I had planned to be at a coffee shop to start this entry, but I was on the phone to Telstra for nearly 1.5 hours, sorting out the NBN, most of it, as one would imagine, was waiting on the line whilst listening to Tommy Emmanuel or Kenny G or whomever it was who created the on-hold music. I got transferred through a number of departments, finally ending with a very helpful lass who informed me that the NBN order for this block of units was 80% completed. (I didn't even know that.)
I hate ringing call-centres. I really do. I will put it off for as long as would possibly have to, before finally working up the nerve. The ones that irritate me the most, are the banking ones. I've only had to call mine twice in the last five years, and it felt like I was being interrogated, especially when I couldn't remember the secret password I had given them when I first set it up. Next on the list would be C-Link.
Anyway, that's all been sorted. I have the dates as to when the NBN people shall be here. My 'to do' list is now 100% completed. But, seeing it's around 11.30am when I'm typing this, it's overcast and miserable outside, I'm not really in the mood to go outside until I have to, and that's for the laundry later today.
It's been doing that a lot lately. Raining. It's made me just want to stay indoors and watch DVDs. I did brave the weather and go out for a game of Blood Bowl last Thursday (27/2) evening, then pay day Friday I just upped and went out for the day and thought 'screw the rain' and on Saturday it was the Mariners vs Sydney match in Gosford. Yesterday, during a break in the rain, I went for a walk through the reserve near my place, and got stung repeatedly by mosquitoes. Did get some nice pictures of magpies, ducks and a mushroom though. (Yes, I take pictures of quite a lot of things.)
And whilst I'm (briefly) on the topic of photography, I mailed off entries to the Bendemeer 'Colours of Autumn' exhibition. Last year I mailed off six, all of some rather artistic shots of decrepit boats (that I gave funny names to), but this year, decided I'd go for sunsets. (I've actually taken quite a few. I could do a book just of the ones I've taken down at the reserve around Caroline Bay.) I've even included one that I took on my Tamworth Xmas trip, taken from the backyard of my brother's place. Even the colours in the picture make it look very autumn.
It also has me thinking that I really should get my act together, and get some photo books done. When I first started getting back into photography, I had the notion of doing them through Lulu.com, do a small, limited edition run and just sell them though the net. I was even going to try combine photography and writing, perhaps do a book where I could write a short story to go with the picture.
I could do that now. I sure do have the extra time up my sleeve. For, as per usual, I seem to find myself in all sorts of trouble without actually having to do much. Let's start with the work incident.
Last Thursday morning, after having done a rather exhaustive walk around the Gosford CBD the previous day, I discovered a rather, well, obnoxious (for want of a better word) e-mail from the boss. Regular readers will know by now that this is not the first time I have received unusual communiques from the office, generally about what I'm not doing correctly, or what I should be doing, or why I should be doing it, from the boss. There were the e-mails about delivering extra bundles to a certain supermarket in Umina so that 'tourists would know where to get them', and for us to deliver to all libraries in the Wyong council area regardless of the fact that people rarely touch the newspaper at all (let alone read it) and that we may not get to certain libraries before they closed, which was of no concern to the boss and ordered them delivered anyway.
This e-mail, however, was different in the fact that it was rather abusive. The undertone being that the people who deliver the newspapers (the Central Coast News edition) were not doing their job properly, with the point being directed at yours truly, seeing most of it was about news deliveries in the Gosford area. He was critical of the fact that he regularly go top up the newspaper racks across the road, and that I had not bothered to inform him that the racks needed refilling, a job that I should be doing as well, on top of the nine kilometre hike I was doing.
To say that I was pissed off, was an understatement. My response, written rather heatedly, and trying to refrain from putting too many swear words in it, told him that I was 'terribly bloody sorry' that I hadn't informed him about the racks needing refilling (with newspapers that were nearly two weeks old???) but at that time, I was doing the rest of the Gosford CBD and was, well, kind of busy. (The office, I should add, is roughly 20 metres from the shopping centre. Anyone from the office could go across the road and take a bundle over.) I went on to inform him that the newspaper rack in question, near a certain supermarket upstairs, could only hold four bundles on each row because there was a loose wheel, and that any more newspapers piled up on it may cause it to tip over. I also reminded him that I drop 13 bundles (of a total of 31 allocated to my walks) of newspapers up there every second Wednesday. (I put eight downstairs, four upstairs, and share the other one between three coffee shops and a newsagent in the shopping centre.)
Then I proceeded to tell him, that if he wasn't happy with the way I did it, perhaps he should get someone else to do it. A minute or so later, I sent him another e-mail, saying 'come to think of it, do find someone else to do it, and the Wyong and Peninsula deliveries as well'.
For crying out loud, it was 2.5 days a fortnight. It wasn't worth putting up with this shite. Today, I would normally be on the Peninsula run, but I'm not. I've missed two calls from work so far today, and have no intentions of returning any of them. I would've like to have heard an excuse as to why he treats people like school-kids, why he feels the need to lecture people all the time, like he has cancer, or in the early stages of alzheimers, but there isn't one. He is just a pompous newspaper owner, who thinks he's out to change the world, and everything has to be done his way and woe be unto those who criticise him in any way. He's only nice when he wants something done.
Seriously though, how can a free fortnightly newspaper, which copies (word for word) press releases and e-mails, compete against a (three times) weekly free newspaper (which is owned by Rupert Murdoch) that has a horde of reporters and is well established (decades), in a digital age, where the preferred delivery of news is the internet? In Wyong shire, he's competing against three – Rupert's Advocate, a monthly one called the Village Grapevine, plus at the northern end, The Lakes Mail.
The sad thing is, I quite liked the gent whom I used to work with on the runs. We would talk about anything from world history, to why the mariners are going crap at the moment. He came around last Thursday to see how I was, and to ask me not to quit. I told him it was too late, I already had. I was actually quite touched by the fact that he came over, but I wasn't going to change my mind.
Thursday didn't get any better either. I got absolutely thrashed in my game of BB in Sydney. The worst defeat that I have had so far this year. The only consolation I took out of the day, was that I got seventy pages through Game of Thrones whilst on the train.
But the fun doesn't stop there. To really cap off a rather crappy week, I had a date on Saturday. For a couple of weeks I had been swapping messages with a Sydney lady (let's call her Linda) on one of the many dating sites. She was interested in yours truly because I still played football, and she thought I was rather handsome, even 'cute' in my goalkeeper's outfit. On Saturday, after swapping dozens of SMS, she called me. We talked for over two hours. Long story short, I invited her up to the Mariners vs Sydney match. She had never been to an A-League match before, and quite enjoyed it, getting right into barracking for the locals and I was impressed with her knowledge of football terminology. She knew more than I did. We even went out for a quick bite to eat before she went back to Sydney.
I walked her back to her car, and got a kiss goodnight. I felt sparks. I was in a very happy place despite the rain. Promises of further dates were made, including a home cooked meal when she had settled in to her new place. (Most of her belongings was still in the back of her car.) She was concerned about my well-being, asking me to SMS her when I got home. That was at 8.30pm. Around 11.30pm, her mood had changed considerably. She now wanted to get out of Sydney as fast as possible, and she was apologetic for 'wasting my time'. I replied that she hadn't. She didn't respond. (She was quite open about her troubles during the night and her past. I wonder how much of it was actually true... )
Yesterday, I discovered that I had been deleted from her contacts list on the site. In the space of several hours, I went from a delightful flirt that she was going to 'bang me very slowly' to I never want to hear from you again. WTF?
Naturally, all this has put me off dating again. Just when I thought I had found a rather entertaining, delightful lass the same age as me, there's the metaphorical kick in the nuts, and I'm back where I started from, with $60 less in my bank account. At least she didn't cost me as much as the previous football lady I went out with. (And once again, I'm glad I didn't sleep with her, or take her back to my place.) I believe, that yet again, I broke one of my dating rules – never go out with someone who's crazier than you.
But I live on the Central Coast. Like I'm going to find a sane girlfriend around here?
The highlight of a rather miserable week, was that the Mariners beat Sydney FC, for the third time this season. That, and I was able to have a couple of drinks with a pair of team-mates from football before the game. With the rather weird results from the weekend (second last Melbourne Heart beat their local top four rivals Victory 4-0, whilst a rather unpredictable Newcastle travelled to play the Wanderers, and beat them 2-0), three teams are now locked in third place, breathing down the Wanderers neck, whilst the Roar have opened up a sizeable gap on top of the ladder – again. It was a good result for the Mariners, who, after having capitulated rather badly against Victory and Wellington in previous weeks, and being one of three teams who had played midweek in the Asian Champions League, fought hard to win the game 2-1 in the wet at Gosford. The Mariners were the only one of the three Australian ACL participants who actually registered a win this round. The most memorable highlight, for myself (and no doubt for a number of Mariners supporters) was to see new recruit Kim Seong-yong bend a free-kick up and around the Sydney FC wall to open the scoring. Liam Reddy's spectacular save in stopping a del Piero free-kick was a close second, whilst Mitch Duke's winner was also right up there, though seeing DP get a yellow card for a challenge on Storm Roux was quite amusing!
White ball, top right-hand corner pocket...
Finally, I have been viewing a number of DVDs over the last couple of weeks. I had picked up Firefly on sale last Friday, and was quite enjoying the series yet again. I am still working my way through the growing collection of old-school martial arts films, including some classics produced by the legendary Shaw brothers. It's not hard to see who has influenced modern movie creators like Quentin Tarantino for example (especially Kill Bill). However, after watching a couple of Shaw brother films (The 5 Deadly Venoms and Duel of the Iron Fist) they immediately made me think of Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle.
In Duel... (which was part of an English dubbed 10 martial arts movie box), most gang members were using an axe as their weapon of choice, though the main fighters were using knives. (At one stage, you could see a gangster wielding a pick-axe in a fight scene.) In Kung Fu... the big gang in the movie was The Axe Gang. In The 5..., one of the five senior fighters was a master of toad style. Again, in Kung Fu..., the big villain was indeed a master of toad style.
But briefly back to Tarantino. In Kill Bill, the leader of O-Ren Ishi's bodyguard is played by Gordon Liu (he also plays the old master in the second movie). Gordon starred in a Shaw brother masterpiece – The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, a DVD I was very pleased to pick up for just $6.98. I look forward to watching it – again.
And on that note, I need some lunch, and to grab my washing before I post this. I'm hoping that this week turns out much better than last week...
P.S: Just finished watching two episodes of an 80's TV show that was on one of the disks in the movie box. The show was called The Master, and starred Lee Van Cleef, of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly fame, and featured, for about ten minutes, a young Demi Moore. All I can say is, Lee must've really needed the money...