Monday, 25 September 2017

Shattered Dynamics and Antidepressants

Well, what do you know? I'm back! It's been a crazy ride, boys and girls. So much has happened (and yet, so little has happened at the same time). I think the biggest development over the past month or so has been the deterioration of my friendship with my housemate Other Nick. It's a long story, but let's just say it all began about a month and a bit ago with a drunken night (where he was the one mostly drunk), and it all went downhill from there.

Last weekend (not the one that just went by, but the one prior) it all blew up with two enraged outbursts from yours truly, which included the nasty act of shattering a glass and my poor mobile phone on the Friday of Sept 15. I subsequently blamed the fact that I'd begun taking the antidepressant Lexapro (as of Friday Sept 8), and while it's done wonders in getting rid of the feelings of gloom (the rambling ruminating thoughts, not so much), it's also created some pretty crappy side effects such as "fits of rage" (which, to be fair, only happened when I was provoked by the aforementioned Other Nick).

Anyway, I don't wish to rehash what happened, but let's just say I blew up on Friday; and then blew up again on Saturday; and now we've officially moved into a dynamic that proves we're housemates but definitely not mates. I think this letter that I wrote to him - mostly as an exercise to purge thoughts and feelings out of my system - explains most of it (in cryptic detail); and I think that our friendship, sadly, won't fully recover from this, but that's okay. These days it's polite "hey good morning"s and "how are you"s, followed by awkward silences and no conversation, which is pretty disappointing when you consider how well we initially connected and how enthusiastically we bonded - which was probably what led to the problems to begin with. Too much too soon, you know? Ah well. Sad shrug.

What else has been happening? Mostly just resting, to be honest. The Lexapro has me feeling mostly positive (at at least, normal), but I still feel more tired these days. Might also becoming down with a little something, a flu bug which has been going around the house, if the sniffy-coughy sounds from my housemates are any indicator. On the Friday that I broke my phone, I also headed to Crown Casino for my mate T's 21st birthday. Sadly the blowup that preceded it caused it to be a little dampened, but I still had fun with T and our mutual dear friends Justin and Claire, even if it was a little daunting to be leaving the house with no phone and, therefore, effectively no way of contacting anyone or even knowing what the time was. Oy.

So why am I back on this blog? Who knows? I think I just like to have an outlet. I'm officially cutting back on my time on Facebook, so I still need a way to vent and express these thoughts and feelings. I'm also required to document more of my thoughts and actions as part of my autoethnographic research (as per the PhD), so it would be good to have this platform, I guess. I still have no idea where I'm going with this doctorate, which is a scary thing 1.5 years in; I'm struggling to keep motivated, and with the housemate situation, it's hard to keep my focus. Hence the thought about potentially moving out again. But I don't know. My dynamic with the other two guys (Social Housemate and Plant Lover Housemate) is mostly good, even when they get cranky on occasion and act like complete dicks. Straight guys. Whatchoo gonna do.

I've been going for counselling at Murdoch, which has been good. Well, I've only had one official session, but so far I like Di, my counsellor. I told her about my big scheme to move into a house full of straight guys to get over the baggage of the past (see: the American, circa 2010/2011); she said that while she understood why I thought it would be a good idea, "It's also like diving into a river and expecting not to get wet," she said of my being affected emotionally by the boys every so often. "But you know what?" she added. "Maybe it's time to think about removing yourself from the situation. It's not about running away; it's about recognising when something isn't good for you and so you distance yourself from it. It's okay to dive into the river, but it's also okay to sit on the shore and dry off once in a while."

I like her.

I've also been doing a bit of reading lately. I've started again on The Chimp Paradox and I've also recently completed a self-help/philosophy book The Courage to be Disliked, and I've just commenced on You Can Heal Your Life. It all sounds very mumbo-jumbo-ish, but hey, if it might help, why not? That's on top of reading Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello, former TVGuide editor and founder of my favourite TV website TVLine, about his relationship with his partner who was diagnosed with cancer and has subsequently, sadly, passed away (not a self-help book, but it's moving and funny and sad and sarcastic and an entertaining, if hypochondrically worrying, all at once); on top of my current academic readings on autoethnography.

So there's a lot of books in the air, and it's a good thing I recently invested in a Kindle (right) to help me keep the hard-copy pages to a minimum. I didn't think I'd like a Kindle (as opposed to a real book), but I actually don't mind it, and it's cool to pay a bit less for the same reading materials. (Academic e-books are still bitchingly expensive though, grr. Argh.)

What else? A couple of weeks ago I'd spent a lot of time working on a new song for a new musical project that had a heavy Broadway/big-band theme, but sadly they didn't like that song, which is disappointing. Thankfully, I'd begun on the Lexapro already, so I was able to keep the devastation to a minimum and didn't dissolve into a puddle of helpless pathetic-ness sobbing in the shower (see? Antidepressants for the win!). It's a little disheartening, but I guess you can't win 'em all all the time, can you? Right now I'm not feeling terribly inspired - I think it's because there's so much going on - and to be honest, I still can't see a future that's filled with creativity... it all sounds way too exhausting at this present moment. As usual, though, my mantra is: This, too, shall pass. Hopefully.

Anyway, that's about it for now. I'm going to get back to my readings, and hopefully it won't be too long before I get back to my next blog post. I guess this blog is still alive, after all! Till then.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

On Hiatus!

So, boys and girls, as of Aug4 2017 this blog has been active-ish for 13 years, but I think it's time for me to (hopefully temporarily) put it to rest. After all, not many people read it, and with Facebook and PhD documenting on my part, I now have other avenues with which to express and record my activities, so this blog has increasingly (as is obvious) become a bit irrelevant. Nevertheless, for those of you who are still here, I thank you for reading, and I hope you'll continue to follow me on FB for updates and whatnot. (There's also my official FB music page for those who are only interested in my projects). Until next time... take care, boys and girls, and this isn't goodbye, it's just **PAUSE** for now! ;)

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

August?! What the...?! How the...?!

Hey everyone! Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted in over a month, and now it's already August. August?! Where has the time gone?!

What have I done over the past month and a bit?? To be honest, not a great deal. I think there's been a lot of mental-emotional stuff that I needed to sort out, especially in the wake of the conflict with the housemates and all that (which, by the by, has all been resolved, and it turns out the boys weren't even angry with me beyond the day of the blow-up itself, grr, argh). And Other Nick has decided he will be staying in this house, to my relief, happiness and chagrin. Heh. Anyway.

I've mostly been trucking along, keeping afloat, but without accomplishing much. Not entirely true; I did take on the challenge of being the keyboardist for a production of Heathers: The Musical at Murdoch Uni, which was a bit of a struggle because a) I'm not adept at playing other people's music; b) I didn't have prior knowledge of the music from the show; and c) I was brought in as keyboardist on the Sunday before Thursday's opening night. Argh! Talk about stressful! But it all worked out well enough in the end, and I managed to (mostly) fumble my way through the score, and all in all, it was a good experience that made me think I should consider playing in more musicals (other than my own). We'll see.

Getting ready for opening night!
With the cast, crew and musicians of 'Heathers'
What else? Ummm. Ugh. Can't think of much else that has happened. Been spending some time with Carol and Scott (yaaay!), including one Saturday where Carol gave me a free haircut using the shaving kit I'd bought sometime back, arf arf! She did a really nice job, actually!!! And just last weekend we had a lovely (albeit small) steamboat dinner with Bernie at the Plottkes' home (where I've been housesitting up until today; final night will be tomorrow, thankfully! Three months really is a long time to be housesitting, haha! But it's been fun.)

The haircut adventure!
Carol, Scott and steamboat!
Anyway. I really ought to get my head back into focus on this supposed PhD that I'm meant to be doing. I use the words 'supposed' and 'meant to' because it feels like it's such a distant non-priority to me right now, which is problematic, of course. Fingers crossed I'll be able to sort myself out soon and get back on top of my studies and research. Wish me luck. In the meantime, I'm being sidetracked by finally catching up on the Harry Potter movies with my mates Justin and Claire, and marathoning Game of Thrones (which I'm quite enjoying).

One of the Harry Potter nights at Justin's and Claire's.
All right, that's about all for now. Till my next post...! See ya!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Wonder-ful Flashback!

...And here are pics from last month's World Premiere of Alice's Wonderland in KL. with all photos courtesy of Cempaka Performing Arts Company. Click on 'em for fuller views.









Snotty Flashback!

On to happier things... here are selected photos from the recent staging of The Secret of the Snottygobbles, Jenny's final Children's Theatre show at Murdoch, with photography by EClaire Photography. You can click on 'em for fuller views. Enjoy!











The Chronicles Blow Up

Hey all. Jeebus, it's been a really, really rough few days. It all began last Wednesday when I had a good time hanging out with the housemates, and then - as I am wont to do - I went and posted about it on Facebook. To be fair, I went into quite a bit of detail... a bit too much detail, according to my housemates, who found out about it because some rat saw the post and sent one of them a screenshot.

I'm usually more careful with the privacy settings but was rather slipshod that night, and I paid a significant price because the housemates weren't happy. In fact, one of them pretty much blew up at me, including storming off and slamming doors, and I subsequently packed up the necessities and hightailed it out of there. I haven't been back to the house since Wednesday night, and have been spending my time at the Plottkes, where thankfully I'm housesitting till the end of July.

For the rest of the recap, I'm just going to copy and paste what I posted on Facebook yesterday. It's a bit of a harrowing read, so be warned. Before you proceed, let me now state a conclusion, which is: I'm not sure what the conclusion is. The idea of moving out is being bandied about, but that might be too hasty a step, and having this brain-fog might mean it's not the best time for me to be making decisions. But yeah, it's... not been easy. Okay, that's enough of that. You read. Enjoy.

---

Back on Facebook after a four-day break. Did anyone even notice I'd disappeared, that this whole profile had been deactivated? Not likely. I spent three days alone in my mates' housesitting house, literally without any human interaction. Three days and nobody checked in on me apart from Bernie Nye on Whatsapp. I could've slipped and fallen down the stairs and broken my neck and nobody would've even known. Show of hands, how many of you would have even cared? 

=== 

I haven't been back home since the blow-up on Wednesday night with the housemates, thanks to the #NewHousemateChronicles, which I'm really not inclined to continue writing any further. Not sure what to do with regard to the guys though. I feel too mortified to face them, and, coupled with Other Nick's act of starting to look into new places to live - thereby demonstrating that he's serious about moving out - I'm wondering if my time at the house is up, as well. (For those who are curious: Other Nick is currently away for work and was not involved in the blow-up of last Wednesday night.)  

=== 

I've been battling a deep depression since it happened and am better today, if only because I went out for dinner with some friends last night to celebrate a dear friend's birthday. But the past three days have been really rough, with me realising that I'm unhappy here, and I was unhappy in Singapore, and I'm unhappy back home in Malaysia, which leaves me with the conclusion that all this unhappiness is within me and has nothing to do with where I physically am. 

Where do I go with that?  

=== 

The other day I sat on the floor in the shower in this house and let the hot water wash over me, and figured it was a good time, place and fetal position to have a cry. After all, with the shower pouring down on me, it was hard to tell the water from the tears.

=== 

I've been thinking about suicide a lot lately, but don't worry, I wouldn't ever do anything. I couldn't bear to put my family through that, and my dogs, and the small handful of friends who would actually care. But it's been a while since I've been plagued with such dark thoughts. 

At one point I accidentally jabbed my wrist with a fork standing upright in a cutlery holder while reaching across the dining table, and wondered what it would be like to just press a little harder so that I'd cut my wrist. But then I thought it would be way too painful and way too slow, and such a waste of the beautiful tablecloth in this housesit house that isn't mine. 

=== 

In lieu of Facebook I watched TV shows. Have any of you seen the new-ish sitcom "Trial & Error", starring an uproarious John Lithgow and a yummilicious Nicholas D'Agosto? So funny. So SO funny. Absolutely hands-down my favourite comedy of the recent season. Made me forget my troubles, 20 minutes at a time. 260 minutes went by really quickly, though. Much too quickly.  

=== 

Going off Facebook after YEARS of using it to vent my thoughts and feelings has been incredibly revealing. I learnt how lonely I really am, and how alone, and isolated, and how much I depended on it as an outlet. It's horrible to lose an outlet. It meant I've been trudging about this house with all these thoughts and feelings swirling about my flawed brain with no where to let them out. So I stood in the shower and cried. Then I sat in the shower and cried. Next I tried to eat some dinner and cried. And I went to bed and cried. 

=== 

This is why I write, boys and girls. This is why I tell all these stories. Some of my stories are light and funny, like the #NewHousmateChronicles. Others are deep and meaningful. Others are dark and scary, like this post. But I tell these stories here so that they are out of my system, so that I don't get driven out of my mind. 

=== 

A friend of mine passed me some demos I'd recorded about 10 to 12 years ago (the files of which she'd kept but I'd lost). I listened to some of them today while taking a walk in the hope of raising some endorphins (which didn't really work, since the sight of all the happy, normal families and couples exercising by the foreshore made me miserable), and I realised that some of my lyrics from all those years ago are still relevant today: thoughts about who I am, where I'm going, what life is all about, etc. 

"I kept myself from watching the sunset / Rendered blind by futures unknown." 

"Start to wonder why get out of bed / To face the day, you have to face the dread." 

It saddens me to think that in a dozen years since I recorded these songs, I don't seem to have progressed very far. 

=== 


Apart from "Trial & Error", my other new favourite show is "Downward Dog", which has sadly already been cancelled and which features a talking dog. Martin the dog talks to the camera, to the audience, and philosophises about life from his limited canine viewpoint. It made me miss my dogs, especially my big puppy Ashley, who has always been my therapy dog. And I'm thinking if I moved out to a new place, I'd like to find a house that allows pets. 

=== 

Tonight I made a homemade green chicken curry. It was tasty. It might not sound like much, but when you're being visited by the Black Dog, i.e. depression, making a homemade green chicken curry is quite an accomplishment, let me tell you. (Okay, the green curry paste was out of a packet, but that's beside the point, eh?) 

=== 

(Somewhere along the way I wondered if I'd actually complete this PhD, considering that my primary reason for doing it was to get out of Malaysia because I was convinced it was geographical location that determined my happiness; but that's one thread too many for me to pick at, at this stage - pull on that thread and the whole goddamn thing will bloody unravel.) 

=== 

At some point I'll have to go back to the house with the housemates, but in the meantime, I guess I'll just sit here in the housesit house and breathe a little better, knowing that all these thoughts and feelings I've been internalising for the past four days are now out there in Facebookland for many to see, thereby freeing my brain from the burden and allowing me to rest a little easier. 

=== 

Thank you for reading this, and for those who care, I'm currently OK. I'm going to bed soon, and tomorrow will be another day, and whether or not I have human interaction will depend on the mood and whatnot. (Hey Perth friends who care: if you have nothing to do tomorrow [Monday], come visit me. Bring a six-pack, some snacks, and let's watch movies or marathon 'Trial & Error'. This housesit house has lots of movies. I'm in Kardinya, close to Murdoch Uni. Send me a private message, I'm absolutely serious.) (I'll only check messages in the morning, though.) 

=== 

In the meantime, I have reruns of John Lithgow (including episodes of 3rd Rock, where he ponders: "Oh, it's about FEELINGS, is it? Typical, everything revolves around FEELINGS. Human beings are so controlled by it... by FEELINGS" - uttered with the kind of hilarious disdain only he as the High Commander of an Alien Troop of Explorers can deliver), and Martin the dog, who - in comparing himself to a purebred - wisely told me the other day: 

"It's easy to love yourself when you're a Hunter. But when you're as flawed as I am, learning to love yourself is, like, the bravest thing you could ever do."

---

Post script: Nobody came around with a six-pack or snacks to watch movies with me. Sadface.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

This Blog Isn't Dead Yet!

... At least, I don't think it is... :)

Updates soon, I promise.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Whoop Whoop Whooping!

Hey all! Whoops - another three weeks have flown since my last update, heheh. What's been happening? Just quickly, I'm neck-deep in intensive rehearsals for this year's Children's Theatre show under Jenny... her very last CT show at Murdoch, actually, since she's officially retiring by the end of this year! We're in the week where there are nightly rehearsals in preparation for shows next week, and while it's been a mostly smooth process, there has been a significant bump in the road in that one of the cast members revealed yesterday that she's been diagnosed with whooping cough, which is contagious and dangerous for children and especially babies! So we're now faced with a situation that, according to Jenny, we've never been in before, i.e. the possibility of quarantine and hopefully unlikely cancellation of performances to protect the kids! Argh what a mess!

The next few days will reveal what the plan of action will be. But in the meantime, rehearsals continue because, as they say, the show must (will?) go on! Here are a couple of rehearsal shots:



What else? Oh yeah, of significance is the fact that I flew back to KL on May 11 and returned to Perth on May 22nd, arf! The reason, of course, is the Opening Night / World Premiere of the Cempaka musical Alice's Wonderland, which was pretty fantastic! I'll come back and post more about the show in greater detail, but yeah, 11 days back home were pretty cool, although I came down with a bout of the flu and had to be confined to my bed for a few days, groan! I blame the crappy weather and the change of climate and whatnot. Still, it was lovely to see the fam again, and especially sped some quality time with Ashley and Kerbie!

Back in Perth a couple of Mondays ago and I've been solidifying my bond with the housemates here, which I'm pretty happy with. I'm especially getting along swimmingly with Social Housemate and newbie Other Nick, who I adore but who can also be pretty annoying, LOL!!! Nah, I jest; we get along really well, and it almost feels like we've been mates for ages even though it's only been just over a month. Yesterday (Tuesday) Other Nick and I went to Freo dog beach with his elderly dog Jackson. Here's a lovely montage. The pic on the top is of a bench that was erected in loving memory of Other Nick's dad... Jackson's name is even on it.


Speaking of dogs, Bren, my plant-loving housemate, brought his 12-year-old doggy Digby around last Saturday for a visit. Such an adorable and child-like bundle of fun, he was! And Bren turns into this super-affectionate softy when he's around ol' Diggers, arf arf! Here are some pics:


Well, that's about all for now. I'll come back with more updates on the Children's Theatre situation as well as throwbacks to Alice in KL soon. Till then...!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Judi's Return Pt 4: Speaking Asian

Here's a cute little video of us during pizza night at Carol's on Wednesday, where at a certain point Judi, Carol and I tried to teach Bernie and Scott how to speak all Asian-like...

video

Judi's Return Pt 3: Bamboo'ed!

Pictures of us having Chinese dinner at Bamboo restaurant. We also had pizza dinner at Carol's last Wednesday (3rd May) and in the city at Hong Kong BBQ (Thursday, 4th May) before Judi flew off back to the UK, but for some reason we didn't take that many photos then, awww. Never mind. Here we are anyway!


Judi's Return Pt 2: Getting High (Tea!)

Here's us at high tea/lunch on Saturday, 29 April, a pleasant afternoon of eating sandwiches and scones and cake, with tea and coffee; followed by a trip to Galleria Shopping Centre for more coffee, LOL! The night ended with us going to Bamboo Restaurant in ... Willetton, I think? ... followed a movie night at home watching Moana, which was fun. Here are pics!!

Neek and Joooodi

Cakes and finger sandwiches.
Nyun nyum!




Silly spoon shenanigans.



Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Judi's Return, Pt 1: Steamboated!

So last week was a lot of fun, because JUDI WAS BACK from the UK to visit and keep us company!! YAAAAY!!! She and Adrian were back for a little while, and we (the Gang) hung out, doing – among other things – a steamboat at the Plottkes (where I'm housesitting while they're away); a high tea at a lovely garden cafe somewhere north-ish; Chinese food at a restaurant near Taurus, which was the previous Asian food restaurant we used to enjoy (circa 12 years ago) but which we've since moved on from, preferring, instead, Bamboo restaurant a couple of doors down, which (PLOT TWIST) is apparently owned by the former owners of Taurus! WOW!!!

Here are a whole bunch of photos, because photos tell a thousand words or whatever the ol' phrase is. Really had a blast hanging out. Really miss Judi and we all wish she'd come back, WAAAAH!!!!! First up: steamboat night at Chris and Jade's (minus Chris and Jade)! ;) More photo recaps to come!

Bernie and Beattie!
Mmmm, steamboat!
Mmmmm! Balls and such!! Hehe. Balls.
Me and Scotty. Eeek, edge-of-frame distortion, shriek!
Ade and Judi, hehe!
Oh look! My new housemate Other Nick joined us!
All the pretty ladies!
Heehee, cute!