Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Sometimes, there isn't enough brown in the world

I have a tie you see. It's my lucky brown tie. I don't think I've told the story of the brown tie on the blog but many of you have heard it. You can see it above - look at it! It's magnificent! And don't worry, I centred that knot before I walked out the door. I'm not a philistine.

My lucky brown tie, or LBT, is in my "A-rotation" for ties, which is to say I wear it once a week. I talk about LBT regularly with my colleagues, even when I'm not wearing it. It's fair to say it's a highlight.

See - the week-to-week existence of a desk-bound bureaucrat can be exciting. I don;t know why people only want my travel emails.

Anyways, I wear it when I need the most luck - the day when I have the biggest issue to deal with or the most to do. But I only wear it once a week. Ever.

But this week I'm stuck in a rut. Today I had some very important work to do, so I wore LBT. And it worked a treat. The meeting I had was over in a jiffy - in, out, got what I wanted.

But there's a hitch.

On Monday an urgent matter landed on my desk. Actually it had been on my desk for a while, but it suddenly became extremely urgent. I have a heap of stuff I need to do by Wednesday morning, and I also need to be in the zone for a very important meeting on Wednesday itself.

Really, I need LBT again.

But I am committed to using the luck infused in LBT in a sustainable manner - once a week. I don't want to use it all up. So what to do, what to do?

After doing as much as I could today (i.e. while wearing LBT), I think I have to trust in my own abilities.

F*ck me, that's a scary prospect.

The upshot of this is, with a new promotion comes new responsibility. And with new responsibility comes an inevitable need for more luck to deal adequately with the tasks foisted upon you.

So maybe I'm in the market for another LBT (pish posh - as if there could ever be another!), or other equally lucky item of clothing in order to deal with my added workload and complexities.

Of course, in hindsight I shoulda worn LBT on Monday to avoid this conflict altogether.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Credit where it's due...

OK after lashing out at the Worst Pub In Subiaco (Paddy Maguires) last week, and being roundly criticised by my friends for doing so, I have to admit that I headed back last night.

While some of my mates threatened to "sort me out" if they ever saw me in Paddy's again (with friends like these...), I still popped in there are a nice Japanese meal last night. The same mediocre band was playing but there were a couple of pleasant surprises:

- as soon as I walked in there I saw an old mate who I'd assumed was still in Canada (Walshie - thats actually the second time in a fortnight I've run into a friend I thought was in Canada). He was there with another mate, Ben.

- Ben and Walshie pointed me to the "best performed" girl in the pub, a lass who must've started drinking at lunch time as she was three sheets to the wind, but when she started dancing she had all the moves. Can-can, grinding into her man friend(s), flailing arms ... pretty much everything except Elaine Benes' thumbs and kicking. And what's more, she was a Sarah Palin lookalike. Who woulda thought the Republican VP nominee had such a sense of rhythm?

- While Sarah had literally all of the pub looking at her out of the corner of their collective eye when she hit the dancefloor (and outright pointing and laughing when they realised she wastoo smashed to know/care that others were looking at her), eight blokes wearing green ties (looking like they'd just knocked off from Woolies) night shift rocked in. They were mates of mine from my cricket club, celebrating their win in an Indoor Cricket comp the night before. And they were on the lash alright.

So while only about six of us turned up and expected a relatively quiet night at Paddy's, perhaps punctuated by cringing as the band tried to hit the high notes, it actually ended up being a decent night. Despite not drinking (coz of my tooth) I came away with a hoarse voice, so much was I talking!

So credit where it's due, it seems that Paddy's isn't a completely useless pub.

Turns out it is, in fact, where everybody knows your name.

Then again, it could still be rubbish, and last night was just a reflection on me...

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Moral Authority to Lead

Its been a strange week in Perth, especially for leaders. Colin Barnett, five weeks ago getting ready to retire, is now Premier. Alan Carpenter, who lost the unloseable election, is now out of a job.

Certainly there have been plenty of challengers for leaders.

It was in this atmosphere that I found myself at a UBAS meeting on Friday night. UBAS – University Burger Appreciation Society – was meeting to consider the merits of the Hungry Jacks Quad Stacker burger, a burger with four patties of beef and four slices of cheese. As its founder and president I had the heavy burden of leading the meeting.

If nothing else, leadership is about moral authority. One cannot lead or command respect if one does not set an imperious example.

My authority has been directly threatened in the email banter leading up to the UBAS meeting, with other members mocking my ability to demolish burgers, now that I have lost a bit of weight. Our society has a token "Thin Rep" already (who can still put away burgers), so there is no room in the society for a leader who not only lacks girth but, because he cannot effectively manage a mere 1000-calorie burger, lacks gravitas also.

Add to that, on Thursday I got a horrible toothache (an infected wisdom tooth I've just removed). It made it very painful to chew, and, like most men, if I can't masticate I can't enjoy myself. I knew UBAS would not accept such an excuse though. I was in trouble. In fact, I was a man under siege.

Friday night at Hungry Jacks Subiaco, I walked in and was openly mocked as a Thin Rep. It was like a flashback to a primary school playground, and the taunting was just as cutting. This must be how Brendon Nelson feels.

But, as Keyser Soze said, if you want power all you need is the will to do what the other guy won't. And in his words, it was time to show these men of will what true will really was.

I was second to order. The first was Peebs, who ordered the Aussie Burger with three extra patties he'd been talking about all week. Before his order came through I stepped up to the plate, so to speak.

I ordered a Quad Stacker Burger and an "Aussie Quad" like Peebs, with a large chips and a Diet Coke (coz I'm still watching my weight). Peebs did a double take, but by the time he had sat down I'd already knocked off my "entrée" Quad Stacker.

After demolishing 8 patties in two buns and a not-insignificant amount of beetroot, I followed it up with a "classic Whopper" and a chocolate sundae.

It was supposed to be all over then, but on counting the number of patties consumed by all of us we found ourselves on 97 patties. Emmanuel, another member of the UBAS executive, realized he had not been served one of his burgers and soon corrected that. He and I went halves in his burger, while the other half of the executive, Collo and Chopper, went halves in a double. That made it 100 patties between us (there were about 20 of us).

And so it was that, after entering the restaurant the subject of ridicule, I emerged commanding a quiet reverence at my performance of 9 ½ patties, more than anyone else that night.

I got my respect back, at the expense of my self-respect.

Other things I should mention there are:

- Chop ordered a 5-pattie Whopper. The HJs staff took pictures of it as they put it together

- Emmanuel was good enough to wnder around the store offering bacon to members

- Afterwards we headed to the Worst Pub In Subiaco. I had one and a half drinks and then had to leave as I was feeling sick. I actually had a fever from eating – one too many Hot Beef Injections methinks. But I kept it all down.

- I went home and drank black tea

- The following day I had KFC for lunch

Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Angry Loner

Last Saturday my two future housemates and I signed the lease to our new place in Subiaco. I was stoked and immediately moved pretty much everything I had into the house. Something I didn't realise until later that day was that Nick and Kate weren't going to move in for another week.

In the lead-up to signing the lease I kept asking my future housemates whether there was any furniture they needed for the new house. Being in their own house already, they had everything they needed. So I wasn't about to buy stuff we wouldn't need.

So I moved into my room (rooms, actually - I have a bedroom and study), and by Sunday it was fully set up. But the rest of the house was bare.

Basically this week was my opportunity to live life as an angry loner.

Bereft of most normal possessions (Nick and Kate did leave me a TV, the Loner's Only Friend), I spent most evenings shuffling around an empty house. I would have had breakfast cereal for dinner - like a loser - but I didn't have any bowls.

It wasn't all Unabomber behaviour: I did go for a run when I was there which is a little more healthy. It's still a solitary pastime though.

Friday afternoon the chances of the week in isolation ending in something involving an AK-47 were increased when my boss landed an appeal on my lap. A heap of extra work in a tight timeframe could have been enough to tip me over the edge. But by the time I got it there was noone left in the office to shoot at anyway.

And the week of solitude ended with me getting home from a Friday night sitting on the floor in front of the television, eating pizza and watching re-runs which were punctuated by ads inviting me to text some friendly ladies to receive pictures of them doing stuff.

Thankfully I survived, and Nick and Kate will move in this weekend.