Catching up with the past (or vice-versa)

The 80s!

Oh my god, it’s the last thing you want to happen when you’re out and about, not showered and looking like a car accident!

Of course my reaction was much worse than the actual situation but…what else is new?

What are we talking about? Well, running into one of your ex-boyfs unexpectedly. Now it isn’t that serious since today’s incident relates to a boyf from 25 years ago but anyway…you don’t wanna look like absolute shit when you run into someone from your past. Even if that person treated you like garbage for a year or so and permanently wrecked your mind. Oh look, there I go…over dramatising yet again! 😉 But we did break up 10 times and get back together 9. It was a very eventful, if horrible and embarrassing period of my life.

But still, it does make you think….it kind of hits you in the nuts a bit. I flashed back to then and suddenly started questioning my life and my bucketload (small bucket admittedly) of crap romances over the years. And you kind of think about the good times you shared with the ex and air-brush the bad times. Now given the bad times were about 90% of the time, that’s some amazing airbrushing! Photoshop would struggle! 😉

Yoda (my best friend forever) and I were out of the house on a sunny Sunday doing the usual haunts…Leichhardt…JBHiFi….and the fish & chip shop in Annandale (which I have been going to since 1989 when I lived in Annandale!). Now it takes 2 buses and a lot of determination to get there but still I do it. But anyway, who should I run into (well sorta) as we go through the door to get some lunch…yes that’s right – the “ex”. Probably the most important one (and that’s what shits me – having to admit that).

Anyway, it was all very “pretended I didn’t see him” and vice-versa. I sat in the shop making polite conversation with Yoda whilst thinking “arghhh…get me out of here!” I was surprised Yoda hadn’t noticed but, in fact, he had but thought the “ex” didn’t look enough like he did back then so dismissed it. “Wasn’t he really short?,” said Yoda, “He seems taller now.” I don’t fucking know…maybe he’s wearing heels! Yoda also remembered punching him back then too. Ah, crazy times..

Part of me was thinking “Oi vey! This was quarter of a century ago, so much has happened since and you’re not the same person…” and the other part of my brain was going “oh shit, I look terrible, he looks older and grizzled but still basically in shape.” And all that kind of rubbish. Seriously, this was all NUTSO thinking. I don’t really understand how things from such a long time ago can still cause such a reaction. Perhaps we’re all just a collection of our past insecurities and mistakes.

It was quite funny now that I think about it….I had assumed he would have left the shop before us. But our order was ready super-quick and we had to pass right in front of him as we left. Arghhh! But yeah, think of what you don’t want to happen and it always happens! I’m giggling a bit now as I type this.

As we caught the first bus back to whence we came, Yoda said “you’re not really upset about it are you?” and I replied “No, of course not, it was just unexpected and it just makes you re-live and re-think things, that’s all.” Then it became a bit of a joke “You’re not gonna go home and want to watch ‘Of Human Bondage’ are you?” The ex was very much like the lead character in that movie and so had been nicknamed as such many years ago. But no, I didn’t need to do that…I just needed to do a bit of a flashback for a while and verbalise it. And yeah, just had to think about what I’ve done in the last 25 years and the people I’ve touched and the mega-travelling I’ve done and the friends I’ve made. In a way, it was good because occasionally you need to remember how many fantastic things have happened in your life and how many opportunities you’ve had…it is very easy to forget the breaks you’ve had and only concentrate on the bad times. A bit of a mental and verbal gratitude journal happened.

Eventually the conversation moved on to other things and we continued on our merry way. I thought “I really want to write a blog entry about this but all I seem to write about is Swedish pop thesedays!” But screw it, it deserves a blog entry.

The past, past, well now let me tell you about the past
The past is filled with silent joys and broken toys,
laughing girls and teasing boys,
Was I ever in love? I called it love – I mean, it felt like love,
There were moments when, well, there were moments when….

Stockholm Tonight

If you’re ever planning to visit Stockholm, you must go during the summer. The city is more beautiful than you could imagine and the citizens come to life for just a few short months each year. In fact, everyone goes just a little crazy because they know they only have this short time to fully live in the sun before the winter and the short days and long, cold nights return.

Stockholm, by night, in summer is magical. A walk through the old town and around Stockholm harbour at night is something you’ll never forget.

Swedish singer Peter Jöback’s song “Stockholm Tonight” (or “Stockholm By Night” if you prefer) captures a just a small part of the magic. My best friend Yoda did this wonderful English translation of the song for his website, Twist In The Dark, and it includes links explaining all the places and people mentioned in the song.

Oh, did I mention just a few weeks ago I was in Stockholm? It was summer. It was beautiful. And I walked around the city at night, I had my own “Stockholm Tonight” experiences.

It’s a love song to a city I dearly love.

I hang up and run out without locking the door
I’m on Götgatan [a street on Södermalm]
The wind always seems to be blowing here by Skatteskrapan
It feels as if the whole sky is falling down

I hurry further northward through the night
I remember that it was here at Medborgarplatsen
That Anna Lindh gave her last speech
It was September 2003

The same year we met sometime at Gondolen
Then we saw each other again and I yearned so
There was something in the air that autumn
There was fog and light and the voices

I see the grime and the darkness in Gamla Stan
Sense the scent of fear from Stureplan
And I just want to cry
So beautiful is Stockholm tonight

And I walk along Skeppsbron and lean into the wind
It seems to rain now, I dry my cheek
And the boats lie in the water
I suppose that they long to get away from here

I am at Norrmalmstorg, I think about Clark Olofsson
So many chances, why didn’t he ever take any of them?
And the same thing with me, it is so easy to stay behind
So hard to go

And I remember that I saw you at Bern’s Terrace
And I thought about everything I could have had
And I thought about the life I had lived and I regret most of it
How did it get like this?

I see Strandvägen stretching ahead, satisfied and happy
I see the blue lights flicker atop Södermalm
I just want to cry
So beautiful is Stockholm tonight

I see the grime and the darkness in Gamla Stan
Sense the scent of fear from Stureplan
And I just want to cry
So beautiful is Stockholm tonight

And you finally rang and I rushed out
All the years, all the dreams about happy endings
Is it finally going to happen in Stockholm tonight?

In Riche, Lilla Baren is full and cosy
And I feel a hand take hold of my arm
And I just want to cry
So beautiful is life tonight

I see the grime and the darkness in Gamla Stan
Sense the scent of fear from Stureplan
And I just want to cry
So beautiful is Stockholm tonight

I see Strandvägen stretching ahead, satisfied and happy
I see the blue lights flicker atop Södermalm
I just want to cry
So beautiful is Stockholm tonight

Tonight

Tonight

Up, up and away with TAA the friendly, friendly way

Oh, I’m on a roll with these TV commercials from my childhood. It seems like every few months someone is adding something new to Youtube from my past that just blows me away. And, of course, I could virtually remember the lyrics word for word even though it’s been decades since I’ve seen the ad. Talk about advertising brainwashing you!

This advert features my favourite plane of all time – the Boeing 727. My god it was a sexy beast. Yet to think my Dad tried to take me on one (when it was on the ground – we had a friend who worked at the airport) when I was 7 years old and I screamed and screamed and screamed hysterically until they took me off. I was a very nervous, wimpy child. I was absolutely terrified the 727 would take off. Nowadays,  of course, I’d be BEGGING them to take off!

Still, is this advert a classic or what????????????????????????

Gorgeous TAA 727-200

Amoco in your machine!

I have this as a cardboard 7″ single. Yes I do, I really do. Played havoc with my record player back in the early 70s – the needle used to jump up and down. I’m not sure cardboard was such a good material to make records from. Ah yes, it was called a flexi-disc. I must have been about 10 when I got this. A TV advert as a record. Well, there you go…seems like you need a bit of Amoco in your machine. After all, nice clean petrol must be better!

Australia Day 2011

We had a terrific Australia Day this year with a bunch of friends at the Huntsbury hotel. It could have been a disaster since we’d organised for the day to be at our regular haunt, the Lewisham Hotel. Yoda and I had to go to IKEA first thing in the morning and, with luck and some amazing public transport connections, we managed to get to the Lewisham way ahead of the 1pm scheduled start time.

Only to find it was closed. You can’t imagine a hotel being closed on a day when everyone wants to drink and celebrate but you probably can’t imagine a hotel like the Lewisham!

I had to madly sign into the net via my mobile and send group text messages to everyone to let them know of the change of plans. We discussed which pub we should go to instead and the Huntsbury seemed the logical choice since it was only 10 minutes walk and most of our group knew where it was.

The two most difficult people to get a hold of were the two who the get together had been organised for – Cathy, who was coming down from Newcastle for the day and Donna. Donna had her mobile phone switched off (arghhh!) and Cathy didn’t hear hers.

We also worried about Big Dave since isn’t contactable and we didn’t know what time (if any) he would show up. Luckily that problem was solved when he turned up exactly at 1pm while we were in the middle of the chaos. I decided we needed to leave a sign on the pub door for Cathy & Donna to tell them where we were…but there was no sticky tape. We had pen & paper but no sticky tape.

I quickly trundled down to the nearby servo and all they had was electrical tape. It would have to do. We threw together a sign for anyone who we hadn’t been able to contact and bit off lengths of electrical tape to stick it to the Lewisham’s door!

Then we marched down in the humidity to the Huntsbury. Thank god they were air conditioned! These last-minute change of plan things can either go really bad or really well. Luckily, the day went brilliantly. Everyone managed to get there – and Cathy & Donna did see our sign on the Lewisham’s door. God knows what the pub manager thought when he arrived at 3pm (when the Lewisham was finally due to open!)

In the end, it didn’t matter….even baby Liam (who was the star of the day) caused an issue when he arrived since he wasn’t allowed in the main bar of the pub. We promptly picked up our stuff and moved en masse tot he bistro area and put a couple of tables together to accommodate our large group.

Throughout the day people kept turning up…James arrived from his trip to Canberra, Vanessa, Judy & Greg and, of course, baby Liam along with Mum & Dad! It was a really fun day and a great way to stay out of the heat and humidity!

There was a man there (see video) with a rather controversial T-Shirt. I just had to take a photo of it. It said “This is Australia. We eat meat, we drink beer and we speak fuckin’ English!” Ooh, a tad racist but he didn’t seem to be causing any trouble. Just another local I suspect!

Tonight, I’ve finally thrown together a quick slide show/video of pics of the day. The quality of the photos is awful because most were taken using the tragic camera on my Nokia e63. And because they were taken into the light, half the faces are in shadow. Oh well, that’s life – enjoy the vid!

(if it doesn’t play in this window, just click on it and watch it on Youtube)

I’m over putting things together

Everything has to be assembled thesedays. Self assembly is the way of the lord. Since I moved it has been about putting crap together – crap from Officeworks, Fantastic Furniture and, naturally, IKEA. I’m not really wanting to see an Allen key again.

IKEA's Evil Instrument

I’m over it. Majorly. Why can’t you just add water and these things just pop up and assemble themselves?

I’m flatpacked to buggery. And I still have 8 IKEA Benno CD towers to do.

This weekend has been about the big blue Billy bookcase for Yoda’s room and then the monolithic “Expedit”. That took two of us a couple of hours of sweat, sore knees and general exhaustion. Not to mention major confusion. IKEA’s instructions are all drawings and arrows. Which mean mostly nothing. We had to consult the interweb and look at videos of way-too-clever handymen putting these things together in 2 minutes. Bastards!

We put our own video together of the Expedit assembly – with photos taken using the crapulent camera on my Nokia e63. If only the real life process was as quick as the bloody video!

I HATE SELF-ASSEMBLY!!!

Moving Day….again

Moving Day

…or perhaps I should say “Moving Day 2011….#1 of 4”  Because there’ll be 3 more moving days over the next few months to finally get everything into place.

The good news is that I am finally sleeping on a real bed after suffering a series of inflatable mattresses over the last 6 months. I say a “series” because there were 4 in all. Starting off with quite expensive down to absolute cheapest. The first three failed when they developed punctures…only the fourth survived (and it was the cheapest one!)  All were uncomfortable.

Stage 1 of moving took the removal guys 4 1/2 hours and that’s with Yoda & I helping. We didn’t expect to have to do that but we’d majorly underestimated the time this first move was going to take. And as the hours ticked by, the cost kept increasing. So we pitched in and did what we could. Of course, it began to rain half way through the move. It was just that kind of day.

After a brief lunch and a visit to the $2 shop to get some of those accoutrements you always forget you’re going to need immediately you move into a new flat…it was time to get stuck into cleaning the shower and bath. If moving is something I hate, cleaning bathrooms is something I loathe. The lesbians who rented the flat before didn’t do a particularly thorough job cleaning the place when they left so it was time to get out the cleaning chemicals and go wild.

By the end of the day I had a clean shower and bath…the rest of the bathroom and Yoda’s ensuite would have to wait for the weekend. I was absolutely knackered. After having about 4 hours sleep the night before and being up for a 6am start…well, let’s just say I don’t have the same energy I did when I was 18! In fact, come to think of it, I don’t think I had that energy when I was 18 either!

Last Sunday was all about more cleaning of bathrooms and kitchen cupboards. The Spray & Wipe almost asphyxiated me. And there’s still so much more cleaning and organising to do in the next few weeks. Months even!

These are my sworn enemies!

In positive developments, there are now curtains of sorts in 2 of the rooms. Via Spotlight and Bunnings Warehouse and about 10 bus trips! The curtain rod sort of bows in the middle but it’s holding and that’s all we can ask.

As of last night, there is an internet connection! Yay! I changed providers and now have ADSL2 which is soooo much faster than 1.5mb ADSL. And no off peak/peak restrictions either!

The new Bosch washing machine was delivered effortlessly by Appliances OnLine and is fantastic. How wonderful it is not to have to traverse a flight of stairs and have to go outside into a car park every time you need to do a load of washing. The Bosch even tells me how long each load  is going to take. Can’t say fairer than that!

A friend from overseas is going to be staying for a couple of weeks next month and will be acting as “inspector” of the new flat. So we’re on a deadline to get the place looking vaguely organised. There’s still a couple of things that have to be ordered from IKEA before we can do this. And some assembling of course. Ergghhh!

I reckon it will take a good six months to have the place 100% as it should be…remembering that during the week, after work, I’m usually too stuffed to want to start on being a “happy homemaker” so it’s all down to the weekends.

If only there was a magic cleaning and organising fairy.

If only.