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Work is kicking my ass. I'm currently working in a management role that gets passed between the senior engineers every quarter. I'm really enjoying the challenge and the change of pace, but it's draining. I'm working long hours and pushing hard to try get a handle on how to manage different people. You really start noticing the moods of your colleagues when their performance slacks and the schedule you set starts to slip. Programmers are so inconsistent. I am realizing that predictable performers are actually way more valuable than the ones who kick ass one day but drag their feet the next. A good piece of information to have when applying for jobs in the future ;-)

My hard work is paying off, though. I got a raise with my promotion a few months ago, and this week i got the "regular" performance review raise on top of that. It's really helped me feel valued, and God knows the money is going to be put to good use too.

I haven't really been up to much outside of work. I'm just tired on the weekends these days. Wednesdays are still basketball, but that's it. I think once i'm a bit better into the swing of things i won't be getting so fried and will be able to do my thing again.

J finished up at her job this week. Next week she's going into the outback to tour from Alice Springs/Ayers Rock up to Darwin. Get a bit of that all-Aussie-experience. It's pretty funny i've been here over 10 years and i've only seen Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The furthest i've ventured out of town is Byron Bay to go to raves, Mornington to drink wine, Mt Buller to break up and Whitsundays to get engaged. Oh and i lived in Toowoomba for a few months when we first moved here. I just have no interest in country Australia. The suburbs are redneck enough, you know? Still haven't seen a koala. That kinda bums me out a bit because they look really cute. But we had possums in Brisbane, so that's close enough. It looks like my mom is going to retire in the country, though, so i guess i better get used to it.

Flip side - i've been reading jenndolari's roadtrip entries of going across west Texas, New Mexico, Nevada etc and it looks fucking awesome. I can't wait to go do it myself. The desert here i'm sure is just as (un?) interesting as the desert there, but somehow i resonate more with the history and landscape up there. I guess because it's been in a million movies. Every movie i see featuring the Australian outback is usually some fucked up art movie about people going crazy or committing suicide or drowning or some bullshit. Doesn't exactly sell the joint. Happy sticking to the cities.

Friday night i went out in the city. My mate D was down from Sydney and we decided to hit the clubs like the old days. Bart B More - an electro DJ from Holland - was playing at Tramp. I'm not normally big on electro, but it's fun enough and given house music has been so sparse in Melbourne lately this was about as good as it was going to get. Man. Electro nights are funny. The music wasn't that bad - mostly big bassline party house like i expected, with a bit of jackin' stuff in between - but oh my. The children! The children!!! Everyone in the whole club was 10 years younger than me. That means 15 years younger than D! When i first visited Tramp for Miles Maeda in February last year most of these kids would've still been in highschool. When i first started going out they weren't even out of elementary! It was acne city, and all of them munted out of their heads. But man. They played a Vanilla Ice remix (came out before the motherfuckers were even born!) and the kids ate it up. It was so refreshing to see people hearing all these sounds for the first time in their lives, just getting into it all... Dancing awkwardly and self-consciously but with all that passion that doesn't exist any more in the twenty- and thirty-somethings i usually go clubbing with. No chin-stroking, no trying to figure if something was deep or jackin' or funky or electro or whatever, just having fun. Good to see. We left really early but was still a great time.

It just struck me that for me leaving "really early" is 3:30am now. When the clubs go till 8am and later if you're out before 6 it's early. I'm going to have to get used to the north American idea where at 2am that's it. No more alcohol for you. Great way to encourage the use of illegal drugs :-/ This Sunday morning i sat down for breakfast - 9am at a regular cafe with mom and J and they gave us the wine/beer/cocktail menu. It's just standard here. It's going to be very odd being in a place where you can't buy alcohol on Sundays and you can only buy it at government-owned stores before 10pm and after 2 the clubs stop serving. Weird. Still, at least they have fast internet and i'll be able to watch my shows on TV same-day instead of waiting overnight for them to download. Also maple syrup and poutine.

Okay i'm going to stop being random now and make dinner. Peanut butter dumplings, that's right.

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Im glad you're liking the travelogue. I realy wished you were with us - I know how much you'd wanted to do this....

I'm loving it! You've taken some great shots, really capturing the vibe of the places. You know i was never particularly interested in Texas but over the years looking at all your photos and reading all your road trips has really made me want to visit :) You have a knack of finding cool spots!

not all of North America shuts down at 2AM> Last call in NYC is 4, but some clubs stay open after last call and a quite a few others get around it with BYOB. i don't drink anyway, so i'd just as soon go home and watch VH1 classics.

I tend to stop drinking alcohol around 1 or 2ish anyways so i don't get a vicious hangover, but i wonder how it'd affect the vibe of the place for the people who do drink late? Some people get really cranky when they stop drinking. Then again some people get cranky when they don't, so it probably balances.

BYO to a club is a hilarious and awesome concept. I can just imagine walking in with some fine vintage wine, bouncer charging corkage and whipping some crystal glasses out.

VH1 Classic is dangerous. I might never leave the house...

with VH1 Classics, there is never a need.

when i did drink at clubs, i would generally only have two early on in the night. i don't care for being drunk in public. i've only been to a couple of after hours clubs that had the BYOB thing going and i really didn't notice much difference in the crowd.

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