Monday, 31 December 2018

New Year's Eve IV: The Year in Pieces

A stock image, but this pretty much sums it up.
Late last year, I read one of those articles about filling a jar with post-it notes on good things that happened throughout the year, and then at the end of the year you take the notes out and read 'em and be grateful for all the positive stuff that occurred over the past 12 months. "That's a good idea," I thought, and decided to kick start the endeavour by just writing down at least one highlight of each week. My intention had been to eventually start writing 'em down on actual little slips of paper and filling a jar, but... wouldn't you know it, I never got round to doing that. Instead, I kept keeping track of highlights in my Google Calendar app (LOL).

Yesterday marked the final week of 2018, which means the collection of Good Things for the year has come to an end. So, to commemorate the New Year, here's my weekly list of things that stood out each week across 2018. Some weeks there was just one incident. Some weeks there were several. A couple of weeks were sparse. But I managed to log at least one entry every seven days - things that made me smile, things that made me happy, things that seemed positive in a week/month/year that was full of ups, downs and sideways. Some weeks I mention specific friends, but if you're not mentioned, please don't take that to mean I don't remember you or am not grateful for you being there. And naturally, my housemate gets mentioned pretty frequently, LOL. Sigh!

Without further ado, from week one (January 2018) to the final week:

  • Week 1 (ending Jan 7) - Spending time with Ashley!
  • Week 2 (ending Jan 14) - Finished Calling Lights of Broadway for Dames & Dimes project!
  • Week 3 (ending Jan 21) - Catching up with friends: Nicole, Cheryl, Alia, Amelia!
  • Week 4 (ending Jan 28) - Selangor Phil Commemorative dinner and launch of the "Music & Laughter" song!
  • Week 5 (ending Feb 4) - Rehearsing with friends for Fundraiser Concert!
  • Week 6 (ending Feb 11) - Fundraiser Concerts!! >RM10,000 raised for brother.
  • Week 7 (ending Feb 18) - Chinese New Year at home!
  • Week 8 (ending Feb 25) - Back in Perth!
  • Week 9 (ending Mar 4) - Got my car fixed (mostly); plus Zoo Membership (thanks Levon)!
  • Week 10 (ending Mar 11) - Went to the beach with Plant Lover Housemate (Bren)!
  • Week 11 (ending Mar 18) - Zoo visit again, plus PhD chats with David M and Melissa!
  • Week 12 (ending Mar 25) - My birthday! Plus lease on new house approved!
  • Week 13 (ending Apr 1) - First Edge rehearsal! Long overdue catchup with Mel J!
  • Week 14 (ending Apr 8) - Launch of The Edge at Blue Room. Plus, keys to new house!
  • Week 15 (ending Apr 15) - First week in new house with Bren!
  • Week 16 (ending Apr 22) - Meeting with co-supervisors re: PhD!
  • Week 17 (ending Apr 29) - Bren's spending spree: New big-screen telly, etc!
  • Week 18 (ending May 6) - Lost in Space marathon, dinner @ Roxby's with Bren!
  • Week 19 (ending May 13) - Salvation marathon with Bren!
  • Week 20 (ending May 20) - Completed Edge score edits. Westworld marathon. Be More Chill!
  • Week 21 (ending May 27) - The Edge bumps in at The Blue Room!!
  • Week 22 (ending June 3) - Opening night and run of The Edge!!
  • Week 23 (ending June 10) - Tale of Tales @ Blue Room, and more Edge!
  • Week 24 (ending June 17) - Final week of performances of The Edge!
  • Week 25 (ending June 24) - Bernie visits! Plus, Scotty's birthday!
  • Week 26 (ending July 1) - New antidepressants...
  • Week 27 (ending July 8) - Decided to quit the PhD!!! (note: It, um, hasn't stuck.)
  • Week 28 (ending July 15) - Baking cookies with Beatty, Carol and Bernie!
  • Week 29 (ending July 22) - Trial & Error returns! Hahaha!
  • Week 30 (ending July 29) - Dinner with Aleesha and Joey!
  • Week 31 (ending Aug 5) - Dentist visit. Yes, it's a good thing.
  • Week 32 (ending Aug 12) - Mexican food with Scotty and Carol!
  • Week 33 (ending Aug 19) - Refiguring the PhD with Melissa!
  • Week 34 (ending Aug 26) - Steamboat at Bernie's; The Patriot with Bren.
  • Week 35 (ending Sept 2) - Long overdue catchups with Justin and Claire. Hanging with Bren and his bro! Michael Lavine comes to town! WAAPA visits!!!
  • Week 36 (ending Sept 9) - More quality time with Michael. Best Bits at WAAPA!
  • Week 37 (ending Sept 16) - Crazy Rich Asians. The Facebook post. Housesitting Horace!
  • Week 38 (ending Sept 23) - The Royal Show with Scotty and Carol. Delicious Fingers with Bren.
  • Week 39 (ending Sept 30) - Lapa with Levon!
  • Week 40 (ending Oct 7) - 99% of Dames & Dimes done. Dinner at Clancy's with Bren.
  • Week 41 (ending Oct 14) - Movie marathons across the week!
  • Week 42 (ending Oct 21) - Bren's birthday!!!
  • Week 43 (ending Oct 28) - Lucky Chan's with Joey & Aleesha. Lunch at Bernie's.
  • Week 44 (ending Nov 4) - Surprise bubble tea thanks to Nina and Sarah. Surprise Dunkin' Donuts thanks to Levon and Lola. WAAPA showcase at Rosemount.
  • Week 45 (ending Nov 11) - 2 year housemate-aversary with Bren! Surprise cinnamon rolls by Cheryl and May. Meeting with Alexa!
  • Week 46 (ending Nov 18) - Productive PhD meeting. Christmas markets with Carol and Scotty.
  • Week 47 (ending Nov 25) - Finished bulk of scoring work for Dames & Dimes!!
  • Week 48 (ending Dec 2) - Lunch with Bernie at Carousel! Christmas decorating and dinner with Justin and Claire! Long overdue catch-up lunch with Liam!
  • Week 49 (ending Dec 9) - BACK HOME!! The Edge Malaysia, OPENING NIGHT!!
  • Week 50 (ending Dec 16) - Awesome Edge article. More Edge shows!! Long overdue catchup with Colin!
  • Week 51 (ending Dec 23) - 100 movies, LOL!!
  • Week 52 (ending Dec 30) - CHRISTMAS! Catchups with Little Jo and The Nut Graphers! The Edge cast party!!!

And that wraps up the year!! I'll aim to keep Highlights of the Week active in the New Year (and perhaps have that jar of notes actually happening, lol!). Till then... wishing everyone a very, very happy, healthy and safe New Year's ahead... may 2019 be a rockin' one!!!

New Year's Eve III: The Movie List

Those of you who know me well would also know I've never been much of a movie person. I'm not sure why that has been so; perhaps it's some sort of attention-related thing where I can't sit still for 1.5 to 2 hours, especially if I'm at home. Or if I'm sitting still, my mind tends to wander. Movies in the cinema were a more regular thing than movies in the living room, that's for sure.

That is, until this year, when Plant Lover Housemate and I moved in to our new place and he bought the big-screen telly (right), and we started watching movies at home as a regular thing. Suddenly my affinity for films was stoked, and this year itself, between April and today, I've watched a total of 108 movies (as of time of writing, and this excludes any titles I might have inadvertently forgotten to take note of!)... old, not-so-old, new and not-so-new; many first-watches and several repeats; cinematic releases as well as Netflix winners and duds. I've probably watched more flicks this year than I have in the past decade, no joke, LOL!!

Part of why I began to regain an interest in movie-watching is because I've made it part of my daily goal, especially in Perth as a PhD researcher. The movie (or telly show, depending on my mood) is my incentive at the end of a long day's work. So I tell myself: "If you get up early, spend the day doing research and daily PhD-related objectives, get some exercise in and do whatever else needs to be done, the movie is your reward." To a certain extent it's helped me be more productive, and I'm hoping to keep this trend going as we enter 2019.

So here's the list, as it stands on this New Year's Eve, of movies I've enjoyed/tolerated/loathed this year, in more or less chronological order from most recent to least. Plus, as a bonus, you can click on the titles to find out more info if you're interested in 'em!

Mary Poppins ReturnsSpotlightSmallfootBumblebeeBird BoxThe Happytime Murders • Idiocracy (groan) • Child's Play (1988) • Get Out (movie #100!) • Goosebumps 2AquamanSkyscraperSpiderman: Into the SpiderVerse •  The House with a Clock in its WallsRalph Breaks The InternetThe Secret Life of PetsThe Christmas ChroniclesThe PossessionThe NunHalloween (2018) • The ConjuringThe Conjuring 2HushIt FollowsPoltergeist (1982) • Insidious 2Sinister IISinisterInsidiousThe Grand Budapest HotelThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (extended) • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Gift Green RoomSearchingDonnie DarkoNon-StopOctober SkyEnemyIndependence Day Forrest GumpSolo (yawn) • Nocturnal Animals22 JulySilver Linings Playbook • LifeThe Day After Tomorrow127 HoursDream HouseBrain on FireGame Over, Man!ElysiumMalevolent • ShutterTedManchester by the SeaGone Girl First Man • I Love You, Phillip MorrisMirrorsSource CodeThe DarknessThe TerminalSilenceCrazy Rich AsiansFantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them10 Cloverfield LaneCloverfield ArgoA Ghost StoryGremlinsGremlins 2WinchesterGhost Stories Paddington 2RoomThe Wave3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriUnsaneThe Killing of a Sacred DeeriBoyChronicleMuteThe RitualThe Greatest ShowmanTau • Isle of Dogs • Hidden Figures • Incredibles II • The Shape of Water • The Vault • Super 8 • Open House • mother • Hereditary • Dunkirk • Critters • The 6th Day • The Patriot  • What Happened To Monday • Interstellar • The Beyond • A Quiet Place • Black Panther • The Imitation Game  • Pawn Sacrifice • Anon • This Is The End

New Year's Eve II: It's Been An Edgy Year

A huge thank you to everyone, everyone, who made 10 years of The Edge possible! This includes cast, creatives, musicians and everyone else involved, across four different productions (thus far) of the show. I'm excited to see what comes next!

(While we're on the topic, here's a montage of the 'murder board' that the theatrethreesixty team put together to figure out The Edge's non-linear structure, arf arf. Some curiosities on the board, including "lung cancer", "death", "popped his cherry" and "discovered the joys of being a bottom (flexbot)". Oh-kaaaay then...)

New Year's Eve I: Highlights from the Past Month!

Happy New Year's Eve, boys and girls! Haha! I've been back home in PJ for about four weeks now, having returned on 3 Dec, and it's been a good stay. The primary highlight of my trip home was, of course, the 10th anniversary production of The Edge produced by theatrethreesixty, which performed 13 shows and did very, very well. It was a very thrilling, innovative and successful production designed and directed by my dear friend Chris Ling (well done, Chris!), and performed by a stellar cast, including Michael Chen as Jarod. Some of you might remember Michael from his stint in the role ten freakin' years ago, when he was a wee lad! And now he's the precise age of the character, and he did a tremendous job... they all did! Couldn't be more proud! Here are some pics from the show. All pics are by Shi P'ng Chng. Check 'em out!

The wonderful Tria Aziz reprised her award-winning role as Lilly.
Michael Chen as Jarod (and that's me in the background, arf!) 

Christmas this year was a bit of a subdued affair as I came down with a dratted gout attack, grr. So it was pretty meh, overall. But I'm happy to report that I'm better now, even though plans for the New Year are virtually nonexistent, arf. But that's okay. With just one more week to go before I return to Perth, I'm relishing some quiet time at home. And I've been spending the past few days doing further research in preparation for my return to PhD-hood. In addition, the past few days have seen me doing some social catch-ups with dear friends from near and far-ish. For instance, today (Sunday) and last Thursday I hung out with Little Jo from Singypoo, which is always awesome. Here's a pic of us!

On Friday, there was a historic (arf) reunion of staff from The Nut Graph days! Wow!

And on Boxing Day the cast and crew of The Edge got together for a post-show celebration:

The rest of my trip has been spent, of course, hanging out with the dear doggies!!! 

Giving me a hug!!!
....And I give her a kiss! 
Kisses from Kerbie too!
A tremendously sassy Ash!!
That's all for now! I'll leave you with one final photo of The Edge family, and I'll be back later today (New Year's Eve) for a couple more posts, I promise, heh. Till then!

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Scrapped, More Edging and Other Flashbacks

Hey all! Another of my monthly (by-monthly?) updates. What's new? Well, as of this coming Monday (3rd Dec ... how on earth is it December already?!) I'll be heading back home to Malaysia for a month-long break. Yup, apparently despite all the odds I'm still pursuing this PhD thing and will be back next year. From this point forth it's pretty much going to be a step-by-step, month-by-month thing, where at any point I might decide I don't want to keep going and just throw in the towel. It's just the way it's going to have to be.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to heading back and having a good rest. Meanwhile, I'm finishing tying up some loose ends here for the year, including... well, I had to get rid of my car. Basically a couple of nights ago, while I was driving home, the engine died abruptly and the car was left stalled in the middle of the highway nearby. Fortunately I wasn't far from home, so I managed to push the car onto the side of the road, and a kind stranger who saw me came running up to lend a hand.

The next day, my mate L decided to check out the car, and, failing to diagnose the problem with his limited mechanic skills, I had to fork out $300 to join the RAC so as to get some roadside assistance. Long story short, they towed the car to a workshop, determined it would cost quite a bit to get it fixed (in which case, it was more worthwhile for me to scrap it and deal with finding a new used car next year), and then charged me a further $170 to have it towed back to my house in Myaree. $470 — or in access of RM1,500 — to get a broken-down car moved from one spot to another without any repair. How about that!

As of 20 mins ago, a car scrapper came by to pick up the remains of my Peugeot and paid me $200 for the prospective spare parts. And that was the end of it. Byebye, car. You served me relatively well for two-odd years, and considering I paid $1,000 for it in 2016, I suppose it was an investment well-spent. As for the future of my vehicular needs, let's see what happens when we get back from holidays. It's 2019 Nick's problem, arf.

What else? It's just been a month or so of finishing up the music for my new project, Dames & Dimes, which was commissioned by Cempaka Schools and will make its World Premiere sometime early next year. So a lot of my time has been spent finishing up the composing and scoring work for it. As of this week, I'm glad to report all the work has been done, so that's one more completed project under my belt! In the meantime, rehearsals and production work has been underway for the upcoming Malaysian re-staging of The Edge by theatrethreesixty. I'm very, very excited for this production, especially since it celebrates 10 years since Chris Ling designed and directed the 2008 workshop staging, and he's also the man behind this new production!! Whoo-hooo!!

Speaking of The Edge, I submitted it for a Broadway producer's "Pitch Book", and now it's been featured in the line-up of new musicals that producers could potentially look into staging. How exciting! Fingers crossed someone will be interested... ;)

Click on it for bigger view!

Another noteworthy moment since my last post: Oct 20, celebrated my housemate's birthday and presented him with a fun personalised children's book as well as a photo book of him and his 15-year-old puppy Digby, which he (my housemate) absolutely loved!

And other highlights: hanging out with Carol, Scotty, Bernie and Mikey at the Christmas markets in the city; lunch with my mate Liam yesterday, which was a treat as he's usually so busy; receiving complimentary cinnamon rolls from Spirals Cinnamon, a bakery in Mt Hawthorne, courtesy of my friend Cheryl in KL whose aunt owns the Perth-based bakery with its yummy goods (side note: that was in response to a particularly bad mood week that resulted in me publicly asking, on FB, people to visit me at my house address. I ended up receiving a box of Krispy Kremes from Levon and Alissa; a visit by Sarah and Nina with their pup Shiro, which led to dinner at their place and awesome catch-ups with our mutual friend JT; and, of course, Cheryl's delivery of the comforting cinnamon rolls). And, I suppose, importantly, ticking the boxes for me to return to Perth next year to toil away on the doctorate. Whoo-hoo.

Well, I guess that's all for now! I'll aim to update further when I'm back home, but don't hold me to that, LOL. Till then... see ya!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Contemplations, Royal Show, Digby-Bren Time and Rick & Morty!

Hello all! I can't believe we're almost midway through October. Seems like time is just a flying, and I'm not entirely pleased to report that in terms of my future in Perth and the PhD, it's as uncertain as ever. The biggest challenge right now is completing the work for Dames & Dimes, which I committed to at the end of last year and now fully understand why my PhD supervisors told me that in order to take it seriously, I had to avoid committing to other projects. As much as I'm enjoying D&D and the complexities that come with composing in this style (Broadway/30s big band/swing etc), it's been a full-on job that is depleting my creative resources (and I say this in a neutral/positive way, i.e. a person has only so much inspiration at one time, ha!).

Coupled with some side effects from the Pristiq that I've been on for the past few months, the biggest seemingly being my inability to get a proper night's sound rest (I get up, on average, 4 to 5 times a night, which is plenty; also, my dreams are noisier, more vivid; not necessarily bad/nightmarish, but just... a lot to digest, frequently involving pets, family, friends, or my own future, which tells you what my brain is trying to process, I suppose!). So the past fortnight or so has seen me being a little crankier and moodier at home (poor Bren, my lovely housemate), because of the lack of proper sleep and the uncertainty with my postdoctoral future.

A part of me believes that the fact that I place priority on D&D, and really just want to compose my PhD musical more for the experience/achievement of composing the musical rather than to dig into something deeper, already tells me that my mind is made up as to what to do study-wise. But quitting now opens up several logistical questions, namely, what do I do with the rest of my stuff? When do I get rid of them? When do I go home? I want to be home in December; do I now have to (resume) deal(ing) with all the loose ends in order to make a December deadline? Or do I go home, come back in early Jan next year, and see what happens? Garrrgh.

I think what makes this particularly stressful is that my previous supervisor, the lovely Jenny, has a different mindset and understanding of what a PhD entails compared to H, my new supervisor, who is really cool but different. Y'see, a PhD should be a new contribution to existing knowledge, and Jenny believes that the creation of a new work, or the writing about oneself which is new and has repercussions for other researchers and academics, is a contribution to knowledge it and of itself. But H has the more traditional, dare I say "rigid" view of research, i.e. it's less about the creative work and the self, it's more to do with the bigger picture. The musical itself isn't enough.

I'm not saying that Jenny's p.o.v. is simplistic by any means; there would still have been a rigorous engagement with theory required. But I think what's stressing me out now is, under H, I need to figure out the bigger picture behind my musical idea (which I won't talk about publicly just yet). In other words, the musical is simply a tool to explore a bigger, deeper, more important idea/concept; the writing of the musical is a means towards finding out something theoretically bigger with wider-ranging effects on the research/academic community and which contributes new knowledge to the existing theories and information out there.

As my dear friend Mel said: "I want to know more about _______" (fill in the blank), "because _________, in order to ___________". So, for example, for her thesis: "I want to know more about female performers during Shakespeare's time, because it is an underrepresented and under-researched area of Shakespearean and theatre-history studies, in order to reclaim the role and representation of women in a predominantly male-oriented era. (I'm filling in the blanks based on memory; these might not be her actual answers, but it's close enough to give you an example.) So, for my own proposed thesis: the first blank is the subject of my musical. The next two blanks are still a bit of a wild card.

Maybe, just maybe, all I want to do is write the bloody thing.

It's not all been bad though. I'm almost done with the composing work for D&D (though the next step would be the notation/scoring, which is going to be a full-time job in itself); and Bren and I have been spending quite a bit of hangout time together, which is always awesome. We've been making it a weekly thing now where we go for lunch at Delicious Fingers, this nice cafe nearby, on Saturdays; followed by picking up his sweet 14-year-old puppy Digby and spending a Digby afternoon. We've been doing this for the past three weeks now (today, Saturday, will mark the fourth), and it's been cool (though it means more spending money, ha!). Bren and I have also been going for proper dinners at Clancy's, most recently last night, and again Saturday last week with his mates, including Ross and Troy. Good lads.


Bren and Diggers in love.

On Sunday, Sept 23, Carol, Scotty and I headed to the Perth Royal Show (thaaaanks, Carol weehh!). We spent the entire day there, which was tiring but also a lot of fun, and I left with a couple of showbags, including a box of Lindt chocolates that were gone within a few days, arf arf. We had access to the VIP area courtesy of Carol's workplace, so we had a prime seat to view the goings-on in the main oval in the evening and the fireworks that ended the show. All in all, it was a great day out, and I bought my housemate and myself some Rick and Morty plushies as a memento!

Having a good day out!

Ni haoo maa?
Carol and cake.
Wood-chopping competition in progress.
The weeks prior to that were spent with me heading to WAAPA and chilling with Michael L from New York (I mentioned this in a previous post) and getting to know the WAAPA kids better too. So that was pretty cool. I attended several of Michael's masterclasses and made new connections, and we even saw a couple of shows together – Sunday in the Park with George, and Best Bits by the third-year graduating performers.

On Thurs, Sept 13 – after spending the night at Joey and Aleesha's new house about 40 minutes south of here, dogsitting their pup Horace while they had landscaping work done – I headed to UWA and saw an opera that was performed in a swimming pool, which was really, really unique and cool! The singers were literally around the pool and in the water, and they had a live musical ensemble and everything. It was a very good show, although I paid something like $65 for a ticket and the show only ran for about 45 minutes, so I'm not entirely convinced that it was worth the ticket price. But never mind, it was an interesting performance nevertheless, and I'm glad to have had the experience.

I think that's about all for now. Heading out for lunch shortly, so I'm going to sign off on this post here. Till my next update (which hopefully won't be next month)... see ya!

Housesitting Horace at Joey and Aleesha's!
Rick & Morty on Bren's shelf!
Pickle Rick and Mr Meseeks on my shelf!

Monday, 3 September 2018

Steamboats, Hot Tubs and Staying Power

Hey all! Aw man, once again time has just zipped by, and before I know it, it's already September! Crazy, ain't it? Well, let me update you on what's been going on. Firstly, you know how I previously mentioned that I was getting ready to pack up and leave good ol' Perth, because I was done with the PhD? I'd even reached the point of selling a bunch of my unwanted items... side tables, mini fridge, old portable air-conditioner and what not!

Then, about 2 weeks or so ago, I had a chat to my dear friend Mel at uni, which led to — surprise, surprise — the possibility and probability that I'm not leaving Perth just yet! Ya-huh, it looks at this point that I'm going to give this PhD thing another go, even though I'd be embarking on a new topic and new direction. Couple with that a new supervisor, and I might as well be right at the start of this PhD (ad)venture, not past the halfway mark!

I won't divulge too much info about the new subject because it's pretty hush-hush and the topic is public, i.e. someone else could very well steal the idea if they were so inclined... but I'll be meeting with Helena, my new supervisor, this coming Friday and will be proposing this subject to her, so wish me luck. More on this as and when it unfolds!

What else? On Saturday, Aug 23, the Gang met up at Bernie's house for a somewhat-shrouded-in-secrecy steamboat and games night organised by Beattie. It was a fundraiser, so we all got to pitch in and collect some funds for Beattie in aid of project-building in Myanmar, and all in all it was a fun night with some yummy steamboat, good company and a fun mini-brain-teaser boardgame called King Dominion. Here are some pics from the night. We should do get-togethers more often!

Mmm steamboat!
Serving it up!
Game in progress!
All hail Queen Bernie, the winner of the games night!
And her trusty steed... Rudolph??
I've also been catching up with more friends from uni, now that I've managed to move past the sinking feeling that I had been neglected and ignored by the uni community (fun fact, turns out most people have their own lives to live!). I managed to have a movie night with Justin and Claire, who I've not hung out with in 10 months since our previous Harry Potter night (we kept the theme going by watching Fantastic Beasts instead this time around!); also met up with Sarah and Ellin and the theatre folks last Wednesday on campus; and last Friday I picked up my good friend Michael L from New York, as he's back in town for two weeks doing some master classes at WAAPA. It was great to catch up with him again, and he's re-introduced me to some of the kids at WAAPA last Saturday night when we caught the 3rd-year Musical Theatre batch's final production of Sunday in the Park with George (a very good production).

Saturday was also a busy social day as I hung out with my dear Plant Lover Housemate at his brother's place, where I'm increasingly feeling like one of the boys, the Gay Flower amongst all the Straight Thorns, hahahaha. We had some beers and just chilled before I headed to my friend Mel's birthday party (same Mel as in paragraph two, who helped me rethink the PhD). It was a Mexican-themed party, so there was the prospect of tequilas, but I couldn't have any because I had to head to WAAPA to catch Sunday... so, not one to miss out on free booze, I naturally drove back to Mel's after the show and hung out with her and the remaining guests, who turned out were family members, making me the only outsider in the group, LOL. Still, there was tequila, and an amazing nacho chip dip, and — circa midnight — an awesome HOT TUB!

Sexiest photo evah!!
Well, I'll pause for now but come back soon for more updates, k? Gonna work on more music now, motivated and inspired thanks to the WAAPA kids and Michael L's positive affirmation of my work. Take care and check back in again soon!

Friday, 10 August 2018

Dimes, Dames and Digby

Yo wassup! Me, not too much... just been working on next year's musical project for Cempaka Schools, which I can now formally announce is titled Dames & Dimes as they have already released a preview poster for it! Check it out!

The show is very much in the midst of being composed, but as more details and updates happen, I will report on 'em here, for sure! (I'll also make updates on my composer page on Facebook, which is pretty much the only online activity I have for now; even my website is currently down... I'm trying to work out what's wrong with it, but so far no luck... stay tuned!)

What else? Not much, hahaha... just been killing time. My housemate, who broke his collar bone last month, is back at work, so I'm back to spending most of my weekday afternoons alone. Still no contact from anyone from Murdoch Uni, sadly, which tells me all I need to know about how much significance I actually played in most uni folks' lives. I can hear you now saying: "Nick, you have to be the one to make the effort..." - but my response to that would be: "Why should I be the one to have to reach out to so many, when so many don't seem to care?" We could go back and forth on this, I guess. But at the end of the day it doesn't really matter anymore. I have no love left for Murdoch, and little love left for Perth, so I'm out of here, and it will only be a matter of time...

I've been spending most of my days (apart from music-making) watching Netflix. In the past few months I've covered a few series in their entirety/latest, namely:

* Lost in Space 
* Westworld
* Dark
* The Staircase
* Barry
* Salvation
* Good Girls
* Kim's Convenience
* Dark Tourist
* The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

and I'm finishing up Schitt's Creek as well as bingeing on Black Mirror now. You can easily Google the titles if you'd like to find out more about 'em, k? Haha! Good times.

I leave you now with a photo of my housemate's doggy Digby, who came round for a visit recently. Ain't he a fluffy ball of gorgeousness??? Yes he is! Yes he is!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The Edge 2018: Love and Loss

Yo! So I realise I haven't written too much about The Edge, the show that just finished early last month at The Blue Room Theatre in Perth. All in all, it was a very good experience, though (as I believe I've mentioned) I only wish there had been a better turn out for it. We worked very, very hard and in the end, the amount of pay we got was in the region of $500, which is still better than amateur/community theatre, but speaking from a professional perspective it certainly could have been better. But for profits to be better, people need to come see the shows. And while we had good turnouts for the last few shows, when your cast and musicians outnumber the audience on some nights, let's just say things could have been better!

But I'm not going to dwell on the turnout aspect of it, as all in all the reviews that we received were overwhelmingly positive, and I'm very proud of the people who worked on the show. In particular I'd like to highlight the courage and strength of Claudia Van Zeller, who played the mum Lilly in the show. Sadly, two hours before she'd been due to go onstage on one of the nights, she'd received a phone call saying her father had suddenly passed away. Can you imagine?? Lilly's first scene on stage would feature a funeral for her dead relative; she'd have to sing about putting people to rest. For Claudia to have to receive such devastating news was... well, devastating, as I can only imagine!

Despite this, she performed that night with more pathos than ever (we were all ready to pull the plug on the performance if we had to), and while her singing was understandably more emotional and tearful than she'd otherwise have done it, the audience did not know any better. It was stressful, emotional and simultaneously a relief for the rest of us who had to witness this; such a high level of commitment, strength and bravery needs to be applauded! Claudia dedicated the rest of the run to her father and also credited her fellow cast members for helping her through that difficult time. As I later messaged to her, it was she who deserved huge thanks, hugs and props for being such a trooper.

Claudia as Lilly. Pic by Shaun Ferraloro
So that's one Edge-related story. I'll come back and post more about the show soon, so check back in for updates, k? Till then!

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Cookie Night at Cottrill St!

Hey all! Well, tonight has been a fun night!! Carol and Bernie came over this evening and we went a little bit nutty baking cookies, hahaha! Check out our haul... what a sugar load! We had a so-so dinner of Chinese food (with salt-and-pepper squid that we had to send back as it wasn't the freshest), and spent the evening chilling, baking, laughing, dancing and sugar-highing while poor one-armed, temporarily-disabled Plant Lover Housemate hibernated in his bedroom. On the plus side, he now has a buttload of cookies to help finish up! ;) Here are photos!

Me getting my hands dirty...!
Bernie and me moulding away!
It's a cookie-palooza!
Clockwise from top right: Peanut butter chocolate (a so-so experimental batch); Anzac cookies;
M&M and chocolate; white chocolate macadamia; and white chocolate II. YUM!!!
Plus, here's a short hilarious little video of Bernie, Carol and me going batty in the kitchen... and Judi sending a response back, LOL!


All in all, Cookie Time at Cottrill Street was a warm and wonderful one on a wintery night. Here's to more!!