Monday, September 29, 2008

Carlsberg Years

First: I was born in Poland and raised on smoked sausage. I keep meeting vegetarians in Australia. It occurs to me that I have never met a Polish vegetarian. Isn’t that funny? I wonder if many of them exist? If you are one, please pardon my ignorance and identify yourself.

To the point:

I am recently thirty. In the wise words of the MFDLC I am in my “Carlsberg years”. (The closest thing here is ‘Carleton’ so it’ll have to do.) And although the pursuit of sport and education has delayed some of life’s more standard milestones, I do indeed feel at least thirty because:

I can’t remember the last time I cut myself shaving. I stubbornly think Van Damme is cooler than Vin Diesel and I have fond memories movies like ‘Days of Thunder’ and ‘Commando’. I regularly call other adults ‘young’in’ or ‘rookie’ and although I may be in debt, I am not in overdraft. Silence is rarely ‘uncomfortable’ anymore and I can see 'insecurity' in the eyes of people in their early twenties as they move around a bar. When Weird Al sings the words: “I don’t feed trolls and I don’t read spam”, I wonder what he means by ‘trolls’. I can’t think of anyone I know that that I need to impress although I try never to look like too much of a tool in front of my wife. I am very comfortable watching a person make a harmless mistake without feeling like I have to help them. The thought of an independent research career does not seem frightening and now that it’s way too late, I am finally winning beach volleyball games against truly talented opponents. People I meet often remind me of people I have known and I firmly understand that true friends are very hard to find... and time is the obstacle.
That last one was a lil'deep. There was one more that in retrospect was a bit depressing and not entirely true so I removed it... and now let me finish with a recent picture of me on the beach.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A year in Oz

Brisbane at night from a friend's balcony. How about that :)

I’ve had less and less desire to write on here in recent months. Life has been busy. But I'll try for an honest, albeit quick, update today. First, I’m happy to say that Kate and her Kokoda Team successfully completed their rough and rugged 98 km walk in just over 24 straight hours. My lil’wife then passed out and slept for bout’three straight days. This is her team at their first checkpoint (after 13 km)... those expressions didn't last long :)

When Kate woke up from her coma she travelled to visit family and friends for a while in Canadia and has now returned safely to me - rested and happy as punch. While she was on the far side of the sphere, I worked a month of long hours in the lab trying to accomplish something useful (with moderate success). And, of course, the Olympics came and went. I considered writing some of my thoughts about the Olympics here but I had too much fun just watching them. The volleyball was remarkable, especially the indoor. It’s about time someone beat Brazil… and Lloyd Ball deserved to win one. Now he can finally step aside to make room for a less 'angry' setter. Meanwhile, on the beach court another American gold medalist named Phil Dalhouser managed to single handedly ruin the beautiful game of international beach volleyball. You see his blocking is too good so side-out play against him requires luck rather than strategy. It's just as effective to close your eyes and hope for the best as it is to try any sort of elegant well rounded offense. So now the beach game is ruined. I suppose the ‘volleyball gods’ could easily fix it again just by going back to the 9x9 metre courts. (They were reduced to 8x8 metres a few years ago because siding out was too easy… well now it’s difficult again - watch the tape!) Or better yet... take a look at this picture I took in Adelaide in March... how is that fair?
In other news Kate and I have moved into a ‘Queenslander’. This is a style of house-on-stilts you see a lot here. We’ve been crowded into a lil'appartment for a year and it was time for a change. I think this will be a good one. And to balance the budget we also took on a couple of good friends as roomies so we’ll see how that goes. Actually, it feels a bit like I’m back in undergrad but so far it has been pretty cool. Here's a shot of my 'ride' in front of the new place... yes I drive a lil'Tonka Truck now.
The city of Brisbane lit up its river again with a lot of ‘chemistry’ recently. It was a nice way for Kate and I to celebrate the end of our first year in Oz… the fireworks show was the first thing we saw when we landed last September. I will put a good little video of this show on Facebook... but here's a lil' sampler pic.
Finally, my lil’couzin Ula is here visiting us now and I’ve happily discovered that she’s become all grown up and very wise since we last saw eachother. I'm also happy to say that she seems to be having a lot of fun so far exploring this big country. She’ll be back in Brisbane near the end of her trip after adventures in Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, and New Zealand’s south island… the little lady knows how to holiday :).
That’s as quick an update as I could do… I hope to find some time to make this blog a regular thing again. I enjoyed it last year. There’s plenty here to write about. Cheers.