Archive for January, 2008

First day funk

January 29, 2008

Today was my first day as a Doorie (Door Assistant). Basically I had to manage queues, check that students had all the paperwork needed to enrol and direct them to available operators who would register them into the system. I started at 10 and finished at 6.

On the whole, things pretty much went well today. There were a couple of instances though where I felt monumentally inept, but I was able to escape such moments by asking people to ‘Please speak to my supervisor’ (I love our supervisors, they’ve saved our asses an infinite number of times today from irate students). I’ve always felt like The Worst Employee Ever in every job I’ve had, even if these things involve truly brainless grunt work like stapling and photocopying. Seriously. Not once have I felt like I was overqualified or too good for any and every job I’ve been in; instead I keep asking myself why these poor guys decide to waste their money and hire someone as stupid as me.

Anyway despite all the nervousness about making a bloody fool of myself, I did manage to survive the day unscathed. My supervisor even congratulated me (oh I think that’s a hyperbole, she just said I did a good job).

It was infernal, pit-of-hell weather today, and at one point I thought I was gonna pass out due to heat stroke. Anyway, I shouldn’t complain: the day went relatively okay, I made no major blunders at work plus I met a couple of nice doories (a Finnish girl who knows the phrase Mahal kita, a Chinese-Aussie who might be a potential mahjong mate and a guy who volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in Manila last year). And the icing of the cake is that we still get paid for doing nothing! I mean, the place does get busy too but for the most part of the day we were either feigning busy-ness or blatantly chatting with each other in front of the supervisors because we got too bored during lull periods.

The Djoker defeats R-Fed & other tennis-related sentiments

January 25, 2008

Breaking news: Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic tonight in straight sets, 7-6, 6-3, 7-6. Djokovic will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in Sunday’s final. My roommie and I were on the edge of our seats while watching the match, shrieking at every unforced error Federer made. It was obvious that he was not in his element tonight. Also, Federer only won his Saturday match against 49th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic by a hairline (possibly one of the longest fifth sets in history) and it was quite uncommon and uncharacteristic to see one of the sport’s greatest geniuses not playing his usual high-level tennis. It took a long while before my roommie and I could digest the fact that THE Roger Federer did not reach the final. We stared at the TV screen in disbelief for a good few minutes and we were absolutely crestfallen.

Not too many people know that I was totally into tennis back in high school. I used to dream of becoming the next Martina Hingis and I completely adored Patrick Rafter. I pretty much knew all of the Top Twenty players in both the men’s and the women’s divisions and I closely followed tennis tournies. I still play Virtua Tennis on the PS3 and the Wii every chance I could. I guess I got hooked due to the fact that tennis is a highly intense game and it involves an immense level of strategy and skill which I don’t find in most sports. It also helps that most tennis players are pretty damn hot [my list includes Patrick Rafter, Mark Philippoussis (before he sold out and did The Age of Love), Tommy Haas, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi (when he was much younger)]. At the moment I don’t have the same passion for the sport like I used to, but I have always, always, always admired Roger Federer’s game. I actually rooted for Federer in last year’s Australian Open like a crazed fan (he won the tournament without dropping a single set!) and my homework had to take a backseat just so I could watch him on TV. Though he isn’t a power hitter like most of his opponents, he’s an intelligent tactical player on the court and he comes across as someone very humble, subdued and level-headed. He also behaves himself quite well and thus far I have not seen him cuss, yell or fly into a fit of rage during a match. This afternoon I spent a fair bit of time reading up on him and I was surprised to discover a couple of interesting things: 1) he is Catholic; 2) he speaks fluent Swiss German, German, French and English (multi-lingual and Swiss do go together anyway); 3) the girlfriend who regularly watches his matches is also a tennis player and they met in the Sydney Olympics and; 4) he is actively involved in charity work and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Facts 1, 2 and 4 left me extremely impressed. Too bad he’s not very good-looking, although my roommie thinks otherwise (methinks he’s a softer version of Quentin Tarantino).

In related news, 38th-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga demolished Rafael Nadal last night, also in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. Again, it was also very hard to accept that Rafa was defeated by a semi-unknown. We were watching the match from a bar and I was so distracted I couldn’t bring myself to finish my steak dinner. I happen to like this Spanish señor for I find him ruggedly handsome, and his physique is to-die-for. Rafa is also a veritable powerhouse on clay, which he has very clearly made his turf. His whole sleeveless-shirts-and-capri-pants-get-up also works quite well for him.

Tomorrow Ana Ivanovic faces Maria Sharapova in the women’s final. Funny how most commentators have dubbed the match as ‘The Squeak versus The Shriek’ (alluding to Ivanovic’s squeaking shoes and Sharapova’s noisy shrieks) and as a ‘beauty contest’, as both ladies are fairly attractive. Why does tennis get all the good-looking players?

Hodgepodge of updates

January 23, 2008

Back from blogging purgatory. Here’s a cornucopia of things that happened while I was away for a bit:

– Went to see a couple of good movies: Darjeeling Limited, 27 Dresses (doesn’t really measure up to my definition of ‘good’ though. Disclaimer: I was dragged by girlfriends to the movies to see it), No Country for Old Men, Juno, Atonement. My brother and I also watched Seasons One and Two of The Office (I got the DVD as a Christmas present). A few weeks prior I also got carried away and me and my brother rented so many videos: A Clockwork Orange, My Own Private Idaho, Dogville, The Squid and the Whale, Cinema Paradiso (Director’s Cut), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (rented solely as a concession to my brother…it came free with all the rest though. NB I fell asleep twice while watching it. Don’t get me wrong, I lurrrve Adam Sandler, but something was just…weird about the movie, I guess). I thus foresee that 2008 will be a promising year for movie-watching.

– I got a job at uni! I will be working as an Enrolment Assistant (a Door Assistant, to be exact) in the next couple of days. I start training tomorrow. Wish me luck. I really have to work this summer since I am thisclose to being bankrupt, plus I don’t want to spend the next two months counting sheep.

– Was getting the house back in order after my family left. I’m also still in the process of getting my life back in order. Lol.

– My roommie and I recently signed up to be volunteers for Vinnie’s (St. Vincent de Paul) and we’ve started attending their weekly meetings. The group is made up entirely of senior citizens and we initially thought this might be a problem, but they’ve all been such friendly and wonderful people that we’ve decided to stay on and represent the youth sector. Lol.

In other news, some friends and I are planning to go up to Port Macquarie sometime next month. I’ve already seen the website of the resort that we’ll be booking and the photos look good. I hope it’s a go.

Australia Day is this Saturday, and fingers crossed we’ll get a good spot at Darling Harbour for the fireworks. A friend is also hosting a barbie.

In a couple of weeks another friend will be celebrating his birthday and we’re planning to go OzJet Boating (yay!) and have a picnic at the Botanic Gardens after. Russell Peters (with special guest Jo Koy!) will also be doing shows in Sydney in February and March and I’m planning to go see him. A couple of friends also want to go to the opera next month, and we’re still deciding between Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and Puccini’s La Boheme. There’s also the Starlight Cinema (where open-air movies are screened beneath the stars…how romantic is that?!) and Govindas, a bohemian place where you could have a vegetarian dinner and see a movie after. Sigh…so many plans, so little time.

My roommie and I also bought a spanking new Simpsons-themed poker set for cheap on ebay and we’re still looking for a good mahjong set. I figure we should devise more cost-effective means of hanging out cos we blow so much money on eating out and having drinks in pubs.

Ohana means family

January 23, 2008

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 At the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum, Faulconbridge, Blue Mountains

My brothers and mom recently came down to Sydney to spend the holidays with me. It was fun, stressful, happy, annoying, tiring and exciting…all in the same breath. Highlights of their trip included our endless shopping for anything Billabong/Rip Curl/Quiksilver, going up the Blue Mountains, seeing the fireworks on the Harbour Bridge on New Year’s Eve, eating copious amounts of beef and dairy, strolling around Bondi and Manly, and all of us getting ridiculously dark and fat, among others. I also took heaps of my brothers’ photos (in various poses) with either the Opera House or a koala or kangaroo as background. More photos in my Facebook account.

My 2007 in hindsight

January 18, 2008

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Went to a foreign country (where I hardly knew anyone) by myself. Lived in a flat with five other girls from all over the world. Moved out of that flat and moved into a new apartment with a friend. Assembled so much furniture, discovered how to operate washing machines and dryers, pretty much became self-sufficient for the first time in my life. Well yeah, in a nutshell, survived life Down Under largely on my own and with a little help from my friends (Thanks, Beatles, for that precious line).

2. Where did you study/ work?
Currently going to uni somewhere in North Ryde. Did a one-month internship at Greenpeace.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Hmmm…I don’t think so.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My nephew Ziv.

5. What countries did you visit?
Oz.

6. Did you move anywhere?
Moved out of uni accommodation. Moved into a two-bedroom flat with a friend who is incidentally the bestest roommie ever.

7. What sporting events did you go to?
None really, except a few friendly games of soccer with uni mates.

8. What concerts did you go to?
Dave Matthews Band! And John Mayer (I’m not really a fan, but some friends just happened to have a spare ticket at the time).

9. Who was your Valentine in 2007?
Haha myself. I remember I gifted myself with a Mars bar.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just the occasional cough and cramps.

11. What was your best month?
November and December.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Food, movies, rent, house bills, alcohol (lol!).

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My family’s arrival in December.

14. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Heaps! But off the top of my head, Love Today and Grace Kelly by Mika, Straight Lines by Silverchair, Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani, Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie, Hook Me Up by The Veronicas, Umbrella by Rihanna and stuff by Sneaky Sound System. I don’t really like most of those songs but they were particularly big in 2007.

15. What did you do on the 4th of July?
I don’t remember. Was doing my internship, I think.

16. What were the best…

* books you read?
The Globalization of World Politics and International Relations Theories. Haha, seriously I was remiss in my novel-reading all year.

* movies you saw?
Omg, there were so many! I saw at least one movie every week. Anyway, I particularly enjoyed Eastern Promises, Casino Royale, Babel, The Science of Sleep, History Boys, Control, Across the Universe (story-wise it was shithouse though), A Mighty Heart, The Good German, Pan’s Labyrinth, among others. On SBS there was a handful of good films too, like Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside).

* CDs you listened to?
Haha, I mostly listened to mp3s only.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I read more good novels, explored Sydney, socialised and spoke to strangers more. And I wish I didn’t hole myself up at home so much.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Hehe secret.

19. How will you be spending Christmas?
This question should be in the past tense but anyway, I went to Christmas Eve mass and had Noche Buena with my brothers and my mom. On Christmas Day we had lunch with family friends.

20. Did you fall in love in 2007?
I guess not.

21. How many one-night stands?
Zilch, nada, zero!

22. What was your favorite TV program?
South Park, Thank God You’re Here, SBS movies and documentaries, Rove.

23. Compared to this time last year, are you:

* happier or sadder?
Happier, I suppose.

* thinner or fatter?
Probably fatter. I’m not really fond of weighing scales.

* richer or poorer?
Poorer!!!

24. What was your favorite summer memory of 2007?
Going to my intensive English classes everyday, I guess. That’s where I met my first few friends here in Sydney. And life was much simpler then.

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
See previous blog entry. I turned 25.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Hmmm…I was pretty much still listening to the same stuff all throughout the year. Feist is quite good though.

27. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Hamish Blake! James Mcavoy! Diego Luna!

28. Who was the best new person you met?
Quite a handful. I went to this country knowing only a grand total of like, five people, but now my friends network has considerably expanded.

29. Where were you when 2007 began and who were you with?
At home, with the family.

30. What are your plans for 2008?
Finish uni and try to get higher marks. Save more money. Be more healthy. Kick old and nasty habits. See more of Sydney and hopefully squeeze in a trip to Melbourne and NZ if there are available funds. A quick trip to the US sometime in October. Get a job in the last quarter of the year. Simplify my life. Watch more movies and read more. Study Italian again. Be more responsible. Try to accomplish something major by year-end.