Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm cool

No, seriously. Like, really cool. Like, cutting edge of everything. Like seriously, amazingly fashionable that people want to do what I do. Want proof?

Take guava, for example. A couple of years back, I lamented the lack of fresh guava in this country. Sure, you can buy guava nectar in the shops, but it's not really the same. And then, what do we find in the fruit shop a few weeks back? Guava! And pretty soon, it wasn't just in the pinko, lefto, commo organic fruitstores... but also in Coles! Lordy above.

Still not convinced of my coolness? Well, let's continue the fruity theme with dragonfruit. Previously, it was a delicacy spied only occasionally in above-mentioned lefto, pinko, commo organic fruiterees. After lashing out one day with ex-Love Denner the Angry German, I was hooked. Now, you can't move in the fruit section of Toombul's Coles without coming face-to-face with a bloody dragonfruit.

But I can see you're still not totally convinced by cutting-edgedness. Well, let's go on a holiday, I suggest late last year to my fellow Love Dennion SatomiTiger. We hire a car and bolt southwards to a little nook called Yamba and Angourie and instantly fall in love. Such a lovely little corner of the world, it is. Realising our gem, we decided to tell the world it was crapola so they continue to be amazed by the slowly decaying and plastique Byron and not trample all over our paradise. And then I see this: the death-knell. Now instead of fish n chips down by the sea, it'll be latte-frappa-wotsits, gourmet fucking pancakes and playing dodge the fricken Beemer.

Seriously, I'm either ultra-cutting edge, or someone's following my every move and taking notes. Either way, I'm cool. Yeah.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

One of those funks

Commenting over at a friend's blog just now made me realise something - I've been a little bit out of the blogging loop. And I promised this one would not become another of those started, not continued numbers. Plus, I should really get back into the rhythm of writing again.

It's not that I haven't had much to talk about. In fact, life's pretty 'interesting' right now. And my head is teaming with a swirling soup of fantastic ideas which may simply be blog stories in the future, but may also be the seedlings of something larger.

I've completely changed my way of living in the past couple of months. Part of this whole 30s/looking after myself/being healthy thing which began about 10 months ago with giving up smoking. I've joined a gym (and still regularly attend!), I've had some personal training and am keeping a food diary. I have no burning need to lose heaps of weight (although some would be nice), but I do have this strong internal feeling that I haven't really been all that healthy for the past 30 or so years, and it's time to turn that around.

That in itself is pretty monumental. By nature I'm a fairly sedentary creature, so being fit and active is a 180-degree turn. But that hasn't been the be-all and end-all of my activity lately. There's an edgy feeling around my workplace at the moment, with whispers and rumours flying everywhere. Suffice to say, with 5 years under my belt at this workplace, I'm a little excited and a little apprehensive about what the future may hold in that regard.

Add to that a renewed musical activity, which is keeping me busy at least 2 nights a week. Nothing too ambitious or thrilling - just a loose collective of 4 mates with a semi-decent grasp of their instruments getting together to belt out a few numbers after work and on weekends. It's been good to get that creative outlet up and running again.

It's been a pretty cool couple of months, actually. A sort of rediscovery of myself in a way. For the past couple of years, my life's focus has been on the complicated and time-consuming elements of conducting a long-distance relationship, then the visa hassles, then the wedding drama and then just settling into coupledom life (can't believe our first wedding anniversary is this Monday!). It's been really enlightening to spend the past few weeks turning a little bit inward again and finding the joy and passion with those purely "me" things again.

And now tapping back into that writing vein... wonder what this will bring. Hopefully not a heap of boring diary entries like this one. But thanks for indulging if you got this far.

Right now, I'm intrigued by shuffle on my iPod. It's really loving Alex Lloyd tonight. Strange.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Top 50,000 countdown

About 2 years ago, I got hooked on this site called Last.fm - which has taken me back to my childhood feelings in so many surprising ways recently.

For those not in the know, last.fm is a music-based social networking site. You download a tiny little bit of software which tracks which songs you play on your iTunes and iPod and presents them in a multitude of charts. It's fascinating stuff, and it's been my bread and butter website since about August 2006. And, as I'm about to click over to the 50,000th song on the chart, I reflected on why it fascinates me so.

49,995: The Church - Pharaoh

And it does go back to my childhood. One of my most prize possessions coming in the glorious double figures was a clock radio one of my family members gave me. Living in pre-JJJ times, I was stuck between a few sparse radio choices for a pre-teen, desperately cool kid. Until I hooked into Barry Bisel and his Top 40 Countdown every Sunday or Monday night. Eagerly, I'd listen to his dulcet tones as he counted down to the top spot for the week (and desperately trying to dodge my 8.30pm curfew to ensure I was awake enough to catch the Number 1, yet constantly waking up the next morning disappointed in falling asleep before it was announced). Barry was a fascinating radio character, interspersing the songs with fascinating tidbits from this world they called rock.

49,996: Tori Amos - Horses

It had me by the short and curlies from that point. I learned how to program the "sleep" and "alarm" functions so that I would fall asleep listening to the radio every night and wake up every morning listening (interestingly - it's a habit only recently broken thanks to a less-than-tolerant partner who does not like the night-time intrusion).

49,997: Andy Mitchell - Tell Me

It's more than Barry Bisel, though. It's also the blissful Saturday mornings spent camped on the lounge floor watching Rage's Top 50 countdown. Lazing about in your PJs, with breakfast crumbs scattered around and anticipating "your song" miraculously jumping from number 48 to number 1 in a week (and being disappointed with it being beaten by Richard Marx YET AGAIN!). It's your Mum being the sweetest she's ever been by waking up extra early to video tape the first 10 or so songs so you could go back and watch them later. It's the skipping to the local shopping centre's dodgy music store (but, by it's nature as the only record store around - the COOLEST. STORE. EVER!) every Wednesday after school to grab the latest copy of the Aria charts and scanning it's reddish/pink ink for the latest trends. And then drooling over the CDs and cassingles on display and dreaming of the day when you could buy it all...

49,998: REM - Aftermath

So here I am, at the age of 32, listening to music and wondering what the magical 50,000th will be. It means nothing, with my 8000 song iPod set to random. My charts will probably not change for some time yet, with the Top 5 dominated by my musical guides Pearl Jam, The Frames, Silverchair, Something For Kate and Augie March. Anyone who spends a couple of hours with me will know they are my top artists.

49,999: Something For Kate - Impossible

And yet... this magical site keeps me coming back. I watch the charts with wonder. I design iPod playlists to deliberately skew the results. I follow artist's links and constantly discover new music....

And, so - with great fanfare, I give you BrisJamin's 50,000th song:

50,000: George - Change

And I'm pretty happy with that.

Friday, March 6, 2009

For the love of God: Don't Look Down!

It's amazing how quickly you can get immersed in the intricacies of a culture, isn't it? At the beginning, you take your cues from the status quo - observing the accepted behaviours and mimicking them in an effort to be accepted. Yet, you (and doubtlessly most others) don't know why the "norms" were established, by whom and for what purpose. Yet we strictly, almost religiously observe them... why?

Take the gym, for example. Having lived the "rock n roll" lifestyle for most of my teens and 20s, the introduction to the 30s (and marriage) brought on the Great Girth of Contentment. So much so, that I took the drastic measure a few weeks back to join the local gym. I've never been to a gym outside of a feeble attempt with the sticky-floored "gym" at high school. And, somehow, I don't think it's ancient, rusting bench presses and dumbells really qualified.

With gusto I take on this new role of gym-junky and I quickly get into the rhythm of the place. I barely acknowledge the door bitch as she swipes my card and unlocks the turnstyle to grant me access. I go about my workout with great pride and regimented discipline - wiping down the machines with disinfectant (for the "comfort of other patrons", you see?); taking the weights off the machines after I've finished (for the "convenience of other patrons", you see?); and I carry my sweat towel and water bottle like my life depends on them. Oh, and I am constantly aware of my "own body odour" for the "comfort of other patrons" (which I find weird, because if I'm being asked to be aware of my own body odour, then surely it's just for my benefit??).

It's back into the locker room at the end of the workout where the real social rules kick in. I learned early on, through trial and error, that your eyes need to stare resolutely forward at all times. Your head must be tilted at the precise angle to make it clear that in no way are you even glimpsing, even out of the farthest corners of your eyes, that naked butt or floppy wang just over the way. Your intent must be kept firmly on your own task at hand, even if that means intently concentrating on the precise tying of your shoes into a neat double bow. Anything to stop your eyes from being drawn to the chiseled crack of an ass just to the right of your head.

Now, anyone who knows me will agree that I'm in no way a prude. I'll take any opportunity to oggle a nice willy, as much as a nice bouncy cleavage. And, with my gym being smack bang in the middle of a predominantly gay part of town, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the social mores may have been relaxed slightly in the locker room? Not so, and I find myself plunged back into high school and the outright fear of being caught catching a glimpse at some other boy's tools and then being singled out as a "fag!".

You can imagine my surprise, then, when a guy opened a conversation with me in the locker room tonight. Even though we were both fully dressed, I was mortified that this dufus had broken the golden rule and had started an actual conversation! How dare he? Did he want to get us both labelled as "homos"??!?! My horror, however, quickly turned to disgust at myself, as I realised how quickly I'd succumbed to the enforced social mores of such a stuffy place. Any other part of the world, and this gent's openness and genuine interest in his fellow being would have been endearing, and yet here I was silently condemning him.

It got me to thinking how quickly one can be swayed by the social mores around them. Sure, a gym is probably an intense microcosm of peer pressure and rules, but I can count at least 4-5 other social situations in my day in which my natural way of thinking is overruled by the social rules of the place. On the train on the way to work. At the line up in the 7-11. At the toilet block at work. And here I was thinking I was a strong-willed individual...