Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Business meeting of Horror!

Since the beginning of May, I have had a business trip either interstate or international every week. That's a lot of inane taxi trips, tussles for overhead locker space, time spent gazing at one tarmac or another and lonely hotel rooms. This may have contributed to my feeling a tiny bit fed up when I dragged myself out of bed at 5am yesterday morning for an early flight to Melbourne and a crucial meeting.

At the club lounge I made a B-line for tea and some breaky to improve my frame of mind. The hot water dispenser was on the blink and squirted its steaming contents far beyond the bounds of my tea cup. Yes. Onto my shoes. The muesli was like mouthfuls of grainy sugar and could not be finished. Deciding to see what delights Qantas would serve up for breakfast in the air, I was bitterly disappointed with my egg and bacon muffin - soggy bits that should have been dry and dry bits that should have been soggy.

My boss handed me the crossword that I so enjoy when killing time in transit but a search through my bags revealed NO PEN! Those wonderful blank squares winking at me and seducing me with their tantalising clues and I was powerless to act! A quick internal tantrum ended in an involuntary snooze in nasty economy class seating. So much for respectable corporate-appropriate hair.

Boss and I arrive at client's building, go up to level 45 where 15 senior people are scheduled to hear me present. No response from our contact to let us in. Where is she? 5 minutes till presentation start time... A kindly woman walks out towards the lifts and asks if we are ok.
"Yes, we are waiting for blah blah to take us through to a meeting."
"Oh, blah blah is in our other building for another big meeting with ECA."
"Oh really? We ARE the ECA meeting! When did we change venues?"
"Oh, didn't Blah blah tell you?"
"No... ... ..."
"Well I'm going to that meeting so why don't we all go across together? Let's just step into this sophisticated, hi-tech, safe-as-houses 21st century lift to take us down the 45 stories to the safety of the ground level and within minutes we will be at the meeting where 15 senior people are scheduled to hear you present. Everything is still on track for a smooth meeting."

As we step into the sophisticated, hi-tech, safe-as-houses 21st century lift to take us down the 45 stories to the safety of the ground level, I make a relaxed joke about the secret fear I had when I felt the lift bounce under our footsteps. Doors close and before we have even had time to politely fix our gaze on the floor-number display monitor, BANG!!! The lift suddenly falls a couple of meters. I just manage to keep adult-like composure as the realisation sets in that the lift is stuck, hovering between floors, 44 stories from the ground. And the doors won't open and we are buzzing for help and suddenly there is a high pitched squealing noise that won't shut up!

I happen to love wide open spaces. The opposite of wide open spaces is small enclosed spaces. The opposite of love, is hate. For the next 30 minutes, I had the chance to work through my feelings of 'hate' (read: irrational fear, panic, nausea, desire to cry like a baby) in the company of my boss, an important client and a fourth woman from the client company who also happened to be claustrophobic, like me. Once the security guards were finally able to get through on the intercom, they asked us our full names (to save the cops precious time identifying our oxygen starved, unrecognisable mashed bodies once we hit level G?!) and told us that the technician was on his way. From ALTONA! In the mean time, he commenced a textbook distraction conversation technique to prevent any incidents with the two claustrophobics imprisoned in the tomb of steel. We could also listen to the distorted voice of a woman mournfully calling to us through the impenetrable lift doors from level 45. "What did she say? I can't understand her. She'll tell our families we love them?!!"

The four of us were sprawled on the floor of the lift, layers of clothing stripped off, with smiling brave faces - the feigned cheerfulness of long-suffering comrades, sharing my crossword puzzle (obtained a pen!) to take our minds off the thinning oxygen and IMPRISONMENT ALMOST LIKE BEING BURIED ALIVE WHERE YOU CAN'T SEE DAYLIGHT OR EVEN A WAY TOWARDS DAYLIGHT AND NOT SURE HOW IT IS THAT YOU CONTINUE TO BREATH EVEN THOUGH YOUR CHEST FEELS LIKE IT HAS CAVED IN ALONG WITH YOUR SUDDENLY VERY TIGHT WORLD when without warning, we felt the lift rush downwards. Not a drop, but definitely an unsettling rush.

A spill out onto ground floor, concerned security guards, replace shoes, coats and scarves, incident reports then onward to very important meeting, where the 15 senior people had been waiting for considerable time, white-faced presentation, grueling meeting afterward and in a stunning turn of luck, a big success to take home with us to Sydney.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


There was nothing high-falutin' about our NYE celebrations this year which we took in Tumut. It was a weekend all about blood, sweat and beers. Matt, an old uni mate, accompanied my folks and the Professor to the family farm for the long weekend where many an ambitious task was planned. There was a pool to demolish and a veranda to errect. The boys brought their tool boxes, Pa brought the heavy equipment and my Ma brought the tea.

It was a weekend of blue open skies, seering sunshine, beers in the rain (yes RAIN!), work boots, builder's cracks, power tools, grunted converstaions, endless homecooked meals and little bit of Buble on the stereo.
The fellas, digging a hole 'big yellow toy' style.

We discovered a new 'crumble' recipe, two toads and Pa's reo penchant. We spotted a few deadly animals, watched Pa cut willow branches for hungry cattle and ate corn chips shaped like Christmas trees.

There was many a chat about cricket, rivets and concrete setting.

Really, it could have been an ad for VB.

Ma tells me that Pa is now suffering from blokey-conversation withdrawal.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A wee bit bitter...

I would now like to revert back to my original stance on the Logie "Awards". What a depressing piece of rag-whoring junk. And boy did Joan Rivers make sure she wouldn't be asked back again!

Congratulations to Chris Lilly though. A worthy opponent to out-logie my little brother, twice.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Logie in the Family?

My little brother and his cast mates were invited to the Logies nomination breakfast on Monday morning. Lucky he changed his pants for it- he was nominated!

A new category starts this year, the Graham Kennedy Award For Most Outstanding New Talent and my little brother is nominated for it, along with Adam Hills (Spicks & Specks, ABC), Chris Lilley (We Can Be Heroes, ABC), Matt Shirvington (Beyond Tomorrow, Channel Seven) and Kat Stewart (Supernova, Foxtel). With Adam Hills and Chris Lilley there, the competition is pretty stiff I guess.

His show has also been nominated for the Most Outstanding Comedy Program. Not sure who else they're up against there.

Both awards are industry voted and the Australian public has no say (thank goodness.)

My little brother, pictured above, front left.)

BTW- I'm back in Oz. Hello cheese!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Having a rotten time

Oh boy, am I glad to be getting out of here soon.

Frankly, I don't really care much for this country. The lush and misty rice paddies, sandy beaches, ramshackle temples and colourful market places are all a bit dull really. All the history, the mysticism, the humanity. The shopping!

I'm not charmed at all by the brightest smiles and wildest waves 'hello' of all the excited little children we pass, or the soft sing-song voices and gentle manners of our local guides, or by the poise and serenity of the school girls gliding by on their bicycles, beautiful oi zais rippling in their wake.

Really, when have I EVER got a thrill out of pretty little calves, puppies, piglets, ducklings or chickens? Or elephants for that matter. And quite truthfully, I'm sick and tired of the endless parade of wonderful local specialities that have crossed my table- fresh, tasty, surprising, cheap and satisfying. Add to that the monotony of the constant supply of great coffee, fresh fruit, baguettes and spring rolls to die for and I'm going to be coming home a few sizes smaller!

As the wobbly texta lines on my map creep ever northward, the climate softens, friendships deepen, wallets lighten and belts loosen, I wonder, why on earth did I ever come to this bloody country?

Back in OZ oh so soon.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Out of the Wilderness

One word:


My few days in the wilderness of the Central Western Highlands was, as you guessed, FANTASTIC. Beautiful countryside, wonderful people, more tasty food. My big highlight came after a triumphant tramp down the last mountainside in our big trek, descending on our tiny little village, marching along the rice paddy walls when my eye was caught by the saggy grey bottom of a munching, lumbering elephant! Nearly fell into the rice paddy with juvenile giddiness. Got to meet her later on and fell in love, very very quickly.

My old girl

Arriving in Nam Ka after our trek

Dinner at our second long house home stay

From wooden floors for beds, wake-ups at 5am (care of rude roosters, birthing puppies & propaganda radio) and a distinct lack of running water to... heavenly Hoi An. This place is THE BEST. Fighting my materialistic urge (badly), giving in to my greedy side, wallowing in the charm of this beautiful old place. Certainly no cure for my new coffee drinkers' tick, gluttons' elbow, motorbikers' bum or dancers' blisters.

I should leave it there this time. You all should try to make it here sometime. Beautiful Hoi An.

Penny & me at our office in Hoi An

View from our office