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London Training Dates Confirmed

Heads up y’all: I will be in London from September 4th to October 27th. I’ll probably go on a trip through Europe right after, but because it’d be nearly winter I’m thinking to keep it shorter than I was originally thinking, and then pop back in Melbourne for a few days or a week, which hopefully will be after everyone’s finished exams.

The reason being, of course, that starting on the 4th means… my 21st will be on the other side of the world to where I’ve lived my whole life. Kinda scary to say the least, but muchos excitement too. Then when I get back I’ll have my much-delayed party, about halfway or near the end of November, before running back to work up here. Still, that whole deal is more than half a year away, so I can put it at the back of my mind until it springs sideways at me somewhere in August.

Also, will be Melbourne weekend of 11th-12th March. Mostly family time scheduled, but if you really want to hang out let me know and I’ll try to arrange. Holi is on the 12th for anyone interested in Indian Mayhem.

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Woke up this morning a minute or so before my alarm – something my body manages to instinctively start doing about a week after getting into a regular waking time, and it’s totally frustrating when I want to sleep in. I remembered the last dream I had, which I presume was moments before I woke up, and it was a bizarre one. I was wandering the streets of a Sydney-esque CBD with two friends, Ama & Chicky, and Chicky touched a poisonous green-tree-frog-like crocodile and fainted. The rush was then on to get her to a hospital in time, and we were running across the city following some strange signs to the nearest hospital. I was carrying Chicky, and Ama refused to help because he said “She’s your responsibility.” We got to the hospital in the nick of time, and that’s when I woke up.

So uh.. any dream interpreters out there?

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One of those days

When you spend an entire day achieving nothing except sweating in the heat… you know, it’s really been one of those days.

When you probably have spoken, hell expressed in any form, less than 1000 words, you know it’s been one of those days.

Today has been one of those days.


Gillette Fusion

The Gillette Fusion: Now with 5 blades! (Plus another one mounted backwards) When will the madness end?


Visited: MCA Sydney

Visited the MCA today during lunchtime, to see the Kienholz exhibit – drawn in particularly by the promo pic of the Statute of Liberty holding up a neon sign saying “It’s not my fault” – great image. For the rest of the exhibit however, I realised I’m not much suited to the appreciation of contempary art. Or most art for that matter.

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From the inside

No-one ever tells you, up front, that the first few weeks on the job are going to be boring. That you’ll get given no work, and you’ll have to sit there and fill the tedious hours, trying to make it look like you’re actually doing something while all you’re really doing is twiddling your thumbs. Computers are useful for acheiving this, and having three screens doubly – indeed, tripley – so.

Or you get work that is just mindnumbing. Repetitive. This is the kind of work they’re outsourcing to India, and I’m glad of it, but where on earth do they manage to find it for the newbies? It’s drudgery no one wants to do when they’ve signed up to do so much more by way of bigger and better things.
But. When you get on the inside, when you’ve put in 2 to 3 weeks of no work and no play, then people start to open up and tell you that yes, infact, they too went through the same few torturous weeks of wasting time “settling in”. My Dad’s done it, the other grads are saying as much, the older grads here have done it, some of the other team members have admitted as much – the others are still taking their time admitting to it I guess.

So. The news from the inside is: first few weeks of “proper work”? Boring. Like you couldn’t imagine.

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9 Things I do not miss about Melbourne

Having my nose blocked, all the time – Melbourne has a class of pollen that go above and beyond the call of duty, making my life bloody miserable. Being able to breathe freely is a vastly underestimated privilege

The bloody weather – I think there’s only been one day here in the last 3 weeks (gods, has it been that long already?) that I’d say was sub-par weather, and we’ve had a range of weather here. Don’t have to carry a jacket with me at all times on the risk of a cold snap.

Warmth, or rather lack thereof – Sydney is a Proper Summer as far as I’m concerned. Shorts and t-shirt are almost mandatory when you’re not being forced to wear monkey suits and outmoded “fashion”. To work of course. Here I can go out at 9:30 at night and not feel bloody cold. Quite pleasant actually.

Being miles from anything by way of regular public transport – Bus to station is definitely not cool. Walking there takes maybe 15 min, 20 if you’re feeling relaxed, and that’s far better than at least 20 min by car. Plus, where I live the services are nearly all expresses during the daytime – major roxors.

Not being able to pay the toll by coinage – why Melbourne (and now Sydney’s newest freeway, the M7) must have cashless tollways is beyond me. It’d make life a lot easier for the tourists, that’s for sure.

Seeing the same people day in, day out – =P As cool as it is having a tight knit group of people around, it’s far more fun to have a variety of people to hang with should you choose it. It’s like going from an iPod shuffle to a iPod Video 60gb. More options! (ok, terrible analogy, but the boss’ VideoPod is being flashed around the office right now. Muchos sweetness). No (real) offence intended for the regulars, but I just need more variety in my interaction, and I’d got bogged in to a pattern in Melbourne.

Curfew – I can set my own curfew! I mean, for the weekdays, it’s completely irrelevant… and the weekends, well, there’s not been many so far, but it’s good to know I do control it. Of course, given that in the last hour I’ve yawned at least 7 times, it’s not been doing me much good.

Misnomers – Calling pencils “greyleads”, pacers “mechanical pencils” and handball “2- (or 4-) square” and other such multiarious examples. Life doesn’t exactly revolve around these kind of things, but they make that 1% difference that you notice. Eventually.

The oh-you’re-from-Melbourne-High-so-you-must-be-an-intellectual-snob attitude – schools still come up at this stage, and it’s only the other Melbourne grads who adopt that “oh right MHS.” kind of attitude. It’s refreshingly different, and being the only one from Monash also makes for more differentiation. And that is a Good Thing.

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9 Things I Miss About Melbourne

Good cafes and restaurants – living in Knox spoilt me as much as going to school in the city. It may not seem like much, but the quality and number of cafes & restaurants in Melbourne is far and above what is here in Sydney. Maybe I just live in the wrong place, but there is a glaring lack of anything that passes for a restaurant of the quality I was used to in Melbourne. They’re cheaper, sure, but there’s a depressing lack of choice (Italian or Chinese is pretty much the whole list within 20 min of my place). Monday night the streets were dead and so were the restaurants. So what I want to know is: where are the people? Surely they can’t all be home on this gorgeous a night. Plus the number of cars parked by the side of the road indicates the people are somewhere around after all the other shops have closed; they just don’t happen to be on the streets.

Friday night late shopping – it’s only Thursday nights up here. And if you happen to be busy Thursday, the weekend is the only chance (after of course you’ve done the washing and cleaning up and had your lazy sleep in morning and visited a friend…). Plus, much like Monday night, once the shops are closed, it turns into a ghost town. Unless you’re in the city – in which case it’s pretty much a ghost town where the main pubs and bars are not packed with corporate clones finishing the week. Maybe it’s just a ghost town in comparison to the hectic day.

Trams – what with trams would be a 5 minute hop across the city turns into a 15 min hike. Complain as you like about the trams service being crap and slow, it sure beats walking in 30 degree heat through thousands of others on their lunch break. I will go on the record as saying I do not miss the trains, no matter how much complaint locals are making about the new timetable.

Knowing the place – This is something that just takes time, but in Melbourne it’s very quick & easy to orient yourself – there’s only so many streets in the CBD. Here, I discover a new alley, street or shortcut-arcade daily. Plus it makes recommending places & giving routes nigh on impossible. Don’t know any of the good bars or clubs or whatnot.

Straightforward streets – related to knowing the place is having straightforward streets. You look at a map of Melbourne, and nearly everywhere you have this nice giant grid to navigate through. You look at a map here and see multiple spaghetti strands leading everywhere. It’s probably more “real world”, but you cannot drive on autopilot here. Satnav is a good idea here.

Friends within 10 min – In Melbourne I had a compact set of friends (both a good and bad thing). Here, it takes me at least 5 minutes to get out of my own suburb (fiendish roundabouts and unnecessarily twisty roads), and my closest friend lives at least 20 min away (excluding family friends). I don’t mind the drive, but it’s a psychological thing – “Gonna take me at least 25 min to get there…”

The Big TV – how on earth do you watch TV on this tiny little thing? And half the screen is missing when I’m watching a movie! Let alone the fact that the sound is coming out of a single tiny mono speaker.

Family – Gee, you weren’t expecting this one were you? Miss getting home and just chewing the fat for an hour or so. Miss the regularity of Mum’s cooking. Other than that really it’s not so bad because this place feels like home – it’s always felt like home, near instantly.

Cold Water out of the tap – Sydney’s water isn’t really cold out of the tap, when clearly it needs to be. It’s just kinda cold. Melbourne’s water is proper cold coming out of the tap.

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The Game played out

I suppose it’s wrong to post a “review” of sorts when you’re still 10 to 15 pages from the end of the book, but I want to write while it’s still fresh from reading on the train.

The Game plays out like a two-parter. The first half of the book is Neil Strauss as his psuedonym Style moving into the “secret society of Pickup artists (PUAs)”, and finding mastery, a timeline of roughly one and a half years. The second half of the book charts the next six months, presumably until just before he sat down to write the book (like I said, I haven’t finished reading). It is never a dating guide – no “Ok to pick up women you should do this and this and that.” It does describe some of the seminars and ‘training nights’ that he did to start learning and moving into this ‘secret society’, so I suppose you could pick up some tips by osmosis, as I guess I have, but there’s no way you could expect to pick up this book and turn into a pick up artist. It is first and foremost a memoir. It’s not a novel, but that’s not to say it comes across as non-fiction. It is a tightly written peice of work; it will keep you intrigued pretty much throughout – that is what makes either Strauss an excellent writer, and yet keeps me from completely believing it.

Spoilers ahead – they’re not so bad because it really is the process more so than the events that drive this book, but if you like to read spoiler free then avoid the rest.

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The Game by Neil Strauss

I’ve had rave reviews about this book; I’ve had people tell me it is the bible for the average guy trying to work out how to actually pick up women; I’ve got at least 3 friends sufficiently drawn into this book and its teachings that they are looking at taking it to the next level.

I finally picked it up Friday, on a bit of a whim and an overloaded wallet. I’m 200 pages through and it’s a blinder. Absolutely awesome read.

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists isn’t so much a description of how to crack into the secret society, nor is it actually a guide to picking up women (at least not completely). It’s more of a narrative which incorporates those elements into Neil Strauss’s supposedly true story. I say supposedly because I’m not entirely certain how much to believe in this book – there are times when you just think “No way that’s real.” It hovers just on that knife edge that means you will continue to believe that it is real, but you occasionally are more comfortable with it being fiction than fact.

The techniques? I’m not a teacher, and I think you have to discover them and learn how to apply them yourself. Suffice to say however that my application of some of the guidelines have already – without practise – resulted in a 10 fold improvement in my ability to get talking to a stranger woman, and probably an similar improvement in the flirting rate. I like this book =)

It’s by no means a bible though. Still, check it out, if you’re a guy. Ladies… probably don’t want/shouldn’t read this :P