Category: Rant

I’m, like, so angry.

Internet troubles

The fact that my blog hasn’t updated in nearly a month is due in part to my slobbiness but it’s also thanks to a few ISP problems we’ve had in recent weeks.

A while ago our internet usage ran past the 16GB monthly limit, leaving us without internet until the end of the billing period. Our only phone was no longer registering its network (which is on the same telecommunications provider (OptusNet) but is entirely separate from our internet service) so we couldn’t renew it.

Needless to say we were feeling a bit unchuffed with OptusNet at this point. We didn’t really get the best possible usage out of the dinky little modem we received, anyway… it would run fine when it was not being used, but would cut out at ten-minute intervals in the evening time when all the daily activities had ceased and the family all wanted/needed to use the internet. It would then take about two and a half minutes to reboot the damn thing.

This is the second modem we’ve had from this company and it didn’t perform any better than the first, which was on a 6GB renewable limit rather than a 16GB-per-month basis. Stranded without internet, we bought 2 extra GB on the old modem… for $20.

Which turned out to expire in less than a 24-hour window.

This was where we started to get seriously flummoxed. None of us were using it for ludicrously bandwidth-consuming tasks – in fact, with the regularity of the modem dropping its signal for no apparent reason, there could hardly be any way at all we could possibly use up so much bandwidth in such a small period of time. Facebook was off-limits. YouTube streaming was cut to an absolute minimum, downloads were made in careful moderation, virtually no forum browsing or IRC surfing took place, Skype calls were stopped dead. We all made an effort to conserve our bandwidth… yes there were four computers all using the internet simultaneously but I definitely didn’t do anything stupidly consumptive with the limits that were in place.

Once that 2 GB limit was blasted into the stratosphere never to be heard from again, another $20 was splashed out on an extra GB of internet.

With me using it only to browse forums for help on my search for better alternatives to this desperate set of circumstances, and other web-related activities kept to virtually nil…

NetUsage is saying that we have less than 20MB left after just a day.

We wondered if there’d been some mistake. Was it possible that there was… a leak? That we had some kind of blood-sucking internet leech on our hands? That someone was tapping into our network and using it to download reams of animal porn or some other such filth?

To be perfectly honest, I see no other explanation unless one member of the family is doing some fiendish covert mass-downloading and eating up our allowance… it sure as hell ain’t me, though. I’ve been pretty much internet-abstinate for pretty much the last three days as of this post’s writing (23/03/12) – I’ve not been on Skype, checked my e-mail, blogs, webcomics or forums or anything like that. We’ve had to wait until today (March 25th) before the billing period expired and we can FINALLY go back to using the old (new) modem’s 16GB allowance. So we’re back online for the moment. But yeah, we could really do with a new ISP, stat.

It’s been mighty frustrating for all of us. Trying to transfer bank funds, or running an internet business, or maintaining credibility in a social circle of online pals (all of which are important… but not in any particular order of importance), turn out to be impeded somewhat when there’s some possible cyber-parasite eating away at your internet usage until you can barely fill up a readme file with what’s left.

Anyway, there’s a big ol’ post coming up soon which should hopefully entertain you guys enough to think about maybe starting to come back to this old place… if you hadn’t thought I’d died. :S

“Annoying bird”: Part 2 of 30 billion

Yesternight that sodding bird climbed up a few rungs on my “HATE LADDER“.

At the top of this ladder is Jedward.

I woke up at about 4:30am for some reason or another last night, and for some reason found it impossible to fall back asleep. I didn’t feel particularly tired, but I knew that that bastard bird was out there (whatever he’s supposed to be) – I couldn’t hear him yet but I knew full well that he’d start his onslaught of squawks and keep me awake for the best part of the early morning if I didn’t fall asleep soon.

Unfortunately, no amount of pulling the blanket over myself to cover my entire body, repositioning the pillows to allow for maximum comfort, or adjusting my posture, would permit my body the winks of sleep that it deserved.

Then…

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

Already I could feel my sanity slipping away. That squawk could shatter souls. And that is basically all that it does, because there is nothing, at least in earshot, to hear it. That obnoxious attention-whore of a bird just does that for no other purpose than to annoy me.

Of course, I can close my window and put my earplugs in but I find it so much more self-satisfying to attempt to tackle the problem at its source, rather than pretending it’s just not happening – if you’re being repeatedly punched in the face, you don’t put on a blindfold and hope that the pain will go away if you just ignore it – no, you kick that bastard right in the knackers.

So, not for the first time, I decided to attempt to confront him. I got out of bed, slipped on my sandals, put on a T-shirt (the wrong way round, of course, but I was in no mood for fussing over details), and armed myself with a small but powerful torchlight.

I wandered into the kitchen towards the patio door and… couldn’t get it open. Bastard thing hardly ever cooperates with me when I need it to.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

I was as though he was actually mocking me.

So I decided I’d try the other patio door in the laundry room. On my way there I blundered into a cardboard box and nearly fell over, with enough noise that it should’ve woken the whole household but miraculously didn’t. I carried on towards the laundry room, and got the slidy door open in a near-instant.

I trudged through the little passageway leading to the back lawn.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

My goal with this little expedition wasn’t exactly unreachable – I’d shine the torchlight onto him to give him some indication that he was being sought out. Last time I tried this, I actually got him to shut up. (Until I walked back inside again, of course, which pointed out the futility of the whole exercise – if you’re not a cat or a game hunter, name a battle of wits against a bird that you can feasibly win.)

Just one more of the reasons I want a cat.

Unfortunately, this bird is a master of stealth. He places himself in the tree strategically so that you can’t actually see him even with a set of X-ray binoculars. But he is absolutely definitely in this particular tree.

I shone the torchlight up into its branches, and tried to pinpoint exactly where the obnoxious avian caterwauler was perched. I shook it back and forth to try and a more obvious and intrusive signal. (Maybe I should’ve tried spelling out “SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE” in Morse Code with it.)

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

Sonuvabitch. GET THE HINT YOU STUPID BIRD.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

He gave a grand total of zero shits that he was being blinded by a sort of miniature floodlight. He must have known I was down there, I could hear him virtually right above my head – but could I see him? Oh, if only.

I searched for something to throw at him. But there’s like nothing in the back garden – only a few small bushes, a bunch of spiky, malnourished grass and a lemon tree. Certainly not a pool, or any kind of rockery full of potential bird-killing stones. I found a couple of large rocks but they looked a bit too heavy to fling the distance required for me to get anywhere near where the bird was in the tree – and they looked like they might cause a substantial bit of property damage if I were to overegg the throw.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

Wait, what’s that whooshing sound, and why do I suddenly feel like I’m getting wet?

…The friggin’ retic had come on.

Not now, guys - I only thirst for bird blood.

I had picked the one night of the week that those things were scheduled to come on, and now the sprinklers all around the garden started spraying water liberally over the lawn. I only got marginally soaked, but even so my wits were drawing closer to their demise. I had traversed the full length of my tether. The color I was seeing was by now a violent shade of crimson.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

Of course, I’m not a violent or loud individual, so instead of swearing and potentially waking the whole suburb with my seething rage, I opted to just throw a twig into the tree as hard as I could in disgust at how horribly I’d failed my mission. Completely missed, obviously, and wouldn’t you know, he just kept on going.

I must’ve been out there for about 20 minutes and it was already getting lighter. I considered myself defeated. You win this round, squawky. FOR NOW.

My head hung low, I started walking back towards– ABBLGPBLPH WATER IN MY FACE AAALFLFGPFLPBLH

I hadn’t even noticed the two sprinklers in that little passage leading back to the laundry room. I was effectively trapped outside unless I wanted to get soaking wet.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

I must have stood there, with my wet, back-to-front T-shirt on, for about 10 minutes waiting for the things to go off, but they didn’t. Eventually I decided that I had two options: (1) stand outside indefinitely and wait for the sprinklers to turn off, all the while hearing smeg-for-brains screaming and hollering behind me, or (2) use my amazing ninja powers to make my way stealthily back into the house and evade getting water on (and in) every bit of my body.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

I chose the second option, after some deliberation – although I had to improvise somewhat due to my severe lack of any sort of physical prowess, let alone “amazing ninja powers”. I hugged the wall of the house as I passed by them (since they were turned the other way towards the flower beds laid parallel to it) and actually stayed fairly dry… until I had to walk over one of them, which got my leg and my sandal thoroughly drenched.

I dried my feet, left my sandals just inside the patio door, locked up, and then went back to bed. No sooner had my head hit the pillow, than…

Oh, now that’s just insulting. Trust him to shut up now. If I had my way, that bird would have little going through his mind right now, other than a large, blunt rock.

As a result of all this I woke up close to 1pm this morning and felt like shit. Predictable. I can see that this battle of wits might go on for some time, as long as that tree he loves so much isn’t felled or something.

(As a matter of fact, the tree directly next to this one was cut down with a chainsaw the day before. It’d be nice to think that it was a kind of “word of warning” to the bird, but even if it was, he didn’t take the hint.)

I could really use someone in the know of Western Australian birds, by the way – that is, someone who could identify species just by approximate textual transcriptions of its “call”. I pose the question to you, fellow bloggers, what might this narcissistic numbskull of a night-terror go by the name of? 🙁

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

As the title may (loosely) imply, today was full of unexpected surprises. Three of them, to be accurate – all of which are listed below, in chronological order (which also happens to be the order when you list them in order of undesirability).

Surprise #1: Was woken up an hour earlier than usual.

This might not seem like that much of a surprise to the rest of you normal human beings with your healthy sleep patterns (you lucky, lucky bastards), but to my body with its messed up Circadian rhythms and its general lack of grasp on the Earth’s rotation and the fairly consistent timings of the daylight hours, this is the sensory equivalent of being woken up after sleeping for three days on a mound of jagged rocks, and then realizing that you have no food or water. Soreness, grogginess, headache, dehydration/malnourishment. And pissy attitude – that just comes with waking me up before noon by default, unfortunately.

This is actually a live webcam snapshot of me. Because I’m like this all of the time.

The reason for this early(-ish) awakening was that we apparently still weren’t/aren’t through with all of the bureaucratic nonsense you have to go through when you emmigrate. We had to go and apply for our new Australian driver’s licenses in Joondalup. My bro and I had to apply for learner’s permits, and my parents needed to renew their UK ones.

It was a fairly simple undertaking, but it prompted to think that this would just be another of those pointless and futile outings to, ostensibly, sort something out “officially” with the state, but in reality, to piss off and confuse everyone involved and achieve essentially nothing. It really makes me wonder why Australia can’t just recognize you as an Australian citizen when you… turn up.

“G’day mate! Welcome to our beautiful country! Just a quick question, what’s this country’s name?”
“Uhhh… ‘Australia’?”
“Correct and congratulations! Here’s your citizenship. The celebratory barbie’s just over there – mind the roos.”

Bonza! Mate.

When we got to the place where we needed to do all this, in Joondalup, we had to wait about half an hour or so to actually be called up to one of the counters. It had one of those systems where you walked in, got a ticket with a letter and number on it (like B145) and then whenever one counter was finished with a customer, the next ticket got called up. The previous time we’d encountered such a system was a week or two ago when we went to apply for Medicare – we got the ticket and had no sooner sat down than we got called up. Unfortunately, we were having no such luck today.

Eventually we got called up to deal with our applications. I was asked to fill out a form, which I did, and then to pay $17 for the application, which I did. Then this happened:

Surprise #2: On paying for my learner’s permit, I was told to go into the “test room”, complete my theory test and then return to the inquiries desk for my results.

…Okay.

So here’s where Australia truly shows how differently it handles things to the UK.

It begs the question: why does the theory test come before everything else? How can anyone, if they’re only applying for their learner’s permit, answer the questions to such an impromptu test in a reliable/sensible manner? What if that person’s never been in a car their whole life? (It’s unlikely, of course – but say you cycled to and from wherever you needed to go to since you were a youth, only travelling as a passenger in a car in emergency/cross-country outings, and certainly not paying much mind to the rules of the road. See what I’m getting at?)

What if they’re an idiot like me who can’t be trusted to do anything right?

Now, like any theory test, it required one to recap the knowledge previously learnt and think logically in order to apply it. Unfortunately, it turns out that I’m crap at thinking logically. On the test itself there were several questions pertaining to “which car should give way” and I’m sure that if I had some degree of logical thinking ability I would’ve aced them. It seems that a bunch of diagrams containing simple road layouts, clearly positioned cars and arrows indicating which direction they’re travelling in, gets translated in my head into a whole-page spread of that Alienese language from Futurama.

This is what my brain sees when I try to think logically. About anything.

This is awfully weird for me – I’m a creative kinda dude and I’m usually one to think with imagery. And it wasn’t as though I was under a tremendous amount of pressure to complete the test – there was a 35 minute time-limit but there were only 30 multiple-choice questions. Some of the questions were also piss-easy, like “should you always wear a seat belt” and “what should you do when you see a STOP CHILDREN sign”. It should’ve been a breeze because I’d taken lessons – but the knowledge had just evaporated, which sort of confirms the belief I have that I’m finding it incredibly difficult to learn anything now. I honestly wonder if it’s a disability.

When I got the results back I wasn’t expecting anything stellar – far from it. 16/30 – a fail (the pass mark is 24). Oh well, at least I scored more than fifty perc-

HOW DID MY BROTHER SCORE TWENTY. WHAT THE SHITTING HELL.

So we all left a bit bemused – not one of us had been aware that my brother and I had to take tests. I kinda felt disheartened about the whole thing – I was pretty sure I’d be getting my learner’s permit and at the end of the wretched hour-and-three-quarters that we spent in that building, I’d left short of $17 and my self-confidence. My brother, who had not taken a driving lesson in his life, scored four more points than me. Just went some way to proving even more unquestionably that somewhere deep inside… I’m an idiot.

We got home and had some lunch, because I hadn’t had anything all day. When you stay in bed for so long that you have all of 10 minutes to get dressed, gather up a load of paperwork and get out the door, feeding oneself becomes a somewhat lower priority.

So I settled down at my computer to chew over the events of the day. Then instead I opened up Reason and started doing some more productive stuff. Because today was pretty dumb, let’s face it.

Then…

Surprise #3: We received a call from the moving company, telling us that our furniture would be arriving tomorrow.

For those of you who’ve been keeping track of my blog, this is the same furniture that took four men four days to pack into a gigantic lorry, which was then transported to a container ship which spent about 7 or 8 weeks travelling the ocean to Perth.

There is… to put it mildly, a lot of stuff there.

So, we’re expecting some absolute chaos tomorrow. They’ll be around as early as 8:30am, so I’m told. At that point I’ll probably still be comatose, and everybody else will just be angry and stressed out for legitimate reasons. Oh, what fun. 🙁

Announcement time!

I have an announcement to make, and it’s pretty amazing.

…No, it’s not about the direction I swing.

Before I make this groundbreaking announcement, I should probably tell you a little something about myself.

There’s a tendency that I have to plunge headlong into activities which I have no prior experience in with an inconquerable feeling of invincibility and absolutely no concept that I could possibly fail, which seems to be based in the fact that no one has ever said I couldn’t do such a thing. I hope it’s something you can all identify with.

This tendency surfaces on a regular basis when it comes to my current level of ability (or perhaps inability) to sing.

And the crushing feeling of despair I feel when it blows up in my face is somewhat akin to being slammed into the ground by a Monty Python-esque 16-ton weight.

I progress through four stages of increasingly intense self-loathing whenever I get an inkling of hope in my mind that I might be able to sing and fire up Propellerhead Reason so that I can unleash my godlike singing talent.

  • Stage 0. I listen to a vocal line or hook from a song – and I feel good, because the song is either my own (which means that it should be piss-easy), or a really good one by another artist that I’m listening to. At this stage I am fully ready to plunge headlong into the task – my voice is already priming itself for what will undoubtably be an absolutely stellar performance. The melody is in my head. I can already see that the end result is going to be completely awesome. I’m absolutely undaunted.
  • Stage 1. I warm my body up for the task ahead of me. I’ve got a clear head, a clear throat, and… hang on, where’s my breath gone? I’m suddenly incredibly short of breath and my diaphragm seems to now have a mind of its own. I inhale repeatedly but can’t quite get in “the zone”. My lungs now seem to only be able to hold the amount of air you might find in a pouch of Capri-Sun. Oh, well – no point in getting wound up about things like breathing at this stage… I’m still gonna give it my all! (Providing I don’t suffocate before then, of course.)
  • Stage 2. With what little breath I actually can muster at this stage, I actually start singing. The moment the first note comes out of my mouth I realise I might have been a little bit overoptimistic in my earlier predictions – I’m singing in some kind of otherworldly octave which would only seem in place if I were doing some kind of cover album of all of the works of Michael Jackson in reverse. I notice this almost immediately, and with the speed of a roadrunner but with all the grace and elegance of a coyote, I attempt to reconfigure my voice into a tone that actually makes sense, but clearly the damage has already been done. No matter – maybe I can just cut that bit out, and the rest of the take will be fine! …maybe?
  • Stage 3. I’m now suddenly drained of all of my previous vigour, and with a trembling hand and shaken faith, I press the “play” button and hear back what I’ve just recorded. When the ensuing racket assails my eardrums, I curl up in the fetal position on my bedroom floor, trying my best to stave off a cascade of shameful tears and the notion that I have all the musicianship of a depressed elephant.

I am usually not one to doubt my self-worth by any means – some might even say that my ego could use a break once in a while – but this crushing feeling of inadequacy bites down into my very soul and sends me into a spiral of depression. I actually feel physical pain and sickness, as though someone has shot me in the spine with a crossbow bolt covered in some kind of liquid worthlessness toxin, whenever I have to present my god-awful wailings to other people. The breathlessness, the lack of vocal experience, the years and years of dairy product consumption (which I’m told ruins a voice), all scream out, and I feel like just writing instrumentals for the rest of my life and never, ever, trying to sing covers.

Recently I wrote a set of lyrics on a particularly heartfelt subject, which I was fairly pleased with, and then wrote a song to go along with it – which turned into a kind of sombre, ballady kind of pop song – not something I was particularly used to writing, but something I was nonetheless satisfied with.

Then I tried to sing it.

My reaction.

…After the psychotherapy session I needed immediately after hearing the less-than-amazing results back and having to show them to my dad because I honestly couldn’t identify, let alone crush, the cause of my voice being so unforgivably terrible, he suggested that I’m just not confident enough. Which was unfortunate, because that meant that the process was in fact a vicious cycle – I was singing terribly because I wasn’t confident enough in my own ability, and I wasn’t confident enough in my own ability because I was singing terribly.

The situation was now at a point of desperation – I was sick of this disappointment happening to me so frequently, and I eventually turned to my younger brother for help, who’d had a bit of singing tuition in the short time he spent at Sixth Form. As it turned out, he was better at singing my own vocal melodies than I was. By quite a long way. In fact, all I had to do was sing the whole song to him once, and he was somehow able to not only sing it better, but also improve on the existing melodies.

So… I decided I would instead rely on him for all future vocal endeavours.

Okay – all that out of the way, time for the announcement! 😀

Hold onto your butts. Are you ready?


My brother and I are going to pull our collective creativity together and write a sod-buggering EP.

It’s not something I’ve always wanted to undertake, having never been the least bit confident in my vocal abilities, and also having never been keen on having to rely on someone else to sing over my stuff – but seeing how I’ve been learning how music works for the last six or seven years, I figured it was about time I started learning how to control my voice properly. I’ve been seriously composing (that is, writing with the intent to publicly release my work) since about 2008, and only recently has the idea of attaching vocals to my music really resonated with me. Up until now, I’ve written purely instrumental tracks. (And, just so we’re clear on this, I will continue to do so, purely because they’re easier and more fun for me to write – I certainly won’t be orienting all of my future songs on having vocals put on them.)

But now, with the help of my brother, I’m starting to write some proper songs with actual words, like I’m an actual songwriter instead of some bedroom-dwelling mook who sits all day programming individual notes manually into MIDI editors. He and I are together writing the lyrics, doing a bit of jamming to come up with some decent riffs, and messing around with the vocal melodies that he will eventually be singing over. (What with him having the better voice out of the two of us.)

What kind of music am I now dabbling in, you ask? Oh ho, all will be revealed soon. 😛 (Okay, I’ll narrow it down. It’s not death metal. Or hip-hop.)

That’s not to say my self-confidence struggles are over, of course. My brother and I have proven that we still struggle with some aspects of singing (and as the songwriter in this new duo that he and I have formed, I’ve tried not to write anything too demanding for either of us to perform in a live setting). We are, as of today, now attending weekly vocal lessons with the lovely Rachel at the Joondalup School of Music. She has even said that she will provide us with feedback on the existing vocal tracks. However, in order for her to do so, I’m first going to have to overcome my morbid fear of presenting my work to other people.

Hmm… might take some work, that.

(Ack, I spent way too long on this one post. D:

Also, BY GUM IT IS STILL ENTIRELY TOO HOT.)

Dear annoying bird

As in, these bastards. Except a thousand times worse.

I have a simple question for you: How the fuck have you not been shot yet?

Why in the everloving mother of hell is it a necessity for you, at half-past-four in the goddamn morning, for you to make that unbridled racket?

I am not a heavy sleeper. Lots of things wake me up from what appears to be a very deep sleep – my phone going off when it’s low on charge nearly gives me a heart attack (although it is a particularly loud and sharp beep). I can only sleep easy if there’s very little background noise – maybe some wind, or perhap the whirr of an electric fan can help to add some kind of soothing ambience that allows me to get my much-needed beauty sleep. Imagine, then, my chagrin when you turn up in the wee hours of the morning, just outside my window and vociferate your ear-plundering cries on an unyielding, constant basis.

I know you’re doing it just to ensure I don’t get any sleep past that point. I’ve carefully analysed your circumstances and I can honestly say that you have no other excuse.

First off, why four-thirty in the morning? Virtually no other birds are even awake at that time. Who could you possibly be talking to? Is it your job to wake every other bird in the neighbourhood up? I can’t speak for the avian community but I imagine their internal clocks work far better than my own. I require a noise to wake me up in the morning, whether it’s an ordinary alarm, a blistering progressive thrash metal song blasted through the tinny speaker on my iPod/radio clock, or a goddamn chainsaw. Importantly, I need it at a specific time – the hours of 12:00am to 8:00am I should not even be conscious throughout. Birds, I imagine, do not need that kind of strictly-scheduled stimulation to wake themselves up from an otherwise unshiftable stupor because they don’t stay up until two o’clock in the morning playing Doom.

Secondly, you stick to just one noise. Why? What could possibly be so important that you need to iterate it in birdspeak several hundred times a night? “This is my tree”? Well it’s not your tree, to start off with – it’s our neighbours’. You are proclaiming something that’s not your own as your own – and in the human world that is frowned upon and could possibly be followed up by legal proceedings against you. Speaking of which, you’re clearly violating some kind of noise limitation law, which I’m reliably informed is taken quite seriously here in Oz (a shame, then, that it seems to only deal with human neighbours).

Of course, the musical notes in this image are used very loosely.

Thirdly, the moment you make that first call, you set off everyone else in your wretched neighbourhood of avian daylight terrorists doing exactly the same thing. Your first squawk is followed by a pause of about five seconds before one of your kin, perched in a tree about a hundred or so metres away, returns it almost verbatim. You then reiterate the same irritating noise-polluting cry and the process repeats unstoppably. There’s no reason for it. If what I believed about your call translating to something along the lines of “this is my tree” is correct, then all I’m basically hearing between the two or three of your equally annoying brethren is exactly the same goddamn thing every single time.

It is utterly unnecessary – even if we assume that you’re attempting to say “this is my tree”, and, furthermore, even if that phrase immediately grants you complete and total ownership of the tree. You stay in exactly the same tree and call from exactly the same spot on a nightly basis. It’s pretty obvious that your “friends” (this is a very loosely-used term) do the same. You’ve established loudly and clearly that this is your tree, and they’ve done the same. What more needs to be said? You’re staying in your tree, and they’re staying in their trees. I’m pretty sure your method of defense has worked swimmingly. You are in absolutely zero danger of having that precious tree taken away from you.

Fourthly (and this is perhaps the most aggravating aspect of your behaviour), you are completely absent from said tree for the rest of the day, or at least appear to be from the sounds of things (or lack of sounds, more like). For somebird who is unyieldingly committed to the possession of a single tree you sure don’t seem to do a lot of living in it. For God’s sake, you can have it. No one’s going to question it as your own. Not other birds. Especially not other humans. The human world couldn’t give half a shit what you’re up to (and it turns out it’s not much anyway). Just stay perched on the same branch forever, please, because that would at least show some sort of commitment to the tree. Or shut up about it. Please shut up. SHUT UP.

Finally, I know I’m not alone in how annoyed I am by your very existence. The other night, all the while you were blathering on about how you own a big tree in your trademark “keep-James-awake-at-all-expense” fashion, there was a clamour of other birds all around you – crows, magpies, parrots, larks, bee-eaters – it seemed every bird in Western Australia turned up at exactly the same time and place to tell you to shut the fuck up. I think I might have even heard some other bird attacking you in its outrage at how you seemed utterly oblivious to the amount of purely unnecessary noise you were making. How much is it going to take before you leave us in peace.

[Blog readers: imagine if you will, a perfectly serene and quiet neighbourhood. People keep to themselves and make virtually no noise whatsoever during the daylight hours. It’s a peaceful, idyllic estate. However, one particular home-owner feels it a necessity to open up his window at the crack of dawn every day, and bellow through a megaphone “I OWN THIS HOUSE” every ten seconds for hours on end. And he does not relent when told to shut his stupid, ugly mouth.

This is what I’m going through, except instead of a noisy neighbour who can be chastised by the authorities, it’s a freakin’ bird that no one can do anything about. And it’s hell.]

So, Mr. F. A. Bird, please respond in writing (don’t bother with a voicemail) with your answer to my question. It boggles the mind how, in a neighbourhood so full and compact, that you can stay perched at the height of a tree right in the centre of it and not get something fatal (like a javelin or a bus) thrown at you for your abysmal behaviour.

Sincerely,
– James

Initiate moaning mode

Pictured: Me. Sorta.

This neighbourhood, like many of the ones we journeyed through on our quest to find a house, is the quietest place you could possibly envisage. On our expeditions to the various estates, roads, lanes, crescents, and avenues across the top portion of Western Australia, we were lucky to see a single soul outdoors. No families sitting on their front lawn sunbathing or playing with the kids.

But at night, God help you if you try to go to sleep.

Yesterday night was probably the worst night’s sleep I’ve had here. For some reason the idiots next door decided to have their New Year’s Eve party the day before. It was a rampant cacophony of boozed-up Aussies slurring obscenities and having dry-heaving contests for what seemed like hours. Oh wait, it was hours – from about midnight until 5 o’clock in the morning, to be precise.

While this was going on there was some kind of squawking avian menace proclaiming the boundaries of its territory from the tree just outside the garden. Endlessly. At random, not-quite-evenly-spaced intervals, and in a tone that was only just out of key every single time, for maximum teeth-grinding irritation.

This also seems to be a neighbourhood rife with people who own dogs. Now, I realize that with these next few paragraphs I might well be antagonizing a whole third of my audience – that is, people who own dogs, as opposed to those who own cats (my people) and those who own neither (sane people). I have nothing against you if you choose to have a dog, but I just find it difficult understanding your point of view when it comes to the undying attachment that many of you hold towards these animals.

How the hell can you possibly feel love for an animal which has no independent streak of its own, will deposit its bio-hazardous leavings just about anywhere regardless of how you train it, and furthermore will bark at absolutely nothing in the wee hours? Please, I need to know.

D'awwww, isn't he just sweet?

One dog in particular, a tiny, yapping son-of-a-bitch – no pun intended – was obviously distraught by either something that went past its house hours ago (when it started its vocal cannonade), or something completely stationary it could see that maybe wasn’t there before but any way wasn’t going to be moved no matter how much of a yapping it received. See, dogs apparently can’t distinguish between anything harmlessly out of the ordinary, and genuine threats. Their immediate reaction to either is (1) bark (2) repeat. Cats, meanwhile, just don’t give a flying monkey. Unless it’s another cat, in which case something problematic (and possibly neighbour-awaking) may ensue.

Luckily the bastard thing has shut up for a few days. I like to imagine it’s been eaten by one of those huntsman spiders.

But that has not ended my struggles with sleeping. Apparently the heat here has been as high as 24ºC during the night. It has certainly felt like it. That was keeping me awake even if the dog and the bird and the drunkards had all shut up. Kinda hard to sleep when you feel like you’re drowning in your own perspiration. And the window is open and is slamming the bedroom door – even though it’s closed. Or making the blinds flap about noisily.

I don’t need outward complications, Australia, I’ve got my own and I’m quite happy with them. In a relative manner of speaking.

EDIT: I’m starting to think that this whole neighbourhood doesn’t want me to sleep. That effing bird was at it again for about four hours last night. Obviously I slept in until about 11am as a result and felt like turd. Was incredibly tempted to go outside and throw the largest rock I could find in the garden at it.

The chaos continues; also I rant about hygiene

Today was another one of those days where the amount of energy spent seems horrendously out of proportion with the results you get at the end of it. Mum said, I think quite rightly, that she’d been on her feet all day – that’s possibly true for the rest of us.

All we needed to do was to haul several bags and luggage cases of earthly possessions about 8km to our new house.

It had “easy” written all over it.

You deceitful bastard house, you.

My brother and I were left in charge of the chalet while the parents went out to… uh, sort something out with the agent. I think. We were basically tasked with the overseeing and protection of everything we owned in the world at that time. A responsibility we completely ignored.

If this were some kind of tragi-comedy blog (which it would be if my life more closely followed that genre), the next few paragraphs would describe how we either (a) lost everything due to our collective carelessness (b) broke everything due to our collective clumsiness or (c) fought off a robber using nought but a slingshot and the blunt end of a keytar in an action sequence that would’ve put Braveheart to shame.

Sadly, none of that happened.

They were away for three hours, and then Mum went on to the new house, while Dad returned to get the arses of me and my bro into gear. He wanted to get to the house quickly because the guys delivering our furniture were due to be there in about half-an-hour, and he wanted to be there in case something went wrong, or something. The next twenty minutes were a blur of packing, stacking, fretting and sweating. The entire back half of the car was crammed with the entire contents of the chalet, and my brother. He had to hold an open can of sweetcorn in one hand, and precariously balance a plastic bag containing an incredibly sharp knife and a three-quarters full tub of vanilla ice-cream on top of the immense pile of stuff that he was shoe-horned in amongst with the other hand.

Again, I’d like to tell you that something hilariously tragic occurred, perhaps along the lines of the knife slitting an opening in the tub, causing litres of melted ice-cream to spill onto my brother’s face. But it didn’t. Sadly. Wish it had.

Then after all that, we ended up hitting bad rush-hour traffic anyway (and of course the furniture rentors did as well, meaning we arrived at the house about half an hour before them).

We did check multiple times that we hadn’t left anything behind, but there are of course still doubts as to exactly how thorough our checking was. (Mum still can’t find some kitchen cloths that I know I packed because I knew that they were exactly the kind of thing liable to go missing but still they can’t be found anywhere.)

So, once we’d finally arrived at our new address – our completely empty shell of a house – we started unloading the car.

Dad told us not the walk across the grass while we did this, or it would die. Okay.

Keep off the grass. This is nice grass, it never hurt anybody.

Meanwhile, the ice-cream was, predictably, not in the most solid state it had ever been in, along with all the other refrigerated goods that had basically been cooking in the back of the car for the quarter-of-an-hour or so we were on the road, so that had to be done pretty quickly. There was of course nowhere to put it because the fridge-freezer hadn’t arrived yet.

Walking around after everything was in place (read: slung unsystematically into the front room because damn it that was just the easiest way to do it), my parents began to notice how… dirty…? the place was. Personally, I thought the fact that the place was most devoid of all trace of previous human inhabitance meant that the place was perfectly serviceable already. That said, my brother and I fall somewhere between “utterly clueless” and “blissfully ignorant” when it comes to domestic hygiene. We don’t pick up the sort of things that our parents were picking up on their grime radar (and even if I did, I don’t think I’d pay it any attention anyway) – all of which was in fact outlined on a lengthy report left by the landlord, complete with bulleted lists of every impurity in the house that a cleaning crew would be around shortly to sort out.

What we were finding wasn’t anything utterly nightmare-inducing – at least I didn’t think so. Certainly not to the degree of what you see on How Clean is Your House (which isn’t the main focus of that show, let’s face it).

The shower was a bit grubby, but then it is a shower. Grub can be rinsed away and flushed down the plughole – problem solved. The upper shelves were a bit dusty, but then they are shelves. Parts of the house that aren’t used tend to accumulate debris. The oven grill was a bit… okay, that was rather scummy.

Put simply, the previous tenants were probably… well, let’s face it – people like me. People who don’t mind sharing a room with a cobweb or two. (I did for roughly six years in our last house – it has its perks. You and the spider share a mutual hatred of flies, and when you swat a fly into one of its webs and provide it with a free lunch, it far outweighs the potential health hazards of living in a cobweb-caked room.)

Then the furnishings arrived – that is, a fridge-freezer, a table, five chairs, and three double beds. Everything (that wasn’t going to be slept on) was deposited in the kitchen. The two men were here for about five minutes moving stuff out of their truck and then were gone. The only point they slowed down the slightest bit was when they were carrying the table – which was almost exactly as wide as the corridor – into the kitchen. Now that’s what I call efficient.

Mum and Dad then had to depart again to buy some things that were missing from the house, once again leaving brother and I in charge of our current place of residence, during which we hooked up our laptops once more and stared at their screens for a few hours. The two cleaners came around and occupied the place in the meantime, doing their thing by spraying, scrubbing and sanitizing every bit of the house. However, we didn’t check if they’d done a thorough enough job – though even if we had, we would still probably have thought that they were doing just fine. As far as we were concerned the whole house was getting chemically irrigated.

When mother and father returned (the cleaners having left about 10 minutes prior), it was pretty dark outside, though it seemed rather early – I still need to inquire or investigate further into the solar activity on this side of the world – does the sun over here lower early like in the English winter, and also rise early like the English summer? Is it the other way around in the Australian winter – which is the English summer? Dear me.

My Dad noted that during this outing “‘[they’d] been buying out the whole of Australia”. I’d like to thing he was using this phrase jokingly, but the way he exaggerates, it’s hard not to imagine he genuinely believes it. Though I’m really not sure where he got this notion – we’re only buying essentials at present, like food, utensils and electrical appliances that we have no replacements for yet (our former toaster and kettle, for instance, are on a ship somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean right now in a smacking great container). Of course we’re paying in dollars now, and because the exchange rate is something like 1.6 Aussie dollars to the pound, there may be an illusion that we’re throwing money around like nobody’s business. Surely though, we can’t be spending that much more than we ever used to and OH SHIT BUGS. BUUUUGS. THOUSANDS OF THEM.

What the hell – aw, geez – are they… flies? Mosquitoes? Midges? Oh God they’re up my nose.

Yeah. We made the mistake of leaving the light just inside the door “on”, and the front door wide open. This is of course the insect equivalent of slamming a giant “FREE BOOZE” sign in neon and tinsel above the door of the local public house. Before any of us were even aware that we had an infestation in progress, about a hundred or two had gathered above the door.

Enter father with the Hoover of Death.

Like this, but black, with a skull for a face and carrying a scythe.

We stashed away all the shopping, all of us starting to feel increasingly knackered, and then slowly but surely the holes in the cleaning crew’s work started to appear. They’d cleaned the oven’s grill but not the tray. They hadn’t polished the entire worktop. Dust was still prevalent in a few select corners. As far as my parents were concerned, they might just as well have gotten a bunch of monkeys to run rampant around the house for two hours, and left to chance whether they could differentiate their own excrement from a bucket of soap and water before applying it to all of the walls and floors.

At this point it was late in the day and I was starving. I’d had a cup of tea for breakfast, two sausages for lunch, and the aforementioned (by my parents) “inaugural McDonald’s” had somehow gotten lost in the madness of my parents’ outing for kitchen essentials. I opted to have some bread and peanut butter instead.

Nope.

Before even that could be done, my mum had to wash each and every piece of cutlery and crockery that had just been bought. At this point I really started to think that the English obsession over personal hygiene was reaching ridiculous levels – surely the Aussies don’t even think of that? Look, if the bread that we’re buying in Australia is apparently “untouched by human hands” then surely it won’t kill us to use our eating utensils straight out of the box?

Eugh. So filthy.

Things had gone pretty smoothly for me and my brother up to this point and we were feeling pretty laid-back at having finally finished the process of getting (and living in) a house, but now I was starting to feel my parent’s frustration with the amount of things that weren’t quite in place – although for a different reason. They were annoyed because the worktop hadn’t been scrubbed over 100%. I was annoyed because they were annoyed. They’re very good at making huge deals out of minor inconveniences, and I began to wonder if the subatomic particles in charge of controlling the various cosmic forces of the universe secretly hated us, and were arranging just the right amount of infinitesimal yet entirely perceptible problems to cause seemingly endless friction between everyone involved.

I took my frustration out on my second batch of peanut-butter-on-bread. It wouldn’t spread properly – and if you’re a spread and you screw up the bread like you screw up the fur of a cat when you stroke it the wrong way – no matter what direction I spread you in – then I’ve got a message for you. EFF YOU.

I need one of these in my life.

Three whole and one half-destroyed slices of peanut butter later, I sat down and spent two hours composing this blog post.

At least the cleaners left a “welcome” goodie-bag.

From their church.

To a bunch of atheists.

Heh.

We has a house.

And it’s awesome.

I apologise wholeheartedly for not having updated this blog in a while – especially neglecting to keep you up to date with my musical discoveries via Epic Song of the Week, and not uploading many any tracks to my YouTube page.

Truth be told, there’s really not been a lot of things happening round here. There’s been a lot of terribly boring stuff we’ve had to sort out – bank accounts, all sorts of identification checks (now that we are residents) and above all, house-hunting.

Oh, the joys of house-hunting. We must’ve looked at about twenty different properties over the last fortnight, and every day has been frought with the lingering possibility that due to our lack of useable funds and very specific requirements for a place to live, if we continue the way we currently are, we might actually soon be on the streets with nought but a shoebox to sleep in in the middle of the road. Or, if we were lucky, perhaps a cosy warm hole in the ground, covered by a nice big sheet of tarpaulin.

And that feeling gets reinforced when you turn up to a house that’s advertised as “The perfect starter for new property owners” or somesuch, with an acceptable rental rate – only to be greeted by a tiny, congested flat in a run-down apartment complex which could possibly house a small family of chihuahuas, but possibly not a family of four increasingly-aggravated human beings with sixteen heavy bags of possessions to store in it.

Currently we’re residing in a tourist park, amidst several other people (most of them Australian) who are doubtlessly seeking alternative accommodation.

It’s… small. Not a lot of spare room. At all.

This is holiday accommodation.

Every morning a bloke with a leaf-blower trudges around the park at random making an unstoppable racket. People bang on their caravans for reasons unknown. The traffic’s quite close and every now and then you hear some crazy Australian driver performing a two-wheeled U-turn in the middle of the road at 70kph. (I’m going to have to get used to the way everything is measured in kilometres over here.)

I mean good God are the drivers aggressive here. It’s probably standard practice, though – over in the UK the guy driving alongside you on the motorway in the 4×4 will inquire politely beforehand if he can carve you up. The Aussies aren’t bothered about pleasantries, or indeed about causing offense or distress. They’ll quite happily reverse an entire car-length while you are stationed immediately behind them at the traffic lights.

Our current situation is not quite Hell. But it could be better. By a lot.

The laid-back attitude of the Australians seems to be reflected in many of the other punters in this park. It’s as though there’s a mutual understanding between everyone here along the lines of “Yeah, we’ve all gotta get the hell outta here. We might as well get along. Mate.” It particularly applies to us since we’re forking over $900/week for this god-forsaken shack. Oh, sorry, did I gloss over that bit a tad? Let me reiterate: NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS A WEEK. FOR WHAT IS ESSENTIALLY A BACKYARD SHED.

…that’s after the discount. It was TWELVE HUNDRED to start with.

Overcharged, were we? Try extorted. Christ.

Managing my own finances is something I’m soon going to learn how to do with my new bank account. Even I, as inexperienced at budgeting and financial security as I am, know that the fee of twelve hundred smackeroos for living in a cupboard is basically criminal. I swear if my dad had mentioned how rapidly we were haemorrhaging funds one more time I probably would’ve garrotted him.

But all that merriment is now over with, thankfully. We just received a phone call telling us we’d been selected for a $400/week rental property in the suburb of Wanneroo – an actual house, with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and loads of additional space that we’ll have to fill somehow. As of right now, we are no longer homeless.

Our reaction: YAY!!!!!!1

Well… not quite. It is ours the second we send over the money for it – and that will first involve translating all of our pounds sterling into Aussie dollars, then sending a sum of money to the agency in order to seal the deal – and with the exchange rate fluctuating by the second, as it does, that could be a risky business.

Also it’ll be completely clean and utterly unfurnished when we move in. Meaning that we’ll basically be living minimalist for the next few weeks until our furniture from the UK lands on the Australian shore. It’ll basically be a big, fancy shoebox.

I really believe that things are now starting to take off over here. With everything being so sedentary as of late, it’s refreshing to know that we’re finally ready to begin our life in a property of our own in Aussieland. One thing I’d really like to do in the near future is get some kind of proper driving tuition, particularly one that allows me to expand on the skills I accrued in the UK during the short time I was (slowly) learning to command a vehicle. At least they drive on the same side of the road here.

Also I’d be highly interested in maximizing my vocal prowess and my dexterity with the piano/keyboard. These are all items on my personal to-do list for the near future, although my parents might have other immediate priorities. Ones that are perhaps actually important to our continuing survival here.

As for how Australia itself is treating us, we’ve been coping pretty well. I was expecting to be in a state of shock from the drastic change of climate (let us not forget the fun I had on the last day in the UK). The pool in the tourist park is kept at a tepid 0°C and everything else around us lies consistently between 20 and 40°C. Our chalet has a nice air-con unit, but it only heats the kitchen/dining area, so the bedrooms (particularly mine and my brother’s) get pretty hot and stinky. It’s a wonder my laptop hasn’t overheated and exploded yet. (I have a small USB-powered fan running underneath it which should be keeping its insides nice and cool, but geez does the keyboard get hot. Every 30 minutes or so I have to get up and douse my face and hair in cold water, just due to the heat emanating from this thing, let alone that of the unforgiving Australian summer.)

Anyway. Five gold stars to my parents for playing pretty much the whole part in getting us to this stage in our lives. Only a few verbal armageddons occurred. 5 stars, A++, would emmigrate with again, etc.

Chaos in Pictures: An odyssey of insanity as described by James Paddock; illustrated by Ben P

Well, this has been hell. Thank Christ there’s no return trip this time around, so we won’t have to repeat this whole series of events. I wouldn’t wish the chaos that comes with the arduous process of emmigration on my worst enemy.

This emmigration thing has spanned roughly three years of systematic chaos, and three days of the kind of utter havoc that would impress Eris herself.

The night before we were due to move out of the house (27 Nov), I and my mum pulled an all-nighter, subsisting on multiple cups of tea, Kit Kats, and shortbread – with a view to regaining sleep during the 30+ hour journey to Australia which would soon follow. I managed well to begin with, but the sleep deprivation soon started to hit hard. When my body’s tolerance toward caffeine started to null the effectiveness of the torrents of tea I was forcing into it, it began to feel as though injecting concentrated coffee into my eyes was the only way forward.

What sleep deprivation does to me.

On top of the tiredness, my body had to overcome further tests of endurance and outward complications. Early into the following morning, frost began to appear outside – the first of the winter season. The house started to get cold. Like, really cold. Stupidly cold. Fridge-freezer-in-the-Arctic cold. It always seemed a physical impossibility how cold our house was capable of getting. Colder than it was outside, for Pete’s sake.

Previously I’d felt warm and rosy-cheeked, wrapped in little more than a thick T-shirt, a fleece and thermal socks, and now suddenly I felt as though I was going to die of pneumonia at any moment. My extremities began to feel genuinely frostbitten. Desperation started to set in. I wore ridiculously large gloves on top of my fingerless gloves. I put on a woolly hat, heated it by breathing as much of my searing, stinking breath into it as I could, periodically smothered my face in the hat, and even resorted to wearing it over approximately the top two-thirds of my head. I even wore one of my dad’s large woolly jumpers on top of my fleece. All of this was merely an exercise in humilation and futility, as my body temperature just continued to decline. Not to mention that all throughout, I’d been slipping in and out of consciousness as the sleep deprivation started to take its toll on my slowly perishing mind.

This was a new low for me.

Things did not improve even by noon. Quivering like a mound of pathetic jelly, I opted to take to bed. I say “bed”, it was actually just a mattress in the spare bedroom because the sheet and duvet had already been packed away by the removal men (as had nearly everything in the entire house by this point). There I lay, in the fetal position, using my second woolly hat as a makeshift pillow, attempting to get comfortable and still my seemingly dying body.

…I awoke (about an hour later) in quite possibly one of the foulest of moods I’ve ever been in. My family know well how screwed my body clock is, and for the last few days, the removal men’s labour had awoken me before my body had decided that it had gotten enough sleep. As my family’s well aware, if my body is even slightly below par, all bodily functions become a torturous ordeal. My brain virtually ceases to function, and my muscles scream in agony whenever they are called upon to do anything remotely physical. (Yes, you guessed – I’m not fit.) Imagine this feeling, but on top of that, you’ve crawled naked into a half-frozen lake during the night and tried to replenish what little energy you could that way. This is roughly how I now felt.

Morning frost can be an unforgiving bitch.

My family were preparing to leave the house to be relayed to the train station and the house was in a state of absolute bedlam. My laptop case had been stuffed lovingly full of rubbish by my brother, in an effort to file it away somewhere. Everyone was in as foul a mood as I – basically it had turned out that the house still hadn’t actually sold. We weren’t going to get the money from it until the mortgage company got their arses into gear and completed the transaction – and the phones had been cut off by our provider so we couldn’t contact anyone about it. This naturally got my mum and dad into a visible state of… unrest. Or perhaps complete despair.

Still, we continued to pack our things, but we were rapidly approaching the time that the taxi driver was due to pick us up. The last few minutes were a flurry of blindly stuffing suitcases with belongings we probably didn’t even need to take with us, but were lying around unsorted so had to go somewhere. We still couldn’t take everything – in fact, my dad had to leave a few valuable and perfectly saleable things behind, which he was quite cut up about. We ended up with about sixteen fully-packed bags, many of which were large and unwieldy to carry (including two or three open-top bags with handles consisting of what felt like titanium-wrought rope that dug right into the flesh when held for any length of time greater than 4 seconds), and other bags which were broken and unreliable for storing what they were allocated, but there just wasn’t enough time to sort things into a sane manner.

To be honest, sanity itself was in direly short supply.

Example one
Example two
Example three
Example four

Eventually the taxi driver dude arrived to take us to the train station – a friendly man with the looks of Mel Smith and the build of Shrek, who was mighty helpful in getting our bags onto his huge people-carrier. (He also helped us out stacking our overflow of stuff onto a trolley so we could get onto the train. Lovely bloke.) As we stacked the car, the removal guys who’d packed all of our stuff with unstoppable zeal – also lovely guys, overall – bade us good luck and farewell on our travels. The eventual departure from the house (and the last six years of our lives) was so frantic that there was no time for last-minute regrets. (And I was so cold by this point that I couldn’t have gotten away from that frigid, hollow iceberg of a house fast enough. After all that, the only thing I think we’ll genuinely miss about that place is Scotty.)

The removal men and the taxi driver were unfortunately the last legitimately nice people we’ve talked to since then.

Once we (and our sixteen pieces of luggage) got onto on the train, we were seated beside a pair of women with a baby that every five minutes or so sobbed for it’s mummy like the little attention whore that it was. An annoyance, but nothing much else, and we only had to endure its unwanted company for about 10 minutes because the family got off the train about two stops into our journey. At least it ended.

The taxi driver who took us from King’s Cross to Heathrow seemed nice, but about 30 seconds into the drive, I collapsed onto my brother’s extraordinarily comfortable shoulder, and slept like a log, for about 40 minutes. Which I’m sure he appreciated.

The best 40-minute sleep I’d ever had.

On the next step of the journey (a 12-hour flight) we were seated in front of some kind of damnable thrashing she-demon who on an hourly basis woke up, realised nothing was wrong, and instantly shattered this set of circumstances by screaming as though it was some kind of tortured, soulless wretch confined eternally to a swirling abyss of fire, demanding a death that would never come. Had it been legal for me to do so, I would’ve gladly provided it with such a fate, possibly through the blunt end of my keytar, which I would’ve crawled into the baggage compartment of the plane while it was in mid-flight to retrieve, had I the physicial capability to do so.

Pictured: Hell. TWELVE HOURS OF IT.

I slept for most of the second flight – a comparatively endurable five hours in length – but I’d still not technically had a decent night’s kip in about 72 hours. The lack of sleep is still getting to us all. The insanity is not quite at Jack Thompson levels yet but they are rapidly being approached.

I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to talk to either of my parents without inadvertently sparking off some sort of full-scale nuclear war. It’s almost to the point where I know exactly how each argument is going to go. I can understand their frustration with the whole affair – between them they’ve poured infinite effort and heart into the process of getting us into Australia, and the whole time there seem to have been troubles or annoyances, major and minor, which have all added up into an odyssey of pain. They’ve literally worked their hands into states of ruin, sacrificed almost everything, and suffered needlessly throughout the whole thing. They’re entitled to feel hard done by. However, it’s now gotten to the point where, whenever an unexpected upset occurs, a verbal war of attrition is immediately sparked off, that seems to last hours. The intensity of the arguments are so disproportionate to the issues at hand, too. Temporarily misplaced some money? THE END OF DAYS. Left a spare fleece behind at the airport? ETERNAL DAMNATION IN PITS OF BURNING SULPHUR. We’ve been overcharged for our room? OH DEAR GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO BE FLAYED ALIVE BY FACELESS DEMONS AS SCORPIONS CRAWL DOWN OUR THROATS. WHILE LISTENING TO COLDPLAY ON INFINITE REPEAT.

They’ve agreed (sorta) to cool down a bit, though, and to try to focus more on resolving these issues where possible, instead of fighting over them for inappropriate lengths of time. But it’s really been obstacle after obstacle and ripoff after ripoff. We really have to ask when it will end.

We just got to our rented accommodation and – let’s just say it’s small. I’m personally happy to have somewhere to sit down finally, but to my parents, we might as well have booked a week in an iron maiden. It’s at least clean, but pretty damn cramped – especially considering the sheer number of luggage bags we have – and the fact is that we’ve probably been overcharged even if we didn’t pay double after all. The landlady has been headachy and apparently dealing with the police lately so she’s been… less than cooperative.

…I’ve gotta say, I’ve had better birthdays.

PARTY HARD.

Here’s to twenty years on this planet, wankahs.

______________________________________________________________________________

P.S.

Many thanks to all of you who did write out cards, for the love and well-wishes. And the money, heh. Although it’s in British pounds, I at least have an Australian bank account that I can store it in (as Aus dollars) now. 😛

Don’t worry about all this, everyone. This has simply been a tough time (that I’ve somewhat overdramatised for comedic effect) which I’m sure will blow over sooner or later. Love to you all. x

Make the nasty thing go away.

This. Fuck everything about it.

A few posts down I wrote how I accidentally offend people nearly all the time. It’s so terribly awkward and un-fun. I don’t try to be a bad guy, but it seems I just am.

However, this time I’m just going to say what I think. I don’t care if you’re offended, because the issue angers me more than it will probably anger you to know that I am angered by it. And if that last sentence angered you, good. Stop reading now.

I simply have two questions.

(1) Who thought it would be a good idea to create a reality television series, and as a result, several spin-off series, based on the everyday lives of lower-class, butter-brained, plum-faced, Nutella-glazed, uneducated, gormless idiots who all happen to live in the same location so we can laugh (or cringe) at their hilarious shenanigans?

(2) Who thought it would be a good idea to take the people who feature in these shows out of those shows, and instead have them appear on popular comedy panel shows which mainly consist of seasoned, quick-witted, middle-class comedians who normally banter away quite happily but suddenly are now having their flow regularly interrupted by whichever clown-faced, squirrel-haired, humanity-misrepresenting newbie has been deemed to be on the show purely for such a purpose, who is constantly clamoring for attention or asking for an explanation as to the last genuinely good (now ruined) joke that was uttered?

Whoever those two people are, both need to be hunted down and garrotted with their own spinal cords.

Keep the people who star in those wretched, exploiting and nigh-unwatchable shows off of my 8 Out of 10 Cats and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. On those shows, they only exist to look hopelessly out of place and have the piss ripped out of them by Jimmy Carr or Noel Fielding or some such other ingenious comedic piss-ripper – it’s a terribly cringe-worthy mismatch.

If I want to see people acting like idiots, I’ll watch the shows that they are meant to act like idiots on. Except I don’t, but I lose out anyway because you bring them onto the shows I watch to get away from idiots.

Below is a list of people I never want to see on TV again. Ever.

  • John and Edward, or… Jedward as they’re abbreviatively known. Whoever looks after them (Louis Walsh?), please ensure put them to bed with a glass of warm milk at a reasonable time, so they have no chance of appearing on any more of the post-watershed shows I like to watch. Cheers.
  • Amy Childs. God, even her name is an abuse of English. I don’t care what accolades you received in pre-school for your elocution, girl, it was not the stopping point of your journey of exploring the English language. Please try harder to speak proper like what I does.
  • Anyone who has anything to do with X Factor. I don’t watch it, but every event that unfolds on it gets mentioned by someone in my Facebook feed enough that I may as well be. I can do without any more of it in my daily routine, thanks.
  • Anyone who won a non-Celebrity series of Big Brother. Especially you, Brian. Never talk about shitting yourself on the tube train ever again.
  • Joey Essex. Dear sweet Lord. Get off my screen you self-obsessed tit.
  • Anyone who pronounces the word ‘brother’ as ‘bwuvva’.

Give all the above people their own 24-hour reality TV channel in which they can be as innocent and act as base and crass as they like. And for good measure, please provide anyone who has access to said channel with a free pair of miniature curtains that can be pulled out from either side of the television screen so you have to be directly in front of it to watch it.

This has been what I think.