A stranger to some and a vision to none

[From Yesterday – 30 Seconds To Mars]

Today I nearly fainted at work, which wasn’t so fun. It was weird, because I’d eaten in the morning – albeit not a full breakfast, but definitely enough to keep myself from blacking out – and I’d drank water. But it was humid, and maybe my body was just suddenly reacting badly. Halfway through taking an order, everything turned into those stars you see when you rub your eyes too hard, except it didn’t go away when I screwed my eyes shut, and then I couldn’t hear anything. I barely called out to my manager – thank goodness I had the nice one – to take over before stumbling to the back (somehow missing falling into the fries machine) and in the end I had to sit in the office for about 15 minutes and another manager, the shift manager, came in and gave me some nuggets to eat even though I wasn’t hungry. The food didn’t make me feel better, but at least I stopped blacking out, so I did the rest of my shift with a raging headache and steadying myself on the register.

Then I met up with Mela for an early dinner and hanging out in the city. She held my hand so I would walk in a straight line, and we went to the Original Lolly Store to stock up on some sugar, because according to her I was probably somehow low on blood sugar. Then we went to Menya in the small alley with Boost and the Harajuku Crepes, and I ate my entire bowl of ramen. After eating we went to our spot on Southbank and then I felt hungry again, so I had McDonalds (shush! I ate a small hamburger only, okay? And we tried Steamed Bun for the first time and it’s so soft and glorious I’m going to do it for every time I order a non-large burger) and then took the Pakenham home so it would be easier on her to take a bus home.

When I got home, it turned out Dad bought a new TV today which is digital capable, so Mom could watch the Aus Open seeing as our old set-top box broke. But we bought a TV for the kitchen, and it turns out that the antenna we were using for the kitchen TV (as there is no wall mounted antenna there) is either not strong enough or blocked by our brick house, so I could only get the analogue signals and still no digital signals. I guess we have to move the TV over to the lounge room for now so she can watch tennis… The TV is also capable of playing stuff straight from a USB port, so I think when she’s not using that TV I might just plug my own hard drive in there, and free up my laptop screen…but I don’t know, I have so many things plugged into this laptop that moving it around will be quite a pain! We’ll see.

4 months coming Thursday, but we haven’t really got anything planned. On the train home today she fell asleep in my arms, and it was quite comfortable – if not slightly bad for my back as I was sitting sideways. Maybe on Thursday we’ll just go to her house and snuggle, like we did for our 1 month.

Anyway also going to watch how I feel tomorrow, because I am eating loads tonight (I still maintain my bout of faintness isn’t from under-eating, because I’ve been massively hungry before, and it was a completely different feeling), but that might be because my body is trying to heal from something so it needs energy. Might sleep earlier tonight as well, and seeing as the baby is working tomorrow I can’t go out, so I’ll sleep in. I hope it’s not anything bad, but I’ve consumed a lot of sugars and salts today, in case I lost them through sweating, and I’ve also eaten all my noodles meaning I’ve got the carbohydrates.

Alex.

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To balance out your looks

Today I went to hang out with Julia and hand in my script. The weather had said it would be a mad storm. It was raining when we met up, but not so heavily.

We went to QV (bumping into Mai on the tram) for me to run my errands. I took a while to decide between what socks to buy, and then Julia got her chocolate. We went to Melbourne Central to grab a quick lunch – she wanted pizza, but lo and behold, my influence saw her queue up for Maccas along my side.

We sat and talked for ages – fighting over who would eat the last McNugget – and it was nice to be around her for a while because we haven’t really talked properly for a long time.

To cut a long and repetitive – and in many ways personal – story short, Julia and I sat around in many different places and talked for a long time in each of these places. We covered topics that I don’t think I would have dared to start with her any other time, but for some reason today it seemed fine.

I talked to her about Mela a lot – I told her about how happy I am now. It’s nice to have someone tell you that you’re in a good and healthy relationship, confirming what you’ve come to accept.

We decided it was time to go home at around 6, and terrifyingly enough when I was on the train, the storm clouds rolled in low on the skyline. Just 10 minutes later, my train was in the midst of the storm.

Luckily, as I kept heading towards home, the rain eased – but the clouds did not. I nervously waited for my bus to arrive, and then impatiently waited for my mom to arrive to pick me up from the bus stop. The hurry, it seemed, was necessary, because not 5 minutes after I closed the front door behind me, rain started pounding down.

I’ve had a strange evening. I’m not sure what it was but it was strange, and I didn’t like it.

Anyway. Going to Mela’s house tomorrow.

Alex.

We are that car

Yesterday, halfway through my shift, I see two familiar faces walk into my store, flanked by one which I didn’t know, but felt like I did.

It turns out, to the bidding of that third face, the first two faces decided to come into the city and visit me at work. Those faces were Mela, Ser- and their friend Jen, who, armed with a green P, was invincible.

They stood around for a bit watching me work, which was unnerving, but after a while went and sat in the restaurant waiting for to finish, which was even more unnerving. They waited for over an hour and half for me to finish my shift.

Afterwards, we all got into Jen’s car, and she drove us back to Glenny – I didn’t even notice that she was speeding, only that we were at Glenny surprisingly fast. We turned up the music loud, and I had a feeling we were THAT CAR that sped by with obnoxiously loud music. We passed the Springvale IKEA, which looked fantastically huge, and Mela and I decided we should go, even though we’re not quite sure how to get there. On a spontaneous question, Jen led us to the KTV karaoke in Glenny right in between whatever replaced JG dumplings and the other Asian restaurant right next to it, because she knew the owner – who turns out to be the least-uptight Asian venue owner you’d ever meet.

We sang for quite a while, and Ser- had her first proper drink. Which was unfortunate because we forgot to factor in the fact that she’s super thin, had next to nothing to eat, and wasn’t experienced in handling her liquor. Two beers and a tequila sunrise saw Mela and me hoisting her to the bathroom and back, lest she wipe the walls with her clothing.

We talked a lot – as alcohol coaxes people to – and afterwards we went to Petaling Street (this was sometime at 2 in the morning and I figured I was in as much shit as I could be so I stayed longer) and had a bit of food for Ser- to digest and for Jen to soothe her sore throat. Sadly, Jen got some appetite-killing news, and pushed her food away. After Petaling Street closed, we sat/stood outside on the curb letting Jen vent about the news she just received, and in general vent.

It was a good night for proving friendship, that’s for sure.

Finally, at around 4, Jen’s friends (who are, surprisingly, my friends…small world) came to pick us up because Jen was in no shape to drive. I got home as quietly as possible, and went to bed for a 3 hour nap before I got up today to shower and hand in the cursed essays which I’ve spent the last fortnight working on.

But, still, it was an eventful night to say the least.

Alex.

Who takes a train at 11:54 at night to Seymour?

Yesterday I went to see The Wombats at Festival Hall with Mela. I don’t actually like them that much, but they are close to Mela’s favorite band, and what with it being our 1 month, and her coming to Anberlin with me at the start, I felt it would be simply wrong to not go with her. Besides, the smile on her face when she heard I would go with her was worth everything.

We went to her friend Rebecca’s house, where we would be spending the night, to drop off our bags. They live right near MacRob, I am BLOODY JEALOUS OF HOW CLOSE THEY LIVE! So then, Rebecca, her friend Phoebe, Mela and I went into the city to eat Maccas (I had Maccas earlier that day so I felt all fat and stuff but hey) for dinner before heading to Festival Hall.

Everyone lining up were sort of the hipster wannabe tweens, something I was expecting. We went to our seats in the balcony, and I started buying a few drinks so I wouldn’t be bored for the evening. The drinks were pretty expensive, but I felt generous. Mela and I each had one bourbon and coke, then I discovered and started on the Smirnoff Limes.

The bands that played were pretty decent live, I do admit, they could carry their energy well – especially Owl Eyes, considering she’s only well known in certain Australian circles. Faker were pretty good but I never liked his voice.

The mosh was huge – and quite fluid. So when The Wombats came on, I was quite glad we didn’t get standing tickets. Mela was beside herself in excitement, and danced along to all the songs – and knowing all the lyrics. It was quite heartwarming to see her so consumed and happy.

By the end of the night, I was a spot beyond tipsy. Rebecca and Phoebe put up with me quite well – but they had nothing on Mela whose love for me was really put to the test when I continuously complained and hated on everything. At some point, at Southern Cross, I yelled at the announcement claiming that the 11:54 train to Seymour was departing, because who the hell takes it that late?

We went back to the house and went to sleep pretty much immediately. Mela snored a little, which was very cute, except when she grunted when I poked her to roll over.

We got up a bit later than intended the next day (today), and left the house as the rest of Rebecca’s family were coming back from church. Her parents are SO incredibly casual and friendly – I wish my parents are like that!

Mela and I were going to have a quick breakfast of congee, and then go home, but after downing yum cha (or, as I called it, brum cha) and walking around the city to walk it off, we realized we didn’t want to go home and part ways, so we hung around for even longer. We saw Mai for a bit, and then had lunch at a cafe on Hardware Lane. Finally, stuffed full and promising to mutually start eating healthier and exercising more – both of us having developed relationship guts – we went home.

We realized that we’d spent over 24 hours literally in each other’s company the entire time (bar the small moments we went to the bathroom), and yet still weren’t sick of each other.

Alex.

Happy birthday Amelia!

Today was/is Amelia’s 19th birthday. I tried – and possibly failed – to get a surprise going. I think she knew, but she acted along well anyway.

I went to the city earlier in the morning to get her presents – yes, I left it til the last minute. I got her a notebook in which I wrote my birthday message, and hopefully she’ll use that notebook to write down some cool dreams that she has. I also got her a box of tissues and some Strepsils because the poor girl had gotten sick just yesterday – the eve of her birthday.

After realizing that she’d be late coming into the city with Ser-, I thought I had enough time to go to the florist right outside the Town Hall and got her a small bunch of mini carnations.

In the end, her friends Ly- and Ei- actually got there before she did, so when Amelia finally arrived, they ran up to her to hug her as a way of surprise.

We went to Dessert House for some cheap lunch. I don’t really think I’m a photo blogger so I won’t post the numerous photos of food and us that Amelia took. After lunch, we went to Starbucks to sit for a bit. We sat there for ages, and Brendan and Nha- joined us, and then later on Des and Tat (they’re all, bar Brendan obviously, Amelia’s friends). Brendan and Nha- got Maccas, and Nha- was nice enough to actually get me a cheeseburger. I think I scared Ser- a bit when I more or less bullied her into taking my money to buy her drink – I just really didn’t want to hold onto so many coins.

L2R, Amelia, myself, Ser- and Brendan. Ser- doesn’t like having her photo taken. This photo was after a LOT of persuasion.

After getting many glares from the Starbucks staff – one of them actually had to tell us to quieten down – we sort of all agreed that instead of going to Papa Gino’s on Lygon as was originally planned, we’d all just eat the cake in the city, then go back to Glenny to have dinner. So I made a booking at Zest 91, and went to pick up the ice cream cake from QV. Amelia cut the cake with a plastic knife, and we ate the cake with little plastic spoons.

At this point, Ly- and Ei- had to leave, so Tat and Des went to Ferntree Gully where they parked the car, so to meet us at Zest, and Brendan, Nha-, Ser-, Amelia and I went to ICUE to play some pool. Nha- is extremely good, Brendan is passable, and I think I made the wrong impression and Nha- thought I was decent, which I am not.

At 5, we thought it best to go back to Glenny. Said bye to Nha-, only to be greeted with sheets of rain. We slodged through a crossing with no lights, and found our way onto a packed Glen Waverley train – one of the few that seems to be running that afternoon. And not surprising either, seeing as already the gutters were overflowing, much less the lowered tracks.

The train ride was pretty terrible, mostly because Amelia had developed a headache, couldn’t sit down to sleep, Ser- had no sense of balance and so kept on falling onto one of us (and dislikes physical touch). I was just glad we managed to make it onto an express train that was running at all. I didn’t even consider the possibility of being stranded in the city today.

Went to Zest 91 for dinner. Sat upstairs, not after going up a crazy winding spiral staircase to get there – not the most comfortable decor idea. Met Amelia’s friends Andrew and Steven.

Oh, right, throughout the day Amelia was trying to find ways to work me into her conversations to tell her friends who I am. Her subtlety led to her telling Tat and Des “oh, by the way, that’s my girlfriend”, and telling Andrew and Steven “oh yeah, Alex, yeah, I’m dating her”.

Because the dinner was mostly Amelia’s closer friends, Brendan and I ended up having a bit of a chat with each other – something we haven’t managed in a while, and I never realized how nice it was to talk to him. It was different to when on Skype or MSN, because online he tends to do weird things and is distracted easily, but in person it was better to keep him on track.

It was a pretty long day, and it was made worse by extremely bad weather. But I really hope that Amelia liked it anyway, because I know that it was some effort for the people who came out, and I know that for the people who didn’t, they wanted to.

And a huge thanks to Ly- and Jan- (the latter of which ended up having to work, so couldn’t come) for helping me organize the whole thing!

Alex.

Was This Over Before It Ever Began?

[Feel Good Drag – Anberlin]

One last song title post, even though Autumn has hit. So, on March 1st, I went to see my first ever gig – Anberlin, supported by Bayside and The Starting Line.

I warn you now, very long post.

After my classes ended at quarter to five, I went to the tram stop to meet up with Julia, who had my ticket. At the same time, I was due to meet up with a friend of a friend’s, who up to that day I hadn’t met before. His name is Louis.

So we grabbed a quick bite before we headed to Bel’s apartment where Julia and I dropped off our stuff. We went back up to Billboard, where Susan had started lining up already. She had with her a whole bunch of food that she probably thought she could finish but then realized she had a limit to her appetite, so she tried to offload the food onto us.

Pearl arrived at around 7, just in time to get to know the people we were lining up with (friends of Julia’s). We went into Billboard as one of the first ones, got our stuff cloaked (and, I’ll say now with hindsight, I should not have kept my Metcard in my jeans pocket. Also, Metcards are damn durable.)

We’d gotten that amazing spot at the barriers, right near the center. At this point, standing around while more and more people crowded in behind us, Louis decided to tell me that 1) the waiting part takes ages (which it did, nearly 40 minutes), and 2) there is a chance I’d die (Julia also said she hoped I wouldn’t die). Now, seeing as this was my first gig ever, I had to take their warnings with a certain note of fear. Still, the atmosphere of the waiting crowd pretty much soon made me put aside those words.

At this point, two people began chatting to Louis, who was standing behind me. I didn’t catch the guy’s name, but the girl’s nickname was Ish, and they were both well lubricated with beer. There were general high-fives of excitement, and then the guy decided to pat my head, saying he liked my hair.

Bayside kicked the show off, and even though I didn’t really know any of their songs, their energy, and a guy standing two people behind me who knew every word, got me into the mood of the concert. There were some rocking of bodies, but in general the amount of violence was tolerable. Oh except for Pearl, who was being battered by Ish.

After they finished, the buzzing grew a bit louder, not only because I think more people liked TSL, but it was also one band closer to Anberlin.

At this point, Ish had managed to move her way to being right behind me, and so when TSL started, it became my turn to be battered by her. I supposed it was better to be battered by a drunk girl than to be beaten by an enthusiastic drunk guy. Anyway, TSL started playing Island, and Ish had been screaming for them to play it for two songs already, so you can imagine her enthusiasm and volume when they did start playing it. There were many amused glanced that Pearl and I shared at her excitement, but I rather enjoyed it (ignoring the bruises), because she made the whole event even more exciting, even when there wasn’t a song playing.

When The Best Of Me (admittedly, the only TSL song I knew that they played) began, so began my scream-along for the night.

The one thing I noticed about moshing (and, pressed against the barrier – ย actually, pressed against Julia but that’s a later story – I could only assume that what I experienced was moshing) was that everyone around you, stranger or not, suddenly share the same emotional flow. Everyone screamed the same line, everyone threw their arms up in the same beat, and, to some extent, everyone jumped in unison.

After TSL went offstage, the amount of time as Anberlin was being set up no longer became the placid waiting as it was for TSL – everyone began pushing forwards for the best view of the band they’d all come for. It was through some elbowing that I managed to keep my position behind Julia and next to Pearl.

Remember what I said about there being a later story? Well, having not experienced it before, it soon became clear to me that all rules about personal space and touching get trampled, as complete strangers pressed up against my back, and because of my limited upper body strength, I was subsequently pushed so far into Julia that we REALLY tested the boundaries of our friendship.

This is a photo of the setlist that Anberlin played yesterday (“King” was “We Owe It To Ourselves”). Standing right next to the speakers, it was a comment on the enthusiasm of the crowd that our collective screaming matched Stephen’s amplified vocals. It was so loud and so full of energy that he was momentarily taken aback at the microphone.

Bouncers threw water into the crowd, wetting the already sweat-soaked faces. Stephen passed by us many times, as did Deon.ย When the first few bars of Dismantle.Repair. began playing, I put aside the breathlessness I was feeling, and I fought off the tingling dizziness, and completely lost myself in the beat. It’s strange thinking back now of my conduct, but in that moment, with at least six other bodies occupying my personal bubble, and Julia’s hair in my mouth (yeah…), my crazed arm flailing and very-likely offkey screaming to lyrics that barely need any thinking to recall seemed like just the right thing to do. The crush of bodies turned from an unrelenting enemy into the friend that kept me upright.

At the end, they came back on for two more songs, Readyfuels and Never Take Friendship Personal. In a flash, the show was over. We retrieved our jackets, and sculled down blissfully cold water. I was tingling all over, half from exhaustion, half from the lack of oxygen, and half (my maths have taken a hit lately) from the overspill of excitement. I also noticed that my right side was completely soaked (as was my back, despite wearing two layers), and since I didn’t feel that sweaty, I realized that the wetness was due to the fat guy who’d fought his way to my right towards the end.

Louis and Pearl had to leave to take the train home – can’t express the gratitude I have for Bel for letting me crash at her place, because I was able to stay behind with Julia. We waited around for a while, and saw the band come out at the back. Through Julia’s persistence, we managed to get photos with three members of the band:

This is the one photo of the both of us with Deon, who, by that time, had become my favorite.

Deon actually stood with us and had a bit of a chat, and for a moment he managed to make me forget that he’s the guy who stood onstage in front of us, playing amazing bass. Stephen and Joey had gotten into the van already, so Julia only managed to get a quick signature.

This is sort of where the concert part of the blog post ends, the rest is just for my remembering pleasure.

After we left Billboard and made our way back to Swanston, we realized that we’d just missed all the trams for the night that go to Bel’s apartment. Ignoring the pain in my feet (Julia is a tank, she wasn’t in pain at all), we started on our leisurely stroll to Bel’s apartment (except at Julia’s walking speed which, in case you don’t know her, would make her future children speed walking champions). I tried to keep warm by singing the whole time, and Julia’s complete nonchalance to my musical attempts meant that I had to be the backup vocals too.

We got back to the apartment and, it being half past 1 in the morning, we cat-footed our way around the dark apartment, opting to shower the next day as to not wake Bel’s family. Julia took the mattress on the floor and I took the couch, which was leather. Here, I must recount the moment when, after I’d fallen asleep, the sweat on the back of my hand stuck to the leather and when I changed position, the ripping of my hand off the couch was possibly one of the more painful experiences in my life. How can something so little hurt so much? (That…is what she said.)

Bel left for uni early, so I was half awake at around the time the sun rose. Julia woke once or twice, each time rolling over to sleep more, but finally at around 8:30 we both gave up trying to continue sleeping and simply started the sluggish morning rituals.

After waiting a while for her phone to charge, and talking in semi-whispers in fear of waking Bel’s sister who might not have even been in, we went to DeGraves for brunch (oh, by the way, my sweat soaked Metcard – yes, ew – works, if not after a hesitant click from the turnstile). Dropping her off at Flinders Station so she could go to Uni, I made my way back to my own Uni, bumping into a newly made friend on the tram.

The rest of the day was spent in a sort of sore, tired stupor, and finishing class at 6:15 did not help.

So here’s the predictable I LOVE MUSIC CONCERTS conclusion. I’m not quite sure if I want my next time to have two drunks right next to me, and I have yet to experience a concert where I wasn’t fighting for breath every three seconds, but the thrill of having a stranger next to you hold you up while you’re both leaping to the music is something I want to experience again.

Also, massive thanks to Julia who stuck with me the whole time, Pearl for exchanging amused looks with me the whole time, and Louis who tried his utmost to shield me from the worst of the moshing.

Alex.

The Way You Move Ain’t Fair

[Hey Soul Sister – Train]

Happy birthday Jac!

Today (but because of one reason or another, WordPress has time-stamped this for Wednesday. Today I meant by Tuesday) was Jac’s long awaited 18th birthday, and I think it was rather a successful day.

Starting with the awful weather, it went uphill from there. Took the train up with Mandy and Dot cos we ran into them, then Jac and I went to Journal Cafe near City Library.

Jac got this creepy text message asking if she was at Flinders, and it was from an unknown number. That number never texted back again…

Had lunch (or rather, I ended up eating most of her food anyway) and then we went to Melbourne Central because we wanted to see Toy Story 3.

But, it was getting really full, to the point where the only seats left were in the front. Jac doesn’t like that, so instead we went to State Library and went to the Games Room.

UNFORTUNATELY, it was full due to school holidays, so after some random presentation started, Jac and I went to play pool at RMIT. At first we didn’t realize that if you paid the money, the white ball would roll out, so we sat there dejected until someone else came along and did it.

It was a tight game, and ended with Jac’s victory, because I’d mistakenly stuffed and set up the black ball for her. Oh well, it’s her birthday anyway.

After that, we went BACK to State and watched some guys play on the Guitar Hero for a while, then decided to walk to Crown for dinner. That girl walks so slow that it got to the point where she had to drag me to slow me down – and it was VERY slow walking.

The thing that she didn’t know, and the reason I’d wanted to walk fast was that we were meant to get to Oriental Express by 6, where the others were waiting to surprise her. Because of her slow walking and my inability to find the restaurant, we ended up being 20 minutes late.

The fun part was that she didn’t suspect a thing! I was glad that my subtleties seem to have worked.

Dinner was sushi train, and it went by without a problem, and then it was time for cake. Now, I’d asked Nash to get a Black Forest Cake but apparently there were none left, so, being the awesome boy he is, he got a cake in the shape of a dog:

It was particularly funny because I’d always called her my puppy. And the restaurant people sang and everything, it was excellent.

And it was proven that we argue a lot when, on the train back, Yeleng and Aym- both decided we were the on-board entertainment.

I love you, Jac!

Alex.

P.S. The guy in the soccer ball is still in there.