That One Time We Were Ramsay Street

My street isn’t anything like those on TV – we don’t get together every other week to do a BBQ. We don’t share a perpetually connected backyard where anyone could waltz in and have a cuppa. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t even know who my neighbors are, and I’ve lived on this street for almost a decade.

The thing is, we’re not the other end of the spectrum either. Apart from some unpleasantness a few months back concerning some idiots down the street, a carton of eggs and my front porch, we all leave each other well alone. If we pass each other, we would nod, or pretend it didn’t happen. I suppose, of course, that everyone had the same thoughts I did: What will it take for the street to get together?

Then, one morning a couple weeks back, there were sirens. I crawled out of bed, in time to see billowing smoke rising from the roof of a house three doors down. A quick glance around, and sure enough, the entire street population was also billowing from their houses, rubbernecking at the site of what could very well turn out to be a massive tragedy. Some of us (myself included), started patting our hair consciously, in case TV crews turned up.

Fortunately, I guess, no one turned up but two fire trucks and a couple of police cars. Turns out (and this is just whispers passed from one lipsΒ to another) that the tenants had left something on in the kitchen, and it in turn burned half the house down. The people were all out, thankfully, so all the only hurt was on the wallet.

So, several weeks on, the chicken wire fencing is still up, and the workmen have been doing their job to fix up this house. But even as they clear away the burnt out wall, I realized that the wall between neighbors still hasn’t come down. We’d all stood there, gaping at the smoke, mutually coughing at the fumes, and acting like this was a blow on us all, but no one had asked for each other’s name. We recognize the model and make of the cars, but if we had to connect a face to those, much less a name, we’d be at a loss.

Is it even possible to be as neighborly as the houses on Ramsay Street? Is there even a point? Surely, people know when something is wrong, and will do something, right?

Except no one would notice if an elderly couple hadn’t surfaced for a few days. No one would see bruises covering someone’s arms when they go out. Aren’t these the things that neighbors should watch out for?

DSC_0405[1]

 

I could not get the permission from the builders to walk inside the location (beyond the chicken fence), and I definitely didn’t want to do something illegal like sneak in after hours.

The QR code will work perfectly with a decent scanner. I used the Barcode scannerΒ Android app, but you Apple people out there should be able to find one just as good.

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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.

 

 

I Still Feel Your Breath On Me

[Haunting – Anberlin]

Today I went to an all-you-can-eat chicken wing dinner with Serena, Amelia and Linda at Crazy Wings Glen Waverley. If you do not want to read about how I gorged myself on grilled chicken, then you are welcome to exercise Ctrl+W.

We we originally supposed to go two Mondays ago (or was it last Monday? I’ve lost track of time) but Serena forgot to book. It was probably for the best, because today is one of the days during their mid-sem break, so we could eat and stay out late and it wouldn’t matter.

Let’s back things up a bit, though. First, I had work today, and afterwards I took the bus to Amelia’s house. Meg, who hadn’t seen me for almost 2 months, got really excited and farted on my lap. By the way, Meg is Amelia’s Maltese-Shitzu. Here’s a photo of her:

(Note: I’m not a photoblogger, so the photos are neither well composed, well cropped, nor would my blog theme complement it.)

MEG1She’s rather dumb but pliable, and as long as she loves you, she’ll let you do anything.

ANYWAY, I saw Meg again for the first time in two months, and she farted on my lap. I had to actually check my lap because it felt so warm and smelled so ripe, just in case it was actually poo and not a fart. It was a fart, but I wasn’t any happier.

After being in her house for a total for 20 minutes of a long overdue cuddle (and nothing more), we had to head out again to make our reservation at Crazy Wing, which was where I had come from in the first place not one hour earlier. We picked up Serena along the way, and took a bus back, and the entire trip had us sit in starving silence. Linda joined us outside the restaurant, and after some debate, we went in to start eating.

Long story short, the four of us wolfed down between us perhaps 60 chicken wings, which placed us as having eaten the amount that we paid and then some. Here is a photo of the first round which we ate, before and after.

Afterwards, we went for some ice cream, and sat inside the cinemas while eating it. Serena refused, absolutely refused, to let me have the bottom end of her cone.

After that, I went home, where I ate some fruit salad out of guilt. Currently I’m sitting in front of my computer with a stomach ready for hibernation. My mouth feels tacky and dry from all the grease and the beer which came as part of the all-you-can-eat deal, but if I drank any water I think I might slosh away down the heating vents.

Alex.

P.S. Comment below if you want to see/read more about Meg. I absolutely adore her and I love to talk about her, and both Amelia and I obsessively take photos of her, so I have plenty to share.

 

 

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.

Meet me in Kentucky Field

[The Ruse and the Caper – Coyote Theory]

So, continuing my tradition of writing about things a week later…

Last Thursday, I went to Mela’s place to hang out as usual before her work. The original plan was to go to Knox but I felt really lazy so I begged to just stay home and order a pizza, and watch FMA. Everything was fine, we ordered the pizzas and were waiting for it to be delivered, when we noticed Meg missing. She came plodding back with a small golden thing in her mouth. Naturally, I went to see what it was.

To my terror, I realized it was a piece of chocolate. I quickly snatched it from Meg, but found no tooth marks. We gave Meg a stern telling off, and went to find where she’d gotten it.

We went to Mela’s brother’s old room, him having just moved out and the room being just a place to put things, and found some bits of foil with bits of loose chocolate. Our worst fears flared: Meg already ate some chocolate before we caught her.

In a panic, Mela tried to make her throw up, but dogs didn’t really have a gag reflex. We called up her brother but he couldn’t drive us to the vet, so we thought we’d wait a bit to see what Meg is like.

We ate the pizza, and saw if Meg acted differently. She sort of wiggled about but it wasn’t unusual. Once she hobbled off into the next room, and Mela thought she was crawling off to die. So we called up the vet, and had a family friend of Mela’s take us to the nearest vet. There, they gave Meg an injection to make her throw up, and it took a while, so Mela and I went to her friend Andrew’s house, where Eileen, who has a car, could drive us back.

We watched some weird funny show from Japan, then got Eileen to drive us back to the vet and back to Mela’s. On the way back, a very subdued Meg stuck her furry head out the window and let the breeze fly through her locks, and seemed to have gained her spirits. Unfortunately for her, Mela had to go back to work, so we left a whimpering puppy in the study.

But it was pretty scary when we found the chocolate, even though in the end Meg barely ate any. I almost feel like she’s a little bit my puppy too.

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

My baby don’t mess around

[Hey Ya! – Outkast]

Today we went to escape the heat by going to Chadstone for the whole day. Mela arrive late and sad because she accidentally slept in, and then had to leave her new puppy Meg (which I met yesterday, and whose love I will slowly but surely earn).

We had some coffee and then curry for lunch, then she felt sleepy so she lied on my lap to nap. I felt bored so I took out my phone, opened up the eReader, and popped my amazingly light phone on her amazingly flat forehead and read Sherlock Holmes.

When the people started to congregate around the foodcourt, and it became apparent that the seats needed to be vacated, I woke Mela up with my tactful and accidental voice-command program which, on loudspeaker, screamed right into her left eyeball: WHAT WOULD Β YOU LIKE TO DO?

We walked around for ages shopping, as I always do when I’m with her. She ended up buying a very nice tank top and a dress which we both nicknames Woodland Creature because it looks like what they would wear. When she was trying on the tank top, she was a bit iffy because she was worried how her arms looked in them, so I said through the changing door “if you say that one more time I will come in there and punch you.” I didn’t know a store assistant was right behind me and she laughed.

We got tickets to see Tintin in 2D, and had to switch seats three times cos our original seats sucked. I also managed to whinge some popcorn out of Mela, but it was so salty that we ended up eating only half and then cuddling in the over-aircon’d theater. The movie, dare I say, is astounding, and somewhat pioneering in terms of animation. The sheer detail that they paid attention to, like the way the hair blows in the wind, the expressions in the character’s eyes, the physics, and yet the limits they managed to stretch the suspension of belief with the action and the drama…all at the same time staying as true as they could to a 1940s cartoon series as they could.

After Tintin we visited Cindy at work, and I laughed when I saw she kept the sticker on her cap. Then we had dinner at the sushi train near JB, then went to say bye to Cindy before going home. Now, she’s playing guitar and singing while on mute, refusing to let me hear, and I wonder how her dog is…

Alex.