13 October 2008

"welcome to my favourites"

Well, I've had a pretty full-on couple of weeks. It's been a real rollercoaster ride: the highs have been really high and the lows have been major catastrophes. I'm glad things are starting to calm down now.

Alright, where do I start?

* * * * * *

When my friend Janet visited a couple of weekends ago, we talked a little bit about fixing up one of the rooms at home. The room at the top of the stairs was basically a return desk, with random junk underneath and random cleaning products on top. (Kind of an ironic combination, now that I think about it.) Janet and I talked about clearing that room and she suggested turning it into a lounge room of some sort.

The first thing to do was to find a cupboard to put all the junk in. I found a pantry that doesn't quite fit in the room properly, but I've since had that moved into the spare bedroom and I'm slowly filling it up. The empty landing has been filled with a sofa bed and a coffee table - so I've now lost my Ikea virginity - and I've moved the TV, the Wii and a DVD player out there as well. It's all starting to take shape.

In something of a strange coincidence, just as I'd finished clearing the room, we got a knock on the front door from an art student who had some paintings to show off. He and I got to talking and I showed him the room that I was renovating. I ended up buying two paintings of Mediterranean landscapes, and he's since been back to frame them. The room itself is white walls with black furniture, but the paintings give the room a bit of colour. I've got a few more ideas about that, but I've got to move on to the spare bedroom now and put things away.

Eventually, I'll get back to my own room. It used to be in quite a state, but now it's not only in a state but also looking a bit bare without the TV.

* * * * * *

My birthday has just come and gone. I've just turned 29 for the third time. :)

Saturday had all the makings of a terribly depressing birthday. A friend of a friend wants to sell a bicycle, and I took it for a ride in the morning, but I'm still not sure about buying it. I'm going to take it to work on Wednesday (and hopefully on Thursday as well), which is really what I want a new bike for. I did a bit of shopping, but save for a few details for my new lounge room, I didn't really buy anything.

I'd been at great pains all day to find someone to celebrate my birthday with; pretty much everyone I know was already doing something. My family back home called me on Skype, and when that was done, it was nearly 20:00 and I still had nothing fun to do and no company to do it with. I gave up and headed down to the pub.

As pubs go, the Mawson Lakes Hotel is pretty upmarket. Aside the poker machines at one end and the sports bar at the other, it's a pretty classy establishment. I've gone there to dine many times, but I've not been there much for a drink. For my birthday, I decided to to both, treating myself to a steak and a glass of shiraz, and then staying on for a beer or two.

It worked out okay as well. I just wanted to buy a few people a few drinks, and although it took a while for people to figure out that I was just celebrating my birthday by throwing money around in exchange for alcohol, we all understood each other in the end. In fact, I even got a few free pints out of it myself. When the sports bar shut, those of us who were left moved to the far classier end of the bar, where a wedding party had moved in. It was nearly 02:00 the next morning when things quieted down.

When I got up the next morning, reading the news and checking my email as I often do over breakfast, I got a whole slew of emails from YouTube. A couple of weeks ago, I put up a clip from Newstopia to commemorate its return for a third season. It turned out that a couple of blogs in the USA and Canada had picked it up, and thousands of people had clicked through and watched it. I've had a few dozen comments in the last two days, and several people were so impressed that they subscribed to my channel on the spot. About 150 have rated it, and about as many again have added it to their favourites. As I write this, it's one of the top 50 videos in Australia, and I'm currently one of the hundred most popular Australian directors on YouTube. I love surprises, sure, but this really came out of the blue. I've got a few more videos to work on, and if anything's going to get me to make the time to do them, that might just be it.

The only problem was that I didn't end up going for a bike ride that I'd planned to do that afternoon. It was a bit hot and stuffy that day, and I was valiantly fighting off a headache. This is what happens when I don't drink enough water - though I don't wonder whether the big night before had anything to do with it, of course.

* * * * * *

I've written a fair bit over the past few months, albeit rather obtusely, about finally getting into a relationship again, and I've got good news and bad news on that front.

The young lady in question works near where I work, and over the past six months or so, we've sort of gotten to chatting a bit over the counter. (She can't stop to chat very much while she's at work, so I've had to learn how to keep my conversations under a minute.) She's been very nice to me, but we haven't really had a chance to get to know each other. Eventually, I asked her out for a cup of coffee, and we've caught up on occasion after work, but that was about it.

On the long weekend, she and some other relatives were taking a cousin out for his 18th birthday, and she invited me to come along. It's a good sign for me that on the two occasions I've seen her socially, I've met relatives on either side of her family. We all headed off in search of drinking and dancing, and although she and I got separated from the rest of the group, there are plenty of places to party in the city. Things were going really well - for a while.

As we moved from one club to the next, it occurred to me that, as it is so often wont to do, the alcohol was starting to push things out of control. I'd driven into the city and had been drinking lots of water, so that I could sober up fast when it was time to leave. As it happened, I needed to be sober far more urgently than I'd expected. I won't go into the gory details in such a public forum as this: suffice to say that nothing really happened, but largely because of my intervention. I was going to take her home to make sure she was all right - and nothing more, before you ask - but she redirected me to a friend's place and I dropped her off there.

I was out and about the next day, but I thought I'd drop in to see how she was doing, since it wasn't far out of the way. It turned out that the place I dropped her was actually - gasp! - her boyfriend's place. He didn't know anything about me, and I didn't know anything about him, so it was all a bit delicate. I didn't talk much, but I had to get out of there before anyone made an even bigger fool out of me.

I was pretty upset that day. I'd had such a good night, and I'd had my hopes built up so much, that it was devastating to have them all crash down in such awkward circumstances. I've spoken privately to choice members of my family and friends, and that calmed me down a lot. I needed a few days to process things, and to take my mind off it, before I talked to her again.

When I called her up on Tuesday, she and I were able to talk frankly about what had happened. She didn't want to be more than friends and apologised if that hadn't been clearer earlier. In return, although I had had the wrong idea about us (particuarly on the night), I now know that she's already attached to someone else, and I needed to assure them both that I'm not going to be any threat to their relationship whatsoever. In that sense, as my brother had pointed out to me, the whole thing may have been a lucky escape; I might have gone on a lot longer, hoping falsely and harbouring that wrong idea.

It was refreshing to be able to talk about such grave misunderstandings as mature adults. I haven't always been lucky enough to have that around me - as anyone who has known me long enough to remember either the last job I had or the last relationship I was in will attest. Furthermore, where relationships are concerned, stealing someone else's partner is completely out of the question for me: I've been on the receiving end of that myself, and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone else. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about trusting her, but then again, I wasn't sure how much she'd want to trust me either. Our little chat last week has all but convinced me entirely that that won't be an issue for us.

The bottom line is pretty simple. The good news is that we still want to be friends and still think we can make it happen. The bad news is that I still don't have a girlfriend. That said, I've still got plenty of chips left on the stack, and I'm not afraid to ante up and start playing all over again.

* * * * * *

It's weird. In net terms, I don't feel as though I've gained a lot in these past few weeks. Yet, I can't help but feel a sense of achievement, that things have changed now and changed for the better. There are still many things to be done, but it's been a long time since I've wanted to do them with this level of vigour.

I am tired but overstimulated. When this passes, I will just be able to take everything in and appreciate the way it has become. I can hope.

12 October 2008

Video: Newstopia explains the Reserve Bank

At the start of the year, I cut together a sketch from Newstopia about the Reserve Bank of Australia. With the show back on TV for a third season, I've finally put the video I made on YouTube.

I know I don't own the copyright to this, but there are plenty of other Newstopia clips out there, and SBS doesn't seem to mind. (Personally, I think they need all the publicity they can get for this show - but that's not to say they don't deserve it.)

I've gotten a pretty good response to this already, especially since a couple of liberal blogs picked it up. It's also been copied already, but if it wasn't mine to begin with, I don't think I'll kick up too much of a fuss.