August 26, 2008

August is over and on to September

A year ago today I was winging my way to the other side of the world, to a beautiful city full of rivers and parks, where I got to reset back to spring, where I didn't have language guilt, where I felt at home from day one. How I wish I could do it all over again...

As a small comfort, and kind of following on from my recent post about viewing things back home on Google Maps, I found that most of Melbourne has Street View shots. Well, definitely out to the neighbourhood I lived in at least. So I didn't even need to take all of those photos of the house and of Ascot Vale, you can wander around the whole neighbourhood on Google.

I was so excited when I saw the shot taken of the house I lived in: Nick's car is out front! Nick was a guy in the house who moved in the same day I did and left before I did, so if his car is there, the photo had to have been taken when I was there as well. The trees are green, so it definitely hasn't been taken recently, when it would be winter. It's a beautiful day. The recycling wheelie bin is at the curb, though I can't remember what day of the week was pick-up day. I have been desperately staring at the photo trying to tell if it seems like some ribbons with dead balloons at the end are hanging from the corners of the fence on either side of the driveway because if there are it would mean it was after our party on Cup Day. And if I go up to the main street where I waited for the bus, is the bus stop sign still missing from when the insane guy crashed into it? When were the photos taken?! I want to look through all of Melbourne in hopes of spotting myself...

Ah, better clues to the date can be found downtown... I figured checking out Federation Square would give hints as to what time of year it was, and I was right. That's assuming of course that the photos out at my house were taken around the same time as the ones downtown, but it looks like a similarly cloudless day. There are definite signs of Christmas at Fed Square. One building is covered with this huge advent calendar and there are the holographic star decorations hanging over the street. I thought the advent calendar meant it was December, which is after I had moved out of the house, but I don't think any of the squares are revealed yet. An even better clue is across the street on Flinders St Station. There are banners celebrating World Diabetes Day, which apparently is November 14. There don't seem to be any Melbourne Cup banners around town anymore. So I would say the photos are from between the 11th and 14th of November (the ones taken at Fed Square at least). I would even venture to say that it's Sunday the 11th. Maybe Saturday the 10th. I think it's a weekend in any case based on the lack of suits walking the streets, it just looks like a weekend rather than a week day. I'm definitely around somewhere. Where was I??

Arg, my heart hurts.

August 24, 2008

First part of New Zealand trip

I was going to post about New Zealand all at once, but it's just too much to do. No one would want to read all of that in one go. So, I've posted about just the first few days of the trip. Photos are here.

August 23, 2008

Drive through the country

I was looking up the new address of a friend in Portland on Google Maps and I discovered that one of the Street View cameras went out nearly to my parents' house, so I can almost recreate the drive home from here. And it was a beautiful cloudless day when they took the street shots. It sort of ties to the thoughts I had the other day where I realized that if I had moved here 15, or even 10, years ago, I would probably be homesick a lot more than I am. But with all you can find on the internet, I can keep up with the news, look at people's photos, find my parents' house on satellite photos, and now see views from the road as if I were there. I can easily immerse myself and forget where I actually am. It's not quite the same as being there, but I'll take what I can.

The shame, the shame

So the big hubbub in the US lately seems to be the call from some college presidents asking for the drinking age to be lowered from 21 to 18 to help combat underage binge drinking. Of course after years of living in Europe, the idea of not being able to legally drink until you are 21 seems a bit quaint now, but then the US is very much a hand-holding country.

I had read the story Thursday, just before leaving work, and then I was ranting about the US's old-fashioned ways to a colleague. A few hours later, I checked my email and I had a short note from my brother. He was letting me know that a letter to the editor he had written had been published in The Oregonian, and it just so happened that the letter was on the topic of changing the drinking age. Before I had even finished reading his (short) email, I already knew what side of the fence my brother was on. The language of his letter only made me cringe more. Oh well, what's the fun in having a sibling you don't clash with?...

August 16, 2008

Bags and fast food

Finally, after months of being desperate for them, I got some carrier bags today for my bike (the same ones you have, E). Because they're large and red, not only do they make my bike easier to find, but they make me feel like a postman (postchick?), which is kinda cool. Anyway, they'll make the trips to get groceries and to do my laundry so much easier.

I was emailing my family that lives around the Portland area to organize getting together while I'm there, and my aunt asked what I'd prefer - McDonald's, Burger King, or Taco Bell. I can only assume it was a joke and I replied jokingly before going on in a "Anyway, no, really, what should we have?" kind of way. But now my brother and an uncle have replied with their fast food preferences and my email was ignored, so I'm worried that they aren't really joking. I dunno, my family, joking around via email?... Surely a poor economy and everyone being broke and preferring fast food is a more likely explanation.

August 14, 2008

Last week's flood

A co-worker took this photo last Thursday when the intersection next to work got flooded after the afternoon downpour. This was around 4:30; fortunately it all receded by the time most people were heading home an hour or so later.

August 9, 2008

The cow jumped over the moon

A bit of a random photo... This was the stamp given at the Gossip concert I went to in Auckland, New Zealand. It was so cute I had to take a photo of it.

Events are piling up for my time in the US, less than 4 weeks away... I just bought my train ticket to go to Seattle with a college friend of mine. While in Seattle, we'll go to a Damien Jurado show. I'll be going to a concert as well in Portland on my second night back (oof), mostly going to see John Vanderslice, though the main band playing that night is Vampire Weekend, which I know nothing about. I've not done bad this time, working in two shows during my visit. And the Portland one is at the Crystal Ballroom, which I've not been to in a very long time.

I have to renew my driver's license, though it's not expired yet. I have a feeling this will confuse the DMV, but I've prepared a story in case they wonder why I want to renew it a year in advance. (I'd go with the truth, but then the issue of claiming "residency" in Oregon when I do not technically reside in Oregon may be a problem).

There's the visiting of friends and putting in time with the parents. I want to visit the beach (which I have not been to in a heartbreakingly long time) and, if possible, go up to Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood. Books must be bought at Powell's, food to bring back must be gathered, and all those things I've put off getting until I was in cheap-dollar land must be gotten (a new backpack, sneakers... um, I'm sure there was more....) E, I'll hit the clothes shops on 23rd for you. Oh yeah, and I'll get a tattoo. I'm sure it will be the usual soaking up of home (minus the tattoo part. I haven't done that bit before).