The Receptionist Unleashed aka work gloves please?

Remember when you were young and you would walk along a sidewalk and say that you couldn’t touch the cracks? Or in the fall you would say that the leaves were lava and you couldn’t touch the leaves? Essentially anything could be named lava and then you couldn’t touch it. The world was one big game of operation.

Well… I have taken that game and changed it a little. My first modification was to make it REAL instead of a game. Secondly, instead of fictitious lava I have non-fictitious chicken wire, nails, and exposed electrical connections.

You guessed it; I just had my first weekend as the Fight Gym handyman (job #3). As Chris put it, “James, it is just you and the boss fixing up the old fight gym… with swinging hammers and swinging dicks”. (Sorry Mom and sensitive relatives). I was going to be paid a man’s wage for a man’s days work. It didn’t turn out to be as romantic as anticipated.

In the end I tore my hands to pieces (I was not given work gloves until the middle of day two), cut up my legs pretty good, stepped on THREE nails, and electrocuted myself. This wasn’t some wussy American 110 Volt electrocution either. This was Auzzi rules electrocution. 240 Volts straight from the Manly power grid to James. I am pleased to report that I did not scream like a girl, but rather let out a load shout with plenty of base.
The best fun about it all was that when I finished work I got to go straight to Henry Africa’s (the bar) to work. One of my favorite tasks there happens to involve both the cutting and distribution of limes. When you are handling all of that acidic citrus and your hands are covered in cuts it provides you with a constant reminder of how much you suck at job #3.

The boss and I bantered, bickered, and bitched the whole time, and in the end bonded over the experience. We did a pretty good job, although my new reception desk we built is leaning pretty heavily in towards me. Other than the impending fall of that ridiculously heavy desk, we did a great job.

The receptionist job at the Fight Gym has rapidly become the greatest job in the world. Tom (the boss) called me one day to ask how things were going and the conversation went something like this:

Me: … yea everything went fine today.
Tom: James, have you been using the gym at all?
James: Not too much yet
Tom: Well I want you to start working out here
James: Okay… (Feeling uncomfortable about my self image after that comment)… The last few days I have taken some weights behind my desk, or a bike and I have worked out a little.
Tom: Yea, don’t worry about that. If you are not busy just work out anywhere in the gym

So now I am paid in cash every week to work out. I just box, or run, or lift a few hours a day M-F and on Friday Tom just asks “how much do I owe you.”

The leaves are lava, but everything else is straight cash!

I am now scheduled to fight in the next “Fight Night.” We just had one at the gym, but there should be another in 4 or 5 months. By that time I hope to be decent enough to do a little damage in the ring. I will fight under the name “The Receptionist” so that nobody expects anything from me. 3 rounds of The Receptionist unleashed, and I’ll be sure to get someone to videotape it.


This is actually a candid picture. How cute? Left to right is Chris Morgan, James Calabrese, Phil Sukys, and Eric Yang (aka Master Yang aka DJ Yang aka Ying Yang aka Ricka aka Rickshaw)

Here are a few of the English kids we always hang out with. They are funny because they are different. Did you know that Tea Time is actually a time? That is literally a time in the day for them, like 4pm or so is Tea time. I thought it was just an expression. I laughed at the English kids for about 5 minutes straight when I learned this.

Punching Girls

The second hostel I stayed at featured multiple men who told me stories about the times they punched women. I’m not saying I condone this, I just think that fact helps convey the strangeness of all of the people I lived with here.

Little did I know it, but my first night in this hostel I roomed with the highest concentration of women punchers. The pictures I’ve included are of this room, and the squalor it provided. This 4 man room featured a middle-aged Italian man named Valerio, a German amongst Germans named Hans, and the human giant German Lucas. Please let me share you some stories of these men so that you may better understand the character of man I roomed with.

Valerio spoke very very little English, but one night as the two of us enjoyed a box of wine together he gave me quite the lecture. The fact that the stories and advice he gave me where in inordinately clear English for Valerio seems to indicate that he has told these stories many times. He first spent about 5 minutes lecturing me on the trouble with Australian prostitutes. I nodded politely as he warned me that the pictures and advertisements for hookers are generally not accurate, and not to expect to receive the same women I order over the phone. After Valerio was certain that I understood this point he began laughing and told me that I needed to tell me a story about prostitutes. A very long story short, it concluded with a hoard of hookers hitting Valerio’s friend’s car with their stilettos because Valerio and company had attempted to drive some prostitute out to the middle of nowhere and leave her. So to stop the car from being damaged Valerio and his mates had to get out and beat them all up. Keep in mind that Valerio was laughing almost uncontrollably throughout the story, and that he looks like a balding bowling ball.

Punching women story #2:

When a group of us where heading out to a club one night Lucas informed me that he may not be allowed back into the club because last time he was there with Hans they got into a fight with… you guessed it, a girl. Lucas thought it would be funny to continually pinch a girls butt, and pretend that Hans was doing it. The girl believed this and ended up throwing a drink in Hans’ face and slapping him. Upon witnessing this act Lucas punched the girl, and was promptly kicked out. Lucas too told me this story while laughing uncontrollably. I did not believe Lucas until we arrived at the club and all of the bouncers had a few words with him about the incident before he was allowed in.

There must be some sort of European sense of humour I’m not accustomed to yet, because neither of these stories sounded that funny to me. They mostly sounded like assault.

Also interesting is the way the German’s partied at the club. I was very curious to see how they would handle themselves, and like the Welsh kids I had met at the previous hostel, they exhibited curiously bi-curios tendencies. When Lucas and Hans got to the dance floor they immediately moved towards the DJ and began dancing together. This seemed innocuous enough at first, but they just never stopped. They never got a drink, never went to the bathroom, never did anything but dance with each other while wearing their little fanny packs (I never asked why they wore them constantly or what was in them). At one point I approached them to inform them that I group of girls wanted to dance, and wanted me to grab some friends. To this invitation for co-ed dance, they replied “No” and continued dancing together.

Also at the hostel was a hilarious Pilipino kid named Joe. The Germans called him Joe-rilla behind his back because he was always drunk, and was gorilla like in appearance and tendencies.

That’s enough. I just want you all to get a feel for the people I have been meeting.


The Germans - Left to Right: Lucas, Lassa, Hans, James

The Germans – Left to Right: Lucas, Lassa, Hans, James

It smells worse than it looks. I'm top bunk above Valerio

It smells worse than it looks. I’m top bunk above Valerio

Drink this or I’ll punch you

Money = Happiness. As you can see, I have used my new found wealth to acquire a surf board and wet suit. Seen here are myself and Chris Morgan heading out for a day in the surf.

Suck it nerds I’m getting paid! That’s right. You read it here first. Mr. James Calabrese, BS in Civil Engineering, is gainfully employed at the “Manly Fight Gym” AND “Henry Africa’s.” Did you see that ‘AND’ I included? That is because I have two jobs, thus necessitating the conjunction ‘and.’ If I recall correctly, when I dipped out of the US you all only had one job, and some even had zero. Even you dad, you only have one job. Look how your son has succeeded in the big wide world. Two jobs… I do the work of two men. Pretty impressive, I know.

At the Fight Gym I have been entrusted with the all important duties of “receptionist.” I also have the pleasure of working weekends where I will be renovating the establishment with the owner. So that is practically two jobs in itself. Receptionist and Handyman. Now I’m up to three jobs, but to be modest I’ll say I work 2.5 jobs (but still do the work of 3 men).

This is where we shred waves.

I’m also employed at Henry Africa’s: a very fancy cocktail bar / club on the beach. For those of you who visited me at the Buffalo Wing University just imagine the exact opposite of that, and that is where I work. Instead of $2 beers, I now serve $20 cocktails. To be honest, I’m only a mere barback, but still an important member of the team. I know I made a pretty smart cocktail before coming to the OZ, but just think about the concoctions I’ll be slinging when I come home.

Because I’m working at a boxing gym, if people don’t like my drinks I can just hit them, and if getting KO’d by the guy who just handed you a mojito upsets you, then I’ll just renovate your home to make up for it. These 2.5 jobs are less like jobs, and more like investments in myself. The life I can lead with these new skills… I’ll be unstoppable.


This is where we trash waves. Normally there are people and waves... these are pretty crappy beach pictures, but then again, this is a pretty crappy blog.

This is where we trash waves. Normally there are people and waves… these are pretty crappy beach pictures, but then again, this is a pretty crappy blog.

Home Sweet Home

My Bed

My Bed

Here are some pictures of my new apartment. Note the comfortable sleeping arrangements. I want to post of few videos of the place so you can get a real feel for it, but the internet in this cafe is too slow. Just imagine the house from the movie “Fight Club.” I pretty much live in that, but I’m one block back from the beach, and right in the downtown area. Can you say, “30 second walk to the Kabob stand”? I can say it, several times a day.

I’ll have to post the videos on YouTube or something. I’ll send the links when that’s done
We just found a refrigerator on the street across town today. We carried it to our place which was exhausting but necessary. Its current contents are beer and a chocolate bar which had melted and I’m attempting to freeze. I will likely eat it for breakfast as I contemplate my life here and cry softly.

Tomorrow we get furniture, all of which was bought from a massive thrift store. Tonight, we sleep on the floor yet again. Why did I travel here again?

I’m way behind on several updates. I’ll soon have posts along the lines of “surf camp chess domination” “overqualified and underemployed” “Does anyone win the juice game?” and I still have to do some gems I’ve already promised like “punching girls”. Also by popular demand I’ll do an entry on my exciting adventures in Portland, Oregon!


I later had to give him my tent to use as a blanket

I later had to give him my tent to use as a blanket

Seen here is my roommate Eric using the ground tarp from my tent as a blanket. Australia is everything we dreamt it would be.

Seen here is my roommate Eric using the ground tarp from my tent as a blanket. Australia is everything we dreamt it would be.

Wales Sucking

Riparian Vegetation function as the building blocks for much aquatic life in Australia!

Riparian Vegetation function as the building blocks for much aquatic life in Australia!

The first hostel we stayed at sucked. It is very big and impersonal. My roommates were a creepy 72 year old man from New Zealand and two terrible Welsh guys about my age.

Noteworthy things about these people:

-The old man being there:
It was very uncomfortable to speak to him or look him in the eye

-The weird Welsh kids:
First off is the fact that they shared a bed and slept head to toe. What the hell? There are 4 beds, 4 very small beds. We can each at least have our own small bed. But they chose to share a bed, and leave one empty. I was too scared and confused to inquire as to why they chose to do this.

-The annoying Welsh kids (same kids) (2 Parts):
Part 1: They continuously hassled me for my booze. Naturally, Phil and I bought all of the liquor we could carry from the duty free shop in the Sydney Airport. These were our most valuable (and heaviest) possessions. They were bought to essentially bribe people into being our friends, and I didn’t want to waste sweet sweet booze on foreigners with perplexing sleeping arrangements.

I can't believe how close they let you get to the Riparian Vegetation! This city is full of mystery and wonder.

I can’t believe how close they let you get to the Riparian Vegetation! This city is full of mystery and wonder.

Part 2: I woke up early one morning to the Welsh kids snoring like freight trains, and on top of that they had their retarded little ipod nano with built in speakers blaring The Fray or some crap like that which used to be constantly playing at Buffalo Wing University (god bless that fine establishment). So I go to get off my top bunk (they were sleeping below me… together) so I can snatch the ipod and turn it off. I chose to jump off my bunk, however, because the latter wasn’t very good. Unfortunately, I was wearing my gym shorts. When I jumped, the got caught on some pole, and instead of landing on the floor, I was actually suspended in mid air, dangling from my shorts. Luckily the shorts didn’t snag where you don’t want shorts to snag, but they rather caught the fleshy part of my upper thy (I still have a huge bruise there). After flailing my legs and shouting “What the F***” the creepy old Kiwi wakes

up and says something. I chose to ignore him (he is old and probably thought it was a dream or that he had died, either way I didn’t care). I managed to un-hang myself, snatch the ipod out the Welsh weirdo’s hand and turn of the god awful music. True story.

Overall the hostel blew. I didn’t really make any friends. The only person I met was the gorgeous French girl named Anne-Carol… she never new how much I loved her.

That is enough about my first hostel. The second one was only stranger and more hilarious. I’ll write about that one later.


Chapter One


What up nerds?  I’ve been in Sydney for 5 days now, and this place is awesome. We saw the opera house, and junk like that, but who cares. What everyone is interested in is hilarious foreigners, and so far foreign people have not disappointed.

Our first 2 nights were at the Sydney Central YHA hostel and it sucked. It is big and clean and you don’t meet anyone (except for the very gorgeous and very French Anne-Carole. You have to

swallow your foot to properly pronounce her name, and the language barrier between us has prevented me from confessing my undying love for her). There I very disappointingly shared a room with a 70 year old man, and 2 Welsh kids. The old man creeped me out, and I learned that Welsh people suck.

I think I’ll keep each blog entry short and direct, so now I’ll add specific entries for specific foreign people. Look forward to entries such as “Wales Sucking,” “Punching Girls,” and “Asians speak sign language too”

If you are reading this… you are bored,