Monday, December 30, 2013

Impending Unknowns

I've been posting a lot lately. Well, writing a lot at least; I still have yet to post several that are already written but I didn't have internet at the time and forgot. I'll post them pretty soon.
What's going on for me now is an impending sadness. I have less than a month left in Melbourne and I don't know what to do with myself. I wrote on Facebook yesterday that I remembered produce is going to be sold by the pound instead of kilo and it was a huge revelation. There is going to be so much that's different. I'm scared and anxious. It's like I'm abandoning a part of my life that I've really come to appreciate. My move here wasn't like that; when I left the US I left something that I'd always had. Here, it's something I've found. My experience in Melbourne has been like a romantic relationship. At first it was new and exciting, then there were some ups and downs, and I became really sick of it. But now I'm past that. Melbourne is like someone with whom I've created a history, and now I have to break up with her. It's heart wrenching. Months ago I thought I wasn't too fond of her, but now it's like I can't think of a life without her. All of these truths that I've been putting off are growing, and it's at the point where I can't look away. I'm leaving Australia, against my will. The goal when I started out was to live here a year, get the experience, and go home back to essentially the life I had when I left. My plan was to get a political job for the upcoming election and keep plugging away at comedy, especially after election season. Now, it's like I don't know what I want anymore. It was a fairly brash decision that brought me here, and I can't really believe I made it. It's a horrible cliche, but I came to take a piece of Australia home with me, but Australia is keeping a part of me.
I'd like to think I'll be back, but I just don't know. I keep saying I'll be back for the 2015 MICF, but even that worries me. That's so far in the future; what if everything is different? What if I find somebody and settle down or something? What if I just can't take it any longer in the comedy world? What if I quit? What if when I come home I fall as far out of love with Melbourne as I did in love over the course of a year? I don't like these unknowns. I have friends here, a network, and a lifestyle. I don't know what happens next and I don't like being in the dark.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sometimes I Just Feel Like Writing

12:30pm, 12/23/13
I'm at a neighborhood coffee shop/cafe. Realistically, it's more cafe than coffee shop, but there's waitstaff, which is atypical. The place is quaint, lots of wood and white paint. It's cloudy and drizzling, that kind of rain that it's not quite worth opening an umbrella, but enough that it's visible and your can feel it.
I don't have a specific reason for writing beyond just a feeling that I should. I can't shake the feeling that none of these posts accurately capture my life in its entirety, but each is just a portion. And that I'm a super huge wanker for trying to get philosophical.
I'm getting scared of what happens next. I only have just over a month left living in this city, I don't know what happens next. It's that fucking unknown that's bothering me. Not that it's all unknown; I know what life as a backpacker is like. I also know that I prefer life living in a house, and having a space of my own. Beyond the obvious interim period, I've actually been thinking a lot about what I want to happen when I get home. I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do for a job when I get back, but I'm getting scared that comedy and politics are finally intersecting. What I'm alluding to is the Minnesota Fringe Festival that happens in early August, which is prime time for election season. In other words, if I do one, I necessarily cannot do the other. While it's the Fringe is definitely not a mandatory event, it's something that I have been planning on attempting as an approximation for the Melbourne Comedy Festival. I'm actually planning on applying for the Minnesota Fringe, since entry is granted via lottery in February. Really, I just don't want the preparation for the MICF to be a compete waste. But if I get a campaign job, that's what takes precedence.
That's not to imply that my time in Australia has been a waste, even comedically. I maintain that moving to Melbourne was one of the best (if not the outright best) decisions I've ever made. I think about what brought me here, and what I've accomplished. Clearly it's not the kind of a achievement that wins accolades; people move internationally all the time. What I'm really proud of is moving to a new country, making my way, meeting new people, and overall growing as a human being.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Summer/Winter Travel Plans

It's December, and that means summer. I haven't yet titled this blog post yet, but it will need a title. I'd rather not post "hey mid december!" as my title, but if push comes to shove, that's probably what will happen.

Let's just (and by "let's" I mean, I'm gonna write, and you're gonna read) talk about what I've been up to:
I've been unemployed here for over two months now. Amazingly, I'm not destitute. I'm not rich, that's for damn sure, but I'll survive on what I've got until I have to leave. I've been casually looking for employment, but at this point it's too late. In fact, I'm about two months too late. What I really should have done was start looking for a new job immediately after quitting Foxtel, but I didn't, and now I'm relatively stuck. Frankly though, I'm content with my decision. A little bit of extra cash would have been nice, but I'll get by with what I've currently got, plus my Australian tax rebate, and credit card. I get a distinct impression that what will likely happen is that I'm going to be coming home with a smidge of debt. But with a little luck I'll be able to knock that out swiftly.
What's left for me is what I want to do with my remaining time here. The month is booked pretty solidly, comedically. January specifically. My thought was that I'll leave Melbourne immediately following my last day on my lease, but I have a few gigs afterward, and furthermore Australia Day is on January 26th (it's like Australia's 4th of July), about a week after. While I could obviously celebrate it anywhere in Australia, and my plan was to be in Sydney, but it's really more of a bbq/hang out with friends holiday. I'd really rather be with friends rather than strangers on a day like that. So if that's how my plan goes, I leave Melbourne on the 27th, go to Sydney for a week or so, hit up Queensland for about a week as well, see Uluru (the giant rock I'm obliged to see), and then leave the country. Pushing my departure from Melbourne by a week really cuts into my tourist time, but so be it. Actually, maybe I can go to Uluru and back between when I leave Melbourne and Australia day...  Clearly I have to look into my further plans.

The only thing I know for sure is that I have to leave the country on February 21st. The plan had been to go to SE Asia for a while, then New Zealand, then home, but in part due to my financial situation, and partially because I'd really have to get back earlier, I'm thinking about skipping Asia. I know it's maybe not the right decision, because how long until I come back to this part of the world. I think what I really need to look into is what I can do and how long and how much it costs. I still really want to go skydiving in New Zealand, and want to spend at least a week or two there. I've started to wonder why I want to go to Asia at all. In part, it was because it's so cheap there, and it's a great place to lounge. Drinks are cheap, food is cheap, travel is cheap. But how much do I care about that? It's just another place to spend my remaining money. I honestly think what I've done here is as good or better than that would have been. I find myself having a really great experience going out constantly here. I have friends here. Any night of the week something is going on, and I know I'm welcome. It took some time before it happened, but I really feel home here now. I'm beginning to dread going home. I've also started seeing someone, and it's been nice having companionship. I'd forgotten how much I like simple things like holding hands walking down the street. Sleeping around is alright, but I miss somebody to actually care about. I'm not sure exactly what happens next, since I obviously have to leave here, but for now I'm in a good place. There's obviously plans that I could make, or at least think about, but part of me really doesn't want to. I'd rather let things go how they're going to.

What I think I need to do now is talk to somebody with a bit of information about travelling. I also think I just need to let myself max out my credit card and worry about the consequences later. Sorry Future Dan, but things might suck for you.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving, and the Retirement of danzorz

Hi. (editor’s note: Hi!)
(real editor’s note: I tried dictating this edition of the blog by using Android’s voice to text, realizing that I would probably have to go back and edit. At first, it seemed like it went swimmingly; but upon later inspection, there was A LOT more editing to do, and it’s become a hassle and a half to edit. That’s what I get for taking the shortcut. Thus, this post is about a week after I actually wrote (well, dictated) it. Sorry if timing stuff doesn't work out) (also, sorry for being a shoddy writer, um, just in general)
I know I posted last night, but today's Thanksgiving and I want to talk about my day. It's 2:30am here, technically Black Friday. It's a bit ironic really, that I'm up so early in the morning yet can't go take advantage of door buster deals. Well, it's technically still Thanksgiving morning back home. Regardless, it's been odd being here. It'd be strange enough to be abroad in the northern hemisphere for than Thanksgiving, but at least the weather would seem appropriate. Not only is the holiday non-existent, but you don't anticipate how big the atmosphere of the holiday is. I mean, I just didn't realize how different it was going to be until it arrived. Don't get me wrong, I knew that was going to be different; the whole atmosphere of the weekend is off, and it starts with the weather (it's like 90 degrees out). I found myself very homesick in a way that I did not expect. I spent a few hours researching where I could find turkey. On top of searching online, I spent time just walking around the city, specifically at American companies I thought might have Thanksgiving meals find such as McDonald's, and Starbucks (look, I didn't expect Starbucks to have turkey, but I thought they might have pumpkin pie). I'd gotten to the point of giving up (and just going to Subway for a cop-out turkey sub) when I was standing outside of Melbourne Central and I remembered they have a TGI Fridays. Turns out going up the three floors to check was a good decision, because they were indeed serving turkey dinners. Never in my life have I been thankful to see TGI Fridays, but that’s exactly what happened. It hasn't been very often that I really needed an escape to home and I was able to get it. That the staff was very friendly also helped.
They had a special menu for Thanksgiving, of which there were only four items: they have the full Thanksgiving meal, including turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and stuffing, and pretty much everything else you can think of; they also had pie sized for two (three slices); they had a kids meal that was just Turkey, mash potatoes and grave, and green bean casserole; and the last thing on the menu was a slice of apple pie with ice cream (designed for children). While I wanted most things in the full meal, I decided I wasn't really that hungry, and more importantly, the price of $35.00 didn't seem worth it. What I ended up getting was the children's meal of turkey, potatoes and gravy, and casserole the staff was gracious enough to let me have (it was technically only for children, and despite my boyish charm, I’m over the age of 12) for $10. While I missed out on stuffing, which I did really want, the meal was good. Surprisingly good, actually. Maybe it was the fact that I was so far away and was getting a comfort of home on a day where I really needed it, but it was incredibly satisfied by the meal, and for that, I’m incredibly grateful. And while I really did feel like pumpkin pie as well, I just couldn't justify getting three full slices. I did get a beer though (Budweiser, to be exact (hooray America!)), and felt American enough to leave a tip. I think I’m starting to really miss home.

The other thing I wanted bring up today is that I changed my name on Facebook (as noted earlier, the timing may not line up 100% on this due to editing/posting. Just deal with it; it’s too much effort to correct, sorry). For those who've known me a while, I've been on Facebook as "danzorz" for as long as I've been on Facebook, ten years now. I've liked it, it's worked out in unexpected ways, but it’s time to retire it. First, let’s talk a bit about the back-story: when I first joined on Facebook just after high school/going to college, and I went by the nickname danzorz. It was more of a handle/internet persona. Now I recognize that it was kind of nerdy to do, but it was also a nickname that I was called aloud. I carried "danzorz", and later "zorz" for a long time and I really felt like it represented who I was. But it’s long been a fading feature from who I am. I don’t want to say I no longer go by that name, but more people don’t recognize it than do.
As for the other reason I left it so long; I noticed several years back that the only way to find my profile was to search specifically for "danzorz". In other words, unless you specifically knew what to look for, you wouldn't find my profile. And if I wanted you to find my profile, I had an exact phrase to search for. That fact was exceptionally appealing when I started performing. I wanted to leave my profile open for comedy purposes, but preferred employers not to find it. One of the reasons I now feel like I should change it is that my online comedic profile has expanded, and if you google me, you find references to me as a comedian. Thus, the point is pretty much moot, and it seems smarter to just go by who I am. I’m also very tired of the "what is 'danzorz'?" question I constantly get when I meet people and befriend them on Facebook. Thus, I've made the change.

(Final editor's note: the straight dictated version is pretty funny. I may post that at some point too)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Winding Down

I'm less than two months away from when I leave Melbourne. As I wind down, I'm just... sad, I guess. I've thought a lot about whether or not I'd stay if I could. I'm not sure. It's a really hard question. Melbourne's been good to me. There's a lot of talk about the Festival, and I can't help feeling regret. I really wanted to do a show. I still have all the Post-It notes on my wall outlining which jokes I want to tell in what order. The situation is a bit retching for me, but also relieving. The thought of remaining in Melbourne for another 6 months straight, working at another job I hate is not something I want. I am still looking for a temporary job for the next 2 months. Another grand or two would really help my travel situation. Plus I can feel OK spending money on while I'm still here (i.e., drinking). And actually, I have been out drinking more lately. I think part of it is that I know A: time is limited, B: I spend my days at home trying to save money and feel like I need to go out, and C: just found people who have been out and want to be social. A lot of the time I've spent in this country has been solo. I don't regret that, it came with the territory of me moving to a brand new continent without knowing anybody, but the reasoning doesn't make it less lonely. My experience with traveling alone is that it's a world full of acquaintances, but few close friends. And maybe that's due to comedy. Looking back, there have been a lot of experiences I've had where fellow travelers, especially early on, have been going out to do something and I went to comedy instead. And comedy is a lot of acquaintances all hanging out. Obviously, there have ban really great times with comedy people, but it's also been a bit of being an outsider looking in. What's saddest is that just as I'm getting closer friends with people, I'm about to leave.

I'd like to think I'll come back to this post, but more than likely this'll be it. 10pm, 11/27/13

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

Let's just jump in.

I decided against doing the comedy festival. It was becoming stressful, and really, I'm beginning to feel the itch to leave Melbourne. I'll be here until at least mid January, but I think what happens after that is I explore Australia for a bit, leave when my via expires, travel around this side of the pacific a little, then head home. I didn't take the decision to decline the festival lightly, but what it would mean is that I have to stay put for half a year, and I'm just prepared to do that. There was also a concern regarding the visa situation, and I'd rather not get burned. I think it's just best to let it go, maybe try again in a year or so, get a producer and apply super early. Melbourne's been good to me. I've enjoyed my time here, but barring some significant wrinkle, it's time to wind it down. I've a few pretty great gigs lined up for before I leave. I'm also gonna be here for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and probably New Years. I've also grown a lot. I know I'll have a big retrospective when I'm closer to leaving, s expect that in a few weeks.
I'm not sure what will happen with this blog when I leave. I mean the title will become a bit of a misnomer. I haven't been Ju-wallowing for months now, so when I leave Australia it'll be completely wrong.

Back to the present though, I do need to get a job for a while. A few weeks at least. Maybe it's not wise to broadcast my plans case potential employers read this blog, but I doubt anywhere I will apply gives too big a shit. I just need to pay rent, have a couple grand to travel. I know I'll be getting some money back, and I can sustain myself on credit for a while, but I'd like to avoid it if possible. The problem with jobs though, is they suck. Don't get me wrong, I'm getting bored of not doing anything. I feel guilty just reading when it's so nice out, and it seems like all I do is go out and drink. While fun, it's really no way to live. It gets sad. I watched the entire sixth season of Mad Men while nursing a hangover. While I really enjoyed it, I couldn't shake the feeling of futility; what's the point? I'm in Australia, but I'm just hiding away inside. I haven't written a decent joke in months, and I know it's because I'm not having interactions with strangers I normally wouldn't talk to. It's time to make a change.

Monday, November 11, 2013

what to do with my time

I keep doing this thing where I write half a post then give up and don't post it. So, sorry. I think I'll have a flurry of half finished posts some day. But not today. Today I'm here to write a post start to finish.

Honestly, my real motivation for writing that is that I've done practically nothing all day. It's 6:20pm on a Monday, and all I've done is laundry and watch movies on my tablet that I've already seen. That is not a very impressive thing to do while living in Australia. I'm even gonna go far as to say it's not impressive in general. I have this dilemma where I have enough funds to live for a while, but it's diminishing, and I need a substantial amount for the festival. Also, I think the US government wants me to pay taxes on what I earned here. Part of me is tempted to start using my credit card, and just put off paying that until next year. Due to Australian taxes and super, I will be able to pay off the CC debt practically immediately if need be.
The other option is that I get a job. A lot of my attitude I think is that jobs suck, and it would be nice to not have one for longer. I've been unemployed for over a month now, and that is probably long enough. I'm at the point where due to my lack of income, I haven't even gone out and travelled! Which is one of the main reasons I quit my job in the first place! What I think I need to do is choose a place to go, spend a few bills, and be OK with it. It's just hard when I'm not sure if I be able to find a source of paychecks when I get back. What happens if I come back and can find no job whatsoever?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Not sure exactly what I want to do, but writing about it has cleared my mind a bit. Thanks guys.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Springtime for Danzorz

It's tough to know what to write about. Lot's of things go on in my life, and it's hard to know which are actually relevant. I guess I'll start with comedy:
I got into the Festival. That's actually really important news, and I'm super psyched. But also at the same time, it freaks me out badly. I'll be producing a show (self producing is still technically producing), which I've never done before. I still have to rent (they called renting "hiring" here. It's fucking goofy) a venue, come up with a title, verify visa details, and take a set of photos for the show's theme within the next 3 weeks. Oh, and beyond that, I need to write about another 15 minutes. I'm not so much worried about the comedy; I know it's mostly all there, and what isn't will come within the next 5 months. I still don't have a title yet. I've been considering something dumb like "Dan Juola Conquers Melbourne" and then take photos of me pretending to take over places American military style with lot's of spectators ridiculing. But I'm also considering being more genuine, like "Becoming Melbourne" and have a description of everything that I've been through to get to where I am, and how I feel like a Melbournian. It's less gimmicky, and there's more honesty in that title. The way I've been organizing the show is by just putting together all the bits I've been working on written on post it notes, and arranged on my wall. I've attached a picture of the process, which is neato torpedo!

Being here is certainly weird. I knew I wanted to move, but I didn't know if it was going to be permanent. Now here I am with inroads, and friends. I very much miss Minneapolis, but Melbourne has become to feel like home. I'm sure I'd leave if I had the option to stay. Melbourne is definitely will always be a home away from home now. I can't imagine this being my last Melbourne Festival.

I'm not looking forward to the extreme heat that's coming. Spring has brought variable weather, which I'm fine with. Melbournians winge quite often. I don't worry too much about it. I went to the beach yesterday. City beaches tend to suck, and while they're better than any of the oceanic beaches of Minneapolis ("Oh I see what you did there"), they still kinda suck. I'm going to have to get a job soon in order to do the festival, but I really want to travel. I may have to postpone my trips around the country due to cash. Ideally, I could get a halfway decent bar job during the day that paid under the table, but that's probably too much to ask for. Realistically, I'll just go to Melbourne Central and hand out my resume to everywhere I would even remotely consider working. I think if I work until January or February and I can get by. As long as I can get about a grand a month I can live off what I've got. I know I'll be getting tax and super annuation (mandatory retirement fund, paid by employers), so that will set me up for when I get back to the States.

I think I should include more than just scratch the surface of my life bullshit in this post. Part of why I don't write often is that I know it's just "these are random events in my life blah blah blah" that I find utterly dry and unuseful, which is apparently not a word. This sabbatical has entailed a lot of soul searching that I did not fully expect. Well, it's not that I didn't expect it, it's that it manifests in ways that are unexpected. On election day a couple of months back, I had a hard night of drinking, took a cab home, passed out, and woke up to see that I'd thrown up during the night, but hadn't woken up (gross). The first thought I had was christ that's gross I need to clean that up. But as I got to thinking about it, the more disturbed I became. That's the kind of thing that people die from. Hell, I've know people who've died that way. I could have died. While I haven't stopped drinking, it's definitely been a wake up call (which is ironic, because I didn't wake up to throw up (gross)). I mean, I've already been concerned with mortality lately, and that kind of event stares you right in your fucking face. The invincibility was a myth.

Something tells me that that last paragraph contains a very funny, very dark joke.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Embracing Different

Editor's note: I'm aware this is probably not the most complete post I've ever written. It's vague. Sorry. I'm not really. This is my blog and I'll do what I like with it.

I'm at home right now, and actually about to go to an info session for the festival, but I wanted to put some thoughts down.

I think it's very good that I did this, travel here. I doubt I'll stay here, but I think that's mostly due to visa circumstances. It's absolutely incredible that I've traveled across the world, created an entirely new network of people that realistically I have no business meeting. I never would have considered leaving home if not for events that I had virtually no control and no choice. Additionally, I think of people, friends, moving to other cities. Some go back a long way, but others are relatively new, barely beyond a year. The world is a scary place. I do not know what happens next in my life. There's a very strong pull back to Minneapolis. Very strong. But not immeasurable, and I know that I have other options, if less safe. Safety left me happy, if ignorant, in Minneapolis. In fact talking about plans other than the one I've been envisioning if quite scary.

I signed up for a story telling event next Tuesday, and that terrifies me. A lot of comic's here do story telling, and seemed like something I should try. After all, I get on stage and tell people things right? But as the event looms, I'm mortified. I was considering cancelling, or pushing back the date. I decided not to though; one of the things I want to do with my time is to try new things, things that are sometimes scary. I don't know who I am, or who I'm becoming, but I've decided it's alright if it's something a little different. And I still have a lot new experiences awaiting.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Unemployment Part: Uh.... Unemployment: the Next Part

Maybe it's sad that I've lost track of the times I've been unemployed in this last year. Or maybe it's a good thing (it's not).

The last post I started to explain where I am in life. It's very liberating to have the time to do what I want, but looming over me are great stresses. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival registration is coming up, and it's not a small feat to put together a show. Also, though I have enough cash on hand to live on for a few months, I also know that it is not infinite. Both those weigh heavy on me, but the pull to just relax and go back into vacation mode is also strong. In a lot of ways it's stronger. For example, though heavy is the shadow of the Festival, I've started reading again. Within the last few days, I've read the entire "Fellowship of the Ring", and yesterday alone, I blew through half of the "Two Towers". It's long been a goal of mine to read the Lord of the Rings, but who has the time. Turns out I do, as long as I completely skirt the responsibilities I absolutely have to finish.

I should say this isn't the a new feeling. The stress is like being in college again, but instead of papers and projects it's something that I actively want to pursue. And instead of video games, I'm reading (admittedly, fantasy) books.
I know that I'm dragging my feet on regarding the festival show. It's not even the actual work that's behind my procrastination; it's the fear of rejection. What if I apply and don't get in? Obviously, I have contingency plans, and I'm not long for Melbourne in the event my show is rejected. I mean, I didn't come here to create extra stress for myself, but I'm here, and so is it. I just worry that the rest of my life is one big ball of stress. Our culture prides itself on producers, people who create and accomplish. But that creation and accomplishment is very much tied to constant stress. The older I get the more I realize it just doesn't stop.

The thing is, the show itself is coming along quite nicely. I'm quite happy with the jokes, and even reaching 45 minutes doesn't seem like it's that much of a stretch.

I also feel like that I should talk about food, because, you know, I like to eat. I'm in love with meat pies as of late. Upon arrival, I was skeptical, maybe even a little hostile. But no longer! Guys, I am super all about pies. As my time passes in this country, I'm beginning to colour (shit, I just did that accidentally...) the picture of things I'll miss. Would I trade Pieface for Taco Bell? I'm not sure I would. But I am concerned that I won't have ready access to pies. Also Bundaberg "Rum". It's actually not really a rum. I mean, it is kind of. Well, let's put it this way, Bundaberg company sent a bottle to a rum competition with over 500 rums, and the competition sent it back. It's considered particularly white trash, but goddamn if I don't love it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I quit my job.
That's probably the most important thing that's happened to me in the recent past, and a turning point for my trip. It seems as though the "making money" portion of my trip is, if not at a complete end, absolutely on the back-burner. It also means there's a significant (and stressful, FUCKING HOORAY) period in my near future.

I realize that I haven't posted anything in quite a while. Sorry. Go check back. I've written some things that you can look back on that hopefully I've posted. If not, well, I'll be home eventually. You can assault me for it.

There's a pull I've been feeling lately. The beginning of my trip was in a lot of ways relaxing. I recognize that it was also very stressful. My guess is because I wasn't able to accept the non-stress. One of my chief concerns upon arrival was to find work immediately. I felt the financial pinch of travelling very acutely, and was not fond of it. Even now, being jobless has a way of creating extra stress where extra stress is not needed. I know that I like to think that I'm a very stress free person. In a lot of ways I am. I like to cultivate this image, but realistically I stress out very easily. I still do not like being single. I'm not sure if that's something I've discussed at any length; I know I've talked about how the end of a relationship affected me, but I don't know that I've discussed being in a state of "single". It's not my intention to say that I'm looking for a relationship. That seems like a problematic state to be in. I also miss the relationships from back home. At the genesis of these feelings is that I've been feeling like an outsider.

And I stopped writing.
I want you all to know that what's happened, and why this post feels like it was abruptly ended. Because it did. Rather than continue a mindset I'm no longer I'm entirely in, I've opted to start another post.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pantry Fresh: Australia

Here's the Ozzie version. I was gonna put it on Facebook, but decided against it. I'm glad you came to read it.

I was at a petrol station the other day, and they were advertising for their coffee. Apparently the coffee is sweet as, because they call it "pantry fresh coffee". So I went up to the bloke behind the counter and said "look mate, pantries aren't fresh". I mean come on, pantry fresh sounds like what a bogan offers his guests. "G'day, this coffee is heaps good- it's pantry fresh! I bought it on 25/8/2008 from Woolies! Just scrape off the mold and it's fair dinkum! Hey, are you hungry? Because I can shout you some pantry fresh bananas from 16/9/2007, gooey and delicious!"

6 Months

So, if you read my last post, I'm totally a wanker (pronounced "wanka", I believe...). I've been in this country 6 months exactly now. I don't know what I really want to write, but for some reason I feel like commemorating this milestone. It's a bit weird to get excited about. I mean, it's no small achievement for me to have left, but I didn't celebrate that milestone. I left on February 5th; August 5th came and went and I didn't even notice. Maybe it's the fact that leaving your home isn't as big a deal. I don't know. Oh, by the way, it's 9(ish) on the morning of 8/22. I work today, but not for another 4 hours. I like how I wrote that in case you were worried about me (that's right, you! The reader! 4th wall consider yourself officially busted!).
I'm beginning to feel the effects of homesickness. There are things that I just miss. I see summer going on back home and feel like I'm missing out. That's not to say that I'm not having incredible experiences here, but it does mean that I see everything on facebook and can't help feeling lonely. I know that I use this place to mope, and I am sorry for that (not really). Let's try to keep upbeat.

I'd originally had this grand scheme idea for what I wanted to post today. I'd thought that I wanted to write a list of things that I miss about home on my 6th month anniversary, one thing for every letter (I know, still a wanker), but now that I'm here it feels too depressing (and also douchy). I'm not going home soon, and I'm ok with that. I think what happens now instead is what I'd originally planned for the end of my tenure here- a non-alphabetical list of things that I really love here:


Ok, just made that horrible list and immediately regret it. And scratch that last sentence, I deleted the horrible list. Turns out I mostly like food. I guess it's mostly food that I really like?
I still have a lot of this country to see. I was talking at work about how similar this country is to my own, and my international co-workers asked how much I'd been out of Melbourne. Not much is the answer. The thought has been that I'll use the money I save here to travel back through Asia and Europe, but maybe I need to use it to travel Australia. I still want to learn how to surf. I know I can do that here in the summer, but that doesn't negate the fact that I need to go to other parts of the country. For fuck's sake I haven't even seen Sydney yet. NOR A KANGAROO! But I can't. I have to remain here to finish up the job here. It's only about 2 and half more months.

I have been doing Australia things though. I went to a footy (Aussie Football) game last weekend. The Richmond vs Carlton game. The weird thing about footy is that it's mostly a Melbourne game, and most of the teams are in the Melbourne area so people just pick a team. That's not to say that people switch. Once you have a team you have a fucking team. Mine is Richmond; Richmond was the first place I stayed in Australia when all the hostels were full. That seemed like a fitting reason to me. Anyway, I bought a team scarf, which is what people do when they support a team apparently. Richmond lost, but it was fun to go. They sell pies (meat pies) for like 4 bucks, which at a stadium is pretty fucking good. Also, $21 to get in is pretty reasonable. I may go to another game, but we'll see. The season ends in about a month.

Not probably the most interesting note to leave on. Sorry. I recognize that I don't usually end these posts gracefully. I think I'm going to go up to the tallest place in Melbourne today. I'll post a picture of it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mid August and This is the Best Title I Could Think Of

It's been quite a while since I posted anything on here. If you've been wondering if something has happened to me, the answer is not really. I'm still at the call center job; I'm still in the house; I'm still Ju-wallowing here down under (I BET YOU GUYS THOUGH I FORGOT ABOUT THAT, BUT I TOTALLY DIDN'T!!!). Actually, as of Thursday (uh, I think?) I will have been in Australia for 6 months exactly. Come to think of it, I was (mostly) planning on writing on that day, but since I feel like writing now, saving writing until then just seems a bit wanky. Which is a word I definitely would never have used back home. It's been a bit of a concern of mine, the whole foreign phrase thing. I've started using "mate" quite frequently. That one I'm alright with, but it's sneaky the way it slips into my vernacular. I catch myself saying shit as an adjective (rather than "shitty") a lot more often than I'd like. I don't like it. Maybe it's not so bad, but I certainly feel like that douchebag who comes back from abroad and won't shut the fuck up about it.

Actually, that last part I struggle with a fair bit. I don't know how to talk to friends/family about my trip. I'm very self-conscious about trying not to make an entirely one-sided conversation, and discussing my life here a very easy topic to ramble on about. I'm not sure how this is supposed to go. I mean, my life has been so drastically different, and sometimes the static world just keeps going in the same direction. I honestly don't mean to be a jackass. Sorry if I suck at talking about it is what I guess I'm getting at.

I want to mention that I have been writing, but I haven't been thrilled with what I've been writing. I may post what I've written, but there's a decent chance I won't. At least not for now. I tried free writing and didn't like what came out. Not because it wasn't honest, but because it was. This blog reflects what my soul in a lot of ways and I try to be open, but some doors are better left closed. At least publicly. Suffice to say that my past still haunts me more than I'd like. Let's go back to my job though.

Foxtel is fine. I'm just shy of about halfway done with my tenure. For a terrible job, it's actually quite good. Well, not the job itself, but the fringe benefits. The people on my team are great, and I don't think it would be as bearable. We're a ragtag group of (mostly) expats. We've all gone out drinking quite a few times. And not just happy hour, one or two drinks kind of drinking. Like "I missed my tram stop because well past tipsy" kind of drunk. It's quite nice to have normal people who I can just go out drinking with. I even went up to the mountains over my birthday with one of my coworkers. Which was actually quite an experience. AH fuck, I realize that the trip was actually quite worth chronicling, but I don't have the stamina for it now. I promise it'll come.

The other significant benefit of working at Foxtel is all the material I've been getting. It's a few months in and I have a series of jokes that are entirely from the experience, plus the ability to adapt others to the situation.

The comedy situation is moving in a positive direct in general. I like the think that I've got 20-25 minutes out of my experience in Australia, but realistically it's probably more like 15. Nothing to sneeze at, but definitely shy of the hour that I need before April. I know that the full hour won't be based entirely on Australian written jokes, but the more I can get out of it the better. I have to put some significant time in arrangement currently. The Post-It Notes will help (I bought Post-It Notes btw. I don't remember if I mentioned that in previous posts or not...). I know I'll get where I need to be by then. I'm also thinking about trying to get it into the Twin Cities Fringe next year and do the hour, fresh off my hour of MICF. Who's to say if that plan will ever come to fruition, but for now it's something I'm definitely thinking about.

Ok, I'm mentally crashing. It's time to stop writing. Sorry guys, I'll have to update you on my riveting life later.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Late July

It's almost 4am on the morning of 27 July (I've started doing that for work. It tears me up inside). I'm about 4 drinks deep, having woke up to the sound of my roommate and some friends playing music in the living room. I'd like to say I don't know why I'm writing now, but I do; I've been putting off again and I have willful to write.
I have a lot of people I've been meaning to write to as well, but I just don't get the motivation.
OK, the brief break I took to make coffee just stretched into 45 minutes. But I'm back, and with coffee and biscuits (cookies). I'm actually quite gond of the cookie/biscuit culture here. It pairs well with the coffee tea culture. I'm not sure if I've elaborated on the topic yet, but coffee here is different. And I'm not just referring to the espresso machine in my house, it's that I can't find a decent coffee shop open past like 5pm. Fuck I keep retreading old topics. Let's do this; here's what's happening in my life:
I'm still working at Salmat. It's a call center organization. I'm pretty sure I tried to avoid saying the actual company I was taking calls for in the last post, but I kind of don't care any more; I work for Foxtel, which is the only cable tv company in Australia. It's a shit job. And the worst part about that last sentence is that I said it was "shit" instead of shitty. I haven't been here 6 months, and I've picked up Australianisms. I mean, I still occasionally say downtown instead of CBD, but I've definitely picked up phrases like "how're you going". At first I actively rejected it, but I've come to the conclusion that it's the phonetically the laziest fucking greeting in the English language. Seriously. Say it out loud right now. "How ya goin'". It's just one fluid motion. It's like it's practically one word.
Actually, it's quite weird being on calls at the call center and phonebanking for the local Labor candidate. On several occasions, I've had people ask me where I was located. Melbourne. I'm in Melbourne in your fucking country. Do you honestly think things are so bad in America that Australia is outsourcing call center jobs? Nope. I'm here visiting, and relatively low on funds at the moment so I've denigrated myself to work at a call center 10,000 miles away from home.
If I'm being honest though, I don't really mind the job. The days go by quickly, and I'm fond of most of the people I work with. The pay is Australia adequate, but America good. As of yet, I have no reason to leave. There's been talk of keeping people on after the 5 month contract, but as one co-worker put it "the fact that there is an end date in sight is big reason why the job is tolerable".
I'm also volunteering for the local Labor candidate for Batman (hehehe). It feels great to be in a campaign office, and see what's going on. It's a very relaxed atmosphere at this point, which is almost a bit irritating for me. The focus of volunteers seems to be shorter here than back home, but it's technically not election season yet, so I'll have to see what happens when an election date is set. Beyond that frustration is actually a deeper insecurity about volunteering for the office. I doubt highly that this volunteer stint will present an opportunity for work, and that being the case I have a strong feeling of outsider-ness. This isn't my campaign. I have no real vested interest in the outcome. In fact, the main opposition is a group of people with whom I actually harbor some sympathy. The interesting aspect of Batman (HEHEHEHEHE) is that the Liberal party is so outmatched that they aren't even the primary opposition, it's the Greens. Many of the people on the campaign are part of Young Labor, and I just question, not their loyalty, nor their commitment, but their logic. If you don't live in the district, is it really that important that Labor maintain the seat? Sure a Green MP wouldn't caucus with Labor, but ultimately so what? They would still support Kevin Rudd over Tony Abbott. Don't get me wrong, I'll continue the work (well, volunteering) I'm doing, but under these circumstances it's difficult to get excited. That, and the general malaise of the Australian people towards politics. It just.... it's just not home.
I want to address my comedy as well. Since my last post I'm actually feeling quite good about what I've been writing. The demons that brought me to this country are finally being addressed. It's an odd sort of business. I knew that I wanted to make my comedy more personal, that was part of my sabbatical to Melbourne in the first place, but it's a different process that I expected it would be, in large part because I had no specific expectations. All I had were vague notions of "I need to leave and figure out my life". In fact, it's actually quite reaffirming that most of what I'm talking about on stage isn't about the relationship itself. The last thing I want to do is reminisce about what I had. No, the way my experience is manifesting is through the person I've become since the funeral of my old life. Like most good comedy, it's an exaggerated version of what my life actually is, through my own personal lens.
I just paused to reflect on what I've wrtten, and began to fall asleep. Perhaps 5:25 is as a good a time as any to stop. Upon edit in the morning, we'll see what happens.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

New Life Implications

Editor's note: I wrote a post about a week and a half ago that I have yet to edit, but this post will go up before that because I'M GONNA POST IT ON THE FLY! I mean, I'll give it the once over, but I want the other one to reflect the actual time I put into writing it.
Additional editor note: I'm sorry I don't write more. Don't worry, I feel shitty about it too. I've decided I can't write at home, but I'm going to make an extra effort from now on.
What a terrible opening. Ugh. Regardless, I've decided my current life situation needed some chronicling, despite it's probable pointlessness. I've started a new job lately. Last week, specifically. It's a call center job for the cable company in town. Think Comcast, or if you're an Australian reader, it's THE ONLY ONE. It's a job, and it's paying me money. A relatively large amount of money actually. I'm the first line of defense for a shitty multi-national conglomerate. Fucking hooray. I want to point out that I am not ashamed of the job I'm doing, but the fact that I'm doing in brings me down. This is the first job since the liquor store that is completely unrelated to either of my professional paths. And I liked the liquor store job. This, well, I like the money. Wait, not even the money (ok, not true I love money), but what it can do for me. The job is contracted out until November, so it's temporary, and I shouldn't have to work for the rest of my tenure in this country.
Fuck that previous paragraph. A lot goes into these posts from me, I'm getting to the point where I'm willing to share more about the process. I don't know exactly how I feel about my job, other than negatively. Everything else I've done feels like progress towards my ultimate goals. This, though... this doesn't. I'm doing this for the money and that's it. It's that spinning wheels feeling that I don't like. I felt it deeply when I started. It's faded a bit in the past week and a half. I'm trying desperately not to say that this job is beneath me, but I'm struggling not to. What a horrible sentiment. If I can't avoid the fact that I think it's below me, then I why am I doing it? It's not just the compromise of my ethos, either. It's the kind of corporate bullshit job that I've been trying to avoid in my life. And beyond that, I'm not working towards my true passions (which is perhaps the douchiest way of putting it). Fuck. Does finding myself mean wading through a small life of boring meaninglessness? I watched Fight Club the other day (incidentally, the day I bought my ikea bed), and the mention a lot searching for rock bottom. It struck a nerve for me. Is that what I'm looking for? I don't think I am, but I am looking to rebuild my life from the ground up. What I do know is that this job is not what I want to do permanently, but it may illuminate what I really want.
What I'm thinking about doing is using what I make from this job and putting it toward traveling through the world on my way back to the US. A friend told me about a gig in China that I could do to help me get to the mainland, and thie
What's really happening is that I'm working at a call center, and I really hated it at first, but I'm starting to like it. Which I fucking despise myself for. THIS ISN'T WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE. I know that It's not actually what I want to do, and that when I actually get on the phones I'll probably, hopefully, hate it. I know that the money is the most important part for me. I know that. But there are benefits to working at just a boring, mindless job, and I don't like seeing them. I talk to people there who've been working there for years, and I don't know how to feel. I don't want to end up like that. I look down on them (yes, I'm aware I'm terrible person) because I fear I could end up in that situation. I need purpose and helping people with their fucking cable bill just doesn't cut it. How will this job help me avoid another job like this job when it ends? I'm afraid I'll end up like one of those people who loves comedy, but ends up quitting because it's too much effort to go out to the open mic after work. I'm worried that I'll find some worthless job and get comfortable instead of going out and volunteering to get a new spot on a political campaign! This is probably just irrational shit. I admit that, but these are deep seeded worries that I have. I know that both are things that I like, but if I'm at this job, do I really love them? Maybe I don't? I think I do, but maybe I'm just leading myself down paths that will ultimately leave me completely miserable. I know what a comedian lifestyle can do. I've seen it. I know what it can mean to work in politics. Yes, they're both fulfilling, but that fulfillment is professional, and I worry personal fulfillment won't be attached.
Ah fuck. I just realized where all of these feelings are coming from.
I turn 28 this month. It's my golden birthday. That means not much for most people, but for me it actually means quite a bit. I remember as a kid thinking how old 28 was, and how it was so far off. It's not any more. It's how old I am essentially right now. It's that whole mortality bullshit.
But it's not just that. It's looking at my life right now, and what I'm doing. This new job is not what I want to do, yet I'm doing it.
There's more though, and it's something I don't like addressing.
Alissa left me just over a year ago. It doesn't sit well. I'm still not in a place that I thought I would be now. Will I ever be? The front of my head, yes; yes of course I will, and it's quite adament. But fucking damnit, the back of my head and my heart are both screaming no. I don't like to be this vulnerable, but I want to admit to myself that I'm lonely, and I worry that I will be forever. It's a pathetic place to be, and I don't like the implications. These are normal reactions, but I don't like to think that I succumb to such average pains. I should be above these kinds of worries. But, again, I'm not. Instead I'm in Australia wallowing and whining about all the terrible things in my life.
This journey has had several different stretches, and I'm recognize that I recently changed into a new one. I don't know exactly when, but it happened. I know that it wasn't caused by my new job, but maybe from the preceding unemployment stretch before it. What's important, though, is how I know it: it no longer completely stuns me when I think of where I am. Up until now, I've had moments when I remembered that I was halfway across the world and my mind would be re-blown. Not any more. Now I think about it and am largely unaffected. It felt like a scene in a movie where all of a sudden the character is on the Great Wall China, and they backtrack to how he got there. It was abrupt, and it was fucking different. Not any more. I see what has happened, and my past is reattached to my present, albeit with holes.
There are some more serious implications that I'm taking away, but I don't think I can expound much more tonight. Expect a post some time in the future about my worry about what awaits me when I return to Minnesota, but I've been writing for the past hour and a half and that Pandora's Box can wait for another day.

My June Update

This post was written on June 21st, at about 10pm.

Minutiae in my life keeps happening, and I feel so disconnected. I've been in this country for 4 months now,
and I don't know what I'm doing. Ha. The thought just occurred to me that that's exactly why I'm in this country in the first place. I've been questioning a lot what I want to do with my life. Can I really keep putting things off deciding? I feel like I'm trying to straddle two worlds in my life, and I'm not sure how long I can take it. I've been volunteering for the local MPs office (the district is called Batman!) and good god did I forget how much I enjoy Excel. It's the kind of thing that literally makes me question my comedy. Which, I don't know what's happening with that. I keep writing, and more and more I just hate the kind of comedy writing/performing. They're just fucking jokes. I want to clarify that I'm not saying I think what I've written isn't funny. I genuinely think it is. And shit, I'm constantly being told by other comics that they like it, or that I did a good job. Which is somewhat confounding. Not because I dislike the compliments themselves, but personally feel like I haven't been doing well on stage. I don't quite know what to do. At it's heart, I think it's just that my comedic writing is unfulfilling. It's surface level garbage. That's also not to say that it's dissimilar from my past writing. I feel comedicly (yes, I made it a word) stagnant. I think that it's partially due to nature if the scene here itself. The festival is such a long term goal that it's almost like I'm not working toward anything at all. Back home I knew exactly the direction I wanted to move in. I'd finally moved up from open mic'er to paid (meagerly) emcee. That was a significant step, and I'm certainly glad I achieved that feat before I left. The difference here is what I'm working towards: the festival isn't for another nine months, and as much as the clubs try, this city just doesn't digest its comedy that way. I quit my job with the local club I was working for. Most of the reason was the nature of door to door sales and commission only-ness. But before I did, it gave me a glimpse of greater Melbourne. Except for the people who already knew who we were, it seemed like most people had a notion of what Melbourne comedy is like starts with the festival, and ends not far there off. In fact, I would refer to the club by name in my pitch, but more often than not, if they were relating the pitch to a coworker they'd say "comedy festival" tickets. I'm not saying it's wrong. The festival was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and it is extremely important to me that I be a part of it next year. But but as a goal it's just too abstract to work towards. If you were to ask me upfront if I were a goal oriented person, I highly doubt I'd say I was, but I'll be damned if I'm not. I blame videogames. Achievement unlocked!

I came back to my old worrying stomping grounds tonight at midnight-ish to write. I'd really like to find a decent coffee shop to write in, but I've found it a bit difficult. I find myself missing Cafetto back home. Look, the coffee here is great, but so what. In looking for whatever quality coffee that I can get cup after cup on the cheap, where I can sit for hours if need be. And I'd also like somewhere open until later than 10pm. I don't know how many times I closed down Cafetto back home, but it was certainly more than a few times. I've actually found myself a bit lonely and depressed. I'm not saying that I don't have friends here. Actually scratch that. I don't really have any friends down here. The people I'm closest to are other transients, and the comics I've met are realistically good acquaintances. I have remarkably few people I can call down here. But it's not just that. I don't quite know what do with myself. Especially on weekend nights. I'm writing in part because I have nothing better to do. Back home, there's always the Corner Bar, or Acme, or House of Comedy, or Joke Joint, or any number of other smaller gigs if I don't have one of my own. I don't have that here. There are two clubs and they start earlier and I don't have the freedom of an independent transportation. I really need a bike. What I have been doing is reading a shit-ton of books, which is fulfilling in a way, but generally what I've been reading isn't exceptionally mentally taxing. It's been a series of alternate reality books about American history, and other books intermixed. I finished Jurassic Park this afternoon. It took me a few days to get through, and it was entertaining, but so what. A copy of On the Road fell into my lap. I've started it, but it's different than I expected. I have a lot of reading to do, but I want it to be the things that I've always felt like I should read. We'll see what happens

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Movement: Consequences

This next post was taken from the last because it became too long. Additionally, I wanted to outline how the move affected me as a human rather than just describe my new situation. Also of note is that this post is much more introspective (and interesting), but more taxing on me personally. It is with effort that I continue with this post so closely on the heels of the last.

One thing that moving into a house means is that I've moved out of the hostels. There's a lot of reasons to get out of the hostel life, and rest assured, I'm quite thrilled. When one lives in the hostels, there's a definite sense of temporarity both in your living arrangement, and you in the people you know. There's a constant sense that everyone you know will be leaving and a new group of people will come through. It's a an odd situation with its own perks and pitfalls. You can change who you want to be within the span of a few weeks, but I have very few non-temporary friends from the hostels; I'd gone through about 4 solid groups of a friends while there. Its easy to get lonely. I want to point out that it's not that I couldn't have been better friends with them; it's just that lives are in motion. Beyond the human factor of not having a recurring group of people in your life, there's also the actual physical space that's in flux. The constant struggle of renewing a room, or changing hostels, or not knowing what to expect from the people who sleep literally less than 5ft away from your head. It's surprising how easily it is to adapt though, and to find comfort in the situation. Sure, I (and many people, if not most) complained about the situation, but there's a sense of freedom to it as well. Especially being on the older end of the spectrum there. I met a woman there (I have ambivalence toward how I want to title her: I find "girl" to be somewhat outmoded a term for a female beyond the age of about 22, but "woman" sounds particularly formal for someone it a situation such as this. Know that I use the term "woman" uncomfortably) who completely embraced the hostel's temporarity. In England she'd recently had landlord issues, and like the idea of being able to just pick up and go with no real barriers. When I moved down here, I didn't want that kind of lifestyle, but having experienced it by proxy, it's something that I am envious of. And while the move to a grounded environment is a symptom of the overall situation brought by a need to stay in the Melbourne comedy scene, it nonetheless feels limiting. I can't just up and leave for Sydney or Perth or Thailand. For better or worse, I live in Melbourne.

In that vein of thinking, this move has been a lot scarier than my move to Australia. It's a completely new stage in my "adventure" down here. I now have rent, bills. A more permanent life. This trip up to this point has felt very much life a vacation. This move changes that. I mean, I obviously realize that I'm still away from home (although sometimes I forget even that. It's a novel concept every time I think about it), but this is the semblance of a real life. It is my life and it is real. I went grocery shopping shortly after moving in. Know that the store I went to was a familiar store (ok, not the particular store, but the chain or stores- Coles), but being in there, I was close to having a panic attack. I want to point out that panic attacks are not a regular occurrence for me. The concept of leaving everyone I know finally caught up with me.

I've found that I miss weird things. I realized I missed Grumpy's a few weeks back. Grumpy's has never even really been a venue I particularly liked. I think it's more a symptom of loneliness here, and a longing for close friends. Those kinds of connections are developing here, and I'm grateful for that, but I still miss what I've left behind. Which in and of itself is a new experience down here. This loneliness has apparently been building, because up until the last few weeks I was happy on my cavalier little way. I have openly boasted about the fact that what I miss most of all is Taco Bell. I don't want to say that sentiment is gone; it isn't. What I'm alluding to is that the intangibles are developing into expressible feelings. Taco Bell is me missing small comforts of America. It's concrete and easy to pin down. This new feeling is more difficult to expound.

I want to point out that this post dives into nuances of my psyche. I am not in any worried state. The precedent feelings are being drawn out of an overall high spirited temperament, and are still only a glimpse of the entire picture. Additionally the word "consequences" is not used for the negative connotations that are often asserted with it.

Movement: Superficial Update

It's 8:10 on Monday the 13th of May

Wait, it's Friday, 17th at 10am
Ok, Take 3: It's Sunday, May 19th.

It's been a really long time since I last posted, and I'm sorry about that. A lot has happened in the last two three weeks and I've been a bit busy, so lemme give you the update.
--Having finished writing this post, it's too long. This post has been renamed to recognize that it is a surface level update. An additional post will reflect on the underlying effects my move has wrought.

I've finally moved into a house. It isn't exactly what I wanted, but it's going to work out pretty well. My intent was to live as close the CBD as possible, but I ended up moving to Northcote, about 5km from the city itself, but there are several trams to the city in walking distance, as well as a train stop. It reminds me of the house I had in south Minneapolis on the Hiawatha line. In fact, I looked it up and it's almost exactly the same distance from downtown. But unlike the house in south Mpls, this house is saddled between two hip streets, each about a half km away. It's a very nice place. We have a bit of a front yard with a little porch, and a backyard with a grill and laundry lines (laundry lines? is that a thing?). I want to make this note right here and now- laundry in this household is a completely new experience for me in a couple ways. For one, I've never had free laundry anywhere I've lived but with my parents. Sure, there has been a laundry room, but it's all cost money (except, ironically, the house most similar to this one, where there was no laundry equipment). It's quite nice actually. Also, there is no dryer. Not having a dryer was completely backwards to me. That doesn't happen in Minnesota. It's kind of out of the question if it's January and you have wet clothes; they'll freeze outside.

I also want y'all to know that I can now make espresso and all the drinks therein. My flatmate (that's a more accurate term here. There are people who actually share rooms (ew), thus making them roommates) Pete has an espresso machine, and I've decided I'm going to master it. In fact, I'm drinking a latte that I made myself right now. I'm not a big coffee drinker back home, but here, when I can make espresso myself, I really enjoy it. Beyond the laundry and coffee perks, this place is pretty great for me. I have my own room with an adjacent bathroom that I have practically to myself. Realistically, the only instance wherein my bathroom gets used beyond me is if I have a guest (ladies ;) hello!) or if we're having a party. While my flatmates are a bit older than I am (not significantly so (uh, I don't think...)), they're young at heart, and I expect parties to be infrequent, but not unheard of.

I'm still in need a bed, but expect to get one this weekend. I've gone to Ikea several times scoping out things I need. I've decided on a "sofa-bed" that is relatively cheap, and I think will be easier to unload when I leave. While a bed is only wanted by someone who needs a bed, a sofa-bed will draw interest from people who want either a bed or a sofa (or so my oft faulty logic goes). Depending how my financial situation pans out, I may get a TV as well. I'd like to be able to have my computer and/or tablet hooked up to watch movies (or shit maybe I can even read from it if I set up my tablet right. Weird). The problem is that my financial situation may not pan out like I'd originally hoped. It is difficult work, if not particularly time consuming. And coming entirely from the commission, it stresses me out quite a bit. I have a meeting tomorrow with the office of the MP from Batman (yes, it's a place, and there's a park of the same name near here! Check the pics!). We'll see how it pans out.

Totally a real place. By my house.
I had been holding onto this box of macaroni and cheese since Los Angeles. I was waiting until I moved into a house with a proper kitchen. Serious, I declared this at the airport... the customs guy looked at me like I was an idiot. Because I was. Also, I made it with shredded cheese, salsa, and Spam: Danzorz America Style. 

My house, from the outside.

Yeah, no furniture yet. Also messy.

The view of the city not far from my house.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Life Update and Internet

4/28/13 Afternoonish?

Sometimes I have something to write about. This is not one of those times. But I feel obligated to update on my life (I almost just typo'd "lie" instead of "life". I swear, I'm actually in Melbourne, at least I think...).

It's autumn here. That doesn't mean it's cold, but it does mean that leaves are turning yellow (and will probably fall, but I don't know). I'm writing in a park by the Yarra River.
I don't actually know what I want to say. I started a job last Tuesday. It's door to door sales for comedy tickets to the Comic's Lounge, one of the big clubs in town. It's a 4 day a week job from about 10:30 to 5. Seems like I can make quite a bit of coin doing it, but that remains to be seen. But since it's only Tuesday-Friday, I'm going to get another job at bar or something. I don't know. I got the RSA License (and wrote a joke about it!).
I was going to see Iron Man 3, but haven't yet. I went to check prices. Yeah, gonna wait until I can get a good deal on tickets. It was a long weekend for Ansac Day. I think it's like a Memorial or Veteran's Day. They have signs that say "Lest we forget". This places is very American, but often peppered with very British-isms. Regardless, weekend tickets were $19 for a non 3D movie. Weekday matinee (is that the spelling? Daytime. Daytime tickets) are only $11 though, so I will wait until I can go for one of those. That's eight dollars mate! (sorry, that's one of the only phrases I can say with an Australian accent. It's a hard one and I'm still surrounded by internationals...)
Speaking of internationals, I'm very sick of hostel life. I'm still not 100% comfortable finding a more permanent living situation until I know that I will have enough cash coming in. The sales job is commission only, and I've only worked a single day (long weekend remember).

I know! I'll finally explain how terrible the internet situation is in this country: very bad. I came to this country assuming it would be a similar situation as the US. I was wrong. Internet in Australia is terrible. Coming from Minneapolis especially, it's extremely expensive and limited. There are certain places that have free wifi, but those places are few an far between. The Victoria State Library is one of those places, but it's typically quite slow. I also have a spot that I go to called the Australian Centre (ugh, spell it right, jerks) for Moving Images (I think?). It's a pretty secluded area that is very usually deserted at night when I do most of my online-ing. The hostel I'm currently staying has wifi, but guess what! It costs money! I will be switching back to the Discovery, which has free internet, next Friday. As far as businesses that have free wifi, it's mostly american fast food chains. Your McDonalds, Burger King (Hungry Jacks here...), Starbucks. Gloria Jeans is another coffee chain with wifi as well, and hooray it's local kind of!
As far as 3g, my current plan gives me 500mb per month. Which is not a lot. Today is my last day of the 30, and I need to check into other wireless plans. I currently use Amaysim on their $20 plan, but Woolworths (a local supermarket) offers a plan for about $30 which has 5gb. 500mb makes me sad. It's so limiting feeling. I didn't rip my cds before I came here because I figured I could just use spotify/pandora. Looking over this post it seems I'm just bitching. Fair enough. /rant

Also, I attached pictures of the park/river.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Post Festival Life Update, or I'm Tired and This Post is All I Can Manage

Hi readers of this blog (Mom and Dad only, as far as I can tell). The comedy festival just finished last night. I know I should talk about it, but for the life of me, I don't want to. It was an incredible experience. It was comedy every night, both seeing and performing. I met people, and I'm planning a show for next year already. It was one of the best months of my entire life. But it's ended, and I'm exhausted. I missed the Bollywood themed after-party that happened at the Hifi bar last night because for the first time in the entire festival, the bouncers were checking passes to make sure they matched the entrant. Since mine did not match, I did not go in. I'm conflicted about how I feel about it. On the one hand, I missed the last party of the season, which was supposed to be pretty epic, lasting up to 7am. But on the other hand, it was Bollywood themed, and that sucks. Also I'd been going out to the parties practically every night. Regardless, the month is done, and I get to live as human first and comic second now (which I'm very much looking forward to). I will talk about it in more detail (probably), so if you're interested stay tuned.

I start my job tomorrow. I'll be selling tickets for the Comic's Lounge door to door (you know, because I didn't feel like being done talking about comedy). Apparently I can make quite a bit of coin doing so, but my guess is that the work will be a bit grueling. I'm looking forward to income though. I'm getting closer to being desperate (which makes me feel desperate already, which is approximately the state I have felt for the past month and a half). I'm also completely sick of hostels. I thought I would have had an apartment long ago, but evidently the world does not always operate in the way that I would like. I've discovered (well, somebody told me about it) a new avenue to solve my own personal housing crisis. With luck, I'll find something for next week. The room I'm currently staying is not one which I will look back on fondly. It's a 6 bed dorm, and the other occupants are trying as best they can to turn it into a party room. Specifically, there are two Irishman who drink excessive amounts of goon every night (goon is a term used down here for very cheap wine. 4 liter boxed wine for <$10 type wine). I understand that at around 20ish years of age, I was probably not that different than they, but I'm not anymore. My only goal in life is not getting wasted and bangin' cooze. I'd known that my priorities had changed, but my current situation has focused my attention to it.

I've started trying to explore more of the city than just the CBD. I'm in Fitzroy North right now, at a cafe/restaurant called the Tin Pot. I got a salmon baguette sandwich. Delicious. Tasted a lot like a bagel with lox, which I'm totally fine with. Fitzroy reminds me a lot of Uptown. There are a lot of little shops around, and tons of small cafe type places. I'd rather not live too far away from the city, but we'll see what happens. I've walked all the way here, but I may take take the tram back.

When not comedy-ing, I've actually been reading a lot here. I remembered that I got a new Hennepin County Library account before I left, and that I can read any book on my tablet. I'd tried reading on my phone, which is why I signed up for the service a while back, but that sucks ass. Tablet reading is way better. Better to the point of being almost preferable to a physical book. If you haven't tried it, fucking do. It's a great way to read practically any book you want for free.

I think I'm gonna be done writing now. How are y'all doing?

P.S. I've started saying y'all. I'm an American living abroad; no one here thinks it's out of place!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why Melbourne

I just realized I hadn't yet addressed this question. It struck me as odd. I've explained why many times to many people, and it seems like something I should have addressed here long ago. My stint in Melbourne is reaching the two month mark. It's time.

Two events led me onto the path that I'm on now. The first is the end of an era, and the second is the beginning of a new one.

On a Tuesday in late June of last year, my life changed abruptly. I had been dating Alissa for over 8 years, and we'd lived together for more than 3. There were definite signs that I should have seen that meant she was drifting away, but I didn't. I understand now why she left, but at the time I was thunderstruck. Though the week of extreme ju-wallowing filled with marathons Mad Men and True Blood (classy, I know) and a lot less ice cream as tv and movies led me to believe, ended shortly after and I'm still living in the shadow of that relationship, following me even here (I may touch on that topic at a later date, or I might just tell you to mind your own business, jerk). The most important reason I needed to remove myself from the situation was because Alissa wouldn't. Despite agreeing to my plea to leave for a while, she went to a party the following weekend, and started dating another comic immediately and generally kept coming out to comedy events (shows, the plethora of parties that happen when you live a rock and roll lifestyle yet somehow involves neither rock nor roll, etc). I don't want to come across as petty (despite being incredibly petty), so I won't address my feelings regarding her actions, but I since she wouldn't leave, I knew that I had to. As early as August I knew it I had to go. I also don't want to come across as simply running away from my problems (I probably am (Ok, I totally am), but I don't want you to think that's my sole factor). 8 years attached to another person, considering someone else before making life decisions, colors the way you think about making seismic changes. And at 27 years old, I knew my opportunities to make drastic moves were diminishing.

Immediately after that traumatic event in June, I applied and was hired for my first paid job at a political organization. It was a temporary position at America Votes working with voter data. I really loved that boring work. It both helped me determine a timeline and provided the financial means for me to make my move. The position came with an end date of November 30th. Along with the constraints listed in the last paragraph, the planned termination helped me determine my next actions. The two options real options I had been considering in August had been Austin, TX and Helsinki, Finland. The two had very different purposes: Austin is known as a fantastic stand up scene, and Finland is a far off land I've always wanted to see. Neither, though, fit both of my criteria for what I wanted. Austin felt too close to home, and Finland speaks Finnish, precluding stand up for all but ex-pats, which, totally no thanks. London came to mind when I thought of places that fit both of my needs, but it felt a bit obvious, and I knew it was expensive. The real breakthrough came when late at night I was watching stand up videos on youtube. I was watching Hannibal Burress videos, and one of the suggestion videos was of a set at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Obviously I'm not a headlining comic who could just do the festival, but there's no way a festival can happen if there's not a local appetite for comedy. Figuring that the festival had to be supported by some kind of scene, I instantly made my decision. While I didn't tell anyone for more than a month, the decision was firmly made, and I began planning for it. I researched my best options, including whether I could even move to Australia. After finding the Work-Holiday visa, I thanked my lucky stars that events had played out the way they had and not later in life, because the visa's requirements preclude anyone over the age of 30. 27 isn't skin of your teeth close, but it's not far off either. By mid December, I'd purchased and received my visa, and I would be living in Australia for a year.

I'm not sure it was the best decision of my life (Taco Bell, remember), but if it's not it's damn close.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

This Post is Just for Me (or, I Took a Metaphorical Punch Last Night and Felt Like Punching Back)

I had the worst set of my life last night at a venue that's notorious for being rough. It's on every night of the festival, and I've only missed it twice, but last night it shook me harder than I've been shaken in a long time.
But let's be honest: I have nothing to complain about whatsoever. I'm half-way across the world and I barely even remember that most days. What a bizarre fucking realization that is for me every time I remember it. It's raining off and on here today, and people hate rain, but I don't. I love rain. Before it rained I was invited to go the beach, which I passively declined by not meeting up with people in the hostel lobby, instead opting to read free books from Hennepin County's online library system. This is really great. It looks like it's raining again, and goddamnit if I'm not utterly beaming. Fuck you Exford Hotel; you can't break me. I'll be back again tonight so buckle up motherfuckers.

(Don't read too much into this post. It was written for cathartic purposes. I felt like posting it because, realistically, I'm an egomaniac)

Coffee and More Melbourne Insights

April 7th, 2013
I have another continuation of my last comedy post in the works, but I'm not in the mood to write about at the moment. This post will probably be just another life post.

Melbourne touts itself as coffee town, and any time a town toots their own horn that much I get pretty skeptical. I've been of that mindset here for a while, but I just had a pretty damn good latte from a 24hr coffee and donut place called "Walker's" off Flinders Street. Flinders is one of the large streets in downtown Melbourne, and the farthest south before you hit the Yarra River (the city doesn't end past the river though. Just south is actually the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere). They do a peculiar thing in this town that I haven't encountered before, which is that they main artery roads downtown, and between they have small one-ways named after the main roads with "Lt" in front of them (for example, they have Bourke Street and Lt Bourke Street). The Lt is an abbreviation for "Little", but if you know me at all you should know that I take quite a bit of delight in loudly, and in false confusion, calling them "Lieutenant" Streets ("Yeah, we're just crossing Lieutenant Collins Street!").

Anyway, back to the coffee. I also got a Simpsons'eque pink-frosted donut. The frosting was definitely flavored pink as well (I don't know what the pink was; I thought raspberry, but I'm not 100%, could have been strawberry too. Look, just let it be pink flavored). I've been mostly getting 7 Eleven lattes. They're $1, which is exactly in my price range. Before I started drinking them, I just assumed they were like shitty gas-station lattes back home (which I love). To my surprise, they're actually fairly sophisticated machines that make sophisticated coffees and I'm beginning to think this place actually does take their coffee seriously.

I frequently call people back home on account of the ludicrously cheap price it costs to call. But I've been finding it's a really weird experience. I'm generally not one to prattle on about what I'm doing, and I feel odd doing it. When I find myself asking how things are going back home, all I hear is that the world just keeps on spinning. I don't know what I'm expecting from people. Maybe it's not fair to do that. I've noticed in the past that when I get back together with friends I haven't seen in a while it takes a bit of time to get past the what's new in your life phase, and before things return to a normal conversational pace, there's an awkward stage. I mean, how interesting is the minutia of my day really? Is it worth explaining the entire background information of my Australian experience just to get to where I can talk about eating at Pie Face?

As usual, I have a lot to say, but I don't feel up to task of writing it all down and editing it. I've found that if I don't immediately start editing my work I generally don't post it and while the thoughts often find their ways into future posts, their form changes and I end up losing some of the original feeling. It also exhausts me. There's so much to write about. I'm not sure if my purpose for writing has changed either. Originally I thought this was just going to be mostly my musings about the differences between my life back home and my life here. I have some intensely personal things to say that may or may not end up in here. It feels cowardly not to include them, but it's also difficult to put them out publicly. I've decided that these writings will end up in what will essentially a one man show (you know, because I don't have delusions of grandeur...) maybe for the Melbourne Fringe, but likely for next year's festival. And perhaps Minneapolis' Fringe. The festival has me thinking a lot. Ugh, this last paragraph was supposed to be a soft closing paragraph for this post, but I'm leaving many more open questions than closed.

I love donuts! (that's a better close, right?)

P.S. I'm writing in my favorite spot to write in all of Melbourne, and I felt like attaching a picture of my view. Also a picture of Pie Face; it's a fast food restaurant that sells meat pies. Additionally, my post about everything that's been happening in the Festival is coming. It will be a very expansive post and you'll get more context for what's happening and where my thoughts here are coming from.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Comedy in Melbourne: Arrival

April 3rd, 2013
This post is a long time coming. The only reason I've been putting it off is because there's a lot to tell. It's actually been the highlight of my experience down here. For this post, I'll start from relatively the beginning.

When I landed about 6 weeks ago, my goal was to immediately find the first club I could find and see a show. I ended up going to Last Laugh Comedy Club in Melbourne's CBD (downtown). It was a good show, and definitely a learning experience. My intention had been to talk to the MC and find out how the comedy scene in Melbourne. What I found was that the structure of shows in Australia is a different than Minneapolis. The hierarchy of the show is different, and the MC was way above my level. I talked to him anyway, but found that his knowledge of the open mics was less helpful. I ended up checking out the shows he recommended, but it was clear that the shows were a bit out of my league as someone starting over. Had I just been visiting, I probably could have BS'd my way on, but knowing that I'm in it for the long haul I decided not to push my luck.

I ended up finding an open mic/showcase run a block from my hostel (I don't remember how I found it. It very well could have been through the venues I went to, but it also could have been from the hostel itself. I just don't remember). Comedy-oke it's called. I was actually quite thrilled to find it for multiple reasons; for one, it was a venue I could definitely get on, but secondly and more importantly, I fucking love karaoke. Since shows here are all booked in advance, it took a week before I got on the stage. At this point I had only done about 3 sets in the past month, jesus christ did I have the itch. When I finally took the stage, a very weird experience. The gig is called Comedy-oke, and it's at a bar in adjacent to a hostel (Melbourne International Backpackers, or MIB for short), meaning it's full of international backpackers who often don't speak English natively. Additionally, I packed the place with the menagerie of people I had met at my hostel. As such, while it was definitely good to get on stage, it still hurts when your good jokes back home die in front of your eyes. It's also a lesson that I can't seem to make myself learn. For example, no matter how much I try, I can't make my Man-kiss joke work at all. I do feel like I'm evolving as a comic, and there are a lot of opportunities here that are not back home.

This is an adequate back-story for my continued comedic exploits in Australia, and another post will follow this one relatively soon (I say relatively because relative to the last time I posted, it will actually happen within the next few days).


My Life is Actually Less Sad Than This Post

March 28th, 2013

Look, it's been a really long time since I last posted and I'm sorry for that (I'm not). I'm probably going to combine a few posts I've got half written, so this may be a long one. Or it may not; I may split them up after writing.

I've been in Australia for over a month now. I'm still living in Discovery Hostel. I don't recall exactly what I've said about Discovery in the past, but I'm not thrilled with this place. That's not fair. I'm not thrilled with how my life here has progressed. It's not Discovery, it's that I'm still jobless and unwilling to get an apartment without a job that can sustain it. I figured that by now I would have had a job, or at least something to do during the day. One thing I've learned about myself in the past is that the less I'm doing, the less likely I am to do more. If I have endless free time, it remains just that, free time. I've gone through cycles like this one in my life a few times before and I know that I have to be proactive about making myself occupied. Sure, being free to do whatever I want is quite enjoyable, and it's allowed me to be very carefree, but it comes at a cost. I'm not sure if I've ever actually been depressed before, but I can tell you the times in my life when I had nothing to get up for weren't pleasant.

What's really stunning to me is that I've been in Australia for more than a month, and I'd spent two weeks on the west coast in the US before I came, putting me at a grand total of more than 6 weeks away from home. I've never been away for so long. The longest I've ever been out of Minnesota is probably less than two weeks, and even then it was a child and I knew I was going to be coming home shortly (side note: I don't know when I was away for 2 weeks as a child, but I know we had family vacations at least that long so don't ask me where I went...). All of this is to say that I'm not homesick at all. Sure there are a few specific things that I miss, most notably Taco Bell (sorry family), but as a whole, I feel very comfortable being away. Obviously, technology helps with that. I can call anybody in the states for dirt cheap if not free and the time delay isn't horrendous. Additionally, this place really isn't all that different from home. It's a bit bigger of a city, and sure I'm surrounded by people who speak funny, but I can understand them, and it's still a modern city. In fact, when I went to Adelaide a few weekends ago I was struck by how remarkable similar to home that city was. Just the parks and the nature. Adelaide is smaller than Melbourne, and I didn't notice it at first, but I did after spending the full weekend there. On a map, the streets are about as numerable, but the blocks are smaller. And while it was quite busy in certain places, I know that I went during the Adelaide Fringe Festival and realistically the city is has a lot less to do than Melbourne.

Melbourne has a lot going on all the time though. Makes me really wish I had an apartment and wasn't at the whim of a hotel. Luckily it's less busy than it was during the Grand Prix, but having to renew weekly and dealing with the influx of new people each week is exhausting. And I will relish having a room to myself. I have a lead on a room in a house that's significantly less than here, and evidently not too far out in the boonies.

Ugh, no matter how I put it, this whole piece feels so fucking inconsequential. "This is my life" "This is what's happening" "I can't get my life together to leave this shitty place that gives me a place to stay and makes life easy"
What a crock of shit.

Yes, this place is different than home. I'm enjoy myself immensely when I'm not going in complete shambles about my finances or feeling like a giant turd for not finding a job. I spend my days watching tv on my computer and looking at Cracked articles. This isn't a different situation than from home. All I've done is change the setting of my misery from a cold home where I can easily find a job and a warm, but turning colder, place that I sit around doing the exact same shit I would back home but jobless. This isn't some ideal paradise I've found myself in. I can barely even find ways to destroy my taste-buds in this crazy place. The grocery stores don't sell "hot" salsa; only mild and medium, which are even milder settings than they are back home. The only reason they don't have a hot here is so that people can feel like there's another level out there and feel secure in their mediocrity.

At the center of my disheartment (no matter how I try to make a form of "disheart-" work, spell check says I'm wrong, so disheartment (no spell check I don't mean "dish heart") stays even if it's not a word. Deal with it) is the dilemma I find myself in every day: I have enough money to survive for 2 months if I do nothing but stay in the city and live as cheaply as I can until I find a job, but as a result I don't do any of the things that brought me here in the first place. I STILL HAVE YET TO SEE A FUCKING KANGAROO! I've used up more than a full month of my year here and what do I have to show for it? Fucking nothing. I've made friends with a bunch of foreigners who have come and gone. Fucking great. I don't have the energy to keep doing that. I'm sick of temporary friends.

Ok, that was very sad that last paragraph. I have been doing things here, especially regarding comedy. I guess that'll be in the next post. I'm just frustrated because I went downstairs to the bar for "Date Night" with free wine and cheese and I don't know anybody and I can't bring myself to try. Also they dole out the wine and cheese in "tastes" and I'm still hungry and not drunk. I bought bottle of brandy because I was feeling too poor about going to bars and not buying alcohol. But they don't let you drink in the rooms and I have no good way to pour the brandy into my flask.

Holy fuck this post has gotten long. I really need to shorten it. But I will probably just post it.