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Just Dann now...

Below are the 25 most recent journal entries.

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  2019.07.17  10.32
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.


 
 


 
  2019.01.18  10.18
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


 
 


 
  2019.01.03  09.18
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}
BROCKHAMPTON - BOOGIE
BROCKHAMPTON - HONEY
BROCKHAMPTON - SAN MARCOS
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
CHVRCHES - Get Out
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
DRAM - WWYD?
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
Joji - SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK
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.}


 
 


 
  2018.11.06  17.04
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.


 
 


 
  2018.11.02  16.34
Wolfenoot...

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.


 
 


 
  2018.08.30  17.29
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.

Que:
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.


 
 


 
  2018.01.22  00.46
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

 
 


 
  2018.01.02  23.50
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 - REDMERCEDES
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
BADBADNOTGOOD - God Only Knows
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
BROCKHAMPTON - QUEER
BROCKHAMPTON - SWEET
BROCKHAMPTON - SUMMER
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

 
 


 
  2017.11.08  21.01
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.

 
 


 
  2017.07.27  07.21
Feet, Don't Fail Me Now...

My usual modus operandi is to not sleep on flights. The one time I did, I ended up like Lil Wayne. For this trip though, I planned to sleep. The plane from Melbourne to Doha had an impressive selection of movies, but I watched only the new Deathnote between naps. Our flight from Doha was delayed, but I'd lost track of time and didn't notice. The view during takeoff was unlike any I'd ever seen before: arid stretches of desert punctuated by the construction of luxury towers and oceans spotted with artificial islands carved into intricate shapes. It was much different to the green pastures that awaited when we landed in Budapest.

In the long wait at Hungarian immigration, Poppa wondered aloud how he would recognise his nephew Zoli. He mentioned that it had been quite some time since they'd seen one another, and I thought that seemed like something of a problem. As it turned out, they found each other easily, but poor Zoli had been waiting since 11am, and it was now well after 1pm. The trip from the airport to the home of Zoli and his family felt like a long way out of the city. On the way, a fleet of helicopters flew overhead in formation. No one in the car was able to understand my questions about where the helicopters might be going or doing.

The house was the kind of collection of mezzanines and sunken living areas that I love. Up the teak stairs without rails, I was shown to a room belonging to Zoli and his wife's eldest son, who has apparently moved out. I was greeted there by a shelf with a machine gun.
1MachineGun.jpg
I slept a lot. I suppose I was still recovering from the interrupted sleeps of Splendour and the flights, and it was good to be sleeping in a bed for the first time. In the morning I met Zoli's son, also named Zoli. He'd apparently offered to escort me into the city, though I said that directions to the train station would be sufficient. Still, his company helped me into the city, and when I bought him lunch, he introduced me to a local beer, Dreher, which I liked a lot. I'm not big beer drinker, but I did enjoy drinking that big beer. After lunch, Zoli left for work. I hoped that he had actually offered to show me around and that Poppa hadn't insisted upon it.

I checked into the Hotel Budapest. It is a round tower, not unlike the Saville in South Yarra, and about as grand. Its guest information hilariously stated 'contrary to the urban legend, the rooms of Hotel Budapest are not shaped like slices of cake...' It is luckily conveniently located to a Metro station, so getting around should prove no problem, although after arriving in town, I got around on foot instead.

I mainly used the day to familiarise myself with my location, and ensure I would know where to go for my tour in the evening. It was around 35 degrees during the day, so after trekking across the city, I wanted a shower before my evening's adventures. It was while resting at the hotel that I witnessed an incredible storm above the mountains visible from my tenth-floor room. Whilst impressive, I hoped it would pass before I needed to head back to the Zero Kilometer Stone for my tour. When the time rolled around, it was still a little wet, so for the first time in my life, I borrowed a hotel umbrella and started walking toward the Stone. I'd allowed plenty of time, and hadn't eaten since lunch, so I stopped into a bar overlooking the round-about and ordered lángos, and also ordered a Unicum cocktail - the first time I've ever enjoyed the herbal-mediciny spirit.

The guide, Fanni, arrived at the square carrying her lantern as promised, and was less vampiric perhaps than advertising for her Vampire History tour suggested. I enjoyed the castle tour though, and Fanni's combination of what would be fodder for the Horrible Histories show as well as tales of folklore and true vampire stories. Plus, despite the rain, the castle by night was amazing.

During the tour, Fanni pointed out what looked like a well, but was actually a portal into the labyrinth beneath the castle. I asked about the closure of the labyrinth, and Fanni gave me a tip about an entrance, which I took note of for today. Hopefully I'll be able to find it.

 
 


 
  2017.06.14  23.59
Gary Glitter...

As I stumbled out into the hipster streets, I thought it would be easy for people to think I've missed this career for the lifestyle. It's true, I'd felt like going home when I had my name ticked off the media guestlist. I was somewhat intoxicated, and I'd made the most of the antipasto in the private bar before the event.

I recalled the lifestyle, certainly - starting work in a pub at midday, evenings on duty in lobbies and bars - but as the thought crossed my mind, 'It's good to be back,' what I was thinking of was purely work. How could I create an honest review, whether positive or negative (and my feeling at the time was that it could go either way,) whilst still crafting enjoyable content?

That was my job before. It wasn't lucrative, but I enjoyed it. Perhaps now, I can enjoy it again. On Tuesday, May 16, I submitted my notice of resignation, giving my final date of employment as June 30. For the following week, I kept running into my new manager, Chris. He kept telling me that we needed to talk, and I promised that we could, when I had time, or after hours. It wasn't until over a week later that I was available for a few minutes. I was asked to stay. I was asked what I need to be given to stay. I can admit that I was surprised to be asked, but also satisfied with my autonomous respose - that I would only need everything that I have been requesting for the past two years: the minimum resources required to do my job to even an adaquate standard. During that meeting, I was promised that everything would be done to make those requests a reality. The CEO and other stakeholders were called. I responded that those improvements would be wonderfully beneficial to my antecendents... so I suppose my answer was moot. I would not stay somewhere where it takes one's resignation to be provided with a notebook, pens, and space to work.

It was nice after months of 12, 13, 14, and a few 22 hour shifts, to spend an evening going to a different type of work, the kind I enjoy. It might have only been a one-night deal, but it was good. The show - a premiere of a web-series - wasn't exactly my cup of tea. I'll need to consider it in context though. As Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message, and this was a medium which fascinates me. I'll need to consider the work in its original context before writing.

At the station, I discovered that trains were cancelled. Signage to the arranged alternative transport seemed to assume prior geographical knowledge, but all I knew was that I was somewhere near where I bought breakfast after Angela's birthday party. After a lucrative detour to a gaming lounge, I found my bearings when I spotted the Brunswick Hotel. I knew that the tram route with a stop outside would lead to the city, but a glance along Sydney Road revealed no tram in sight. Live music was playing inside the Brunny, so I headed towards the entrance.

A group of people seemed to be debriefing outside, and I was shuffling past them to the door when a large man speaking on a mobile phone grabbed me by the shoulder. I assumed I was being refused entry - perhaps my intoxication was more evident than I realised - but the man's arm moved from my shoulder to wrap around me for a hug. I looked up into his face and recognised that it wasn't a bouncer, but Adam.

I hadn't seen him in at least six months, but maybe closer to a year, and I'd been postponing returning his telephone call for over a month, knowing it would lead to a long conversation during a time when my hours between work were limited and generally dedicated to essential and limited sleep. So I spent longer than I had planned with him and his friends. With them, I praised, rather than heckled, a few dreamy guitar boys, each of whom wore his heard on his sleeve and his influences on his setlist. Both of them were undeservedly self-depricating in their banter, but this was perhaps fueled by the fact that the group I had joined were only half-watching, seated directly beneath the stage,and at similar stages of intoxication as myself. All of this, in hindsight, was probably causing us to speak at a higher volume than neccessary during an acoustic performance. We probably also did nothing to encourage the following performer by starting to leave right when his act was annuonced, but it was getting late and we all hail from the suburbs. The act was a rapper with an indeterminate yet charming accent rhyming over a backing tape reminiscent of the New York rap of the 1990s. Part-way through his first song, he demanded that the music be halted so that he could restart, though we had noticed no fault. We were leaving by that time though, so didn't get to see the song in full.

It couldn't have been long, because it seemed like only a couple of minutes later that the rapper joined me on the tram I'd boarded outside the pub. I asked him about the restart, and he told me that he needed to correct a mistake.

'No, you should have rolled with it!' I told him. 'You sounded great there at the start.'

He seemed disappointed, like he didn't agree. I asked how the rest of his set went, and was told quietly that it wasn't good. I asked if he ever went to dedicated freestyle nights, but the rapper told me that he needed a lot of practice before he tried that. I told him to keep it up, that he sounded on the right track. He thanked me quietly, but didn't say much else, which I took to mean he wanted to be alone. It is equally as likely that I was still speaking loudly and he simply hoped to avoid encouraging me, or that I would not draw attention to him.

Either way, I went to a different seat and opened my notebook to pen some thoughts on the series premiere. I suppose I won't be getting far on that though, since I've ended up writing this entry instead.

 
 


 
  2017.01.22  22.32
finalList 2016...

Amy Shark - Adore
Avalanches, The - Frankie Sinatra
Ball Park Music - Whipping Boy
Cub Sport - Come On Mess Me Up
Hellions - Nightliner Rhapsody
M83 - Do It, Try It
Midnight To Monaco - One In A Million
Miike Snow - Genghis Khan
Sløtface - Take Me Dancing
Weeknd, The - Starboy {Ft. Daft Punk}

 
 


 
  2017.01.18  09.30
shortList 2016...

A Day To Remember - Paranoia
A Day To Remember - Bullfight
A Tribe Called Quest - Solid Wall Of Sound
A.B. Original - 2 Black 2 Strong
A.B. Original - Take Me Home {Ft. Gurrumul}
A.B. Original - January 26 {Ft. Dan Sultan}
Abbe May - Doomsday Clock
Action Bronson, Mark Ronson & Dan Auerbach - Standing In The Rain
Against Me! - 333
Alex Cameron - The Comeback
Alex Lahey - Let's Go Out
Alex The Astronaut - Already Home
Alex The Kid - Vinyls
Alexandra Savior - Shades
Ali Barter - Girlie Bits
All Our Exes Live In Texas - The Devil's Part
ALTA - Unbelievable
AlunaGeorge - Not Above Love
Amber Mark - Monsoon {Ft. Mia Mark}
Amity Affliction, The - This Could Be Heartbreak
Amity Affliction, The - Nightmare
Amity Affliction, The - Tearing Me Apart
Amy Shark - Adore
Amy Shark - Miss You Love {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Anderson .Paak - Put Me Thru
Angel Olsen - Shut Up Kiss Me
Anne-Marie - Alarm
Apothek - Waiting For The Thunder
Architects - Gone With The Wind
Arthur Beatrice - Since We Were Kids
Artificial Pleasure - I'll Make It Worth Your While
Atmosphere - Salma Hayek
AURORA - Warrior
Avalanches, The - Frankie Sinatra
Avalanches, The - Subways
Avalanches, The - The Noisy Eater
Avalanches, The - The Wozard Of Iz
Baauer - Day Ones {Ft. Novelist/Leikeli47}
Babaganouj - Sorry
BABYMETAL - Karate
Ball Park Music - Whipping Boy
Ball Park Music - Pariah
Ball Park Music - Peppy
Banks - Gemini Feed
Banks - Lovesick
Banks - This Is Not About Us
Banks & Steelz - Love & War {Ft. Ghostface Killah}
Basement - Aquasun
Basement - Oversized
Basement - Promise Everything
Bear's Den - Auld Wives
Beautiful Monument, The - Disorder
Bec Sandridge - You're A Fucking Joke
Beck - Wow
Bennies, The - Legalise (But Don't Tax)
Beyoncé - 6 Inch {Ft. The Weeknd}
Big Scary - Oxygen
Birds Of Tokyo - Brace
Birds Of Tokyo - Harlequins
Birds Of Tokyo - Gods
Birds Of Tokyo - Catastrophe
Bleached - Wednesday Night Melody
Blink-182 - Bored To Death
Blink-182 - Los Angeles
Bloc Party - Stunt Queen
Bob Evans - Matterfact
Brendan Maclean - Hugs Not Drugs (Or Both)
British India - I Thought We Knew Each Other
Broods - Free
Cage The Elephant - Trouble
Canary - Chameleon
Castlecomer - Escapism
Cat Empire, The - Bulls
Ceres - Choke
Ceres - 91, Your House
Childish Gambino - Redbone
Chvrches - Warning Call (Theme from Mirror's Edge Catalyst}
Chvrches - Bury It {Ft. Hayley Williams}
Chymes - Grow
Citizen Kay - Brickhouse/Uptown Funk {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Client Liaison - Off White Limousine
cln - Owls
Coda Chroma - Ones & Ohs
Columbus - Say What You Want
Confidence Man - Boyfriend (Repeat)
Courtney Barnett - New Speedway Boogie
Crepes - Hidden Star
Crystal Castles - Fleece
Cub Sport - Come On Mess Me Up
D.D Dumbo - King Franco Picasso
D.R.A.M. - Misunderstood {Ft. Young Thug}
Daughter - No Care
David Bowie - Lazarus
David Bowie - Blackstar
DBFC - Autonomic
Deadmau5 - Snowcone
Deap Vally - Gonnawanna
Declan McKenna - Paracetamol
Declan McKenna - Isombard
Deep Sea Arcade - Learning To Fly
Desiigner - Panda
Desiigner - Tiimmy Turner
Dillinger Escape Plan, The - Symptom Of Terminal Illness
Dillon Francis - Candy {Ft. Snappy Jit}
DMA'S - Step Up The Morphine
DMA's - Believe {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Dorsal Fins - Sedated
Drapht - Frankie Sinatra {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Dream On Dreamer - Stay
Drugdealer - Suddenly {Ft. Weyes Blood}
Ecca Vandal - Divided
EDEN - Sex
Eliot Sumner - Firewood
Elizabeth Rose - Playing With Fire {Ft. Remi}
Emma Louise - Colours
Empire Of The Sun - High And Low
Empire Of The Sun - Digital Life
Fakear - Silver {Ft. Rae Morris}
Feki - You Got Me {Ft. Dom Vino}
Felix Riebl - Shadows
Fil Bo Riva - Like Eye Did
Florence + The Machine - Too Much Is Never Enough
Flume - You Know {Ft. Allan Kingdom/Raekwon}
Francis And The Lights - See Her Out
Frank Ocean - Nikes
Frank Ocean - Pink + White
Frank Ocean - Solo
Frank Ocean - Nights
Frank Ocean - White Ferrari
From Oslo - No Sound
Gabriella Cohen - Alien Anthem
Gang Of Youths - Strange Diseases
Ghost - Square Hammer
Glass Animals - Life Itself
Glass Animals - Mama's Gun
Glass Animals - The Other Side Of Paradise
Glass Animals - Cane Shuga
Golden Age Of Ballooning - So They Say
Gordi - Wanting
Green Buzzard - Do You Ever Glow?
Grenadiers - Live Fast, Diabetes
Grouplove - Welcome To Your Life
Grouplove - Do You Love Someone
Hands Like Houses - Colourblind
Hands Like Houses - Don't Speak {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Harts - Fear In Me
Harts - Hope
Hayden Calnin - Caution Cares
Hellions - Quality Of Life
Hellions - 24
Hellions - Thresher
Hellions - Nightliner Rhapsody
Hellions - 25
Highasakite - Someone Who'll Get It
Highasakite - Samurai Swords
Hilltop Hoods - 1955 {Ft. Montaigne/Tom Thum}
Hockey Dad - Malibu {triple j Like A Version}
Holy Holy - Darwinism
Honeyblood - Sea Hearts
How To Dress Well - Lost Youth / Lost You
Hudson Mohawke - Play N Go
Illa J - Spiders
Illy - Hazard To Myself {Ft. Sir The Baptist}
Infinity Ink - Full Capacity
INHEAVEN - Baby's Alright
INHEAVEN - Treats
Introvert - Everything Is Different Now
IV League - Bleached
Jack Garratt - Fire
Jagwar Ma - Slipping
Jake Bugg - Gimme The Love
James Blake - Radio Silence
Jamie T - Tescoland
Jarrow - $$ Spoilers $$
Jarryd James - 1000x {Ft. Broods}
Jezabels, The - Unnatural
Joey Purp - Girls @ {Ft. Chance The Rapper}
JP Moregun - Street Signs
K.Flay - Blood In The Cut
Kacy Hill - Lion
Kanye West - Famous
Katy Steele - It Ain't Me
Kaytranada - One Too Many {Ft. Phonte}
Kendrick Lamar - untitled 08 09.06.2014.
Kills, The - Doing It To Death
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Gamma Knife
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Rattlesnake
Kingfisha - Left It
Kita Alexander - Damage Done
Korn - Rotting In Vain
Kuren - Home {Ft. Ben Alessi}
Ladyhawke - A Love Song
Last Shadow Puppets, The - Dracula Teeth
Last Shadow Puppets, The - Everything You've Come To Expect
Last Shadow Puppets, The - Sweet Dreams, TN
LAZERTITS - Boss Bitch
Le Pie - Up All Night
Lemaitre - We Got U {Ft. The Knocks}
letlive. - Good Mourning, America
Lewis Del Mar - Painting (Masterpiece)
Little Deed - Brother
Little Green Cars - The Song They Play Every Night
Living End, The - Keep On Running
Lonely Boys - Murray Island
LUCIANBLOMKAMP - The Overman
M.I.A. - Bird Song {Diplo Remix}
M83 - Do It, Try It
M83 - Bibi The Dog
M83 - Solitude
M83 - Road Blaster
M83 - Walkway Blues
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Light Tunnels {Ft. Mike Slap}
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Need To Know {Ft. Chance The Rapper}
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Dance Off {Ft. Anderson .Paak/Idris Elba}
Maids - Girl Power
Make Them Suffer - Ether
MANU CROOK$ - EVERYDAY
Margaret Glaspy - You And I
Matt Corby - Belly Side Up
Methyl Ethel - Cry Me A River {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Methyl Ethel - No. 28
Mezko - Everyone
Mickey Kojak - Move Too Fast
Miike Snow - Genghis Khan
Miike Snow - The Heart Of Me
Milky Chance - Cocoon
Modern Baseball - Wedding Singer
Money War, The - Recall
Montaigne - Because I Love You
Montaigne - In The Dark
Montaigne - I Am Behind You
MS MR - Genghis Khan {triple j Like A Version 2016}
MUTO - Through The Fog
Naked And Famous, The - Laid Low
Ngaiire - Cruel
Nicholas Allbrook - Advance
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree
Ninjas, The - Morphine
NOFX - I Don't Like Me Anymore
OLSSON - Hold On {Ft. Mapei}
Olympia - Somewhere To Disappear
ORB - Iron Mountain
Orwells, The - Buddy
Owls, The - Feels Like Gold
Paul Dempsey - Morningless
PEZ - Calling Out {Ft. Paul Dempsey}
Phantogram - Cruel World
PIXX - Grip
PJ Harvey - The Wheel
Polaris - Regress
Polish Club - My House
Pop Cult - Feels Right
Porter Robinson & Madeon - Shelter
Preatures, The - I Know A Girl
Pretty Littles, The - Sleeping In Water
Prism Tats - Death Or Fame
Promises Ltd. - Days Of Lavender
PUP - DVP
PUP - If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will
PUP - Familiar Patterns
Radiohead - Spectre
Radiohead - Burn The Witch
Radiohead - Decks Dark
Radiohead - The Numbers
Radiohead - Daydreaming
Rat Boy - Move
Raury - NEVERALONE
Raury - L$D {triple j Like A Version 2016}
RAYE - Shhh
Remi - Lose Sleep {Ft. Jordan Rakei}
Remi - Contact Hi/High/I {Ft. Silent Jay}
Resin Moon - Feels
ROI - Maths & Engineering
Rubens, The - King Kunta/Hello {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Rubens, The - Same Drugs
Ruiins, The - Eventually
Ruminaters, The - Bad Bad Things
Running Touch - Aubrey
SAATSUMA - Floating
SAFIA - Over You
SAFIA - Together, Locked Safely
SAFIA - Bye Bye
Sahara Beck - Spinning Time
Samuel - Killr
San Cisco - SloMo
San Mei - Revel
Sans Parents - Can't Stop Moving
Santigold - Chasing Shadows
Saosin - The Silver String
Saviour - The Quiet Calm
ScHoolboy Q - Ride Out {Ft. Vince Staples}
ScHoolboy Q - JoHn Muir
Scott & Charlene's Wedding - Distracted
Shining Bird - I Can Run
Skegss - Spring Has Sprung
Skepta - That's Not Me {Ft. JME}
Sløtface - Take Me Dancing
Slumberhaze - Silence
Soft Hair - Lying Has To Stop
Sophie Lowe - Crazy
Soulwax - Transient Program For Drums And Machinery
Sticky Fingers - Our Town
Stonefield - Love
Storm The Sky - Jaded Ghost
Strokes, The - Drag Queen
Sum 41 - Fake My Own Death
Sundara Karma - She Said
Tash Sultana - Jungle
Temper Trap, The - Fall Together
Temper Trap, The - Burn
Temples - Certainty
Tenderfoot - The Balcony Tale
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - Nobody Dies
Thom Sonny Green - Vienna
Thundamentals - Think About It {Ft. Peta & The Wolves}
Timberwolf - Something That I Said
Tired Lion - Not My Friends
Tourist Dollars - Horse Girl
Travis Scott - Goosebumps
Trophy Eyes - Chlorine
Twelve Foot Ninja - Invincible
Two Door Cinema Club - Surgery
Urthboy - Second Heartbeat {Ft. Sampa The Great/Okenyo}
Urthboy - Daughter Of The Light {Ft. Kira Puru}
Vancouver Sleep Clinic - Killing Me To Love You
VANT - Fly-By Alien
Velociraptor - Hunk With A Hunch
Venus II - Inside Yr Sun
Violent Soho - Viceroy
Violent Soho - Blanket
Washington - Saint Lo
Weeknd, The - Starboy {Ft. Daft Punk}
Weeknd, The - False Alarm
Wesley Fuller - Melvista
West Thebarton Brothel Party - Dolewave
Why We Run - Hallway
Woodes - Daggers & Knives
xx, The - On Hold
Yellow Fang - Morning
Zeds Dead - Too Young {Ft. Rivers Cuomo/Pusha T}

 
 


 
  2016.12.26  11.22
Christmastime...

A little known fact is that I actually have extended family. I might not talk about them too often, because they are equal parts dead and not people I have spoken to for a long time. A result is that, since the phasing out of Gazareth, I usually don't have plans to report by Christmas. I still celebrate Christmas, but it is usually over before Christmas morning. For the last few years, when asked about my plans for Christmas, my answer has routinely been 'Sleeping in.'

This year, I was invited by my aunt to Christmas lunch, at her family's house in Bendigo. In years gone by, my family would often spend Christmas day either at that house, at my family's home, or at my other aunt's house, though the last time that tradition was observed was probably in 1988. In the lead up, I found myself looking forward to the lunch, and in particular to seeing my cousins. I figured it must have been over fifteen years since I had last seen them, and I had long sought opportunity to do so.

We left early on Christmas morning, with my father having offered Poppa a lift which he had declined. He had wanted to go to church in the morning at his leisure, but promised to drive himself to Bendigo, and he'd also offered to drive me home. My parents, meanwhile, were staying in Bendigo over night, and booked a hotel room large enough to accommodate me should I also wish to stay. It was suggested I leave my car at a station in case I needed to take a train home, but once Poppa confirmed that he would be driving home, I decided against the plan.

After a couple of hours, we arrived. It was a hot day, and I expressed my guilt for leaving Jessie at home, but she seemed to have very much enjoyed her gift which Simon had sent from Paris, care of PETA - vegan dog treats displayed in a stylish wreath format. It was great to see my cousins again, as well as to meet their partners, both of whom I immediately liked a lot. Then of course, there were all the people I had no idea about and how they fit in. It probably shows how far out of the loop I've become.

An announcement was made before lunch by my aunt Joy: My grandfather would no longer be joining us. He had phoned on route to say he couldn't find the address. He'd used his GPS to get to the correct street, but unfortunately navigated to the completely incorrect town, a similar distance from home in the wrong direction. Gifts were exchanged in a Kris Kringle (or Jidka-style) fashion, with my cousin Stuart proving himself to be the most colourblind of the males of our generation of the family.

'I'd like the orange present, Stu!' called Bob, innocently. Stuart looked blankly at the gifts, and whilst I could understand, having been in similar situations regularly (particularly in a professional context in regards to Mr Sketch tones,) I was surprised at the extent of his afliction. Meanwhile, my immediate family cemented our reputation by choosing distinctly bottle-shaped gifts each time our names were called.

My aunt, a real estate agent, asked some questions about my house, and my mother complained about the fact that I still didn't technically own a house - I must have forgotten to tell her that I actually had had the house signed over to me a few days earlier. When I revealled this, she became incredibly angry at me, as though I had kept the fact a secret for some reason. Perhaps I had failed to mention it, but if so, it was probably only because I'd worked so much and only seen my family when we were doing specific things.

My uncle Ian, as well as being a gunzel of the classic variety, is also renowned for his car collection, and I was pleased after lunch when the invitation was extended to browse his elaborate garage and see his vintage ambulance and Austin convertible (I think it is an Austin.) I had alterior motives, however. My parents had, at my cousin John's wedding, strategically mentioned my Mini, sitting devestatingly in need of repair. Their hope, I learned, was that someone might offer to give it a good home. Whilst that isn't my ideal solution, it is one I might consider. Apparently, my ideal solution was the one that was assumed by Stuart - that he'd like to repair the car for fun. So as people paraded to the garage, I sought opportunities to reintroduce the idea and state my strong support for it.

And then the point came. Either one was staying, or leaving. My parents suggested I stay, but I said someone had to look after Jessie. I had made my plan. Unline the previously anthemic Blink-182 single, I would be home for Christmas. So I headed to the station. I'd planned this. I had examined the V-Line timetable and packed my Gameboy and a book. Whatever research I had done was thwarted by the unpredictable country Christmas time table. I waited a couple of hours before the train came, quite certain of the direction I needed to travel, but doubting myself after several scenes of the game Secret Files: Tunguska were completed I started to find myself wondering if the trains that felt like they were going in the wrong direction might have been the ones I needed. Eventually the train that felt right came, and I climbed aboard.

I found a map to confirm that I was in fact going in the right direction, and settled back to enjoy the ride. I didn't need my Gameboy a lot, because I wanted to check out the scenery, but darkness fell quickly. It was a longer journey than I expected it to be, and it was after midnight when I arrived at Spencer Street. I opted to take the first train to Flinders Street to find the most suburban trains. My guess was, that by this time, I would need to walk home. As is my usual Modus Operandi, I took the first train heading in the right direction. It happened to be a Dandenong train, so I walked home from Springvale. On the way, I seemed to frighten a girl, who screamed when she turned a corner and came face to face with me. The walk also gave me a chance to observe some of the local Christmas lights, but by that time it was after 1am, and perhaps some had been deactivated, or maybe they just aren't as prevelant as they used to be.

I'd cited Jessie being at home without food as the reason for my desperation to leave, but when I served her a late night dinner, I realised she had had the vegan wreath treats to much on all day.



Mood: energetic
 
 


 
  2016.12.20  18.48
These Final Stages...

Without ceremony, I became a homeowner. I was grateful for the lack of fanfare. In my years of house hunting, I'd seen numerous pictures of couples standing proudly before real estate sign boards, some plastering a 'sold' label over the sign, others raising Champagne flutes with a smiling real estate agent. Whilst I might have enjoyed drinking with a real estate agent, I would prefer to do so within the familiar confines of a bar, and not involving being photographed committing offences in contravention of Victoria's anti-social behaviour laws.

I didn't drive over the weekend, and when I turned my ignition yesterday, nothing happened at all, so I've been leaving my car and heading to the bus stop. That afternoon, I headed back to my future home. The builders had been very enthusiastic a couple of weeks earlier for me to attend a 'Pre-settlement Inspection,' but during that visit, the townhouse was, in my opinion, dismally far from completion. This week, when I tried to request a subsequent inspections, all stakeholders have acted surprised. It seems that they expected me to be satisfied with the initial inspection, which I was not (though, I admit, I was quite happy with the size and layout of the rooms.) I went through my list of contacts related to the property until I was given a direct number to the building foreman. He was surprised to hear from me, and initially directed me back to the person who had provided his number, but reluctantly set an appointment.

On site, the property at least looked like a completed house. I identified a few areas of concern and was promised that they would be rectified. On the bus ride home, my conveyancer called to tell me that they were 'ready to settle,' and that this would happen the following day. I mentioned the matters I'd seen at the house, and was told to put them in writing. I did so, and was included in an email between them - the first piece of action I've experienced from them other than an initial meeting months earlier with a lawyer who later denied having ever met me, but can be forgiven because I admire the car she drives - and also a response from the builder this morning with brief mentions next to each of my concerns detailing the time of day it would be fixed.

Shortly after midday today, a lawyer who identified himself as Liam called, and said 'Settlement of your property is now complete.'

When I asked what I needed to do now, he seemed a little confused. It seemed he expected the call to have concluded already. 'Well...' Liam stammered. 'I guess you move into your house, if that's what you want to do.'

I thanked him, and later recieved an email from the office of the builder asking that I attend their office, en route to my Werribee office, tomorrow. I arranged to do so at the latest available appointment, so I can at least get some of a day of work in. This is apparently to collect keys as well as 'key documents.' After months of me rescheduling appointments (or skipping them all together,) I ended up being the one having to rush to meet deadlines. Everyone has been how exciting it must be to be a homeowner, and I guess it is, if for no other reason that all of these appointments are hopefully now finished.

 
 


 
  2016.11.27  18.04
Complimentary...

Angela and Paulo took annual leave from work which threatened to be permanent. Kate was made redundant. And then the training calendar filled up. It meant that for the past six weeks, Adam and I have been the entire training department and left responsible for more days of training than there are in the week. The result, despite our protests, has been a lot of overlapping sessions at the beginning and end of training groups, and weekends and evenings spent on preparation.

An unexpected result was a significant heaping of praise on myself. I don't really take that sort of thing well. Further, I was suspicious of its authenticity. My manager phrased things in an unusual way: 'Because they were so impressed with your work last time, they've asked you to train another group.'

'What day does it start?' I asked, and instead of telling me, my manager asked me to respond to the compliment. I told him that I would have done it either way. He told me that I should be proud to have had my hard work recognised, but I commented upon my doubt that that recognition would translate to financial advantage.

Later, in speaking with Kate, she told me that upon her departure she made mention of the lack of recognition of the work of her team. I guess now we are being overcompensated. But, as I said to the boss, not financially.

 
 


 
  2016.11.09  08.03
Watches and Watches...

I've been trying to remember when I lost my watches. I know that I had gone months without wearing a watch after the batteries had run out in all of my three watches. I'd taken all of them to a stall in Dandenong Market to have the batteries replaced on a Saturday. On the Monday following, I'd selected my newest watch to wear to work - square-faced and featuring more gold than I usually like to wear, I wouldn't have chosen this for myself, but the gift - with its matching cufflinks - apparently suited me, based on the numerous compliments I'd recieved on it. When I went to bed that evening, I set the watch on my bedside table.

Getting ready for work the following morning, I went to select a watch from my bedside table. Only two were lined up there. The gold-detailed one from the previous day was nowhere to be seen, but I took my favourite watch and left. I perhaps thought the absence odd, but but didn't think too much about it. Maybe, I considered, the watch had fallen into the drawer or somewhere behind the table. Maybe I'd flung it somewhere during an overnight convulsion.

My favourite watch, that I wore that Tuesday, was usually reserved for casual occassions. A blatant rip-off of the 'Big Tic' design which brought fame to Fossil, my watch improved upon the original design, with bolder colours and shamelessly cartoonish circularity. On Tuesday evening, I left that watch on my bedside table too. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I found it gone too, with only one watch remaining. That last watch has remained with me and did not suffer the fate of disappearance that the others did. A thorough search for the missing watches followed at the weekend of the disappearance, but when was that?

It was certainly well before June, 2015. On that date, I'd returned from the Terminator Genisys premiere in Sydney to find everything removed from my room and my parents painting. During the removal, they'd not found the watches fallen behind any of the furniture, with my mother commenting that she had expected to. I also took the opportunity to empty all of my drawers to find if the watch had perhaps been misplaced - maybe I remembered incorrectly.
In any event, I'd gone well over one year without the watches, and, I suspect, probably several years.

Then, on the morning after Halloween, I woke up and started to get ready for work. I went to my bedside table to put on the new watch I've bought - another one that attracts a lot of compliments, as well as surprise when I reveal that it had cost little more than four dollars - to find the fake-Fossil watch, exactly where it had disappeared from years earlier. Its battery was flat, and it appeared to have travelled - scuffs now appear on its band - but it was otherwise as I had left it, including the slightly off-centre numbers from when the batteries had been changed at Dandenong. I was thrilled to see it, even though I couldn't wear it immediately.

During the absence of my two watches, my mother sometimes commented 'I don't know how things can simply disappear,' which was something I had never really had a problem with. I'd used the example of the disappearance of my watches as evidence that things do in fact sometimes disppear without a trace while people were fretting the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (which, I realise, took place in early 2014, when my watches had already gone.) Now that one has returned, she had changed her tune: 'How can something just appear like that?'

I had wondered if the pattern would continue in reverse - would the watch with the gold detail appear on Wednesday morning? - but so far only the one watch has appeared. I am happy about it. I have had the batteries replaced and am wearing it today for the first time. I continue to be satisfied with the explanation that sometimes things just disappear, but it is also nice to know that sometimes they come back.

 
 


 
  2016.10.13  23.58
Review...

I was not disappointed. Shin Godzilla was, admittedly, pandering to both Evangalion and Godzilla fans, but was unafraid of bucking the conventions of each. That said, it played kind of like a mash-up reMix of both - even musically: Akira Ifukube's original Godzilla score gave way to Evangelion's drum-heavy strategy plan theme. They were even played over boardroom montages. The addition of guitar fuzz over the familiar bass and drums gave me hope that the fabled live action Evangelion film could one day be a great thing.

The caption on the poster in the lobby - 'A god incarnate. A city doomed.' - suggested a return of Gozilla the villain, rather than the hero of the multitudinous Godzilla vs. Evil Monster type of movie. The name of Hideoaki Anno with the title of director hinted that we might see a blend of action and drama to match his previous creation of television's finest series. The bold design prepared us for something devestating.

Once seated, the film lauched into action immediately, an explosion in Tokyo Bay. The first appearance of the god incarnate is less than godly - this new Godzilla starts as a weird salamander-like creature, and evolves throughout. The tactic is intially jarring but puts the audience firmly in the same position as patrons must have been in 1954 when they first saw Godzilla: expecting a giant monster romp, predicting what is to happen next, only to be shocked a new ability to push the devestation forward.

The film does, however, take some getting used to, particularly for those who don't speak or read Japanese. Like Anno's Evangelion, scenes, titles, tactics, timeframes, vehicles and almost everything else are labelled largely on-screen. For Shin Godzilla, he has surpassed the number of labels in Eva, plastering almost everything other than our antihero. For the western audience following the dialogue via subtitles, it took a while to realise where we needed to look, but once we could, we could sit back and enjoy watching the futility of the military efforts.

It was strange to go back to the beginning, to a present where Godzilla has never been known, but also an amazing experience, with the monster looking better than ever, reviving the ominous tone of the original film and playing the terror of the creature - even in its early, ridiculous forms - completely straight, whilst not being without the humour of the human condition. Evangelion met Godzilla, and it really worked.

 
 


 
  2016.10.13  20.37
Shin Godzilla...

I am completely comfortable now to attend a film screening or concert by myself. My taste (and often dedication to) is often such that if I didn't allow myself to go unaccompanied, I'd miss out on a quality event. Friends of mine simply aren't interested, or as interested, in many of the things I am. Next year, I may travel to parts of Europe alone: Chernobyl, certainly, but depending on line-up announcements, possibly a music festival or two as well.

Tonight I'm drinking Mexican cider alone in an unfortunately brightly lit bar before I'll attend the premiere of Shin Godzilla. I have surprised myself withe the level of excitement that I have experienced for this film. I usually try not to be too enthusiastic about things, but I haven't been able to surpress it in this instance. I hope I won't be disappointed.

On an unrelated note, why do people seem to feel foolish when doing foolish things that other people witness, but only when they realise they've been spotted by more people than they first thought?

 
 


 
  2016.10.05  19.19
Boozy Lunch...

Nothing will make one feel a sense of professional indifference and power like squeezing a whole boozy lunch into a predeterimined very short time.

The morning before the lunch had been spent co-facilitating a training session to a plan which is attrocious, and not at all engaging. Despite this, I have been asked to deliver according to those instructions provided - emulating the developer - in the interest of avoiding an argument. Prior to commencing the group, I had proposed bold, theoretical plans which could improve learning immensely, however due to the requirement of several hours outside of a training room to develop the idea, will be doomed to be lost forever.

Lunch time discussion included situations in which terminated personal relationships are reignited when people enter one's professional network, with a debrief on past professional faux-pas, with a poignant realisation that despite one having behaved in a clearly insulting manner, it was the insulted party who had ended up leaving in disgrace.

The lunch had been prompted by an ice-breaker activity delivered in the morning in which we had participated, involving the question 'What is your favourite food?' followed by the response 'Chips and beer,' and the glance between myself and a colleague which shared an unspoken agreement that this seemed a fine suggestion.

 
 


 
  2016.08.31  14.44
Cola Festival 2016...

This was a disappointing Cola Festival from the majors. Pepsi released their weird emoticon packaging earlier in the year, and - as far as I could tell - didn't release anything in this lead up to the Australian summer. Coca-Cola seemed to have forgotten a local summer release in the fanfare of their Olympics promotion, though their golden 1970s inspired promotional packaging was sensational. Just when I thought Coke had neglected to acknowledge the Cola Festival at all, they dropped the news that they were selling off pieces of their original King's Cross billboard in a charity auction. Awesome!

This season I exhibited a range of organic colas, with the results below:

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs Organic Cola:


This organic cola presented as a very dark black, and though it at first appeared to be as typically flat as organic cola tends to be, it was actually very fizzy once opened. The taste was surprising, particularly given the 'Organic' label. The cola had a strong, almost chemical flavour, cut with something a little lemony. I typically like strong flavours, but there wasn't much with this cola that would have me returning. I couldn't think of anything it would mix with, and the taste was just too alien to enjoy.

New Zealand Phoenix Organic Cola:


Beneath an embossed bottle is a rusty-coloured liquid, textured with what looks like tea leaves. The flavour is exactly as strong as one would want it to be, with suggestions of honey present. Whatever is floating inside is thankfully undetectable by taste, perhaps masked by a carbonation greater than that usually present in drinks listed as 'Organic.' Whilst the previous organic sample had been disappointingly bizarre in flavour, the mild taste of Phoenix is refreshing. Though not exactly what I would reach for when I crave cola, it is a taste I enjoyed.

Boylan Cane Cola


According to the embossing on the glass bottle, Boylan have been manufacturing cola 'Since 1891,' although this was the first I'd tasted it. I was immediately impressed by the light yet conspicuous carbonation. It had a not-too sweet taste, but was incredibly smooth to drink. I suspect that it would probably mix well, particularly with an older whiskey. After the rest of the colas of this festival, this was an impressive treat and the pick of the showcase.

Wild Cherry Pepsi


The international spotlight was on Wild Cherry Pepsi. It was a variety that was available in Australia in the early 1990s, but didn't last long, disappearing from shelves before Dr Pepper sadly followed suit. I haven't tried the product in years, but remember it fondly. So I was a little disappointed when I found that the cola - at least in its present, US-imported incarnation - was underwhelming. The cherry flavour is weak, particularly when compared with Cherry Coke (or, indeed, adding some Elixir to regular Pepsi.) I don't know if I am looking back with rose-tinted glasses upon the local release of the '90s, or if the formula has been dramatically altered, but this was a very disappointing selection. Luckily, I picked up some Cherry Coke while I was shopping for the international selection.

Moss Creek Moonshine Corn Whiskey with Cola


The alcoholic cola premix selection was also disappointing. At only $11 for a pack of four cans, Moss Creek Moonshine and Cola was justifiably reduced to clear, though seemed like a good deal while I was at the store. I was let down after excitedly opening the can to find the contents almost undrinkable - a weird chemical flavour that tasted like no kind of whiskey I've sampled (and I've sampled a few.) I tried my hardest to find something to enjoy about the drink, but in the end I painstakingly finished one can with the help of family and friends, and was left with the three remaining cans, and wondering if there is some kind of charity where I can leave contributions for poor alcoholics.

 
 


 
  2016.08.26  19.49
Casino Heist...

The charity fiasco finally over, I made tracks into the heart of the city. I'd proposed an unprecendented team activity, and it was surprisingly wildly anticipated. This was back when my only schedule for the day had been taking charity phone calls from 6am until 10am, so making a 7.45pm booking did not seem a problem. At it happened, I made it to the booking, but only after briskly walking, and with my pockets still filled with training room supplies.

I headed into the basement bar and promptly ordered a whiskey and announced my arrival to the staff. I fell into a chair near where a bartender was assembling a game of massive Jenga. I tasted my drink - they'd served me rum by mistake - and sent an SMS to the team, Rendezvous at the downstairs bar..

The team arrived individually from their day's work and collected drinks. At our table in the bar, Angela idly placed Connect 4 pieces into the rack as Bryce recommended a strategy.

'Once we get in,' he started. 'Be aware that everything could mean something. Pay attention to everything. Everything could be a clue.' He flipped over a spare coaster from the table. It was an advertisment for the escape room experience I'd booked for us. '"The cards are stacked against you..."' he read. 'That could be a clue already. Once we go in, be on the lookout for cards.'

'And stacks,' someone else offered. When I'd made the suggestion to try an escape room, we'd browsed the scenarios online, and without much argument had decided upon a casino heist scenario. The host (an animated member of the bar staff) introduced himself to us at our table, and invited us to finish our drinks and meet him behind the bowling alleys (the venue's cheif business.) There, the host challenged 'So, you think you're the next Ocean's Eleven, huh?'

'I'll be Julia Roberts, then,' Kate said.

'I wanna be Brad Pitt,' Angela raised her hand, then looked to Bryce. 'And you can be Clooney.'

'Ah,' Paulo groaned. 'Does this mean I have to be Matt Damon?'

The team and bartender looked at me. 'Can I go old-school and be Sammy Davis Jr.?'

The host didn't disagree, but gave us a large iPad. He told us that he would soon take us to a route that could lead us to the casino's vault, but once there, the iPad would start a countdown. 'After 50 minutes, if you haven't managed to crack the safe and get out of there, the cops will arrive, and then it's all over.'

He explained that we might find barcodes which could be scanned into the iPad for clues, at the cost of a time penalty. The host lead us to a wall plastered with Polaroids, with three positioned prominently as the top-three times: a photo labelled as 'The Filo Queens' showed us a group of smiling young women who had apparently pulled off a successful heist in 19 minutes. Finally, he handed us an early 2000s era mobile phone, breaking character to tell us that we could hit the call button to contact him to forfeit the challenge and be released from the room in case of emergency. I was handed this responsibility due to my alleged penchant for antiquated tech.

We were blindfolded - it would be inappropriate to be allowed to know the route to the vault - and marched conga-style through an unknown route as the host wound us tales of the exotic casino target's splendour. The sounds of the bowling alley were eventually replaced with those of slot machines and falling coins.

'Now it's up to you,' said the host, and we heard a heavy door close. We removed the blindfolds as we'd been instructed, and found ourselves in a very small, blank room, kind of like a service elevator's loading zone, with two doors: one that we'd entered through. Under my arm, the clock on the iPad had started counting down. We burst through the other door into a private gaming lounge. A slot machine was spinning in one corner, with a Blackjack table on one side of the room, and a couple of other table games. Kate quickly identified the only other door in the room, locked with a combination lock.

We split apart naturally, each taking a different game or menu in the room to analyse. I took to the slot machine, and quickly noticed a consistant pattern to the winning spins, but had also noticed a suspicious looking score card above the Blackjack table that seemed significant. We called different numbers we'd deduced over to Kate, who tried them on the code, and the heavy door fell open. I felt proud of our performance in that first room.

We stumbled into an intimate lounge area. At the bar, six cocktail shakers were lined up, each emblazoned with the name of a top-shelf spirit, along with other tools of the bartending trade. There was a cocktail menu, and behind them all, a small safe, locked with a combination lock. A close look at the lock revealed it to have letters rather than numbers for the combination. On the opposite side of the lounge was a roulette table, also with a safe atop it, this one with a more traditional, numbered combination lock. Next to this was a table set for two, with a cryptic advertising poster above it, showing a list of precious stones. There was another door, this one locked with a key.

Kate, Angela and I tried to find some direction at the bar, while Bryce warned Paulo not to remove any of the chips from the roulette table lest they have been strategically positioned. Kate discovered numbered gaming chips inside each of the cocktail shakers, which we guessed could provide a clue to the roulette table's safe, but we couldn't figure out the order. I suggested that perhaps the chart with the stones was significant - 'Sapphire' could refer to the gin cocktail, for example - and we started trying to compare ingredients used in the cocktails listed on the menu, but couldn't come up with anything. Angela headed to the roulette table, where the others seemed to be just as stumped, though Paulo had found one of the barcodes - providing access to clues via the iPad - on the coaster underneath one of the drinks at the table. As time ticked down, Bryce's voice took on a tone of seriousness as he suggested that perhaps we should consider taking a time penalty in exchange for a clue. None of us wanted to, but we were stumped. Before we scanned the clue, Paulo flipped the other coaster on the table to find a note beneath it. 'Have you found the Roulette score cards?'

Bryce seemed changed, as he frantically scanned the room for score cards. With no sign of anything like that, he became more creative than any of us had dared to be so far, knocking on walls. He eventually found a false panel in a wall, and broke it down to find hidden score cards. Suddenly, the tide seemed to have turned, and activity flourished at the roulette table. Angela announced that she thought she had a letter for the first combination. I grabbed my notebook from my bag, and started noting down the letters as the rest of the team called them. I needed to figure out the order, and quickly realised the letters could be rearranged to spell a word. I tried the word, and opened the lock, and found a key inside the safe, along with a drinks order. I tossed the key to Kate, and she used it in the lock on the door. Rather than opening the door, a compartment built into the door fell open, revealing another keypad. I don't remember how we did it, but the drink order ruled out some of the cocktails, and gave us numbers to try on the other table's safe. Inside, we found the code for the door.

Spilling into the other room, we were immediately overwhelmed by flashing red light and the sound of an alarm. Looking down, we'd carelessly stumbled across a line on the floor reading 'Alarm will activate past this line.' Luckily, a kind of cypher appeared on the wall, and Angela and Kate took to cracking it. The walls of this room were lined with safe deposit boxes, and the door was a vault door. When we'd deactivated the alarm, we could cross to the vault door, and figured out the code to open it. Inside was a glass safe, filled with cash and jewels, and the final exit door. I found an envelope carelessly hidden behind the safe. On it was a handwritten note. Something about clubs. Bryce and Paulo discussed which card games focused on the suit of clubs, and I felt useless, since the only card game I can play well is Uno. Since the inside of the vault was otherwise bare, we backtracked. Paulo called out that he'd found something.

Back in the first room, the gaming lounge, he'd noticed that the cards on one of the tables had been left with hands heavy with clubs. I noted the numbers in my notebook and ran them back to Angela. She spun the numbers into the safe's combination lock, and we cheered when it swung open. We sorted through the gems and wads of cash for a clue to opening the door, and quickly realised there were numbers on the stones inside. In unison, we remembered the chart in the roulette room with the precious stones, and darted back to take note of the order. We relayed the numbers from there to a team member in the final room, who pressed the numbers from the appropriate stones into the door, and it unlocked. We were back in the bowling alley.



We checked our time against the Polaroids on the wall. We hadn't beaten the Filo Queens, but did come in at second place. And held the sign the wrong way around for our own photo.

 
 


 
  2016.08.26  08.03
Cataract charity...

Terror, like charity, begins at home.
- The Whitlams - You Sound Like Louis Burdett

Several years ago, I was happy with my life. It was simple, but I quite liked it. I was glad to celebrate my birthday at bars on King Street with colleagues I considered friends. Now those colleagues are gone - as are their desks - and the bar has become a strip joint. Perhaps in an effort to regain the simpler times of call centre work, I agreed to participate in a charitable endeavour - taking calls collecting money as a part of a radiothon.

I'd been looking forward to a simple day of talking on the phone, but at the last moment, I noticed my name removed from the list of participants, and I was advised that rather than taking phone calls, I would be required to train staff for the role - exactly what I had hoped to avoid. So yesterday I attended a session with representatives from the charity in question.

The charity is discretely Christian on paper, and devotes most of the money they collect to financing surgeries to remove cataracts from the eyes of the poor the world over. The initial meeting with their representatives was overpopulated - they seemed to have sent not less than seven people to discuss the project for only an hour. The system to be used was a simple one to train, and the information provided on the organisation answered sufficiently to be deemed thorough without overlong. The scripting provided raised other concerns, making several references to God, most prominently concluding a donation transaction with the phrase, 'God bless you for your generosity.'

The team went through their intended session with the first group of volunteers, and, unsurprisingly, a question was asked of the 'Title' field. As well as the usual 'Mr.,' 'Mrs.,' 'Ms.,' and the like, there was also an option for 'Mr. & Mrs.' As if on cue, a participant asked, 'What if the couple aren't a Mr. and Mrs.?'

The facilitator agreed enthusiastically, noting that 'Some couples actually are something other than just "Mr. and Mrs." Sometimes you'll see couples who are known as "Doctor and Mrs.," "The Reverend and Mrs.," or "Seargent and Mrs.," and so on...'

She demonstrated how one could replace the stock 'Mr. and Mrs.' option with alternative couples, such as those listed. A further question arose, beyond the one I was thinking of about women with positions earning titles other than Mrs., of how one would proceed with a couple made up of a configuration other than man and woman. The facilitator didn't seem to understand. I vowed to address to inevitable question during my own session in a different fashion.

The question had not been fully addressed, but moved on from, when the 'God bless you...' scripting was raised. A couple of people raised that they weren't completely comfortable with this, which the facilitator acknowledged that she could understand this view. 'But just give it a try,' she stated. 'As you can see here,' she indicated the screen showing her presentation. 'It is listed as scripting, so you should read it as is, regardless of your view.'

I didn't think that forcing the quoting of that exact phrase was neccesary or grateful for the organisation, though did not vocally disagree, noting once again, that my training session would not focus on this slide (and, when it happened, I showed the slide in the presentation for mere seconds, without actually making mention of it.)

When it came to actually taking the calls, the day had been broken up into two batches. There was expected to be a morning rush, from 6am to 10am, when the company would be helping the charity, and another from 2pm to 8pm. Hilarity had ensued when the company requested volunteers for the two periods, and less people than anticipated (i.e., promised to the charity by the company) agreed to participate. I enjoyed watching the frantic scramble to employ temporary staff to take these calls for the evening session.

In the morning, it was, in fact, very busy. The calls came without break, and those taking calls - I managed to sneak onto the phones for a while as people needed breaks from the incessant demand - were surprised at the generosity of radio listeners. The same demand had been suggested for the evening shift, so, as well as the temporary staff who I would train in the hour before they started at 2pm, a further call was put to this company's staff to volunteer, and a few did, even returning from the 6am start to put in an extra-long shift that surely breaches workplace health and safety conventions.

After all of the needless panic in the lead up to the afternoon calls, I was delighted to witness a stark contrast to the peak of the morning's calls. It was several hours before any calls came to the temporary staff at all. When they did, there was a brief rush (evidently stemming from an announcement on air on the radio station) where they took donations and then... back to nothing. With people become restless, I prepared some of the activities used as state-change exercises in training to keep them occupied. Before long, though, a colleague who had also agreed to be involved, and who was liasing with the charity client, decided that enough was enough. He contacted a representative from the charity to propose ending the day due to lack of interest.

All the while, the organiser of the endeavour from this company was conspicuously absent, though was seen by me to be touting the exercise as an enormous success amongst various company executives.

 
 


 
  2016.08.23  07.10
Return...

I was tired, but I had a long way to go still. Rather than carry everything onto the set of the movie I'd worked on I'd thought it best to leave my luggage at the hotel in the morning when I checked out. I'd met another zombie-extra staying at the same hotel as we followed her smart phone directions across a park (and, interestingly, a cemetary) to the railyard. Ten hours later, I cut back across the park alone, this time still made up as a zombie, though I thought I had probably managed to remove all of the fake blood. To avoid incident, I tried to bypass the general public on my trek across the park and through the streets back to the hotel. I'd disposed of my bloody shirt and put on my emergency hoodie, attempting to cover my face with the hood.

When I got to the hotel, I could see a pair of women at reception, checking in, it seemed. I decided to hold back until they were finished to approach the front desk. Luckily it appeared to be the same attendant I'd met the evening prior, to whom I had explained that I was appearing in a film in town. I feigned a deep interest in the options available in the vending machine outside the reception office until the women opened the door, when I'd intended to pass by unnoticed. Unfortunately that plan was cast into turmoil when their luggage wheels caught on the step. As I reached down to assist one of the women with her case, I noticed just how boldly the blackened veins appeared through my grey-green skin. The woman had the decency not to comment, though, other than to thank me for the assistance with the luggage.

Likewise, inside the reception office, the attendant at the front desk did not make reference to my appearance, thought she did appear to recognise me, and to be taken aback. Before I'd finished explaining that I was here to collect my bag that I'd left, she had rushed to bring it to me. I asked if there was a bathroom that I could use to remove the make up, and she directed me upstairs.

Once locked inside, I glanced at the mirror, but not for long. The illness that had been swelling within me since the lunch queue became overwhelming, and I lurched towards the toilet to vomit. I tried to be quick - I figured it might take a while to remove the make up and didn't want to attract further suspision from the front desk attendant.

Once I was finished, I flipped back my hood in front of the mirror, and saw that, despite my earlier efforts, there was still blood spattered on my face, particularly around my neck. I ripped off some toilet paper and was able to wet it to remove most of the blood. I likewise replaced my bloody jeans with a clean pair. My reflection in the mirror still had a deep gash on my right cheek and, though it looked cleaner than it had when I arrived, was still conspicuous. I was able to slowly rip the latex of this off, and also scratch away the bulbous pustules that are apparently the trademark of the film's zombies, though they left rings of my skintone showing their former presence. I tried to wash away the graze on my forhead, but it wasn't washing off, so I dampened some more paper to try to wash away the artificial green tint given to my skin, but it was no use. I gave up, put on my other shoes, and stowed the bloody shoes and socks in a bag. I quickly threw up again, before covering as much of my face as I could with the hood and leaving the hotel.

Thankfully darkness was falling as I started walking towards the station. I kept my head down as I passed by locals taking evening walks. At the station, I didn't have to wait long, but would have to change trains a couple of times before home. There had been another zombie-extra who had mentioned that he was taking the train in the same direction as me. I'd considered suggesting travelling together, but thought this would be inconvenient for him, since he'd have had to make the stop at the hotel too, or organise to rendezvous elsewhere. It wasn't long before the first train pulled up, and I climbed into an empty carriage. This train would only take me two stops though. When I changed stations, the second train was also quite empty, and I took a set at the rear of the carriage, facing away from other passengers. I saw my reflection in the window, and thought I looked ill.

After only a couple of stops, a man sat opposite me and put his feet onto the seat. I noticed he was looking at me, grinning, and met his gaze.

'How's it going?' he said, smiling deviously.

'I'm okay,' I replied. 'Thanks.'

'Are you meant to be a zombie?' he asked. 'Have you been at that zombie thing?'

I told him that I had been at the zombie thing, and he then asked 'What zombie thing?' and I explained that there had been a movie in production.

'I'm glad you are a zombie,' he said. 'When I got on and saw you I thought, "Fuck, it's some fuckin' street kid whose gonna hassle me the whole way!" But I'm glad it's just you.'

'Right...' I replied, hoping the conversation would be over soon. We sat in silence for a while, before the man tried to reignite our conversation.

'Could I have a cigarette?' he asked.

'I don't smoke.'

'Then could you give me ten or twenty bucks?'

'I don't have any money.'

We were close to the city, where I would change trains again, which was lucky, because I felt like I needed to vomit again. At Flinders Street I didn't have to wait too long for my final train to arrive, and managed to stick to the shadows. This was the most crowded of the trains, and it sat at the station for a while before it departed. A couple sat next to me, but moved away after a short time. Perhaps there are benefits to looking like decay. I was also feeling like it though. I could feel myself starting to sweat from trying to stave off vomiting. When I arrived at my home station, I noticed the Public Safety Officers looking sternly at me and recalled scenes of uniformed officers in combat with zombies during the filming. Oddly, a steam train rushed noisily past, going back to the railyard I'd just been filming at.

 
 


 
  2016.08.22  06.58
Painted Freak...

'These zombies are fast, and they're angry. These are not the shuffling, slow, Romero-style zombies. Those just aren't scary.'

I disagreed with the director's comment. When visiting the cemetary, the first zombie seen by Barbara and Johnnie in Night Of The Living Dead is made fun of, allowing him to creep up by surprise. Later, horders could be underestimated by viewers, until they surround the house, overwhelming it completely. It is terrifying in much the same way as Godzilla looming over Odo Island. But I didn't argue. It's his movie, not mine.

The statement was made as a part of a briefing during 'Zombie Training,' the precursor to fulfilling a New Year's resolution of several years ago. That resolution was actually a very specific goal that I have worked towards spasmodically since viewing a scene in a Transformers sequel several years ago, the goal to become a prominently featured extra in a feature film. Upon starting the quest, I also determined that roles such as 'corpse,' 'explosion victim,' and 'zombie' appeal to me. So when I saw a broad call out for extras in Werribee's local paper on my last visit, I immediately acted.

The extras, it was revealled through the seemingly demanding application process, would be ranked into their tiers, and the fact of my invitation to this session seemed to suggest that my application had impressed enough to see me into one of those higher tiers. The 'rehearsal' was actually just an overview of the film's plot, a gentle request for further funding, and running and falling practice - perhaps designed to weed out those who are enthusiastic, but physically ill-prepared for the role.

I was given a five.am call for the following weekend in a location kept secret until a couple of days before. Once disclosed - a vintage railyard - I booked accomodation nearby. I was vaguely annoyed when the call time was delayed until eight o'clock, as I could have saved the expense of the hotel and travelled there early in the morning, but not too much. I arrived that morning to be ushered eventually in groups of 15 from a mass of around 500 extras. In those smaller groups, we queued for a long time, guided by officials who revealled themselves to be extras from the filming the day before who had been so impressed that they'd offered more of their time. We were broken into tiers based upon a number of factors - if we had attended the previous weekend's training, physical ability, and knowledge of languages other than English. This decided it - I had made it to the tier one stage, and closer to the goal of being prominently featured but uncredited.

We were given numbered, colour-coded tickets, which we were told would be presented to the make up staff to identify which extremity of make up to apply. We waited in a less organised queue, and I started talking to a guy named Jeff, also designated the role of 'Tier 1 Zombie.' Together, we checked out the catering tent, which at this stage was only serving biscuits and bottles of weird juices. I took one of each, and the staff apologised for the lack of coffee, apparently the result of the outdoor setting not allowing electricity, and promised that some would be available once we headed into the railsheds to have make up applied. The juice, I discovered, was beetroot and celery flavour, which might have made a nice soup, but was not as successful in juice format.

After some more waiting, Jeff and I were called into the shed, home to vintage steamtrain carriages. We followed the tracks in the long, darkened shed to the end of a train, where the first of an elaborate team of make up artists started working on us, first on our hands. A second artist further shaded our hands. We were then taken to a row of seats, where we had ever more elaborate facial make up applied. There were no mirrors, but I could see the progress of Jeff and the other casts' make up to get an idea of how each stage progressed my own. One of the make up artists, who appeared to be in charge, at one point dragged a guy who looked convincingly zombie-like back through the action of artists, asking him to identify the artist responsible for each stage of his make up. He seemed uncommitted to any response.

'Was it you?' the leader asked of one of the artists close to where I was having diseased veins painted into my skin. I didn't hear the response, but the outcome saw the leader raise her voice and call over all of the artists. 'Alright, girls,' she called. 'All of you, leave what you are doing. Get over here now. I want to show you how not to do face make up!'

'See this?' The leader pushed the subject's hair back at his forehead. Right at the base of his hairline, his natural skintone could be barely seen. 'What if his hair goes back when he is running on set? Everyone can see that! This is no zombie. This is just... a painted freak!' The actor looked sheepish beneath the elborate, if apparently inadequate make up.

After the interruption, those midway through the make up process were left in their seats whilst touch ups were done to others later in the process. I asked for some direction, and the artist looked at my face, telling me I looked done, and directing me further down the line. There, I reconvened with Jeff, who was gritting his teeth, now stained with make up. Through clench teeth he asked 'Is it dry yet?' I asked the tooth make up artist on his behalf, who told us the effect takes only ten seconds to dry. It was my turn next, and I quickly moved to the hair and finally dirt booth, before moving out of the rail shed into the warmth of the winter sun. It had been frightfully cold inside the shed.



Just outside, the final stage of make up was more artists applying a spatter of blood. Once again, we were left to await direction. I've worked on sets before. I know the drill. In the down time, I decided to venture back to the catering tent before we were called to shoot. I had spent over three hours having the make up applied, but the catering stand told me to return later - they said food would be served shortly. Meanwhile, a few extras cast as soldiers and refugees were called away for filming. Extras now made up as zombies were asked to pose for publicity photographs, but since the photographers were using smart phones, it seemed to be more an exercise in promoting the bulk of the cast as useful rather than as an actual productive exercise. I'd brought my copy of Trainspotting and my Gameboy, but we'd been asked to leave our belongings inside the rail shed. So I checked out the rail yard.

After a few more hours, it was announced that lunch was being served, and a line instantly formed behind a barbeque that had been set up in the catering tent. I joined, and predicted a lengthy wait. I hadn't moved at all when the line was halted by the same voice which had been calling 'painted freak!' earlier. 'Would you please hold off for a minute? My girls haven't eaten all morning!'

The queue was held back while the make up artists took their well-deserved lunch. Meanwhile, a crew member paced the queue, calling for and pulling aside Tier 1 zombies. We were led away from the catering queue around the corner to the set. It was an impressive location. A stone archway between two tall, vintage workshops divided two sets or train tracks laid into rough cobblestone roads. On the rail sidings of one set of tracks stood two diesel train engines. For the purposes of the film, a chain-link fence had been erected beyond the engines, serving as the checkpoint for a quarantine area.

We were given further directions, and asked to wait for further make up once the artists had finished their lunch. We were instructed on how the scene would pan out, and told to draw upon our inner anger. 'When I'm hungry, I get angry, so it shouldn't be hard,' commented a woman in the crowd scene. 'Maybe that was the plan all along,' commented another extra. 'Starve us until we're really ravenous zombies.'</i>

When the make up artists arrived, they came carrying a couple of buckets of blood each. They arranged the extras in rows of ten, and ordered our eyes closed. They flung blood on us, and we started to film the scene - a horde of zombies chasing soldiers ushering children through to the quarantine area as it struggles to keep the infected outside. Although the shooting confirmed that this probably won't be the kind of zombie film I liked to watch, it does seem like an exciting scene. My favourite part involved the application of 'mouth blood' by the make up artists, for the front runners to spew as they surged towards the blockade.

The scene was run throguh several times, with a few shots utilising a drone flying overhead through the arch. I pictured sweeping shots of the desperate, mindless horde below, which would look impressive with the three tiers pushing through. It didn't last long before the drone crashed, to a sigh of disappointment from the horde. We were also asked to film various detail shots to intersperse from within the chase sequence. I would have preferred to feature as the director's non-scary zombie, but I did enjoy this role.

It wasn't long before someone - a vocal producer I'd met at the rehearsal, perhaps - called that it was a wrap, to applause through the rail yard. By this time, I was eager to leave. I started to head out, but was caught first as someone I'd not seen all day was asking once more to take photographs. Someone during this called for three cheers for the crew, but I felt bitter and starved, so did not participate - though by 'crew,' I guessed they were referring specifically to film crew, and not administrative and organisational, who did seem to perform admirably. Another round of applause was also called for the expansive team of make up artists, which I did join in on enthusiastically. I'd been impressed with their efficiency and also working under a forceful manager.

At the rehearsal, we'd been promised provisions for removal of the make up, but I found this to be limited to a few WetOnes, which didn't remove much. There was no mirror in the bathroom, but I felt around and it seemed like most of the blood, at least, was gone from my face and neck.

 
 


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