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2005-01-13 - 12:31 a.m.

So- New Year's Eve. The fifth New Year's Eve I've been on shift for but the first time I've ever had to work the next morning (at least I've never had to work a night shift on NYE). I guess for a $19K a year shift allowance I have to endure some crappy shifts sometimes. On the other hand it was only the 2nd time out of 5 that I haven't had to work on Xmas Day.

Anyway, worked on New Year's Eve itself, had a nap when I got home and then helped Jane get the house ready for our New Year's visitors. Mark, Phoebe and Cindy came around for dinner and cocktails, and Chris came by after dinner, before we headed up to @Newtown for a DJ night. It was Pop Frenzy vs Frigid, the former of which play cool Indie stuff so we thought it was a decent choice, especially as it was only $15 and inflated RSL drinks aren't any more expensive than drinks from somewhere else on any other day of the year. The music turned out to be less our scene than we expected, but they had a video screen showing clips from 80s classics like Knight Rider, Monkey Magic and New Kids on the Block videos. And a heap of balloons released from a net on the ceiling on the stroke of midnight. I liked the atmosphere, and if I didn't have to work the next morning I would have partied on, got ridiculously drunk and not cared how much of the music I knew.

We didn't get to the venue until after 10.30pm, and reminiscent of the previous New Year's Eve we watched the 9pm fireworks from our balcony. I got to sleep not long after 2am and was back up less than 3 hours later. Cindy decided to go pub-hopping by herself and had only been asleep on my couch 40 minutes when I was woken up by my alarm.

I've felt a lot worse at 6am in the morning. I must be getting older and wiser- I stopped drinking sometime before 11.30pm I think, and drank about 5 glasses of water after that. I expected I'd have a big sleep when I got home from work that afternoon but I didn't really need one.

After work on the 2nd, Jane and I went around to my friend Steve's place where I taught him the secrets of a successful curry, and played 500. The next 3 days I was on night shift, and then on my 3 days off I went down the coast camping with Steve. He was still on holidays from Christmas and was looking for someone else who had time off and was interested in camping.

The day before we left I was plundering equipment from my parents house and it was a stinking hot day- I wished I was at a South Coast beach somewhere and not fronting up to work that afternoon in long sleeves and pants. Yet, somehow it still managed to pour while we were down there, causing a torrent of muddy water to wash through our site while we were sitting under a tarp enjoying a beer. Thankfully inside the tent was fine.

The middle day was better, but still not the warmest day you could hope for. Nonetheless I still went into the surf for the first time since I was in Miami in March, and managed to turn a few shades darker on the beach.

Oh yeah, and when I was on my way to Steve's house (as he was to drive down the coast) my car decided to break down in the middle lane of the Princes Highway. Fun. And I had to join the NRMA over the phone and pay a surcharge for joining when I required assistance. And WHAT'S WITH THE HONKING DO YOU REALLY THINK I WANTED TO BE STUCK HERE?? Admittedly only 3 drivers out of hundreds were that stupid.

We came back on Saturday 8/1, and that night Jane and I dressed up and went to Tetsuya's (world renowned Sydney based chef) for the most expensive meal I am ever likely to have. It was however a 10 course set menu degustation, with matched wines, and a few of the courses (like oysters at the start and cheese before the desert courses) were extra but how could you say no when you're there as a one off? The same goes for the pre-dinner cocktails, the after dinner coffee/tea and the fact that I realised seconds after choosing "still" out of still and sparkling water that I could have also chosen tap water and not paid $7 (was that each?) for water. All the eat-guides say you should go there once in your life. And how could I disagree? The oysters were divine, as were Testuya's signature dish of Ocean Trout crusted with kelp, on a bed of fennell and roe and other things I can't remember. And the final dessert course was definitely the bes dessert I've had at a Restaurant- usually if I have one it's just because I feel like dessert, I go to Restaurants for their savoury dishes.

So anyway, the bill came to $600 for the two of us. More than it cost to fix my car. And even though it wasn't related to the fact that I'd paid an obscene amount for dinner and felt guilty or anything, I donated generously to the Tsunami Emergency Fund, but reserved some of what I initially thought I might give for other worthy ongoing humanitarian causes. It's true what they say- even though it shouldn't take something of such epic proportions, you realise that the way people are responding to this crisis doesn't have to be so polarised from how they respond to life in general. Because there have been plenty of causes just as needy since long before I was alive.

Okay, so that was the last of my 3 days off, and I was back at work on Sunday (which incidentally was Jane and my two year anniversary, not that we needed a reason to indulge in great food) so that's as good a place as any to leave it until my next entry.

 

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