Thursday, December 22, 2005


Starting last week until christmas, my role at work has been to be the 'Week Day Elf'. No not THIS kind of Elf (although that would be wicked!):

but think more of the lines of:

My job is to go around the whole store, wearing a hat with bells and a red apron, talking to customers and trying to help them find what they want. So far when I great a customer (especially from behind) I get two different responses, either:

1. A suprised, joyous look, followed by a friendly comment on my hat, which comes accross as "Wow, isn't that cute... he's got a hat and all"


2. A confused/disgusted look, which comes accross as "What the fuck is THAT! Get away from me you crazy hippy"

Aside from just talking to people, I was given a polaroid camera to take photos of litle kids. Monday I'm walking around and see a little girl (about 4 or 5) in a stroller and she seemed happy to see my hat and apron so I smiled back and said "I have a suprise for you!" and pulled out the camera. As soon as I did that, she started to FREAK OUT! She started screaming and covering her face and turned the other way. Shows how good I am with kids. Here mother wasn't too happy after that...

On another occasion I knocked a prop off the wall (a giant present) and it nearly fell on top of a woman who threatend to sue me.

Thankfully only a couple of more days and I'll get to retire as an elf!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Old Navy Dinner Party

Last saturday I went out for dinner with my fellow Old Navy co-workers. We went to Le Perle Schezuan restaurant for ALL YOU CAN EAT chinese! The food was SO good!
For a few random pics of the night, you can click here

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Hate to say Goodbye...

For the past few years, the improv group I'm active with (McGill Improv) have been a pretty tight group. Unfotunately, 3 more of us are departing - Dan and his cousin Monica, and Dustin. There was a farewell party last night. Fun was had by all:

Best of luck to all of you in the future! It was great knowing you all (yes, even you Dan).

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Now Thats Some Good Quality Improv2O

Last night, I managed to convince my parents to let me have the car and drive downtown.

The reason for my sudden interest to drive downtown was to allow me to attend an Improv show by my buddies Without Annette. Their set was about an hour long and they did a long-form game they call Uno. They start off with an ask for, which is then followed by a spoken monologue by one of the perfomers. Then, several small skits are done whose themes are inspired by the monologue. It was hilarious and I quite enjoyed it. My friend Nadine came as well and at some points almost fell out of her seat laughing. They did two 30 minute sets.

The first one revolved around Gil's monologue about music, spawning skits about a band's direction of music, lost homework, harry potter audio tape recordings and an interview.

The second half revolved around Brian's monologue about stairs, spawning skits of a mother on a date with her baby sitter, two brothers taking advantage of an empty apartment, working out at the gym and a spiral staircase to heaven.

The show was at Theatre St. Catherines and only 6 bucks! As far as I know, they'll be doing it every saturday night at 11pm. I highly recommend you check it out! (Yes, I'm talking to YOU!)

Friday, December 02, 2005

One Way Ticket To Hell And Back!

Ladies and Gentlemen. We've all been waiting for this day to happen and it finally did on Tuesday. The Darkness have released their SECOND album, One Way Ticket To Hell... And Back. It's the follow up to their smash hit Permission to Land which included EVERYBODY'S FAVORITE song I Believe In A Thing Called Love.

Now for those that don't know about th espiritual connection I have with this band, let me entice you with a quick story. When the Darkness first hit the scene, one of my good buddies, Mr. Sam Sewall, fell instantly in love with them. he made it his destiny to preach the name of The Darkness to all of those in need of ROCK in their lives. He then convinced me to join him at their concert in the summer of 2004 when they played in Montreal. The show ROCKED! AFter the show, Sam, myself and my othe good buddy, Glen all purchased concert T-shirts. The very next day I was sporting my new T-shirt. Later that evening I would run into a bunch of drunken Irish chicks, who's curiosity of the how the show went, would spawn our friendship. That friendship led me to learn about SWAP, an organization that brings travellers to Canada as well as send Canadians to other countries. The VERY same organization that I chose to affiliate with in order to go to Australia to embark on the trip that changed my life! So in short I owe all of this to THE DARKNESS! And now they have returned to bring ROCK back to everyone, again!

Unfortunately, the album isn't as good as the first one. Their first single One Way Ticket is nice and catchy but at first listen I felt that the songs were not as rcok'ish as their first album and are rather slow and a couple, bland. However, to celebrate the release of the album, Sam, myself and Sam's buddy, Patrick, were all at Patrick's with our own copy of the album in our hands listening to what the band came up with. It's the reactions that the two guys had to the album that really made me appreciate it more. Sam kept saying stuff like "Oh my god! That's like the BEST drum sound I've ever heard!" So hilarious!

If you like The Darkness, I suggest you pick up this CD but bewares it's different from their old stuff. However, there are some really good songs which include "One Way Ticket", "Is It Just Me?", "Dinner Lady Arms" and the classic rock sounding ballad "Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time"

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bonobo, Love and Mr. Budman

Yesturday, I finally took advantage of the 50$ gift certificate from HMV that I had aquired for winning best costume for halloween at work (can read all about it in my old post). Like any eager person to get new music to listen to, I spent it all on 2 cds, both by the Bonobo, a Dj from Brighton, England. Naming himself after a slow laid back monkey, his just that, laid back, chilled out, electronic music. HMV labelled it as acid-jazz. He's got 2 full lentgh albums out and a b-sides and remixes disc as well. I splurged and bought his Live Sessions and Solid Steel Presents - It Came From The Sea

Bonobo - Live Sessions
Apart from just DJing, he also assembled a live band and was touring around the world playing his music live with real instruments. At first I was skeptical on purchasing this CD since it only contains 4 live songs and of which I have them all on the original albums. However, after listening to it, I was blown away by how different the music sounds when it's not electronic. LIstening to it really felt 'live' and like I was there. Plus, besides the live tracks, it includes a new song off his soon to be released album as well as a remix of another song. Definitely a good buy!

Solid Steel Presents - Bonobo: It Came From The Sea
The label Ninja Tune has been releasing albums from a series called Solid Steel, where they get an artist to compile a mix of songs that they enjoy and are inflenced by, and is usually conected to their style of music. The first half is a lot more upbeat then his actual stuff but still not too bad. I didn't get the same initial 'wow' feeling i got as I did from the Live Sessions CD but the more I listen to it the more I'm enjoying it. Out of the 20 songs, five are his which is a tad of a disappointment but they are slightly remixed which makes it sort of 'new' and it is fun to hear how they slide in nicely with the rest of the album. By track 15, the album starts to really slow down and starts to feel more like a regular Bonobo CD which is most enjoyable. Definitely a keeper if you like Bonobo and Solid Steel.

Also this week in music, I came accross and fell in love with this band from the 60's called Love. I first heard a cover of their biggest hit Alone Again Or by Calexico and before I can even figure out it was indeed a cover, I heard it a second time while watching the film Bottle Rockets, starring Luke and Owen Wilson. Upon watching the credits I discovered Love were the true owners to the song and quickly proceeded to download their album Forever Changes. They were apperently realy popular in the 60's in LA but due to a lot of problems (drugs, touring, racial status, etc.) they never made it big and that's why no one has ever heard of them. Crisitcs, however, rave that this album is amazing and have given it 5 out of 5 or 10 out of 10 ratings. I listened to it and enjoyed it right away. They are labelled as Psychadellic Folk Rock and I find they sound like The Doors meet Jimi Hendrix with some Rolling Stones in there. If you like classic rock, check out this album!

Finally, in other news, I have been playing around with Photoshop and have entered a few 'contests' on None of my entries have done well. Usually I get about 3 or 4 votes when the good ones get anywhere from 40 to 90. This last time, however, I got 26! Check it out HERE. My alias is Mr. Budman, original, I know.

Happy Birthday Girls!

This is a special Birthday-Shout-Out post to my friends Nadine, Tiffany and Rachel. Suprisingly enough, they all met at McGill in chemistry and ALL have the exact same birthday, November 25th, and are all 25. Freaky! Well HAPPY 25th GIRLS!

Rachel, who is now studying in Australia, had returned to Canada but was hailing in Toronto. Tiff and Nadine, however, were in Montreal and on Thursday and Friday decided to PART-EY!

Click HERE for all the fun you missed!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hard at Work

So today I found out that it doesn't always pay to do everything properly. I had the simple task to put away a few pairs of pants. Unfortunately, there was no more room on the racks so I had to put them in upstock [storage]. While I was making room in storage for the pants, I got a bit carried away and ended up doing a bunch of other jobs that needed to get done EVENTUALLY but by taking up all my attention, other work was being delayed. In the end, it took me two and a half hours to make everything nice and neat while anyone else would have just shoved all the clothes in a ball and make a bigger mess. Anyways, from now on when I'm told to put something away, my goal will be to have it put away with the MEANS of how I do it coming secondary, haha.

In other news, I'm going to be attending school again, as of January ninth. After several weeks (months rather) I have decided to bite the bullet and enrolled at College Interdec in their Graphic Design program. The school alone costs 15000$. This means that I'm going to need a loan and will be paying it back for possibly 5 to 10 years. I may need to sell a kidney... anyone need one? It'll only cost 16000$ (come on, a profit would be nice)

Music of the week: Garden State - The Official Soundtrack
I've downloaded a lot of music this past week and totally recomend the Garden State soundtrack. It's a great compilation of nice relaxing music. Mostly chilled out rock with accoustic guitars. Highlights include Coldplay, The Shins and the Thievy Corporation (the only electronic track on the album). Great music for relaxing about the house or when walking around the city (gives the feeling like you're in your own movie)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Halloween 2005

In celebration of Halloween, this year I went to the McGill Chemistry Halloween party followed by my friend Andrew's house party. Both were fun with people dressed up in great costumes. Click HERE to see photos!

Included, as well, are a few photos from work (Old Navy) as to which I dressed up as a Man on Vacation in Hawwaii for wearing my Doctor Octopus costume would have been too difficult (however, I returned to work on Halloween itself with my Doc Ock costume and had a photo taken and was entered in the contest for best costume). Also, the pic of the two girls and a guy, one girl dressed as an old person and the other as a sailor are supposed to be Old and Navy!

In related news, I went to work today and found out I had won the contest for best costume. I was under the impression the prize was a 50$ gift certificate to Old Navy. It was, in fact, a 50$ certificate to HMV. Sweet!

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Making Of The Costume: Doctor Octopus

For the past 3 years, I have put a lot of time and effort to make a kick-ass costume for halloween. Here's a quick recap of my costumes of the past:

Halloween 2002 - The Incredible Hulk

Haloween 2003 - Egon from the Ghostbuster

Haloween 2004 - Optimus Prime

This year, I decided to design a costume that was a little more challenging. And chalenging it was! I decided to dress up as Doctor Octopus (for those who live under a rock he's the villain from Spider Man 2 the movie - as well as all the spiderman comics). Every year, people ask me how I make my costumes. This time I decided to show you:

The materials I started with were a trnch coat I bought at village de valeur, a 16 foot plastic vaccuum tube I bought at reno depot, some cardboard boxes, metal rods and, of course, duct tape.

To attach the arms to a carboard base, I made 4 connectors out of cardboard and duct tape.

I then cut slits in the cardboard base, pushed through the ends of each connector and then taped the whole thing really well. I then attached the base to a girdle my dad used to use for his sore back, which was perfect for it had it's own flexible straps which didn't make my shoulders sore. This is the finished base:

I made four identical hands by just cutting slits in cardboard and folding it.

I cut the plastic tubing into 4 equal lengths and put them through each connector. I also attache de ametal rod to each arm to keep the curved shape, thus preventing them from just flopping around. Then I wrapped each earm in duct tape for that silver effect.

The arms were WAY to long and needed to be cut.

Before adding on the hands, I cut slits in the trench coat and rand the arms through.

I used coat hangers to keep the arms up to avoid them from snapping off the base... well as keeping them close to each other.

Last, I added the hands and wrapped them up in tape to look cool!

The Final Thing!:

In the Navy

I havn't been able to update my blog in a while for I have been busy working! I've only worked at Old Navy for 5 days now but have done so many things. On my first shift, which started at 6am, I spent 2 hours crushing boxes. After my destructiveness I was put on the floor to greet customers. On my second day I got my own name tag. By my third day I was already being trained on the cash. I'd have to say the coolest thing about the job is we get walkie talkie head sets. It makes us feel like cops:

Manager - "There's a man in Men's looking for jeans!"
Me - "Okay! I'm on it!"
Manager - "What's your 20???"
Me - "I'm in Women's!"
Manager - "There's no time! I'm sending Costa!"

All in all, it's a not a bad job. I work between 25 and 30 hours a week. We get two 15 mnute breaks and one 1 hour break for every 8 hour shift we do. The other staff seem like cool people and a few of the chicks are even hotties (and 17...). It's really close to my house (15 minute bus ride) and I finish at 3pm! Maybe I should skip the idea of going back to school and make this job a career!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ode to Mama

Just a quick rant to say that I have the coolest mother in the world. I just came home from a crazy weekend downtown (will put up a post about it later on this week) since I didnt' come home last night, and I find in my bathroom a note saying "Josh - put your clock back an hour". How THOUGHTFUL is that? You rock Mom!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Get A Haircut and Get A Real Job

After sitting at home on my ass for almost 6 weeks now (except when I'd veture downtown for Improv workshop) I've decided to go out there and find a job. I was hoping to find something fun and exciting. I went looking around the mall near my house and after a few days found somethign for me. I decided to join the Navy. No, not that navy, Old Navy the clothing store. I originally was being concidered for working in their back, sorting clothes but the after having an interview with the general manager, she told me my "skills would be wasted" and I'd be useful on the floor serving customers as well. I start sometime next week. Should be fun.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Older and Wiser or Older and Dumber?

On tuesday I had, probably, the worst Improv experience I've ever had (except that one time I performed and only realized halfway through that I was naked...). We played this game called the Alphabet game where you have two performers and they take turns saying a line, with the letter of each line following the alphabet. Well, apperently I no longer KNOW the alphabet. I skipped a letter, twice... I got laughs though, but not for being funny but for being STUPID.

I most likely just need more practice from not performing for about a year but I just don't want people to start saying "Oh no! Josh is performing again..." and by people I mean other performers (haha). In any case, I think I'm going to sit on the side lines for the next few shoes before I build up my game again!

On the other hand, yesturday was Yom Kippur. This year I didnt' find it that bad. I stopped eating and it felt like the time passed really fast. Every year it feels like my dad drags me to synogogue to pray but this year he was sick the first night and I went myself without being forced. That really made me feel like I've grown up as a person.

Here's some of the music I've ben listening to this week:

The New Pornographer - Twin Cinema - Newest disc from the Canadian supergroup. Great independant happy rock. Highly recommend it.

Thievery Corporation - The Cosmic Game - I've heard a few of their stuff before but this albumis amazing! For great chillout beats with a rastafarian undertone, check out this album. Apperently one of their best. Includes a song with the Flaming Lips.
U.N.K.L.E. - Never Never Land - I've actually had this for a long time but never really listened to it. It's from the late 90's I believe but really cool. It's a dark electronic disc with heavy rock stuff. Hard to explain but if you want your mind to float away and get lost, this is the disc for you.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Smack Dab in the Middle of the Jewish Holidays

For someone who isn't going to school or working, I've been keeping really busy.
Monday I did my brother a favor and went over to his house to help clean his windows. It took me all day but I did a pretty damn good job!

Monday night marked the beginning of Rosh Hashannah, so I rushed home in time to get ready for dinner. My parents and I were invited to my mom's best friend's daughter's house for dinner. I got to see friends of the family that I hadn't seen in a while and the food was SO GOOD!

Tuesday, the first day of the holiday, was spent all morning in synogogue. I then walked back to my house with my brother (since we're not supposed to drive on the high holidays) for a huge lunch my mom made. My uncle and my brother's wife was over as well so it was a nice little family get together. After lunch, I walked with my brother to Centennial Park in D.D.O for Tashlich which is the tradition of throwing your sins away for the new year and it's represented by throwing actual pieces of bread into a body of water. So I'm now sin free!

I walked over to my brother's since it was close by to the lake we were at and ended up getting invited over to his in-laws for dinner. More food! Aren't the holidays great?

Since I was so exhausted from eating and resting all day, I slept in on Wednesday and showed up to synogogue late, but was still there praying for at least a couple of hours. After synogogue had lunch again at home and this time my cousin and her husband and little daughter came over. They moved onto my street while i was away in OZ so it was really convinient for them.

At night I finally got to hang out with a really old friend of mine, Mike Tritt. First time I'd sieen him since I came back. We actually had a great talk about education and where we're headed with our schooling. He brought out a lot of important points when deciding what you'd like to do for the rest of your life. I really think I'm going to love Graphic Design, I just need to find a school.

That being said, thursday was a very productive day. I went downtown to meet with someone from The International Academy of Technology and Design. They are a trade school that offers a 12 month graphic design program plus a 2 month internship. Sounds really good except it's 17000$. I also got a call from Hertzing and found out info about their program which is 10000$. Anyone want to help support a young Jew trying to live his dream of becoming a (the best) Graphic Designer ever? Please e-mail your money to the Budman Fund. Haha. I may need to start standing on the street with a sign begging for money. On the bright side I've found some other schools to look into. Plus I finally got my hands on Photoshop and Illustrator and started messing around with the programs. Anyone got simple logos or posters they need done?

Thursday night ended at my brother's house. HIm, his wife and I watched the Family Guy's new DVD about Stewie. HILARIOUS! If you like that cartoon you will LOVE this movie. Well as a whole, the story isn't that exciting but there are just so many random jokes that just make up for it.

Today, since the weather is CRAP, I spent in my room playing with Illustrator and reading simple tutorials. My mom also helped me bake some cookies for a pot luck I"m going to tomorrow. I was supposed to go out but plans got cancelled so I ended up staying home and playing much needed guitar for over an hour. Afterwards I watched Sahara. What a CRAPPY movie. It's fun and has lots of action but the plot is all over the place and there are so many ridiculous unrealistic situations that occur. For example, Steve Zahn is in a gun fight with someone at the desert while Mathew Mconneway is getting beaten up by a really big bad guy nearby. Steve runs out of bullets and his most logical plan to attack the guy shooting at him is to RUN STRAIGHT FOR HIM! He doesn't get shot and then the guy gets distracted and out of nowhee Steve appears, punches him and get his gun. That's hollywood for ya!

Since I've been home I've been picking up new music (or music new to me). This week I've aquired the new Our Lady Peace album and it's actually not that bad. I really enjoy their new single Where Are You. The rest of the album is OK but if you're an OLP fan you'll most likely like this album. I also picked up the new Audioslave disc, Out of Exile. Now that rocks! It's a great follow up to their first one. Since I had Chris Cornell in my head, I also got Soundgardens greatest hits. I forgot how many good songs they had. I also have on my computer Athlete adn Metric. I havn't really listened to Metric ut I got it for th epurpose of seeing them live which never happened so I never bothered listening that much to it but they pretty good. Athlete, I first heard, when I was in Australia. They for the whole pop-rock british scene. Not too bad. Wires is a great song by them. Finally I have the best of Placebo. There's a bvand I hadn;t heard from in a while! Someone I met in OZ had it and I listened to it and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Wow, this has been the first full fledged weekend i've had since I"ve been back in Montreal. Also, today marks exactly ONE year since I left to Australia. I left on Oct. 3rd but it was this same sunday. Brings back memories...

Things kicked off on Friday at 4pm, which was the start of the 2nd annual Chemistry undergraduate/Graduate Pub Crawl. The whole thing cost 15$. This included a wicked T-shirt:

Now you may be wondering why the print on the front is upside down. I wondered the same until I put it on. The text was actually the club crawl itinerary and while wearing it, to find out our next stop, all I had to do was look down. Genius!

Speaking of stops, we traversed most of downtown, starting with Gerts at McGill, followed by a "Mystery" stop which was ACTUALLY a mystery since the organizers never came up wiht a place for that time slot, so we all headed over to Foufoun Electriques. Afterwards was one of my favorite bars, St. Sulpice. This was followed by the Lodge but I had left with my friend Dave to see another friend, Sam, at Bar Des Pins. Once I was done there, I headed over to our final spot, Cafe Campus. Unfortunately they were being retarded and we had to wait an hour to get inso it was back to the Lodge, which in fact was okay with me since I wasn't there earlier. Once there, I danced the night away. The whole experience was fantastic since I got to see a lot fo familiar faces in the grad students and met a lot of new (and some hot) undergraduates. By 2am, I headed over to Melanie and Aya's place, where they let KINDLY let me crash on their couch. For picks on the crawl, click here

Saturday morning I woke up feeling suprisingly great. The couch I slept on was REALLY comfotable and I had no hang over (In Australia, I'd wake up still drunk, so I'm starting to believe the alcohol there IS stronger - crazy Aussies). I had a big day ahead of me, starting with improv. It felt SO GREAT being at a workshop again with all my friends that truley make me laugh. There were even a few new faces which made me happy to see new people interested in laughing and having a great time playing games and just acting silly. This weeks workshop was led by Brian and all the games had to do with description and context in a scene. After improv was our weekly lunch run to the food court underneath Paramount Cinemas where I had a delicious huge portion of shanghai noodles. I waited a whole year to have those again!

After lunch I played a game of ultimate frisbee with some of the improv people. Another thing I hadn't done since I left. I wanted to play while I was in Australia and even found a place where they had a pickup game every week but it was too hard to fit in my work schedule.

At dinner time I met up with my dad and ate at a really good italian restaurant called Da Giovanis. Their specialty is spaghetti. I was so full form my lunch that all I had was a salad. We had to rush our food for at 8pm we tickets for It's a Kind of Magic! - a Queen cover band show. I wasn't really into going but ended up going and once the lights went off and the music started I got right into it. It was actualy AWESOME! They pretended to be the actual band. The guy as Freddie Mercury looked, dressed and acted like the real one. The guy as Brian May wore this crazy 70's looking outfit like the one the real one wears in the Bohemian Rhapsody video. The drummer wore this crazy wig and sun glasses. The only guy who looked like he wanted to shoot himself because he had to play the same songs over and over for the past year was the bassist but it didn't really take away from teh show. They played all of Queens hits like Fat Bottomed Girls, Radio Ga Ga, Killer Queen, One Vision, Save Me, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, Bicycle Race, etc. For their encore, the singer says 'Tell you what! Since we love you guys SO much we're going to play ANYTHING you ask to RIGHT NOW'. Everyone starts screaming and then he says 'Ok, here' Bohemian Rhapsody'. It was GIVEN they were going to PLAY thgat song and since they didn't already, I dont understand why he even asked for a sugestion, haha. At the end, they came out for a bow and the singer had a crown and giant cape like the real Freddie Mercury would do and announced their real names. Turns out they were all AUSTRALIAN! It was fun hanging out with my dad; don't get to do that often.

Today, I got woken up to my brother Lorne standing in my room. He was there asking me to go apple picking with him. Next thing I know, I 'm in his car heading down past St. Eustach to all the apple orchards. We went picking for over an hour. The weather was great today. We picked a whole box full of apples. On the way home, we even stopped for ice cream. Then I we made a stop at Reno Depot where my brother needed something for his house. It was the perfect opportunity to buy the supplies I needed for my halloween costume (yes I already thought up a costume).

The weekend was great but tonight I did absolutely nothing! I really need to get my act together and find a job or something. Well thankfully this week is Rosh Hashannah so it buys me a few more days, haha.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Shitty Weather

Todaym the weather sucks! It's cold, windy and rainy outside. Makes me totally miss the weather in Australia, especially Cairns, where it was warm all the time. Well on the bright side, I hope to spend all today working on my photo album. As of this morning, I finally finished copying all the photos from the CDs (I have 12 CDs of photos). Minus all the pictures that didn't come out, I took a total of 3696 photos and have placed them in 118 folders. Don't worry, a lot of them are duplicates of the same thing, and I'm hoping to choose the BEST photos for my album. That should narrow it down to at least 1000 pics. That may seem a lot but it'll take about 10 minutes to look through them all at a slow pace, probably 5 minutes at a faster pace.
The next step I have planned is to take the selected photos and label each one properly and set up a photo CD that can be viewed on a DVD player. Once I'm done that, I'm hoping to make a more in depth slide show for the computer. It' sa good thing I'm not going to school or working right now...

Speaking of schools I started to look into a dew of them. I havn't contacted any yet but I've researched the websites for Dawson, Cinac and Inter-Dec. Each offer slightly different programs for different prices and the duration of each program is varied. I spoke to someone who recommended I contact McGill and find out if they have a career or conceling service with resources to look into other schools. I e-mailed them and I'm waiting for a response.

As for what I've been up to, Monday I went to another McGill Drawing Society workshop. I met a girl there from Australia so that was a lot of fun talking to her. Then when the workshop started, this time the model was an older guy. Yes, he was naked. No it didn't turn me on. I tried using different kinds of pencils this time and mostly stuck with 2H and 2B. They gave a nice contrast to each other and helped me to shading. I'm still not that good but some of the pictures were not that bad.

Tuesday I went downtown for an Improv show. The show was at Gerts. THERE ARE FREE SHOWS EVERY TUESDAY AT GERTS LOCATED IN THE BASMENT OF THE SHATNER/SSMU BUILDING ON MCTAVISH! COME! BRING YOUR FRIENDS! BRING YOUR ENEMIES! I actually got to perform. I felt a little rusty but the show was pretty good although the only audience we had were people involved with McGill Improv. I can't wait until Saturday foir an actual workshop. I want to get back into improv and really try to improv my technique. I feel less stressed since I"ve been away and I'm hoping i can incoporate that into my acting.

Besides that, tomorrow (Friday) I'm going to be participating in the McGill Chemistry Pub Crawl. I happen to be at the right palce at the right time and ended up buying a T-shirt for the crawl. 15$ and we go to 5 different bars! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone that I still know who are studying chem (most are grad students).

Also, I went to SUS (Science Undergraduate Society) and spoke to Marta, an old friend, who is now the president. I asked if I could be the official poster guy to help design stuff and build a portfolio for potential schools and she said they needed a guy and they liked my asking price (free...). That being said, someone I know gave me links to free open source versions of the programs I'll need ot get my graphic design career started so I can't wait to download them and start playing away!

Things are looking up for the Budman!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What a long week...

Just as I started to feel settled in, things just went off the wall. Monday, I was informed that my uncle, all of a sudden, got sick and was sent to the hospital. My mom and the rest of us were worried, but our worries came to an abrupt end when, sadly, on Tuesday, he passed away. My uncle was only 73, although he had bad hips all his life and was recently confined to a wheelchair. I hadn't seen him since before I left for Australia, and was never that close since he lived in Toronto with his family, but nonetheless, I was sadenned by his loss.

It was oubvious that we would all go to the funeral in Toronto, the only problem being that our bathrooms were being renovated. My mom was worried to leave the contractors alone in the house so orginally she had asked me to stay home. I was upset because I wanted to go and pay my respect like everyone else. Thankfully, we got a cousin of ours to stay at our house for a few day.

Wednesday morning, I got up early and took a shower in preparation to leave for Toronto. As I come out of the shower, I start drying my hair and then I hear 'clink'. I look down and see my eyebrow piercing lying on the floor. The end that kept it in place was nowhere to be seen and most likely was washed down the shower drain. I wanted to put it back in but knew it wouldn't stay without the end. Normally I would have rushed to a piercing studio but since we were on our way to Toronto, I just didn't have the time. My mom never liked it to begin with and since she was mournign, I figured I'd save the trouble of arguing with her and just accept that it's gone. I told my mom I guess it was meant to happen since I had it on my eyebrow for 8 months and I never had a problem of it coming off. in any case, although I thought the ring made me look cool, I KNOW I'm cool with or with out it (haha!).

Wednesday afternoon we got to Toronto. Since we were 4 people (my brother and my parents and I), there was not enough room for all of us at one of the places we were offered to stay at (on a side note EVERY hotel in Toronto was full for some film festival), I ended up at my brother Mark's wit his wife, Connie and their baby Charles, and the rest of us were at my aunt and uncles.

The whole week was full of mixed reactions. On one hand everyone was sad that my uncle passed away, but on the other hand I never saw my nephew before, and my mom felt much better when she got to hold him and see him as well. Also, almost all the family that was there at the funeral and the shiva house (the place appointed for the mourners to mourns and have people com eby to give their condolences) are family I hardly see since they all live in Toronto. In fact the last time I saw most of them was right before I went to Australia for my other uncle's funeral (unfortunately before I went to OZ, my mom's brother passed away and just now my mom's other brother passed away - she only had 2 brothers, no sisters).

So for the past few days, we spent most of our time at my cousins house, either praying, eating or just talking about whatever to others.

The last two nights when the tension was easing, I went to see two movies, Flightplan and Corpse Bride. Corpse Bride is quite fun and I enjoyed it although it's short (about 1 hour, 20 min). DO NOT SEE FLIGHTPLAN! REPEAT DO NOT SEE FLIGHTPLAN! Three quarters of the movie is about Jodie Foster looking for her duaghter on the plane. Then everyone convinces her she's crazy and she starts to belive she may have made up the fact her daughter was alive (since her husband had died and she was travelling to the states from berlin in the first place to bring his body over in a coffin). Then, she realizes she's NOT crazy and spends the rest of the filming STILL looking for her daughter. Did I mention the WHOLE movie takes place on a plane?!?! Finally RIGHT near the end the plot twist emerges, she saves the day and all is well in Narnia!

Anyways, I'm home now. It was a crazy week since I had planned to go to Toronto at a later time and I was still getting used to the fact of being in Montreal as opposed to Australia. Now I'm tring to get back into things again. This week I hope to start and finish my photo album! Also, I want to start looking for schools. Anyone know any good schools in MOntreal for Graphic Design??? (or somethign similar?)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Getting Started

Last night I went to a life model drawing workshop at McGill. I'm not even a student anymore but I went to this workshop. Three guys and 12 chicks. It cost 6$, all th esupplies included. We all sat around the center where a model stood in various poses. When I showed up, the model was sitting down and fully dressed. Then I bend down for a second and as I look up I see she's stark naked and her ass is facing me. Anyways, the workshop was fun. The model, probably in her 30's, started with 5 minute poses, then moved to 10 minute poses and finally 15 min poses. My stuff came out ok. I wish I could post it on here but I don't have easy access to a scanner.

In the meantime, I thought I'd start with posting some pictures of the various street art I did while I lived in Melbourne. It' snothing crazy, and I wish I would have had time to do more but, I had fun doing them none-the-less.

So here goes:

I decided to start simple and drew the letters B U D. I hadn't yet come up with an idea on how to outline the letters in black (it was a law that I needed to use materials that washed away and there was no black colored chalk in the bucket), so it is kind of hard to see.

For my second try I thought I'd do something most people would recognize. Charlie Brown and Snoopy seemed like a good choice. The only problem was, again since i had no black, I used brown as the outline color, so I ended up changing all the colors. Charlie Brown's skin had to be yellow (closest I had to skin color), so then his yellow shirt became purple and his brown pants, green. I guess it came out more RETRO.

For my third try, I went back to grafitti. I had planned to draw while my friend Nils would play guitar but it never happened. Anyways, I came up with a crazy and wacky font for the word MELBOURNE. I actually made some money off this one but before I could count it, my hat got stolen by some bum. It didn't slow me down, though, and I finished the whole thing. Here I used washable black poster paint as a means for outlining the letters. It really made a difference.

After having my favorite hat with money in it stolen from me while I was distracted drawing, I decided to move to a less busier area. So I switeched frmo the busy street of Swanston to the Southbank walkway along the St. Kilda River. There were less people but the surface was actually a bit better to spread the chalk, making the drawing stand out more.

My first drawing at this location was BARTMAN! I thought I'd do something everyone would recognize and a few people actually appreciated it. A lot of 15 year old high school girls hit on me because it was "SO COOL!!" (Don't tell my mom...)

For the final picture I had time to do while i lived in Melbourne, I thought I'd go crazy. I had orginally copied this picture on paper in my sketch book (it's not an original, I found the picture on the net). I liked it so much, I thought I'd produce it on the pavement. It took me about 9 hours over 2 days (3 the first, 6 the second). I was really happy with it although my proportions were a tad off. Passerby-people really liked it because I made 9$! That money went to great use. Being a tuesday, I spend 5$ on a movie and then 4$ on a pint of Guiness at kareoke night at an irish pub.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Settling In

I've now been home since tuesday and so much has happened already. It feels like it's all going by so fast and feels weird, like a dream I can't wake up from. Could probably be from the jet lag and the feeling of disorientation from being away for so long. You'd think not that much would change but so many little things have! Things look different, stores have opened/closed/moved, etc. Friends have broken up, gotten together with other friends, are now single, are now getting married or ARE married. My house has even evolved but thankfully my mom left the renovations of our bathrooms until after my return so atleast the house is pretty much the same as I remembered it.

Wednesday morning i woke up at 6am and weas wide awake. I made myself breakfast, first time in that house that I ever cooked eggs! I spent the whole day watching movies and unpacking my bags, doing laundry, etc. My brother Lorne came by and we went bike riding through the local woods. It felt good since I hadn't been there for years (ever since I was a kid) and I got to catch up with him.

That night I had my first meal with my parents in over 11 months. Oh how much I missed home cooked food.

Thursday morning I got up felling a bit better but still pretty tired. Went for breaky with my mom to our usual hangout, Chez Cora. The owner, Tony, was happy to see me and had been asking about me everytime my mom went here to eat.

After breakfast it was time to announce my return. I hadn't put it up on my blog because I didn't feel like making such a big deal about me being back so I just wanted to suprise everyone instead. I headed down to my old stomping grounds, McGill, accompagnied by my blue guitar. I was hoping to crash 3:30pm tea time and since I got there so early, I jammed on a bench on campus for about an hour. It helped me relax and then I headed over to the pulp and paper building. There, I got to see Dr. Gray, my old supervisor, and a bunch of people from him lab group whom I used to work with, including Emily. Tiff, a good friend, wasn't there so I was disappointed until Emily told me that Tiff and some others were supposed to go skating in the indoor rink (for thosae who are not Canadian, no it's not THAT cold all year round that we can go skating outdoors in september). That was perfect and i rushed down to the rink. I was wearing a baseball cap and had a hood on hopping i wouldn't be spotted. I wanted to wait until All my friends were on the ice and then get some skates and join them. As I checked the rink to see if I recognized anyone, my friend Patricia was walking towards me and when I realized she was looking right at me I pulled a 180 and bolted the other way. I stayed hidden for about 30 minutes and then when I saw her and Tiff on the ice it was time to make my move. I rented a pairof skates and hopped on the ice behind them. They were talking to each other and my plan was to pinch Tiff's butt and skate off but when I tried to grab her, I almost fell and in the mist of trying ot keep my balance, the girls looked up and were excited to see it was me. We hung out for a bit and it was fun.

once skating was over, I headed over to the Shatner building in time for activities night. McGill Improv had a table and I wanted to see eveyone. Most of the old gang was there and they were also excited to see that I had returned. I got to hang out withthem for a while and it was fun. I even signed up for a club even though I don't go to that school anymore. I hope to attend a live model drawing workshop on mondays to help practice my drawing. After activities night ended, Ken, Chris, Maryam and myself headed over to Wendy's for ice cream. Adrienne showed up and we all chatted for a while. When I got home i was exhausted and the day felt so jam packed and long.

Friday I returned to McGill for a more proper tea time and got to see all the people I missed on thursday including Sam. It was great to see that guy again and he just loved my long bushy hair. His seems to be getting pretty wild as well. I also got to see Norm. He was hapy to see me and we chatted for a coupe of hours. he was laughing at my stories so much he was on the ground in the middle of the hallway gasping for air.

After seeing everyone at McGill I headed over to my good friend Nadine's. It was SO good to see her again. We chatted for a bit and then found out that she used to play guitar and had one there! I got to play it and jammed with her for a while while she sang to some tunes. It was SO much fun!

Saturday morning I got up early because I promised my dad I'd go to Synogogue with him. My bar mitzvah anniversary was coming up and I didn't want to insult my dad by skipping out, so I went with him which I rarely do. The rabbi even welcomed me back in front of the whole congregation, so that was really cool. There was even a guest speaker there representing Jews for Judiasm, a group formed to counter missionaries such as Jews for Jesus which are targetting Jews to change religions. His speech was quite interesting, saying that those groups are usually fundamentalist protastans that have donned themselves as mesianic jews where they take the jewish faith and change certain symbolisms to represent Jesus. He said they have passover ceders that our warm and full of food and music and are so welcomed, good enough to pull anyone in. But then when they explain the purpose of the items on the table (which is the whole point of holiday, retelling of the story), they changed some meaning such as the breaking of the matzah represents the death of Jesus and when you put the half back in the matzah bag, it's his brial. Then later when the other half s found it's his second coming. The holes in the matzah represnt the holes made in him to crucify him, etc., totally changing everything to make it more christian. THAT"S CRAZY! Funny thing was there was a Jews for Jesus group in Melbourne and i was given a flyer a few times.

After synogogue I went to CAA and got my new drivers liscence. No longer amd I a probationary driver! I then drove home but found out afterwards by my mom that I was not covered by insurance yet. Oops...

That afternoon I went with my mom and my Aunt Ellen to see the Constant Gardner with Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes. It's a good movie but WARNING: it's EXTREMELY SLOW!And it feels even slower when you're still coming off of jet lag. During the last 20 minutes i had to struggle so hard to keep my eyes open. I finally fell asleep at the last minute intime for mom and aunt to get up and see me fast asleep.

The movie was just the beginnign of a crazy day. My aunt was kind enough to drive me downtown where I was meeting up with Norm and others I knew for a SUMS (math club) reunion. I wasn't even IN math but I became friends with all those guys so it was god to see them all again. We ate chinese and it was delish. I even met Norm's girlfriend who is a wrestler. WAY TO GO NORM! Her arms are so big, I feel pain just looking at them.

After dinner, I went over to Nads house and we headed together to a party at Andrew and Adrienne's. The party rocked because i got to see everyone else from Improv who I didn't get to see at activities night. I was really glad to see that Nadine was having a good time even though she didn't really know anyone. I stayed out until 2am and then I cabbed home.

So a lot of people have been asking me now that I'm home, what is the plan? Well, thankfully I have come up with one while I was away. After 11 months of thinking, I have decided I do not enjoy science as a profession and would rather do arts. I have decided I'd like to go back to school and study graphic design. I need to look into a few schools and start applying for either Jan 06 or Sept 06. I dont' want to go to a university but rather either a tech school that has some sort of intensive 1 or 2 year program, or try to get into the 3 year program at Dawson. In the meantime I need to start drawing again and build up a portfolio since most schools want to make sure you are artistic in some sort of way. That drawing workshop is a start and I hope to get copies of certain programs and start playing around with them. I still want to keep this blog going and since I won't have as many exciting things to discuss as wehn I was travelling I'm hoping to use it as a means to post my art, and criticism will definitely be welcomed. Once I figure out when I'll go to school, then I'll look for some sort of job to help me save some money for school.

It's going to be a few days still until I start the ball rolling since I'm still settling in and have a bunch of small things to get out of the way. One not so big thing is my photo album. I still havn't had a chance to even look at my photos. I have about 19 CDs with probably 2000 pictures. Once I set up some sort of slide show, I promise to host some sort of photo night, so those in Montreal, keep posted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Voyage Home

It's finally happened. I'm home. I couldn't write about my trip home on the plane so here is what I wrote in my journal on my last day in Australia:

It's my last day in AUSTRALIA! I got up pretty early in the morning, gathered all my stuff and headed for the front desk. Craig was working so it was good to say a final goodbye since this time i"m not going back to Footprints (well not for a long time). I really enjoyed it there with the staff, people, rooms, toga parties and of course the halloween boat cruise (my costume ROCKED!).

The bus was waiting outside and as I exited, I looked back at Footprints for one last time. Got in the shuttle bus and headed to the airport. About one hour later, I was checking my bags and heading to security. I had a couple of hours to wait for the plane and took the sudafed i needed for my ears and hoped they wouldn't be problem for the really long flight to come since they bothered me so much from the flight from Alice.

As I sat and waited, I reflected on what everyone has been asking me these past few days: "Are you ready to go home? Excited? Afraid?". The answer to all those questions is yes. I loved it out there in Australia. It was definitely a life changing experience but the way of living can't go on forever. I was afraid to go home and see that everything was different and changed but on the other hand hoping for a change since I didn't want to go back to the same thing as when I left.

For the past few months all I thought about was home. Then as the time to go home was nearing, all I thought about was the stuff i did in Australia. Now that I was in the airport, I couldn't think of anything. I felt brain dead, like my brain is turned off.

If I have changed in anyway, I think it's that I have become more relaxed. jess from IEP pointed out that I seemed a hell of alot more relaxed when I saw her on wednesday then when she kne wme back from back in October to January. I believe her since I havn't had a headache in over 9 months (except from hangovers which doesn't count. And about hangovers, I think I'm losing my immunity, since before I would never wake up with hangovers, and now I wake up still drunk, haha).

While I was still waiting for the plane, I got an extremely suprising call form my buddy Blair. I thought I wasn't going to get a chance to saw a final goodbye but we chatted for a few munites and really had a heart to heart until he said "Dude I really need to go to the toilet so I';m going ot have ot say goodbye", haha.

Finally got called for the plane. Once I was on the plane and heard the french welcome message it really started ot hit me that i was coming home. For once I got lucky and actually had an aisle seat! Plus the plane was so empty, no one was siting in my row, so I was able to lie accross three seats to sleep.

Once we took off i was a little worried about my ears but they turned out fine for the ascent. Then I put on the headset and the first thing I hear is "C is for Cookie
by the Cookie Monster, haha. Then the movie started and it was The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy which was quite funny and I recommend it. Afterwards was Mr. and Mrs. Smith which I always wanted to see and I forced myself to stay awake to watch it even though I was exhausted.

For the plane I had bought a Ralph Magazine which is basically an Aussie version of Maxime and on the cover was Jessica Alba. Coincidently when I started reading it I had the sudden urge to hit the toilet. I was happy I got a chance to listen to all my music. I was listening to Grinspoon and realized they are like the equivalent to Moinst or Our Lady Peace in Australia although their music is slightly different, more rocky and less poppy. I got into Grinspoon back when I lived in Cairns and my roomate left it out open in the living room.

I finally fell asleep but only for about 20 minutes. It was only 6pm OZ time but the sudafed pills for my ears are supposed to make you restless. I then listened to more new music which included the new White Stripes album and the John Butler Trio. The latter group is very cool. They sound like a cross between Big Wreck and Jack Johnson. Very rootsy blues.

Dinner was fettuchini, bread, fruit and chocolate. Not too bad for a plane. We then landed in Honolulu at 11:30pm (7:30pm OZ time). WhenI passed through security, they made us take our shoes off... weird. I had to wait around for about an hour and a half before heading back up in the air. While I was waiting I got friendly with a couple in their 40s from Halifx who was in Australia for just a month and they loved it (as they should have!).

At 1:02am we get back on the plane and the captain announces "some of you may have noticed that the left engine was being taken apart. Don't worry, one of the monitors that checks the oil levels was erronous and all is now fixed". I had no idea the wing was even tampered with and wished the pilot had kept his mouth shut! The captain also announced the flight was to be 5 and a half hours. Breakfast was then served (pancakes).

Five and a half hours later we landed in Vancouver. Along the way we encountered an electrical spcae/time dust storm which threw us back in the past, or at least it felt like we did, since I left Sydney on September 13th at 10am and landed in Vancouver on September 13 at 9:50am. Time travel DOES exist!

I found out that when I had called way back July to change my plane ticket, the woman told me i"d be on one flight from vancouver but the tickts in my hand were for a different flight. Therefore, instead leaving at 11 something I had to stay until 3pm. I had to go get my luggage and the re-check it in for the other plane but I ended uphaving ot wait about 40 minutes for my guitar to show up since it was stored as FRAGILE.

At 3pm, boarded my lst flight of the day, THANK GOD! Once in the air, I still couldn't really sleep, been restless for hours. The movie they showed was the Longest Yard with Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds. It was actually a pretty decsent movie, I quite enjoyed it. Then we experienced about 30 minutes of turbulence just as I REALLY had to get up from my seat to go to the toilet so I had to hold it in for AGES!

We reached montreal at 10pm. THE HOLIDAY IS OVER! I was really confused on what to expect now that I'm back. I went through customs and security, got to the luggage depot and my parents, brother and sister in law rush up to me. Apperently they crossed the security line and had to go back, so they ended up watching me for about 20 minutes waiting for my bags before they could actually talk to me. My suster in law draw a poster of a kangaroo with my head sticking out of the pouch and the words "WELCOME HOME CROCODILE BUDD!!!" and "AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE! OY OY OY!". It was so great I put it up on my wall in my room.

On the ride home, I was asked so many questions already and already my mom was nagging me so I told her we'd have to discuss the new terms and conditions now that I've returned home.

That night, once i got home, threw all my stuff on the ground, showed my parents I could play guitar and passed out in my bed. I slept under a giant flag of Australia that I bought right before leaving OZ.

It's good to be home.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sydney - The FINAL Days

I arrived in Sydney on Thursday. The flight was quite fun since I took the plane with Saturno, from the Wayward Bus tour I did from Darwin to Alice. There is aonly one plane that flies to Sydney per day so it wasn't that huge a coincidence we were on the same flight. I got to watch Monster-in-law which wasn't too bad for a Jennifer Lopez movie, it was quite watchable. After the movie we made it to Sydney, the whole flight being about two and a half hours. My ears went pretty haywire coming down and ended up being blocked for almost 4 days, but they're better now.

After landing, Saturno and I headed over to Footprints. I stayed there twice before and now it's been renovated (a.k.a painted) but none-the-less looks a lot cleaner and newer. I got to see crazy Craig who works there and remembered me from "my awesome costume on halloween" as he puts it.

Immediately after checking in, Saturno followed me around as I went to Jordons and Cohi Bar to say hi to everyone. I got to see George and even Roy one last time so that was great.

The following day, I spent the whole day with Saturno since it was his last day before going back home to Italy. We spent most the day shopping at Pady's market for souvenirs and stuff.

I then went to IEP to say hi to everyone and it was great.

My night went from a quiet one with Saturno to a pretty crazy night. I went out with Saturno for a beer at Side Bar but once there I bumped into Craig. He was really drunk and introduced me to his friend Jack. Jack was in charge of this pub craewl and invited me to join them to the last bar of the night. Being one who can't say no to randomness, next thing you know it, I'm on a bus full of hot German, Swedish and Dutch girls on the way to World Bar in Kings Cross. I ended up meeting three jewish grils from New York who Craig new and we hung out most of the night. Tons of fun, those girls were crazy party animals. In fact, so crazy I ditched them to go to sleep when it became 2am.

Next morning said goodbye to Saturno and went over to Jenny and Micheal's place. I expected a short visit and some dinner before saying my goodbye's. I was totally wrong, instead I ended up an hour and half away at Lily's (Jenny's sister) cottage and spent the night listening to them talk russian and watched Rugby League Football which is actually quite entertaining, more so than football (or grid iron as they call it here) since they don't even use paddings or helmets.

After sleeping over in Morriset, We took a drive to Toronto! There I got to see my brother Mark and Connie and Charles and.... No not THAT Toronto. Seriously though, the next comunity over was known as Toronto. The sisters went shopping and we drove all the way back to Bondi beach for a BBQ lunch at Natasha's, Jenny's duaghter. The WHOLE family was there and I got to say my final goodbyes to everyone so it was quite sad.

I returned to Footprints and then ended up going back to Jordans to see more people and say goodbye. I ended up at Cohi having a few beers bought by some old coworkers and met a german and Canadian girl. We all ended up at three wise monkeys and I was up until 3 am but it was a fun final party night in Sydney.

Today I've just been doing errands and trying ot keep my head clear. I went to IEP and said even more goodbyes. The whole time in Sydney has basically been sad with goodbyes! But i am anxious to go home, so those of you at home: I will be SUPER happy to see you ALL! At IEP it was great because I got to see Evan, Laura and Jess and foudn out that Joanna (the big boss) was really preagnant and even though Tim quit, he happened to be there for a visit so that was convinient and I got to see him one last time. He's moving to Canada so I may get to see him sometime in teh fututre.
The rest of the day I spent buying music. I really wanted some Australian stuff. I bought:
Xavier Rudd - To Let
Cat Empire
John Butler Trio
Midnight Oil
and at the 10$ shop, Jack Johnson and the new White Stripes disc.

Right now I'm listening to Xavier Rudd which is very much like Jack Johnson and really helpng me relax.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Alice Springs Day 2

After an amazing trip with outback I returned to Alice Springs. We finished the trip up with a free meal at Melankas which was the hostel I was staying in so that was convenient. All in all it was a good night. I got to hangout with everyone from the trip and we had a pretty good time together but all planned to meet one last time the following day. So I called it a night and took it easy most the day. Did a whole bunch of errands and ended up meeting up with everyone at Bogangles, this bar very close to my hostel. Now if I thought i had fun at Melankas, that was NOTHING. Bogangles was a REALLY fun bar with a lot of locals as well as backpackers. We danced all night long! The really cool thing about the bar was they had a web cam and an address which I sent to my friends Rachel and Glen. So, all the way in Halifax, Glen got to see me bust a move on the dace florr, 8am at his job. It was great texting him and finding out he actually saw me on his computer. I ended up staying up pretty late and then called it a night.

Tomorrow I fly out to Sydney, which means the trip is coming to an end!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Red Center Day 4

Got up SUPER early but for a great reason. Angus wanted to try and reach Kata Tuta for sunrise. This time, however, rather than seeing them from a distance we walked right into them. As we marched between the giant rocks we saw two kangaroos up ahead. Being so dark, all I saw were silhouettes but it was awesome. We moved on and got to see the sun rise change the color of the rocks just like they did at Uluru but this time we were completely surrounded and the color just got so bright. After sunrise, we did this huge walk through Kata Tjuta called the Valley of the Winds.

Once we were done with Kata Tjuta, we went back to camp to pack up and finish off all the food from the trip for lunch. We then hit the road back towards Alice Springs. The long drive was fun since we got to listen to funny music and stuff. Over the whole trip we listened to funny stuff including an 'all aussie' Cd of joke songs and Australian bands. Angus also had the soundtrack to Team America which we listened to the title track ("Team America - Fuck Yeah") which became the soundtrack of the trip so it was fun to listen to it one more time.

We stopped at mt. Ebinezer again and then a new spot, Stuarts Well where we got to talk to a guy who is starting up a baby kangaroo rescue center. He had with him 2 baby kangaroos and was feeding one beer, so it was hilarious and cute.

Also in the car, filled out a sdurvey and Angus asked us to draw a picture describign our trip and the best one gets a free beer tonight at the pub. I drew a funny picture and he liked mine the best.

Got into Alice Springs and then after a quick shower ate dinner with everyoe at Melankas and partied hard.

All in all was such a GREAT trip by far my favorite one!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Red Center Day 3

Dressing for the ice age paid off, for it got chilly at night and I felt warm the whole time and slept great.

We got up super early to go catch the sunrise at Uluru. On the way, angus was pumping the radio with Midnight Oil. The sunset was something to see but the sunrise was ten times better with the whole rock turning from a dull brown color to a bright red/orange color instantly as the sun was completley up. Incredible.

We then drove closer to the rock and did a 10km walk around the rock. Some chose to climb the rock instead. There is a very hard path to climb up the path if one choses so but the Aboriginals ask that you don't climb the rock since they believe parts of it are sacred. When I asked Angus why they just don't close the path off he said the two reasons are: 1. The aboriginals don't want to force you not to climb it, they just are afraid of your well being since people have hurt themselves and died trying to climb up, as well as people may not want to learn the cultural aspect if they can't come and climb it. 2. The organization that runs the national park threatened to sue the Aboriginals if they close it off. Originally the park was Aboriginal land and finally several years ago the Australians gave it back to them as long as they are allowed to lease it from the aboriginals for 99 years. That number was totally pulled out of someones ass but hopefully by then , they wil have full control of their own land.

As I walked around the rock, I was talking to the two french girls from Lyon who were both on vacation fro working as nurses back home. The best thing was I got ot practice my french sicne they didn;t understand a lot when Angus explained things. After the walk we drove to the Aboriginal Center where they expalained a lot of the culture and stories linked with the rock. I even bought a sticker that said 'I didn't climb Uluru'.

Went back to camp for hamburger lunch and then a swim in the public pool since it was getting hot.

We headed back to the rock and did a part of the base walk we missed earlier that was filled with all the stuff that the Aboriginal stories are related to. All sorts of things with the rock have a story to it and the aboriginals use these stories as lessons. Angus gave us a tour and told us a bunch of these stories. The french girls were totally lost so I kept translating as best I could to help them out and thanked me gratefuly. Angus told us that the name Kangaroo came from the fact that when Captain Cook came to Australia and saw the animals, he went up to an Aboriginal man and asked "What are those animals called?" assumig everyone knew english, to which the Aboriginal man replied "Kan ga roo" which means "I don't understand".

Also, Angus told us how the rock was formed scientifically. Way back in the past, South America and Africa were pushing towards each other with Australia in the middle, this caused a line of mountains to form in the middle of the continent. Over time the mountains eroded and turns into dust particles which got compacted into the ground. Later on in time, Australia moved north and this caused a whole bunch of mountain ranges to form horizontally and in the process, cracked the underground rock which uprooted to give us Uluru. The smae thing happend to form Kata Tjuta but they were more like splinters so their axis are at 12 degree while Uluru is at 90. The Aboriginal story for the creation is that two chirldren were making a mud pie and it kept getting bigger and bigger, so big the were on top of it and to get down, they had to slide down on their stomaches andwhile reaching out, their fingers caused these vertical lines (which are actually caused by water coming off the sides when it rains.

For sunset went to an area nick named the cattle grid to watch the sunset at Kata Tjuta. Not as impressive as the sunset at Uluru but still amazing.

Dinner was a HUGE BBQ meal cooked parially by yours truley. We ate sausages, marinated steaks, potaotes and onions, and fried rice. Didn't get a chance to play guitar since getting up at 4:45am tomorrow!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Red Center Day 2

Got woken up at 6am by "Welcome to the Jungle" by GnR. Angus told me he did that for me since i brought up the song the day before.

We left camp and headed over to Kings Canyon where we did a walk along the top edge of the canyon. To get up there we walked up a hill also knowna s Heart Attack Hill. Along the walk, we hit a part where the rocks formed a V shape we had to go through. This V shape apperently is important since it is where the three drag queens in the movie Priscila Queen of the Desert (starring Guy Pierce) pass through. We also passed through a part with water that was a bit inside the canyon and is known as the Garden of Eden. As we continued around the canyon, Angus stopped us to talk about several plants that we located up there.

We drove to a spot to have lunch which was just cold meat sandwiches and pasta salad. After lunch we did two more hours of driving until we stopped for photos of this really kool looking moutain called Mt. Conner. Int eh opposite direction of Mt. Conner was a giant salt lake that looked very foamy from our lookout. more driving brought us to Curtain Springs which is a cattle station the same size as Northern Ireland!

With one more hour of driving, we finally made it to Yulara, which was our camp site we stayed at that was not too far from all the sites in the area, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Angus joked that if you lok at Kata Tjuta, it looks a lot like Homer Simpson lying on his back and that Matt Groening was out here doing sketches and that's how he came up with homer, haha. That's as true as much as I am obese.

After setting up camp we drove down to Uluru to watch the sunset from the official sunset viewing spot. For those who don't know, Uluru is the LARGEST rock in the world at 348 meters above the ground (with more under ground) and has a circumference of 10 Km. As the sun set, the rock just started to change colors whch was really cool.

Back at camp, we ate chicken stir fry with potatoes, all of it cooked on the barbecue. I also got to play more guitar and then got ready for bed. I decided since I had bought this winter jacket and have been shleping it around have the country it was about time i used it and didnt' care if I looked like I was dressed for another ice storm with the jacket and my beanie (touque).

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Red Center Day 1

After my last post, I walked out onto the street just in time to watch this crazy parade going on for some music festival hapening during ht enext few days. There were lotsof crazy costumes and drumming music and all sorts of visual stuff. Tres Cool. Afterwards, I went back to the hostel and ate dinner with 2 Israelis I met, Liat and Yuval. After dinner we all walked over to the music festival and Saturno joined us. We ended up watching the last act called the Super Railene Brothers. I t was quite and interesting pair of guys playing folk music with one playing a violina nd the other a guitar and a stomp drum. Everyone there just went wild and started dancing. I liked it since all the songs were about Alice Springs and Australia.

Now to the juisy stuff:
This morning I got to sleep in since the bus ony came to pick us up at 11:30am. The tour guide was Angus and right away I could tell he was going to be a cool guy.

Our first stop was a very important stop at, wait for it... LIQUORLAND! Every loaded up on booze for the trip since its cheaper in Alice then out in the outback. We then made our way to the airport to pick up two more passengers.

Our first official stop was in Erldunda where I bought my first sticker for this trip. Once we were on the road again, while looking out the window, instead of seeing ht ecommon cow, we started seeing wild camels. Yes, there ARE camels in Australia. They were brought over as work horses and some how got loose. Now there are approximately over a million camels in Australia.

The rest of the day was all driving except for a quick stop at Mt. Ebiniezer truck stop and then another stop for firewood.

On the bus, angus made us go on the microphone and introduce ourselves. This group consisted of:
Peter, a tour guise in training
Chris and Kat, two german girls travelling together
Janina, a geran girl who had a terrible sounding cough
Charly, an older (47) german guy
Ben and Yuki, a british and japanese girl traveling together
Darren, an english bloke
Francois and her friend from France
Russell and Katie - a couple form England
Noriko, another japanses girl who happened to go to the same uni as Yuki
3 more japanese whose names I never got (one was named Tucker I think)

Eventually, by the end of the day, we made it to the Kings Canyon Resort where we set up camp. we made a huge camp fire and ate spaghetti with meat sauce and mashed potatoes for dinner. I got to play some guitar by the camp fire and made an effort to try out some new stuff I printed off before the trip.

Drank some wine and then headed for bed which was my sleeping bag inside a swag to help keep out the cold air while asleep.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Alice Springs Day 1

Been walking arond all day in Alice Springs. Met up with Saturno and went to eh very cool and interesting Reptile Center where I saw all kinds of kool things.

Getting booted off the computer but i hope everyone enjoys the last few posts of my journey and keep posted for tomorrow mornign I'm heading to the RED CENTER which consists of Ayers Rock and other great sites.

I'l try to update again when I return or when i"m in Sydney!
Sorry but you'll have to see the photos when I return home!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Darwin to Alice Springs Day 4

AUGH IT'S ALREADY SEPTEMBER! I MISSED OAP AND FROSH! I guess I need to realized i'm not longer a McGill student, haha.

The mornign was freezing. the freaky thing was I slept with my beannie on and when I woke up, I took it off in front of the mirror and noticed I had red dotsd all over my face. I looked like I had just reached puberty. I'm guessing (hoping) it was just some sort of bite but they were not itchy. I was lucky for two girls woke up with swollen eyes from some sort of bite to the eyelid.

After breakfast, stopped for fuel at Wyciffe Well which is apperently the capital of UFO sitings in Australia. The servo (gas station) was painted with grafitti of aliens and UFOs. Inside were paper clippings of all sort of findings and sightings and in the front were alien figures and a space ship.

We then stopped at Ti Tree for a quick break and then crossed the Tropic of Cancer border (which is cool if you think about it) and reached Alice Springs by 11:30am!

I got a little worried because as we were being dropped off at our hostels I asked Nathan about he place i was booked in, Melankas, and he told me the nick name around Alice for it is Skanky's. When I checked in though, it wasn't too bad so I don't understand why it has a bad reputation.

ended up walking around town and within 20 minutes bumped into a few people from the tour. Ended up having lunch with Leena and Gwenda and then chilled at the hostel playing guitar and doing Laundry.

Forgot to mention but I finally got to read the new book I bought while in Cairns. After finishing Scar Tissue, the autobiography of Anthony Keidis, the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I went and bought another fantasy book, the Magician by Raymond E. Feist. I've been meaning to get into it but actually got through a few chapters in the last few days and the book is great! I totally recommend it and i'm only on chapter 9.

For dinner, met up with the others from the tour at Toddy's for an all you can eat dinner.

Turns out Saturno is leaving the exact same day as I to head to Sydney and we're on the same flight! So I got a travel buddy!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Darwin to Alice Springs Day 3

I woke up feeling great after having a much needed good night of sleep. Not much went on during the day since we had a LONG day of just driving.

First stop was at Daly Waters Pub which was that funky pub I was at previously with Desert Venturer. I looked on a map and saw that when I left Cairns, we drove down to Daly Waters and turned right towards Darwin. Now we came back the same way but continued further south passed Daly Waters towards Alice Springs. At the pub, everyone leaves behind some kind of souvenire - money, ID cards, flags, clothing, etc. I left behind one of my Canadian tags with my Name and Montreal QC written next to it. So if you're ever in Daly Water, NT, Australia, as you walk inside the pub, turn right and lok at the wall facing the road. It's located on one of the woden posts, haha. The funny thing was after looking around I recognized to ID cards of two seperate people I met in Melbourne, Nick from England whom I met through IEP, and Stu whom I met from Peter Pans.

We then stopped along the highway at Durmurra, Elliot and finally Renner Springs for lunch. My sticker collection is really growing with at least 18 stickers!

Lunch was sandwiches again and if you guys think I'm a picky eater, you should meet Violaine. This girl was skinney like me but refuses to eat ANY vegetables. If you tell her it's a vegetables she wont' even look at it. She refuses to even eat onions or lettuce. She eats everything plain but will eat potaotes. Plus, I also saw her eating chocolate wrapped in bread! Weird...

After lunch, everything was going smoothely until we pulled over abruptly in the middle of NOWHERE and Nathan says "I need a break, wake me up in 20 minutes and pulls his seat back and his hat down on his head! We all got out of th ebus and lounged around with no one else in site. Finally Nathan woke up and asked us to collect fire wood.

Finally made it to Devil's Marbles which was just a collection of huge brown boulders which looked like a pile of marbles lying around. The story goes that in the past, a man and his cattle stopped in the area and in the morning all the cattle were dead. This happened a second time ot a second man and the name Devil's Marbles was used. Turns out there is a kind of grass that is poisonous to cows and that's why they died. however, it's sacred to the Aboriginals and apperently a few Aboriginal boys were known to disappear from the area and never be found again.
We climbed ot the top and got to watch the sunset which was awesome. One it was over we headed back to the bus where Nathan had made us buritos.

Our campsite was just down the road at Wauchope/ Built another fire, played even more guitar and fell asleep after a couple of beers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Darwin to Alice Springs Day 2

I sleep decently. I actually had this dream I was somewhere (like OAP), just hanging out with my friends from back home. Then it just got all weird and just went downhill from there. See guys! Can't say I don't think about you!

First stop of the day was at Edith Falls for a quick wake up swim. The water was refreshing and got a bit of a workout swimming accross to the waterfall and back.

Stopped in Katherine for groceries and then made or way to Katherine Gorge. At the Gorge, we had a BBQ lunch and then for 20$ went canoeing to the actual gorge. I was pairedup with Saturno and we called ourselves the Italian/Canadian Team. At the gorge we had another swim and headed back to the bus.

We left Katherine Gorge and drove down to Mataranka where I had previously been with the Desert Venturer tour. The thermal pools were so nice to go into at the end of the day. It felt just like a shower.

We camped in Mataranka and had more BBQ food for dinner (what can I say, Aussies love their barbies, as they call it). At the same campsite was another Wayward bus heading North and on it was this Canadian from Toronto, Steph who I had met in Cairns, so that was pretty cool to bump into her in the middle of nowhere.

After dinner, a bunch of us went to the bar where outside was this woman singing with a jukebox of some sort, all sorts of songs. She kept begging everyone to come and dance and i finally broke th eice on her last song which was Rolling Down the River, the CCR version. I was just jumping around and this drunk guy happen to be doing the same. It looked like he wanted to "fake" mosh around so I just started jumping about but it soon turned into a mock boxing match and apperently the guy was pulling swings at me when I hadnt noticed. Good thing he was drunk and was keeping my distance! Apperently it was a funny site because everyone was cracking up.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Darwin to Alice Springs Day 1

Things just kept getting better! I woke up to find that my whole battery charger and 4 batteries were stolen. It was my fault though since the only place to plug them into was in the kitchen. I know I was asking to get it stolen but everyone else was charging their phones and stuff and nothign went missing. I also forgot to get a Darwin sticker! Then, after getting picked up by the Wayward Bus, my bus driver, Nathan, got lost and started freaking out behind the wheel. Once he colmed down, since I was in the front seat, I got to talk to him for a bit and turned out he was a great guy.

We made our way to Litchfield National Park. For some reason, Australians like water and since Kakadu was a lot trees and what not, the nickname is Kakadon't and Litchfieldo. I enjoyed Kakadu a lot, but the locals were right, Litchfield had a lto of beautiful water spots!

Our frist stop was an area with HUGE termite mounds. Got to see two kinds, these flat, almost vertical plane, chaped mounds created by magnetic termites, and ther talled wider mounds created by cathedral termites. Even got to get a picture by a 6 meter high cathedral mound!

Afterwards, we went for a dip at Florence falls, which were absolutely beautiful. This was followed by a 30 minute walk to a small series of pools ina starcase type fashion, known as the Buley Rockhole.

We then had lunch at Wanji Falls, which was just sandwiches. Then we had a final swim in the water and left Litchfield Park.

We stoped quickely at Adelaide River and stopped for the night at Hayes Creek. Dinner was Baramundi fish and chips at the pub.

Started to get to know the new group of people which consisted of Violaine and Pierre, siblings from France, Yonai from Israel, Saturno from Italy, Fiona and Geraldine, 2 sisters from Ireland, Barry from Ireland and a bunch of germans including a 19 year old, Leena, an older woman with grey hair, Helga, two girls from the Dersert Venturer trip, and two others whose names I didn't get.

After dinner got to play pool with Nathan against the driver from teh Wayward Bus tour heading north and one of her passengers. We one the first game but then got killed on the next 2 games, not because they were so good but because we were just playing so crappy!

After lounging at the pub, we made our wayt to the campsite and built a fire. Played AMAZING guitar (hardly any mistakes) but most peopel were asleep or not paying attention. This time we slept just on roll mats in our sleeping bags, once again, under the stars.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Kakadu Unleashed Day 3

The final day of the trip began with an early rise and heading down to Majuk, also known as, Baramundi Gorge. We did a long walk to a great swimming area. It had a few small cliffs to jump off into the water. There was even a whole in the rocks with a pool inside and the only way out was to swim underwater to an opening that led to the rest of the water. i was too afraid to jump down there but I did jump off a 7-8 meter cliff a few times (So there Mark! I DO have a sense of adventure!). Mel, the british girl, wanted to jump off the cliff but got scared and pondered about it the whle hour we were there swimming. She didn't do anything else except look down and almost jump, each time changing her mind. Her boyfriend was even trying to help her but she still wasn't doing it. Finally Clancy walks up and says we're leaving and Mel turns to her boyfriend, Tom and says "We're leaving?!?" and instantly jumped off as not to miss her chance! It was hilarious.

The time had come to do the boat cruise that we missed out on the first day of the trip. Apperently, the boat driver that was injured had done something to upset the Aboriginals and got speared in the leg! He was stable now but the spear was apperently HUGE!

The cruise was awesome. Got to see a few crocodiles and a load of interesting birds including one called a Jesus bird because it has such big feet it could walk on the water (or something). The only thing that sucked was the fact that I was exhausted and kept nodding off during the cruise! It was like being in class all over again.

We left Kakadu and headed back to Darwin. Then things started to go downhill. When I got dropped off at my hostel, I realized I left all my bathroom stuff on the bus and couldn't get it back since I was leaving the next morning for Alice Springs. I had to go by all sorts of stuff (tooth brush, toothpaste, soap, etc.) I then check into my room and when I got my luggage from the storage room, a rat or some animal had eaten it's way through my bag full of dry goods. On top of that, all the food I had left in the fridge before I left had gone bad.

This didn't stop me from having a good attitude and ended up going to The Vic for dinner with people from my group and got to see Rich one last time. Unfortunately I didn't get to say a proper goodbye since i left for a few minutes to burn all my photos on a CD and when I returned he was gone. Also at the dinner, Felice gave me her business card. Turns out she's a professor at UCLA and she told me she wanted to stay in touch so I can tell her what I do with my life since she was so interested in me. Also, there was this game of musical chairs going on and Tom had entered it. The trick was if you didnt' get a chair, rather then exiting the game you had the option to remove a piece of clothing. Unlike the Woolshed where the max you can go is down to your panties or boxers, here a girlk adn several guys including Tom got COMPELTELY NAKED. They were all walking around with their hands on theirs privates and when one of the guys had to "remove one more piece of clothing", the were given the option to walk around with out covering themselves. No guy resorted to that (THANK GOD!) and the naked girl ended up winning some expensive trip somewhere.

Called it an early night and got everythiung ready for my trip the next morning to Alice Springs.