Monday, March 28, 2011

Life and death on the net

My old school sends out newsletters to its alumni three times a year. The school has been posting them to my parents' place in Canberra. Mum has been saving them for me. It mostly contains information about graduates and their lives since leaving school.

In the latest issue, I found out that a guy from my class had passed away earlier in the year. We were never friends but it was still a shock. I immediately thought back to the first time I met him. It was the fifth grade. He and his family had arrived from Darwin. The teacher assigned him to the desk next to mine. After we graduated high school, I never saw him again. I still occasionally would bump into his mum at the local shops. I can't remember how I know her to be his mum but she was always very nice to me. I immediately thought of her and how she must be feeling.

The newsletter was extremely vague about his death. At around 34/35 years of age, I wondered how he died. Was it illness? An accident? Suicide? I decided to do a google search. And much to my surprise, I found some information.

First, I come across a tribute written by someone on their blog. The blog posting describes a much-loved, loyal young man who had many friends. It spoke about a guy who was witty and funny, and had no qualms about stripping down to his underwear in public when drunk.

Next, I see a youtube tribute showing a series of photographs...images taken on holiday in exotic with mates at the of street art (he was a graffiti artist?). The person who made the tribute chose Michael Jackson's "Gone too Soon" and Robbie Williams' "Angels" as the accompanying sound track. I wonder about the choice of music. Would someone who enjoys spray painting public buildings enjoy listening to Robbie Williams?

Lastly, I read an online news article about an Australian who was found dead in his hotel room overseas. Staff at the hotel had seen the guest returning very late the previous night looking highly intoxicated. He was discovered in his room the next day - with blood coming out of his nose. The police say that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

So...over the course of a 20 minute search on the internet, I had found out more about this guy than in the eight years I had spent at school with him...his life and his death played out on the internet for all to see.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Canberra weekend

I'm in Canberra this weekend for dad's birthday. The trees are starting to get their autumn colours. Canberra definitely puts on a much better Autumn show compared to inner city Melbourne.

We went for yum cha at a chinese restaurant located on the top floor of a greek club. Only in multicultural Australia.

My youngest sis and I then went to the National Gallery to check out an exhibition of artifacts from the Solomon Islands. There were some nice pieces on display, like the stone figure above. Others were a tad creepy (e.g. decorated skull).

I'm glad not to be in Melbourne this year while the car racing is taking place. I can usually hear the noise from my apartment all the way in the Docklands.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting the english right

Can we please make more of an effort to check our placards for grammatical errors next time?
First of all, if Julia really is Bob Brown's bitch, then we need to mark the fact with a possesive apostrophe.
Second, what is it with the use of American english people? Are we not protesting outside the AUSTRALIAN parliament? Use Australian english, please.
"My MOM is cold" ?
"Stick the tax up your ASS"?

Too close for comfort

I was a portly child growing up in Canberra. Not as portly as this kid but still the story was a bit too close for comfort.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The seven phases of internet dating

Pt, my friend who is currently living in Geelong, had her first internet date heartbreak. The guy was italian. Cute. Keen (for a while). But went down the path of so many internet dating relationships. Pt's story followed an all-too-familiar pattern...

Phase 1. The chase.
There seems to be some chemistry. The guy is not a psycho. He has a great job. He can hold a great conversation and is a fantastic kisser. He is keen to organise another date even before the current one ends. There is constant dialogue (email, sms, phone contact).

Phase 2. The bedroom.
The great date proceeds into the bedroom. Nothing sleezy ("We made love all night. It was sooo beautiful").

Phase 3. The cold shoulder/The excuse.
He no longer texts, sms, or calls as often. He no longer invites you to stay over. He makes up excuses ("I had a party on Saturday"). It's pretty much over.

Phase 4. The self reflection
This is the saddest phase. Maybe he misunderstood or took offence to my last text/email/telephone call? Or...maybe he got hit by a bus or fell down a cliff?

Phase 5. The emotion.
This is the phase where one starts to alternate between tears and anger ("I cried all week"). One might even have fantasy conversations ("I thought about all the things I would say to him to let him know that he was a bastard").

Phase 6. Letting it all go.
"I re-instated my profile on RSVP."

In Pt's case, I told her that her mistake was progressing to phase 2 too quickly. But she couldn't help herself ("I wanted to touch him all the time") and it had been seven months since she last had intimate relations. Poor Pt.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The week that was

I had an unexpectedly stressful week at work ... It began on a Sunday afternoon with a telephone call, followed by several late nights working with a consultant to try to improve a grant proposal I had been working on since January. I'll be so glad to submit the bloody thing and to get my life back. On the plus side, I paid for my flight to Europe in May to work with a colleague on putting the finishing touches on a new book. So far, the latter has turned out to be a walk in the park (and a much better use of time) compared to writing grant proposals.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Latest acquisition

An incised image of a wanjina spirit by celebrated Kimberley artist Alec Mingelmanganu. Isn't he cute?

Would love to go to the Kimberley one day to see actual rock paintings of these mysterious spirit beings.


I caught up with my friend Kathy mid week. She was down from Canberra for a conference. She asked me about my friends Steve and Karnwal. I told her I hadn't seem them since their wedding about a year ago - a fantastic indian ceremony for Karnwal's side of the family followed by a civil ceremony in the lawns of the old Parliament House. Kathy recounted a chance meeting with Steve and Karnwal, several years ago, when she randomly bumped into them inside a cable car in Rio. What are the odds? A world of 7 billion, the same far-flung city, the same tourist attraction, the same day, the same cable car. Kathy mentions that she never bumps into Steve in Canberra. The conversation with Kathy reminded me that I really needed to get in touch with Steve and Karnwal again. It had been way too long. So here comes another bit of coincidence. The very next morning, completely out of the blue, Steve gives me a call. "I'm in town mate for work. Wanna catch up?". The last time Steve was in Melbourne was in 2007.