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. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Inspect My Ass!

So why am I frustrated with the people I live with, you ask? Well, let's review this message, which I today sent out to the household Whatsapp chat group a couple of hours before we were due to have our property inspected by the fastidious landlady. Plant Lover and Other Nick had done, collectively, less than an hour's work between them, hurriedly and non-committally carried out because Social Housemate and I had repeatedly asked and reminded them to. Subsequently, today's rant:


I would like it on the record that for this inspection, I

* bought and mixed 20l of the weedkilling mixture
* spent hours spraying the entirety of the back, side and front yard - every single line of the paving - as well as the perimeter of the astroturf
* manually pulled up weeds from the paving, perimeter and flower beds
* removed fresh weeds that emerged later, as recently as this arvo
* went about the entire house to remove stains on walls in common areas with sugar soap
* cleaned corners and light fixtures of insects and webs
* did a preliminary vacuum, oven cleaning, wipedown of cabinets, and cleaned upstairs shower and bathroom before the cleaner confirmed yesterday's final session
* co-organised the cleaner with Mlad and sorted out payment (which I expect to be reimbursed for ASAP)
* moved the fucking timber from the wall as per Tony's directive weeks ago
* reswept sections of the yard
* TODAY re-vacuumed and re-cleaned the floor which had gravy stains by the oven, and Dorito chips, outside dirt and scuff marks by the sofa and television.

I don't understand why tasks weren't distributed more equally when everyone should have received Tony and Karen's messages via text sent to [Social Housemate] and via email. Four people live in this house and yet it feels like only two of us give a shit about making sure this place is up to standard for an inspection that happens once in every 90 days.

For the next inspection I probably won't be in the country or would have just got back, and I expect to do significantly less, if anything at all. If we all want to live in a nice house but can't be stuffed maintaining it, that's just bullshit. Grow up, be responsible adults, stop being sooks and show some fucking initiative, please.

Also, while I'm having a rant, I wasn't going to say anything but [Other Nick], it wasn't smart to have a movie night the night before inspection. It could have been done tonight or any other night. You might say you didn't make a mess, but having other people over means the floor gets dirtied with shoes worn in the house and loses its shine.

The cleaners spent three hours yesterday sprucing up the place for inspection, and immediately after you wet the entire upstairs bathroom without considering the floor mats, cooked, and had people over. Of course we should be allowed to go about our lives after a cleaning but when there's an inspection coming up, it would be good to exercise a bit of conscientiousness and common sense.

And please, everyone, communicate. That's what this chat group is for - check it regularly, and for fuck's sake, respond. This isn't a system designed for you to miss messages or deliberately ignore them.

Okay, done with rant.

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.