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Ouch, my head… March 25, 2006

Posted by Mick in Diary.
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So what’s been going on with me?

Ok, well. I am housesitting this week. Which means that I get to have a place to myself (with a cute little pussy) and can come and go easily onto the Metro to head to the city. This housesitting gig also starts a series of jumping around from place to place for the next 6 weeks or so. I have more housesitting next week for a couple of weeks, and then early May I have a couple more weeks.

Where am I staying in between housesitting? No idea yet. I figure there’s no point in renting a place until after housesitting has finished, and hopefully then I will be able to afford to rent a place as well. (Damn Centrelink). Thankfully I have nice workmates and a pretty good boss (hehehe) who are kind enough to help me out whilst I work out what the hell i am doing.

So, I played Rugby today. Not League, but Union. Why you ask? Good freaking question. A pommy guy at work asked me a week or so ago if I wanted to play in the Washington Rugby Club C team on the previous Saturday. You see, I’ve been playing some touch football with some guys at the embassy and a few of those guy play in the Rugby A team that travels around the US playing against other States. Anyway, Roger asked me if I’d like to play, and I thought I would turn up and have a look, seeing as though I am missing the footy back home so much. I didn’t make it the previous weekend due to a very very big St. Patricks Day happy hour, but there was another game today which I dragged myself to at 10am this morning.

Now, I have never ever played Union in my life. I don’t even know the bloody rules properly. I watch it and shake my head at some of the penalties and rulings that are made during the games.

So, I had a bit of a training run with them all, and then the 15 players took the field (I didn’t start thankfully). Now these guys are big. ALL of them were taller than me and bigger than me and I was totally wondering what the hell I was doing there. Some of the guys I knew were telling me I’d get a run, but I was really not that keen. I thought about putting my sneakers back on, and getting dressed, but then Roger calls me over and throws me onto the field.

“Go play inside centre”, he says.

Now, call me a fake Aussie, but what the fuck does an inside centre do? I had overheard the coach telling the former inside centre that his job was to “…tackle all day..”.

Me? Tackle? 120kg 6 foot tall black Americans? That’s funny.

So I had 15 minutes, where I basically stuck to the outside. Our team dropped the ball so much that I didn’t actually get much of a touch, so that saved me from being tackled, but then came the part where the ball carrier was running at me. “Shit!”. So, I ran in, shoulder down and tackled. Hell, somehow it worked. He went down and tried to get off a pass which went nowhere.

I have always wanted to play League, but have always been a bit of wimp when it comes to running head first into bigger guys than me, but the feeling of tackling a guy and then taking them down to the ground is damn good. Later, a kick was sent down the field for myself and the winger (an Argentinian called Carlito) to try and chase down. I made it to the fullback first and managed to take him down before he could kick it and damn it felt good.

I didn’t do much more than that, other than letting a guy get past me for a try, but by that stage it was like 50-0, so I didn’t feel too bad.

But bloody hell my head hurts. I only hit a few guys and was barely tackled, but I could already feel my brain rolling around in my skull already. I don’t know how the pros do it. 2 guys in our team came off with concussion. One of them (the fullback) was knocked out for a good few seconds and can’t remember anything of the 2nd half.

Will I play again? I dunno. i don’t think I am quite of the Rugby calibre, even in the C grade team in a country that doesn’t know the difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League. (but then again, neither do Victorians, but don’t get me started).

So, right now I am homeless, but I hear there is free wireless internet at Dupont Circle, so I am sure you will all get updates in between my panhandling and scrounging through the trash (I mean rubbish).

Hungover haze or introspection? March 18, 2006

Posted by Mick in Diary.
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As I sit here listening to Miles Davis, I get to feeling very laid back, cool and introspect.

But I also have huge amounts of alcohol swilring around in my system trying to get out.

So which one is it that made me want to blog?

Who knows. Who cares. But hey. Here I am.

This is such a strange country. It’s really very diverse, and I have seen it be very tolerant, but on the other hand it can be cruel, cold and closed-minded.

I am avoiding such people.

I tend to spend time with positive people. Shining lights. Open-minded and un-cynical people. There is enough cynic in me anyway. I try and keep it tucked away inside though.

I have spent a lot of time with Australians since being here. I had wanted to avoid it, but it’s pretty hard to avoid when you live and work with them.

I have never really enjoyed talking to Australians who have travelled elsewhere in the world. Although I would be interested in what they had seen and the experiences they’d had, it just constantly reminded me that I hadn’t seen or done any of it. Jealousy I guess. I tend to lose interest in peoples overseas travel photos fairly quickly, but if they were my own I am sure I’d be showing them off to everyone as well. Maybe it’s only one traveller to another that can really relate.

So, does this mean I am a traveller now? I dunno really. I have now been to one other country. Woo hoo. But I hope to get to England and other parts Europe at some stage, so I guess that might qualify me to join the club.

There are a crap-load of bars in DC. And I mean a CRAP load.

I think I have probably visited around 10 of them so far, but there’s got be at least 10 times that in NW DC alone.

I went to a few places last night after the Happy Hour (Oh yeah, that’s where I got really smashed with all of the Embassy Staff and guests and was singing Waltzing Matilda at the top of my lungs in a big huddle with the VB’s waving the air). Most of the bars look so indescript from the outside, like dives or crappy pubs, but once you get inside the decore is awesome and they have levels and levels of bars and people. And lots of places have a rooftop bar which rocks as well, especially when it gets warm enough to actually be outside!

Well, anyway, I’ve crapped on enough for now. Hope you Canberrans enjoy(ed) your long weekend, and I will check in soon….

I am a 9. What are you? March 15, 2006

Posted by Mick in Memes.
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Just did a Personality Test for a bit of fun.

Apparently I am a 9, which is Calmness. It means I am laid-back, calm and optimistic.

Sounds pretty accurate to me!

it’s a good little test, you should try it and let me know what you get!

Main Type

Overall Self

Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

 

The party, the basin and the phallic thing March 14, 2006

Posted by Mick in Diary.
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Saturday night was fun.

Had a party here at the house and about 30 odd people turned up.

Lots of drinking.

A good nights drinking

Lots of friendly people from all walks of life. We had Americans, Australians, Latvians, Welsh, French and Germans. Everyone seemed to have a good time which was the main thing.

Party People

I got to bed at 4, and I think that signals a good night πŸ™‚

After awaking at around 10.30, for some reason we decided to do a walk down the mall and around the tidal basin.

At the risk of posting cliched pictures, here’s a few anyway…..

We saw the Capitol Building…

The Capitol Building No.1

The Washington Monument,

The Band and the Monument

The Jefferson Memorial,

Mr. Jefferson

a duck,

A Tidal Basin duck

and some Irish fools in the St. Pats Day Parade.

St. Pats Day Band

It was my first real touristy thing I’ve done here since arriving, and it was nice, even though my feet hurt like a son of a bitch.

The Tidal Basin will explode into Cherryblossom bloom in a few weeks and then the crowds will flock and picture opportunities will diminish. I amy try and get down and get some good shots when they are out, but not looking forward to battling the crowds.

Didn’t have time to visit the Lincoln Memorial just yet, or get closer to the White House or Capitol Building, but will get to that soon!
Next time I will have to actually start walking inside some of those museums and galleries as well.

Can’t do everything at once πŸ™‚

Bands, Music and Parties March 11, 2006

Posted by Mick in Diary, Music.
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New Pearl jam album coming out May 2nd. Oh HELL yeah. And of course, they are touring it and they will be in DC on May 30.

So who’s jealous? πŸ™‚

System of a Down will be in Virginia in August, so I might try and see them too.

Nebula, Hellacopters and The (kiwi) Datsuns on tomorrow night at the Black Cat. I love live music, and want to see more. There’s also The John Butler Trio playing soon at the 9:30 Club. I think I want to see Blackalicious as well. There’s just too many bands, and too little money!
I saw Dave Chappelle’s Block Party last night with about a 95% black crowd. It was great. They were getting into it, and it was a fun movie. Dave Chappelle is a funny bastard. He is touring to DC as well but his show sold out in like 5 minutes. He actually comes from here I think, so he has a huge following, and seeing as though 70% of DC is black, it’s little wonder.

He does attract alot of us white folk as well though.

Setting up for a big party here at the house tonight. I will probably post photos later. It’s a farewell for Adrian who heads back to Oz in a week or two. There should be 30+ people here with lots of Aussie beer, punch and good music!

The weather kicks arse today. it’s like 21 C today, and warming up to 26 on Monday. Good Bye Winter!

But back to 11 on Wednesday. Damn! it’s worse than the topsy turvey Canberra weather!

Went out last night to a place called ‘The Big Hunt.’ But we renamed it to ‘The Magic Hunt’. We’re so funny. We was, me, Dougall and Alex (new guy at work, also from Canberra who freakily knows Dougall’s brother and people that I know. Canberra is a small town). Had a number of ‘Bad Ass’ beers and generally had a fun ‘ol time.

Anyway, time to go get some stuff together for the party I guess.

oh yeah, and Yellster you’ll be happy to know that the name ‘Dorko’ is getting around now….I had some friend of Alex’s saying, ‘So, this is Dorko..’ last night.

Gees, it’s like being back in high school….

1 month down…. March 6, 2006

Posted by Mick in Diary.
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So, last week I marked my first month of living in Washington DC. So you may ask, how am i going?

It’s been a ride so far.

Definitely.

I entered this new stage of my life with an open mind and a lot of excitement but with not much of an idea where I was heading or would end up.

1 month down and I don’t think I have really any more of an idea of where I am headed, or where I am going, but it has sure been an experience.

You may have noticed that I have been busy. Yeah, I have tried to get out and about. See things, meet people and generally not be stuck at home too often.

This has been the part of living here that I have enjoyed the most. It seems that most nights and certainly every weekend I have had things to do. I’ve been tired, and almost starting to feel a bit rundown, but I have loved it. Especially in this first month, I think it has helped me to settle in and to get to know the city and the people.

Yeah, Americans are a weird bunch. They have some strange ideas, and some interesting philosophies, but they are decent people and certainly welcoming.

All of this gallavanting around has certainly kept me busy, and I guess it has also kept my mind off how much I miss home, and of course family and friends. I think that being away from home, whilst it is exciting and new, makes you appreciate that the things you took for granted at home are the things you miss the most.

I miss seeing the kids, and I miss their smiles, and their laughter, and yeah, I miss their whinging and screaming a little too. The thing is, I can’t think about missing them too much, or I get sad and down, and I don’t want to do that. I want enjoy my surroundings and keep heading in the direction I am. Soon enough I will be home and they will close to me, so I need to make the most of this time while I have it.

I miss my friends and family, and I miss what is going on with everyone. It seems that everytime I ask people what’s happening, it’s always, ‘The same old…’ or ‘Nothing much..’. But we all know this i not true, because as soon as I get back I will find out so many things are different. Even just those little things that happen from day to day that you forget about or don’t think much of.

The thing that stops me getting too homesick is the fact that I work and live with Australians. So in the context of my everyday, things are not a great deal different to Canberra. I work for DFAT, I have lunch with Aussies, and I go home and spend evenings and dinner with Australians. We are all able to talk about things and relate Aussie experiences which keeps the whole daily grind at a similar plane to back home.

Sometimes, I think that’s a shame, but mostly I am glad for it, because otherwise I really would miss home a lot more.

Speaking of work, it’s a great place to be. The Embassy people are all so friendly. There is not one person that you don’t walk past in the halls that you don’t say Hi to. Everyone seems to be there and happy to be there because even though we are in a different country, we are all linked by the fact that we work in an Australian building (It’s technically Australian Soil, but not really enforced).

The team I work with everyday is fun. We all get along well. We chat and muck around during the day, but still manage to get out 40-80 passports a day. We have lunch together, and we go to Happy Hours together and although not everyone really wants to be there (aspirations sometimes don’t match reality), we all give off a positive vibe and manage to keep the days chugging along without stress or tension.

I am so glad that the job is good and the people are good. If I didn’t enjoy being there everyday it would make this whole US experience a lot harder. As it is I actually look forward to work….well..so far anyway. That may change πŸ˜‰

I end up speaking with a lot of Australians whilst at work. And they are mostly all so friendly and end up chatting about how long I’ve been here and what I think of the US and blah blah… It’s nice to find that link with people and they like to hear someone else with an Aussie accent.

So. 1 month down. I am feeling ok. Not ecstatic, but good.

I am looking forward to spring. I am looking forward to New York. I am looking forward to Easter. I think spring will be good πŸ™‚

If you smell…..what The Vince….is cooking… March 1, 2006

Posted by Mick in Diary.
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Wrestling may not be everyones cup of tea, but when the WWE (formally WWF) rolls into town, it is definitely an event!

Vince McMahon and his crew of superstars (as they like to be called) film 2 prime-time shows a week. And on Monday night, they pre-recorded Smackdown and then broadcast Raw live to air.

Because they did both shows, we got to see nearly all of the current wrestlers do their thing.

The show had it all. A title fight for the WWE Championship (Kurt Angle v Undertaker), a Womens Championship fight (Trish Stratus v some Plaboy chick) and a Tag Team Championship (Big Show/Kane v Val Venis/Viscera).

And the grand finale? Vince McMahon try to get Marty Jannety (of ex-Rockers fame) to join the Kiss-My-Ass Club. Of course The Heartbreak Kid (Shawn Michaels) broke it all up, but then Shane McMahon (Vince’s son) smashed him in the head with a chair and made him kiss Vince’s ass.

Classic WWE πŸ™‚

I took 100 photos, and although a lot came out blurry, most of them were ok.

Here’s a few…. (and more on Flickr)

The Title Fight

The MCI Centre

Look out Vince. He has a chair!

All-in Brawls are fun!