Christmas

December 31, 2004

Saturday was Christmas. I drank toooo much and had conversations by phone and email that I don’t really remember, and some that I really don’t remember. Sunday was Boxing Day. We went to Mum and Dad’s for the family get-together. Brad drank beer on the couch and I played with extension cords, then did too much work and didn’t talk much to the family.

On Monday we went to Busselton. That was it. Got there, sat around. Oh, and watched a mammoth lightning show from the beach for about two hours, that night.

Tuesday. Beach. Mild sunburn. “Holy Cow” by Sarah McDonald.

Wednesday. Hit the big smoke – Margaret River for coffee and lemon lime brulee at the near-ubiquitous Dome.

Thursday. Went home. Got into a big frustrating argument about religions with the-Brad-whose-opinion-is-thetruth. Initiated by the aforementioned Holy Cow book. Went through a speed camera doing 10 over. Crap.

Today is New Year’s Eve. We are actually going out tonight, to the Left Bank near Freo. I plan to have some drinks and some fun and not get spewed on or hit on or get too drunk.

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American Idiot

December 26, 2004

Had a lovely evening at Wally and Mia’s on Friday night. Nothing exciting to report, was all very quiet. Wally and Jackie gave us about a kilo of yummy chocolates with which to create an insulating layer around ourselves, to put off hypothermia in a few weeks when we get to the UK.

Yesterday was long and alcohol-soaked. I had bought 2 magnums of champagne and Brad reckons I drank the lot. I don’t think so, maybe a good bit of one of them though. We arrived at Helen and Sean’s at about 10.30 and mucked around for a while before beginning the present opening extravaganza. Everyone had bought each other great stuff, and lots of it, judging by the rising level of wrapping paper across the carpet. Had a temporary guilty twinge thinking about the alarming increase in rubbish output that Christmas is responsible for, but quashed it with some champers. Barry and Blake were over from Sydney, and Blake got lots of huge things, and had brought his Australian Idol karaoke set, and proceeded to entertain us with “Don’t want to be an American Idiot” yelled somewhat discordantly for about an hour (that’s the only line he knows, and the only song he likes on the CD). Helen and Sean gave a big fat wad of pounds, to help us out when we arrive in the UK.

I rang and spoke to Ema and Martha who both sounded happy and well. Actually that’s all I remember of that conversation – I was pretty trashed. I will have to follow up in a more sober state, at some stage. I also indulged my inner geek by getting on the computer while everyone else was in the pool, and downloading virus protection for the parents, reading blogs and emailing bloggers. Later Valdi came over and we watched Point Break, for some reason. There was no way I was driving home after all that, so we made up the bed on a mattress in the lounge and slept there. What a crappy night’s sleep I had. Heat and alcohol meant I stayed awake most of the night, finally slept between about 4am and 9am. By the time I got up, Helen and Sean had left for Busselton, so Jess and I watched the 80s/early 90s special on Video Hits, and felt nostalgia for teased fringes and bike shorts.

Later Brad and I went home then drove up to Kingsley to pick up Kathy from Denise and Gary’s, before taking the circuitous route (thanks to a few wrong turnings) to Mum and Dad’s for our family Christmas thing. I am so glad our families are so stable and organised around Christmas. Brad’s has always done Christmas Eve, and ours has always done Boxing Day. I’m so grateful that it’s so easy, when it could be such a hassle. First we did presents with Kathy. She bought Brad and I a calendar full of Australian images, to take with us and remind us of home, and also a travel book for Europe. After that, Brad sat on the couch and drank beer while Kathy and I organised stuff, mainly lighting and extension cords. Most of the family turned up, except for a few who either didn’t want a “late night”, or had to work. We finally got home, with Kathy, at about 11.30pm. As she is borrowing the car, she is sleeping on our couch tonight, and will probably stay tomorrow too, when we will be in Busselton.

Winding up to wind down

December 24, 2004

Well the Christmas rush is about to hit with full force. I have not finished my thesis, bummer. Brad and I went to have some Christmas drinks with Henry last night and it all escalated. First we went to KK’s to meet Henry. Simon Willis was there – few years since I’ve seen him. He tutored Brad in a Materials unit a few years ago, and recognised him since Brad was at the time a 4th year in a 2nd year subject, so it was all pretty easy for him. He remembered me, then was spun out to find that not only do Brad and I know each other, we’ve been together for several years. He then spent about 20 minutes telling us how awesome ebay is, and went off back to his mates.

After a drink, we decided to go down to Steve’s to meet up with Valdi, who was kicking on after his work Xmas party. Simon saw us leaving and came down with us. I had been planning to go home and do some work, the rest of my Thursday quota, but it did not eventuate. Around 11ish I (still well below 0.05) managed to get everyone out of the pub. Yes I could have just left but I was driving, and people wanted lifts. Just not yet. Bad luck. Took Valdi and Megan to his house, while Brad and Simon went back to Henry’s. Then came back, got the 3 boys, and went to Simon’s place up near Claremont. That dude has some cash, he has a very nice car, RX8. The purpose of the visit was to listen to Billie Jean backwards.

Simon is a DJ and has tens of thousands of dollars worth of vinyl, including an old copy of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Believe it or not, when played backwards, the line “with heads that turned and eyes that dreamed of being the one” (which never made much sense contextually) becomes “I believe in child raping”. It really does. It’s so clear, it really pops out from the usual cacophony of backtalk. However, no-one seems to have published this gem. I couldn’t find it with Google, which means it’s impossible to find. Actually, update, some people who can’t even get the song’s name right assert that there is no such backwards phrase in a song they refer to as Billie Jane. I suggest that if they can’t spell it, they probably haven’t seen the actual vinyl and probably haven’t actually heard it. Whereas I have, and it’s there. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be valid, it was probably just some jokey sound engineer if anything. Who knows. Anyway it’s amusing, and that’s enough for me.

So with all that excitement and late-bedtimeness, I didn’t get up very early this morning. Got to uni and checked my email to find a completely unconstructive email from one of my supervisors. I’d sent him a first go at my thesis abstract, so that he could send it to one of his mates, with a request to examine my thesis. He replied along the lines of “what a stupid project, what did you do that for, and how can you draw those conclusions?” Well hello? I’ve been doing this project for almost 4 years now, perhaps these issues of yours could have been drawn to my attention somewhat earlier? His idea of being constructive is to tell you what else you should do to prove things. However, what he clearly needs to learn is that at this late stgae his focus should be on helping his students to make the best of what they have. Grrr. No wonder his quickest PhD student completion over the last decade or so has been 5 and a half years. Bearing in mind that the university now gives us a maximum candidature of 4 years. Grrr. Anyway I went and had a whinge to Giles (who agreed with me on the “he’s such a tool”), and had an espresso, and regained cheerful composure. Then it was morning teatime and Secret Santa. By the time I got into some writing it was about 12pm, at which time everyone went home and the building was locked down. Worked until about 1.30, at which point I got a bit sick of being here with no-one else around, and rang Brad to say I was coming home. This evening we are having Christmas Eve celebrations at Brad’s grandparents house, which is always low-key and good.

Breakfasts

December 22, 2004

Had a lovely breakfast with Dana on Monday. I rarely get up early enough to face the world before 7am, but when I do, it’s always worth it. The air is beautiful that early, especially when it’s going to be a hot day. We had coconut toast and coffee at Cino to go, and glasses of water with floating strawberries, and talked about theses. Dana has an extra year on me, but my thesis is close to finished and hers sounds like it’s really not, so that makes me feel better. She needs a project manager for a boyfriend too. I feel a bit guilty for feeling smug in comparison to her, but on the other hand, it’s a valid life strategy. Rather than wishing you were like others who appear more successful, just be glad you’ve got it sorted out better than those less fortunate…

Had my nails done yesterday, it was very busy at Mandee’s. I only have 2 more appointments. Don’t know if I’m going to be able to afford to keep doing it when I get to Leicester.

Today started with postgrad breakfast across the road at Matilda Bay. It was possibly the worst-attended in years. I got there at 8.15 and Emma was the only one there. Later Katy, Melissa and Kristyn turned up. We had massive bowls of muesli served by the clone of Tracey’s husband.

After breakfast, did a bit of work for a while, then chucked it in to go and have Neuro Group Xmas Lunch at Steve’s. It was a beautiful setting, long table outside in filtered sunlight. Had a massive (although entree-sized) seafood risotto. Afterwards we ordered a serve of sticky date pudding and stuck a candle in it, since it’s Ajanthy’s birthday tomorrow.

Turns out it was the last meal I would ever have there, since the whole building’s being demolished for apartments in the New Year. It used to be huge, a happening place every day of the week, but I think complaining neighbours and restrictions on noise and opening ho0urs have resulted in a loss of business, making it viable no longer. The fact that it’s prime real estate doesn’t help the pub’s cause.

I am hoping to have all sections of my thesis completed by Friday afternoon. It’s do-able but I’m not sure if it will actually get done, because my writing timetable doesn’t allow for circumstances to conspire against me, as they tend to do. However, I have done the bulk of it, so that’s good in itself.

Friday

December 19, 2004

Friday evening was good. Drinks went on for a while. Sorted out New Year’s – going to the Left Bank, just need to buy tickets.

We had 2 parties last night – Sandy’s birthday and Kirsty’s. Due to the lack of a car, however, we didn’t make it to Kirsty’s. Got a lift with H&S to Sandy’s and went home fairly early, about 9pm, as we were pretty tired.

Tomorrow I have to get up early as I am having breakfast with Dana in Subi at 7am!

Days

December 17, 2004

Well it’s been days! since I last posted. I can hardly remember everything.

On Monday we had lab lunch #1 at the Blue Duck, which was overpriced as usual. I had a yummy bright red strawberry “duckari”. Everyone was fairly subdued and I was feeling super stressed about my lack of progress thesis-wise. Giles asked me how I was going and I complained that it was hard and difficult and horrible, and he reminded me about the ~10 page final discussion I also have to do. That night I had a meltdown when Brad asked me how it was going. I realised that I was in denial about having no plan and having made no progress. He was understandably frustratedly mad at me, and got me to write a proper thesis outline (I did one for honours, but didn’t realise this time around just how important it is) and also showed me how to use Outlook to book meetings.

Tuesday was packed. Psych first thing (by which stage Brad had already sorted me out, for free), haircut at lunch time, Dr after that for referral letter, then Giles after that, then finally lunch around afternoon tea time. Since then I’ve pretty much been writing, as solidly as possible. I have ticked off lots of the sections on my thesis outline, but it’s still really short (15,606 words and counting) and I haven’t done much of the hard bits (lit review, final discussion) yet. However, there should be a completed framework by Christmas. Then I can just tart up the language, add references and pad it out until I approach 50k.

We had our departmental Xmas lunch-thing on Wednesday, at which food was not plentiful. There was champagne though. It was catered by ref ladies and the standard was remarkably good, even if the overwhelming majority of options were carb-loaded and deep fried.

Yesterday afternoon we took the car to Brad’s parents’ house and washed it and dried it and vacuumed it out – it looked beautiful. Then this morning some lady went and bought it, yay I suppose. It’s good that we sold it, but crap that we now have to endure a Perth summer without air-conditioning – I will borrow the Lancer from Dad. In summer that car is like an oven, with hairdryers instead of airvents. What fun is ahead.

Tonight I am going to do no work. Valdi gave me a lift to uni this morning and is picking me up soon. We might do a bit of Xmas shopping before we go and have a drink with Brad and Henry. Tomorrow we are going to Sandy’s bday even though we are young people and she is not. Then we might go to Kirsty’s if we can get a lift or a taxi or something.

Flight 69

December 12, 2004

Last night was the long-awaited Worley Xmas party. It was really good. The airline theme was a bit dodgy, with all the “Flight 69 is now boarding” “Flight time wil be five hours” and the smoke machines and blue lights and disco balls (well, they were cool). The food and service were great and the wine and beer were plentiful. I saw Carole from Zoology and went over to chat, but I don’t think she remembered my name.

Brad works with so many great people, I think he will miss them when we move. I had a chat with Barry and his girlfriend Tiet, also met Simon and Renee who were great. They have 2 girls, 10 and 6. Renee is a “horse chick” as Brad says, and their girls have ponies too. She’s the one who had the CSF leak, so we talked about that too. She also lectures in beauty therapy so we talked about acrylic nails. Terry, Brad’s boss from Worsley, talked up Brad a lot and told me he’d write him a reference. I also met Annalise who was at UWA with Brad, and also Sean, another oil & gas person.

After we got kicked out of the ballroom at midnight, we went to the casino for a little while and got rid of our free gambling vouchers. Then we went to the Ruby Room, where Mr Lawless turned out to be nothing but talk (he got me to go and ask a hot blonde if she would dance with him, and got shot down – she’s “kinda seeing someone” which means “as if”). Other sensible people went home, but we went to Northbridge with Annalise and Sean. It was about 4am and nothing on James St was open, except the Paramount, which was fairly empty. We had one drink then all caught a taxi back here, and sat chatting on the balcony while the sun rudely came up. Brad and Annalise watched a bit of Knight Rider, then we all decided enough was enough and they left. We went to bed at about 5am and got up around lunchtime.

Yesterday evening we went to Valdi’s. His mum showed us a painting they had won in a raffle. We went to Carousel, where parking was significantly more possible than last time, and had dinner at the Foundry. Alisha met us after dinner and we all went to finally achieve success in our aim to see Team America (fuck yeah!). Trey Parker and Matt Stone for President!

After the movie Leish went home, and Brad and I went back to Valdi’s to put music on Brad’s iPod from Valdi’s hard drive. Then it was my turn, and Helen iPod drama began. Brad had just updated his firmware but hadn’t restarted the computer yet. So it wouldn’t recognise mine. So we restarted, and iTunes overwrote my database with Brad’s. Panic! My songs were still in there, but iTunes was refusing to re-read them and generate a menu because that’s not how it works. Finally we backed up my songs and data onto Valdi’s RADE drive, formatted my iPod, and put all the songs back on. It was scary but now it’s all ok and I have nice new firmware. Very scary. I thought all my songs had been lost. Due to that little drama we got home a bit late – got to sleep at about 3.30, got up around 12.

This afternoon Brad went back to Valdi’s and I went shopping. I was intending to go to Perth and do some Christmas shopping, but I only got as far as Harbour Town and bought some tops instead since there were massive sales on. Anyway, you need lists before attempting Christmas shopping and I don’t have any ideas let alone lists. I bought some yummy takeaway Oyakodon (chicken and veges in egg with rice and msg-filled sauce – yum) and had that as a lunch/dinner when I got home. Now I’m going to think about Christmas presents, my summer wardrobe, Christmas food and finally my icky thesis. After all, I am the Procrastinator!