Yesterday marked my one month anniversary* as a full time worker. This means that Monday must have been my one month anniversary** in Townsville – and no one sent me a card or even an sms. Clearly you’ve all moved on.
Doing the same thing 30 days in a row is meant to establish it as a habit (I read that somewhere – if this was an impressive blog there’d be a link to it here – that’s not a real link but it might help you find the information you’re looking for). So here’s my current habitual daily routine:
7.00am – Mobile phone alarm goes off – I am roused to the sounds of Strongbad yelling “TROGDOR” – I open my phone and quite coherently for the time of morning set it to snooze for a further 30 minutes. As far as I’m concerned this is much more efficient than hitting the snooze button the 6 times that would otherwise be required – LG life’s good.
7.30am – TROGDOR…snooze button
7.35am – TROGDOR…snooze button
7.40am – TROGDOR…snooze button
7.45am – TROGDOR…sn… You thought I was going to say snooze button again didn’t you. But this is where I get up.
7.46am – Shower and shave (if required)
7.55am – iron shirt, put on shoes, search for wallet, two mobiles and keys
8.05am – Drive to work
8.30am – Arrive at work
8.30am – 9.00am – read the papers looking for references to Townsville or anything we might have done with the media the previous day.
9.00am – 5.00pm – juggle “a thousand” (that’s in my best Fatty Vautin voice, indicating that it’s not actually a thousand, just a lot.) responsibilities to our different departments – including putting together press releases, handling media requests, writing columns for different magazines, organising “famil” programs for visiting travel journalists, going on famils, and eating free meals.
5.00pm – drive home from work
5.30pm – get home from work – at this point my day decends into chaos – some nights I do interesting things, other nights I go across the road to the shops, buy Chinese takeaway and drink beer in front of the television.
As you can probably tell with a variety of responsibilities that are always changing it’s pretty difficult to establish a “routine” in this role.
But what I really wanted to write about today is monks. Monks wear “habits.” Are they called “habits” because monks have very structured daily routines? Do they have to wear them thirty days in a row before they can be called habits? Why am I even writing about monks? Well… in Romans 5 there’s a famous passage about suffering being a good thing. Some traditional monks devoted their lives to this belief – often flagellating themselves to bring about spiritual growth. I’m thinking of starting a “ministry” where I offer to “flagellate” others to help with their spiritual growth. I think that’s a biblical idea. However, I wouldn’t look up flagellation on dictionary.com to find out what it means. You may assume I’m perverted (I know all of you have already done that – read entry three. It’s a punishment people. Nothing suss). So join this ministry today and whip a fellow Christian – you’re really doing them a favour.
*Technically you can’t have a one month anniversary – an anniversary is annual – as in once a year. I guess popular usage dictates meaning, so in the absence of a better word I’ll stick with that one.
** See above point.
Haha… A pun, and an Easter pun no less – what a way to start this week’s post. I just had my first Easter Long weekend away from my family (unless you count the time I went on Easter camp, which I’m not – I was within 150km and I still got eggs). I guess my hope for chocolates to be posted was unfounded – unless they’re still in the mail. What sort of parents let their children go an Easter without eggs. My parents, that’s who. The kind of parents who spend Easter on holidays on the Sunshine Coast.
My Easter long weekend was good – in a productive kind of way. I achieved something major on each day – as well as doing the church thing on Friday and Sunday. On Friday I installed a new car CD/MP3 player in my car – albeit with the help of a qualified electrical engineer – I got him to help just in case I blew up the unit which would have been a waste of money. On Saturday I went to a breakfast de-brief session for the Da Vinci Code mission team at AFES staff worker Dave Walker’s house. I spent most of the day entertaining the Walker children and putting up a post for the Walker’s new deck area. Chris, if you’re reading this – Dave says I remind him of you – or something like that. I’m worried that he thinks we have a similar sense of humour. On Sunday I confronted all my fears and led the singing in church – something I haven’t done since my voice broke (except this one time for a Qut Christians service). I’ve decided I’d rather MC, preach or do stand up comedy – anything up the front is less intimidating than songleading – I had about 20 minutes to practice 4 songs. I think the difference between singing and other stuff up the front is that you only really get one bite of the cherry. When I MC I’m happy to make mistakes and then redo them – there’s just no scope for that in the middle of a song – you can’t resing a line. So that was Sunday. Yesterday I did my laundry and played indoor soccer – one of those was a very painful process. I’m in so much pain today. I’m walking around the office like a robot. In my defence we did play two games (we lost both of them after winning 14-1 last week we’re just trying to make it hard for the competition organisers to grade us).
So there you have it – nothing exciting as promised in the title. I bought a copy of the new Augie March CD yesterday. I can highly recommend it. It’s on high rotation in my car – unfortunately this means I’m driving slow, mum says the speed I drive at is modulated by the pace of the music I’m listening to.
To all the netball commenters (or commentators) out there – go get your own blog. GOSH.
After Saturday’s garage sale efforts i’m the proud owner of a new fish tank. Bartering in person is so much more fun than bidding on things on ebay. I got two fish tanks (a 4 foot one and a 1 foot one) for $20. At the next garage sale we went to I bought a brand new industrial fish tank pump for $35 (retails at $160, priced at $50 – the guy selling it used to run an aquarium). My strategy is to have a limited range of bank notes in my wallet – then you can say I only have $X amount – will you take it? Most people say yes. Other purchase highlights include – a fish tank stand $5, a set of Remington Hair Clippers (working) $2.50, two beer mugs – $1 and a set of book shelves (with 5 Ben Elton books thrown in) $20. That was a highlight too – the lady was asking $25 for the shelves and $1 each for the books. I already own copies of all the books so these are my lending copies. The experience on the whole was, in the words of the mastercard adds – priceless. Tim and Craig – my garage sale companions – were suitably excited by their tuperware purchases.
The absolute purchase highlight deserves a paragraph of it’s own. I am now the proud owner of a golden, plastic bust statue of our illustrious former Prime Minister Robert (Bob) Hawke. But wait, there’s more. Not only is it a life like representation of Labors woolly haired union powerhouse – it doubles as a drinks dispenser. With a lid on his crown and a tap in his chest it’s the perfect party centrepiece. And how much would you pay for this item? Mum’s probably wondering how much I would pay for this item. Cast aside your fears. While the woman selling this triumph of political humour was almost unwilling to part with her effigious (I hope that’s a word – what do you reckon Kutz?) masterpiece. She had priced it at a fairly reasonable 50 cents. Not 50 cents the rapper – 50 cents the currency. Not to be deterred by this desire to price said statue out of the market – I approached the vendor with my counter offer of 30 cents which she duly accepted. It now sits atop my recently purchased bookshelves. I’m trying to decide whether Bob needs a hat to complement his golden brow.
The other highlight of our morning’s jaunt down garage sale lane was an actual “Garage Sale” – a used car yard had advertised its garage sale in nominal garage sale column in the weekend classifieds.
Unfortunately my quest for both Kitschy and kitchy glass ware will have to be continued in another time at another place.
Other weekend highlights included my stint as a Big League vendor (I got to use the word vendor twice – now three times – in the one entry. That has to be some sort of record.) at Friday night’s grand final rematch between the Cowboys and the Tigers. We took our place amongst people promoting worthy causes such as junior rugby league and returned veterans – their spiels were eluting a much emotive response from patrons. I felt it was my responsibility to take a stand for the poor, big, multi national media conglomerates behind the NRL’s official match programmes. Cries of “support junior rugby league” and “raise money for our wounded veterans” were soon drowned out by my best, most boomingest (not a word – unless Kutz has an opinion to the contrary) voice yelling “GET YOUR BIG LEAGUES – SUPPORT NEWS LIMITED.” Needless to say – I got some dirty looks, but I sold a lot of copies so that’s ok. That’s the price you pay for success I guess and I’ve always got the cold, approving stare of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke to go home to.
So… who took my Motor Ace CDs? I remember lending them to someone but I can’t remember who. I figure this is as good a forum as any for chasing down lost property. Feel free to post anything you’re missing in the comments page. Material possessions only please, not personality traits, Matt I’m afraid they won’t be able to find your charisma anywhere. That joke could have been directed at anyone. Hopefully Matt can take it… and he did suggest I should start hugging echidnas.
There’s not really much news here at the moment. It’s been quiet at work for the last couple of days, I can now catch up on my employee induction procedures and do all the background reading on our major projects.
I’m going garage sale shopping tomorrow. Last time I was up here I did a little bit of treasure hunting with Tim and Katrina (new AFES staffworkers up here). Katrina was horrified when I made snide comments about some terrible stuff that was being sold. Tomorrow she has a girl’s breakfast so it will just be Tim and me. I plan to be noisily critical of anything tacky being sold. I will try to get photos of the most offensive items with my phone. I may even buy the worst bit of glassware and offer it as a prize in some blog related contest. That’ll get the hits up. Hopefully one day my blog will be more popular than google. There are two ways I can see this happening – Google may experience a sharp downturn in popularity as a result of revelations about the sweatshop like conditions they have set up for employees in third world countries. Or I could experience a sharp upturn in popularity, achieving global fame and use the blog as my method of maintaining my connection with you ordinary, common, everyday folk. Neither of these are likely to happen. Even with the incentive of kitchy 70s crockery.
Apologies firstly for the use of vernacular in the title. It would seem though that as a result of Tourism Australia’s “where the bloody hell are you” campaign the word bloody is now an acceptable, but slightly cheeky, piece of Australiana. Actually I should really be apologising for a reference to a U2 song. I guess it’s a song from before they were middle aged political activists trying to be cool while writing inoffensive, sugar sweet pop music that you could play your gran (hi gran if you’re reading this again). How cool is my gran – she posted a comment on a blog. I bet your gran doesn’t do stuff like that.
This is my first blog post on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s have traditionally been lambasted as terrible office days – the furthest point from a weekend. In fact right now, in the middle of the day, must be the absolute middle of the week. How significant. Today I didn’t want to get out of bed. It was drizzly, my airconditioning and quilt were combining to keep me at optimal sleeping temperature and my alarm clock was just a distant buzzing problem which could be solved by a quick press of the snooze button. Or several quick presses of the snooze button. Luckily after 22 years I know myself pretty well so I set my alarm to go off much earlier than it has to.
The post cyclone activity cycle is on the down hill run now. We had Fran Bailey, the Minister for Small Business and Tourism come through town yesterday. She addressed a power lunch/forum on the issues in her portfolio post cyclone. I got to go. My free meal count for the week is up to 4. It could have been 5 but I blew off a church dinner arrangement last night to do important other things (nothing really, well a phone call or two and a DVD – I bought Run Lola Run from the local Video Ezy for $10 – a bargain at twice the price, unfortunately it was a badly dubbed version rather than the subtitled version… but I digress. End Brackets.). So far I’ve had sausages, bacon, eggs and croissants for breakfast at an animal park, crab, chicken and prawns at a resort, a roast at the church’s youth minister’s house, and Atlantic Salmon followed by a cheese/fruit platter at the casino. I capitalised Atlantic Salmon because that’s the way it should be served, as a proper noun.
Free food aside, it was interesting hearing from the Hon Fran Bailey MP. She spoke about baby boomers hogging all the good jobs in traditional big business. This has apparently forced the youth of today into more entrepreneurial roles. Big business now outsource a whole lot of niche things like training and stuff. So I quit my job and started a company. Well I didn’t. But if anyone has any good niche ideas that come with free food…
The dinner at the youth minister, Dave Hopper’s house was good. We’re/we were discussing the direction to take young adult stuff at the church in. There’s a bunch of uni student types who are so heavily involved in AFES stuff they’re not doing anything at church and there’s a shortage of people involved in leadership roles for teenage and children’s stuff. Which brings me to my favourite topic at the moment – the relationship between church stuff and parachurch stuff. I think one day I’m going to write a book on the whole church vs uni ministry conflict. It’s bizarre that it even operates as a conflict – surely as part of the one kingdom or wider church there should be a more synergetic or symbiotic relationship between the two groups. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out. Both the AFES staff workers up here go to Willows so there’s this occasionally tense undercurrent somewhere in the background (which I assume is where most undercurrents operate.)
So there’s a rambling update free of fake news (not that my stories about breaking an artwork and killing a national icon were fake it’s just that as Matt so rightly pointed out in his comments, or at least the sentiment in those comments pointed out – they weren’t really news. Actually I’m not sure his comments were pointing that out at all – I just wanted to put his name in the main bit to encourage further comments so did it in a way that vaguely supported my original point. I’ve been spending too much time with politicians.)
Not content with my destruction of a work of art, tonight I stooped to an all new low. I joined the exclusive road kill club. It was a bit wet, in dark outskirt streets and my windows were foggy and I swear that Echidna just jumped out at me.
It made a funny crunch sound. Almost exactly the kind of noise you’d expect a prickly animal to make. I was doing the speed limit (100kph) so couldn’t really stop to make sure it was dead. I guess it’s the kind of incident where you want the thing you’ve hit to be dead for its own sake.
What is the road kill protocol? Should I have stopped to make sure it was dead – utilising the tyre iron in my back seat for a quick blow to the little blighter’s prickly head? Should I have just continued on my merry way under the false assumption that I’d missed him, hit a stick and he was actually fine. I’m calling it a him because I think under the circumstances it’s safe to assume he was a he. Girls just don’t have the propensity for playing on the roads after dark.
Let this be a lesson to you all.
Monday mornings are bad. Today I woke myself up stupidly early to get into the office before a corporate breakfast. This was my first bad Monday morning as a full time professional worker. I turned up bushy eyed and bright tailed. Well actually I had no tail. But my early morning coffee did the trick. Breakfast was a selection of traditional hot breakfast foodstuffs eaten at a local animal sanctuary – surrounded by the animal inhabitants of said sanctuary and several interstate visitors looking at hosting corporate functions in Townsville.
Those of you familiar with my artistic opus (I’m not sure it was a magnum opus and it certainly wasn’t a magnum [of either the pistol variety or the ice cream]) Progress In Art may be sad to learn of its untimely demise over the weekend. Due to an absence of picture hanging capabilities in my bedroom (and uncertainty as to whether it would be appropriate to hammer nails into the wall for that purpose) I had placed the rather fragile masterpiece rather precariously on the fluro light on my wall. It looked pretty good there. The lighting was just right. For those of you who haven’t seen it it was basically the insides of a broken discman attached by sticky tape to a framed pane of glass. I was playing some music with a bass line (you know the notes played by the left hand, often below middle C – not the fishing line you’d use to catch bass – English is a fun language to play with) and the subwoofer in my room shook the wall causing the frame to fall to a rather crushing, crashing and smashing halt on the floor below. This made me sad. Mostly because I had to clean up the broken glass. But that was my second most brilliant creation ever. A triumph over the inherent stupidity of postmodern art. Clever on many, many levels. And now it’s gone.
It’s sad when the biggest bit of news you have to report is a broken piece of homemade artwork.
I went to my first Willows working bee on Saturday. Then I went for a cruise around the bay between the mainland and Magnetic Island. It had free food, drink and a band. Yesterday I went to church. Tonight I’m having dinner with the youth minister at Willows to discuss what I’ll be doing with the church this year. It looks like I’ll be co-ordinating the young adults stuff. Consider yourselves updated.
Until next time.
No, I haven’t quit my job, or my house. Today marks the second week I’ve been in Townsville. Time flies when you’re having fun. So this week I made my first corporate trip back to Brisbane. I had been hoping to take Friday off and stay down there for the weekend, but the realities of being a proper worker hit and I was called back to Townsville for a visit by the Chief Executive of Tourism Queensland. Turns out Media co-ordinators need to co-ordinate the media. We had all the local television networks here and I managed to be filmed sitting in the meeting. I guess this makes me an E-Grade local celebrity (that’s a joke I’ve used before for my time spent on Briz 31. I realised the other day I only really have three funny jokes that run on a rotation policy). Actually, on that bracketed note and an irrelevant tangent, I was talking to my friend Michael the other day (Michael is a Brisbane Dentistry student who’s up here on 6 months prac – he MC’d a QYC with me) and we were talking about small talk – the nature of conversations we force new people to have when we meet them. We’ve decided we’re sick of giving the little spiel on why we’re in Townsville. From now on I’m going to lie and tell people I’m a prisoner from the local prison on day release for good behaviour. Actually I won’t. But the point is – I think there are probably more effective ways to get to know new people. Why not ask random questions about circus acts, or something entertaining. Rehashing the same message over and over again gets pretty boring.
Anyway, I went to Brisbane to attend a meeting of Tourism Organisations and Tourism media outlets. We pitched Townsville to the Great Outdoors and other funky travel shows. It went well. I got free coffee and danishes. A nice change from the serving coffee and danishes in my old law firm job. I think that’s been the biggest change from the support side of an office to the professional. That and the business cards.
I got home to find that all my worldly possessions had arrived in Townsville. So now my house feels like home.
Tomorrow night I get to go on a cruise. Be jealous.
Well, I was going to do my song title challenge today but in an annoying technological hiccup I lost my entire post just before it saved. The internet is stupid. Word thinks internet is a proper noun and should be capitalised and normally I’d comply, but today I don’t think it deserves proper noun status.
I’ll list the songs that I had picked out for my post and challenge you to figure out where they fit:
One Week – Barenaked ladies, Better Man – Pearl Jam, Better Man – Robbie Williams, Better Man – John Butler Trio, Today – Smashing Pumpkins, Rocket – Smashing Pumpkins, Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead, Creep – Radiohead… actually I won’t list all the songs but there were bits of comedic gold in there featuring songs from Weezer, Gomez, The Whitlams, some old musical soundtracks, the Beatles… I pulled out all the stops, and commas, (and brackets) – in fact I pulled out all the punctuation! – only to be thwarted by the internet gremlins.
The gist of my lost post was that things here are going well. Work is hard in a good way. Cyclones are bad for tourism. Townsville is good for tourism. Work for a tourism organisation has fantastic perks. There’s the summary now here’s the detail…
As it turns out Cyclones that miss where you live can be bad for where you live if they only just miss where you live. The impact of a cyclone threat is felt by tourism businesses in the entire region even if they aren’t actually damaged themselves. Starting work for the local tourism organisation the week of a cyclone isn’t something I’d necessarily recommend unless you want to throw yourself in at the deep end to see if you’ll sink or swim. To continue the watery cliche – I’m currently managing to keep my head above water as I madly churn out press releases to combat the plethora of cyclone destruction images floating around in the southern media. At the same time I’m trying to get a handle on the intricacies and nuances of the Townsville Enterprise juggernaut and trying to learn the names and functions of my various co-workers. I’m also dealing with the media both local and national, organising interview opportunities, accommodation and the like while trying to get my head around all the tourist attractions in the region. Tomorrow I go on my first work trip. I’m head to Magnetic Island to experience all it has to offer. In April I get to go on a three day trip to a resort on Orpheus Island where I get a 7 course meal. Life is hard. That was sarcasm. Well actually some of it is hard. In a good way. I’m enjoying the challenges my job offers and even the discipline getting up at the same time every day offers.
You can read my press releases in the media section of www.townsvilleonline.com.au if that’s something that excites you (mum and dad).
I apologise for the unworking links in the side column – but I just don’t care enough to fix them. Do your own internet surfing. Actually don’t. Maybe if we don’t surf the internet it will die. Then all the badness will go away. I guess my blog would go away too but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
I think I’m now officially a North Queenslander. Not only did my first weekend in the tropics include a trip to a Cowboys game (well it was really a trip to a Manly game but who’s counting) but I also managed to survive my first cyclone scare. Tropical cyclone Larry managed to cause all sorts of mayhem up north and even though it didn’t hit Townsville it managed to postpone my first day of work. Well, it at least put it off until lunch time. I arrived in the office at 2pm in a fairly exhausted state having spent the previous night watching cyclone updates on TV. I wasn’t particularly worried about Larry as I have no valuables up here other than my car which is fairly comprehensively insured. Larry passed us by, leaving winds and rain in his wake. Many stupid local residents braved the killer jellyfish to experience a rare bit of swell at the beach. I was not one of those people. The prospect of being attacked by the killing stroke of a jellybean sized ocean dwelling monster doesn’t appeal to me at all.
In other news up here… The Cowboys beat Manly in a scrappy game which featured some dubious refereeing. I went to the football with an old friend of mine from Maclean, it was cool seeing someone I haven’t seen for many years and even if he is a Broncos supporter it’s nice to have someone else up here who isn’t in the grips of Cowboy fever. Football is like a religion up here.
I’ve found a permanent abode, I’m living in a house next door to the church up here. My housemates are Tim, a marine biology/science student who was president of the AFES group up here the same year I was president of QUT Christians, and Dave, A graphic designer who works from home. Dave is clean, Tim is messy and I’m the happy medium. Tim is also a wrestling fan. Those of you who have plotted (as in observed on a graph, rather than planned) my descent into wrestling fan status over the last year will probably be currently sighing or making disapproving clucks. It turns out wrestling fans have this different level of conversation that other people just can’t appreciate. Words that are foreign to others are now commonplace. It seems jargon is not restricted to the church. It’s nice to be part of another social subset.
Other than cyclone excitement things up here have been surprisingly smooth, new city, new house, new job, new church, new friends, new appreciation of fruit… someone once told me changing all these were amongst the most stressful human experiences. I’m not feeling it yet. In the wake of the damage to banana farms up here I went out and bought a kilo of yellowy goodness just to beat the price hike.
Kudos must be given to some commentators on my last post – Kutz for his grammatical prowess and my cousin Miriam for her cyclone pun.
I’m at work at the moment so no musical eliteness (or should I say 1337ness for you internet geeks) this week. However next post I aim to use song titles as many times as possible throughout my text. So that’s something to look forward to.
For those who came in late… to steal a well worn line from a comic book hero… here’s some information about the creator of this blog:
My full name is: Nathan Macleay Campbell.
I like stuff.
I guess you can read more about the particular stuff and things I like on my profile.
At the time of writing I’m two days out from beginning the next adventurous stage in my life. I’m about to move 1400kms north to Townsville where I begin my life as a fulltime worker.
In order to cash in on the tradition of great Hollywood D-Grade movies like Ernest Goes To Camp I’ve decided to put the words “goes to” in between my name and my destination in the title of my blog. I’d like to think my adventure north is at least on par with Ernest’s trip to summer camp. I hope my adventures will be at least half as wacky as his were. I’d also like to think that reading about my adventures will be less painful for you than sitting through an Ernest movie. If you haven’t seen an Ernest movie you’re not missing out on much. They’re basically as painful as fingernails being scraped along a blackboard for an hour and a half.
There’s a lot of things I like about reading other people’s blogs that I’ll aim to recapture here. There’s a lot of things I don’t like about reading other people’s blogs that I’ll try not to include here.
So here you have my thoughts on my impending departure: I am simultaneously excited and nervous (I’m not sure what the adjectival form of the word trepidation is but I would have used it there, maybe trepidated?) Until last Sunday night I’d been pretty cool about the whole moving away thing casually farewelling friends with the knowledge that I was about to make a new beginning somewhere else which, at least in my mind, isn’t all that daunting. I’m really looking forward to starting my new job with Townsville Enterprise, who you can find here. I’m looking forward to meeting new people. I just didn’t think it would be that hard to say goodbye to old people but on the upside it’s not like I’m dying and there’s always me in blog form if you miss me too much. It’s much harder for me to be cool, calm and collected when other people are displaying their emotions. At the moment my emotional compass is pointing more towards the excited end of the spectrum but it fluctuates depending on what I’m doing with my time. I think making huge life changing decisions is like eating Pringles, once you pop, you can’t stop. To explain that analogy and further explain how i’m feeling I’ll use another analogy – you can’t get off the rollercoaster in the middle of the ride, you just have to sit back and enjoy it. There’s no pulling out now so I guess there’s no place for second thoughts even if I was considering having them. Which I’m not. But if I was I wouldn’t be any more because that analogy explains everything. I am clearly wise beyond my years. Or not.
So now to my favourite part of other people’s blogs the bit where I show just how good my taste in all things aesthetic is. The bit where I record for the ages what I’m listening to, watching, wearing etc. I’m going to restrict it to what I’m listening to this time round but if I find good websites I’ll put links and stuff.
This post was brought to you by the band MUSE and the album Absolution.