The Place I Came To Love Is Missing Too

[When You’re Gone – Avril Lavigne]

Today I learned that my manager at the cafe is transferring to another store, and I just wanted to write something about her, even though I highly doubt she knows about this blog.

I’m not posting this until Sunday night, since that’s the last time I’ll see her (unless I can visit her at her store some time), and since that’s when she’ll be announcing it officially. This way I don’t get into trouble.

Anyway, Jess has been an amazing manager, and I say this with no exaggeration nor condition. She’s a fun, understanding, but disciplined boss, who takes the time to understand how each of her underlings work and learn, and to craft tasks which would ensure everyone plays to their strength. She always believed in me, even when I was starting out and feeling like I was letting the team down on busy days, and never ever showed annoyance when I asked my many, many questions. She was patient when we made silly mistakes, and she couldn’t find fault in anyone – what else could you ask in a manager! I think the only way I could ever have a nicer manager is if they gave me free money.

I think it’s a real remark on her, when the entire store’s ambiance and morale revolves around her. And I mean that also when she’s not in the store, and we’re being run by supervisors, because the supervisors also seemed to give off her vibe. We all get along with each other because she’s created such a friendly work environment (or, at least, she was a part of a friendly work environment when she began working there, and then carried it over when she began managing), where no one feels like they’re not allowed to say what they want. She genuinely cared about the wellbeing of each and every one of her staff members, not on an official level, but at a personal level. I suppose those more skilled may see it as a weak point, because management requires certain ambivalence towards the personal lives of their subordinates, but on our level, it made working a joy.

And, as a person, I think she’s charming too. It’s easy to talk to her because she’s always smiling, and she’s always willing to hear about new things. Because of that, she’s on good terms with many of our regulars – I wonder what they’ll feel when they learn that she’s left!

So, Jess, in case you happen to read this: THANK YOU! Thank you for being one of the best managers I’ve ever had and probably ever will have, and thank you for being my friend at work. I hope I have been equally good company, and I wish you the best at the new store and with all your future plans with Cody (I actually know his name now, and just say it wrong to annoy you). Don’t work too hard, but I know you would anyway.

Alex.

P.S. I’m mostly writing the same things in your card so. Double up.

P.P.S. I AM NOT EMOTIONALLY STUNTED

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Don’t Listen To A Word I Say

[Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men]

This post is a few days late because of a sudden influx of LIFE that happened over the last few days. And by that, I mean Amelia’s and Melody‘s party. (By the way, Melody is kinda in a blog clique kind of thing, so my tacking on of her link is me trying to integrate myself.)

On Thursday, I went to Amelia’s house early to help her clean her house and set up for her party. She’d gotten her Ps just the day before, so I got picked up from my door and drive to her door, and let me say, having spent the past two years taking two different buses for an hour each time just to get to her house, I think I will enjoy this new freedom!

We washed up some dirty dishes and cleaned the kitchen, and then she vacuumed the house while Meg tried to fight off the noise monster. Then we had a bit of a rest, had Nandos for lunch (also, another perk of having her drive: instead of having to order expensive pizza in, or making instant noodles, we can now go out for lunch if we want) then a snooze. When it was nearly time, we went downstairs to blow up some balloons and that’s when people started arriving.

You may not be able to tell, but I’m not a fan of recounting in deep detail everything that happened, so here’s a quick run-down.

Most people were well over an hour late, and so when the pizza finally came, everyone was dead hungry, and demolished the first round. We had to go order more. The alcohol began to Β flow as well, albeit in little amounts, because her parents are still home. Everyone was hanging out and listening to some guitar playing, and then for some reason some people wanted to watch UP, so we put that on as well.

It was nearing 11pm, and poor Meg had been up for hours and hours (with a tiny nap in the middle). We’d taken her for a big walkies in the afternoon so she’d empty her bowels outside and not be too excited when people come and pee on them. As a result, she was exhausted. When UP was finishing, her eyes were watering, and she was getting quite grumpy. Thankfully, there were three people at the party apart from Amelia and myself that Meg suddenly took a liking to, and those three people took turns hugging Meg until she became docile and just dozed off.

Anyway, that was Meg. I was worried she’d be badly behaved, but Amelia hugged her every now and then which made her happy, and mostly she was friendly to the twenty odd strangers in the house.

Serena made a caramel cheesecake, which she was paranoid over, because she felt like it wasn’t good/sweet/cold enough. Now, I’ve seen her make many cakes in the past, but I’ve never gotten to try a single bite. But, IT WAS AMAZING. I don’t even like cheesecake or caramel and I loved it. I hope she makes me more. Serena, are you reading still? Make me MORE!

Now, we talk about Cindy.

For those of you who aren’t in the know, Cindy is one of Amelia’s closest friends and, if I divide everything down to the most common denominator, probably the reason I got together with Amelia in the first place. The way that Cindy and I met isn’t exactly the best example of my ability to “stay cool”.

But that night, it was Cindy’s turn to not be cool! She accidentally forgot she didn’t eat much (accidentally), and did a few shorts in quick succession. As a result, she became extremely friendly with everyone, and ample hugs were abound. Then, the high wore off, and the head-stuck-in-the-toilet era rolled in. By the end of the night…at around 2:30 am, we had the last stragglers of the party (namely Amelia, myself and three others who were staying over, Nico – Cind’s boyfriend and who now on I will call Naochi because that’s what I call him – and Ash, who was getting a ride from Nico) holding plastic bags up to her face, telling her to just throw up to feel better (horrible phrase to take out of context, I know). In all, it was an amusing but tiring way to finish off what was otherwise a really amazing party.

I had to bring that up, sorry, because it was a fond memory that I’m sure I’ll appreciate to read about a few years later.

I went home early Friday morning because Amelia had work first thing. I had my day of rest, and then another half day of rest on Saturday, before Amelia picked me up for Melody’s. She held it at Ondergrounds on Russell St, which was a pretty cool venue, but because I had to leave really early due to work Sunday, I only really stayed for a few shots and left. But, from what I saw, everyone was in for a crazy night (and I’m pretty sure Melody will supplement and blog more about it on her fancy dotcom page, so do check it out! LIKE SHE NEEDS PLUGGING), and I was sorry I missed it.

And, to finally catch up, I worked all Sunday and all today.

PS Here’s Meg

Camera 360She’s having a nap while hugging her decimated Pikachu toy. It no longer has a face, but boy is it her favorite.

 

 

He Takes Off Her Dress Now

[Mr Brightside – The Killers]

I really miss my old high school group. Not the ones who I still see often, as mentioned by a previous post, but the ones who I used to see everyday, take the train with everyday, and now I hardly even connect with. I’m talking about the names which older readers of mine came across as often as I used to say them: Bianca, Carmaine, Eunice… I remember when we had an acronym for the four of us!

I bring this up because today while I was cleaning a table at work, Bianca (who works two stores down) walked past me and gave me a bit of a friendly bump. I was having a bit of a moody day, because I’d expected a quieter day at work it being a weekday, but it was actually as busy as a weekend. Then, with just 5 seconds of Bianca and I exchanging a quick “hey!”, I instantly felt better. Maybe it’s mostly her face, but I really think it’s also because I had a reminder of a simpler and casual-er time when we would meet up after school and catch a train together (but not before stopping for a crepe or something first).

In other news, Amelia got her driver’s license today, so I’m prepping myself to finally be able to have her be my bitch and drive me around. Actually, that probably won’t happen, because you know, she has a life. But it’s still exciting to think we can actually go to different places for dinner, or go home later when I visit. MORE TIME TO SPEND WITH MEG!

MEG2MORE MEG IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING!

Alex

 

Montage Every Memory

[Black Cat – Mayday Parade]

Sometimes I think about what it is that sparked a friendship between a friend and me. For the most part, the answer is simple: time spent together; close proximity; similar interests and/or personalities; completely different interests and personalities that somehow mesh together, etc. But then there are the weird ones.

For example, I would consider quite a few of my workmates friends, but that’s because I spend up to 20 hours with them on some weeks. The moment that one of them or I leave the workplace, I dare say there’d be little to no reason for us to maintain communication. But, it’s still nice to have them on my Facebook contact list to serve as a memory of times when you faced a shop full of hungry customers and no strawberries or ice-cream whatsoever.

Then, there are friends who would remain friends despite not having seen them for a long time. High school friends can fall either into this or the previous category. Perhaps I had a close-knit group in high school, but to this day, nearly four years after graduation, whenever there’s an event to celebrate, we still immediately count the same group in first, before anyone else. I suppose it helped that after graduation, three of that group ended up studying the same university undergrad for three more years. I can still name a few friends with whom I speak to once or twice a year at best, but I feel that I still am somehow connected to them during those times.

Also, you’d have friends who like the same things you do, and in all honesty you could possibly maintain an entire conversation based solely on those topics, and nothing else. I think Annie falls into all the previous three categories, having spent nearly 7 years together with me, enjoy the same TV shows I do and, now, after graduating university, we talk once or twice a month and those times only about TV shows. I’m not quite sure if she still lives at home or if she’s still at the telemarketing job, but boy do I know that she’s excited for the return of season premiers!

Finally, you have friends who you neither see often, nor not at all. Friends with whom you share some, but only few interests. Friends who, in all honesty, you’ve only made because they’re a friend of a friend’s. Then, as time went on, you realize you talk to them more and more, and even though you have almost no shared interests or experiences, you can still maintain some sort of continuous mundane conversation. I think that’s who Serena is (there, a second mention). I honestly and thoroughly enjoy my time with her, even when she’s completely disregarding every warning and advice I give her. Hell, I actually enjoy just watching her put on makeup in front of the computer.

That’s the kind of friendship that truly encapsulates the strangeness of human nature, where against all logic, a bond is still created.

I may have known Serena for almost longer than most of the people I talk to now (and not realized it), and I may spend most of my conversations with her telling her she stinks, but I do love her.

Alex.

But When You’re With Me, I’ll Make You Believe

[Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 ft Christina Aguilera]

Strange to be coming back to a habit which I used to have everyday. I read somewhere that 21 days make a habit, so here’s to 21 days of a new habit.

My comeback’s comeback’s comeback (did I count that right?) comes on the heels of a different direction that I’m taking in my life. Namely, that I’m going back onto the same direction that I was (hoping to be) heading towards this time last year.

Bar the stroke of depressing inspiration from the post prior, my life had taken a creative standstill. After graduation, I attempted to continue writing, but the lure of an obligation-free lifestyle took me in too far, and I found myself sitting at the tail end of May with nothing to show for it but working two 3-hour shifts a week, and taking benefits from the government (which isn’t something I’m complaining about). And while every day I told myself that I’d get right on it – ‘it’ being the first step towards a proper ‘life’, i.e. applying for writing/media jobs more seriously (more seriously than occasionally contacting some small publishing company about internships), or at least have a plan sketched out – it was simply more relaxing to watch old episodes of BuffyΒ and gorge myself on Daredevil comics. I started and semi-abandoned two different writing projects, as well as a movie review blog idea which I’ve also heaped into a folder on my USB titled “Microsoft Docs”, the polite sign at the gate that is the graveyard of my creativity spurs.

So when June came whizzing around, I accepted a job at a local cafe, which offered me up to 20+ hours a week of working – and hard working, too. My paychecks started holding much bigger numbers, and I told myself that this was obviously my next step, since it was Β next to impossible to find a job in the media these days (especially if I didn’t try), and at least I’m earning some seed money for when I take a step away from the ledge and start doing work for no money – an inevitable step.

Then, the other week, I reconnected with an old friend. She’s the kind of person who would ask about you out of the kindness of her heart, but not take a wishy-washy answer as fact and move on. She pressed why I didn’t have a proper plan, and even went so far as to contact an acquaintance of her own who works in the media, just to ask for how I can get started.

So I dug up my old internet bookmarks where I’d stashed away a few post-grad courses I’d been looking at in my final year of undergrad studying. I semi-made up my mind that I should return to study, if not only for the practical experience that those courses will provide for to fatten my port-folio. I sounded my ideas off of Amelia, who immediately seized on the fact that for the past half a year I’d done naught to further my own career, and guilt-tripped me into doing something about it. Granted, she told me to just go and properly look for a job, but I reviewed my own state of mind, and felt that perhaps I wasn’t ready to look for the job, but instead should study for it. If this would be a vain exercise to put off shouldering responsibilities…well, time will tell.

In any case, I’d applied for and am in the process of being accepted for a Masters in Media. I’d like to think I’d be one of the gap-year-taking older students (although, considering this is a post-grad degree, I just may be one of the youngest anyway) who studies above and beyond the requirement and partake in all class discussions.

600 words in: excellent. I should have weeded out the people who didn’t really care about my ramblings, and am left with Serena. Hi Serena, are you still reading this?

Much like the gag on Family Guy, I’m a writer who needs people to know I’m writing. I haven’t gone as far as to go into a cafe and bring my laptop, although if I am to work and study at the same time next year, it just may happen out of necessity.

So, Serena, please continue reading.

Yesterday was the annual Social Night, an event held by the SAMA club, or the anime club of Monash Uni. Amelia is a committee member this year, and she worked hard for the event. I’m not one for photo-blogging, but here is a glimpse of what the table settings that she designed looked like (if you click on the link).

The event was smaller than last year, but it was still extremely entertaining. Maybe it was because I know how hard Amelia worked for the event, but I felt it was more intimate.

Serena snuck a bottle of vodka into the party, and became the producer/enabler for most of the drunken behavior last night.

The night was capped by a rousing Happy Birthday for Amelia, who turned 21 at midnight after the event. I look at her, and sometimes I’m astonished to realize I’ve been with her for 2 years, which simultaneously feel like no time at all, and yet I can’t remember what I used to do without her in my life (no, I will not read through my old blog posts to refresh my memory).

I’ll find more interesting things to blog about apart from myself for the next 20 days. Unfortunately tomorrow is an entire day of work, so maybe I’ll find a funny customer anecdote to share.

Thanks for reading, Serena (and any of you other beautiful folks who I know have subscribed to and stuck with me despite the hiccups).

Alex.

I need to get my story straight

[We Are Young – Fun. ft Janelle Monae]

I am aware it’s March, but I am also aware that I haven’t written on here since over a month ago. I think I’m either outgrowing this blog, which has to be silly because this is such a good place to record memories, or I’m simply too lazy. This doesn’t mean I am going to return to frequent blogging now, I don’t know, we’ll see I suppose.

So things happened since I last appeared on here. Most of February, to be exact. I hung out with the girl almost every chance I had. I had a job interview for Elwood which I didn’t win. Spent Valentines day doing that, too, and then watching Chronicle at Jam Factory, something that Mela didn’t like but she did it for me. Watched Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as well, which was really sad, but kind of well sculpted to be so. I did a lot of TV watching at home as well, burning through Bloody Monday, The Walking Dead, Alcatraz, Family Guy, more Doctor Who, but somehow not making such a big dint into Will and Grace and Parks and Recreation.

Celebrated 5 months at work, because we had bad timetabling there, but we decided to try celebrate it on Valentines day as well as 3 days prior, to make up for it.

Visited Cindy at her restaurant, and made her wait on us. That was terrific.

I capped my net usage on my phone somehow, and had to pay a $150 bill, which was terrifying and shit. I managed, though.

Went to Mela’s orientation days, which were sort of interesting but mostly just boring. They were not sufficient warning for how tough her course is though.

So then Uni started, and Mela was snowed in by how much work she has to do, and while I was getting it easier, I knew my life was gonna get tougher soon. Sure enough, I was notified almost too late that my internship was to start the following week (now the upcoming week), at the same time having to go to work (the internship is full-time) and keep up with my school work and suddenly A Wild Assignment appears! So yeah, pretty unstoked at the moment.

For the Wild Assignment is actually an interesting one: a short human interest blog piece. I interviewed my long-time friend Ping who has dwarfism, and just during the interview I was inspired to go out and rock my life. I don’t know if I can write a piece to do him justice, but I can try.

And, finally, I slept over at Amelia’s house – the circumstances leading to which included a lot of lies – and it was actually really nice, even though she had to study most of the night. She has a single bed, so halfway through the night she offered to sleep on the floor. When I got up to pee during the night, her dog woke up and followed me. I had to tuck Meg back in, which was cute, but strange that she wakes up so easily.

So yes, that was a quick catch up for my month past. I don’t get to see Mela as often anymore, which makes both of us really sad, and in the coming weeks I won’t get to see her at all.

Also, tomorrow is our 6 month anniversary. Easy.

I might write more when my internship starts, but I do have to be careful to write most of it positively, or objectively, or simply password protect it.

Alex.

Sometimes I want to disappear

[Houdini – Foster the People]

I know I am almost a week late on these posts but it sort of just occurred to me I hadn’t written anything.

So, last Monday I went to see Foster the People at the Palace Theater with Amelia, who else… It just so happened that I somehow capped my incredibly large allowance of Internet because my entire family was streaming and downloading lots, so I didn’t have a way to do my timetable registering. I ended up going to Mela’s house super early to use her Internet, while getting the chance to cuddle her dog which is starting to like me quite a bit.

As usual, Portal crashed spectacularly, so in the end I got Annie to do it for me anyway, but at least I got the chance to cuddle with her a bit and play with the puppy before we realized that we were late. We were trying to move some Doctor Who episodes onto an SD card because the hotel room has a TV that can read SD cards, but in the end it took so long that we brought Mela’s laptop along anyway.

We took the train up from Ferntree Gully station, which was a, oh, 1 hour ride…and we managed to get to the city when it was getting kinda hot. We took the tram up to the Palace Theater, where around the corner our hotel stood, and we passed a girl sitting outside the doors with a book and a water bottle. “Surely,” I said, “surely she’s not waiting already? There’s still 5 hours left!” But Mela said, “why else would someone sit outside a venue?”

We went to our room, which was smaller and less luxurious than the NYE one, but came with a kitchenette and cutlery. We watched Ready Steady Cook for a bit, then went out to a late lunch. It took us a while to decide, but we ultimately decided on the new Taiwan restaurant on Swanston, which turned out quite nice. We missed out on an ice-cream parlor because we were running late on relaxing, so we’ve tucked it away in our mental to-do list. We got some cup noodles and cheeseballs which I was craving, and went back to our room with the leftover fried noodles from lunch to relax. We laid about a bit, then started watching Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood on Mela’s laptop, which I promptly became engrossed with. We started watching an episode of Doctor Who, and I didn’t realize my phone was on silent, because we missed a text from Julia saying she was lining up already. We hurried downstairs and met up with her.

To cut a long story short, I drank a lot of liquid which made me need to pee early, but I was way up front and if I left I wouldn’t be able to make it back. So we stood waiting for the opening act Last Dinosaurs for 90 minutes, and my feet were well sore before the first note was played.

During the open, this girl came up and stood behind us and started having a conversation with another girl in the middle of a song. So loudly. That I still remember that she works at the Art Center and earns 25 an hour. I ended up turning around to tell her to tone it down, at least while the song was going.

Foster was another hour away, and my bladder was really screaming. I didn’t want to leave Mela by herself up front, so I tried to stay with her as long as possible but 4 songs in I had to leave. It was so hard to get out, some people tried to push me back up front. I tried to get back again later, but the crowd was packed from the merchandise table, there was no chance 3 rows in.

Still, even from the back, I could feel the buzz of the crowd. If anything, Foster the People were good performers. Their big finale, obviously, Pumped Up Kicks, shook the place, and even at the back we were jumping.

After the gig, I was drained and unfortunately had no energy to go with Mela and Rebecca from the Wombats to Maccas, so Mela and I went back to our room. We heated up the leftover noodles and watched more FMA, then Mela ate some of the instant noodles, then felt really sick. We ended up just lying there while I rubbed her tummy, then we tentatively ate some cheeseballs and got ready for bed.

Accidentally left the air con on, so we froze if we didn’t pull up the blanket, and boiled if we did. Got up super early the next day to pack up and check out. Mela was tired and not a morning person, so I made toast and washed up. We got out just in time, and went to State Library to drop off our super heavy bags then went to Degraves for breakfast, as Mela’s never been.

We ate a full breakfast and ran into Dani who saw my check-in and called me to say she was next door. Then we walked around a bit and shopped for presents, then watched some more FMA at State before taking a train home.

So yeah, big day. Some else happened in Thursday which I will write about very soon.

Alex