This is a band whose name I've heard of over the years but it wasn't until this past year that I got a hold of their Greatest Hits. I like it. Definitive version of post-punk. Or you could it "punk jazz", since it sounds -- not such more on this song -- that there was a lot of improvising go on in the studio. Other good tracks on this comp: "Nick the Stripper" and "Blast Off".
OK, I'm gonna use this blog as a diary of my trip to Australia. No boring detail will be spared!
Right now it's 11:11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 5. Here's what's happened so far:
I left Philadelphia on Tuesday, Dec. 2. My sister was kind enough to drive me down to the airport with her three kids (ages five years to twelve months). My goddaughter, Charlotte, just turned a year old and cracked me up at the beginning of the trip. My sister gave her two boys snacks and bottle of juice. Before my sister could give Charlotte her juice bottle, she says her standard phrase for when she wants something, which is something like "bleeee, bleeee!!!" It's way cuter in person. Gotta get that on videotape.
Anyway, I checked in with no problems. It seems like security is easing up a little bit. Last November when I went to Montreal for a weekend, Homeland Security took my bags (including my carry-on) as soon as I walked in the terminal. This time I just went through the airport's metal detector. And they didn't hassle me about my multi-vitamins, joints-and-muscles dietary supplement or my anti-depressants.
The plane to L.A. took off a little after 5:55 p.m. Not one empty seat. I thought I ordered a window seat from Expedia, but I was sandwiched between an attractive Asian girl and a genteel gentleman who lives in west L.A. The Asian didn't speak much English -- she read a Chinese book. The guy was a good conservationist and a mystery reader, so we bullshitted for most of the flight. He said he was a semi-retired opera singer, and he was coming back from visiting family in Connecticut. He had some good Hollywood gossip. Said Holland Taylor, from Two and a Half Men, very much enjoyed being an actress and the lifestyle it afforded; apparently the studio gives her a Mercedes and her own driver. He also said Charlie Sheen has a good sense of humor, but his dad, Martin Sheen, is "full of self-importance."
Once in L.A. I only had to wait about 40 minutes for the leg to Sydney. It was a double-decker Boeing 747. I, of course, was in economy. To my right were two 20-somethings who knew each other from their work, one guy from Brazil, the other from Texas. To my left was a circa 60-year-old from Toronto. Her husband was to her left, but I didn't talk to him that much because an aisle separated them. Though, I did find it interesting that he looked like an older David Foley (from Kids In The Hall) -- it's all in the teeth.
The 13-and-half-hour ride to Sydney didn't irk me too much, probably because I went to the gym Tuesday morning and I've spent about the last year a half psyching myself up for this trip.
I couldn't sleep on the plane, despite a dozen attempts. I got up to stretch my legs about six times. During those stretch-abouts I babbled with some fellow travellers in the back of the plane. One guy was about 50 years old, wore a pink dress shirt and had a piebald beard. He said he was out of his seat because the lady next to him was too big for her seat -- every time she moved, he went spilling out into the aisle. Funny stuff.
Another lady I spoke with was from Australia. She gave me some tips of what to see and where to steer clear from. Like go see the harbor but don't go to King's Cross at night (the red-light district).
The plane touched down in Sydney at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday (3:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Philly). Even though it's summer down here, it's only about 67 degrees. Though it was kinda cool getting picked up by a taxi driver in uniform shorts.
I got to the hotel, which is around the corner from the Sydney Opera House, around 9:30 a.m. but I couldn't check into my room until 2 p.m. So I wandered around the neighborhood. There's a 24-hour convenience store about a block from the hotel, which is awesome. Afterwards I loitered in the lobby, watching the Pompeii episode of Doctor Who on my laptop.
For lunch I ate at some little mall about three blocks away from the hotel. Since I am on vacay, I ate something I usually don't order. It looked like a crab cake but it was a vegetarian item: stuffed with broccoli and some whitish filling. They warmed it up in a microwave. Good stuff.
I returned to the hotel at 1 p.m. and I could check into my room. Gotta say, I'm impressed. It's fuckin swankin! Nice size, king-size bed, a table by the window, as well as a fridge and a safe.
After getting settled, I emailed my sister to let know I arrived safe and sound. (Kinda cool, the hotel has a few different plans for Internet access. I could've gotten unlimited broadband for 7 days at $100, but I went with $13 an hour so I'm not wasting time online -- not a bad deal since every U.S. dollar is worth $1.50 Australian).
At 3 p.m. I crawled into bed because I'd been up for over 36 hours. I set the alarm for 5 p.m., but as soon as it went off, I went back to sleep. I woke up around 11 p.m. but fell back asleep. Around 3 a.m. I couldn't sleep anymore but just tossed and turned until 5 a.m.
That's enough for now. It's almost noon now on Friday, but I'll babble about today on the morrow. Later, mate!
This is at the corners near the hotels, when crossing the street. I think it's for tourists. Makes me smile -- don't see stuff like that in the States.