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Less than 20 days!

My friend Japie, who is non-Google+, non-Facebook, non-LJ, and pretty much non-ANYTHING online, does read my public posts here on LJ, and was making fun of me for daring to suggest that I quite often go for 20 days or so without socialising with anyone...

And I thought that he was correct to a certain point. There HAVE been times where I've gone WEEKS with just working, eating by myself, going to the movies by myself, and not socialising with ANYONE, other than online, or chatting to people at work. So, whenever I post about catching up with friends now, I giggle that he's going to see the post, and catch me out! LOL

Maybe I should do a string of fake posts about doing nothing but sleeping, eating, working and keep the socialising ones to "Friends Only", so he doesn't see them... Right, Japie? ;-)

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I was due to drive up to Woy Woy and spend the night with Frank & John, but that got put on hold because of my car getting broken in to. So, as they were down last night to attend John's mother's 90th birthday, before they headed back home, we decided to catch up for lunch. We normally just go to The Happy Chef for some cheap Chinese, but the boys were in the mood for something a little different, so we headed to Moo Burgers. The boys seemed to enjoy their burgers, and they're actually not bad value for proper, home-made style burgers. Not the mass-produced wholesale patties that are served up in the bistros of RSL clubs... AUD$16.50 for a nice beef, bacon and avocado burger. Including tax. And no tip necessary in Australia. So, that's about US$14 or so...

Then it was off to work for a 3.00pm standby shift. I really should have got in to watching a movie or something, but instead, I just arsed about playing games on the iPhone and chatting to people.



The lovely John and Frank...

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Working for the Weekend...

Yep,

As expected, nothing achieved today except for languishing in bed, and then getting up to go to work for a 2.50pm start.

A long, but fairly easy shift, with my break up at Hornsby - at a reasonable enough hour that I was able to go to the Westfield Mall and have something to eat. Gotta love Hungry Jacks! Which is essentially Burger King. Can't complain about their "Stunner" meals - a double cheeseburger, small fries, small drink and a mini ice cream for the grand total of AUD$6.50 - that's about US$5, and includes tax!

Of course, it's another healthy addition to my otherwise excellent diet. Not. On both counts. It's NOT a healthy addition, nor do I actually HAVE an excellent diet. *yikes*

Tried using the Free WiFi, but the speed was unbelievably bad. Less than dial-up modem speeds... I tell you what - Internet in Australia is a JOKE! We're ranked 44th in the WORLD! Shameful...

Anyway, after another uneventful shift, it was time to head home... :-)



This Internet is SO SLOW!!!

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The only thing done...

Today was a day off, which was original to be worked... But I ended up getting a swap for last Sunday, which is a financially beneficial one! Someone must be desperate if they want / need to swap away weekend work!

But of course, it was completely wasted... I could have easily gotten out of bed to do stuff, at least by 10.00am. But of course, it wasn't until after 2.00pm that I emerged, and then quickly showered, changed, and headed over to my barber in Newtown, to get a hair cut. At least I got THAT done...

But then, almost as if I was in a daze, I came back home... It was pretty cold, so I turned the heater on, and settled down in front of the computer. I had some paperwork from work to be scanned, things to be filed and put away, and stuff to try up... But I literally became "stuck" on the computer... Refreshing Facebook, staring blankly at the ABC news website, listening to music, and basically doing.... nothing.

For the WHOLE evening... I didn't even do a new DJ CubOz mix. It friggin' scares me when this happens...

Anyway... it's been, gone, done and dusted. Nothing I can do. Here, for your amusement, is a before an after shot. I think I need a different case. The one I have is VERY rugged - and dust & water proof - which is great for work, but it means the camera lenses are covered by a thin plastic, which easily gets dirty, and hard to clean (as they're sunken in to the case), and a lot of my photos are glarey and streaky with light starbursts... :-(



Jeez, I DO look bored!

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Getting cold...

It's starting to get rather chilly in Sydney at the moment, as we plunge in to the depths of winter... Although I have to laugh - most Australians don't even know the MEANING of winter, compared to most people in Europe and North America!

I doesn't even drop down below zero here in Sydney - and in fact, so far, the lowest overnight temperature I've experienced has been about 8ºC - or about 46ºF. That's not cold at all, really... of course, if there's a wind blowing from the south, where Antarctica is, is can lend a bit of an extra chill to the air. I can happily go through winter with shorts, and s long as the top half of my body is warm, be quite happy.

Whilst waiting for a signal to change, just before coming in to North Sydney Station, I got a nice shot... North Sydney is the secondary business hub, with thousands of people commuting there every day. There's a train going through there every few minutes or so, during peak times!

I need to get a cotton bud or something to keep the lens cover of my phone clean. As the case is dust and waterproof, membranes and plastic cover the holes for the microphone, speaker and camera lenses - meaning that the photos and videos I take are probably not of the quality that the iPhone 6+ has been designed for...

Oh, it was Miss Thing's birthday today, so I left a message on her Facebook wall. He won't have seen it - along with messages from other people. Mainly because he hardly checks online, and he was also up in Noosa to celebrate (based on Johnny's posts). I'm sure Johnny paid for everything. Call me cynical, but I just know these things from 7 years living with Michael... And I didn't call him, because NEITHER of them called, or even sent me a MESSAGE, on my birthday... So it's time for me to just care a little less than I normally do.



The "tilt shift" is on purpose, but the "lens flare" is not... I need to clean it!

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Not much was done...

After yesterday's big day, it was quite necessary of me to sleep in...

No.

It actually wasn't, but I did it anyway... of course!

Headed in to work for a 6.00pm start, on a standby shift. This was actually a shift swap - so I picked up an extra Sunday (double dollars!), in exchange for a weekday off. I'll take THAT, thank you very much! :-)

It was a quiet evening at work, so I just did crosswords and chatted with other drivers and guards - including Bob, who is kinda awesome. He's a big bear, a young, total geek (BIG Doctor Who fan, and goes to ComicCon-type events), and he knows I have a man-crush on him. And his WIFE knows I have a man-crush on him, and thinks it's awesome! Now, THAT'S the sort of people I like... :-)

Oh, and I worked my magic investigative skills to find out whether he's cut or uncut... LOL



He looks SOOOOOOO impressed! LOL

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It comes in waves....

I think people see my socialising posts, coz they're interesting, but don't see the 10 to 20 entries of me doing nothing but working or sleeping, between each social post, so think that all I do is eat out with friends! LOL

Anyway, not only was my friend Leslie in town (who I caught up with for dinner on Thursday night), but David was up from Melbourne for a work conference. He normally stays with me, but because I'm in the new place, and not really sure about having friends staying (yet), he asked Craige & Oz whether he could stay with them - and of course they said yes.

Oz was working this weekend, so it was Craige, David, Leslie and myself who met at Chinatown for Yum Cha at 11.00am. Actually, Craige & David hopped on the Light Rail at Lilyfield, and I got on at the next stop, Rozelle Bay, which is just 5 minutes walk from my house. I'd catch the Light Rail to work more often, but it doesn't run late at night (well, it DOES, but only as far as the Casino....).

We had a lovely meal at the Golden Harbour, our favourite Yum Cha haunt in Chinatown, and a favourite of a LOT of bears, so it's not surprising to see other groups of friends in there, too. We made sure we had enough room to have a freshly made gelato at N2, and then afterwards, we spent an hour or so wandering around Paddy's Markets, before I bid farewell to the boys. I caught the Light Rail back home, and actually bumped in to another driver, who lives close by, walking his dog. Actually, Dave had only just got back this morning from London via Singapore, and he was out walking the dog, trying to readjust his body clock. My friend Rhyce actually ended up housesitting for them, and looking after Rosie, the dog. I couldn't do it, because of my move, my shifts, and going away during their absence, so I recommended Rhyce to them. I think he enjoyed the time away from his current place, and of course, he now wants a dog... LOL

Got changed, and then headed to work for a 5.00pm start. It was a standby shift, and I didn't do anything until around 10pm, when I went to Cronulla and back. I actually spent most of the shift prior to that doing crossword puzzles, in stead of watching movies on the iPhone. Fairly uneventful trip, except for the group of little shits that got on at Penshurst (we had been warned by the signal-box that they were spitting at guards on other services), and they proceeded to cause trouble and smoke on ours. We waited at Hurstville for about 9 minutes for the police to come (but they didn't), before they obviously wised up to what was going on, so got off our train and disappeared. Why can't we have tasers!!!!? :-( LOL



Southern entrance to the Dixon Street mall at Sydney's Chinatown...




A collage of bears!  Clockwise, from top left: Leslie, Craige, myself and David! :-)

Straight Mates!

As you know, I work in a VERY heterosexual environment... lot's of "bloke" men. Some are homophobic, bigoted, racist and generally poorly educated and yet still opinionated. But there's lots that aren't, including some VERY cool guys, who know that I'm a big poof - as WELL as knowing that I have a bit of a "man-crush" on them. And it doesn't faze them one bit...

I was thinking about this. I was trying to think about how it would feel for a straight man to find out that a gay man DOES fancy him. I then got to thinking about how it feels for me to find out that a WOMAN fancies me - but instead of finding it strange, I found myself questioning WHY a woman would find me attractive. As if, for some reason, that no woman actually would. That's weird...

Anyway, I remember when I was in training, being down at Cronulla, and spotting this dishevelled, scraggly-bearded driver, and was instantly taken with him. Not my typical type of guy, but there was just SOMETHING about him... And as I got to know Tone a lot better, I found him absolutely fascinating. Like me, he has mental issues (but for personal reasons I won't go further in to details), but he has this amazing attitude towards life. He's married, with 3 kids, and lives down in Cronulla - and is a bit of a "beach babe". So he's always got saltwater ruffled hair, and a VERY deep, permanent tan - and freckles, of course.

So finally, I got to go down there and have lunch with him. It was actually his suggestion that we catch up for lunch, which was nice, but it took us a while to get our rosters to work out. He had already worked today, AND gone for a swim. And it's winter, yet he still swims in the ocean - and he showed me on my maps App how far he roughly swims - and how far out he goes! He's brave - both in terms of distance / depth, and how bloody cold the water must be!

It took me longer to get down there than I thought, due to traffic, and Google Maps actually had the restaurant in the wrong place, based on it's address! I wonder if I can send in corrections?

Anyway, we finally caught up at the local Hog's Breath Cafe down there, and had a lovely lunch and chat. I have to admit, I'm not used to paying $35 or so for a steak, but it was quite a nice steak, with a lovely salad and plenty of crispy chips. I still wish we had the "bottomless" soft drink option here in Australia...

I then drove back home around 4.00pm... Got some nice shots of Tone, too.... I tried to set up his e-mail on his mobile phone, and even though we used MY phone to reset his password, when it came to logging in on HIS phone, it still wouldn't work... I'll try again next time I see him.

I picked up my dry cleaning of my work pants (5 pairs for AUD$31.50 - I'm interested in how this compares to dry cleaning costs for my G+ and LJ friends around the world), and then after another hour or 2 at home, it was back out again, to join my friend Leslie, for dinner in Newtown. I was only gonna eat a light meal, as I was SO full from lunch still! I've known Leslie for easily 15 years or so, and he was up in Sydney to attend some Chamber Orchestra and opera performances. I actually didn't get a photo of us tonight, but we were actually quite engrossed in chatting and catching up, and dinner. We went up to Wagaya, as we both like Asian food, and you can order small dishes. I pretty much had an Agedashi Tofu (which was DELICIOUS), and a plate of salmon sashimi, and that was it... Although it DID leave room for gelato afterwards...

Then home to bed... Zzzzzzz....



Such a cheeky man!




We had a great chat!

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Overtime. Hooraaaaaaay!

I actually turned my phone on before lunchtime today... and ended up having a nice banana smoothie, which is my breakfast staple, FOR lunch...

Actually, just before noon, my phone rang, and I JUST missed it (I tried to answer it on the watch), so called straight back, and had to get out of bed to do so. Thankfully, got straight through to work, and they offered me an overtime shift, covering a job at the Hornsby Depot. Of COURSE, I said "yes"!

I had some nice left over schnitzel for a late lunch / early dinner, and then headed to the car to drive to Hornsby. I set the GPS on the phone, and gave myself 1 hour and 20 minutes. The GPS said I would arrive at my destination 15 minutes before I needed to be there. All was going well, although the afternoon peak hour traffic was starting to build, and my arrival ETA was slowly creeping towards my sign-on time. It then got a few minutes past my sign on time, before I got to Epping Road, and the turn off to Lane Cove Road - and the traffic had stopped. Thinking that it was just slow traffic lights, I sat there, not moving for close to 5 minutes. Because I didn't have the number for the sign-on clerk at Hornsby, I rang MY sign-on clerk to let him know to pass on that I was running late. I'd still be there in plenty of time for my first train (as I was signing on at the sheds, and my first run was from the station - 50 minutes later).

Once the ambulance went past me, I realised I wasn't going to go anywhere fast, so pulled out of the queue back on to the main road, waiting for the GPS to give me another route. The first was to turn around at a major intersection, and take the opposite turn off to Lane Cove Road. But traffic there was already bustling up - the queue seemed to be almost a kilometre long! By this time, I was starting to get edgy - and feeling angry. Not at the traffic. Not at the accident. Not at myself. But at the "universe" - WHY was it doing this to me?

And then the next thought that popped in to my head was that I was not going to make it, and they would have to cancel my shift, and therefore my overtime... and I burst in to tears. And I haven't cried for a few years, so it was quite a surprise. I was genuinely upset, because overtime makes a big difference to my pay, and it's important for me to save money - especially at the moment with my cheap rent, and the opportunity to save well. However, the feeling soon passed, and I pulled myself together, and drove onwards.

The next GPS reroute actually took me on to the M2 - and I had no choice but to take it - which mean having to pay a toll. By this time, I was running REALLY late, so called sign-on again to confirm whether I could do a "remote" sign on at the station. Which I could - the Duty Manager would "attest" me. We have to do this, as someone needs to check that we are physically OK to drive a train. Further along the M2 though, the main exit towards Hornsby was also congested, and not moving, so I continued to the Lane Cove Tunnel, and then to the Pacific Highway exit. As soon as I got out of the tunnel and on to the Pacific Highway, it was apparent that the traffic was also going to be a VERY slow crawl to Hornsby. So I rang back for the last time, and explained the situation. Thankfully, they said they would cover my first run from Hornsby to Central, as long as I could get to Central for the rest of my shift. Which I did. So, in all, from Annandale, trying to get to Hornsby, and then driving to Central took me TWO hours - whereas Annandale to Central is between 10 to 15 minutes! Aaaaaaargh!

I then was able to do a "deal" with the assigner... I had arrived at Central about 40 minutes past my sign on time at Hornsby. Because it was an outer-depot job, I would have been entitled to claim Travel Time - the difference between my normal travel time between home, and Central (MY depot), and home and Hornsby - AND return. I said I would not claim any travel time, if they paid my overtime shift for the full amount. A fair agreement, I thought...

Luckily, I had chocolate to calm me down and get me through the rest of the night...



My goodness, it was a NIGHTMARE!




My three favourite chocolate bars...!

Bears. Food. We go together.

Yep...

A day off... and another day where the majority of it was spent in bed, sleeping... Actually, I'm pretty sure that I did, at the very least, walk up to the Annandale shops, and drop off 5 pairs of my uniform / work pants to be dry cleaned.

And then hopped on a bus, to go in to the city, and have a counselling session. I can tell you, I was VERY close to calling up with an excuse, and spending the WHOLE day in bed - achieving nothing. Which I'm very, VERY good at...

But, things got done, and upon returning home, it was time to hop in the car, and go and pick up Albert, who was back in town for work (up from Melbourne). We headed over to Marrickville, to meet up with David, and have a schnitzel at Goni's. I had warned Albert about the size of the schnitzels, but I don't think he was still prepared for their monstrosity... We ordered just 2 between the 3 of us. And STILL left with plenty. In fact, we discussed that you could actually have just 1 between FOUR people - so at a cost of AUD$24 per schnitzel, that would be a fairly nice feed for just $6 per person! I'm sure some people do that...

After dinner, David rode home on his bike, and I drove back in to the city to drop Albert at his hotel... At least I did SOMETHING on my day off...



Yep - this is what we DIDN'T eat!!!




Albert, myself and David - 3 full, and happy bears!

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Generic Rock (Pop) / Alternative

Listening to the album "Future Hearts", by the band, All Time Low.

It's certainly not the genre that I would tend to listen to, but as previously mentioned, I AM trying to broaden my musical horizons. Without looking up anything about the band, and not really listening to other bands that play this style of music, the only band that I could probably state they sound like would be Green Day, with a slightly less edgier / rougher sound, and a more polished production.

To be honest, it's actually not that bad... There's mainly 3 star tracks, so they're doing quite well to keep my attention with this style of music. Thankfully, only one track seems to have a bit of "guttural screaming" in it, so that's a good thing. More than 1 track like that would probably mean an entire album would get deleted!

When I actually looked them up on Wikipedia, to put a link in, one band referred to (that they started off playing covers of), was Blink-182, which is probably quite correct in terms of their sound. But they have almost a slight boy-band / One Direction sound on some of the tracks - just with a rock edge. And they've been around for about 12 years, so they're probably maturing quite well... I'm sure the American frat-boys would like this sort of stuff! LOL



One Direction meet Green Day - they'd probably CRINGE at my analogy! LOL

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