November 23, 2008

lindsay goes to melbourne.

I will not go into the linziesque way my trip to Melbourne started--you all know me well enough to probably guess. However, did you know there is such a thing as iridology? I was reading over the shoulder of my fellow bus-rider who was highlighting madly into some booklet. Iridology- "the study of iris diagnosis." Hm. Take a moment to think about that. I know I did.

Anyhoo, I arrived on time to Avalon airport: the Gateway to Melbourne and Geelong. (And that's where it hits me-- I have been livestreaming Geelong's rock station at work for the past few months...I had thought it was somewhere in South Australia and I had spelled it "Jalong" in my mind. Oh the things we learn.)

To get to the city, I took an hour long bus ride and then took the subway two stops to my hostel. The public transportation in Melbourne is awesome-- buy a ticket and hop and off the trains, trams, and buses, as much as you want. My kind of city. :)

The Freeman Lodge is a hostel run by an older man named Bob and his wife (whose name I did not get). He's Swedish and has lived in Melbourne for forty years. He was a sailor for most of his life. A real live Sailor. Cool. He started the hostel only five years ago-- and I have to stay, it's just a treat! I recommend it to anyone traveling to Melbourne. It's quiet and clean..and just lovely. Also, it's very green. Signs everywhere calling visitors to recycle and conserve water. My kind of place. :)

OH, and there's a cat. He and I watched "iRobot" on Friday night.

Julie, doesn't he remind you of Flo? hahahahahaha, okay, okay-- you're right. He doesn't. However, he was a pretty hefty cat who slept all day.

The reason I went to Melbourne was to attend the University of Melbourne Linguistics and Applied LInguistics Post-graduate Conference. Notice the "University of Melbourne." Also, on the map--there it is clear as day: University of Melbourne, at the corner of Grattan St and Swanston St.

Lindsay: Good morning sir. Could you tell me where to catch the tram to the University of Melbourne?

Mr. Help-People Guy: Where are you trying to go?

Lindsay: University of Melbourne.

Mr. Help-People Guy: (pause). OHHHH! Melbourne Uni! Yes, just go out this way and the tram stop is on the corner. We don't call it the University of Melbourne, that's why I didn't understand the first time.

I arrived early to "Melbourne Uni," and so went across from the campus to this lovely little cafe named the "Animal Orchestra." It reminded me of that vegan cafe I used to go to in Savannah. It also kind of reminded me of Big Bear, but not as much for some reason. I had DELICIOUS coffee there and was very happy.

On some paintings in the presentation room were these two quotes: "Ah me! What perils doth the youth encounter. Who dares within the Fellow's Bog do enter." "The Master's Wig the guilty wight appals. Who brings his Dog within the College Walls." Notice the brilliant use of capitalization Cecily.

With all of this said, the conference was lovely. I'm glad I went.
I also have a list of things to do when I come again! (And yes, there are PENGUINS involved!!) Now the week is about to begin again-- back to work! But what is even better is that in 9 days Vincent arrives.... hip hip hooray! Everyone: be happy for me! And be happy for Vincent!

And now, your moment of Zen:

This was located in the Starbucks I stopped at before going to the airport in Melbourne.

November 13, 2008

Needed: mental space builders

Today, while I was very VERY busy working on my upcoming conference presentations and DAT homework I came across this comic:

...and let's just say, it got me thinking. (Cecily, I hope you are reading this, because I secretly want you to make me a comic). Ever since arriving to Sydeny, I have been in constant anxiety. Mind you, it's not the kind of anxiety that causes high blood pressure, but rather it's the kind that causes very dull paranoia...which with time has manifested itself into subtle self-doubt and acute frustration. And now, I can say with a sigh of relief that I have figured out why!
It's my freaking incompetent American mental space builders.
I mean, to be honest, most of them left before I got on the plane. "I don't wanna go to Australia," replied Harry (a space builder since 1972 and who had been with me since 1981), "They eat Vegemite there!!" "Nah, I think I'll stick around here," explained Freida, "I got a really good offer from a builder for one of your friends on the West coast." "I can't go there," whispered Mike, "I don't speak Australian."

At the time I just huffed and puffed and told them all "Good riddance, I didn't want y'all to come ANYWAY!"

Well, it turns out that Mike had actually hit the monkey with the banana! And once I arrived in Sydney, I learned that none of my other mental space employees knew Australian either! Now, all they do is complain and form unions. "We can't work in these conditions," explained the union rep Sal, "they have different building codes here!" "The materials LOOK the same, but then we get admonished by the Mental Space Monitoring Committee. Fred's on probation until February for using inadequate connectors to your want space," Paula whined.

And they have a point: I drink iced lattes now for Pete's sake because he just can't get a handle on the "coffee" situation here. UNFORTUNATE TOTAL INCOMPETENCE.

So, if I don't get screwed in the union talks next Tuesday I'm going to take my sanity, what's left of it, and hire some new guys. Australian builders are more expensive, but they'll be worth it if I can buy bus tickets in peace, or actually explain what it is I'm doing here... it must be done. So, Sal, Fred, Pete....get your construction hats on-- come Monday, you're going to be gettin' a lesson in space building down under Aussie style!