Thursday, October 28, 2010

aussie style

Why is the brand Zoo York popular in australia? Somebody send me some zoo mass shirts and ill make millions

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


So contrary to what i though when i arrived here, Australians - although not with the same enthusiasm and joy as Americans -  do celebrate Halloween. It's probably too late to make this costume happen for 2010, but it is, without a doubt, the single greatest costume idea i've ever heard, and thus i hereby copyright it for Halloween 2011. This isn't some JV wear-a-cereal-box-on-your-head-and-say-you're-a-serial-killer costume. This is real.

Next halloween i'm going as one-time Jurassic Park game warden extraordinaire Robert Muldoon. The short shorts, the tan shirt, the tan-er vest, the high socks, the cowboy hat tipped up to one side and the Franchi SPAS-12 combat shotgun; it's unmistakable. And not only is Muldoon's look unreal, his lines in the movie are nothing short of legendary. Running around campus in my Muldoon costume screaming "shooot haaah!.... turning to chicks and saying "clever girl"... you can't beat that. 

Game; blouses. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

fear factor

I was in the lunchroom at work today and saw a jar of vegemite on the shelf with a bunch of other condiments. Vegemite - a yeast byproduct of the brewing process - is a uniquely Australian delicacy. It's even mentioned in thay song land down under by men at work. As a side note, before I got here last week my entire working knowledge of Australia came from thay song and the crocodile dundee movies.... And of course the opening scene of dumb and dumber. So I decide to try a tiny spoonfull of this stuff. My food spider sense was tingling, so I knew it could be trouble but I did it anyway. When I tell you this was easily top 3 most repulsive things I've ever tasted I'm not exhaggerating. Just absolutely rancid. And people here act like you could put vegemite on an old shoe and it would taste pretty good. I've heard public service announcements on the radio reminding listeners to eat their vegemite. There's no question the whole thing is a conspiracy. But there is a bright side, this stuff is liquid gold for pledge term, so ill probably bring back a few jars.

wet bandits

I met a couple australian dudes when i was out the other night. We did some bar hopping and had a good time, but one thing really surprised me. They were KILLIN it with american movie references. Lines like, "allow myself to introduce......myself" from Austin Powers and my favorite, a hilarious reference to the wet bandits, which is what the burglars called themselves in the first Home Alone movie. One of the guys i was with was named marv, which is also the name of one of the 'wet bandits' in the movie.

"Were looking for a kid in a Yale Shirt" - Dartmouth's Finest

I met some guy during the night who was having some trouble impressing girls. I immediately gave him my Yale cutoff shirt and encouraged him to tell every girl he could find that not only does he go to Yale, but that he also knows the goalie for the Yale soccer team - which is division 1. I told him to pronounce Yale with a capital Y each time but i think he botched that part cause i'd say he only left with about half the girls he talked to.

Took a spin class tonight at the big fitness club in Cronulla, which is also where all the pro rugby players who play for the sharks - the local franchise - work out. You could imagine my elation when they turned off the lights and i realized i was in the middle of a blacklight spin class. They didnt even blitz out and the place was packed. Had there been a slip and slide out back i probably would have given floor bids to the entire management staff. Good day to be a Herotian here in Cronulla, NSW.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

it's ok im a limo driver

Someone overserved me last night at the local bar. The place empties out by ten as everyone flocks en masse to 'fusion,' a decent nightclub that plays tons of forgettable american music. Before i went out i took credit cards, dmouth id and other stuff i didnt want to lose out of my wallet, but in doing so accidentally took out my drivers license too. This was a problem, as they check everyones id at the door. A girl walking next to me told me to tell the bouncer i'm on the sydney kings basketball team. I was receptive. As i walked up to the bouncer i fished out my new york state boaters license, flashed it quickly, and told him i was on the sydney kings. Gold jerry, gold. It worked and i got to cut the entire line, which was long and didnt appear to be moving too quickly. I went back there again tonight, with my id this time. The same bouncer was at the door, and i figured there was no way he'd remember me right? Wrong? "Hey you're the kings player right?" Long pause. "Not anymore man, they released me today, gotta go drown my sorrows..... well, see ya later."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

cinderella story

One of the process engineers at the plant gave me an assignment to do on excel. Had absolutely no idea how to do it, he couldn't even make it work so I didn't have a white man's chance in harlem. So in 2 hours I literally got nowhere, then I blacked out, and when i came to it was done and they were carrying me out of the control room like rudy. Confetti everywhere, people doing flips into the drinking water tank; place just went nuts. Engineer gave me a pound. It was a good day. Cinderella story. There's a company outing tomorrow evening to play some bizarre australian bowling/golf like game. I hope my frolf skills are transferrable. Time to shine

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

disappointment down unda

Australian supermarkets are disappointing. I was expecting great things, like shark bites the size of car batteries and meter-long twizzlers. No dice. Instead you find aisles stocked with unfamiliar and unappealingly named foodstuffs. There is no ketchup, just 'tomato paste' that comes in flat cardboard boxes. As someone whose favorite vegetable is ketchup, this was a tough one to take. But nothing could have prepared me for the cereal aisle, just an absolute wasteland. Nutrabits, vegawafers, rice bubbles... Any kids from the US under ten would burst into tears the second they turned the corner into the australian cereal aisle. Even I was choked up. These cereals made kashi go-lean look like lucky charms. Just devastating.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I saw two segments on phil hughes and jason taylor tonight while watching an australian sports show. Only they were talking about phil hughes the NSW cricket player and jason taylor the rugby player. Really australia? Come up with your own names

lab credit

I spent nearly all of day two in veolia's on-site water testing lab, a bright, large-ish room jam packed with beakers, magnetic mixers, solutions with five syllable names and state-of-the art water testing equipment. I got a crash course on testing for chlorine, salinity, conductivity, alkalinity, calcium and fluoride levels. And those were just the fun-for-mentals. The turbidity, silt density index, total dissolved solids and total suspended solids tests make up the varsity lab playbook. Matt and Abduhl were my mentors for the day, and I got to chat with them a bit as I learned about the lab. I found out something about these two that really shocked me though. Both abduhl and matt are huge seinfeld fans. And I wasn't even the one who brought it up. Imagine my shock when they asked ME if I was a seinfeld fan. And once the seinfeld references start, they don't stop. Abduhl was on fire with the costanza references, I could barely but pretty easily keep up. Matt told me about how his friends have a joke about blending seinfeld names with coffee themes. For example; jerry soyfeld, cosmo creamer, elaine beans, and I forget the one for cantstandya but it was definitely funny.

Monday, October 18, 2010

what the hell?

Reisner is just KILLIN it down in madagascar. Eating goat tongues while riding lemurs up trees and shit. How the hell am i supposed to compete with that?

"As an aside, today I ate goat tongue and it was delicious. It was cooked in its original form, long and curved, and part of the throat was still attached. It tasted like a lamb chop and was surprisingly tender. I have been really pleased with the quality of the meat here--it is a real treat."

Surprisingly tender? I quit. 

australian jams

As you'd expect i've kept an ear open for what jams are popular in australia. The fitness clubs play a lot of dance/electro, stuff like this:   and this I've also heard a ton of electro remixes of american songs; stuff by kings of leon and even the cranberrys (dreams)

Also I was pumped to hear one of my favorite quasi-girly basement jams get played at a nightclub in Cronulla:

The radio here plays lots of music that's also popular in the US; i've heard a bunch of peter gabriel and phil collins

*heard teenage dream twice in ten minutes while walking down the mall in cronulla
I've been doing a lot of walking around the past two days trying to figure out what Cronulla is all about. There's definitely a strong correlation between housing quality and proximity to the beach. Areas more than three hundred yards inland have a blue boardshort feel (they don't really wear collars). On the other hand, the houses near the water, while tightly packed, are unquestionably larger and nicer than their waterlocked counterparts. There are birds all over the place that make the most irritating sound; it's something between the whistling in the background of let me see you get low and the sound mariokart makes when you fall off a cliff. Infuriating

first day of work

Sydney's desal, located on the south shore of Botany Bay, is pristine and absolutely enormous. After donning hard hats, safety goggles and high-vis vests, the manager of the plant took me on a whirlwind tour of the myriad buildings housing the intake, pretreatment, filtration, RO, mineralization and storage facilities necessary to make the Tasman sea meet the tap. In the arto (how aussies say afternoon) I spent a solid 5 hours reading through the unit processing guide, and even then I only got through two and a half of 6 sections. While walking to the lunchroom I couldn't help but notice a poster pinned up on a bulletin board that succinctly names, displays and describes the seven poisonous snakes known to reside in the area. At least I have the comfort of knowing that if I look down and see a 'death adder' I'm going to die before it even gets a chance to bite me. When I got back from work I went for a walk along the beach and met a border collie that looked EXACTLY like my dog barkley. I knew it was going to be a good night

Saturday, October 16, 2010


There's nothing like sitting on a beautiful beach, literally on the other side of the world, and getting a blitz for milque and cookies. I'm like costanza down here - worlds are colliding


i get intermittent internet connection in my apartment so i couldnt post this till now

I arrived in LA on Wednesday about an hour ahead of schedule, my aunt picked me up and we went to the Santa Monica pier for fish tacos and a ride on the ferris wheel - but luckily not in that order.  Cloud cover hid the sun for most the evening, but occasionally it shone through and lit up the beach and the palisades, giving the whole panorama a ‘California’ feel as pure as the driven snow. 
            As it happens I have another aunt and a cousin who live in Santa Monica. The Dray side of my family clearly has some predilection for California, as three of my Dad’s four siblings live or have lived there at some point. There’s been no explanation offered for this, but after growing up in Old Deerfield it probably provided some nice contrast.
            After leaving the pier we drove to Santa Monica high school so I could surprise my cousin after her practice.  The place reminded me of saved by the bell or something., with absurdly tall palm trees lining the walkways. My cousin showed up and instead of jumping out and saying hi I walked behind her and asked, in a muffled voice, if she had any spare change. I don’t know if panhandlers regularly accost SaMo students coming out of buildings, but as if trained she immediately said no and started walking away from me. “Really?” I said, “Not even for your cousin?”
            The flight from LAX – read ‘chill’ – to Sydney is fourteen hours long. I had the middle seat, but what I lacked in elbow room I made up for with leg room. The emergency aisle was key. The second I saw all this open space in front of me I made plans to curl up on the ground, but the pilot actually made an announcement saying that sleeping on the floors is prohibited. I wonder how many people had to try that before they made it part of the pre-flight briefing.
            I didn’t sleep a ton, unlike the lady next to me who was conscious for maybe two hours of the entire trip. Mid-flight the guy sitting on my right saw a crewing picture on my computer and struck up a conversation. To my surprise I was sitting next to a former rower for the Soviet national team. His name is Boris Tarasov, former sculling champion.  60-something years old, these days he is a professor of physics as well as inventor. His most popular invention is – not surprisingly – crewing related. He made a bike called the Row N Roll that transfers the energy of the rowing stroke into forward motion. Think of an erg on wheels.
            We circled the Sydney area once before landing, giving an awesome view of the city and the suburbs. The opera hall and adjacent bridge looked spectacular.
I got to the rent-a-car place about a half hour later, collected my car – which makes the mini cooper look like the Grave Digger, and set out on my way to Cronulla.  Driving on the left side of the road is rattling to say the least. On the way to Cronulla I had to ask an old lady standing on the corner for better directions. She obliged and I departed, but not before cheerfully reminding her that senior citizens - although slow and dangerous behind the wheel - can still serve a purpose.  

australian tv

So I was just watching tv and I saw something unusual. Australian farmers have been using scarecrows dressed like michael jackson to scare off pests. Apparently young children are australias main crop pests

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

why you going to the airport? flying somewhere?

Boarding the plane in new york en route to Los Angeles . I'd feel more comfortable flying out of an airport named after ted kennedy, but the chappaquiddick incident sunk that possibility.(Pun not intended but totally intended) The only consolation is the name of la's airport: lax. There's probably no chiller way to travel than Ted Kennedy to LAX. I don't plan on being too vigilant about updating this page, especially when I face stiff competition from juggernauts like barstool, deadspin and jesse's madagascar blog. I think john rocker is on my flight.