haw flake

Cola Festival 2019...

Coca-Cola Energy:
I always like the chance to try something new from Coca-Cola (and, it was their pre-summer release schedule that inspired the timing of the festival for August,) so I was glad to see something quite different from the brand - an energy drink version branded as simple Coca-Cola Energy.

I tried the regular version, with a sugar-free option available. (The can design for each is almost indistinguishable, so I didn't even realise I had choices to consider until later.)  The flavour was interesting, with the tang common to energy drinks, but less pronounced than in V or RedEye.  The cola flavour is not the distinctive Coke taste, but more of a vintage cola.  Overall it wasn't a bad addition to both the cola and energy drink market, though one that was hardly groundbreaking.

Soda Press Co. Blonde Cola:
Soda Press Co. are another welcome addition to the apparently burgeoning DIY soda syrup game.  Whilst sitting alongside Soda King and even SodaStream syrups on the shelf Soda Press's syrups might seem a costlier option, the larger bottles seem as concentrated as Soda King's, so the difference is a wash.  Soda Press also produce more exotic flavours, though my first attempt, when I excitedly tried their pink graprefruit syrup, made me realise I mix a lot less grapefruit cocktails than I had thought I might.  A new flavour, Blonde Cola, arrived in time for this year's festival.

When I mixed it, I wasn't sure I had the dosage right.  I'd been expecting the liquid to remain mostly clear, like Bart Simpson's Clear Cola which was available in the early 1990s (peculiarly sold in a car, negating the product's novel clarity) or the new Coca-Cola Clear released in Japan.  Mixed at the prescribed dosage, the result is a pale, almost ginger ale colour.  The bouquet, though, is distinctively cola, almost like the flavour of those Japanese cola bottle lollies.  The flavour was refreshing, though not as distinctively cola as the scent.  I am excited to try the drink as a mixer, and especially curious about how it will work with gin.  It seems like a perfect match for Canadian whisky, being less dry than ginger ale, and not so strong as to neutralise the whisky's flavour.

Pepsi 1893:
I'd been looking forward to trying PepsiCo's (presumably) heritage recipe since I'd first spotted its appearance, but it took until the Festival to do so.  Unfortunately, I think the reduction in price is probably a sign of the discontinuation of the product line, rather than a generous celebration.
I tried the Original Cola flavour first, and was very impressed.  As expected, it had the base of what I tend to call a vintage cola, but was also more carbonated than these typically tend to be.  Beneath that, deeper flavours rose in the aftertaste, almost like the calm slowBurn of a spirit.  The cola taste was followed by nutty, spicey flavours that truly are quite unique in this market.  I even started to wonder if the drink, as well as being refreshing in the afternoon, might have the medicinal qualities of Pepsin as Brad's Drink had originally intended.

The following day, I sampled the Ginger Cola variant, pleased to find another Ginger Cola on the market after CCA's short-lived attempt.  I was even more pleased when I opened the can: the ginger scent is immediately apparent, but the taste was not overwhelming, as it was in Coke's ginger edition.  The result was an instantly refreshing drink, the perfect balance of traditional cola and ginger spice, added with the right amount of carbonation.  PepsiCo's 1893 varieties were a nice change, and it would be good if they could stay around.

Bickford's Kola Nut:
Another syrup, this one is described, oddly, as being archival. Like the 1893 Pepsi, this was clearly reduced as a deleted product rather than in recognition of the Cola Festival (the entire shelf was marked 'Reduced to Clear.')  For $1 per bottle, I thought it was worth a try.  Mixed with soda water, the concoction didn't have a lot of flavour.  Even when mixing well beyond the recommended dosage, the result was mediocre, with slight hints of a Sunnyboy Cola taste, but it is so faint as to render it meaningless.

Nexba Cola:
Billed as 'Naturally Refreshing,' Nexba Cola is one that I have seen and been tempted by at Festivals for at least the last few years, but have never actually sampled.  Something about the product never appealed to me.  Maybe it was the 1990s style graphics on the packaging.  Unfortunately, the flavour also had the same impact on me.  It wasn't bad, and was certainly a refreshing drink as advertised.  It was just kind of bland.  The cola taste was indistinct, and perhaps even closer to something like Creaming Soda.

Lo Bros Organic Cola Kombucha:
Despite being surrounded by Kombucha in my previous job, where everyone seemed to drink variations of the drink at lunch time in my last couple of years, I had never actually tried it before this festival.  I had not realised the drink is promoted as a probiotic, I guess a more refreshing alternative to Yakult, and maybe something with health benefits.  I was not interested in that though, and was just here for the taste.

This was distinctly something with a cola flavour, rather than a pure cola, but the flavour was there nevertheless.  Combined with the flavour was a kind of dryness, like the texture of ginger ale, which was not unwelcome and did not make the drink any less refreshing.  I was also pleased to find that there was a slight carbonation, though not as much as I might usually like.  Still, the drink would certainly be a nice refreshment in warm weather.
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rion psychic

Eric van Viele...

Eric van Viele was an actor renowned for his work on stages throughout Germany.  Like many actors of the day, Eric was skeptical about the new medium film, in which some of his contemporaries were starting to dabble.  Hearing of the international attention being given to the so-called 'Expressionist' cinema of Germany, Eric reached out cautiously to F. W. Murnau.  Little is known of how the pair came to be acquainted, but Murnau granted Eric a role in his upcoming film Nosferatu.  Despite being a novice within the medium, and, in the role of 'Sailor' - a bit-part, little more than an extra - Eric van Viele became known as disruptive on set.  He questioned Murnau's creative and technical decisions, and the pair were frequently witnessed involved in increasingly volatile arguments.  Amongst the cast and crew, rumours were rife surrounding the exact nature of the pair's relationship, and even of off-set violence.  While Murnau was promoting his later film, Sunrise, Eric also spoke to the media, referring to the director as dummer hirnloser dummkopf. Finally, Murnau complained to his solicitor about what he described as Eric's slander.  Arrested on charges of defamation, Eric van Viele was executed three days later, despite charges never being substantiated.

Except that he wasn't.

I'd heard about the film Nosferatu, read articles about its deviations from its source material, viewed stills in film history books.  But I'd never been able to view the movie.  Channel 31 played old movies, but tended to stick to talkies.  Once I started university, I found that the library had a wealth of DVDs, purportedly for film students to draw on for precedent, but I don't think Man Bites Dog ever served as anything more than salacious entertainment.  Even with my CAVAL priveleges, I didn't find a copy of Nosferatu in any of the libraries.  Instead, in the summer before my final year of study in 2003, I found a copy of Murnau's film on a budget DVD produced thanks to the film's lack of copyright protection in a discount store.

Sometimes after anticipating a movie for a long time, I am disappointed when I finally watch, but this wasn't the case when I eventually viewed Nosferatu.  It was the style of the film that made an impression on me, in much the same way as 2001: A Space Odyssey had.  Unlike 2001 though, I made a note of several flaws in the copy of Nosferatu which I had watched.  The soundtrack chosen by the DVD's author to accompany the originally silent film seemed to be mismatched, and at times maybe chosen at random (though sounds like bells matched to vision on screen are less tacky in practice than I might have imagined.)  The caption cards appeared to have been translated too literally from the original German, and presented oddly in a typeface I recognised immediately as one I'd downloaded myself for an earlier project, a proxy of that used by Coca-Cola.
I vowed to produce my own, more faithful production of the film, but so far the project has yet to be realised.

A few months later, the ABC premiered Welcher & Welcher, Shaun Micallef's sitcom about a husband and wife law firm.  Possibly in preparation for the online interactivity for viewers to work with in the upcoming myster-comedy Fat Cow Motel, the series was accompanied by a website which evolved with each episode.  Rather than merely promoting the coming episode with a synopsis, the site purported to be the homepage of the real Welcher & Welcher law firm.  The site offered free legal advice relevent to the upcoming plot, which I presume from its style, to have been written by Shaun Micallef himself.  The information for episode six's release, dealing with a case of defamation, included the document 'So you've defamed a politician?' which included the following excerpt within its Common Questions section:
Who directed Sunrise (1927) and was he ever defamed?
The silent classic Sunrise was directed by the great German director FW Murnau. Murnau was once called a 'stupid know-nothing silly' by Eric van Viele, an extra on Murnau's earlier silent film, Nosferatu (1922). The subsequent defamation case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Three days later, Viele was beheaded.

The joke, of course, is that such a specific question is unlikely to be asked commonly.  Nevertheless, it amused my brother and I, and inspired him to watch my copy of the aforementioned film.  I joined him for a repeat screening, this time with suppositions about which actor could be the fabled 'Eric van Viele' character.  The meddling locals in the pub Thomas Hutter visits in Transylvania were quickly ruled out.  They seemed too plain to be someone we had decided in the time between reading the Welcher article and the first quarter of an hour of the movie to be someone of some renown, perhaps a recognised theatrical actor?  The carriage driver was a possibility, but we imagined someone without lines, but with plenty of ambition.  The sailors were a possibility!

I rewatched the movie a few years later, and remembered the story of Eric van Viele, the ill-fated extra.  Searching for information online, the only article that came up was the Welchers' legal advice.  By this time, Wikipedia was five years old, and well enough known for its dubious reliability for my brother's university to have documented rules outlawing its use as a source in scholarly work. (An exception was granted for one of his classmates when writing on the impact of Myspace on the music industry, due to the lack of other sources available.)  I'd recently dabbled in editing the pages of Wikipedia, usually merely correcting spelling errors or citing sources. When I'd discovered that my former high school's page featured little information other than promoting the achievements of a friend, I decided to elaborate.  Perhaps intending to build upon what I guessed to be his self-promotion, I expanded upon his profile.  The information was not untrue, but also not anything with sources that could be cited.  It was not defamatory, but written in such a way as to appear deliberately far-fetched.

So whilst I saw that it was flawed, Wikipedia was a page I visited regularly as a starting point for topics I might like to find out more about (research being a kind of hobby I maintain to this day.)  One of the topics I'd been looking into at that time was cases where belief in something had made it become (or seem to become) real.  And so, whilst looking at the history of Nosferatu, with my current research obsession in my mind, I added a character to the cast, citing the Welcher article as a source.  Perhaps, at the time, I wondered if this couple of paragraphs of backstory for the fictitious character from a joke could lead to some kind of belief, but I moved onto other areas of interest and forgot about it.

Then, last week, I recieved a number of emails.  I didn't see them until the deadline within them had elapsed.  All of them were headlined with a notification that someone had left me a message on Wikipedia.  I might have thought them a scam of some kind had I not looked into the content.  Until I saw them, I wasn't even aware that one could be sent a message on Wikipedia.  The earliest of the messages invited me to be a part of a discussion on the validity of my article on Eric van Viele.  Later messages increased in their urgency, culminating in one inviting me to view a message regarding the 'speedy deletion nomination of Eric van Viele,' and the stern warning 'Please do not introduce inappropriate pages, such as Eric van Viele, to Wikipedia.'

I followed the link to view the message, and read through the discussion.  The users raised valid points, which I agreed with, and I admired that they seemed to have conducted some degree of research (though astoundingly mentioned seeing Eric's name appearing in the credits of Nosferatu.)  Following in their footsteps, I was surprised to find that an internet search on the exact phrase 'Eric van Viele' returns over four million results.  IMDb lists a second film credit in his name, and several websites include Eric van Viele in discussions of films of the era.  As well as the expected DVD copies of Nosferatu (and a two-disc set that I was initially curious about, until I saw that the second disc was merely a sepia-tinted copy of the same film as the first disc) Amazon advertises some unexpected Eric van Viele items.  At the end of the Wikipedia users' discussion, it was agreed upon by all that the article must have been created as a hoax, and that it should be removed.  They even went on to list it on an entry called 'List of hoaxes on Wikipedia,' though one user states this may be inappropriate as 'the guy was real but the story wasn't.'

And so, Eric van Viele, nothing more than a name devised as a part of a punchline of a joke which did not even appear in a television programme, has apparently, thanks to my ignorant actions, been recognised as appearing in a film he did not, and noted as the longest running hoax in the history of Wikipedia, at 13 years and 3 months.
rion psychic

FinalList 2018...

Ball Park Music - Frank
Basement - Disconnect
Confidence Man - Try Your Luck
Hellions - Smile
I Know Leopard - Landmine
Olympia - Star City
Ruel - Dazed & Confused {Prod. M-Phazes}
Stand Atlantic - Skinny Dipping
Trophy Eyes - Friday Forever
YUNGBLUD - Polygraph Eyes
haw flake

shortList 2018...

070 Shake - Mirrors
1010 Benja SL - Ultimaybe
A Perfect Circle - So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
A$AP Rocky - A$AP Forever {Ft. Moby/T.I./ Kid Cudi}
A$AP Rocky - Sundress
A. Swayze & The Ghosts - Suddenly
Aburden - To The Sky
After Touch - Six Feet Closer
Ainslie Wills - Society
Airways - Alien
Alex The Astronaut - Waste Of Time
All Time Low - Everything Is Fine
Amity Affliction, The - Feels Like I'm Dying
Amity Affliction, The - Ivy (Doomsday)
Amy Shark - All Loved Up
Amy Shark - Don't Turn Around
Amy Shark - I Said Hi
Amy Shark - Never Coming Back
Amy Shark - The Idiot
Angie McMahon - Missing Me
Another Sky - Forget Yourself
Antony & Cleopatra - Hurt Like Hell
Approachable Members Of Your Local Community - Semiotic Vision
Architects - Royal Beggars
Arctic Monkeys - American Sports
Arctic Monkeys - Four Out Of Five
Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Augie March - Bootikins
AURORA - Queendom
Baauer - 3AM {Ft. AJ Tracey/Jae Stephens}
Babe Rainbow, The - Supermoon
BABYMETAL - Distortion
BABYMETAL - Starlight
Bad Juju - Moving On
Baker Boy - Black Magic {Ft. Dallas Woods}
Ball Park Music - Frank
Ball Park Music - I Am So In Love With You
Ball Park Music - The End Times
Basement - Disconnect
BATTS - Shame
Bearcubs - Landslide
Bec Sandridge - Animal
Bec Stevens - They Don't Build Cars Like This Anymore
Ben Howard - Nica Libres At Dusk
Bene - Soaked
Beths, The - You Wouldn't Like Me
Billie Eilish - you should see me in a crown
Bishop Briggs - Baby
BLEACHERS - Alfie's Song (Not So Typical Love Song)
BOAT SHOW - Restless
Bob Moses - Heaven Only Knows
BØRNS & Lana Del Rey - God Save Our Young Blood
Boston Manor - Halo
breathe. - Are You All Good?
Bring Me The Horizon - Wonderful Life {Ft. Dani Filth}
BUGS - Glue
Burnout - Get Out
Cable Ties - Tell Them Where To Go
Canary - Two Step
Car Seat Headrest - Cute Thing
Carl Renshaw - Sence
Cautious Clay - Stolen Moments
Charli XCX - Don't Delete The Kisses {triple j Like A Version 2017}
Childish Gambino - This Is America
Christine And The Queens - Doesn't Matter
City Calm Down - Joan, I'm Disappearing
CLEWS - Museum
Cog - The Middle
Columbus - Don't Know How To Act
Confidence Man - Catch My Breath
Confidence Man - Don't You Know I'm In A Band
Confidence Man - Out The Window
Confidence Man - Santa's Comin' Down The Chimney
Confidence Man - Try Your Luck
Cosmo Sheldrake - Wriggle {Mr Jukes Edit}
Courtney - Barnett Charity
Courtney Barnett - Nameless, Faceless
Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird - Transient
CREO - Plasticine Mezzanine
Cub - Sport Sometimes
Darwin Deez - The World's Best Kisser
Dead Letter Circus - The Real You
DEAN FOREVER - Ease The Nearing
Dean Lewis - Be Alright
Didirri - I Can't Get Last Night Out Of My Head
Disclosure - Where Angels Fear To Tread
DMA'S - For Now
DMA'S - The End
Dream On Dreamer - Let It In
Dream Wife - Hey Heartbreaker
Dylan Joel - Hollering Love
DZ Deathrays - Like People
E^ST - Blowjob
E^ST - I Don't Lack Imagination
Ebhoni - Opps
Editors - Hallelujah (So Low)
Eilish Gilligan - S.M.F.Y.
Emerson Snowe - If I Die, Then I Die
Emma Louise - Falling Apart
Everything Everything - Breadwinner
Faim, The - Saints Of The Sinners
Florence And The Machine - Hunger
Flowermouth - Gown
Franz Ferdinand - Lazy Boy
Fraser A. Gorman - Walking To Oman's
G Flip - Killing My Time
Gengahr - Before Sunrise
Ghost - Rats
Ghostemane - D(r)ead
Girlpool - Hire
Golden Features - Runner
Gooch Palms, The - Busy Bleeding
Goon Sax, The - She Knows
Gorillaz - Tranz
Gretta Ray - Time
Grimes - We Appreciate Power {Ft. HANA}
Haiku Hands - Jupiter
half•alive - still feel.
Hands Like Houses - Overthinking
Hard Aches, The - Happy
Hatchie - Sugar & Spice
Hellions - Smile
Highasakite - Out Of Order
Hilltop Hoods - Leave Me Lonely
Hinds - The Club
Hockey Dad - I Wanna Be Everybody
Hockey Dad - Join The Club
Hockey Dad - Sweet Release
Hopium - Leave
I Don’t Know How But They Found Me - Do It All The Time
I Know Leopard - Landmine
IAMDDB - Conjuring
IDLES - Danny Nedelko
IV League - Superstar
Jack Gray - My Hands
Jack River - Confess
Jack White - Connected By Love
Japanese Wallpaper - Fooling Around
John Butler Trio - Home
Jungle - Happy Man
Kanye West - Ghost Town
Karen O & Danger Mouse - Lux Prima
Kero Kero Bonito - Make Believe
Kimbra - Human
King Princess - Talia
Kira Puru - Molotov
Kite String Tangle, The - Give It Time {Ft. Aalias}
Kooks, The - No Pressure
LANKS - twentyseven
Last Dinosaurs - Eleven
Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers - China Beach
Leikeli47 - Hoyt And Schermerhorn
Leikeli47 - Mulita
Leikeli47 - Roll Call
Let's Eat Grandma - I Will Be Waiting
Lily Allen - Trigger Bang {Ft. Giggs}
Little May - Lover
Liza Anne - Small Talks
LOSER - Loser
LPX - Might Not Make It Home
LSD - Genius
LSD - Thunderclouds
Luca Brasi - Clothes I Slept In
Lykke Li - deep end
Mallrat - Groceries
Mallrat - UFO {Ft. Allday}
Mansionair - Falling
Manu Crook$ - Fuego {Ft. Anfa Rose}
Mark Ronson - Nothing Breaks Like A Heart {Ft. Miley Cyrus}
Meg Mac - Give Me My Name Back
Merk - LuckMGMT Me And MichaelDilemma
Methyl Ethel - Scream Whole
MGMT - Me And Michael
MGMT - When You Die
MID CITY - Old Habits
Middle Kids - On My Knees
Miya Folick - Stop Talking
MØ - Blur
Montaigne - For Your Love
Muse - Thought Contagion
Nicole Millar - Gimme A Break
Nine Inch Nails - God Break Down The Door
Nothing But Thieves - Forever & Ever More
Nothing But Thieves - Take This Lonely Heart
Nyxen - In The City
Ocean Alley - Corduroy
Ocean Sleeper - Save Me
Odette - Take It To The Heart
Olympia - Star City
Parcels - Withorwithout
Parkway Drive - Chronos
Parkway Drive - The Void
Peking Duk - Fire
Petit Biscuit - Suffer {Ft. SKOTT}
Phantastic Ferniture - Gap Year
Polish Club - Clarity
Pom Poko - My Blood
Post Malone - Better Now
Post Malone & Swae Lee - Sunflower
Press Club - Suburbia
Rich Brian - watch out!
Riton & Kah-Lo - Fake ID
Robert DeLong - Favorite Color Is Blue {Ft. K.Flay}
Rubens, The - Casper
Rubens, The - Freakout
Rubens, The - God Forgot
Rubens, The - Never Ever {Ft. Sarah}
Ruby Fields - Dinosaurs
Ruby Fields - Ritalin
Ruel Dazed & Confused {Prod. M-Phazes}
RÜFÜS DU SOL - Treat You Better
SAFIA - Freakin' Out
Samsaruh - The Beginning
Sarah Blasko - A Shot
ShockOne - Bleed Black {Ft. Cruz Patterson}
Skegss - Smogged Out
Skegss - Up In The Clouds
Sloan Peterson - New Direction
Slowly Slowly - Alchemy
Slowly Slowly - Ten Leaf Clover
SOPHIE - Immaterial
Stand Atlantic - Lavender Bones
Stand Atlantic - Lost My Cool
Stand Atlantic - Skinny Dipping
Steady Holiday - Nobody's Watching
Stevie Jean - Estranged
Story So Far, The - Let It Go
Superorganism - Everybody Wants To Be Famous
Superorganism - SPRORGNSM
Superorganism - The Prawn Song
Tapestry - Dark Shade
Tash Sultana - Harvest Love
The Gooch Palms - Summertime
The Story So Far - Upside Down
Thelma Plum - Clumsy Love
Thrice - The Grey
Tia Gostelow - Strangers {Ft. LANKS}
Tiny Little Houses - Drag Me
Tiny Little Houses - Team Player
Tonight Alive - Book Of Love
Tonight Alive - Crack My Heart
Tonight Alive - Disappear {Ft. Lynn Gunn}
TOTTY - Uncomfortable
Towkio - Symphony {Ft. Teddy Jackson}
Trophy Eyes - Friday Forever
Trophy Eyes - More Like You
Trophy Eyes - Something Bigger Than This
Trophy Eyes - You Can Count On Me
Two People - In The Garden
WAAX - Labrador
Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar, The - Pray For Me
West Thebarton - Stuck On You
Wombats, The - Cheetah Tongue
Wombats, The - Lethal Combination
Wombats, The - Turn
World Champion - Gun
Young Thug - High {Ft. Elton John}
YUNGBLUD - 21st Century Liability
YUNGBLUD - Polygraph Eyes
YUNGBLUD - Psychotic Kids
ZHU - Stormy Love, NM. {Ft. JOY.}
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haw flake

A little North of the Equator...

We arrived at Changi Airport after an awkward stop at Darwin, from midnight until six.am.  Local time in Darwin confused us for a while, and we considered going in to the city until morning, but we were disuaded by the fact that we couldn't check our luggage in until four o'clock.  The airport had the only duty free shopping I did during the trip though, a $2.99 bottle of vodka.
After an impressive and luxurious airport breakfast, we were on board another plane.  I vowed to sleep, since I'd been awake for around 24 hours, but as usual was less than successful.  As the plane commenced its descent into Singapore, Jax and I resumed an earlier discussion about how we'd reach the island from the airport.  We'd learned that taxis are affordable, but, since we were arriving at nine.am and couldn't check into our hotel until three, I insisted we try taking the train.
I picked up a network map as we passed through Arrivals and plotted a course to Sentosa whilst we waited for out overnight bags to emerge onto the baggage carousel.  It looked simple enough, and proved to be such, with the most complex part being finding the way to the airport station.  I'd won the case for the train with the concession that if anything went wrong, we could disembark and take a taxi at any time.  The only unexpected moment came when a pre-recorded announcement aboard the automated, driverless train reminded commuters that they could press the emergency button upon sight of what it described as 'suspicious individuals.'  A moment later, the train jerked to a slower pace, and another recorded message advised that the emergency button had been activated, and asked that we remain patient as investigators boarded the vehicle to determine the reason for the delay.  Luckily, it wasn't us.
A bus took us from the mainland to Sentosa Island, where I was pleased to find that our room was ready early:  I'd been wearing the same clothes since leaving home around 35 hours earlier and really wanted to shower and clean my teeth.  I had also thought a nap might have been a sensible choice, but instead we headed out to explore the island.
The clean, Vegas-y atmosphere of the first actual resort town I've been to was inescapable, but fun to move within.  Unashamedly artificial, we started by navigating our immediate surrounds - American and Asian franchises and upper-midddle priced casual dining - and gravitated, perhaps predictably, towards the casino.  Unexpectedly though, we did not enter.  Maybe it was an acknowledgement of our limited time.  Instead, we set about circumnavigating the island, vowing to stop at everything that looked interesting.
Emerging from an articifial cave and waterfall that was the habitat of some turtles, we decided on the Chili Café for lunch, and my first Singapore Sling (of this trip.)  Spreading a map on the table, we identified points of interest over our next round.  Jax suggested we stop at the hotel we'd first considered reserving, the Siloso Beach Resort, until a cheaper option - the Festive Hotel - had appeared.  So we headed from lunch to Siloso Beach.  I appreciated this style of beach, overlooking a shipping port, and dotted with fully serviced bars.  We found the Resort hotel and ordered some drinks from the modest menu, and felt glad that we'd found the Festive Hotel.  Though cheaper, it was much grander and more centrally located.  Looking over my drink to the jungle-like surroundings on either side of the hotel's bar, I wondered aloud if Sentosa is home to monkeys, and scanned the treetops for evidence of any.  As though in answer to my question, we heard scurrying footsteps over the the verandah's rooftop, and I was not disappointed to see that they belonged to squirrels rather than monkeys.
While we were finishing our drinks, we heard the bass sounds of a party nearby, so we followed it to the Asian DJ finals, taking place inside Wave House, a bar which was also home to a wave pool for surf practice.  I added fake-surfing to my to-do list, and we took a seat in a cabana to hear the finalists perform.
En-route, I'd convinced Jax to join me at street luge by buying two passes before he had a chance to object, entitling us to four rides each.  We'd taken two before going to explore the bars of Siloso, and decided to use the remaining passes after some drinks and nightfall.  After leaving the DJ finals disappointed - I've never enjoyed DJ shows, bar service was unavailble, and table service seemed slow to the point of nonexistance - we went to a beach club called Óla.  Exactly my kind of place, the Tiki themed club quickly served me an icy, yet burning cocktail as we watched a wicked thunderstorm brewing over the ocean.
We remained sheltered under our parasol as we watched the lightning and swimmers disregarding the increasingly urgent announcements of lifeguards to leave the water.
As darkness fell, we returned to use our remaining street luge tickets to find the chairlift to the top of the slope closed due to lightning.  I worried that we would miss out on our last two rides, but Jax remained stoic - we could check back after the next bar, this time 'Beerkini,' a Hooters rip off with ocean views advertising a frozen Bacardi cocktail special.  Whilst the waitress was unaware of the drink, I was deeply satisfied with whatever kinds of frozen drinks she brought me instead, and embarrassed both Jax and the waitress by asking a woman seated nearby to take a picture of the three of us together.
The woman turned out to be the bar's owner, seated with an Australian friend.  Noticing our accent, the friend seemed to feel an immediate sense of comraderie, and asked us what were were doing there.  Jax explained the long weekend trip, but was cut off by the owner's friend.
'No, no,' she snapped.  'I meant what are you doing here on Sentosa?  The drinking is much better at Clarke Quay.'
We took note of her point for our next day, observing that my mother had offered similar advice in a response to the email I'd sent her from Tullamarine Airport letting her know I'd be away.  After some more drinks, the luge circuit appeared to be operating again, and we took our last few rides.  Proving the impact of alcohol consumption on driving ability, I observed myself to be much more daring for these rides, though Jax had confessed to being surprised at my speed on all four trips down the mountain.
Our subsequent investigation took us back towards one of Singapore's famous Merlion statues, and, upon seeing it indeed unlit (my mother had also recommended seeing the 'Merlion Lightshow' on the island, though none of the locals we'd asked knew anything about it) we inevitably gravitated back to the casino.  Having ascertained our hotel's proximity to the casino, I agreed to a single drink and perhaps a meal - it was well after midnight, and we'd not eaten since the (mostly liquid) lunch.  The casino's security checks were noticably thorough, especially when compared to the nation's Customs check point we had sailed through earlier in the day, but we made it in.  We went in search of a bar.  It turned into an extensive search operation, which made us questions whether local customs were perhaps different to what we were used to:  observing the floor, gamblers were alone, smoking in some areas, but drinking nothing harder than the bottled water being delivered en masse by casino staff.  Could drinking and gambling in tandem be considered taboo?  It certainly seemed so, but we had during our investigation come upon the Casino Royale bar where a band called Uber Duber were performing - and taking requests.  We ordered a drink each, and stood out against the other patrons, all of whom had bottles of the finest spirits laid out on their tables before them.  On either side of us, we looked on in horror as barely-touched bottles of Hennessey and Grey Goose were cleared away to some mysterious back room, where I imagined and hoped staff might indulge upon them after their shift. 
Meanwhile, Uber Duber had demonstrated their style: chilled out takes on hits, cycling between and an English then a Chinese song, and Gavin asked what I thought the most difficult song for a band like this to play might be.  I considered their line up - drums, guitar, piano and vocals - and thought of slipping a request note for Chop Suey, but between us decided that a more realistic request would be Elton John's Rocketman.  I'd also slipped the band a request for something by Ben Folds but neither were played.  Before they finished, the singer looked over to me, lone Guero in attendance, and apologised for not playing what she presumed (accurately) to have been my requests.
We had a few spins of some old fashioned mechanical slot machines before I was overwhelmed suddenly with fatigue.  In fact, it hit me like a tonne of bricks, in a way I don't know that I have ever felt.  Jax was still hoping to eat, but my exhaustion must have been visible.  He sent me to the room despite my offer to escort him to find food, and I barely noticed when he returned.
I guess I've learned that the longest this device can operate is around 48 hours before a recharge is required.
rion psychic


During a pre-Halloween conversation teetering on drunkeness, Jax suggested a trip.

'Do you think four days is enough time to see Japan?' he asked.

With a (debatable) long weekend approaching, he was considering a whirlwind trip.  I state my doubt that four days was sufficient to see even Tokyo, but also that I would join him if he decided on going.  As our bottle emptied, other desitinations were suggested, including Singapore.  I recalled my parents telling me they'd walked from one end of Sentosa Island to the other within an hour.  Surely, with that trivia in mind, that would make four days ample time to explore the island.

We ordered pizza and watched Suspiria for the first time, though my mind must have been elsewhere, because I couldn't even begin to explain the plot today.  When I reaised the trip idea again this week as a more pressing issue, if it were to proceed, Jax seemed confused.  He checked the calendar app on his phone.
'Oh,' he said, still studying the results on the screen.  He had lost track of the proposed dates, and had not realised that next week is the one featuring a public holiday.  (Considering the minor nature of the holiday, and that so much alcohol was consumed during the initial conversation that he had repeatedly spilled whiskey onto my couch, I shouldn't have been surprised.)  Nevertheless, the fact remained that neither of us had plans for the weekend.

During my lunchbreak on Halloween, I flipped open a few travel websites, but found prices to be quite high - particularly for Japan, where flight times and durations also meant that the four-day trip would barely include two at the destination.  Jax had apparently undertaken the same investigation, and we exchanged some emails.  Watching for Trick-or-Treaters from my balcony that evening, I plotted a budget alternative:  A train ride to Ballarat, where one can stay at what is allegedly Australia's most haunted hotel.  The trip would come in at under a hundred dollars.  The hotel even plays host to an impressive and diverse line up of live music most nights of the week.

By morning - yesterday - the last-minute booking market had softened considerably.  By the time I'd sent Jax my haunted hotel itinerary, he'd identified a very reasonable rate at a hotel in the midst of Sentosa's casino and bar district.  This lead me to find an incredibly cheap airfare for a flight from Changi to Tullamarine.  Before lunch, we had found flights to Singapore, and were booked to travel.

Now I am en-route to the airport, leaving the conference I've been organising full-time for the past month or two to deal with itself for a few days, and hopeful the the stormy weather I'm expecting to fly in to won't cause any of Universal Studio's rollercoasters to close.
  • Current Music
    My Baby - Crocodylus
rion psychic

Cola Festival 2018...

There was no Cola Festival last year.  I spent the time usually allocated to the festival overseas, though did sample a variety of European colas in recognition of the date, and, as a side note, tried Orangina at Sim's favourite café.  It was nice to return to the festival this year, so maybe this was why I sampled more flavours than I normally might.  Or maybe, in recognition of a poor release schedule for the last festival, there really was a lot to try.

Since I bought a SodaStream earlier in the year (and replaced it, before realising that all the store's stock were apparently supplied with empty gas cylinders,) the focus of this year was on home made cola, with a taste test between two brands of cola syrup:

SodaStream Classic Cola vs Soda King Cola:
That is the SodaStream version on the left, and Soda King on the right.

With Rob and Jitka staying with me at the moment, Rob joined me for the taste test.  After sipping a glass of the first, he announced that 'It tastes like cola!'

I agreed with him, and, after cleansing our palates, we sampled a glass of the second, with Rob proclaiming that it also tasted like cola, and I agreed, the flavours being so close as to be indistiguishable.  We revealed the results of the blind test.  The first test had been the official SodaStream version, and the second Soda King.  While Rob declared the contest a tie, I decided that Soda King would be my DIY cola syrup choice: it is cheaper per bottle than SodaStream syrup, and also more highly concentrated, producing more cola per bottle.

LA Maxi Vanilla Ice:
In February, I entered a competition to win a Ford Mustang.  On the day it was drawn, the promoter emailed me to tell me I had been 'provisionally selected' as the winner, and asked me to send prove of my identity.  I rushed to my parents' house to use my scanner on the ID and sent it, and the reply congratulated me, telling me that I was a winner of the consolation prize, a $100 IGA voucher.  I rarely shop at IGA, and hoped for some kind of exotic cola.

I was pleased to find a variety of LA Ice I'd so far never seen, Vanilla (along with a bottle of something called Sno-Drop, which I liked because it had a picture of a penguin on the bottle.)  I was less pleased when I was told that IGA vouchers are not accepted by all IGA stores, but paid cash anyway.

The vanilla flavour in the cola was so mild that it could be missed, though the drink could concievably work well as a mixer.  For a vanilla cola, Coca-Cola is still the best, and Pespsi is also usually available, and preferable to LA Ice's attempt.

Coca-Cola Orange and Raspberry:
Jitka didn't join Rob and I for the taste test due to her current no-sugar diet, but did contribute Coca-Cola's new flavours after finding them while shopping.  I didn't let on that's I'd already tasted Raspberry Coke, but included it in the festival anyway due to her kind contribution.

I thought the flavour of both Orange and Raspberry was good, with the flavour to cola ratio seeming just right.  It reminded me of the years that I worked at Subway and mixed a drop of Fanta or Raspberry soda to a glass of Coke.

LA Coffee Ice Cola:
My second attempt to use the IGA voucher produced an even greater surprise.  LA Coffee Ice Cola.  I wouldn't normally buy a drink like this, but in the spirit of the festival, I gave it a try.  I normally don't like cola flavoured with coffee, but, like LA Ice's vanilla, the coffee flavour was very mild.  It isn't one I would buy again, but I liked it more than I expected, and if it remains on sale, it is probably a flavour some people will appreciate.

When I noticed that the Coles homebrand cola had been replaced by an alternative called 'Que,' I presumed it was simply a rebrand of their existing cola.  On Twitter, Coles promised I'd love it.  I certainly liked the adoption of the red cola cliché and branding.  I can't be certain, but got the feeling it is actually the same drink as it was when it was simply 'Coles Homebrand Cola.'  (I noticed that the drink is produced by the same factory as LA Ice, giving Tru Blu Beverages quite the showing at this year's festival.)

Still, it is a quality cola for a good price.  It apparently also comes in a can, as I saw someone bring their own to the late night MIFF screening of Caniba.
haw flake

finalList 2017

Alex Lahey - I Haven't Been Taking Care Of Myself
Bec Sandridge - I'll Never Want A BF
Endless Heights - Come A Little Closer
Goat Girl - Cracker Drool
Kira Puru - Tension
MISSIO - Middle Fingers
Nothing But Thieves - Amsterdam
Planet - Aching Dream
Samsaruh - Beautiful Killer
Sløtface - Pitted
rion psychic

shortList 2017...

(Sandy) Alex G - Proud
A. Swayze & The Ghosts - ICU
Active Bird Community - Newbie
Ainslie Wills - Running Second
Airways - Reckless Tongue
Albert Salt - Glass Plains
Alex Cameron - Stranger's Kiss {Ft. Angel Olsen}
Alex Cameron - Runnin' Outta Luck
Alex Lahey - Torn {triple j Like A Version 2017}
Alex Lahey - I Haven't Been Taking Care Of Myself
Alex Lahey - I Love You Like A Brother
Alex Lahey - Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder
Alex Lahey - I Want U
Alex The Astronaut - Not Worth Hiding
Algiers - The Underside Of Power
Ali Barter - Cigarette
Ali Barter - One Foot In
Allan Rayman - 13
Allday - In Motion {Ft. Japanese Wallpaper}
alt-J - 3WW
alt-J - In Cold Blood
Alvvays - In Undertow
Amber Mark - Lose My Cool
Aminé - Spice Girl
Amir Obè - Wish You Well
Amy Shark - Drive You Mad
Amy Shark - Blood Brothers
Anatole - Outgrown {Ft. Tom Iansek}
Angie McMahon - Slow Mover
Angus & Julia Stone - Chateau
Angus & Julia Stone - Baudelaire
Anna Of The North - Someone
Apakatjah - The Dead Heart
Arcade Fire - Everything Now
Arcade Fire - Electric Blue
Arlie - Didya Think
Asgeir - Afterglow
Asgeir - Dreaming
AURORA - Teardrop {triple j Like A Version 2017}
Ayla - Shallow End
Babaganouj - Star
Babe Rainbow, The - Peace Blossom Boogy
Baker Boy - Marryuna {Ft. Yirrmal}
Ball Park Music - Exactly How You Are
BATTS - For Now
Beaches - Void
Beautiful Monument, The - Manifestation
Bec Sandridge - I'll Never Want A BF
Beck - Dear Life
Beck - Up All Night
Belle Haven - "Selfmade"
Belligerents, The - Science Fiction
Ben Wright Smith - Hellion Heeled
Bennies, The - Get High Like An Angel
Bernard Fanning - Isn't It A Pity
Betty & Oswald - Figure It Out
Big Moon, The - Formidable
Big Scary - Come As You Are {triple j Like A Version 2017}
Big Shaq - Man's Not Hot
Billy Davis - Goldfish {Ft. Denzel Curry}
Bishop Briggs - Dream
Black Lips - Can't Hold On
Black Summer - Young Like Me {Ft. Lowell}
Blaze, The - Juvenile
Bleachers - Don't Take The Money
Bleachers - I Miss Those Days
Blink-182 - Parking Lot
Bliss N Eso - Friend Like You {Ft. Lee Fields}
Bloods - Bug Eyes
Boom Tish - Hello, How Are You
BØRNS - Faded Heart
Brand New - Can't Get It Out
British India - Precious
British India - My Love
Cameron Avery - Wasted On Fidelity
Camp Cope - Footscray Station
Car Seat Headrest - War Is Coming (If You Want It)
Cayetana - Mesa
Chase City - A-N-X-T
Cherry Glazerr - Nuclear Bomb
Circa Waves - Stuck
City Calm Down - Blood
Cloud Control - Zone (This Is How It Feels)
Cloud Control - Treetops
Cloves - California Numb
Clovr - Cold {Ft. Amela}
Coin Banks - Be Real {Ft. Atom/Danny Martin}
Coin Banks - Forgive Us {Ft. The WAAPA Gospel Choir}
Cold War Kids - Love Is Mystical
Confidence Man - Bubblegum
Confidence Man - Better Sit Down Boy
Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird - Morning Person
Crepes - Sexyland
Crepes - Mild Conversation
Cut Copy - Black Rainbows
Cyhi The Prynce - Nu Africa
Dan Croll - Away From Today
Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts - Talisa {Ft. Karen O}
Day Wave - Something Here
Dead Love, The - Sugarcoat
Deafcult - Rubix
Dean Lewis - Lose My Mind
Death From Above - Freeze Me
Diet Cig - Barf Day
Districts, The - Ordinary Day
Districts, The - If Before I Wake
Django Django - Tic Tac Toe
DOPE LEMON - Home Soon
Drake - Madiba Riddim
Drake - Signs
Dream Rimmy - Oxygen
Dream Wife - Fire
Drug Church - Weed Pin
Drums, The - Blood Under My Belt
Drunk Mums - Hot Flush
Dude York - Love Is
Dumb Punts - Got It Good
Dune Rats - Like Before
Dustin Tebbutt - Atlas In Your Eye (For Jasper Jones)
DZ Deathrays - Shred For Summer
E^ST - Life Goes On
Ecca Vandal - Broke Days, Party Nights
Ecca Vandal - Future Heroine
Ecca Vandal - Closing Ceremony
Ecca Vandal - Cold Of The World
Ecca Vandal - Price Of Living {Ft. Dennis Lyxzén & Jason Aalon Butler}
Eilish Gilligan - The Feeling
Electric Guest - Back For Me
Eliza & The Delusionals - Falling Out
Elk Road - Pressure {Ft. Timberwolf}
ELKI - Beautiful Mess
Emily Wurramara - Black Boy
Empire Of The Sun - On Our Way Home
Empress Of - Go To Hell
Endless Heights - Pray I Fade
Endless Heights - Come A Little Closer
Evan Klar - Deepest Creatures
Everything Everything - Big Game
Everything Everything - Good Shot, Good Soldier
Everything Everything - Ivory Tower
Everything Is Recorded - Close But Not Quite {Ft. Sampha}
Ezra Furman - Love You So Bad
Father John Misty - Ballad Of The Dying Man
Fazerdaze - Misread
Feelds - Colourblind
Fiction Writer - No Rumour
Fifth Dawn - Pressure
Fletcher Gull - Light Up
Flowertruck - Dying To Hear
Foo Fighters - Run
Food Court - Not My Way
Fountaineer - Sirens (Parts 1 & 2)
Franz Ferdinand - Always Ascending
Future - Incredible
Gang Of Youths - Fear And Trembling
Gang Of Youths - Achilles Come Down
Gang Of Youths - The Heart Is A Muscle
Gang Of Youths - Our Time Is Short
Gang Of Youths - Atlas Drowned
George Maple - Hero
George Maple - Everybody Here Wants You
Girlpool - 123
Goat Girl - Cracker Drool
Gorillaz - Andromeda {Ft. D.R.A.M.}
Gothic Tropic - Stronger
Green Buzzard - Dream In/Out
Greta Stanley - When January Comes
Gretta Ray - Towers
Grizzly Bear - Four Cypresses
HAIM - Want You Back
Hands Like Houses - Drift
Hatchie - Sure
Hayden Calnin - Collision
Heaps Good Friends - I Could Eat A Full Packet Of Yo Yo's
Highasakite - 5 Million Miles
Hockey Dad - Homely Feeling
Holy Holy - True Lovers
Horrors, The - Machine
Horrors, The - Something To Remember Me By
Hot Spoke - Calm Down
Househats - All Together
Human Buoy - 200 Days
Husky - Ghost
iLoveMakonnen - Love {Ft. Rae Sremmurd}
In Hearts Wake - Passage
Introvert - December
IV League - Change My Mind
Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders - Susan
Jack River - Fault Line
Jackie Onassis - Palo Alto
Jade Imagine - You And I
Jai Wolf - Starlight {Ft. Mr Gabriel}
Jamiroquai - Automaton
Jay Som - 1 Billion Dogs
JAY-Z - The Story Of O.J.
Jens Lekman - What's That Perfume You Wear?
Jeremy Neale - Small Talk {Ft. Pool Shop}
Jess Locke - Dangerous
Joey Bada$$ - ROCKABYE BABY {Ft. ScHoolboy Q}
Julien Baker - Appointments
Jungle Giants, The - Waiting For A Sign
K.Flay - Giver
K21 - Rider {Ft. Rhymefest} {Prod. Jayteehazard}
Kacy Hill - Hard To Love
Kardajala Kirridarra - Two Worlds Collide
Kasabian - You're In Love With A Psycho
Kasabian - Bless This Acid House
Kele Okereke - Streets Been Talkin'
Kendrick Lamar - HUMBLE.
Khalid - American Teen
Khalid - Young Dumb & Broke
Killers, The - The Man
Killers, The - Run For Cover
Killers, The - The Calling
Killers, The - Tyson Vs Douglas
Kim Churchill - Breakneck Speed
Kim Churchill - Second Hand Car
Kimbra - Top Of The World
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Billabong Valley
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Melting
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Open Water
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - The Lord Of Lightning
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Crumbling Castle
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard & The Mild High Club - Rolling Stoned
King Krule - Czech One
King Krule - Logos
King Nun - Hung Around
Kingswood - Atmosphere
Kira Puru - Tension
Kirin J Callinan - Bravado
Kita Alexander - Hotel
Kite String Tangle, The - Selfish
Kooks, The - Be Who You Are
Lakyn - West
Lana Del Rey - Love
Lana Del Rey - Summer Bummer {Ft. A$AP Rocky/Playboi Carti}
Lance Ferguson & One Above - Back To You {Ft. EMRSN & Mosé}
LANKS - My Own Mystery {Ft. Ngaiire}
LCD Soundsystem - american dream
Le Pie - Go Unsteady
Lea Porcelain - Bones
Lil Yachty - Forever Young {Ft. Diplo}
Liza Anne - Paranoia
Logic - Killing Spree {Ft. Ansel Elgort}
London Grammar - Hell To The Liars
London O'Connor - Guts
Lorde - Green Light
Lorde - Sober
Lorde - Supercut
Love Junkies, The - Past Intense
LPX - Slide
Lulu Raes, The - Fake It
Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog
Mac DeMarco - One More Love Song
Macklemore - Marmalade {Ft. Lil Yachty}
Majora - Aphotic
Make Them Suffer - Uncharted
Mallrat - Better
Marika Hackman - Boyfriend
Marilyn Manson - KILL4ME
Marmozets - Habits
Meg Mac - Grace Gold
Meg Mac - Cages
Methyl Ethel - Ubu
Methyl Ethel - L'Heure des Sorcières
Metro Boomin - No Complaints {Ft. Offset/Drake}
MGMT - Little Dark Age
Mikhael Paskalev - Shotgun
Milky Chance - Blossom
Milky Chance - Firebird
Milky Chance - Bad Things {Ft. Izzy Bizu}
MISSIO - Middle Fingers
Miya Folick - Trouble Adjusting
Moody Beach - All I Do
Moon Brain - Pliskin
Movements - Colorblind
Muncie Girls - Respect
Muse - Dig Down
N.E.R.D. & Future - 1000
Nicole Millar - Blindfolded
Nick Murphy - Medication
Nine Inch Nails - Less Than
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Holy Mountain
Northlane - Anthem For The Year 2000
Nothing But Thieves - Amsterdam
Nothing But Thieves - I'm Not Made By Design
Ocean Alley - Overgrown
Orielles, The - Sugar Tastes Like Salt
Pale White, The - Reaction
Partner - Everybody Knows
Partner - Play The Field
Planet - Aching Dream
PLTS - Spill
Polish Club - Divided
Portugal. The Man - Feel It Still
Presets, The - Do What You Want
Pumarosa - My Gruesome Loving Friend
Queens Of The Stone Age - The Way You Used To Do
Queens Of The Stone Age - Fortress
Rise Against - The Violence
Robinson - Don't You Forget About Me
Royal Blood - Lights Out
Royal Blood - Look Like You Know
Rubens, The - Million Man
Ruby Fields - P Plates
Run The Jewels - Thieves! (Screamed The Ghost) {Ft. Tunde Adebimpe}
Samsaruh - Beautiful Killer
San Cisco - Kids Are Cool
Sarah Blasko - Phantom
Saskwatch - Renoir
Screaming Females - Black Moon
Self Talk - Bedside Dictionary
Skegss - Got On My Skateboard
Sloan Peterson - Rats
Sløtface - Magazine
Sløtface - Nancy Drew
Sløtface - Pitted
Sløtface - Galaxies
Slowly Slowly - Aliens
SOHN - Rennen
Sorority Noise - No Halo
Soulwax - Missing Wires
Spit Syndicate - Houdini
Spoon - Hot Thoughts
Spoon - Can I Sit Next To You
St. Vincent - Los Ageless
Starcrawler - I Love LA
Statik Selektah - Put Jewels On It {Ft. Run The Jewels}
Stella Donnelly - Mechanical Bull
Stella Donnelly - Boys Will Be Boys
Steve Lacy - Dark Red
Sufis - Anymore
Superorganism - Something For Your M.I.N.D.
Sweater Curse - Fell Asleep
SZA - Broken Clocks
Taj Ralph - Undone
Tame Impala - List Of People (To Try And Forget About)
Thrupence - Conversations {Ft. Edward Vanzet}
Tia Gostelow - Hunger
Tigers Jaw - Escape Plan
Timberwolf - Íkaros
Tiny Little Houses - Entitled Generation
Tired Lion - Fresh
Tired Lion - Dumb Days
TOKiMONSTA - Don't Call Me {Ft. Yuna}
Tom West - Prescription For Reality
Tonight Alive - Temple
Tove Styrke - Say My Name
Towkio - Drift
Trophy Eyes - Hurt
UNIIQU3 - Trunk {Ft. Yungkiid}
Vera Blue - Regular Touch
Vic Mensa - OMG {Ft. Pusha T}
Voyager - Ghost Mile
WAAX - Wild & Weak
Wavves - Animal
West Thebarton - Bible Camp
Wild Ones - Paresthesia
Willow Beats - Be Kind To Yourself
Winston Surfshirt - On A Lock
Wolf Alice - Don't Delete The Kisses
Wolf Alice - Formidable Cool
Wombats, The - Lemon To A Knife Fight
Worriers - The Possibility
Wu-Tang Clan - People Say {Ft. Redman}
xx, The - A Violent Noise
xx, The - I Dare You
yaeji - raingurl
Yon Yonson - This Evening
Yoste - Moon
Yung Lean - Hunting My Own Skin
Yungblud - I Love You, Will You Marry Me
Zefereli - Fake Happiness
rion psychic

Ten Speed...

I hold certain beliefs, which could probably be described as religious or more broadly spiritual, although I rarely think to define them in such ways. To me they are just some expectations that lay beneath more concious thoughts... Forces that seem likely to exist. They aren't really something that can be proven, but that is a part of why they are, and the reason why actual religions are described using words like 'faith.'

I don't often think about these forces although I am sometimes aware of how they drive my responses to different stimuli, usually when people point out that I am behaving oddly. Usually at moments that could be described as extreme landmarks in our timelines.

I started a new job last week, though not one I hope to keep for much longer. It was the week of Halloween, and the first one celebrated in my house, so many of those memorable milestones existed already. On top of that, my former colleagues contacted me, proposing a reunion of sorts. We'd been calling and missing each other for the months since I returned from the boat trip, but a public holiday seemed a good excuse for the event to finally happen. A lunch was suggested, without needing to specify that drinks would be plentiful. I stated my availability, and it was agreed that those still at the company would discuss further arrangements on Monday at work for the Tuesday holiday.

I didn't hear anything further, and left a couple of messages. I guessed that they were swamped with work, and possibly even forced to work the public holiday, as we had precisely one year ago. This morning, while I was at my new job, my phone rang. I saw the name on the screen, Paulo, and smiled to myself. An explanation, perhaps, for the lack yesterday's lunch.

The call seemed routine. Familiar, even. 'How's it going?' The same greeting which I had heard from him for all the years of the tradition under which we were the two staff in the office who started early with the improbable goal of finishing early, and one which extended to the times when we started early by the crushing necessity of workload, when the response inevitably became 'Just doing the needful.' But, despite the harshening situation, the company was always appreciated. The conversation, even his tone, were the same as all those mornings. He explained that it wasn't work that had disrupted the intended plans for Tuesday, but each team member having a big Sunday and feeling disinclined to do any kind of needful. I smiled again, maybe recalling familiar Mondays with those people. Then.

'Well, I haven't called with good news.'

Thoughts flipped through my mind of things that could be considered bad. During our time working together, we'd shared bad news. Resignations, contracts lost, too many redundancies to count. I also wondered why he would be sharing these with me. Then he said, in that same usual tone, that Bryce had passed away over night. It was so far from anything I'd expected. I asked if it was his heart condition, and Paulo said that he believed so. Several months ago, Bryce had been found collapsed in the office he was working in, away from the CBD or any other sites with the rest of us. He was rushed to hospital, and after some time off, returned his usual self, with explanations of a heart condition that was still being investigated by doctors.

I asked Paulo how he was, and he said he was okay, though he planned to call Angela after me. I asked about the rest of the team, and was given mid-range assurances. I didn't really know what else to say, so we said goodbye, and oddly agreed that it would be strange to be catching up at a funeral.

I continued with work, and felt like I got a lot done. I left early - the new job was described to me as around two days per week, though it seems more practical to the workload to do more frequent, short days - and was surprised to find on the way home thoughts slamming into me of Bryce. I was listening to Ozma's Pasadena, and I thought about how, although Bryce was anything but a fighter, he would definitely be against The Darkness, then realised these were the rambling thoughts of the grieving. I did concede, when I realised Motorology... would play soon, that it would have inspired a debate about the merits and practicality of time travel with Bryce, and I smiled, and it lead me to thinking of some of those amazing late-night-style debates and discussions we had either at the middle of the night or a quick lunch break. I felt sorry we wouldn't have more. Other thoughts crept into my mind, thoughts of resentment - of how much he deserved to do amazing things, design innovative houses, and how maybe he was held back from doing so in some way - to a kind of stubborness, a feeling of wanting to rebel against some reality despite the impossibility. I suppose this is grieving, I've just never had to do it before.

I shouldn't be surprised though. Bryce was someone I admire immensely. Professionally, he set the benchmark of how I, and my colleagues, wanted to be. I get the feeling he knew it, though would never have stated it himself or held it against anyone, instead chosing to impart his knowledge in a way completely free of judgement. Personally, I just always enjoyed being in his company.  He had no problem with anyone taking his time purely to dwell on the wonder of his mind, to help work through a challenge. It was enjoyable, even, to take problems to him to work through. With Bryce, the expression 'Getting there is half the fun' (which I may be misquoting) was usually true.

We literally travelled the world together. We pondered the big dilemmas, played giant Jenga, co-facilitated, climbed into a volcano and robbed a casino.  Bryce was my colleague, my mentor, my friend. I'm feeling grateful for the weird series of coincidences that saw us meet and then work closely together, and sorry that I, nor anyone else, will have the opportunity to do so again.