Saturday, May 26, 2007

Time Keeps on Ticking Into the Future

Today is National "Sorry" day, where the Australians apologize for killing most of the Aborigines and taking their land by shrugging their collective shoulders and saying, "Sorry". Specifically, they are apologizing for an official government policy to help aboriginies assimiliate that was practiced for decades. The policy was essentailly to split families up and place the children in orphanages. They call it the Stolen Generations now. This was an official govenment policy until 1969. That's in my sister's lifetime. It's incredible this was standard operating procedure here so recently. (Happy Birthday Lynn. Just remember, you'll always be older than me.) On the other hand, I guess it's interesting we don't have an official day in the US to apologize for slavery or to Native Americans. Then again the day here doesn't amount to much more than one of the footy matches for the week having a 'Dreamtime' theme in which the announcers describe the unique talents of Indigenous players in a way that makes Michael Irvin seem PC.

This week I went to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at the Hi-Fi. The show was pretty good. It didn't quite sell out, but it seemed very crowded in there. They played a lot from both the first album and the new album. I enjoyed Satan Said Dance a good bit. I will be happy when Alec (who looks, moves and sounds alarmingly like my Freshman year roommate's live-in boyfriend.) get's over his love of singing into a megaphone, and then into the microphone.
My birthday is next Saturday. While I'm sad I can't go to Mickey's Blue Room (no longer in operation) or Blue & Gold, I'll be making due at Section 8. It'll be weird to try and have that without the regular co-conspirators. Please have a Jack & coke for me whereever you are.
Thanks to Jesse for passing along this update on a potential trade for Bret Favre:
I'm also getting pretty addicted to this.
Mail Update: Thanks to Amy Chou (who used stationary I gave away in the 29 firesale), Sarah Josephson (who sent a socially conscious UNICEF birthday card) and my Mom (who seems always to be able to find a card with a Golden retreiver on the cover). Those were great.

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World

This is my niece Lindy, at 4 and 11/12ths years old on the day of her preschool graduation. As you can see, she is indisputably the most beautiful child in the history of children. Thanks to her second mom Nahkia for snapping this portrait.

As Promised, My Corporate Promo

Those of you who follow 'spondence closely (my mom and Dennis) will recall that in my post on April 7 I said,

"Also, the CRM group I work in has asked to interview me about my involvement in “extreme Frisbee”. I am terrified. I will keep you posted."

This post is my following up on that promise. The Customer Relationship Management subset of the Management Consulting & Integrated Markets group I belong to at Accenture sends out a bi-monthly newsletter (via e-mail) to thousands of my fellow employees worldwide. The May-June edition has made me famous with the inclusion below. I had better watch out for paparazzi next time I exit 301.

I think a lot of the comments below are inane and I'm pretty sure my quotes are both accurately captured and grammatically incorrect, so I can't blame anyone else for that but myself. I'll leave it up to the commenters to pull out the most tragic bits, but you know who you are if you are up for this (KT, Liset, Benji).


Courtney Kelly brings her consulting expertise and Ultimate Frisbee talents Down Under

Courtney Kelly (in orange) has brought American Ultimate plays to her Australian teammates.

"Have suitcase; will travel" is an expression many consultants relate to–travel simply comes with the territory. Yet while traveling for work can pose challenges, it can also present some interesting opportunities.

Take Courtney Kelly, a manager who is recently deployed into the CRM service line. As a competitive athlete, Courtney feels right at home at her current client project in Melbourne, Australia–the sports and outdoor activity of the world.

Courtney is currently in Melbourne to help Australian telecommunications company Telstra transform its infrastructure and its processes. Outside the office, she is an avid Ultimate Frisbee competitor.

Ultimate has helped Courtney in balancing her professional and personal life both at her home base in New York and now in Melbourne. “Getting out of the office on the weekend and focusing on physical exercise helps me to reduce stress and get a fresh perspective on things,” she said.

Courtney is looking at life in a new perspective Down Under. “Ultimate has definitely made my transition to Australia easier,” she said. “Making the team in Melbourne meant that I immediately had 18 jogging pals, and 18 people to ask for advice about how to get around town.”

Courtney’s 18 new friends in Australia on the Ultimate team known as Team Box include a lawyer, a concert pianist, several engineers, mothers and students, among others. “I’m exposed to a wider swath of ‘real Australians,’ rather than all the other expat Accenture coworkers I spend all day with,” she said.

Hailing from the birthplace of Ultimate, Courtney has brought American plays to her Australian teammates. “I’m taking more of a teaching role here in Melbourne,” she said. “Having played against top international Ultimate teams in the United States, I can teach my teammates these strategies.”

With a victory at the Southern Australian Regional Championships under their belts, Courtney and her teammates placed second at the Australian National Championships. In the meantime, the Melburnians have welcomed Courtney to Australia with open arms, exposing her to the excitement of the Australian Football League and a cup of cappuccino that puts Starbucks to shame.

“I’m really enjoying my time in Australia, but I’m surprised how similar things are here, compared to New York,” Courtney said. “I’m working with a diverse, international team, but other than spelling customize with an ‘s’ rather than an ‘z,’ I hardly notice that we have different backgrounds and different passports.”

Saturday, May 19, 2007

An Ode to Brunch

It’s hard to explain why brunch is one of my favorite things. There’s not much that I enjoy more. Brunch is best after a big night. Brunch should be around 1 pm and should be part of a mild hangover cure. It’s best to pick up a coffee on your way to brunch so that you can wait patiently in comfort. You can’t mind a wait for brunch, as you’ll be lingering over your eggs as long as you want and for that privilege you need to be patient of the lingerers who came before you. My favorite brunches combine the sweet and savory. I like a biscuit with jam and eggs Oaxaca. Alternatively, I like some pancakes or French toast with a side of bacon. Whatever you choose, massive quantities are a must. Even more crucial is a veritable buffet of beverages. Coffee is essential and fresh OJ or grapefruit juice is advised. Probably my single favorite thing about brunch is Bloody Marys. I like them as spicy as possible with fresh horseradish and not too much salad garnish in my way. Some of my best days in (hazey) memory are those where I started out with a few bloody marys at brunch and drank them straight through to bed.

Brunch requires long and senseless conversation. You can review the breaks in last nights events and summarize the week’s happenings while you wait for your eggs to arrive, but the topics should quickly move to very mild super powers, the outcome of a hypothetical 1 on 1 between Moses and Carl Malone, or Moses Malone and Moses with the stone tablets, and things of that nature. Brunch in NYC typically involves eating in close quarters, so it’s a good time to break out the lies for the benefit of eavesdroppers. “Yes, I just interviewed for that job in the marketing department at NASA.” “My yoga instructor is offering a new underwater class for those with Scuba certification. I’m on the waiting list.” “I was at Butter last night and I saw Jacob Dylan throw a drink on Rachel Dratch,” “Yes, they served the antiviral salad dressing with the Yak meat.” "I've saved half of what I neeed to get those calf implants." You get the idea.

Brunch is a time for gluttony, and lengthy casual meaningles conversation. Done propely it consumes the better part of a day and prepares you for a golf or football nap.

This blog seems a kindred sprit and has given me plenty of ideas:

Tomorrow I’ll be having brunch with 6 or so of the gals from Team Box. I can’t wait.

In other news, I set up my wireless access in 301, so I can now blog from anywhere in my spacious apartment. Look forward to dispatches from my couch.

I’m watching TV right now and the sports announcer for the AFL game I am watching now just said, “One of the teams is going to lose in all probability anyway…” I suppose it’s comforting to know that sports casters worldwide are mathematicians.

On another channel is Crocodile Dundee 2, which doesn’t inspire the scorn here you would expect.

I went to see the Black Keys this week. The show reminded me of the last time I saw them, where I came to the conclusion that they suck. Unfortunately, I forgot that until I was reminded when they came on stage at the HiFi this Tuesday. It was crowded, hot and boring.

In other news, I still cannot find anyone here who can do my hair. My last attempt took up four hours of my Saturday and resulted in my hair being about an 1/8th of an inch shorter in some areas. After 3 hours in the chair and no noticeable result I was reluctant to ask more of my terrified stylist for fear she would cry.

Mail report: Thanks to Mom for the long lost package and Mara for another postcard. It’s not too late to get recognized here for sending mail. Get in the game!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Courtney's Big Day

As you've no doubt sussed out, blogging is inversely proportionate to living. The more time I have to blog, the more time I am home blogging. I may have worked 74 hours in the first 6 days of this week, but I made up for it today.

1. I called home to wish Barb a quick Happy Mother's Day
2. I went to the Crown Casino to see the Spurs/Suns game at 10 AM
3. I went with Liz and Chris to the national gallery of Art to see the Classic Sneakers exhibit. (There is a huge stained glass window there, and Chris made sure he got the best perspective on it.
4. I went for nachos with Liz and Chris
5. I went with Liz to meet Hussey, Joy and Sarah (all of team box) for an afternoon tea
6. I went to watch the footy on TV in a pub (Fremantle won!)
7. I met up with Jess and Steven to see Architecture in Helsinki at the Prince of Wales. The show was great and the played a lot from the new album which seems to rock. (Can we all agree that Kellie Sutherland is by far the most talented member of this sextet (nee octet) and that more songs should showcase her? Yes, Especially if Cameron Bird insists on singing in that straining Grover falsetto.)

After that I came home to 301 and wrote this post and then (presumably) went to sleep. Attached are a few pictures. See if you can match the photo to the activities above. Good luck. (The Mac instance of blogger is crap so I can't paste them where I want. It'll be a surprise to me when I see the post. Thanks Mac.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Most of you know my close friends Paige and Marc. You certainly know stories of Moose, my favorite dog ever that was not my own and have seen his fame captured in 2 separate Moose calendars. You night not have met their adorable daughter, Olivia who is one of the reasons they live in Chattanooga now. (She is two now, how time flies!) Olivia has diabetes.

Marc is doing a bike ride in Asheville, NC to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Please consider making a donation to Marc's ride so that we can find a cure for Olivia and all the other children with this serious disease.

Of course Marc found a way to combine biking with this. That is like me watching the NBA to raise money. Or eating brunch. That's it. The next time I fund raise it will be a brunch off, and you will all sponsor me to Brunch for a Cure. Look forward to that.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Let me just go ahead and preemptively apologize for the following post. You may want to skip it of your sense of humor has developed past that of a 7th grader. Or if you are still opposed to racism (which is so three decades ago).

I just got off the phone with the box office at the Hi-Fi. I am pretty sure I got tickets to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It's a nice venue and about as far from my apartment here as the Bowery Ball Room is from 29. (I've pretty much recreated my NYC life exactly here in Melbourne, proving the tenant that where ever you go, there you are.)

I know English is hard to learn. I can't speak any other languages and I am quite impressed with immigrants who come to foreign lands and learn to speak a new language. That said, I think the staffing of someone with poor English language skills answering the phone at a box office is an interesting choice. I spent 20 minutes repeating and confirming credit card numbers and confirmation numbers. "3. 3. 3! ... No, 3 like the third..." [I'm thinking of Curtiss calling the Korean live sushi place now, "You come tomorrow, this afternoon now?"]

This process was complicated by the fact that person assisting me with my ticket called the band I am going to see "Yes Crap in Hand Yes" which sounds more like a dire explanation and less like a rock band that went back in a time machine to the 1980s and captured David Byrne's voice in a jar. I am really just going to the show to see if the jar is on stage.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Do Not Patronize They are crap.

Mother’s Day is coming. You can send your mom flowers but DO NOT utilize They are total crap. Allow me to provide an example:

My Mother’s birthday is April 26. Realizing that April 26 was the finals of Nationals and I would be busy that day, and the days prior I decided to order her gift with plenty of time in advance. On April 14, I went to the web site and posted an order to deliver flowers to my mom on April 24, so that they would be early, or if anything went wrong, on time.

Here’s how the Saga unfolded:

First, they sent me this order confirmation on April 14 (Deceptive!):

Dear Courtney Kelly,
Below is a summary of your order W00542400310584. RECIPIENT(S) INFORMATION
Barbara Kelly
11908 Woodland Way Road
Myersville,MD 21773

Delivery Date

Courtney Kelly
208 E. 6th St. Apt 29
New York, NY 10003
Total Shipping Charge:
Order Total:

I also confirmed that they charged my credit card.

Then, on the 26th, when I hadn’t heard from my mom that they were received, I check the order status online and saw that while there was a shipping number, the status for that shipping number came up ‘unshipped’. I posted the following comment to the online order status contact:

Customer Service Inquiry:

Request Date:04/26/2007 20:09:15
Customer Name:Courtney Kelly
Customer Phone Number:610448430133
Order Number:W00542400310584
Order Date:04/14/2007 00:00:00
Recipient Name:Barbara Kelly
Comments:These Birthday flowers were ordered online on April 14 to be
delivered on April 24. My credit card has been charged they have not
been delivered! They are 3 days late. The birthday has been missed and
I am very disappointed. I cannot be reached via phone unless you call
me on my Australian mobile. Please deliver these flowers ASAP and
e-mail me with an explanation of this delay.

They replied with this semi-helpful response on the 27th:

Hello Courtney,

Thank you for shopping with 1-800-FLOWERS.COM.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. We are very sorry
that your order was not delivered as scheduled. At this point in time,
we wish to inform you that we are in the process of confirming the
delivery details of your order. Please be assured that we will inform you
as soon as we have the requisite information.

Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience caused and thank you for
your patience and understanding in this regard.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to
contact us at the address listed below. You can also contact us at our
customer satisfaction number, 1-800-468-1141.


Samita Khanna
Sales and Service Specialist

Samita, you did me wrong!

After that I gave them a couple of days. After all, I was at nationals. I heard nothing more from them. When the online status still showed unshipped on 28/4. I sent another exasperated reply:


There has still been no update or explanation on this

Now when I track the order on the website it says the
order has been cancelled.

What is going on? How did this happen? What is being
done to repair this?

I paid for these birthday flowers 10 days ago and they
were never delivered. This is TERRIBLE customer

Please explain and rectify this situation.

~Courtney Kelly

From that, on the 29th now 5 days late, I received this incomprehensible response:

Hello Courtney,

Thank you for shopping with 1-800-FLOWERS.COM.

Unfortunately, your order never was picked up so it ended up getting
canceled and full credit was issued back to your credit card. We deeply
apologize that no one got in touch with you to let you know about the
situation. Would you like to place another order in which we could
offer you a discount? Also, we would be happy to send you a gift
certificate for the inconvenience. Can you please contact us and let us know
what you would like to do? Once again, we are so sorry.

We value your business and look forward to serving your future gifting

If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to
contact us at the address listed below. You can also contact us at our
customer satisfaction number, 1-800-468-1141.


Robert Ligon
Sales and Service Specialist

A pox on your head Robert Ligon! May you be stricken with polio!

“Never picked up”??!?!?!?! All they do, is take orders, and farm them out to florists. They are simply a router. This should be automated. This is their SOLE FUNCTION. How did they screw this up? Why couldn’t they replace and reroute the order.

You know me, and my tolerance incompetence, or for that matter, any thing that does not go my way. I resorted to threats:

Original Message Follows:
I am baffled.

My order "never was picked up " so it was canceled?
How is this possible?
I received an order confirmation e-mail.
If I place a second order, what are the odds of that
one being "picked up"?

I do not understand how you could take an order,
confirm it and never process and deliver it. I cannot
believe you are now telling me the burden is on ME
THE CUSTOMER to place the order a SECOND TIME if I
really want it. I cannot believe this order has not
been rushed to the destination (now 5 days overdue.)

I will be forwarding this e-mail chain and my
complaints to the better business bureau and any
consumer group on the internet I can find that will
listen to complaints. I will also be forwarding this
OUTRAGEOUSLY TERRIBLE customer service to everyone in
my address book (Both personal and corporate) and
blogging about this terrible experience.

I will explain to my friends, family and everyone I
can forward the link to that will
take your order and your money and NEVER DELIVER THE
FLOWERS. They will send you an order confirmation and
NEVER NOTIFY YOU of a problem.

An extremely disappointed customer,
Courtney Kelly

This post is that threat fulfilled. I sent mom some travel books instead from who were able to process the order without filling me with rage.

This Australian Life

3 months in no time. To the day. I can’t believe I’ve been here in Melbourne for 3 months. Aside from some ultimate tournaments and training weekends I’ve scarcely left the downtown area I live and work in. I need to work on that.

I do have some plans to see some more bands. Architecture in Helsinki is coming here next Sunday and the Black Keys and Clap Your Hands & Say Yeah are also in town the week after. Hopefully, like Wilco, these bands are underappreciated here and I will be up front and have a great view.

Happy Cinco de Mayo. Unsurprisingly, that is not a big holiday here. Never one to miss a drinking holiday, I’m using up some of the tequila I have left over from taco night.

My shameless begging here on ‘spondece has really paid off, and lately it has been Christmas in April. I have received care packages from Mara, Jesse and Danielle. Among many other items, Mara’s included a shot glass, Jesse’s a copy of Vice and Danielle’s a light up statue of liberty pen. Rockin! All this does not mean I’m all set for mail and you don’t need to worry. This means you are a huge slacker if you haven’t at least sent me a postcard yet. Get in the game!

In today’s most unfortunate news: Some subhuman drunk vandal (probably a stupid half naked girl) threw up in the lobby AND elevator of my posh downtown apartment building. I learned this when I left the apartment for brunch this morning. I was disappointed to still find the mess when I came back from a bike ride at 8 PM. You know I am retching sympathetically the whole time. Gag!

PS: I am really missing the NBA playoffs. It may be time to head back to the Crown Casino to see some games. Warriors: Come out and Plaaaaaay. Never, ever bet against Baron Davis.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Nationals Recap

Apologies for the delay. I was waiting to feel less exhausted to write this post, but I don't want to forget everything that happened and the current forecast for some decent rest is distant. Random thoughs I have on the Tournament:

Nationals was great. Thanks for everyone who checked in and was thinking of me over the tourrnament. There were professional photographers there taking photos daily and several of our games were featured, so I will post that link once those are up and you can check out the scene.

Our kit was all Patagonia. The jersey material is really nice. We liked them much better than Gaia. (I still recommend 5ultimate, but we needed a pretty quick turnaround so we went with someone larger and more established.) The patagonia shorts material was super light and thin. They looked great and dried very quickly. The only drawback was that they were so light they gave the impression of not being there at all and we were all saddled with the vague notion that we were wearing the emperor's new shorts.

We also had matching Team Box wristbands, supplied by Michelle, who morphed a former Nike swoosh into the bill and neck of a goose, perfectly completing our professional look.

We played 9 games over 4 days. We had a first round game EVERY day. I got a ride in two of the days and took the tram in two of the days. Either way I left very early in the morning each day and was very tired by the time to come back home. The tournament site was a good hour from downtown where I live (more by tram).

The tournement was well run. The fields were nice. Rounds started on time. Everyone was fed and watered. There were scoreboards, but no timekeepers.

For each of our games we did the same 60 minute warm up, with running, stretching, plyos, drills and sprinting. After each game we did the same cooldown with running, plyos, stretching, and singing.

Team Box pre-game chants included:
Get out of the Box and into the Zone, Team Box is going to take this home.
Open the flaps, get into the box.
1-2-3 - Team! 1-2-3 Box! 1-2-3 Go Team Box!

Team box had 15 year olds and women who haad been playing for 10 years. I asked Sophie, one of our high school kids what she was doing for school on Monday and Tuesday. "Oh yeah. I'm not going."

Team Box captains insisted on and stuck to a plan where no subs were called. Even in finals. On most teams this would have been a disaster, but everyone on Team Box got along and there were no disc hogs and I think we all had equal, fair playing time and everyone was happy about it. Those of you who don't play won't understand how remarkable this is. Those who do play will not believe me that this happened. This is like Joe Torre just telling the Yankees to bat in whatever order they all agree on, and it working out instantly and silently with no dissenters. It was great.

Wednesday was the final day of the tournament. It was a national holiday here in Australia (ANZAC day) which I think is something about World War One and Turkey. It's basically veterans day. Of the 4 women's teams in semis, 3 were from Sydney. We played the Sydney Southsiders at 9, and they were looking for revenge for the close pool play round loss we handed them on day 2. It was a gorgeous day with very little wind. Every point was hotly contested and we were down 6-8 at half. In the second half we came out with a junk/clammy D and scored 5 in a row to get to 11-8. After that we traded points to get to 15. I was in on several of those D points and it was so exciting to feel the momentum of the game shift. You could see it in the Southside body language that they just knew we had stepped up the intensity and they were going to lose.

In Finals, we faced the only team we had lost two all tournement, Wildcard. There were a lot of spectators. The finals were filmed and there were commenators calling play-by-play. It was all a bit distracting, and I think our youth showed as a team. We came out slow in the first half with some acharactertistic mistakes including a pull out of bounds at mid-field and a dropped pull. Wildcard played a force middle D that effectively shut down our horizontal stack offense. They took half 8-6. We played a little better in the second half and even had some little runs, but never really played our best. I think we were tired and a bit unused to adversity. Wildcard played very well and played low risk disciplined O. The game was filled with layouts and sic bids on both sides and many people in the crowd said it was the highest level of play they had seen at a women's finals.

After finals we had a team circle up, a birthday cake for Riss, and then we got some beers and barbeque and watched the men's final. After that, there was an awards ceremony where we all got our second place medals and our name called out. It was fun cheering for everyone.

After the awards ceremony we had some champagne, went out for dumplings, and then I went home to deal with having to go to work the next day. I had a great time this season with Team Box and I'm dissapointed that the season is over and wondering what else I can find as an excuse to escape work.