a very hard and fast ride through a heavily trafficked Newtown – mulled a bit about forfeiting but was determined not to be disqualified so rallied a few of them to head to the last two checkpoints – despite riding extremely hard and fast through Marrickville and St Peters, two inner west suburbs about which I had absolutely no knowledge, by the time I finally found them (after getting lost in a shopping mall and forfeiting my jersey because I just didn’t want any more alcomohol) I ended up coming 9th.  The last finisher, not a noble position but considering that half the field didn’t even finish it wasn’t so terrible.  Won, very unexpectedly, by Dottie – certainly not the fastest and fittest courier in the fleet, in fact, by appearances he’s one of the paunchiest couriers in the fleet, but, a very good rider and followed the very sensible strategy of following the right courier (Shifty) for the entire way – even going so far as to rescue Shifty’s bike when it was stuck, and then, on the home stretch pipped him at the post.  Some would say a merciless strategy but successful and that’s all that matters in a race like this.   Just hope he doesn’t stretch the champion’s jersey too much before it takes it rightful place on my undernourished frame.  And, only one casualty in the race, which was far less than I expected) - Brian, the hapless South African, one of the best riders I know but just terrible with crashes, went straight into a taxi after (apparently) his line was crossed by one of the even riskier riders in Sydney (one with a terrible reputation for causing trouble) - despite apparently writing off his bike the crashee was okay after the accident and managed to walk away but he’ll be a sorry sight on Monday I expect.    New houseguest over the weekend – one of the flatmate’s friends who inadvertantly reminded the flatmate of some of the history shared -

Thursday, 11 January 2007

A New Record

11 January – Another record breaker on the slowness front ... Definitely the quietest Toll day to date ... I seem to recall having done a 13 trip day at Crisis and a similarly shocking one at Novex but I can’t get my brain to confirm it completely – either way 21 jobs in a day seemed pitifully slow over the day.  Managed to meet Louisa for coffee in the morning and Kate for lunch in the afternoon (although lunch didn’t turn out as well as planned with a visit to the Chinese Gardens at Darling Harbour where there was a hefty charge to enter so we sat outside and there was absolutely nothing for sale that was edible so just ate a muesli ar and smoked a cigarette instead).  The pace of the day probably alleviated the one stress job of the day – a dodgy order booked for a bike but clearly a large box marked fragile (not heavy but a handlebar jobbie nonetheless) - twasn’t far but because of its size it meant not being able to drop at loading dock at its GPT destination - so I had to take the secured goods lift at GPT and the loud and rambling Russ had the day off so the old and incompetent Brian took his place – walked up to him, told him which floor I was going to and he responded with a mumble, he was faffing around the desk while the lift came, waited for him to swipe his card to let us up to the floor (which, in reality, is his ONLY job when he sits there (besides check IDs occasionally)) but he ignored it and it loeft and went to Level 61 before eventually coming back down to Level 8 (the basement ... Obviously).  He then finally switched on enough to let us in to the elevator where he swiped me up and made the motions for swiping up another group but once we’d left the dock it turned out only my floor was on so they had to go back to the loading dock for he dopey security guard to do it all again.  Where do they find these people?  Evening spent with a few sequential visitors – Reed is heading south by way of thumb on the morrow so won’t see him for a few months ... Great to see him before he left but boy can that boy talk ...  

Break It Up

10 January – Another blindingly slow day – a couple of bridge runs to break it up and a luncheon at one of the best food court places in the world made it bearable.  Still, far too much coffee and a lack of a breakthrough on the backwards circles made for a day that took far too long.  Absolutely nothing of interest on the work front but did see ‘Volver’ afterwards – everything was very beautiful from the food to the star and her surprising singing voice and the plot was suitably convoluted for an Almodovar film with the expected sexual deviancy relatively subdued.  Not getting enough sleep but diversions are more than tolerable – when there’s nothing on and I’m bored senseless I’ll pine for these days.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

I Have Secured Peace In Our Time

9 January – Well, it may not have been the worst day ever but it was certainly close.  With all permanents back to their owners, an oversupply of labour in the constricted market and the fact that Brettski was back on the bridge it left not much more than to try to tolerate Sam the barista and force myself to wander across town whenever one of the few trips I was given popped up on the screen.  Managed to get a few international calls in before the credit ran out (at least Vodafone didn’t win the international round this month) and have a coffee with my recently returned Brazilian vacationee – whilst sipping coffee at Darling Park with her a job popped up on the screen to take something from the Amex building on Liverpool down to the HSBC on George.  After racing up to Liverpool (despite not needing to) I found that young Katherine had misaddressed the pickup and it was actually supposed to come from Japan Air Lines ... At Darling Park.  If you don’t feel my pain you’ve never been a courier,  Was let off early soon after and spent half an hour trying to ride a backwards circle in Martin Place – every time I came close some tourist would decide to walk into the back of me so no luck there.  Tight arse Tuesday meant movie night and, having missed out due to a sellout the previous week, I gave Babel a try – very violent, very powerful, but a bit excessive – the one conclusion I came to was that there was a lot of f**ked up s**t going on and there are a lot of f**ked up people in the world ... Or at least in that film.  10pm is also far too late for reconciliation at a pub.

Monday, 8 January 2007

Then There Were Six

8 January – Upon starting today I pushed the ‘Brief Permanents’ button in the vain hope that someone may have forgotten to transfer them to their rightful owner but all that came up was the lowly CATINS and KPMSYD – a mighty distance for a pittance.  That said, the rest of the day, whilst grindingly slow, did have a little bit of movement involved now that our ranks had swelled by a factor of 2.  Was back on the bridge after a short absence and spent most of my time gnashing my teeth about the incompetence of our trip jockey (not that he was really that bad but I was in a bad mood regardless).    When I struggled to a blathering stop at the end of the day I came home to a sign posted on my bike saying that it was blocking the fire exit and it would be forcibly removed if I didn’t do it (i’d like to see them try to get through the Kryptonite) and then had to spend an hour waiting for a delivery in order to take the journey out to Gordon for a free meal (I’ll do most of my journeys for a sandwich).  Glutted out on bottom feeders, omnivorous mammals and cold fat and empty calories (and it was good).  After this took a brief sidetrip via Robespierre’s house where I introduced myself to the new Wii – f**king awesome, a Sony killer in the making, the first time I’ve played a game where I felt sore afterwards (disregarding the wall eyes, RSI cramped hands and spasmed back from not shifting position for four hours straight) - pity me bro had to lock himself out of his flat when he took me home – the boy should know better.  

Sunday, 7 January 2007


7 January – Sometimes too much better really is too much butter as my over abused stomach found out today – when it was given too much butter.  On the ride back towards the homestead I passed a sign that said $1.50 takeaway coffee, thinking that this was an opportunity potentially too hot to miss I wheeled around and ordered one worrying all the while that I’d be getting my money’s worth and no more.  However, despite it turning out to be really quite decent I was dismayed to hear the lad asking for $2.20.  Now, I’ve no problem with paying $2.20 for a coffee but when I’ve been told by the sign that it’s $1.50 that’s all I expected to pay.  And the smug bastard even had the temerity to act magnanimous when he graciously accepted the $2 coin I’d already handed over as full payment.  I’d a right mind to demand the change and threaten to report him to the ACCC for deceptive advertising ... But, I don’t like to make a scene.  Recommended a visiting New York messenger try Crisis out for a short term job but don’t think he’ll have much luck – I can only do what I can.  A bunch of personal errands demanded my attention – reminded myself to stop collecting napkins in my back pocket throughout the day because I never remember to take them out before a watch and after shaking all my washing out in my bedroom spent half an hour vacuuming up the bits and pieces of paper that had fallen, like snow, over every free surface.  All quiet on the western front but it could just be the lull of the storm.  Thanks to Fiona from Sydney Festival I found myself with two tickets to the unexpectedly excellent Telophaza show at the Capital.  On Friday, whilst waiting for a lift, I’d asked her if there was anything she’d recommend I go to at the Festival and she responded by offering me tickets to either Rosemary Cash on Saturday or Telophaza on Sunday – having already been booked out of time for the exciting task of manoeuvring closets into trucks I opted with the latter.  First real freebie in my entire messenger career.  Hurrah.  Vietnamese dinner proved somewhat disappointing but the show was incredible: forty dancers with the most beautiful bodies imaginable, incredible choreography, excellent music and a runtime of an hour (no time to get squeamish in one’s seat).  The audience participation caused a bit of self consciousness but undoubtedly the best dance event I think I’ve seen.  And I’ve seen a few.

Deposit Into The Karma Pool

6 January – No food in the house so had to seek out breakfast in other places – first choice was closed, as was the second and somehow that justified a trip to McDonalds (where, I stand by my statement that the breakfast while not very great is far superior to their daytime menu) - probably not the best idea but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  After that took a trip over the bridge to Evil Kath and Adrian’s house where they had claimed to have packed up their possessions in order for a select troupe of mighty men to perform the Herculean task of getting it all into two three-tonne trucks.  Could have been better prepared perhaps but all went without incident – lots of gigantic solid wood antiques and more child paraphernalia than could be counted but no winding staircases and that’s all you need for a relatively easy move.  Long drive up to the Blue Mountains in a dodgy Balmain Rentals truck that was missing the second gear and a working clutch – stopped for McDonalds for a brief meal which caused my stomach to seize up and twist for the rest of the day.  It’s not a common occurrence to head to the Golden Arches and two times in one day was just more than my body could bear. Managed to overcome the cholesterol in order to unload the load and I certainly didn’t envy the movee’s task of unpacking on the other side. My job there was done.  Another long drive back where I chatted with my driver, Matt, mostly about nuclear power and bicycles – returned trucks, visited personages in McMahons where I tried to shake off my still crippling stomach ache.  Did feel better later but that was probably because I was distracted – dangerous territory.

Friday, 5 January 2007

Fair Weather Friend

5 January – For some reason woke up long before the alarm but didn’t want to waste the early morning time on anything productive so forced myself to snooze out for a bit – headed to the No Fish Café rather than the latest syncing station at 370 Pitt and actually had a relaxed cup of coffee before heading in (emphasis on relaxed as opposed to gulping it down and moving on for some low paid cross town trip) - a bit of colour in the morning and some decent and profitable riding in the afternoon but all that should change come Monday.  The old timers are all coming back off their respective holidays and will be reclaiming their rightful permanents (and this is also just as I’ve managed to get Patsy from Department of Juvenile Justice to believe that I’m actually a courier for Toll who has been assigned to pick up the minister’s bag and not just a vagrant who wandered off the street to steal sensitive government documents) and what little ad-hoc stuff that is left will be split amongst six city riders rather than just three.  Paragon even called in specifically to ensure that I hand off the keys that I’ve been holding onto for the past week (despite the fact that I’ve not actually had a need to use them over the past two weeks).  Took the IP run to Alexandria by 430 which gave me time to relax at home before wandering back for an afternoon’s light tipple. Ozzie Andy’s up in Sydney for a bit (can’t really call him Ozzie over here admittedly but I just gag at his alternative nickname) - a couple of us headed to Chinatown for greasy food then a small cap before the day caught up with me.  As it always does.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

The Devil of Small Things

4 January – everything seemed okay in the morning but it just seemed that way – before I knew it I was overloaded and being stretched to the four points of the globe – it seemed like all day there were problems with pickups and deliveries – places were still closed (or at least the management of the buildings they worked in thought they were closed and kept the lifts out of order), gigantic jobs were represented as titchy little envelopes, jobs were cancelled and nobody bothered to tell me before I came to pick them up, the device constantly screwed up with phantom jobs and the dispatcher, inexplicably, seemed to forget the meaning of most of the words in the English language – each of these could be forgiven as just ‘one of dem fings’ but collectively they turned out to be a pain in the arse.  And, I wasn’t in a terribly good mood to start with. But, what are you going to do?  It’s just another day in the class.  Ended up ditching a planned reconciliation (although pretty certain  can claim it the other way) and spending an afternoon in the pub with Paul, my Crisis protégé - splendid fellow who’s life may have been changed, two days in a row drinking is not a good habit (but considering I’m on the tail end of the week I might be able to stretch it out to three or even four days – something that hasn’t been done for a sizeable amount of time. The AB seems to be doing rather well – the omelette is still very nice although it took far too long to make.  If anyone reading this can do anything about it I’d suggest they get on to it double quick time.  But I doubt they will.  

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Any more abuse and I go postal

3 January – Well, no flats in the morning but a whole heap of verbal abuse from the morning Farrer barista – a righteous wanker in every regard – justifies giving us awful service because we get a slight discount on our coffee.  It will not be stood for, this treatment.  Apparently you shouldn’t question the fact why he will put sugar in every coffee (to those who request it) unless you are a bicycle courier.  It’s got to be more of an effort to differentiate between the civilian and the courier coffees than is saved by shirking his duty.  Despite it never really being very busy there were great swathes of continuous riding,  none of it terribly profitable but moving was the important thing.  Had to get a bit creative in my routing in the afternoon but managed to incorporate a pickup of my phone from the wastrel who found it at the festival – had spoken to him the previous day but then he went and left his phone in the van so I couldn’t get in touch with him.  What kind of person leaves his phone in the phone?  Leaving it at a festival is one thing but that’s just ridiculous.  Mittwoch means cheap beer and cheap pizza and cheap entertainment in the depths of Surrey Hills so I got a bunch of all of it – was harassed by someone who had a really, really, really good time at Peats Ridge (it wasn’t a festival, it was a BESTival ... glurgh) ... Words have been spoken, lines have been drawn, smoke has been inhaled but more to come on that front.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

That Coke Ad

I’ve decided that I really don’t like Coke’s new whimsical fantasy about life inside a Coke machine.  Putting aside the magical awe and childlike wonder they’re attempting to instill in their loyal (see highly addicted) customer base – the one thing I really don’t like about it is the fantasy that they’re trying to have us believe that you can actually buy pop top bottles in any dispensing machine and the fallacy of being able to buy a Coke for 25c. That’s better than Thailand prices.

Not Enough Virgins

2 January – Couldn’t get a hold of the individuals who had my phone (and had to borrow the house phone to do it, which apparently was to cause a problem further down the line), it was raining hard as soon as I left the front door, before I even logged on I found I had a flat, fixed it with an overprice Clarence St inner tube, as soon as I’d ridden beyond walking distance from the bike shop I had another one, and whilst being relatively busy throughout the day it was a mess of bad routing, returns because people weren’t back from the holidays and a couple of misaddresses.  Was also seriously fuct around by a policeman who seemed to be very bitter about the fact that he had to work as a security guard in a building and therefore had nothing better to do than to see how much he could delay a courier to do his drop.  Day progressively got better as the sun came out but had a sense of unease throughout the day.  More tension in the house again but nothing that a night out and a selective lobotomy couldn’t fix.  The New Year had dawned and for some reason I’m still a courier – but there’s nowt to be done about that right now.  The real question for the day is why, when I went to see a movie, all four of the previews were for garish animated movies with jive talking anthropomorphic animals – haven’t we had enough?  And, I really don’t like movie endings which have all the characters dancing (badly) to a pop classic (also a bad one).  

Monday, 1 January 2007

Hippie's Paradise

New Years Weekend of 0607 – Had a respectable distance to cover on the Saturday morning – Redfern to Gordon (another excellent non stop ride which I pleased me immensely – so much so that I even felt obliged to tell the parents despite knowing they would never approve of running a red light) - was fed pancakes by mum (always good but the one that she cooks for herself is always so much better than the ones she makes for us, a mystery to which I think I will never find the answer).  >From there it was pretty much next stop – Peats Ridge – almost got cleaned up by a car trailing a boat whilst still on the Pacific Highway but once I got on the freeway it was almost smooth sailing the entire way – 110km speed limit and I was flying past the backed up cars for the first ten klicks – by that reckoning I must have been going a cool 120kph, no mean feat on a fixie, but this was only until a carefully aimed staple gun shot a packing staple right into my rear tyre stranding me for 15m while I fixed it (was very surprised by how many jeers and laughs I got from passing motorists – not THAT many but baffled why anyone would do that at all).  The rest of the ride was fine and after a few hours I found myself at the entrance to the site – very sketchy descent down the mountain to the campsite where my very specific instructions led me straight to the campsite.  Kind of.  Directions were real pirate’s treasure style (cross the bridge, turn right for 100 paces until the you see the Silver Mercedes then turn left and walk another 30 paces until you see the Silver Ute with the number plate of whatever – if only I knew where to start ... Alexandretta perhaps?). Caught up with the main crew of very well prepared happy campers and settled down to mass enjoyment of festival.  Food was okay but expensive (but it’s a festival so everything is expensive).  The other guys I was with had spent 4 hours descending the mountain  because of a huge traffic jam and spent the rest of the trip unfavourably comparing it to Woodford Festival’s organisation – the traffic jam had scarred some of them so much that they even changed their plans and returned to Sydney on the New Year’s Eve to avoid the dreaded jam on the way back out.    Crowd was pretty friendly, bit feral and a bit hippy but mostly chilled and friendly once you looked beyond the dreadlocks and into the heart within (doesn’t work with everybody with dreadlocks) - saw a fair few people I knew – a couple of couriers including Paddles – one of the serious long timers who I’ve never met before but turned out to be a very friendly chap – wonder if he’ll talk to me on the street though, school friends (?) and baristas scattered around Sydney.  A lot of music was seen – some really good, some pretty good and some good if you’re a hippy but abysmal if you’re me – liked the enviro-friendly determination of the organisers and I even thought about going to a workshop on climate change but the pub won out in the end.  The Eve was very pleasant – a bit of a swapover of participants – some leaving and some arriving resulting in a net nothing – ingested far too much of far too many different things but didn’t seem to cause too much anxiety – almost missed the countdown after spending hours tracking down various bits and pieces all over the entire festival but saw it and enjoyed it and then enjoyed the night some more.  Ah, Peats Ridge, what a very decent place.  Headed homeward reasonably early after our group had left - couldn’t find my phone but was pretty certain it was in my big bag that was being motored back to Sydney so didn’t worry about it – very fast run back down the freeway – some excessively long descents which are really not pleasant on a fixie, definitely would have been the fastest I’ve ever gone on that bike but it makes me feel like a naughty marionette doll, my legs just being rattled to pieces by the spinning cranks – couple of pit stops on the way home meant a rather late return but it did mean I was fed a few times and I like being fed.  Upon arriving back in Sydney I went to a little bit of an effort to find my mobile phone – searched rucksack, got Paul to search the tent (after he had returned from hospital with suspected appendicitis – which is another story entirely for the human equivalent of Smurls McKenzie) and tried calling it and after repeated attempts finally got through to Andy, who was sitting out at Peats Ridge, recovering from the previous night’s festivities.  However, all was not lost as Andy happens to live about three blocks down the road – it’s a small world after all.

Sax C Is Not A Driver, Sax C Is A Biker

28 and 29 December – Why should I separate two days when I’m writing about them in one post?  There’s no rules in my personal code of conduct which force the posts to be split by 24 hour periods when generally nothing of consequence has happened over multiple 24 hour periods.  I didn’t write anything on the 28th so it’s coming in with the 29th.  Suffice to say that Thursday was much better than Wednesday – Kurt back on and the incompetent operator substitute off or at least inflicting his horrific dispatching to the car drivers.  Did a north run and even had a break where I went home for half an hour and enjoyed the relaxation that one could have when it’s really really quiet and you’re in the right head space to enjoy it.  North side where I had an excellent meal cooked for me and other delights including but not limited to not only Moet but Chandon as well.  Much of Friday’s work was minimised by a few strategic phone calls and cajoling and seducing and brow beating of secretaries and security guards.  Did a bit of bicycle maintenance – replaced rear tyre with its risky sidewall gash and Chevette was also given a sneaky going over by Jamie who fixed the brake, oiled the chain and gave a full mechanic’s report on her.  Have reconsidered the choice of tomorrow’s vehicle of choice and the girl might just edge the pre-op.  Snuck in a beer in the early afternoon (my third ever (I think) that I’ve had whilst actually on the job and finished by taking two permanent jobs (that I’d secretly hoped would be futile – even though I’d relied on the hope that they’d be yesterday and was screwed and ended up doing a slightly shady transaction that enabled me to screw over a colleague somewhat) back to Eveleigh (is that actually a suburb?  It looks like it’s Redfern to me) which was a minute away from Chez Sax.  Decided I’d work from home for the rest of the afternoon – something I always wanted to try when I was swimming in the depths of the corporate pool but only managed to actually do when I was a courier.  I’m trying to decide whether I’m blind or an insectophile or just have a high level of tolerance but apparently the house is being overwhelmed by a plague of cockroaches of biblical proportions that are threatening our very lives – somehow we’re survivng.