Be Happy With Less

The other day my co-workers told me about a documentary on Netflix about the principles of minimalism. Not the art style minimalism, although that may indirectly apply, but the concept as a way of living.

Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things is a film that follows two guys, “The Minimalists,” who travel the US spreading the gospel of a minimalist lifestyle. The principals and ideologies they preach are ones I myself have already been trying to adopt.

I realized years ago that the possessions I coveted didn’t bring me happiness. There was the initial transitory pleasure of having something new, and then an immediate drop off of happiness that made me feel depressed.

Since then, I have really done my best to try and not buy things I don’t need. I try and think really hard if it is something I will really use and if not, it probably won’t make my life any more meaningful.

The movie is, I’ll admit, a bit preachy at times. The guys can have a bit of “crunchy” Hippy vibe. All of this may make you roll your eyes, nonetheless, the message is no less poignant and helped to reaffirm my belief in this way of life.

Additional info:

Fight Club Monologue

Fight Club Dialogue

Jay Austin – tiny house designer

Life Edited – minimalist interior design

Additional reading:

Everything That Remains

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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2016 Top Five

Another year end review. What follows (after the Google – Year In Search 2016 video) is a list of my top five accomplishments in 2016. They are arranged in the order they took place.

I am going to try and do this every year (starting last year) as it is a good way to see what, if anything, I got done. It was suggested by Chris Hardwick on The Nerdist podcast, and I really like the concept.

Lastly, before I show the list, I sourced these from this very blog, since I really only choose to write about things that are important to me, so, hopefully I’m not forgetting anything.

1) Digitizing and editing the footage – back in 2012 I went to New York and shot a bunch of footage on my grandpa’s 8mm camera. I had been meaning to edit it for (literally) years, and finally, this year, I did that.

2) Moving Out – I had moving to New York on my 2015 accomplishments list but to be honest, that was a “fake” move. This year when I moved to Somerville, it was for real. In fact, I technically moved twice this year since I had to switch apartments after my roommate lost his job. Regardless, I am glad to no longer be living at my parents house; it’s about time.

3) Biking the Boston Marathon – this is another thing I had had on my “to do” list for a long time that I was finally able to check off. Biking 26.2 miles is really not that hard. It’s only about a 2 hour ride. However, it is the mere fact that I wanted to do it and now I can say that I did.

4) Facewords Podcast – as I say in the title of this blog post, making a podcast was a “scheme” come true. Though James and I have already stopped recording episodes, and I don’t know if we’ll ever record new ones, it was cool to say that I at least did it. There seems to be a reoccurring theme here of getting things done I’ve wanted to do for a while. Which leads to my final accomplishment…

5) Australia – I’d wanted to visit this country for as long as I can remember and now I can finally say I have.

Despite the fact that I checked a few things off a list, clearly I’m pulling at hairs here because none of these “accomplishments” are really that noteworthy. I guess all in all, 2016 was a pretty “meh” year.

In conclusion, fuck 2016.

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Christmas Presents 2016

As usual, here is my annual post telling you what I got for Christmas. Things were a bit more low key this year, but I am still very happy with how the day went, all the people I got to see and the gifts that I received. I try to ask for things I need rather than things I want. I hate clutter so the less excess stuff I have, the better.

img_5135

Starting from the left (btw, this is a pano, so that’s why some things look jankey):

1. Burton Wheelie Flight Deck suitcase – I have been coveting a Burton suitcase since April/May of 2015. When my fam came to visit me in NY for the Sox/Yankees game, we stopped by the Burton flagship store in Soho. I saw a really nice suitcase I wanted but didn’t need for ~$220. It has been in my subconscious ever since. Though I still technically didn’t/don’t need a new suitcase (my current one works perfectly fine and has served me well for YEARS), the big baby in me likes getting new things and since I have a vaca planned for the spring, I thought it would be cool to have a new one

2. Boxer shorts – something that it’s always good to have more of  but that I hate buying for myself

3. Cowboy Beebop: The Complete Series (Blu ray) – I have been a fan of Beebop (pictured below the boxer shorts) since my junior year of college. Since I no longer watch cable, I never get to catch it on TV. I got a craving for the show the other day and thought, let me put it on my xmas list. Since I currently don’t have a show to watch (my free trial of Amazon Prime ran out so I no longer can watch Top Gear er, I mean The Grand Tour) I will rewatch this

4. Lint roller – I have no idea why my mom got this for me. I never asked for one and don’t really need it but I’ll just bring it to work and spread the wealth

5. Austin Powers 3 Film Collection (DVD)– up until now I only owned AP 1 and 2 on VHS and 3 was on DVD. Well now I finally have them all on a relevant (sort of) format. We had all gotten a hankering to watch them when doing our Bond marathon, so now I/we finally can.

6. Floss things – these little “needles” help to thread floss through my permanent retainer (now you know I have one). I hate buying them because they’re expensive (for what they are) and you don’t get a lot in each pack. So, these packs (I got two) should keep me all set for a while

7. Assorted snacks – popcorn, Milky Way, Ghirardelli, Reese’s Pieces

8. Grooming kit – nail clippers and such; despite the fact that I already have one, this second one will allow me to keep one in my suitcase at all times and avoid forgetting to bring these things when I go on vacation

9. Pajama Pants – I need another pair of PJ pants like I need a hole in the head, but it’s still good to have. Plus, maybe I can keep a pair at my parents house so I don’t have to bring any when I spend the night there

10. Plain White/Black Shirts – always good to have more of these

11. Darth Vader Boxer Shorts – these came in a rubber/plastic Vader helmet which is what you see in the picture. The helmet is displayed on the top of my bookcase

12. Scratch ticket – I won $5; still need to cash it in

13. Assorted Gift Cards – Urban Outfitters (earmarked for pants), Dunkin’ Donuts (2), Stop and Shop

14. Daft Punk Discovery on vinyl – every time I go into Newbury Comics I look at this album, pick it up, hold it and think, “someday you will be mine.” Then I put it back down and never buy it. Now I don’t have to. Discovery is one of the best albums ever made. It is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of Daft Punk’s career. Like Rumors for Fleetwood Mack or IV for Led Zeppelin, not only is basically every song a hit, but everything about it is timeless.

15. 45 RPM adaptor – this plastic insert was not really one of my gifts, but a spare part from one of my parents gifts; they got a new record player

16. Cheese Cutter – now I can really cut the cheese. (Obligatory stupid joke over). Despite the fact that I do have a cheese knife, this has always been my preferred method for slicing cheese so it’s nice to have one in my life again

Not pictured:

1. $20 from my Auntie Jeanne

2. $50 from my Grandpa

So, if you’re looking for someone to mug this season, I’m your guy. My wallet has exactly $70 in it; 70 times more money than it usually has!

As always, I do this not to brag and not out of vanity, but so that I can organizationally remember what I got and (hopefully) put it all to good use over the years to come.

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Future World

Tesla Enhanced Autopilot

Yesterday, Tesla announced the latest update available to their vehicles; Enhanced Autopilot. This is by far the biggest leap any car company has ever taken in the race for a fully autonomous (self driving) vehicle. To get a true understanding of what I mean, click the link above or, better yet, watch the video below.

Pretty crazy right? When I first started with Tesla in November of last year, Autosteer and Auto lane-change, along with the ability to self parallel park were, I believe, just being introduced. Later, in early 2016, the company introduced self perpendicular parking and the “Summon” feature which allows the car to come in and out of your garage or driveway all by itself.

Look at how much Autopilot has advanced from October 2015 to October 2016. In one year we went from Autosteer to Full Self Driving. Think about how refined it will be by the time the Model III comes out! This gives me hope that a very polished version of Enhanced Autopilot will be available by the time I take delivery of my Model III.

When I first heard mention that Musk wanted cars to be able to have self driving features, I thought it was cool but expected it to be years down the road. Little did I realize that perhaps as soon as early 2017, barring any regulations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we will see cars driving around parking lots looking for places to park all by themselves! Clearly, we are living in the future.

Westworld

For those of you who haven’t been watching, I highly reccomend you check out the new HBO Original Series Westworld. Based on the 1973 film of the same name, Westworld is a show rich in detail and shining in all categories. From writing, to cinematography, to acting, to costume design, every facet of the show is on point.

It reminds me of many things, The Matrix, virtual reality, a video game, and more that I’m forgetting but will come back to when I think of it. It brings up interesting topics touched upon in such films as Blade Runner which asks questions about humanity and what it means to actually be human.

The story so far is only three episodes deep but it is already layered in storylines and subplots. From the business side of Westworld and what is involved in keeping it from falling apart, to the hosts and how they interact with each other as well as guests in their daily lives, to the insidious and mysterious “Gunslinger,” to the hosts’ slow discovery of what they truly are and much more, the layers are deep and many.

On top of all this, the world building extends to our world. Just as was done with Jurassic World where they made a website for that “theme park,” HBO has not only made a website for Westworld the destination, they also made a website for Delos Incorporated, the company that created the “theme park.” It’s all pretty cool and makes everything feel that much more real.

Do yourself a favor and explore every facet of the “theme park website.” There are some cool easter eggs if you dig deep enough. Additionally, the most interesting part of the corporate site is the Corp Resources page. There, you will find two cool articles that show you how the corporate facility is laid out and how the “narrative loops” work for the “hosts” of Westworld.

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Japan + Design

I’ve know about the redesign of Narita Airport’s Terminal 3 for a year or so now. However, since making the firm decision that next summer I will be taking a trip to Japan, it was recently re-introduced into my brain.

The terminal has a very clean and straightforward “running track” design. The signage is clear and large; regardless of what language you speak you can easily figure out where to go. It is very reminiscent of an IKEA.

While looking at various pictures, articles and videos about Terminal 3, I found that a company called MUJI did all of the interior design for the airport. So now they are my new favorite furniture/design company… at least for the moment.

While Googling where there were MUJI stores in the US, I came across a store called Loyal Supply Co. Not only do they apparently carry some of their products, but they are located in Somerville, the city in which I currently reside.

img_4916Loyal Supply Co.

I say this all the time but sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own town. Had I not looked up this other store I might have never know that this place exists despite the fact that it is right in Union Square.

It is a very small boutique with super hipster-y curated goods. Most of the stuff is knick-knacks and things that no one really needs, like $15 bars of artisanal soap. However, like Black Ink, there is a lot of cool stuff in there; definitely good for a goodie bag for mom or a girlfriend.

—Upcoming things

October: The Voyage of Time

Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) brings us what promises to be a mind bending drama/documentary about the universe.

November: Woman

cicicicicWoman album art

Justice is coming out with their third studio album.

Arrival – movie comes out; could be good.

December: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I’m very excited for this to come out.

Passengers – movie comes out; also could be good

I feel like I’m forgetting something but I always feel that way. If I think of it or figure it out, I’ll add it later.

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Coming Home

Wednesday – September 14th

After getting showered and dressed and spending about 45 minutes packing and re-packing my suitcase and backpack as efficiently as possible I made my way down to the lobby and checked out of my hostel.

Realizing the night before that I hadn’t had a bagel the entire trip, I searched bagel places in Sydney and found one close to the train station. Weirdly, the place was called Brooklyn Hide, the second Brooklyn themed breakfast place I’d encountered. Then again, I guess if we can have a chain of restaurants dedicated to Australia, they can have a few non-chains dedicated to New York.

img_4883Breakfast at Brooklyn Hide

In any case, I ate my bagel sandwich in the corner and then grabbed all my stuff, hopped on the train and headed for the airport. I got there no problem but when I got to the check in line, I faced a decision. I could either skip the long line and do self check-in at the kiosk, or I could wait in the longer line and deal with a person.

Since I was plenty early, it was 9:40am and my flight wasn’t due to board until noon, I took the long line. Additionally, I wanted to talk with a human so I could request a window seat. The line took forever and when I got to the counter I was faced with bad news.

Unexpectedly, my flight had been delayed to 7pm! This meant I wouldn’t arrive in Texas until 7:30-ish and which meant that a) I was going to miss my connecting flight and b) I wasn’t going to be able to visit Gas Monkey Garage like I had planned. The only thing Qantas had offered as a consolation prize (besides getting me a window seat which they would have done anyway) was a $30 food voucher to be used only on that day in the terminal.

img_4886Cruise ship and Sydney Opera House as seen from Circular Quay

I called my parents to let them know the situation and then made my way back to the train station to head back into Sydney. I figured my time was better spent there than sitting in the airport. I took the train to Circular Quay (pronounced “key,”go figure) and walked to the Sydney Observatory. It was one of the only things on my “to do” list I hadn’t gotten around to.

As it turned out, I hadn’t really been missing anything and after about 20 minutes, I left. I walked aimlessly down the streets and ended up at Darling Harbour. I sat and collected myself for a bit and looked at my list to see if there was anything else I could do. The only other thing on there was the City of Sydney Library.

I made my way to where I thought it would be and after consulting a map, and a bit of wandering around, I found it. It’s not a traditional library but rather a “link” to other libraries as well as a wi-fi hotspot with chairs and desks. And so that is where I am now, writing this, figuring out my next move.

In all honesty, despite the fact that it’s 2pm, I might just hop on the train and head back into the airport. What else do I have to do? I can grab some comped food, maybe finally start the Musk book that has been dead weight in my backpack and just relax until my flight.

To be continued…

4:40pm SITREP: after traveling back to the airport I went through security and then hunted around for a place to eat. Eventually, after walking all over the international terminal I settled on a place and got a shitty sandwich and a shitty milkshake.

Literally as I sat down to eat there was an announcement that my filght had been delayed again and now it wasn’t/isn’t set to depart until 9:45pm! I am never getting out of here. I guess I’ll just have to transfer to work at the Sydney Tesla Showroom, which I wouldn’t be opposed to.

8:06pm SITREP: made friends with an Aussie named Scott who is on my same flight. Chatted with him and added photos to all my blog posts; one less thing to do when I get back home plus it was a good way to pass the time. I also used my second meal voucher to get anther sandwich and a drink.

Eventually it was about a half an hour before we were set to board. I had a third meal voucher that I wasn’t going to waste so Scott and I went in search of food. We eventually split the voucher getting one muffin each. The muffins didn’t take up the entire $15 so he grabbed a water. A short while later we boarded. To my very pleasant surprise, not only did I have a window seat, like I requested, but I had the entire row to myself. This was a really good consolation prize.

Taking off on runway 34L, we flew right next to downtown Sydney. Sitting on the starboard side of the plane, I was able to get one final view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House before heading out over North Sydney and then banking out over the ocean.

Once there was nothing left to see and we had leveled off, dinner was served. Shortly after that, I filled another craving. Being that I recalled seeing it on the IFE on the way there and that I had taken pictures of some of the locations from it, I knew what I had to watch. I went into the “Classics” section of the movie selection and clicked on The Matrix.

The Matrix is one of my favorite movies and since I hadn’t seen it in a few years, it felt sort of new again. Plus it was cool to see all of these locations on film that I had just visited in person. The movie ended around 1 or 1:30am and once it was finished I lied across all three seats, used two pillows and a blanket and got 8 hours of sleep.

When I woke up, I was left with an 8 hour flight, which, compared to 16 hours is a cake walk. Upon getting up I watched the movie Focus. It was actually really good. Then between going to the bathroom a few times, tracking the flight on the touch screen, looking out the window as we flew into daylight (and later back into night), watching a few episodes of Entourage and Silicon Valley, and eating breakfast, the flight was over and we were landing in Dallas.

When we got off the plane all of us who had a connecting flight and had missed it were given a packet containing our new flight information and a hotel booking. There was also a shuttle provided to take us to said hotel. After waiting on my bus for what seemed like an hour, we finally got to the hotel and I checked in.

Sidenote: along the way we passed Six Flags Over Texas which I had been to in 2006 on a cross country road trip with my cousin and my uncle. The last time I was there was 10 years ago!

It was around midnight Dallas time but for me, still on Sydney time, it felt like 1pm. So, after getting a recommendation from the front desk, I took an Uber into Fort Worth. I found an open bar in Sundance Square and had a couple of beers. I chatted with this one woman Rebecca who, liked my shirt and wanted me to give it to her and who, unprompted gave me her number.

I then chatted with the woman, Courtney, who was sitting next to me. After a solid conversation about Texas and “yankee” stereotypes, it was 2am and the bar was closed. I grabbed an Uber back and along the way, had my driver Harrison (who was super cool) stop at Waffle House so I could pee.

Upon arriving at the hotel I conked out for a couple of hours before getting up at 4:45am to take a 5am shuttle to the airport. However, when I got to the lobby I was informed there would no longer be a shuttle coming so me and two other guys split an Uber to the airport.

Fast forward to getting by bag checked, finishing my muffin, going through security and taking a picture of the Gas Monkey Bar and Grill at the terminal before calling my Mum to give her an update and, shortly after, boarding my final plane. Unlike my original flight, which was set to be on a bigger 757, we were on a 737 with no IFE.

That’s false, there were drop down TV’s from the ceiling but they were playing The Angry Birds Movie, and who wants to see that. I listened to three podcasts and had the little biscuit and juice before essentially sleep/napping the rest of the flight home. It was a full flight and this time I was stuck between between two dudes in the middle seat.

Despite being a relatively short flight, the lack of entertainment and lack of comfort made it seem like it took forever. Eventually we landed in Boston where I collected my bag, took the shuttle to the Blue Line, took the Blue Line to the Orange Line, got off at Sullivan and then walked home.

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Australia – Day 8: Sydney

Tuesday – September 13th

I slept in a little before heading down to the downstairs café for breakfast. I tried Vegemite on my toast and didn’t like it. I then made my way down to the Sydney Tower Eye. I had booked a 9:30am entry to the observation deck because when you book online you save ~$10.

img_4820Hyde Park as see from the Sydney Tower Eye

I walked right in and after sitting through a 4D movie that I didn’t realize was included in my ticket, boarded the “lift” to the top floor. I looked around for a bit but I was underwhelmed by the views there. Unfortunately there were no real good views of the Harbour Bridge or the Opera House.

One cool thing was that I was able to see all the way to the airport. They had mounted metal binoculars which allowed me to clearly watch a Qantas 747 take off. The other thing I was able to see clearly was Hyde Park but that wasn’t very interesting.

img_4827Customs House

After hanging around up top for a bit more than half an hour, I went back down and made my way out to the Opera House so I could finally take a tour. Along the way I stopped at the Customs House which had a cool miniature/scale model of Sydney under the glass floor.

Eventually, I made my way to the Opera House to take the 11:30am tour. It was pretty expensive but I thought it was worth it. There were a couple of short videos that told the story of how the Opera House was built which I really enjoyed. The tour also gave us access to the playhouse and the opera house which we wouldn’t have been able to see without buying a ticket to a show.

img_4830Cruise ship docked at Circular Quay

Ironically, the tour made me really regret not seeing a show at the Opera House while I was there. The two things I had going against me was the fact that a) I didn’t want to pay to see one and b) none of the shows they were playing were shows I wanted to see. That being said, who knows the next time I’ll be here and even a “bad” show would have been good. Besides, most of my evenings were uneventful so this would have given me something to do. Oh well.

After my tour I made my way through the Royal Botanic Gardens. I tried to stop in and check out the Government House, but it was closed. I continued to meander through the gardens and to the Calyx. There was an exhibit on about chocolate and I thought there might be free chocolate there, but there wasn’t.

img_4842Inside the main arch which houses the Opera/Concert Hall

I then made my way out of the gardens and to the Art Gallery of New South Whales. My feet were super tired but I soldiered on anyway. There was a lot of interesting work there and I really enjoyed the contemporary pieces. However, due to how tired my feet were, and the fact I had a few more things to hit and not a lot of time to do them in, I moved on.

One of the things I had found out about in a book I looked through at the Sydney Eye was the Aquatic Centre. To my surprise, while walking form the Art Gallery of New South Whales to the Australia Museum, I literally tripped on the Aquatic Centre; it was below the sidewalk I was on. I went down to investigate and found out that a day pass would have cost $7, which, though  not bad, I didn’t have time for, plus I didn’t a have my bathing suit with me, so, I moved on.

img_4862Royal Botanic Gardens – Sydney

After a short detour to a nearby Ducati dealership that caught my eye, I made my way into the Australia Museum. However, I didn’t realize that a) you had to pay and b) that it was mostly artifacts and things I didn’t care about. So, I bailed and headed to the Queen Victoria Building.

I had seen a bit of the QVB on the free walking tour and had stopped in briefly to get my doughnut but I hadn’t walked through it end to end. So I did that and got a couple of good interior shots before heading out the other side and stopping into the Apple store to steal some their internet.

img_4869Interior of the Queen Victoria Building

After looking up what I needed to look up, I headed over to my final destination, O Bar. The bar wasn’t set to open until 5pm and it was only 4:45pm so I waited in the lobby and rested my feet. Eventually I grabbed the elevator to the 48th floor and was given a seat right near the window. Luckily, if I didn’t like my view, it didn’t matter because it was constantly changing.

Basically the building that the bar is in is round and the place where you sit is on the outer ring which slowly revolves around the center. I grabbed a beer and a burger and took in the sights as the evening crept in and it got darker. As I was drinking, I overheard the table next to me talking about Tesla, and since I was wearing my corporate jacket, I had to chime in.

img_4881Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House as seen from the O Bar

I got up and chatted with them for a bit, being an ambassador to the company for a bit. Eventually I went back to my seat and got a few pics of the Habour Bridge and the Opera House. A while later my Tesla friends waved me over and a I chatted with them a bit longer until they had to go.

Sidenote: my waitress didn’t seem to have an accent so I asked her name and where she was from. She told me her name was Brittany and that she was from New York and living in Australia for the past 4 years. It didn’t hurt that she was very attractive.

I then walked back to the hostel. Shortly after getting to my room, two new dormmates from the UK showed up. We chatted for a bit and they seemed really cool. It’s a shame tonight is my last night because I think it would have been fun to sight see with them.

img_4882Me and my new Japanese friend

I then made my way down to the first floor to write this post. While writing, I was sitting across from a Japanese school group. One of the girls mentioned that she wanted to marry a non Japanese boy. I jokingly raised my had and told her I was available. This led to her asking how old I was and what I did for work. She even came over and took a picture with me. I wrote down my email and told her to write to me.

I also chatted with a guy named Jos from Holland whom was also attacked by the Japanese girls. Of course I’m meeting all of these people and and making all of these “friends” on my last night here. Oh well, it makes for a good send off and a good story.

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Australia – Day 7: Sydney

Monday – September 12th

I woke up early due to my dorm mate being loud while getting ready for work. It ended up being for the best as I was set to go to Bondi Beach and I knew it was going to be a longish train/bus ride. I started with a bit of a clusterfuck, wandering around to find a place that I knew wasn’t open yet. Then, once I gave up and walked to Central station, I spent several minutes running around in circles looking for the right platform for my train. Eventually I found it, and from there it was smooth sailing.

I took the train to Bondi Junction where I switched to the 389 Bus to Bondi Beach. Despite the fact that it was in the low to mid 60s I was in my bathing suit, a t-shirt and my Tesla corporate jacket. I hadn’t yet gotten breakfast and I was quite hungry so I stopped at a place called Depot.

I ordered a mocha coffee as I had the day before and the “big breakfast.” As it’s name described, it was big; toast, eggs, avocado, spinach, tomato, ham and bacon. While eating, a non-accent couple sat next to me. I asked if they were American and sure enough, they were from New York. They were transplants temporarily living in Sydney. They told me I had picked a good local spot to eat. Honestly, it was the closest spot to where the bus dropped off.

img_4783Bondi Beach

After filling my tank and paying, I cross the street and down the hill/stairs to the beach. I changed out of my sneakers and into my sandals. I then made my way onto the beach. I walked along the shore and let the water run over my feet. Not only was it not warm outside, but the water was cold too. Eventually I got used to it but the initial shock was a lot. My initial plan was to try and learn surfing but in this weather, that wasn’t gonna happen.

Soon my flip flops were becoming uncomfortable and weighing me down either by the waves or by sinking into the sand, so I took them off and carried them. Barefoot was definitely the way to go. As I go used to the water temperature I let it splash higher and higher, almost up to my waist.

Eventually, I got to the other side where I left my backpack, sandals, jacket and t-shirt on a rock and waded in a bit. I bent over to get my hair wet. I purposely hadn’t showered and so the ocean was my shower. Shortly after, I walked back to the other side, appreciating the women in bikini’s as I did. I cleaned off my feet and found a bench to (I realize this is lame) sit and post an Instagram.

While on it, I found out that my friends Nick and Liz, who I knew were set to get married this month, had gotten married. I posted a congratulatory message before heading to to restroom briefly and then to the bus. On the way back to Bondi Junction, the breakfast and coffee caught up to me. Luckily, the stop right before my stop was at a mall around the corner. I got off there and ran to the bathroom.

My body isn’t used to that much food in the morning and the coffee certainly didn’t help. I used the opportunity to change into my pants and sneakers. I then walked to Bondi Junction and hopped the train to Town Hall. There I got off and made my way down George St to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

img_4788Inside the Strand Arcade

Along the way I stopped into the Strand Arcade, a sight I’d been meaning to check off my list since day one. Additionally, I passed the downtown Tesla store and since I was in my corp jacket, was compelled to stop in again. I saw Hardeep and, to my surprise Adele (who apparently splits her time between both stores) and chatted for a bit before continuing on to the MCA.

Thanks to my early start time, I arrived at the museum at 11:30am, still super early in the day. I took my time going through each of the exhibits. Not only was it a very interesting museum, but I knew I had the time to spare. Eventually I left and headed out to the Museum of Sydney. Unfortunately it was one of the few museums you had to pay to enter, so I skipped it.

img_4794This might look like a regular bicycle, but look closer, it’s actually a sculpture with three bikes combined; photo taken at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Instead I looked up the locations of some the places they shot The Matrix. I was able to find a few of the key exteriors. I then found the building which houses the O Bar so I would know where to go tomorrow night. After that I gave into a craving I had been fighting since the day previous, Doughnut Time.

When I saw it in Melbourne I was unaware it was a chain. I knew I was sort of near one so I headed to the QVB and found their underground (literally, it’s below street level) location. Once it was my turn to order, I was faced with a terrible dilemma. do I go with the Oreo one, which is what I had my heart set on, the Kit-Kat one or the Ferrero Rocher one. The woman behind the counter told me that the one I’d been originally looking at had a creme filling. That sold it for me.

img_4804One of the buildings used as an exterior for the movie The Matrix

I took my doughnut to nearby Town Hall square and ate half of it on a bench before packing the other half up and taking it back to the hostel.

To be continued…

I went back to the room and decided to try taking a dip in the pool. However, when I got up there the pool was not as heated as I expected it to be. So after getting a little higher than knee deep, I turned back and went down to my room again.

There I changed back to my regular clothes and headed out to The Local Taphouse, a bar I had researched before leaving. Since it was so early (~6pm), and a Monday night, it was pretty dead. I ordered a burger and, since I was trying to conserve money, just got a water.

img_4811The Local Taphouse

I slowly made my way through my burger before heading back to my hostel. I only stopped into the lobby to see if there were any activities planned for that night. Seeing that there were none, I made my way out to Darling Harbour. My plan was to check out a night club called Home, but it was too early in the evening so they weren’t open yet.

I ended up just awkwardly climbing the same rope mountain thing I had climbed the day previous before heading back to the hostel. Along the way I grabbed a couple of drinks at the local mini-mart. I think after that I just updated photos to some of the previous blogs posts before going to bed.

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Australia – Day 6: Sydney

Sunday – September 11th

After getting showered and dressed, the first thing I did was to head to the bus stop so I could go to Deus Ex Machina. I’ve known about Deus for a long time but have never been to one of their locations. The cool thing about this particular location is that along with a large retain location, they have an attached bar/cafe. It was a great way to not only get breakfast but also, after I was done, check out the store.

img_4676Eating breakfast at Deus Ex Machina

The design of the cafe was very cool, modern and sleek. I got poached eggs on sour dough bread with bacon. I also did something I never do… I ordered coffee. However, I cheated, I got a mocha so that doesn’t really count. Everything was delicious and by the time I was done, the retail store was open.

I was a man on a mission. I had made a small list of things I wanted to buy, so I began my hunt. After looking around for a while, unsuccessfully, I eventually asked for help. The guy I dealt with, Henry (Harry?) was very helpful. He wasn’t able to find either of the shirts I was looking for, but he was able to find the pin I wanted. I ended up leaving with a pin, a sticker pack and a coffee table book.

img_4681The shop side of Deus

After that I left, taking a few exterior shots of the store before I did so. I then hopped on the bus back to my hostel so I could drop off my bag of new stuff and grab my jacket. Fun fact, I’m pretty sure the bus driver that took me to Deus was the same one that brought me back.

After getting reorganized, and a stupid Opal card confusion which led to me topping up for no reason, I hopped on the train and took it to Wynyard. From there I made my way out to Darling Harbour and eventually to the Wild Life Sydney Zoo and the Sea Life Aquarium. The “2-pack” pass I bought was pretty expensive even when converted back to USD.

I did the zoo first and immediately remembered why I hate them. Not only was this one crappy but they’re overall fairly boring and filled with families, specifically small children which is super annoying. The only real reason I wanted to go was to see some indigenous animals, which I did, but I was not worth the price I payed.

img_4718Found Nemo

I kept the aquarium for second because I thought it would be the better of the two. As it turned out, it was about the same. One funny thing was that there was this one tank everyone was crowded around because there was a “Dory” fish in that tank.

I crowded too and eventually got my picture, only to find that the next tank over was literally filled with them. I thought that was funny. I also liked the fact that, regardless of whether they spoke english or not, they knew the name Dory and only referred to it as Dory.

After I finished at the aquarium, I made my way past the Home nightclub, before cutting through Tumbalong Park. My plan was to go into the nearby Chinese Garden of Friendship. However, when I saw it was $6 to get in I was like eff that, and made my way back out to the harbour.

img_4744Looking out on Darling Harbour

Along the way I did a ropes course at the park and climbed to the top of the rope tower. It was mean for kids but it looked super high and not just for kids. Plus I was like, who cares, might as well do it. Once finished I made my way out to Darling Island (which is not an actual island), along the way passing the International Convention Centre Sydney (which was currently playing host to OZ Comic Con) and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Sidenote: I really liked the Darling Harbour area.

My plan was to stop by Google’s Sydney headquarters but I was unable to find it. After walking all the way out to Darling Island and walking all the way back, plus all the walking I had done before that, my  feet were super tired. I decided to call it a half day and headed back to the hostel to regroup and rest my feet.

Along the way I stopped into Krispy Kreme and got one of their Reese’s donuts. It was pretty good, maybe not what I paid good, but hit the spot. So now I’m in the hostel writing this and gearing up for the rest of my evening.

To be continued…

After chilling for a bit I made my way into the city again. The first thing I did was to stop under the bridge where Neo gets into the car with Trinity in The Matrix. If I have time, I hope to see a few more sights from the movie while I’m in town.

img_4766Imagine this tunnel in the pouring rain with a 1960s Lincoln Continental in it; boom, you’ve a scene right out of The Matrix

After that I made my way towards a bar called Grandma’s. However, upon arriving at the address, I’m pretty sure I was either at the wrong place or that it doesn’t exist or something. Cut to a montage of me walking around the same few streets figuring out what my next move should be.

I considered moving up the timetable on my visit to the O Bar. However, upon going to the Sydney Tower Eye, I found out that this was not the location of the O Bar and that it is in fact located at a different building. Continue montage of me walking around aimlessly. Eventually I headed back to a pub that was still open (I hate Sundays) but before I went in, I checked the Deus website.

img_4771Cool neon back at Deus

After a phone call confirmed that they were still open, I made up my mind to venture back out to Deus. I caught the bus no problem; it’s a super easy ride, and got off to find it was still open. I grabbed a chicken sandwich, which was delicious and cost exactly one dollar less than the amount of money I had in my wallet. Luckily tipping isn’t a thing in Australia.

Sidenote: The guy sitting next to me didn’t have an accent so I asked if he was American. Turned out he was Canadian (close enough) and was in Australia teaching skiing or something. He was cool.

After finishing my food I took a few more pics of the Bar/Kitchen before waiting for the bus and eventually taking it back here so I could write this and plan out my last couple of days in Sydney.

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Australia – Day 5: Sydney

Saturday – September 10th

After getting showered and writing my blog post for yesterday, as well as planning out a bit more of my day today, I made my way to Town Hall to join the 10:30am I’m Free Walking Tour. On my way out of the train station I grabbed a bit of breakfast at one of the underground food spots.

img_4598Town Hall

After eating outside of Town Hall I met up with the rest of the group and made friends with a fellow American. The tour made it’s way through the city and eventually while at one spot, I noticed something I didn’t expect to see, a Tesla showroom! I asked one of my tour guides where they would be headed next so that I could stop in the showroom and then rejoin the group.

img_4604Tesla Showroom downtown Sydney

I entered the showroom and after a quick walk around, introduced myself to one of the Product Specialists, Hardeep. He was very nice and excited to meet a fellow Product Specialist/visitor to his city. We had a great conversation and after a few pictures of the showroom, I left to rejoin the group.

However, upon going where the tour guide told me they’d be, there was no one to be found. To be honest, this was probably a blessing in disguise because as it is I was stressed about how I was going to get everything into my day after a two and a half our walking tour.

IMG_4613.JPGOn the Ferry from Circular Quay to Milsons Point

So instead, I made my way to Circular Quay and grabbed the ferry to Milsons Point. There I got off and immediately went to Luna Park. Luckily the rides require a wrist band so admission to the park is free. I walked around just to see it and say I’d been there.

I considered riding the Wild Mouse but I found out that the cheapest wristband is $20 for two rides. As it is I had been spending more on food, transportation and admissions than I had anticipated so this was definitely and unnecessary expense.

img_4627Sydney Harbour and Bennelong Point as seen from Milsons Point under the Sydney Harbour Bridge

I then left Luna Park and took a few pics of the Opera House from underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge before heading up the hill which led to the train. On the way up the hill I passed the Olympic Swimming Pool. I don’t know if that was the actual one used for the Sydney Olympics but either way I thought that was cool.

Next I hopped on the train and took it a few stops into North Sydney to St Leonards station. There I walked a bit down the street to the Tesla Showroom. This was the original plan as it was the only Sydney showroom I was aware of. Alex and Adele, the OA and PS I met, told me that the downtown location was only a month old. In any case, we all had a good chat and again I took a few pics before leaving.

I took the train back to Milsons Point station, and, after a half hour of walking around going the wrong way, a local pointed out how to get onto the pedestrian footpath to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Apparently if I had gone right out the station instead of left it would have saved me all my trouble.

Sidenote: along the way to find the entrance to the Sydney Harbour Bridge I passed this really cool car place called Classic Throttle Shop. I never went back to go inside but the collection from what I could see through the glass was incredible.

img_4638Starting my walk southbound on the east side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Regardless of all my trouble, the walk across the bridge was well worth it. The views were incredible and it was just a very fun and interesting way to see/experience the city. After about a half an hour of walking, I made it to the other side.

Cut to a montage of me trying to find my way, doing a lot of walking and eventually ending up at the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel. There I had a half pint and a sandwich while chatting with a really nice older gentleman named Ian. We watched the footie game and talked about Australia and he gave me some suggestions of sites to see.

img_4643The Sydney Opera House as seen from the Sydney Harbour Bridge

After I finished my food, I checked out the nearby Barangaroo Reserve. It is essentially a super modern park on The Rocks and looking out to Darling Harbour. After a relatively brief stroll through the park I made my way to the nearby Sydney Observatory. Unfortunately it was closed so I then headed over to the Shangri-La Hotel.

I when to the Blu Bar on the 36th floor which offered good views of the harbour if you were eating but from the bar there wasn’t much to see. I should have just left but, since I had trekked over, I got an expensive (not by choice) beer which I nursed and didn’t end up finishing.

Afterwards I went back to Circular Quay where I grabbed the train back to Central and headed back to the hostel where I got things organized and wrote this.

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