C-O-D-A

As usual, it took me a while to find this restaurant. I am not used to looking down at the ground to find a restaurant down the classically Melbourne’s Flinders Lane. The establishment was in a basement, with the only signs that it existed were a few knee high windows next to the pavement. CODA was a restaurant I had heard of and I had been very keen to give it a go. So I was pretty darn lucky for it to be Dinner Four of the Bank of Melbourne and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Prize. The industrial look was a winner as soon as I walked in, and sat down at our table. The mesh lighting was a bit different but at the same time, very Melbourne. Thats the cool thing about this city, anything goes and therefore it becomes unexpected all at once.

Our cheery waitress talked us through the menu like it was her favourite short story, and I discovered that pretty much 3/4 of the dishes on the menu could be turned into a vegetarian dish. The menu is divided up to smaller dishes and larger dishes, so it was a shared scenario for the evening. We ordered a long list of things, as we were in a fortunate situation, along with about four cocktails each, and still didn’t come close to our gift voucher budget. I was very impressed and the food was fantastic. The odd thing was that my favourite thing on the menu was the side of brussel sprouts. Something about them made me just want to proclaim how good they were to the people in the street on the way home. I came close.

The cocktails were fantastic, I would come here just for them, the Clover Leaf being my favourite, so rock on in there and don’t even look at the list, act like a local and order it. As long as you are cool with drinking alcohol. It has alcohol in it.

All I can say is that everything I ate was fresh and quality, with an overall asian feel to the menu, with modern/western twists on some of the dishes. Can I just say it was all yum and all should go here? It isn’t too expensive either.

Walking back out into the night after finishing off the dinner with an amazing set of desserts also, I was simply chuffed. Thanks Coda, there was a reason I had heard of you.

Drumming Flowers

I first of all wondered why a flower needs a drum. Or is the drum made of flowers, and if so, is it metaphorical because I am pretty sure it would have a next to no sound when you hit a daisy against a bunch of wattle. Not really going to get the party started or any type of festival/ceremony for that matter. Maybe I am just thinking too much. Or got this odd thing with flora.

Flower Drum, was the first of my 12 amazing dinners that I won through the Bank of Melbourne and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Prize. It also happened to be my 28th Birthday.

We arrived via a taxi who seemed pretty sure they knew where the restaurant was, turns out they didnt. But we entered on time and we were shown to a lift that reminded me of the kind of scary 1970’s style lift that I had to go up to visit the Dentist. I didnt blame Flower Drum for this memory, it just was coincidental. I stepped out and shook away that memory, and was immediately greeted by two very cheerful hosts who took our jackets and we were immediately led to our table, while another pair of hosts rolled a large wooden table by us. Casually but in a professional manner, these guys and the table were on a mission. We sat down and we were introduced to our waiter for the evening. Turned out we had a few who assisted us, one seemed like a pro and then one fella seemed like his apprentice waiter.

Wine lists were provided and we chose to have some champagne to celebrate my birthday.

After a cheers, we chose straight away to go with the degustation banquet as we knew this would let us taste the variety along with a glass of wine with every dish. One small issue was that I am vegetarian.

Side step for a sec. When I told friends and family I had won this prize, they all said it was wasted on me because I was a Vego. This naturally led them all to saying that they should come with me so someone could appreciate the meats at these fantastic restaurants. This led me to remind them that I prefer them to submit their applications in writing. Nah, I was pretty stoked by it all that I had no idea who to pick for each dinner.

So back to Flower Drum. I decided for this special evening, I would let myself try the meats offered as they would be great quality and well prepared. And I was glad I did (hypocrite?).

Every dish that came out was simply amazing, I just kept grinning. And for the first time in my life I truly discovered that a perfect matching wine to a dish really does bring out even more flavour. Both in the wine and the dish. Whether that was the wine talking or some amazing new revelation.

Now I wont pretend to be a food critic and explain all the details of the food as I usually would change the channel on someone who did do that. No channel changing here.

All I will say is that the experience was up there with the time I had a Bubble-O-bill for the first time in years. Or the time when I went to a nice restaurant and had amazing food. Take your pick.

It was a great way to spend a birthday evening as I began to realise how fantastic the next year would be with winning this prize. And leaving the restaurant we dodged a few more tables rolling down the room, on a mission to be setup for tomorrow’s diners. I hope they get a percussion show that relates to the floral world. cause I didnt. That was the only downer.

PS. I do know what a Flower Drum is. These ladies are displaying a sample:

And you can find out more here. Just saying.

The punctation mark

The past few months I feel like I lose my words. I try to write and then just do not. I think laziness so often defeats passion. For me anyways, and it really shouldn’t win. Laziness and maybe a pinch or two of no inspiration. Though this is not true, I am always surrounded by interesting experiences that make me think, why not write them down? Sometimes the punctation mark never arrives.

I am on the 78 tram so many days of the week and there is always something odd or amusing that happens. Then it becomes the norm, how long does an odd thing need to be regularly occurring to not become odd? The crack and ice addicts use this tram line in particular as it gets them between drug world on Victoria Street in Richmond, down to the housing commission in St Kilda. I want to tape record their conversations sometimes, and not to mock them or pity them, but because they give real insight to the people they are. Challenges me to not just assume they have the life I have made up for them in my head. This life is based on CSI, why CSI, I got no idea as I do not even watch that show. And a bit of the movie “Candy” with Heath Ledger and Geoffrey Rush in it. Their conversations are about everyday things, with a bit of a slur. Yesterday two guys with scabs and scar up their hands were talking about how amazing Nandos chicken was. I sometimes agree. Sometimes I do not.

 

 

What noise do pirates make?

I was in bed last night looking at my calendar after being out all day. My plans for the following day would involve cleaning my apartment as I had an open inspection in the afternoon. I reviewed the time, though there was nothing entered into Friday. I looked to Thursday and that was where I had entered it. I confirmed the date and time online on one of the real estate websites and yes, the open inspection occurred already. I had had a bunch of random people walking through my untidy apartment without me even realising, while I was off walking around the city wondering about whether Kevin Costner really would make a good bodyguard. I glanced around my apartment and there were still M&Ms on the floor (from a spillage out of my bag), underwear on the floor, and the best of all, a small note I wrote to the ants in my apartment saying, “piss off ants”. I wonder if anyone applied for my apartment.

I went to Sydney last weekend for the first time since last November. As always it was great seeing my family and just chilling out. Was also warm enough to swim in the backyard pool and all four of us siblings were there and swimming. When you are an adult, the backyard pool really is not as interesting. Once you are cool, you are cool. And then you kinda just wanna get out again. Though we had my nephews and nieces in the pool too and seeing them having fun really kicks it up for you again too. I has diving sticks and so had my niece throw them into the pool while I dove down to get them. It was a precision exercise and pretty much could guarantee if my niece was some high executive of a diving company, I would be getting a bonus for my diving skills.

One morning, while I was staying at my brother’s house over the weekend, I had the job of looking after my two nieces for the morning at the park. At first it was exciting as I get to have quality one on one time with them as I only see them a few times a year. Quickly though, it became evident that there would be a lot more to it. When we had arrived at the playground, the oldest niece began to complain that her Dora the Explorer doll was not talking:

“Dora isn’t talking”
“Oh that is a shame, what is wrong with her?”
“She isn’t talking”.
“Ah well yeah, that is sad”.
“Uncle Lloyd, YOU have to do Dora’s voice”.
“Ohhh.”

I then try to channel the brief glimpses of the show I have seen. She is South American, no? So I attempt to say something Dora would say, “Yo, where in the playground do you want to go?”
My niece looks at me, unimpressed.
“No Uncle Lloyd, a GIRLS voice!”
I clear my throat and look around and channel girl’s voice, “I think we should go to the swings, hola!”
I think in most other environments, people would look at me and wonder what the hell I am doing. No, not this time. I was in the company of other parents in the playground, who just smiled knowingly. One father actually gave me more context for the accent and more phrases to work on. Success.

I arrived back from Sydney feeling refreshed but also excited to get back home. Cal and I are a bit like ships in the night at the moment, he was heading for Sydney the following day so we spent time together for the day. I walked around with him while he gave a tour about the graffiti of Melbourne to Boston University students. Whoever thought my boyfriend would be so knowledgable about spray paint in Melbourne. OK I am simplifying the beauty and creativity that is graffiti, I failed the lesson. As usual I was just slightly deliberately awkward with the students. But hey if you were a young American student in Melbourne for a few days and some Aussie fella comes up and just chats with you about how good cats are and that Australian power poles really express the city’s inner desire for power, you would probably not know exactly how to react. I didn’t either.

Sitting at a bar, I observed Cal peeling his beer label off and a primary school myth sprung to mind. Hmm actually more high school than primary school cause you don’t talk about sexual innuendo in primary do you?? So yes, high school. The myth being that if you peel a label off a bottle of soft drink, (alcohol doesn’t exist when you are a teenager) you are supposedly sexually frustrated. I always assumed I was, as I love peeling off labels of bottles. And chewing styrofoam cups, around and around the edge so it becomes a cup no more. I pointed out to Cal that he must be sexually frustrated and laughed. Then I realised, oh wait.. that means.. OK that backfired.

My jobs are going swell. Letting you know.

And I just had a bunch of products arrive from Portland General Store. It took a while as the first lot became lost in the mail, when really, I think that the beagle at airport customs just nicked them. So the products are pretty damn cool. The package contained male grooming products such as shaving gel, shampoo etc, but the great thing about them is they have great earthy smells, very masculine and it came in a recycled cigar box. All organic with natural ingredients, I am sold and will be ordering more. Just need to report that nasty beagle**.

February is almost over and more change is around the corner. And malted milkshakes rock.

My nephew is obsessed with pirates currently. For a two year old, sailing the open seas and killing people and stealing their riches is a refreshing occupation. When I ask him what sound they make, he says “Ahhhrrrr” but about two octaves higher than the normal pirate, so it sounds like a lost puppy.

His idea:

Obvious reality (including watermark):

** Beagles in general are lovely animals and I am only referring to this one beagle that I assume exists and steals men’s grooming products. What he does with them, who knows.

Where is January?

It leaves us in a few days. January, it always feels like you come in for a party and then exit way too soon. February is a mutual friend of ours, but not as fresh and rad. But it has been a good one.

I have been pretty much staying at Caleb’s house all of January, and finally now staying at my house these last few nights. It felt like I had to have a sorry ceremony with my apartment. I got the sense I had betrayed it, neglected it as such and it has just been sitting here. To be fair, my mate Aaron from the US stayed here while the Australian Open was on, but he aint me. My flat didn’t say anything back when I said sorry and lit some incense, but I think it has forgiven me. Though my lease runs out soon.. I won’t announce that loudly just yet.

I want to keep steering towards having plenty of printed photos around the place. Digital world has encouraged us to have everything online, but where is the fun when you cannot have these images in your physical space. Whoah, I just felt like I used too many words that a lecturer would use. The word “physical space” being a phrase I relate to a lecturer with a red jumper and a beard, clasping his hands together and looking at the wooden ceiling of the dated lecture theatre.

So I have printed a tonne of photos, see above. And cheaply too. Try Big W photos online, 35 photos for 6 bucks including delivery. Go Big Dub! That was not a paid plug, I just was impressed with the photos. And now its like I have some of my good friends and family on a wall, and it looks like a Uni student room. Just the look I was going for.

Have I ever mentioned, the colour of this green in the photo is my favourite colour? Well I am mentioning, and a high mention at that.

I begin two of my new jobs this week. Shall we guess what they are?

JOB NUMBER ONE
Clue: Involves dressing up in 1940’s clothing and being inside a genuine 1920’s built tent, made of fabric and mirrors. Many famous people have sung in this tent and it now tours the world, visiting Melbourne annually. I will be greeting guests and introducing them to the world that can be anything inside the tent. I simply cannot wait.
Answer: Guest Host at The Famous Spigeltent! Groovy!

JOB NUMBER TWO
Clue: This space hosted the Queen of England last year, is one of Melbourne’s meeting points and holds many events and festivals throughout the year. I will be helping look after the Operations for the events and installations that occur there, right beside the Yarra River in central Melbourne.
Answer: Operations Coordinator at Federation Square. Rock on!

I finish up my job with Australian Open this week and it has been fun. Great people and great work. I will miss the crazy customers asking us to investigate players who secretly smuggle drugs onto the court that leads to an unfair advantage. Sigh.

Let us welcome February in two days. See what it brings. OK, let’s!

Messing

Wow I just stood up again, after sitting at this screen, some part of me has this fear in writing. Distraction supposedly protects me from writing. Wait, microwave just beeped. Cookie that was frozen is now not frozen, I will come back. OK I am eating the cookie. Pretty terrible. Who decides to produce and sell citrus, sultana and oat cookies? Not I, I decide to purchase them. Now I really have nothing more to say about the cookie, other than it is now stuck to the roof of my mouth and the citrus taste is regretful, possibly even apologetic.

What is so bad about sitting here and just writing? The clock keeps ticking and the fridge keeps humming, the birds outside keep singing. And before you know it, it turns into an appalling reflective poem. The whoosh of the wind taps my loose window panes and the snails… ok vomit vomit vomit.

The fear inside comes from thinking that, someone else writes, lots of people write. And they must be better and smarter and wittier than I am so why even bother starting sometimes. I think a lot of us can get like that. Or we just do not have something good enough to say. If we crap on about feelings or the onomatopoeia of… nah that word sounded good but totally forgotten what it means so will drop that train of thought. The fear also of screwing up. When you are given something good, you wanna hold it, whether it is physical or it was an event or an experience. You want to treasure it and not take it for granted. Cup it in your hands, peek inside and grin. But the wind may pick up and may blow it out of your hands. Or it may seep out, lacking breath. Though the key word being MAY. And the key word is forgotten and to protect yourself you say WILL. So you can easily give up and accept this WILL happen so why bother holding it. Let it go. Elliot the plant doesnt think like this, he hasnt moved all morning. There are some wild winds outside and every little leaf and branch outside is knocking around wherever the wind chooses to shake them next. Yet Elliot is still, in the foreground, totally calm and unaffected from the flurry outside. But screw it. There is also the other side. That wild wind, that lack of oxygen or just simple badly designed structure, cannot stop events, experiences. They happen and will continue to happen. And I have something to say, as does everyone. But I can only speak for me, and will continue to talk, continue to create. And good things happen. Cringe worthy words yep, but because overuse of phrases such as these have sucked the meaning out of them, doesnt mean I cant squeeze my eyes shut and smile. Sometimes your gut just says it all.

Now for all those who tuned out, hello. I was five once (or twice) and my aunty sat on a log beside the fire. We were down at the holiday house in Manyana (when I say down, I mean down from Sydney) and this log had been sitting there for ages. It was a summer night and the ocean could be clearly heard in the distance. Mosquito repellent and smoke married together with the warm evening, to create that distinct southern coast Australian smell. The fire was quite close to this log, and it sneakily licked out every now and then towards the wood. As my aunty sat there casually, something inside the log was not so casual. Something felt uncomfortable and unsafe, so decided to work out what this was. Sorry, some THINGS, not just one thing. My Mum was there also and notified my aunty, not to move. Her shoulder, her other shoulder, her left arm, and three different places on her back now had alarmed and anxious spiders quivering on them. Now come on, what person decides to go, “Ha, OK I wont move”? Though we really should be considerate of the poor spiders, freaked out by the heat threatening their home. No, rational thinking there. My aunty stood up and shook, shook shook shook. And also did a bit of human verbal diarrhea that meant she was panicking. The kinds of sounds I couldn’t even type, cause they would sound Russian or something. The spiders went flying, some landed on my mum, some on the cool grass, and some landed in the fire. Option 1, 2 or 3, they didnt get to pick one. Nor did my mum. I have attached a photo, to show you what they look like. Yes the clock says “prestige”:

I am not too scared of them and would be fine picking one up. I had to when they would crawl across my lap in my van I drove at 17. They loved the van as a home and so when I drove their home (in a slight jerky motion back then) of course they would be anxious. Though the screaming friends in the passenger seat as I hurtled along the freeway did not appreciate my calm approach. Trapped inside the van, jumping over into the back seat and getting stuck on the gear stick in the process, one foot stuck in the seatbelt. Though the spider I reckon had a sense of humour and would walk along the ceiling towards them, my friends shoe missing the spider by a mile and hitting my head instead. I had to pull over in the end, not cause I cared about my friend but cause my eyes were so filled with tears from laughing so much.

We could totally analyse why I am talking about spiders, but we shan’t. Lets just listen to the wind.

Puff Paint

Ok, since I admitted it a few weeks ago, I will again now.

I made a shirt in craft at school when I was 11. When I say made, I just painted it. The actual shirt was an old white polo shirt that I found in my brother’s drawer. We all needed a white shirt for the activity at school, I forgot and last minute snuck into my brother’s room and found the shirt. It was slightly off white, though when it was purchased it would have been “white”.
So with my creativity in full swing and a set of puff paints, I decided to paint a Christmas tree, with some presents underneath. Though we all had to put the slogan, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. So neatly underneath I wrote that. And I had a shirt that I proudly wore to Christmas Carol singing on the corner of the shopping town in Engadine with the other members from Church. I also wore it as a costume, but will tell you about that another time.

So a few weeks have gone by since I last wrote. Elliot the plant has grown, I am successful for now (with the plant that is), and I keep getting to know a fella called Mike. We went down to this beautiful part of the world called Anglesea, just before the start of the Great Ocean Road. I do miss the ocean, one of the sacrifices of moving to Melbourne. You may argue if you are a Melbournite that it is next to the ocean. Yes, technically, yes. But Melbourne, you have a bay, and it is flat and the water a disturbing colour for a bay. One that no desire inside of me decides to nudge me and go, “Hey Lloyd, swim!” Possibly if I was covered in a hot substance, like fire. But the Ocean is about waves and raw white/blues/grays crashing and singing. Mike did oblige nicely and we went down onto the actual beach. It was not swimming weather but at least part of me did nudge me and say, “Hey swimming wouldnt be totally out of the question, no?” And the wind roared back onto us from the Ocean. It was like it was breathing onto us, I opened my mouth and it filled my lungs. Fresh and brilliantly clean. Ocean.. yes I miss you. But the weekend was great and the clash of movie titles occurred. First it was ‘Inglorious Bastards’ then followed by ‘Notting Hill’. Mike has no control over these posts so I will say Mike chose the latter. He loves them movies that make him cry. Joking aside, do people watch sad movies to evoke their own emotions from their own memories? Or is it simply a human being upset over a tragic story that they can relate to as humans? Mutually exclusive perhaps.

Last weekend (the weekend before the ocean weekend) I decided to surprise my Dad for Father’s Day. I flew up on Sunday afternoon after work and timed it so he arrived back from Church and there was Lloyd standing on his doorstep to say hello. I had made him a card, I used markers from work and drew a spotty tie and expressed how much I really do value him. Without Dad, aside from the obvious giving me life thing, could not have done many of the amazing adventures in my short life. Through simple support and sometimes the good old parent financial aid, he loves me unconditionally. Even if I make crap cards.

Also met up with the girls from work who were on a luxury weekend away in Sydney. I gate crashed it and then moaned a lot of the time as they continued to do girl things like Yoga (which I was forced to do also) and then flower shopping. All of this was also when I had my pyjamas on as Kitty thought my pyjamas were suitable yoga attire. I thought we were heading straight back to the car, but no. We went to one of the most expensive suburbs in Sydney for brunch. I kinda loved it though. PJs in daring places, kind of like people not knowing you got no underwear on yeah?

They are eating chips.

So am I.

Tutankhamun finishes in another few months and so those flags inside my head (the non-literal kind) remind me that I need to find work. And they will not be lowered until there is some new form of employment I know is to be lined up. There is so much inside of me that I want to explore through my career and it is just the point where I need to choose which part. Or can I involve all parts? No limitations should be applied. Kind of like IKEA but not made in Sweden. Sweden does seem to be a cool destination though, make note to go there.

I wonder how long my flat has been around? Wish I could ask it. Doesnt talk back usually so its establishment date really wont be an exception. Yeah nope, no answer.

Postcard

“I just got your postcard”

“What?”

“I just got your postcard”

“Where did you go?”

“I just got your postcard”

“You went where?”

The skype call distorted, showed half a camping lantern, and half my mum’s ear. I decided I would at least amuse myself by continuing to repeat myself.

“I just got your postcard”

“I dont think it is a very good signal”

“No, I dont think so either. I just got your postcard”.

The sound of Skype hanging up occurred, and it went back to just the ticking of the clock. A pop up message on the video program filteree through my dimly lit apartment.

Mum: R u there?

Lloyd: Yes

Mum: We… (user is typing)…. {wait 30 seconds}… We r not having a good signal.

Lloyd: Yes Mum, we are not. Another time?

Mum is offline.

Hey, it is the thought that counts. She continues to drive around Australia, currently south of Broome. Might see her in December.

On Wednesday I did the random thing of going to a local bar’s annual Drag Queen awards. Was a mate’s 30th and he thought it would be fun to do. I didnt have to work the next day and my friend Renata from work wanted to come too. One of those nights where nothing was expected (you may see a pattern forming) and we have a lot of funny memories from the evening. One being the fact Renata (female, just to specify) was asked to enter the contest, so she did. She was an absolute champion. Some of the other contestants were not sure if she was female or male, and were quite pushy for her to prove it. I had to apologise to her later for bringing her somewhere that involved her having to prove she was a woman. She laughed. And my other favourite memory was when I walked past a drag queen, and my tie (yes, I was wearing a tie) got hooked on her sequin dress. I just had to look up how to spell sequin. An awkward situation occurred. My tie was hidden underneath a plastic wig and the dress smelt like my neighbour’s Rock Eisteddfod outfit from the early 90’s. Side step, Rock Eisteddfods were and still are for schools all around Australia to perform in musical style performances (I guess a bit like Glee Club.. kinda??) and most had sequins in and bike pants. I just had to look up how to spell this as well, it is a Welsh word. BACK to the story, so I had no idea how my tie had become attached but the drag queen became a bit distressed as she did not know why I was tugging on her dress.

“Stop it!!”

Shouting over the noise of the pub, “Sorry! My tie seems to have become attached to your dress!”

“Stop it!! Now!!”

Fumbling, my hands became mixed up in masses of brown fake hair, and swirls of makeup smell slightly touched my senses though old beer quickly covered them up again. Others began to watch, wondering why I was slightly bent over this drag queen, like I was biting their back.

“Erm, sorry, tie.. wont.. unclasp or untangle! Hang on!!”

“What are you doing?? It isnt funny!”

“Trying.. to get unstuck.. ”

It did not help when others kept trying to push past in the crowded pub. I squinted my eyes and still the tie attached to the Dorothy shoe red sequins. I felt if I yanked it I would either screw up my tie or her dress. I didnt want to do the latter more so. I decided to do the smart thing of walking the way I came and bam, released.

She turned around straight away and looked might impressed (see how I use sarcasm?) and I just shrugged and kept walking. If they didnt hear me the first, second and third time, its just not gonna work.

My mate Damian and I sat in the cinema last week, we went to see a movie called “Hanna” which actually was not too bad. While we were waiting for the curtains to go up, and they actually do at this one, we heard two ladies talking nearby. The only comment that stood out was, “So my friend is doing chemo, but like, the one that does not make your hair fall out. Gosh she has lost so much weight, she looks so good!” Damian and I just looked at each other. I didnt know what to say.

Mandarins in a vase really look better than in the fridge. It is like they are now trying to make a statement, as they slightly sweat it out.

What is going on with this pen? They sell these at work. She just looks.. unsure. Perplexed?

Beef and Mushroom Pie

“Two Beef and Mushroom pies?” is announced as the waiter with the sleeve tattoo walked across to the cheap looking table.

“Yes!” Gestured a man with a black jacket (the type sold at one of those stores where they sell jackets for Dads at a low cost). He was at a totally different cheap looking table. Though this one was red cheap, the other a brown tinge cheap. Sleeve tattoo man ignored this as he placed the two pies on the brown table. The two customers at this table seemed willing receivers of these pies and silently accepted.

The jacket man casually yet more awkwardly placed his hand back down again, realizing the pie announcement was not for him. He looked around slightly, if he pretended he didn’t shout out, no one else would know. Maybe he had also ordered two pies that were the beef and mushroom variety, though he was sitting alone and to have two pies is greedy. Not like he cared about that I am sure. Back to the sports tips in the paper. The broadsheet newspaper took up all of the room on his part of the table, along with the space next to him. It is one of those unsaid rules of personal space at a café table, keep to your space, yet he had broken it. The paper was laying across the space of a young man who had flushed cheeks and a flushed red jumper to match. Red jumper guy looked at the paper then at the man, then back at the paper. It was half turned, ready for the next page of sport jargon, while he waited for his coffee. He was not staying.

The pie still hadn’t come, did he even order a pie or does he like to just accept any food coming his way? His wife Kathy was at home and so this café was brilliant for his whereabouts currently. Whether he had ordered a pie or not.

The smooth slide of a plate was heard, looking up, his pie arrived. One pie, beef and mushroom.

The little girl at the smaller cheap brown table swung her legs and grinned at jacket man. She was with Daddy and her Panini was bigger than her head and her forced pigtails. The kind of pigtails her mother was trying to encourage and tend to, like the mother’s garden hedge. They were quaint, cute and also open to other compliments by passers by, both the hedge and pigtails alike. Daddy had a pie. Pie’s are popular. Though the build up and drip of a chunk of corn and chicken that fell to the plate referred this pie to the non-beef and mushroom variety. Pies yes, though not all one variety. Though the word variety is still relevant. Daddy constantly kept his face down to his plate and ate, the girl averting her eyes back to Daddy, as Jacket man was not entertaining and nor did he smile back when she did. Looking up into her milkshake cup, metal and frosted, slight pink milk dribble down the side . She reached up to stir it casually, Daddy still staring at his pie, there seemed to be waves of concern over his face. Was it the pie causing this or the argument waiting for him later on?

Jacket man slid his chair, making a loud and attentive sound. The “I am leaving and paying” kind of sound, his chair was his instrument. Walking up to the counter, giving exact change then he left, headed back to his wife Kathy, Friday afternoons meant Sudoku and Kathy always needed help. Not the kind of help he enjoyed to give, but his duty that he had prolonged enough this afternoon.

The waitress smiled at me as she approached, “Wow, I love that sticker on your laptop!”

“Yeah, do you understand it? “

“Apple Juice!”

“Yep, you are one of the few to work that out!”

“Well its cool, where did you get it?”

“So you understand the sticker says ‘juice’ and has the shape of a juice box and then the apple symbol on my mac goes in the middle of the sticker overlay therefore combining the two and causing it to look like an ‘apple juice’ image?”

“Yeah, didn’t I confirm this before”

“I was checking.”

“Ok. So where did you get it?”

“I bought it online, I bought two as I was unsure which one to get. They were five bucks each, the other is ET interacting with the apple sign.”

“What store?? I am excited, I love it”

“Are you sure you don’t love me?”

“What?”

Awkward silence. Thankfully the other waiter, tattoo sleave walked up to the conversation, “Are you guys talking about the sticker on his mac?”

“Yep, sure are.”

Sleave waiter walks up futher, “It is really cool! Apple Juice!”

“Oh so you get it too??”

“Yeah! I used to watch the Game Show ‘Catch Phrase’ so I am good with things like that!”

“Well done, you guys are a rarity!”

Both waiters smiled, and headed back behind the counter. They then continued to chat, one making a blue milkshake, a very non-descript flavor might I add, the other pushing buttons on a microwave. The microwave was black.

Forced pigtail girl and Daddy stand up and go pay. A faint smile is made from Daddy to his daughter and change is handed over. She is allowed to buy a Mars Bar also and she grins, grabbing his hand as they walk out. The cool overcast air runs over them as they exit, turning left, not right.

OK, back to writing. I am not the type to go, “Right I need plotlines and characters, who, what, where, when, why and how.” Does that matter, or does that mean I wont ever compose a story. Do musicians just play what sounds good or do they plan what climaxes and what mellow areas of the song will exist, prior to listening. I think both musicians would exist. They do exist.

“How much is a square metre of coffee?” the guy wiped his glasses while asking.

“I don’t even know what that means? Said his friend, he also had glasses but was not cleaning his.

His wife sat next to him, her face shiny yet her face dull. So it was the shiny dull look that so often occurred with her, and her sister. She was totally not interested in her husband with glasses and his mate with glasses’ conversation. She was actually assessing the lady’s shoes that just walked in.

These shoes made no sound but yet they really did scream, “Hello, I was made far away from here”. The owner’s necklace said nothing. Though she (the owner, not the necklace, necklace’s do not have a sex in this story) was another middle aged woman with blonde streaked hair that lay flat and did not necessarily promote volume, informed the Apple Juice waitress she was waiting for “someone”.

Apple Juice waitress then smiled and filled up the China Jasmine tea I ordered with hot water. She knows I do not like it strong, because the tea seems to choke your tongue, make it thick and gritty. Why do I order it? Habit, and also the way it looks when you first pour it out. There is something clean about it, happily filling up into the white ceramic. Also makes me feel grown up and mature. It does not make me grown up though, because if tea did that, life would be less complicated. Because how awkward if a four year old makes a cup of China Jasmine tea for herself (what kind of mother lets a four year old play with boiling water? Terrible mothers no doubt) and then the four year old suddenly knows how to discuss and reflect on the human experience. If this is what maturity means, awareness and knowledge of mankind’s experience. Her discussions and would not be appreciated by her peers as she enters Kindergarten in 12 months. They are all talking about who is better at jumping on the logs that are spaced out (not so evenly) in the playground. She rolls her eyes and goes down to their level.

So let us all be thankful that tea does not create maturity. The worst thing that will occur with 4 year olds, boiling water and some smuggled China Jasmine tea is soggy cake and a spilled plastic pink cup, maybe a disgruntled teddy bear. No child is hurt in this scenario, other than his/her pride. Pride to them though is also cut down when they hug a stranger’s leg, mistaking it for their dad’s leg. Mortifying, as the adults around giggle at how cute that was.

The mother with the loud bangles at the grey table is a mother that will be treasured by her twin daughters, now and in the future. She does not dress them in the same clothes, or matching clothes. One is looking like an edgey hippy child and the other, skater girl. They may be six but they know the difference between each other. One sips a Chocolate milkshake, the other a blue milkshake that Apple Juice waitress made earlier. Their mum and her friend (who is wearing an identical jacket to black jacket man earlier), chat about potted plants, and how amazing herbs are. They make dinners taste so much better. Oh and also renovations. Is there an age where this becomes interesting? I also blame those renovation shows.

The owner of the talking shoes still waits for her “someone”. She looks across at the grey table where the twins sip their milkshakes, listening to the renovation conversation. She looks as bored as her necklace is. The newspaper in front of her is invisible, only pretend focus is made. She may as well be staring at the yellow table underneath, the Booth style. Shuffling the paper and turning a page, once again, looking through the paper, words and images meaningless, her elbow slides across. She looks into her handbag, locates keys and her shoes once again silently talk the same talk as she exits. Table, newspaper and renovation talk are reasons to leave the café it seems, whether her someone was coming or not. One of the twins waves to her as she leaves, hippy twin of course.

Chef, has a chef costume on. Well, chef uniform but hey, it’s a costume if you are not a chef. It is debatable that he is a chef, Panini’s and heated up pies being the specialty, and I am pretty sure Apple Juice waitress helps. He looks happy though, Dan is at Chef’s house and has already driven to the Bottle shop, boozy night ahead. Sarah may just be a little easier this time, and Chef may not be sleeping alone tonight.

The “someone”, that the owner of the shoes was waiting for, has arrived. They have passed like ships in the night as they discuss their ship’s movements on the phone. They laugh at the analogy, well he does, as her laugh is not audible through a mobile. I so carelessly assume the laugh was there. He hangs up, his gold chain necklace would have gone so well with her lifeless one. Unsure about the shoes, he is dressed to advertise himself, his watch glinting like the golden chain. He looks safe in himself though. He sits at the same place she did, and he has adopted the newspaper she flicked through earlier with as little purpose as her attempt.

One twin (hippy twin) has gone and the other twin stays with the friend of the mother. A dumbed down conversation occurs, discussing how hard it is to focus on swimming lessons and that skater twin is a better swimmer than hippy twin. Though really, we all know that she can get away with saying this as hippy twin is not there. This would not be mutually agreed on if hippy twin was there. They also apparently only swim at one pool, they are not multi pool adapted. This is such a better discussion than the renovation one with the mums and the girl looks pleased. Renovations suck.

The owner of the shoes enters again, greets the gold chain man, her “someone” and they discuss that their ships have docked into the same harbor.

Such a beautiful analogy that they chuckle at. The newspaper is pushed aside and folded and they confirm they are both busy people. Like me, I am busy. And that they dislike lateness, he shrugs his shoulders and apologizes once again.

Scissor paper rock is played out aggressively between a child licking his icecream and his Dad, the red table welcoming another set of visitors. This game is so much fun. I wonder if another element will be added to this game ever, whether stapler could be added? Or knife? Stapler would beat paper, have a discussion about being stationery items with scissors and be smashed by rock. Stapler could then return to scissors and discuss how much it sucks to be smashed by rock but how they can crumple paper. No, they would be allies, it would not work. The original trio are different personality types with different strengths and weaknesses. I dare not meddle with a classic game passed down through the ages. So lets not even start with knife, too violent. Though scissors are banned on aircraft these days, unless they are those child safe scissors.

Gold chain man, continued to interrupt their business-like meeting by answering his constant ringing phone. His insincere apologies are answered with “its fine” style remarks with a fake laugh from the owner of the shoes. She looks across to the humming fridge, the juice she ordered from this fridge half full and half green. Green juice is going down well it seems. He just finished the call and is back into his waving hands and talking routine. He has lessened the use of hand gestures these days. His presentation about developing nations in grade 10 geography class involved a heavy inclusion of his flying around arms, and was marked down for how distracting they were.

The famous afternoon sun entered without announcement and the peeling image of Greece on the wall lights up. It looks a tad more enticing but not enticing enough to dive into, too flat and flakey. Though the sun was just giving a sneaky preview, as it fades through the overcast afternoon again and leaves the store, no goodbye is necessary. It’s presence, even though brief, was missed straight away. The older lady in the corner with the mauve glasses (her optometrist told her they were hip, and hip they are) pays for her carton of milk, smiles and shuffles out, the door ringing gently behind her. Billy is waiting on the milk.

Coffin

Something I value about jobs is finding the really cool aspects and then sit outside of yourself and smile. Painting a base of a wall in one of the galleries for King Tut and having a 3500 year old golden coffin sitting there near me. Noone else is inside the galleries and it is late at night. My music playing from another of the rooms, educating the artifacts on music from 2011. Something about it, was just simply, simple.

I had a dinner party last night. Vegetarian style, and I so reminded myself of my mother. I do not know how that happened, but just how she loved to cook and host, I like doing the same. Though not the same kinds of food, my own twist. I like cooking but do not like those cooking shows and reality comps like Masterchef. It makes it so common and addictive and generic. Just like when you fight with window blinds and you pull the rope cord and the stupid thing does not catch or it lopsides and not straight across. And you end up communicating way too heavily with strips of metal and rope as to why it is not cooperating with your desire for less or more light.

Had my mate Dave here the past few days and he inspired me to go back to the ACMI (Some letters representing the museum of the moving image I think) and so I took another friend Bernard and his sister there. There is this pretty cool (yes Dave, pretty cool) wheel that moves around and around and then the lights start flashing and it comes to life. This is kind of stupid to explain in writing as I bet you have no idea what I am saying.. youtubing now… There, just watch.

And so, was showing them and then they walked out half way. Rude. Only to discover his sister is epileptic. Oh. So just check beforehand next time. Epileptic warnings are there for a reason.

Off to Sydney in a few days. My thoughts currently are mainly drained at trying to organise to hang with people. It is not an easy task. Funny how visits to see friends/family is not a holiday. Though hey, if my chicken Denise was still alive, I would be guaranteed to be chilled. Maybe I will find her grave. Just as much talking would go on, pre or post her death. RIP once again Denise.

I found this photo on my camera, taken the day I was about to move to Melbourne. I put it as my facebook profile. Because I was not smiling people told me it was a bad photo. Does a photo of a face have to be smiling to be a good one? I just liked the rawness, but trying not to be up myself with it. We attempt this all the time and fail yeah?