Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Time Down Under - 10 Months and Counting

Hello everyone! It's been awhile since I posted anything. Sorry about that - I'm trying to get acclaimated.

So you did read the title right. I'm here for ten more months - June 2009. After talking to my manager, we decided it would be better for everyone - me, Accenture, the ATO, if stayed longer. There isn't much value I can bring in four or five months. And hopefully, I'll be running the team by the end of the year. It'll be a good thing for my career. Work is ok. A little easier than I'm used to in terms of the workload. The hard part is figuring out the politics and seeing how much change I can implement. It's a slow process but it'll be good for me to learn how to manuever the politics of the place.

My social life is slowly picking up pace. I saw my first concert in Canberra. If you like Jack Johnson, you'll like Pete Murray. He just released an album and it's pretty good. I would highly suggest it and he's great live too! Some of the folks from work go to trivia night at one of the local bars on Tuesday's. I've been put in charge of all the questions about the US. Thankfully, so far, the questions have been pretty easy. I don't want to look like a ding dong.

Other than that, I've met a few more young people on the project. There aren't very many Accenture women, so most of them are men and I am the oldest by far! But they've been great so far. They introduced me to Canberra night life a couple of Friday's ago. Needless to say, it's not all that exciting and everyone seems to know everyone. But I do have to admit, it was exciting to find out that there is even a nightlife in this town! Usually when I walk around on the weekend, it's completely dead! I obviously didn't know where to go. Oh! One other thing to note - the drinking age here is 18!! I remember now why I don't like going to 18 to enter bars. I just can't handle all the youngsters!

I'll check in again later this week!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bulldogs Bite and Bulldogs Roar!

I attended my first Australian Rules Football game yesterday (AFL). The Western Bulldogs (Melbourne) vs. the Sydney Swans. The Bulldogs came out on top by around 20 points. It was a raging good time had by all!

To explain Australian Rules to my American friends and family - take the ball from NFL (but enlarge it a bit), the dribbling from basketball, the kicking and running from soccer, throw in some mass chaos - and WAH-LA! You have Australian Rules! I really have no idea the rules to the game. It appears there is no strategy or set plays...just throw the ball out there and try to get it to your end of the field - 18 men and mass chaos. It's a pretty tough sport. No padding but there's tackling. They don't stop play unless there's blood. One of the umpires got knocked out and they just kept playing around him. They allow random people out onto the field whenever they want - trainers, runners, and the water girl. One of the best parts to the game were the runners. These guys get directions from the coaches in the coaches box and then they run out onto the field and try to tell the players what they're supposed to do. I don't think I saw one player paying any attention to those guys.

The game itself had a high school or division II colllege football game feel to it. The stadium was pretty small - held about 13k people. No cheerleaders though or band section. The cheering squad is made up of volunteers who make the sign for the team to run through and have pom poms at either end of the field.

But I can chalk it up to an experience and I might go to another game. But I think I'm too American. I like my NFL.

Speaking of the NFL, I need to say this. Brett Favre - please do not come out of retirement. Take the multi-million dollar marketing offer from the Packers and stay retired. Go into broadcasting or get a reality show. Just don't ruin your legacy by coming back and getting traded. Don't do it!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Telstra Tower

Today I decided to venture out and see some sites in Canberra. I decided on the Telstra Tower cause you can see it from everywhere in the city and I thought i could get some good pictures of the area for everyone.

The Telstra Tower is the communications hub for the Canberra area. It has a viewing deck and supposedly a exhibit on the history of telecommunications in Australia (couldn't find it though). I caught the "Tourist Loop" up to the tower. It's $3 for a one way fare on the weekends..seems a bit steep to me but i guess gas prices are affecting everyone. It was $6 to get into the tower. They have a revolving restuarant and a viewing area. The inside viewing area is nice, it has a coffee shop and a little gift shop and a 360 view of Canberra. I made my way up to the viewing area outside and it was FREEZING. The wind was blowing and it was probably around 40 degrees! Brrrr! I took some pictures on the lower viewing deck then went inside for some coffee (I had an hour to kill before the bus). I read my tourist book and had coffee to kill some time. I ended up sitting with this cute little old Australian couple. They're on "holiday" for the next "fort night". He couldn't hear very well so she had to keep yelling at him everything i said. Very cute.

I then decided to brave the upper viewing deck...but i couldn't handle it for too long. Sooooo cold! I do miss the Phoenix warmth! At least it doesn't snow here. Anyway, it was still a gorgeous day and the area around Canberra is beautiful. I'm not sure that the pictures relay that. I can't really compare the terrain to anything i know in the US. It's not like the rockies. In Colorado, it's all plains and then BAM the mountains. Here is seems more like a slow build up to the big mountains. Maybe it's like the Appalachins on the east coast. I don't know.

There are more pictures in my picasa album if you're interested.

I have to point this out. While I was waiting for the bus (which I almost missed!), I saw this car. Notice that the exhaust is by the windshield. I'd seen these cars on TV but never in real life. Just thought I would share.