Friday, 16 February 2018

Food, Family and Fundraisers

As you can see below, it's the first day of Chinese New Year, which I've previously noted is not my favourite time of the year!! This year might be an exception though, because for the first time the entire family is home in KL (the parents and brother usually high-tail its to Penang, which I used to do until we collectively decided not to put the dogs under the strain of being vet-kennelled, meaning someone – i.e. yours truly – had to remain home in previous years). So Mum decided to go all-out and prepare the kinds of traditional CNY foods Grandma would usually make, and boy did she do a good job! Let this picture paint a thousand om-nom-nommy words!


There has been a lot of pigging-out happening in recent days, haha!

What else has been happening? Oh yes, of greatest significance, of course, is the fundraising concert I held to help raise monies for my brother's healthcare fund. It was held on the 8th and 9th of Feb, a week ago, and I'm so happy to share that it was a big success!

The concerts were well-attended; we had some very positive feedback from the audience; and all in all we made at least twice the targeted amount of RM6,000. So YAY!! I couldn't have done it without the help of Cheryl Teh, who co-owns Harmony Hall PJ, and who very graciously offered to let me hold the concert there for free. And of course, all the performers involved; members of the Selangor Phil, who contributed financially as well as their time and energy to help out behind-the-scenes; and to all who attended and donated. A huge THANK YOU. Here are some photos!




With Michelle, one of the awesome performers!
There should be more official photos soon, which I will post when I have them! Oh yeah, here's a video montage as well:


The second night of concerts was also broadcast 'live' on Facebook. If you'd like to view those videos (which, sadly, had low-quality video but decent enough audio), do check 'em out:



So that's all for now, boys and girls. Day II of CNY tomorrow... time to get some beauty sleep, hehehe! Till then!!

Arf, Arf!


Updates to come!

A Case of Resting Bitch Neighbour Face

A few nights ago I was out walking my doggy Ashley when... oh, let this Facebook post explain it. I'll copy and paste here:

======

So I was walking my doggy Ashley when she decided to sniff at the grass by the curb next to a neighbour's gate. This neighbour has previously given me death glares before: the old man who lives there tends not to smile or acknowledge you but just openly stare. Tonight he did it again – from inside his car, then standing at his gate, just watching me with open hostility while my dog did nothing but sniff the grass.  

Then his wife called out, in Hokkien: "Eh why you taking so long?" "There's someone out here, letting his dog shit here!" he replied, also in Hokkien. "What?" his wife exclaimed, and he repeated it, loudly, as he went into his driveway and into his house, while I called out: "Hey, don't simply make accusations!" or something to that effect (but Malaysianised). 

When I got home, I told my dad what had happened, and he walked over to the man's house intending to have a word. But the man's daughter was at the front gate, so he told her, "Tell your father we don't just let our dogs shit anywhere we like." She ignored him and went back into her house. 
The letter. Click for full view.
Subsequently, when I got home, I penned a long-ish letter which I then left in his mailbox. I just might've started a neighbour war, but you know what? I've reached a point where I no longer give f*cks about people who treat me or my dogs badly. I simply can't stand assholes who think that every neighbour who owns a pet is irresponsible and is out to get them. Furious doesn't begin to describe how I feel. 

Here are the contents of that letter:

Dear old man who lives here, 

I am highly offended by your act of openly STARING when I am walking my dog. I have been walking my dogs on this street for the past 14 years – usually TWICE a day – and my dogs have NEVER, NOT ONCE, taken a SHIT anywhere CLOSE to your property. To stare and not smile, not say hello, is inherently RUDE and ultimately DISRESPECTFUL. As someone of the older generation, I would think you should know better. Do you know WHY I don't let my dogs shit close to your house? Because I am a RESPONSIBLE and RESPECTFUL neighbour – qualities you seem to LACK. And because of that, I will not demonstrate any respect to you. Respect is not a given; it is EARNED. 

To make matters worse, you then openly complained to the old woman that I was letting my dog shit there. This kind of accusatory, suspicious behaviour is not just unnecessary; it is downright shameful. All you had to do is say hello, learn to smile, and you would know I mean no harm and will not leave a mess. To top it all off, I was not even NEAR your gate; I was closer to your neighbour's house. They have a dog. He and I often have conversations. We are on good terms. I respect THAT family as my neighbours.

Of course, the biggest joke is that if my dog or *I* wanted to shit on the roadside... we COULD. You realise, of course, that you do not OWN the areas outside your house? It's laughable that you would be so incourteously (sic) resentful of me being there when we don't complain about the number of cars you own that block the PUBLIC ROAD. Again, why? Because we are GOOD NEIGHBOURS, UNDERSTANDING NEIGHBOURS, TOLERANT & FRIENDLY neighbours. Kids get taught these things in kindergarten. 

In conclusion, your attitude and behaviour are despicable and reeks of someone who isn't civilised. I'm sure that is NOT true. So why be a "tu lan" (pig's balls!) neighbour when you can be a nice one? 

Sincerely, Dog Walker (and now, shitter) 

PS: I understand Hokkien. 

PPS: We have even TALKED about this BEFORE. I have previously ALREADY reassured you of my dogs leaving no mess. If you don't remember, that is NOT *MY* fault. 

Happy Chinese New Year. 

#dontfuckwithme 
#bitchmodeactivated

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Choirs, Queasiness and De-Cluttering!

Lately I've been finding myself lethargic, easily queasy after meals, headachy and generally under the weather. Went to the doc's yesterday and turns out I have a pretty high blood pressure, nooooo! Don't know why. Stress. Genetics (both parents have it). Too much salt (namely junk food, namely potato chips). But yeah, the figures were 1xx over 1xx ... don't remember the precise numbers, but considering that they were both three digits, I don't think that's anything to be proud of, argh. So as of yesterday I've been put on hypertension meds. Talk about the joys of getting older, eh?? Le sigh.

We've lately been de-cluttering the house – an exercise that's been a looong time coming – and my goodness, what a lotta junk we have stored up! My mum had old perfume bottles and half-used toiletries from a decade or more ago; plastic containers filled with old shopping bags (not even the stuff that came in those bags, but the bags themselves!); old historical romance novels with half-naked dudes and overly needy blonde women with unrealistically luscious locks covering their near-exposed bosoms on the covers. Dad had souvenir items from his former Public Relations events – pewter trinkets; electronics (including a Thomson audio cassette Walkman-like player that still worked!); old Parker pens and other stationery... all of which he managed to bring down to Cash Converters and got a nice RM100 for his effort, LOL!

Somewhere in the clutter were audio cassette tapes; old CDs and DVDs with titles like Line Dancing Classics and Learn Easy French!; a forgotten carton of ancient Christmas decorations; and so on and so forth and whathaveyou. And I... well, I had about a million books. Maybe not literally, but there sure were a lot of them, and for the past few days I've been sorting them out into little piles and getting rid of them through Facebook 2nd-hand book pages and whatnot. I'm glad to say I, too, have made a few hundred ringgit from this little exercise, and the house is looking much better for it!

Should've thought to take a "before" photo... this is AFTER clearing out
and tidying all the books that used to occupy this space!
The clutter downstairs!
All these books used to live upstairs in the first photo! 
What else is new? On Saturday night, I attended a lovely dinner to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Philharmonic Society of Selangor, a community choral group. It was held at the Corus Hotel in KL, and it was a great night, with me playing the piano to accompany some of the singers as they performed selections from Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, and - the highlight of the evening, if you ask me! - the "unveiling" of a new song I'd written specially for the choir, Music & Laughter, which also happens to be their theme for the year! (Actually, I'd proposed the title first, and then it was decided that it would also make for a fitting theme, arf arf!) We had an eight-course meal, and all in all it was a wonderful night out:

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I really oughta wear ties more often... :)
When I'm allowed to, I'll share a recording of Music & Laughter. Till then, keep checking in for more updates! Bye for now!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Coming Up...!

Decided to put together a concert to help raise some funds for my brother, who has health issues related to his diabetes. So this is happening ina couple of weeks!! More updates to come, but in the meantime, if you're in KL/PJ and would like to support this show – or if you'd just like to contribute financially – please feel free to drop me an email at the addy in the poster below. Thank you, everyone!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Broadway, Baby! (Not There Yet, But Someday...) ;)

Hey all! So another week's gone by, haha! I'm still enjoying my time at home; I must say this is the most positive I've felt being stuck at home in a while. By "stuck" I mean I don't have a car, so most days are spent in the house or the neighbourhood or (thankfully) the new nearby Starling Mall, arf.

But I'm feeling good about it, and I'm keeping productive. I've spent the last week composing, programming and recording the song for my Malaysian project scheduled for 2019 (still limited on what I can say), but it has a clear New Yawk/Broadway theme, so I'm gonna be a sneaky Nicky and share a minute or so of what I've been working on here! If you've checked this out on Facebook, here's a bonus: there's an extra 20 seconds or so added on to this sneak-peek, so don't gloss over it, haha!

 Tomorrow my brother gets checked into the hospital for his cataract operation, so we're all praying everything goes well. He'll be undergoing surgery on Tuesday and getting discharged on Wednesday. So Mum and Dad are understandably a bit anxious, though they're coping well. I'll come back with more updates on that, and other matters, soon. Until then, enjoy the music. All work by yours truly — music, lyrics, arrangements, programming and dodgy vocals. ;)


Sunday, 7 January 2018

Callbacks, Clouds and Contemplation

Yo, what's been happening? Haha, not much. Although yesterday (Saturday) I got on Skype and was "present" for the callbacks for auditions for my Perth production, which will be happening this May. Still a bit hush-hush, but all will be revealed in good time. Still, I'm glad to say we managed to find most of the cast, which is highly encouraging. Just a few more loose ends to tie up and we'll have our performers! :)

Not much else to report. I'm working hard on another new musical number for an upcoming project (not the same one as above; once again I'm embargoed from saying too much, but all will be revealed), and am running a little behind schedule, but I'm thinking I'll be on course soon enough.

Meanwhile, I've been wanting to upgrade my music-making capabilities for the longest time by getting myself some realistic-sounding, studio-quality sounds (e.g. orchestral instruments that actually sound authentic, kinda like what they'd use for telly or lower-budget movies, haha), and I'm happy to report that as of yesterday I've begun working with EastWest Composer Cloud, which allows you to download their awesome selection of professional-quality sounds for an affordable-ish monthly fee. This is heaps better than having to fork out money by the four and five digits to own the software, let me tell you! I'm excited to finally be able to create better-sounding tracks (hopefully)! More as and when I learn the ropes and get some stuff created.

Well, that's all for now. I leave you with this photo of me and Ashley, which I took the other night. (I've been spending lots of time with little Kerbie too, but Ashley's a slower-moving dog, which makes it easier to take pics of her!) Anyway. This is what happens when you give your doggy a cuddle while she's apparently in the midst of contemplating the meaning of life... :)


Look at that cutie little face! (Ashley's, I mean.) Arf! Till next time!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Oh, Health No!

As posted on FB recently:

Brother's health has not been good for a while now. Today specialists say his kidneys are functioning at 30% capacity due to diabetes-related complications. Doctor advises mum and dad NOT to think about dialysis; that's looking too far ahead. But can't say I blame my parents for wanting to look into it "so we can be prepared", sigh.

Folks nevertheless continuing to stay optimistic but it's hard when mum get sniffly while talking to her friend on the phone about it. :'( Hoping his health will stabilise (kidneys aren't likely to heal themselves, sadly) and parents' worry can be eased.
________________________

On a more optimistic note, here's what I shared on FB yesterday:

I'm happy to say that the past few months, since circa November, have been stable; I've been feeling "normal" (whatever that means), mostly happy; still tired due to the side-effect of the Lexapro (which I will only try weaning off/changing to another drug once I'm back in Perth); but otherwise can't complain. :)

As I look back on the past year and beyond, I realise that I've made and lost a few friends due to my mental health and the decisions/actions that I took due to an affected judgment. To those who are still sticking around, I'd like to express my gratitude once again. You peeps are awesome.

I was reading a self-help book, aptly named "F**K Depression!" by Dr Robert Duff, who penned a letter that is intended to help us depressives express ourselves to people we love but who might not understand what we go through. And I thought I'd take a moment to share this letter with all of you. Especially those of you who find it hard to share your depression with those you care about - Dr Duff encourages you to use as much or as little of this letter as you'd like, freely.

So have a read, share, and let's continue to support one another as we commence this New Year:

Dear ___________,

You are getting this letter because you are an important person in my life and I want you to understand more about what I am going through. I know that I can be difficult and I’m sorry for that. I know that I probably don’t need to be sorry, but I am. In fact, I feel guilty for feeling sorry in the first place. Ridiculous, I know. That’s how my brain works because I have depression… and yes, my mind is an exhausting place.

I want to give you this letter to help you understand a little more about what I am going through, ask for some grace as I work this crap out, and to suggest a few ways that you can best support me if you are willing.

The first thing that I want you to know is that I am trying. Or, rather… I am trying to try. You see, 1 and 1 don’t always add up to 2 with depression. There are legitimate biological differences between me and someone that doesn’t live with depression, which makes this a really difficult uphill battle. I am literally fighting against my biology which tries to tell me that none of this is worth it and that I shouldn’t even try.

When people say things like, “Just think positively,” or “It’s all in your head,” it does not help at all. I know that it is in my head, but unfortunately it is not as easy as flipping a switch and suddenly feeling better. I know that probably have 1000 reasons to be happy and sometimes I feel like the worst person ever for being so down all the time despite them.

Fighting off depression is not a simple task. If it was, I would have done it already. Trust me when I say that I am so tired of feeling like crap all of the time. I am actively trying to take steps to better myself and steal some of my life back from this depressive monster that has crept in like a black cloud raining over all of my thoughts and feelings. The process will involve challenging my negative thought patterns, pushing myself to re-engage with things that I used to enjoy, working to forgive myself for letting things get so out of hand, and finding people that I trust to be on my team.

That’s why you are reading this. I want you to be on my team. I know that I have not been the easiest person to be around recently. Maybe my actions or inactions have even hurt you in some way. The thing is, I need support to dig myself out of these patterns. I don’t need a yes or no answer from you right now, but I want to share a few things that do and do not help me in case you are ever willing to lend a hand.

For now, this has to be on my terms. I am feeling more broken and fragile than I would like to admit. Down the line, I might need a bit of a push, but for now, tough love is not what I need. That means that unsolicited advice that worked for you or someone else is probably not helpful. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to depression. It’s a very individualized sort of beast.

Also, being told that what I am going through is not that bad is very hurtful for me. I know that it might not be logical for me to feel this way given my life circumstances. I know it could be worse and that there are many others in the world who have it worse. That’s just how depression works. Intellectually knowing something and feeling it are two very different experiences. I’m working to make them more in sync.

Though my instinct tells me otherwise, it’s probably not the best idea for me to be alone all of the time right now. So, please have a little grace and forgiveness with me if I get irritated or act in off-putting ways. I do want you to be here and I really appreciate you continuing to try. I feel like a lot of people have given up on me. I don’t want you to be one of them.

Probably the most helpful thing that you can do for me is to let me know that you are here. I forget sometimes, so please don’t assume that I already know. Tell me that you are here if I need you. I won’t always know the best ways that you can help me and you don’t have to either. I mostly just need to know that I’m not on this journey alone.

Like I said, a big part of this process of recovery is finding ways to fight back against these unhelpful patterns of thinking that I have fallen into. Sometimes it can be really helpful to have someone that I can rely on as a “logical barometer.” Basically, I can tell you what my train of thought is regarding a situation and you can tell me whether you think it makes sense or not. You can share how you, as a non-depressed person, might interpret it. That helps me to practice reeling in the overgeneralizing, personalizing, and overall amplification of negative thoughts.

My thoughts usually start out rooted in reality, but they get way blown out of proportion and you could definitely help me out by nonjudgmentally letting me know how far off my thinking has gone. You don’t have to be “right” to help me out with this. There are really no right or wrong answers, but I will be much better off if I have a few people that I can get input from when I am doubting my initial interpretation of things.

I am trying to do more. This might mean that I am trying to get back to doing things that I used to enjoy because everything feels very bland right now. It also might mean that I am trying to get off of my butt and be more physically active. It is so incredibly hard to find the motivation inside myself to do these things. One change that can give me more motivation to follow through with plans is when I have a buddy to do them along with me. Maybe you could be that person. I don’t mean that you need to do everything with me, but if there is something that you enjoy that I might benefit from, maybe consider inviting me along.

Speaking of inviting me along, I won’t always say yes. Even if it is something as simple as going to dinner or the movies, sometimes it feels like the weight of my symptoms are literally crushing me and I will pass on almost any invitation. Please keep inviting me. You don’t need to waste all of your time trying to convince me, just don’t give up on me. Keep offering, please.

Finally, I would be so grateful if you would help other people understand what I am going through. Hopefully at this point, you “get it” a little more. Depression is something that we are told to keep a secret and it is really hard for me to share my feelings sometimes. You are reading this letter because I trust you and want you to be on my team. It is exhausting for me to reach out to each person and ask for help, so if you could help other friends and family understand when they ask what is wrong with me, I would really appreciate it.

If you are reading this far that means that I was right about you. You are amazing and a perfect addition to my depression fighting team. Like I said before, I really am trying. This is a tough battle and I don’t know how long it will take, but having allies like you will certainly make the process that much easier. I am not asking for a blank slate. I know that I can sometimes say or do things that make me not so pleasant to be around. That’s the nature of the beast.

You are allowed to be upset, angry, hurt, or annoyed at those things. I just ask that you try to understand that these things are an expression of my depressive symptoms. They may be a part of me, but they are not the whole me. I hope this letter helps you to understand a little more about the other part of me that is dying for a chance to get out into the world.

Sincerely,
~Nick (replace with relevant name here)

Monday, 1 January 2018

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Jingles and New Year's Eve!

It's NY Eve and I've hit 35 blog posts this year, hahaha! Officially the lowest out of all the years, but I'm aiming to do better next year! How's everyone doing? I haven't been up to much since Christmas; mostly chilling at home, occasionally catching up with friends such as Dominic briefly to catch his theatre troupe performing their Christmas Small Stage IX show; Alvin and Karynn a couple of nights ago at Dome in Bangsar (where I could only partially hear them because I'd gone swimming for the first time in ages that afternoon, and surprise surprise, I ended up with one of my classic waterclogged ears); and yesterday I met with Joe and Faridah at KLPAC to give them a New Year's fruit basket, which was quite a lovely albeit brief meeting I thought. Shame I forgot to take a pic of the fruit basket, but it was a nice one. :)

Speaking of swimming (and fruit baskets, HAHA!), here's something I posted on FB this week:


I leave you with this video on Youtube of an ad that I wrote the music and arrangement for. Quite chuffed with having my official first commercial composition, even though admittedly the concept and lyrics (very localised) are pretty cheesy, LOL. But that's what they (the client and ad agency) were going for, I guess! (Much like my love for Fuller House; it's cute but cringe-worthy, arf!) The more interesting aspect is the amount of phobic comments on the Youtube page itself (some in Malay, so not necessarily understood by all). Ah well! Here's to more commercial work next year! Enjoy the vid!

Monday, 25 December 2017

Happy Jesus Day!

Lunch at home with the family, with roast chicken for the first time! (We usually don't do proper Christmas lunch!)

Always with the balls in my face...!
After a big lunch, it's always nice to zzzzz like my sleepy overgrown puppy Ashley!!

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Home At Last!!

Hello all! It's less than a week till Christmas, isn't that incredible? Arf! A bit of recapping to be done, but before that, let me just start by saying I've given it some thought and I'll be aiming to update this blog more frequently after all. Why? Because, even though Facebook is a good collector of memories, it's not all that easy to access posts from the past (apart from the 'On This Day' function). Also, since I switched FB accounts from the old one (which I'd had since 2007) to the new, not all memories are necessarily visible (to me or other people). So... I have no idea how diligently I'm going to do this, but I'm going to give it my best shot, heh! After all, this blog has existed since 2004. It's not going to die just yet!

So what's new?? Oh yes, as of about three weeks or more ago, I've been back home in PJ, back with the fam and the doggies! YES! Whoo-hooo!! I've been doing virtually nothing the past few days, heh. Just recuperating from the stressfulness that was most of this year, and relishing the peace away from the housemate drama in Perth. As I mentioned in my previous post, there's no longer any friendship remaining between Other Nick and me, and we're just waiting for him to get out of the house. I know there are a couple of blog posts about him here on this site, and I'll leave them up for posterity and as a reminder of how friendships that move too quickly can dissolve just as quickly.

The good news is, as of right now, I'm still going to be remaining in the house on North Lake Road, especially since the other two blokes have made it clear they want me to stay. Let me channel my inner Sally Field at the 1985 Academy Awards by saying: "They like me! They really like me!" :P And of course, I'm generally getting a handle on things as my mental health has been improving (fingers crossed) with my ongoing half-tablet of daily medication.

Actually, I've not done absolutely nothing... I've got a couple of new projects lined up for 2018 and 2019, at least two next year and one the year after, all of which I won't really be talking about just yet! But one of them is the new musical for Cempaka Schools (which did Alice's Wonderland this year), slated for 2019, work on which will commence really soon. Whoohoo!

I've also been commissioned to compose a song for the Philhamonic Society of Selangor, a community choir which will be celebrating its 60th(!) anniversary next year, so I'm really happy to announce that after the drought of creativity that led me to believe that my life as an artist was over (sigh, all this drama, Nick), as of last month and this month I've composed my first new original song, recorded it as a pop demo, and have since adapted it for the choir. I'll post more about it after it has had its proper premiere so as not to spoil things... but let's just say I'm chuffed to be back in the creative zone again!

As for the rest of what I've been up to since getting back... well, let's do more a photo recap, shall we? The adventure started with me, Sarah and Jenny meeting at the airport on Sunday, Nov 26, to catch the same flight scheduled for 4:50pm that day. Oh look, here we are, all happy and excited! (Well. Excited and scared. Nervous flyer, remember?)



Unbeknownst to us, our flight was delayed for over four hours! ARGH! So we only left Perth after 8pm, arrived in KL after 1am, and thus we looked like this as we waited for our luggage at KLIA2:


Why were Sarah and Jenny in KL, you ask? Why, for the Malaysian leg of our tour of Home At Last: A Toy's Journey, of course! You might recall that we last staged it in Perth in April, but it was always the intention for it to tour. And so barely a few days after arriving back home, I was back with the lovely Perth peeps at the Temple of Fine Arts for our show, which went really well. Here are some photos of us hanging out at the TFA and in the vicinity of KL Sentral:

Rehearsal in progress at the TFA.
In costume!
Hanging out!


Dinner after the final show!
As for the rest of what I've been up to, I'll leave you with more pics! Enjoy!

Got myself a snazzy new haircut courtesy of my dear friend
Shane, who's in training to be a barber! Awse!!

Hanging with Chris after watching his production of 'Every Brilliant Thing'
at his new Lot'ng performing arts space in Subang.
Having lunch with Barry (far right), Suzanne, Aaron and Llew (far left).
Funny story: Barry and I have been FB friends for YEARS but
this was our first official meet-up! Wow!
We had lunch at Kumi in Bangsar, which specialised in Eurasian food. Yum!
...Followed by a visit to Midvalley to check out the decorations!
Otherwise I've just been chilling with the dogs. Here's Ashley.
Mum gave her an old pillow, and we weren't sure if she'd
know what to do with it. Not ten minutes later...! :)
I bought Kerbie a doggy cap, and she wore it just long enough for me
to snap these pics. So cute!!
Did a Skype audition for an upcoming project in Perth, which will be happening
next year. There's our producer/director, Levon. Technology for the win!!

Memories from November!

Rockin' my summer shirt!
In my summer shirt at the Freo Beer Fest, with some mates!
Picnic in Kings Park with Carol Weh!!!
With Carol and Scotty at the Jacaranda Festival in Applecross!

Monday, 30 October 2017

October, Where Hath Thou Gone??

Hey all! Time for my monthly update, haha! It's been an interesting time. I'm still on the anti-depressants but have reduced my dose (through my own decision) by half because I've been exhausted most days, needing mid-afternoon naps, etc., which wasn't all that common for me previously. So now I'm taking half the pill at a time and it's helped reduce the daytime fatigue, though my night-time sleeps are still not too peaceful (that said, I've been having hayfever symptoms so it's probably more to do with my blocked nose than anything else).

Either way, I'm planning on taking some time off and go home for a little while (am heading back to KL on Nov 26), so I need to figure out how long I'm going to remain at home, what to do with the meds (do I stay on 5mg? Do I change to new meds, which bears the risk of my body adjusting to new effects? Also, I need to be able to have enough supply to get me through my away time in Malaysia. Oh how, now, brown cow?).

On the household front, the ice has thawed a little bit between Other Nick and me, with some pleasant conversation going on, but I still feel indifferent/resentful sometimes towards him (which, I know, I know, I should try to move away from, but everything's just so much work these days!); I'm still very much wanting for him to no longer be a part of my life, which means either I move out or he moves out or both. The problem right now is that I can't move out without finding someone to replace me, and since I'm going home at this month's end anyway, I think it's not something I should bother trying to deal with right now. He's having the same problem, which is that nobody's biting at the ads for a replacement housemate; so he's stuck here until the lease is up in March next year too. Oh well.

In the meantime, though, I've been planning on what to do once I leave (which I'm quite inclined to do; between the Other Nick situation and the lack of emotional support from the other guys - as much as I have fewer issues with the other two blokes, who I think are cool dudes)... the last week or so I've had dinners at a couple of mates' places to scope out potential rooms. My dear friend Alli has invited me to live with her and her partner, and they have a lovely Great Dane, but they also have a new baby and so the house gets quiet real early, which I don't think would work for me too well. I'm really grateful to Alli and Ben for even considering me, though! Thanks hun! xx

I also had dinner with Joey and Aleesha, a couple, and I really like their house! It's further away from uni (and therefore even further from the city), though, but just this past weekend I stayed there on my own while they were away, and I actually thought it was quite a pleasant place. I definitely felt comfortable and at home there (despite the presence of a rather noisy neighbour, but I think there are workarounds); and right now my heart is telling me that I should really move into that place with them. Here's a pic of me at their place over the weekend. Oh, and the best part? They have a lovely doggo named Horace, and a kitty named Nylah! PETS! WHOO-HOOO!!!!

The house is big! And look, a treadmill! Whooeey!
HORACE!!!!! He's ace!!
The tricky part with Joey and Al's is that their lease is up in December this year, which means I need to commit to them so that they renew their lease for next year, otherwise they were planning on moving to another (smaller) place. So that's something I really need to decide on in the next couple of weeks, because I don't want to say "yes" to them and then leave them in the lurch. I'm also still contemplating what to do with this PhD because my focus has been entirely NOT on it for the past few months (in fact, I'd say this entire YEAR!), so I don't know if I'm going to go through with it, though I'd be stupid to give up a scholarship, I know that very well and truly. So... yeah, a lot of contemplation going on. I'm feeling a bit of stress with what to do in terms of household, personal and mental health, PhD, etc. It's all very (at the risk of repeating myself) exhausting. Exhausting.

What else? Oh yeah, on Oct 16, my mum, who has zero access to my more personal FB posts, demonstrated a very keen sense of intuition:


It allowed me to open up a little bit about the depression and stress to the family, and I think it will be easier for me to discuss with them the issues going forward, including whether or not I want to remain in Perth, or whether I want to return and try my hand at something entirely new and non-"arty". More on this as and when it develops, I suppose...

Other moments in the past month:

I bought new vacuum cleaner for the house! Isn't it a sexy minx???


On Oct 20, I surprised Plant Lover Housemate (who's still my favourite housemate) with a little platter for his birthday. Lesson of the day: timing is everything when it comes to gamers. There I was, platter in hand, candle alight.

Me: "Hey, you have a minute?"
Him (on computer): "Yo. Yup. Just give me... two... seconds..." (30 seconds later) ... "Hey man, what's up?"
Me: "Surprise!!! Happy Birthday!!"
Him: "Oh!! Um. Gimme a sec." (Pounds on the keyboard for a while) "Okay done. Oh WOW. Thanks, Nick!!"
Me: "Aaaaand the candle has melted."

But later that evening he told me, all sweet and bashful, that he really appreciated the gesture and that it was the highlight of his day. #BestHousemateEvah (me!)


This month also saw me getting a little bit into the theatrical groove by attending rehearsal for our upcoming tour of Home At Last, the children's play we performed in April this year, which will be going to Malaysia at the end of this year (and for which I'll be returning to KL on Nov 26 along with Jenny and Sarah). Here are a couple of pics:

In rehearsal
Post-rehearsal burgers at Grill'd!
Finally, I shall leave you with a couple of selfies taken on my walks recently. Thanks for checking in; I think I shall make it a point to update this blog on a monthly basis at the very least, so that it's kept alive with a minimum of 12 posts annually, haha! It's also a less stressful but nevertheless cathartic and useful (for posterity) activity for me to recap the month's goings-on. Obviously if more stuff happens, then I'll update more regularly, but for the time being, I think a monthly post is manageable. So tune in at the end of November to find out what's being going on! Till then!

I've lived in this house almost a year and never realised there was a lake right behind my street.
Nick's feeling stuff by the river. River fee-Nick's.