Monthly Archives: December 2009

Day 132- December 31, 2009

A nice sleep-in today after waking up early for prayers and breakfast for the last couple of days. A few ham rolls and a somewhat troublesome trip to the petrol station (the pump was playing up and the whole thing took about as long) and I was off to Josiah’s place for a “jam session”.

If you are unfamiliar with music, you may be forgiven for thinking that this event somehow involved fruit-based condiments (har har terrible joke). Basically, he invited a bunch of us over to play music and improvise and all that (henceforth known as “jamming”). We got through quite a few songs (with varying degrees of success), spanning from the Beatles and Queen to Herbie Hancock and Chuck Berry, as well as some original stuff. It was rather hot (38 degrees) but we still had a great time, refreshing ourselves with Zooper Dupers (a type of icypole) and Pepsi Max (this is not a paid advertisement). Today’s photo is from Josiah’s place and is of his sister Ruby’s odd socks (didn’t really get to take photos of jamming considering I was mostly involved).

And soon I’m off to celebrate the New Year with a party at Ben’s. Much better than going out into the city with millions of people (all either violent drunks or screaming children) and thunderstorms. It’s the end of the year, so I feel I should do some sort of retrospective. It’s been an interesting year for me, what with starting university and having finished my first year. I also got my driver’s license and became interested in photography. It’s been a rather big part of my life, what with carrying my camera almost everywhere and spending ages on taking and doing things to photos.

It’s also the end of the decade, which is sort of strange to look back on. Particularly at my age, a lot happens in a decade. I remember New Years Eve 1999, what with the fear of Y2K and the evening being spent mostly in bed reading Biggles. The 2000s have been mostly high school for me, with the tail end of primary school and the start of university. In 2000, I played Pokemon on my Gameboy Colour and imagined being an investigative journalist when I grew up. My grade four teacher was Mrs Vilchez, who hated me because I was the kind of obnoxious child that corrected her spelling mistakes and generally made things troublesome for lazy teachers. Ten years have passed and I’m still obnoxious. Some things don’t change (haven’t played Pokemon for a while, though).

Day 131- December 30, 2009

Today was the last day of Syezd. I’m kinda relieved, because I haven’t been getting too much sleep and I’m kinda of getting sick of motel showers.

After breakfast (in which Valentina mashed tomatoes into her bread for some reason), it came time to give acknowledgements, which involved me mentally sizing up clergy (as inconspicuously as possible) in order to decide what size of free tshirt to give them. It wasn’t too bad– Dad and I got a few mugs and bottles of wine out of the deal. We then put on our Syezd tshirts (how daggy) and wrote messages on the backs (how high school– see Today’s Photo). I even got it signed by the bishop (woo!).

After lunch, Sarah had some time before they had to leave for Gosford (by car), so the two of us went out to Rathdowne Street for coffee as I was getting extremely severe withdrawal symptoms (might actually have a problem). The coffee was good and the cafe was cool; nice considering the weather was pretty hot. And then we went back and went our separate ways (sniff). Oh well, I’m up in Sydney in about a week (woo).

On getting home, I got to getting on top of my photos (downloading, pruning, editing, uploading, fiddling, etc.) and have put some up on Flickr and made an album on Facebook. Some of my photos even went up on the Diocesan website. Oh, and we drank leftover wine. It’s all good.

Day 130- December 29, 2009

Oh dear. It’s quite late on the 30th and I’m only just writing the post now. But I suppose it’s healthy to let go of the obsession. Also, it’s been all late nights and early mornings and no internet, so I didn’t really feel like it.

The day was pretty much the same as the one before. Except there were fewer breaks. It was pretty full-on moving from one lecture or discussion workshop to another, especially considering that everything was running on “Russian time” and discussion periods usually lasted twice as long as they were scheduled. It wasn’t too bad though, as it at least the discussions did not go past 10pm as with the day before.

After dinner, we held a trivia night. The last night of the Syezd typically consists of a talent contest, but participation in that sort of thing is always patchy at best (although it does sometimes produce hilarious results). We picked most of the questions from Trivial Pursuit (it was a 1998 edition, so we had our fingers crossed that the answers were still correct), but also asked some of the clergy to come up with (rather esoteric) religiously-themed questions. There was much contesting of questions and accusations of cheating, but in the end, Team Chimera (“Ten Heads, One Soul”) won the tie-breaker round and with it a bottle of Russian Standard. The runners-up (Mostly Single and Desperate) came second place and won some fruit cups (sans spoons).

Day 129- December 28, 2009

I think these posts are getting shorter. And kind of late. It’s really not my fault. In fact, you should congratulate me for keeping this going through the tribulations of no internet connection and such. In fact, I’m writing this (yesterday’s) post while sitting through a lecture/discussion on how youth should get more involved in things.

Yesterday started with getting up early for breakfast and a failed trip to Officeworks (it was a public holiday), then lectures and stuff. I won’t go into it here, but it involved stem cells and souls and was very confusing.

Then came time for the afternoon free time, what with the clergy having to go to some sort of meeting. In past years, this has involved a group trip such as to the beach or paintballing, but since this year’s Syezd is being held in Brunswick, close to the city, we took groups of people into the city and into St Kilda for tours.

I took a tour group which went through some arcades and laneways, going through Bourke Street to Flinders Street and stopping off to look at shops and cafes. I was a bit relieved when most of the group split off to go to Southbank, considering it was rather difficult to make sure nobody was getting lost and that everybody was getting enough time to look through shops.

So the rest of us (being me, Sarah, Maxim, Anna and Faith—some of whom are pictured in Today’s Photo) went off on an adventure fuelled by gelato, chips, lollies and a huge lump of sugar that Sarah bought as an offcut from a lolly shop. She tried to break it up by crashing it down onto a rock, but ended up being somewhat too enthusiastic and smashed it to bits, most of which exploded out into the gardens.

But we enjoyed our lying on the grass and eating things that were bad for us, before heading back to the hall for dinner (yeah, right) and more lengthy lectures and discussions which went on forever and ever and ever. Luckily, it eventually finished (after 10pm) and Sarah and I went off to the Toff for a drink before heading back and watching some bizarre Spanish film on SBS in which children killed a guy with pointy sticks. Yeah.

Day 128- December 27, 2009

The day began with church, as Sundays sometimes do. However, it was all lengthened due to the presence of the bishop, because this adds layers of ceremony to the service. So it ended up being quite long indeed, and I managed to catch quite a bit of it despite being in and out helping with setting up for lunch. This mostly meant moving several cases of beer and wine from the upstairs bathroom (did not know we had a shower there) to downstairs and stacking it in tubs of ice.

Then came lunch, which was an interesting crowd control challenge given that only people with Syezd registration or pre-bought tickets could attend, due to catering reasons. Sasha H and I were bouncers, albeit somewhat timid ones. We did get better at asking to see tickets, though. And in dealing with aggrieved persons who had not pre-brought a ticket and could not accept the injustice of the situation. The spread was fairly large and so I had plenty to eat, even though I don’t like most seafood (prawns, oysters, etc.).

After selling beer for a while and then a lecture, we went up to the park across the road and spun around, swung and things like that (you know, playground things). Today’s photo is Sarah swinging around on the twirly thing. I’m sure it has an Official Name, but I really can’t be bothered right now. Then another lecture, in which many games of fences (or “boxes” if you’re weird like that) were played. I think Faith won. I built a canoe out of paper. Most productive.

Finally, instead of staying to watch the movie (only because there were projector troubles—it had Clive Owen in it!), Sarah and I went off to get chips and came back to watch some movie with the others. By movie, I mean we tried to watch some Black Books, then Chocolat, but then watched Big Fish because the others didn’t work. Argh.

Day 127- December 26, 2009

Well, thank God I don’t have a manual drivers’ license. This would have meant getting up early and getting to the church before breakfast, then driving out to Dandenong to help collect the buses. Instead, I swapped jobs with someone else who did have a manual license and was assigned the duty of buying four mops. It turned out the bus was automatic and I could have driven it. Too late. I already bought the mops.

Most of the day was spent preparing for the Syezd (ie dusting chairs) and taking registrations, which involved a complicated bureaucratic system of forms and ticks and folders. I also incorporated orange juice into the mix, but this wasn’t really essential. Luckily, Sarah was my secretary and filed things in alphabetical order, which is a good thing, because I often have to go through the whole alphabet (usually in song form) to find where a certain letter is.

In the evening, after the church service, Dad (being a Russian Orthodox priest and not at all Jewish, like some people think) gave the first lecture on the order and significance of a particular kind of service. It was almost like a play what with him directing the movement of certain people (priests, deacons, choirs, etc.) and getting them to stop, start and exit stage left. Today’s photo is not of him delivering said lecture (all my shots were blurry) but of him in the carpark as I was talking to him later on. It’s the same thing. And he looks kinda intense.

Then, I had the idea of going out for coffee, but thought it would be good to invite a few people staying at the Syezd from interstate. Instead of being the half-dozen or so that I initially talked to, the group swelled to over twenty people, as people invited friends and so on. This was cool, but the train was coming and large groups are difficult to manoeuvre (not to mention to instruct in the art of train ticket purchase!). Luckily, everybody got there on time and we commandeered pretty much an entire carriage and headed off to the city, Anna criticising pretty much everything along the way. Apparently, that’s how she rolls.

So we went to a cafe in the middle of the city called Caboose, which magically managed to accommodate large groups of people what with its outdoor seating. We all enjoyed coffee or wine or beer or a combination of the above. Somebody had a caramel slice, but apparently this is naughty in Lent, so I will not name them. Please, have some faith in me.

When it was time to go home, Sarah gleefully noted that it was a 25-minute wait for a train and ran off with me to Lord of the Fries to get some chips with “Obama sauce” (see last Saturday’s post). So we stood and were loud on the station platform, eating (and occasionally dropping) chips and generally being very loud. Especially when we saw a tiny mouse, because this was accompanied with shrieks of “ISN’T THAT CUTE!”. Not from me. I’m a man.

(Since I’m staying at the hotel and I don’t really feel like paying the $10 a day for internet access, I’ve typed this up in Word and am sitting in the carpark of the local McDonalds, using their free wireless to blog. This amuses me.)

Day 126- December 25, 2009

Woke up. Still full. Eating this much should be illegal. It can’t be any less unhealthy than narcotics.

Of course, when one is very full, the first thing that one should do is go on a picnic. And eat. Well, that’s what we did. But it’s ok, because by the time we ate, we weren’t feeling sick anymore. It’s a beautiful cycle. After sitting around for a good amount of time and making fun of the Pope on TV, Sarah and I packed a good portion of food into a variety of plastic containers and headed off. We went off to the Fitzroy Gardens, unfurled the picnic blanket and started on a combination of meatballs, schnitzels and potato salad, not to mention several types of biscuits.

After that, we walked through the city looking for somewhere to go. Of course, it was Christmas Day and nothing was open. After wandering the streets for quite some time and encountering nothing but closed doors and Hungry Jack’s (not classy), I found that Section 8 (pictured), a bar in Tattersalls Lane (off Lonsdale Street) was open. So Sarah and I sat and chilled while enjoying a glass of sparkling wine, which we called champagne because it was cheaper that way (and we still got the same enjoyment).

We then came home, packed for Syezd tomorrow and headed over to James’ place for more food (largely dessert by the time we got there) and Guitar Hero. Now we’re watching Fight Club (back at mine). I’m going to cut this short now because Edward Norton is beating himself up for some reason.