Saturday, January 24, 2009

I really want to give a nice full update, but am going to have to give a brief one since there is very much I need to write about and not enough time.
The last week and a half has been very active for me; as far as the 101 goes though ive been relatively lax. Since my last update I have neglected to read a single book or do a single push up since I left Nomads; i bite my nails regularly; and while I have had a few sodas, i maintain that a 24 hour train ride should allow for minor allowances.

From Nomads in the Riverland, I packed up and bussed off to Adelaide where Anne was learning all about jet lag. We did a wine tour of McLaren Vale as Anne and I got rather plastered with Ryan as our driver. From there we flew off to Cairns and scuba dived or dove (anyone knowing the difference would be very helpful) at the great barrier reef. I lied and told them I wasnt a diabetic because i really wanted to do a dive and it was well worth it because I both got to eat fantastic Ice cream before i went down to make sure i wouldnt go low and I got to see some fantastic underwater creatures like a Sea turtle and a 'humphead wrasse' (napoleon fish) which is large and has a fantastic tattoo on its face. One minor underwater sting of some sort and i discovered that vinegar is the best thing for 'neutralizing the burn'.
It was probably 40(over 100) the entire time we were there including the night time, and a the 90% humidity ensured our clothes were constantly coated in sweat.
Anne bought a great didgiridoo with two platypi (though i prefer just saying platypuses) and we lugged it around cairns while taking pictures of the flying foxes which are essentially exactly what they sound like...foxes with wings, except they are actually massive bats that hang from trees and then fly exposing their terrifying wingspan.
From Cairns we went to Alice Springs which despite its moist name is in fact drier than a mormon bachelor party. that metaphor works on two levels because alice springs sits ona river that only flows once every few years due to the lack of water and the fact that it is illegal to sell alcohol outside of about 2 hours a day (though the dry river bed is littered with empty beer cans a broken beer bottles). less humid but slightly hotter, it was here i really discovered the real need for an ozone layer.
Anne and I stayed in a camper for the night at a hostel and woke up early to join 'the rock tours' where we were shoved into a van with 20 other people from ll over the world looking to see Uluru (ayers rock). we saw Kings Canyon which you can see in Priscilla Queen of the dessert where at the endHugo Weaving and Guy Pierce hike in full on 'drag'. It was a fantastic sght to see, luckily anne has an equally fantastic camera to document it since my camera was officially declared dead by the camera doctor with terrible bedside manner who told me 'your screwed, unless you have a bunch of money'.
Kata Tjuta (the olgas) were next and despite waking up at 4am was still an amazing sight. Within sight of Uluru, these 32 or so massive round rock mounds are told to be the result of a mud fight between two ancient aboriginal boys. the 40 degree weather was really a nice touch.
FINALLY i get to say i added to my 101. I got to see Uluru at sunrise. which also adds to my 10 sunrises. ill be honest though, the sunrise wasnt as great as the sunset. the amount of colors coming off of that rock over the period of one hour were absolutely amazing. when i get back home ill try and amend photos to this fandangled bloggeridoo.
This rock is incredible. and by rock i literally mean ROCK. one single rock pushed out of the ground 450 million years ago. it still hasnt set in exactly how awe inspiring that really was. it was a 6 mile walk around its base and the entire thing was one single rock. the large pieces that broke off were bigger than any rock i have ever seen.
What was most fascinating about Uluru was the aboriginal taboos about whats allowed and not allowed for tourists. Certain massive areas of the rock are forbidden for tourists to take photos of, and the reasons you are not allowed to do so are also kept secret. so you just know your not allowed to photograph it (although so many effin germans who clearly understood this still snappedphotos left and right) and you are not really told why you are not allowed to. As far as climbing the immense rock you are told basically that you are allowed to and no one will stop you, but to respect their culture andplease DONT climb the rock. they try and guilt trip you into no climbing the rock, thoguh about 8 people in our group decidd to do it anyway. this is similar to travelling to rome, seeing the popes chair and signs saying 'please do not sit' but pissing on it anyway and taking photos.
Hopefully a more thorough description of this trip can follow, but i dont have the energy or wit to type it all out now.
After a 24 hour train ride back to Adelaide and a week and ahalf of travel in which i had three emails and two voicemails from my mom concerning how she should arrange my funeral bc she was concerned i had been eaten by a spider or land jellyfish... I can say that I complted only one of my 101/1001 list. I did howver have a fan-effin-tastic time travellig around this massive country. And though i dont have much more time here, hopefully ill be able to finish the other tasks that i can only complete while here. For now though, im going to attempt to restart my push-ups and stop biting my nails.

Cristy, type it up and send it to me and ill post a link to it here. good to hear youve started one. get to it!

Fair dinkum.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Near the internet!

Finally getting the chance after a month to get to the damn internet. Friggin outback Australia and their lack of good technology that i have taken for granted for so long.

Let me try and detail what ive accomplished over the past month:

easily managing 100 push ups a day - two sets of 50 and i only sweat about 40 liters by the time im done instead of 100. although the temperature for today is supposed to reach 42 C which is something like 110...

Anne, who is currently in australia as well and will be travelling with me throughout the rest of the country for the next 3 or so weeks swears to me that she has a list all ready to that would mean 2/5, if shes actually got one.

Hopefully this time next week i will have completed my trip to Uluru and seen the sunrise as well as made it to the northern coast of australia in Darwin...of course that relies on things going properly which as i am me, they rarely do.

The Eragon series, which i was lead to believe was a trilogy, turns out to be a quadrilogy. the fact that im still not sure thats even a word is irrelevant. I finished all three books in about a week, they were effin fantastic and i highly recommend them to everyone. Except the fourth and (final) book wont come out for a year or two probably and the wait is intense. no me gusta.

Koyoko has written down my name for me in Japanese, though i found out that apparently that means that there are three different ways to write something in Japanese:Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji...ill try and get more details on what the hell that means when i have alittle more time. long story short, Japanese looks pretty funny.
Also, i have two Korean roomates and i can see if they can help me out on that front.

I can now locate the southern cross rather easily, but that does me little good as you can only see it from the southern hemisphere where i rarely spend much time.

I have been doin a good job at not biting my nails, though when i am trying to test myself on all of the world capitals (im at a 95% rate right now) i find myself biting away. It has not however thrown me into a soda buying depression so im still doin pretty well onthat front.

I was doing pretty well at learning how to properly use my camera...until a few days ago when the lens stopped retracting and no matter what i do cannot fix it. I should have added 'and learn how to properly fix it too' to the list.

SHould have made it read 100 books, becuase since i started the list, ive already 14 books. a list will follow once i have more time on my hands.

Thats all ive gotten done as far as the list goes. I have however been learning to juggle for the simple fact that when picking apricots everyday for a month, i find myself bored and holding things that can be juggled.
This blog wont be a proper one until im back in the states and have stable (free) internet at my disposal. I really wish i could be more descriptive on all of the things i am doing but its tough when i have to get to the library during working hours to be able to type these out. sorry erik that i cant update it more properly as you have so wisely tutored me on the processes involved, but im stuck for a bit.

to fill everyone in on what ive been doing for the past month. everymorning at 5:30 i wake up, pick apricots or peaches, then cut them ( a very sticky ordeal), then drive back to the hostel on the other side of the road which is awesome, then read a book in a day, then sleep early and start again.
new years was awesome as i celebrated it 15 and ahalf hours earlier than everyone else. I also figured out the exact time difference finally. although dont remember much of new years eve besides droppiung myphone in the toilet.

Time to go since the nice tiny old librarian lady is telling me someone else has reserved this computer. I;ll do my best to update again soon since i hopefully will be able to knock off a few more off of my list within a month. sorry if i dont.

thanks to christie also for helping me with the Ukranian for my name.

keep it real, goodonya as it were.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 4:

Haven't made any complete progress yet as I just got back up to the work hostel ( and have been busy gettin things together.
Anything I complete however, I am still unable to cross off the list as I am ignorant of how to do so on this blog thus rendering #59 incomplete.
I had to put the 24 hour fast on hold, but will have successfully completed my first task if I don't eat or drink anything but water for another 3 and half hours. I'm hungry and there is a delicious mince pie mocking me from the bakery next door.

I have begun an attempt to learn to properly cook things (#3) this week as I have written a fantastic recipe for a type of curry dish and know how to cook it (1/10). With this, it should be noted that I have developed a taste for spicy foods...anyone who has ever seen me attempt to eat spicy foods in the past might know why this sounds comical as my face usually turns bright red, I sweat a lot (more than usual), and winge for an hour.

At the hostel I can now be seen attempting to twirl a frisbee on my finger (#6) and am already half way done with the first book of the Eragon series (#63). I also have my pocket atlas out and have been practicing my capitals (#18) and writing my name in chinese as provided to me by Chip Sinton; incidentally, my name in Chinese characters can be translated, very accurately, to mean "Person who is like a kind act" (Sean) "The Axe Handle in the Forest"(Collins)...A friendly lumberjack.
#74 is going alright, i did 60 push-ups yesterday but was also on a bus for three and a half hours. i'm already 25 down today and its only 2pm. Then again, I am notoriously lazy which might make #66 and #67 difficult.

So far there is no work at the hostel, which would be unfortunate being as im here to make money. hopefully something will pop up but Australia is in the middle of one of the worst droughts in the past couple of decades. By the by, anyone feeling sorry for me and wishing to donate some cash to me would be described as angelic. Add it to your own list if you want. Im off to figure out once and for all what exactly the time difference is between South Australia and New York. All of my best guesses place it somewhere between 13.5 and 15 hours behind because whenever i talk to anyone back home they seem to have different answers.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day ONE:

As I spend most of my freetime here in australia, I was recently perusing facebook and discovered a post by one of my dearest friends and old roommates, Erik. The post showed outlined an extraordinary concept that gives you 1001 days to complete 101 preset tasks put together by you. I was immediately taken with this idea as I am currently on the other side of the world backpacking through Australia and looking for 'something that will give my life more meaning'. I've never before seen something that so quickly inspired me to accomplish all the things in my life that I have simply let go out of sheer laziness; within a day my list was complete.

The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (i.e., no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e., represent some amount of work on your part).

Here's my list. If you have any advice on how to use this blog, let me know...for now it will be extremely bland, until I can figure out all the cool add-ons and whatnot. :

Things to Learn:
1. Learn a language that isn’t Spanish
2. Learn to circularly breath
3. Learn 10 new recipes and how to cook them (0/10)
4. Learn to play Banjo; 5 songs (0/5)
5. Learn pencil twirling techniques
6. Learn to spin a Frisbee on fingers
7. Learn to brew beer
8. Learn to properly use my camera
9. Learn to fly a kite
10. Learn to ice skate
11. Learn to write my name in Arabic/Hindi/Chinese/Cyrillic/Greek
12. Learn to efficiently drive standard
13. Learn to whittle
14. Learn to bake a meat pie
15.Learn how to tie and throw a lasso
16. Learn to throw knives into things
17. Learn to properly fold laundry
18. Definitively learn every world capital
19. Be able to identify 10 constellations and a story about each
20. Knit or crochet a hat
21. Learn to sew buttons back onto pants/shorts…for when I’m no longer a fatty
22. Learn to make 10 drinks (0/10)
Places to Go:
23. Visit Maccu Piccu
24. Visit 4 coasts of Australia (3/4)
25. Go to Las Vegas
26. Visit Grand Canyon
27. Visit Niagra Falls
28. Go to Alaska
29. Go to Hyde Park Brewery Trivia
Things to See:
30. See the northern lights
31. See all 100 top AFI films (30/100)
32. See the sunrise over Uluru
33. 10 sunrises in 10 locations (1/10)
34. Complete VT brewery passport (0/10)
35. Go to 10 different new Breweries (not on VT passport)
36. Go to 5 Yankee games
37.Go to a Yankee/Red Sox game
38. Go to 10 concerts (0/10)
39. Go whale watching
Things to Do:
40. Attend a music festival
41. Climb Mt. Washington
42. Bike from Burlington to camp
43. Skydive
44. Build a rocking chair (that wont break)
45. Send a message in a bottle from three oceans (0/3)
46. Get a tattoo
47. Sing Karaoke
48. Get 3 new stamps on my passport
49. Carve a pumpkin
50. Penguin Plunge
51. Get lifeguard certification
52. Go camping in the woods (not at music festival)
Things Left:
53. Turn Mol Can labels into some sort of poster
54. Finally try waterskiing again
55. Paint the flags of every country over their borders on a map of the world
56. Transfer files from Foxweb to hard drive
57. Figure out how to convert my movies to Mp4
58. Get Marist and UVM diplomas framed
59. Figure out this blogging site
60. Find and organize list of 100 pied faces of 2006
Things to Read/Write:
61. Read at least 50 new books (1/50)
62. Read War and Peace
63. Read the Eragon series (0/3)
64. Read 3 Shakespeare plays (0/3)
65. Write a journal entry once a week
66. Get under 185 lbs
67. Stay there for remainder of 1001 days
68. Run a 5k
69. Run a 10k
70. 24 hour vow of silence
71. Stop biting nails
72. Whiten teeth
73. No TV or computer once a week
74. Be able to manage 100 push-ups a day
75. Get the hottest meal at India Queen in Hanover
76. Eat something outrageous that I would never normally eat
77. Stop buying soda
78. Go on the pump
79. Be vegetarian for a month
80. 24 hour fast once a month
81. Make it in Australia till at least Feb. 20
The rest of Life:
82. Get a steady paying teaching job
Not for Me:
83. Build something practical for both mom and dad
84. Donate blood 3 times (0/3)
85. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
86. Eliminate use of plastic bags
87. Give 5 frequent coffee drinkers mugs and convince them to use them
88. “Plant a tree” for every book I read using
89. Compost food – back in states
For Funsies:
90. Use the photo booths at malls whenever I visit one
91. List 100 things that make me happy
92. Get 5 people to create their own 101/1001 lists (1/5)
93. Send 10 Snail mails to 10 different people
94. Save all coins for 1001 days – donate
95. Compile my funeral album
96. Try and photograph each task
97. Donate $5 for every incomplete task to Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
To Buy:
98. Get a Mac book of some sort
99. Get a terabyte external hard drive
100. Get a road bike
101. Get one of those electronic trivia globes

I will be officially starting as of Monday 8, 2008 and be kickin it off with #80 (24 hour fast)...wish me luck as I am used to eating 2 or 3 mince pies a day along with subway and other sorts of snacks.

Along with this, my travel buddy Tyler has completed his list and will be typing it up soon - he will be kickin off with a fast tomorrow with me as well; I'll send a link to his once its up. One other friend has discussed starting her own list that officially makes my #92 - 20% finished on its way to 40%!
These things possibly being accomplished by day one - if anyone wants to tell me how to cross things off or get one of those progressy bars on the top, that would help me immensly.

For all those wondering how my time here down under is going I will use one word: ineffible - which is a word that describes something that cannot be described with words. Photos to follow once i accomplish #59.