Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Gazard of Oz for Xmas

So the siblings and I all boarded flights from Vancouver to Brisbane, via LA. Me in 1a. The others in, well, I honestly can’t say. But I do know I entered every time zone well ahead of them.

In total, we checked 15 bags between us.

Of course, when we arrive in Brisbane, Karma sneaks up and gives me a nipple cripple. My four bags, and only my four bags (including my golf clubs), are the only ones missing.

So I’ve gone from sub-zero temps, to the tropics, and I have nothing to wear (the mankini was in bag 2). Must remember to keep this in my carry-on in future, if only to make customs inspections that much more entertaining.

Anyway it is at this time, that my brother and his partner inform me that for Christmas they bought me these nifty devices that attach to your luggage, which you can then track on your iPhone.

Fuck you, irony! *shakes fist*

So it’s only the first day, and I have massive tilt already. This trip is not boding well, I can feel it in me waters.

Add to that, I had to be in Melbourne two days after I arrive, with golf on the menu, amongst other things.

But fortunately, the gods shone, with all of my baggage turning up the next day. No excuse was given, aside from a conveyor belt breaking down in Vancouver. How it was only my four bags, out of the fifteen we checked simultaneously that were caught up in the great Vancouver conveyor meltdown is a question for the annals. I’m too over it to come up with a good conspiracy theory. Maybe my bags tested positive for Smurfiness, I don’t know. Throw your thoughts in the comments section if you have a juicy idea.

So with all of my luggage safely returned, along with my golf clubs, when I did head down to Melbourne, I couldn’t use the “hire club” excuse when I got my delectable ass handed to me on a platter. I couldn’t hit a fairway. I couldn’t buy a putt. I couldn’t sneak an unseen foot wedge out of the rough on the 14th. I think I even scrambled the GPS in my golf cart, the amount of territory I covered. So all I can say is, fuck you golf, you fucking fuck.

Dodgy golf aside, I had the chance to meet up with a few friends while in Melbourne, held a few business meetings, and caught up with Shane Warne who was in town for the Boxing Day Test and the launch of the Big Bash Twenty20 cricket.

It was a great couple of days to help unwind before jetting back to the Gold Coast to start the Christmas Countdown, and to respectfully celebrate Festivus. I’ll be airing my grievances in a later post, else this becomes War and Peace, but suffice to say, I inevitably caught the flu.

Flu shmoo, I hear you say? Mock me not! This was full-on man flu, which had me out of action for four days, including Christmas. There’s nothing better than having a raging fever, in sub-tropical heat. I must have sweated out some fierce demons, let me tell you. No-one wanted to visit me in my room for more than it takes to say “hope you’re feeling better, champ” and then step outside to play pool pony polo and sip mojitos.

Merry Karmaristmas, Gaz.

So my long awaited family get together more or less passed me by, but I was able enjoy some time with family, had the chance to binge watch a few long-awaited TV series, and received heaps of Smurf presents so it wasn’t a total wash.

I’m now back in Melbourne for some personal business, and New Year’s shenanigans.

I will need to rely on several of you to fill in the obligatory blanks over the next few days (and likely pony up some bail money). Will keep the rest of you posted, good people.

Til then, have a Smurfy end to Twenty Thirteen. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Seriously, don’t. That’s some sick shit. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Whistler Apology

I’m sorry we fought, Whistler.

Since my last post, the snow started falling, the food started improving, and the bears have started shitting again.

So I’m happily exhausted from skiing, my belt is extended a notch, and order is restored to the forest.

Nice save Whistler, I should never have doubted you. You came good, old friend. You’ll always be Smurfy in my eyes, aye.

I have since scooted over to Montreal for some secret squirrel shit. Can’t discuss here, as I don’t want to jinx. But stay tuned.

Anyhow, as you know, I’m about to visit family in Australia for Christmas for first time in a few years. I’ll be leaving a Canadian Winter, where the temperature has been sitting at around -20°C (-4°F) and heading to an Australian Summer where the daytime temperature will average around 35°C (>95°F). That’s over a 50°C fucking turnaround! Out of the freezer and straight into the oven.

Now this is where my jetsetting lifestyle gets tough. Don’t cry for me, it’s still freakin’ awesome, but when packing a suitcase in London for a trip to Whistler, followed by a trip Down Under, it can become a little challenging to get the mix right.

Thermals – check.

Gloves – check.

Ski jacket – check.

Mankini – check.

The only common denominator is underwear. Well, and the mankini, obviously.

So I’m about to board a flight from Vancouver to LA to Brisbane with my brother and sister and their partners. When I say, “with” that’s not technically true. I’ll be in First Class, they’ll be in Coach. I’m going to feel wracked with guilt… right up until the time I wipe away my troubles with a hot refresher towel, followed by Salmon Rilette and a nice Laurent-Perrier.

I’m really looking forward to catching up with my folks for the first time in a very long time, although I know I’m going to be grilled about the lack of grandkids. I don’t know what will kill me first, climate change or the Spanish Inquisition. Is it wrong to pray for a tsunami?

Anyway, the standard Christmas routine is a quiet drink on Christmas Eve. Followed by a slightly louder drink. And then a bunch of rowdy ones. Shit, we are Australian.

On Christmas morning, we stagger downstairs, crank the air conditioning down to 20°C and exchange gifts and quiet pleasantries. Christmas lunch is usually a diverse culinary affair – a mix of hot and cold and traditional and local fare. Turkey and cranberries at one end of the table. Prawns, oysters and lobster at the other. My folks are in the restaurant business, so the spread is always top drawer.

The rest of the day will be spent sipping, snacking and swimming, consecutively or concurrently. And raping the family at open face Chinese poker.

In fact I must say, there are few things more satisfying, than the first mouthful of beer on a stonking hot Queensland day. James Squire, I look forward to you being inside me.

Somewhere between now and then though, I have to fit in the world’s worst chore. Christmas shopping on the Gold Coast. As Ford Fairlane so eloquently said, “It’s like masturbating with a cheese grater – slightly amusing, but mostly painful”.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need bucket loads.

Whistler Rant

Whistler, it pains me to do this. I love you, but you’ve got to get your shit together.

For the last few years, no matter where I’ve been in the world, I’ve made the pilgrimage to Whistler to enjoy a white Christmas. However this year, I will be heading back home to the Gold Coast for Christmas, as it is one of the rare years when all of my family will be in the one place at the one time.

Growing up on Australia’s Gold Coast, Christmas falls in the middle of Summer, and daytime temperatures regularly nudge up into the high 30’s (around 100 degrees Fahrenheit) with high humidity.

Doesn’t sound too bad? Well, it mostly isn’t, but it sure doesn’t feel like Christmas when you have sweat pooling in your butt crack, you can’t drink red wine at room temperature else you’ll burn your tongue, and your flip flops melt when they hit the pavement. In fact the only white you’ll see at Christmas is when I don the bathers for a relieving dip in the pool.

Anyway, because I’m heading Down Under for Christmas, I’ve been forced to bring my traditional Whistler trip forward a few weeks.

I was so, so, so, so, looking forward to this. It is the one thing that I truly look forward to all year.
Whistler is an amazing, beautiful place. The restaurants are fantastic, the skiing unrivalled, and red wine just seems to taste better when consumed in front of a crackling fire.

Usually…

This year, everything has been slightly off, and I don’t know why.

December usually has the highest snowfall. But this year, it’s not snowing, but is a bitterly cold and windy -15. The windchill runs through to your bones. Even the local bears refuse to come out to shit. So I’m trapped indoors.

Add to that, I’ve been snapping awake at 4am every day due to jet lag. Whistler is not a morning person, and doesn’t even start to stir until 10am.

Normally, that’s not a problem, because any downtime gives me a chance to catch up on hundreds of emails, phone messages and looming deadlines. But now I’m freelancing, I can do all of that in one toilet sitting, and therefore have much more time on my hands (after I’ve washed them).

That would usually be great… but. The indoor sanctuaries that I usually hold in such high regard, seem to be struggling this year too.

My first night in Whistler, I head down to Hy’s Steakhouse, which I have been to numerous times, and which is normally very good. However this time, we get a 10-minute speech on how they use the only best 1% of beef in Canada. That’s all well and good, if you know how to fucking cook it.

I order it rare. It comes out medium. Tilt.

On top of that, their claim to fame is making a Caesar Salad at the table. I’m no chef, but anyone can whip up a fucking Caesar salad. It is the easiest and simplest of salads. So much so, it should be renamed the Paris Hilton Salad.

Perhaps the chefs are too snooty to make it? I don’t know, but I don’t want my waiter wasting 10 minutes making me a shitty $12 salad, when he should be bringing me the fucking beer I ordered half-an-hour ago.

Then next night, we head over to Keg Steakhouse, another usually fine establishment. This time, my sister gets plastic in her baked potato? Double you tee eff Whistler? How is this even possible?

Perhaps I’m just too early, and everyone is not yet on their A-game?

Fortunately, the following night, we had a relaxing night in, watching movies in front of the fire sipping Schnapps. Funny thing Schnapps. 360 days of the year, I don’t touch the stuff. But somehow in Whistler, it is the nectar of the gods. Which god? I’m not sure – probably the Butterscotch one.

One blissful night aside, the lack of snow is really bugging me. Apparently all of the big snow dumps are due the day I have to head off to Montreal for business. Aside from enhancing the skiing experience, snow actually makes the weather more pleasant. Without it, the biting wind is driving me insane.

So for the first time in my life, I have actually WANTED to escape from a Whistler Winter to a southern hemisphere Summer.

Fire up Whistler! You are usually a smurfy place. You now have 3 more days to give me a happy ending. I assure you, if you do it right, it usually doesn’t take anywhere near that long.