Sunday, January 30, 2005

Further Away

Yesterday it seemed things weren't going my way, just those few small happenings, those few unfortunate mishaps of life that compound into the feeling that perhaps it's not your day, week, decade.

Arriving at the cinemas and after taking a few steps towards the theatre, realising the car keys had not left the car with us and the spare set was at home. Sitting and eating before the movie, fate deciding it might be a laugh if I spilled Coke all over myself. All these things seem set upon the mind, despite the many favourable developments that seem swiftly swept aside, leaving the appearance that it may all be slowly slipping further away.

The movie we all saw, Closer left me more dispirited really than anything. Four characters, a touch underdeveloped if you ask me, living out their lonely lives. With a little more thought going into shot composition, emotional development and perhaps a touch tighter on the conversational editing, this film could have been very interesting. Great acting though, I thought, especially from Jude Law and Natalie Portman.


Portraits

Tabletop Gatherings

I had given up inquiring to Jerry quite a while ago about the status of his pool table, whether it had arrived yet or not. After weeks waiting, he told me that the store had finally received some in. Telling them to deliver it Thursday morning, of course it didn't arrive until well into that afternoon.

Friday night, after a phone call and brief discussion about the table, the decision was made - virtually independent of Jerry's input - that it might be fun to get some friends together and go over just to test it out for him. And so we were, gathered in the dimly lit downstairs area, drinks, music, friends, hitting coloured balls around the shining new green tabletop.


The pool table ghost

Friday, January 28, 2005

(Un)Intended Avoidance

The traffic to Chermside was surprisingly sparse after work. I was to have a quick dinner then take a little look around for clothes and whatnot. While walking up and down the crowed aisles of unabashed retail, I was astounded by the large number of passing faces that I recognised from some distant memory. Thrice I bumped into people I used to know, briefly conversing about various nothings and then going on our separate ways and there were many more that I spied from the corner of my eye, much too enthralled with the thrill of commerce to notice.

Perhaps it's just me, but whenever I'm out at a shopping centre or somewhere, at times I tend to dread the prospect of running into anyone I know, the awkwardness involved as these people enter your world that was previously occupied only with the task at hand. Countless considerations come to mind simultaneously, drawing on all previous experience, in regard to greetings, appropriate small talk and etiquette. At times when I'm either in a rush or not in the mood, I oftentimes attempt to steer clear of these confrontations, but more often then not, they are for various reasons, unavoidable.

While walking to the car ready for home, I witnessed a scene I thought quite humorous in a slightly piteous kind of way: two rather homely looking guys squabbling over which one of them a girl - quite a bit out of their league I would say - looked at first as she passed, her eyes perhaps unintentionally wandering. I wonder what outcome the two of them hoped to achieve should their dispute ever be resolved.


Brisbane trams to Chermside, 1967

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What's It All About?

Jude Law seems to be in just about every movie coming out these days; a temporary elevation in media induced social consciousness. It's interesting how out of the billions of individuals in existence and throughout history, there are but a mere few able to inhabit the minds of the masses.

There is a poster for Alfie on the bus stop just down from work; in fact I think they're on pretty much every bus stop around town. Went to see it last night. At first I thought it was just going to be another typical Hollywood romantic comedy, loaded with all the clichés, but by the end, I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. I guess it kind of got me thinking about things in a different way - what every film should strive to do - about life and the way I've been living it and all that.

I only just found out that this one was a remake of the Michael Cain version way back in the sixties. I wonder if it's worth checking out.


Wine & Women?

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Games We Play

Yesterday, after the book sale, we had earlier planned to eat out over at Southbank Parklands. However, that thought only came to our heads a little after we had just already paid for our parking on the machine upstairs. So we all left for Francine & Simon's place, deciding instead to stop somewhere on the way back to pick up lunch.

After standing around Red Rooster for a while, trying to figure out what to get, we got to the counter only to find out that they were out of chicken. Out of chicken? How hard is it for a chicken place to have chicken ready to serve? You'd think they'd have filled us in on that tiny piece of information when we walked in. Luckily KFC down the road didn't suffer from the same problem.

That afternoon we played Pictionary and Simpsons Cluedo. I'd only played Pictionary once before and had forgotten how great it was, observing the frustration of the drawer frantically trying to stir up objects and actions in their partners mind with their various scrawling on the paper.

Even more games were to follow that night at the Chermside bowling alley and obligatory video game arcade right next to it, shooting people on the screen, striking pins down the lane. I wonder what it is that draws us to these places, to play these games, to perform these arbitrary pursuits. The excitement, the competition? Or perhaps it's just the flashing colours and disco balls.


Disco Bowling

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Crowd Dynamics

Apparently the first ever foam party in the Brisbane CBD was held at Cesars last night. Chantal had been to a few before in France and really wanted to go along. I admit that the idea of foaming girls in bikinis did sound somewhat intriguing.

We had been sitting and drinking for a few hours, the place was becoming quite packed and I began to wonder whether they were ever going to turn on the machine. Just then, as if sensing my anticipation, it began, bubbling foam spraying out upon the crowded dance floor.

I was watching our table while the girls were out dancing, when the inevitable need to use the bathroom arose. I knew that leaving the table at that point would result in it becoming lost to the crowd, but I really had to go. Afterwards, with the table gone, I went to look for the others, venturing into the foaming mass of bodies and nearly choking to death when a huge glob of bubbles was launched directly into my face mid-breath.

This morning was the prospect of dealing with a different type of crowd at the Lifeline Bookfest. Sifting through the multitude of hungry bookworms, all looking for a good feed, I pondered crowd dynamics for a short while, the complexities of certain individuals as they go about attempting to fulfil their specific desires, moving and flowing through swirling currents, each influencing all others in their epic dance.

I also found a few good books myself.


Crowds at the Lifeline Bookfest

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Library Books' Ambition

As the work days amass, new stresses arise, new pressures present themselves through the hazy cloud of being. Time, once seeming so abundant and free, is now but a distant memory; the days eaten away. What's left is a daze of thoughts, dreams and desires, with ambition looming overhead, silently mocking.

The books I had borrowed nearly one month ago were wanting to go back to the library and I figured there might be a few just waiting for a chance to come home with me. So I sat at work wondering if I would be able to make it to a library after hours, before my books became seriously homesick.

As I found out, many of the city libraries have certain days on which they stay open a little later than usual, so I was able to stop in at the Chermside library after work. While browsing the shelves of knowledge, I noticed many sections that I just passed on by, in between books of more captivating interest, yet those other sections must certainly be desirable to some.

A library book's purpose is to be borrowed; it is its ambition. Books not borrowed are eventually eliminated from the holdings. New purchases are most often based on which current books are the greatest achievers. It seems evolving incentives are constantly at work: fancy cover designs, clever titles, but most of all, the promise of ideas and experiences, waiting to find their way into new fertile ground.


Which ideas are competing for your mind?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Shooting The Breeze

Today was the final day, helping out with shooting for Run Paulie Run, leaving them with only a few days to edit everything together before the Tropfest Short Film Festival deadlines close.

Filming was quite a bit harder today because we had to direct more people and it was all outdoors in the scorching heat. I didn't get as many takes as I would have liked to, but everyone was becoming hot and bothered and we all wanted to get out of the sun as quickly as possible. I guess we were lucky that the weather man was wrong, that it didn't pour down with rain as was apparently expected.

I realised this morning before leaving that I didn't have any sunscreen. After shooting, I was so hot, sweat literally dripping, that I took refuge at the local air-conditioned shopping centre where I picked up a bottle of 30+. A little too late, but at least I'll have it for next time.

I hope it turns out well for them.


Amy & Paulie

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Nature of Humanity is Irrepressible

Went along to the Sit Down Comedy Club on Friday night. Regrettably, they sat us right up the front, next to the stage, right in the line of fire of audience conversation and humiliation and also of the headline act Dicko's rampant flying spit while articulating certain consonant sounds. The air-conditioning right above us was leaking also and kept dripping droplets of water onto our heads. I never knew you could get so wet in a comedy club. Nevertheless, the night wasn't too bad.

I found myself watching a video of Monkey Magic while falling asleep, laughing at its brilliant absurdity and remembering the times when I was little, when I would always watch it every day after school. I used to have a broom stick that I had painted up to look like Monkey's staff. I think I was a little disappointed though that I couldn't make it grow and shrink like he did in the show or perform any of his other magical powers. I always wanted one of those magic clouds so I could fly away from the repetitiveness of school life.

I guess, in a way, the show was an escape, being caught up in and following along with the quest for the holy scriptures and all the adventures they set upon, which seem a mere fantasy to a child. But for a brief moment, you become entangled in that fantasy world and your experiences there so too influence your future here.


Monkey Magic

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Just Doesn't Cut It

While driving to an out of the ordinary eight o'clock start at work, they were telling me on the radio about the Triple J stand-up comedy talent quest thing that they're doing all over Australia. The Brisbane heats begin in February and for some bizarre reason, I've always wanted to try my hand at stand-up, so I'm thinking I might give it a go, although I’m not absolutely certain. Now if I only had some material.

It's interesting to notice the differences of perception while you're on the vigilant lookout for various observations and situations in day to day life that might be even the slightest bit humorous, always wondering if perhaps it could be used. So far I haven't found anything terribly funny. Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

The grass at the new place has steadily been growing, the ever thickening whiskers of green taking hold over the yard. I was able to leave work at four o'clock today and had planned upon mowing the somewhat overgrown lawn with the little hand push mower I'd borrowed from home. In some places where the grass was sparse, I literally mowed right through it, while in the places where the grass had grown quite long and dense, the poor little push mover just couldn't cut it.

To me, comedians seem always under a lot of pressure to be funny, having to consistently make people laugh and all that. I think it would be a lot to deal with and quite daunting, although I guess it’s probably a lot of fun. Alone on stage, push mower microphone in hand, in an attempt to mow the audience down with hilarity. It seems a lot to live up to. I'm not sure if I could cut it.


Grass

Monday, January 10, 2005

Phantoms of a Past Forever Gone

Monday again, another week begins. Strange how the time slips by. While watching The Phantom of the Opera tonight at the local Stafford cinemas, distant memories arise from moments once all but forgotten.

The stage play was coming to Brisbane for a short time and my high school drama class had arranged for us to see it. Even now as I think back, more and more detail is revealed to me: the giant chandelier rising from the stage, the old material draping over the glorious sets and being quickly gathered up by the many stagehands above. I can recall how the theatre felt while I was taking my seat and even who I happened to be sitting next to. We hadn't really spoken out of class.

Where have all these memories been lurking, when up until a few days ago they were nowhere to be found. Below my range of perception, seemingly inconsequential to any of my minds wanderings, and yet they must have been.

Tucked away beneath the opera house, the dark phantoms of past experience reside, silently scheming for their reprisal.


The Phantom

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Jellyfish Revelations

Anyone ever been stung by a jellyfish? As of yesterday, I'm fortunate enough to be able to answer that question with a yes, twice. Although I'm pretty sure that yesterday it was a Bluebottle Portuguese Man-of-War - technically not a jellyfish - that just happened to cross my path while swimming on one of the sandy beaches of the Sunshine Coast. Just my luck.

My first encounter with these stinging blobs of the sea happened quite some time ago, when I was very young on a trip to the beach with my Nan and cousin Andrew. I was happily splashing about in the waves when I felt a strange scratching sensation on the inside of my left forearm as the jellyfish brushed past.

It wasn't too long before I was bawling my eyes out in the back of the car, my arm all red and blistering, throbbing with pain as we searched for some kind of hospital or doctor's surgery. Eventually we found a place and they administered some vinegar and bandaged the area, which eased the pain a little, but I still had the swelling and itch for a day or two afterwards and vowed never to swim at the beach again, although that didn't last long.

Yesterday's brush with misfortune was not quite as severe as I remember my first to be. Perhaps it's just that I'm a lot older now. Pain thresholds seem to stretch and expand over the years. I was braving the waves of the windy beach, further out than any of the others. My hand coming down into the water must have caught the trailing tentacles of the bluebottle and I knew instantly what had happened and what I was about to experience.

It wasn't so bad making my way back to shore, picking off the few broken blue tentacles and I wondered if maybe it wouldn't get any worse, but I could never be so lucky. The ice from the lifeguards helped a little, but then the pain began to spread up along the length of my arm and I began to feel a little dizzy as the pain and poison coursed through my body, leaving me in a kind of dazed state for a little while where I contemplated the chances of that jellyfish and myself coming together at that precise point in time and about all the events in the history of the universe leading up to that exact moment.

Anyway, some Stingoes gel and Panadol soothed a little and we decided to continue our swim at the local pool.


Sunshine coast

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Night Away

Arrived home not too long ago, worn out and drained by a few unfortunate events of the day, which I won’t go into right now. Sleep awaits, so I'll keep it brief.

Friday night we departed later than we'd planned, up the coast to visit our friends Travis and Deanna at Coolum Beach. Last time they were down, I remember them telling everyone how much they had spent on interest free furniture. I think they were glad they could finally show it off to us.

The night progressed into the early hours of the morning, a prepared dinner, a few drinks, a couple of strange card games and a nice dip in the spa bath. Not too bad a way to spend a Friday night away.


The new table

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Fulltime

It's amazing just how little time you have when you're working nine to five each day. They only put me on fulltime last Wednesday and I guess I'm still adjusting. Even with Monday off for the New Year's holiday, already I'm wishing it was the weekend. Today I found that the new ceiling fan in my office was spinning backwards, blowing air upwards and that's why it was so hot in there.

A sudden subtle change in certain day to day activities can have dramatic effects on many other aspects of life. What were once idle pastimes are pushed aside as new priorities emerge. Altered sleeping patterns take their toll, the waking state of hurried morning preparations, preceded by only a few hours rest. The nights eaten away with tiresome and trivial tasks and thoughts of a million more constructive things that could be done.

A change is as good as a holiday, don't they say? Before too long though, I'm sure things will begin settle into a steady rhythm; they always do. Monotony however, is a killer.


Actually not the fan from my office, but you get the idea

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Neverland

I would like to find Neverland, someday again. It seems recently to have somehow become lost amongst the bitter tribulations of reality, repressed under a thick blanket of narrow perception. How easily do children see thorough that very same blanket, through the gaps into Neverland. A brief escape this afternoon, the movie Finding Neverland tells the tale of writer James Matthew Barrie and the apparent events leading up to the conception of the Peter Pan story. I'm not sure how much is real and how much is purely fiction, but it's a good story nonetheless.

It's rather peculiar, that one particular day when you just look around at yourself and your life and realise that you're actually a grownup, or at least are supposed to be one by all social standards. I don't feel at all that different really. I mean I know I've changed quite a bit over time, but essentially I'm still the same person I was all those years ago. I definitely don't feel like a grownup, at least not how I envisaged the experience of adulthood might be like. I guess that perhaps no one ever really grows up completely, that there's always some small portion, no matter how tiny a fragment, of childhood that survives inside.

From what I've heard, Neverland is not too far away. All you have to do is believe – or see the movie.


Clap your hands if you believe in fairies

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Relocation

It's been a while since we've had an update on the office flora. I thought perhaps it was time for one, or maybe I'm just a little lacking in blogging inspiration today. I moved the plant on the window sill at work over to my new office - I actually have an office now. I'm thinking of transplanting my plant - I'm not sure what species he is - into a proper pot with some soil instead of his current little glass of water. Perhaps he would appreciate that - if plants could appreciate anything.

Today was the official relocation of the office to the new building. Just about everything has been taken over and is in the process of being set up. It's strange seeing how bare everything looks in the old office with everything gone, a kind of empty feeling and you can hardly imagine that it was once so busy and full of life.

They had a little ceremony this afternoon, kind of a symbol of tranferrence and blessing to the new surroundings. It is a buddhist charity after all and although I don't believe in all that, I helped out nevertheless with the insence and carrying accross a couple of little buddhas. I find it interesting how people can put such faith in certain things, devote their lives to it; on what grounds?

It seems as long as there exists a suitable environmnet, faith will continue to survive, being relocated from place to place, evolving in the minds of the faithfull.


A different window sill

Monday, January 03, 2005

Original Moments

I was in some sort of weird mood today, hard to describe really. I can get like that sometimes. I don't know what it is. Every depiction that comes to mind seems somehow absent of whatever it is that I'm actually feeling and when I run it over again in my head, I keep agonising over how others may perceive those words, strung together on the mental needle and thread.

Last night watching television and movies with friends, each sitting in silence as the rapid succession of still images shot forth towards the eagerly awaiting eyes, accompanied by raging tidal soundwaves wreaking havoc upon the lobe shores of our ears. And although each of us essentially was watching the same thing, the story that unfolded for each of us was markedly different, original, unique. What separates us as individuals are those unique stories in our heads and the palpable void that exists between them.

Today I worked a bit more on the new Motor Neurone Disease website, which I'm doing pro bono for a friend and also I guess, because I think it would be terrible to suffer from this debilitating disease. This afternoon I watched Garden State on the computer, a movie I had wanted to see in the cinema last week, but was too late; it had come and gone.

I really liked it and not just because it had Natalie Portman in it, although she did seem to add something special to the film. All the themes are very relatable and Zach Braff plays around with a lot of interesting shots and ideas. In what first seem like random places, right in the middle of certain scenes, the picture goes black and white for a short while and then returns to colour. I'm still not entirely sure of the significance of these grey shots, but they seem to happen in moments of anxiety, embarrassment, or insecurity about a certain conversation or situation.

I wonder which moments of my life would be in black and white.


Garden state

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Folk on the Hill

It was early to rise on New Year's Day, a day when usually there would be nothing better than to be able to sleep in, to dream away the misgivings of the year left behind. We had returned home relatively early from a small party with friends the night before, in order to get as much sleep as possible before the early drive up to the Woodford Folk Festival.

When I first went, a few years ago, I'd had virtually no sleep and didn't have a terribly good day in the above-average heat we were having that summer and was half falling asleep by sundown. This time it wasn't too hot and I really enjoyed the day, looking around at all the different stalls and visiting the many music stages around the place. The night-time fire event was really good as well, on the hill, which was covered by a vast sea, thousands upon thousands of people under the stars.

Right at the end of the fire event there they had a song, one of those happy songs that people like to clap along to in time with the beat. I noticed a group of people who had begun to clap along to every second beat and it kind of made me think about the evolution of applause and the dynamics of clapping along to a song in a crowd.

The rhythmic clap was slowly spreading through the crowd, finding residence in any willing mind it could persuade. But its steady reign was to come to an end when about half way through the song, a competing clap entered the fray, bolstered to dominance by view of the choir clapping above their heads to every beat. This new rhythm spread like wildfire throughout the audience, eventually roaring to disjointed applause at the song's end before dying out completely.


Woodford pilgrimage to the hill