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

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Tried My Best To Leave This All On Your Machine

[Such Great Heights – The Postal Service]

Slightly late but here’s the documentation of my first NYE in the city, and first night in a hotel room.

Walking out to the bus stop in the morning of the 31st was hard, because the weather had already gotten to around 35-36. But after getting on the bus, it was pretty smooth sailing bar the 40 seconds’ walk from bus to train (oh nu).

Anyway, met up with Annie at Melb Central, and decided that we should spend the 3 odd hours we had to waste sitting and eating. We went to Melb Central’s upstairs foodcourt and, after some considerable hesitation, got Maccas for the first time in months, and sat down to watch Nickelodeon which was playing on the TV screens.

Nick shows are…scarily bad. And predictable. There is a formula: You have the main guy who’s cute but not hot, with a mop-top haircut. You have the socially awkward girl who’s actually really pretty, but no one realizes it. You have the guy who’s actually hot, and he’s either the love interest, or the “best friend” with sexual tension. You also have a funny witty little sibling. Then the rest of the cast is ugly and 2D. Or 1D, seeing as the main cast is 2D already.

Met up with a bunch of younger MacRob girls because I had to give one of them a disk, but the rest just followed naturally. They sat with us for a moment or two before going off to have lunch at better places than a food court.

After we finished eating, Annie and I decided to find somewhere to hang out where we won’t be told off for hogging a table. We were in Borders when, out of complete coincidence, I turned around to find Dani standing behind me.

So Annie, Dani and I sat around for a while waiting for Joshanna to call us to tell us when they’ve checked in, but they never did. In the end, it turned out they’ve already checked in and were waiting for us to call.

Walking from Parliament station to Park Hyatt in the near 40 degree weather literally was hell. It made our suite just that much more amazing – because it had aircon.

Not wanting to go outside to Hell again, we stayed in the hotel room for a few hours playing Big 2 and talking. Now, I don’t say that I’m good at Big 2, but in all the 4 games we played, I won each and every one of them. I really don’t think I’m good at Big 2, so either my hand was fantastic, or the others just sucked something awful.

Big 2 was played with stakes – loser has to do a Truth or Dare from the winner. I suck at thinking up dares or even truths (well, mostly I can think up truths but I knew these people pretty well) so I had others think up things for me. Annie lost twice, and without going into too much detail, I found out things about her that I’d only known half of for over 4 years.

Anna lost once, and her dare was to go into the bathroom (or what we called the Cone of Silence from Get Smart) and shout out a dirty word (she’s the kind to never do that). After a few minutes of silence with her just standing in the bathroom without knowing what to say, Josh prompted, “What do I say when I’m having a bad day?” “OH!” exclaimed Anna. “I KNOW! FUCK MY LIFE!”

At around 6, we deemed it timely for us to go eat dinner, to beat any rush later on. It was the hottest of the day at 6, and we had to walk from Collins to Bourke for Red Silks. Josh was, for some reason, in a longsleeve black shirt, and he was starting to feel too hot. So he went into the Cotton On right by Red Silks and snagged a singlet. Being the manly man that he is, he decided to change right outside the store. So he pulled his shirt off and tried to change into the singlet really fast to act all cool, except in his bravado, he managed to get his head and arms into the wrong holes, and spent a good 20 seconds standing outside Cotton On with his arms haywire and his chin tucked into his chest. Now, why would the rest of us help him? We stood there and laughed.

Red Silks was not air-conditioned, much to our dismay, but it was too late and too hot to change our minds and go to Crown. We ordered up our iced drinks, and I had the less-than-ingenious insight to order wonton in noodle soup. Drinking hot soup definitely was too hot, but on the other hand, the sweating made me cooler. And smellier.

We ordered up a round of beers (not too much because Josh was feeling really sick and figured he shouldn’t drink), and in between using it as a cooling device, we each proposed our toasts to each other.

Having sufficiently sweated through dinner, we decided to split up. Josh was feeling too dizzy (and he was really pale) so him and Anna went back to the hotel, while Annie and I went to Crown to meet up with the Melb Uni lunch group. Crown was blissfully chilled, and the boys all decided to go to Galactic Circus and do what we did last time with the hour-long-pass.

Annie demanded that we play the zombie game I played last time with Lily, but remembering how much my arms ached afterwards, I passed the gun off to Elaine, who apparently stuck around long enough to die, and then left Annie to fend the zombies off herself.

An hour later, and all the girls had grown tired of watching the guys drive and shoot (gender roles, yes, but to be fair we did try to encourage the non-active girls to get into it). Swang was bitter after being defeated by me in a game of table-hockey where the table never registered her goals but registered mine. Fi decided that it was the perfect time to get Slurpees, so we all trekked down Clarendon (Annie was regretting wearing heels at this point) to go to a 7/11.

There was still a good 2 hours until midnight at that point, so it became a matter of where people wanted to spend that time. We couldn’t go to Hungy’s apartment because there were 18 of us, however for some reason it was okay for us to hang out in the lobby of the building. We spent an hour there playing Mafia (wherein I stuffed up the role of the narrator and revealed the Mafia’s gender), and got so many death glares from people going in and out of the building.

At 10:45, according to Asian time, it was time to go to Southbank and start waiting for midnight. Luckily we left early, because in the end we walked up so far up Southbank that by the time we found a spot that we agreed on (which wasn’t Alexandria Gardens, I don’t know why anyone thought that the Gardens would have space at that time), it was well past 11.

Then came the harder-than-it-should-have-been process of finding Mandy and her CGS friends. Communication problems aside, I was pretty sure she just didn’t know how to receive instructions. If I said to you (assuming you know Southbank) “walk on the side of Flinders Station towards Crown, we’re on the bridge that right opposite the big red steps”, you’d probably at least understand the general direction to walk, if you don’t know what I mean by the big red steps. (P.S. these are the big red steps, LEARN IT.) Yeah, no, Mandy just kept saying “we’re on a bridge” and there are 5 bridges along the Yarra in that area.

Finally agreeing to meet them under the “big angel with the swirly square head“, and talking to two other guys who were with her, we met up with Mandy and her friends, with 15 minutes to spare until midnight.

At 5 minutes to midnight (cue song), I couldn’t find Josh and Anna, who said they’d come back out to meet up (by the way, the weather had cooled down significantly and was actually really pleasant). For some reason, Josh’s number was hidden, and I couldn’t call him back, so I couldn’t find him anywhere. While I was walking around at the end of a bridge, I felt someone tackle me from behind.

Lo and behold, second time that day, Dani managed to find me under the biggest of coincidences. Granted, I’d texted her whereabouts we were (she knows what the big red steps are, WHY DON’T YOU), but still, crowd, NYE, 11:55 pm, she found me.

Brought Dani back to where we all were, and while we were sitting on the pier/dock waiting for the countdown to happen, the fireworks began. Midnight and passed and we’d all been just sitting there talking. So instead of getting a massive countdown, we all just went around hugging everyone and watching the fireworks (which weren’t ASTOUNDING but they were pretty damn good looking). We kept on yelling “refund refund!” whenever the fireworks seemed to have ended. I guess it wasn’t a bad effort considering they were just coming out of the Eureka Tower, and plus it was a total fire ban that day.

At around 12:15, 12:20, Annie and I decided we’d go back to the hotel. We went to look for Joshanna but since we couldn’t call them, we couldn’t find them. It was a long and painful walk/trudge back to Flinders St Station (trust me, it hurt me heaps, so it would have killed Annie’s feet), whereupon we bid goodnight to Dani who was taking the tram back, and we started walking towards Flinders Station trying to get our way back to Parliament.

The road to the station was, unsurprisingly, packed. As in, I had time to shoot off a few text messages while walking without danger, packed. Some guy in front of us threw up beer, and Annie and I had to walk around him since she was barefoot. Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream started playing over the loudspeakers (over some signs that read “NO STOPPING ON BRIDGE”) and I suppose the smallest consolation to throbbing feet and exhausted eyes was that a girl behind me did a sort of impromptu duet  of the song with me.

Finally breaking free of the station crowd stranglehold, Annie and I gritted our teeth and hurried our way up to Collins St for the tram. Miraculously, Josh and Anna were right behind us and we held the door for them to get on the tram with us (they’d fallen behind us to go to 7/11 for instant noodles and lollies. Man 7/11 is a lifesaver sometimes).

We made the final painful journey back up to our room, and collapsed onto the bed and chairs, caring not that we hadn’t showered, or that it was nearing 1 am. Josh cooked up the instant noodles which were PRETTY DAMN spicy, and since the noodles didn’t come with plastic forks, Josh and I ate ours with coffee spoons, and Anna and Annie shared one using two coffee stirrers as chopsticks.

After consuming a fiery midnight snack that had Josh swearing metaphors I really shouldn’t repeat here, Annie and I took (turns taking) a shower and changed into our PJs.

Anna was, for some reason, uber energetic. She demanded that we play I Never Never. We cut some Red Bull with vodka – but only allowed Anna Red Bull, considering it the lesser of two evils – and started the game. It wasn’t as energetic as Anna probably wanted it to be, but, once again, I found out things about my friends that I sort of didn’t want to know. Let’s just say that from now when I call a friend who’s not single, and they say they’re busy, I will be a lot more suss.

Finally at 3, when Josh and Anna were getting a bit too cuddly in the bed, we decided to call it a night. Annie was adamant to stay in the bed, because it was a King and there was really no where else for her to sleep, me having called the couch (I can’t really sleep in beds with other people save Jen, apparently, and it was too hot anyway). So, an hour after we turned off the lights and I was in the next room on the couch with a little jacket as a blanket (which probably contributed to me getting sick after sharing Josh’s drink by accident), their giggling in the bed finally died down.

I couldn’t completely sleep for most of the time, because one shoulder was sort of hitched sideways and the couch was, amazingly, too small even for me. I was more than aware of the fact that Annie started wheezing-snoring halfway through the night, and then either Annie or Anna started phonetically sneezing “atchu atchu”.

At 9, I decided it was too bright and I was too cold to sleep, so I got up, put on my jacket blanket, and put on Josh’s really awesome Dr Dre headphones to play Monster Dash with. Man those headphones were something. The Pacifier had the most satisfying WHOMP.

At 10, I saw in my peripherals Anna crawling around in her morning ritual to wake up. The others got up, which made it okay for me to be a bit noisy and brush my teeth and pack my bags. While Anna and Annie were loafing around, Josh and I watched some TV (I’m well aware I keep lumping myself with the guys), and That 70s Show came on. Collectively, we all got ready in 2 episodes’ time, and at 11 am on the dot, we left the hotel room for check-out.

The weather was a LOT colder on the 1st compared to the previous day. We went to Melbourne Central to meet up with Julia for brunch. At first we were all mmm-ing over the prospect of pancakes, but the moment Josh uttered the words “congee”, our Chinese heritage came crashing back, and we managed to persuade Anna and Julia to go to congee instead. There was a momentary lapse in decision when we were given coupons to Pancake Parlor, but a flip of the coin saw us sitting down to some Century Egg and Salty Pork Congee.

Since I’m coming in at 2400 words now, I will cut my story short and just say that we stuffed our faces full, then I went home. Got home at around 1 pm and hopped onto the computer, because I missed internet so much.

Now I’m sick, and I’ve been sick for a few days. It had to happen, though, because I haven’t been proper sick for almost 10 months.

Alex.

P.S. I actually started writing this post on the 2nd but I went to shower, saved the draft, and promptly forgot about it til now. OOPS!

P.P.S. I also made a new friend in the last few days. Oh my god 2500 words okay I’m stopping.

I Can Count On You Like 4-3-2

[Count On Me – Bruno Mars]

I think I can hit 15 posts a month this month! WOW! It shouldn’t have been so hard but oh boy…

Yesterday I caught up with Cathy and what I’ve come to associate as “Cathy’s Group” for a joint birthday picnic. I went into the city early because my parents offered to drop me off at the station. I took the opportunity to stroll from Flinders to Melb Central – though, with the number of people in the city yesterday, it was a slow walk – and bumped into Mo- and Bon along the way. There was a moment of slight stalkerism when I did a double take to get Mo-‘s attention, but because they responded to my call, I think I was redeemed.

Spent quite a lot of time trying to buy a present. I think, from now on, if I decide to buy feminine jewelery, I’m going to try to dress more appropriately for the store, because I walked into Diva and it felt like I had neon arrows pointing at me with the label “DOES NOT BELONG HERE”.

I did manage to find presents for both Cathy and Anna – a rather cute bracelet for Anna, and a rape whistle for Cathy (it looked really cool and had real leather for the strap and I felt like it could see Cathy through her Europe Trip) – and then walked around Borders trying to find one more overdue birthday gift, only to realize I had no more money on me for such purposes, so I started wandering back to the clock where everyone was meant to meet.

Almost had to use the rape whistle when Pearl tried to hug me from behind to surprise me. Her and Sheina had gotten to the city early, and they’d just arrived at the clock as well. There was a Diet Coke retail therapy sort of area near the clock, with couches, so the three of us did some “free advertising” for them by sitting there and drinking their free hand-outs and looking like we were having a good time. It turned out to be a blessed rest, because Cathy and Carey took over half an hour to finally arrive.

After they’ve arrived, followed shortly by Jalex, it was nearly 4 pm. Cathy mentioned that she wanted to go to the Fitzroy Gardens, and that she “had a general idea” where it was. Unfortunately, her general idea included walking around the entire Parliament house instead of cutting through Parliament Square. It wasn’t that hot yesterday, but the walk was long enough for complaints to be warranted.

So we finally found the park, and a lovely shaded spot to have our picnic (which wouldn’t have been complete without an exploding bottle of coke). Halfway through, Jack mentioned that he needed the bathroom, and completely missed the fact that when we pointed vaguely into the park saying “there, there, there”, we were actually pointing at various trees he could go behind. After a few minutes of him looking aimlessly past the trees, he wandered off in the opposite direction to find an actual toilet building.

Perhaps 5 or 10 minutes later, he came wandering back, and the first words that escaped from his mouth were, “Okay, don’t go to the boys’ bathroom. There was a beat going on in there.”

His twin, Alex, responded immediately, “Oh my god, really? What happened?”

It turned out that there is actually a word for when males solicit sex in the toilets: BEAT, and poor Jack had walked in on one such male waiting for a client. His harrowing experience thus led to a full explanation of glory-holes – I learned something yesterday, and I’m not sure if I wanted to learn it. (Especially certain things about MHS.)

With the time nearing 6pm, and the winds picking up strong enough for us to be cold, we packed up our little picnic and decided to head back for Melb Central to meet up with Angie. On the way back to Parliament station, we passed the Hyatt (which was convenient because I actually was worrying about finding it on Friday but now I know where it is), and Alex said he wanted to use the bathroom (and none of us wanted to use the park bathroom after what we were told). We were worried that we couldn’t just waltz into the freaking Hyatt and use the bathroom, but Alex did anyway, and he came out full of praises about how extravagant the place was. At his words, the girls (Cathy, Sheina, Pearl and I) and Jack decided that we’d go as well – if anything just to see what it’s like inside. (Needless to say, it was obviously very glamorous and high-class, but that’s not my story yet.)

When we were done and about to leave the bathroom, Sheina mentioned that we should do the obligatory bathroom shot, especially since we were in a bathroom in the Hyatt, where there were vases. I was holding the door open, saying that we should just leave, when Jack showed up and saw that we were trying to take photos. I don’t know what he was thinking, or if he was thinking at all, but he stepped into the girls’ bathroom, grabbed the camera, and while just on the threshold of the bathroom, started taking photos of the other girls while I hid behind a door, disbelieving.

In that exact moment, a complete stranger walked into the bathroom, and I could only imagine what she was thinking as she saw Jack standing there with a camera, pointing into the bathroom. Cathy and I hauled ass as fast as we could – I just really didn’t want to get blacklisted before Friday – and managed to hold our laughs in until outside the hotel.

When we made it back to Melb Central, the Diet Coke retail therapy had been cordoned off, but because all the seats around the clock were taken, they decided to sit in there anyway. We caught up with Jackie O (oh I like writing it like that), who I haven’t seen since the first time I met her, and waited there for Angie to show up. When she finally did, she did so in the most fashionable way (late, and incredibly well dressed in her Forever New outfit because she worked there and had to leave her job at Myer and ergh what a successful girl) with Richard (i.e. Exclamation Mark guy from Pearl’s Flare performance). I was surprised to hear that they all knew and wanted to go to Giraffe cafe, and after having Jalex yell at her about how adorable the place is, Angie and Cathy thought they would check it out.

Since the last time I was at Giraffe wasn’t exactly the happiest of times, I was determined to have some fun this time around. It turned out to be pretty damn easy to do it – we started off with a game of Jenga, and my GOD that game is intense! Everyone starts breathing in sync and I’m pretty sure I was telepathically linked to my fellow game-mates Jackie and Pearl for a while there. In the end, it was Jackie’s gusto that led to her demise, as the tower came crashing down on her otherwise fluid extractions.

After Jackie left, the drinks and foods started arriving. When they’ve been adequately consumed (but not wholly), one of the waitresses brought out the birthday brownies for Cathy. Poor girl didn’t light the candles up when she brought it in, instigating some sighs from Alex. And when she tried to light it at the table, her lighter failed on her.

Another round of Jenga ensued, but this time we noticed that a table behind us were creating architecturally radical designs, and that prompted Carey to do the same. Things became ridiculous when pieces were stacked vertically on top, or on a slant. When the tower fell, a piece fell into Cathy’s ice cream. This prompted Jack to say, “Are you still going to eat that now that woody’s been in it?”

The day was finished off with a more than jovial ticket barrier lady at Melb Central. Cathy’s ticket got eaten by the machine, and so the lady stood there and had a chat with us about what we could possibly do to get the ticket back out. When the ticket finally came out, the lady took a look at it and tsked, “well, here’s your problem it’s expired.” Off Cathy’s startled shriek, she broke into a grin, “Just kidding! Have a happy new year!”

I think all staff should be like that. Enjoying their job and not putting other people down.

WELL, over 1500 words! It was a long, eventful and HILARIOUS day! There were many stories I didn’t put down for the sake of Sheina’s privacy (oops?), but maybe that sentence will at least jog my own memory.

Happy New Year, everyone, I won’t be writing in here until after we hit 2011. (I will queue up a post for midnight, though!) Have a safe few days, and may 2011 be better than 2010 if you had a shit 2010, or be better than 2010 even if you had a good 2010.

Alex.

Update on that thing I wrote before…

So my parents had said yes, which was a big deal as it is.

Got all happy and shit, so called a bunch of people.

Bee called me up just a bit before with some bad news: apparently can’t have more than the allocated number of people in a room, it’s AGAINST THE LAW.

So what now?

I want to go so much.

Alex.