A few days ago, I noticed that my fingernails were getting kind of long. It's sometimes useful to have long fingernails, like if you're scratching a little mark off the front of your kitchen cupboards. But if you're a boy, it's sometimes not considered proper. So I thought, "What will I do about this fingernail issue? Hmmmmm. I know – I'll do nothing." My decision was based on laziness more than anything else.
So I did nothing for a while, but then something unfortunate happened. One of my nails broke, and the crack in the nail went down beyond the point where it joins onto the skin. It was kind of painful when I put any pressure on it, and during the course of a day it was kind of impossible to avoid getting the broken nail caught on things, thus putting it out of alignment with the finger and making it hurt. So I got out my nail clippers and sat on the floor, with a large book underneath my hands so that I could catch the clippings.
I cut the nails on my right hand first, starting with the thumb because that was the biggest. Then I moved on to the left hand. Pretty soon, all my fingernails were short. I emptied the nail-clippings into the bin. The one that had been broken was still not looking right, but at least it was less likely to get caught on things because there was less broken-bit sticking out. I had originally intended to clip my toenails as well, but I guess I got sidetracked after the whole fingernail thing and I forgot. So my toenails are still kind of long, but it's okay – no one will notice that, because I always wear shoes.
Tonight I did something that I've never done before – I went to see a new low-budget musical. It was a local production called After The Beep, and I went to see it at the theatre called "Chapel Off Chapel". This musical was so modest in scale that it only had two performers on stage, plus one piano-player in the background. But it was very good – the two actors were excellent and their singing was nice. They did songs mixed in with the spoken words, and the piano-player did all the backing-music.
Melissa Langton and Matt Hetherington
It was the story of these two people who have a relationship and then they break up. The man walks out and he goes to stay with his mother, avoiding all attempts at communication. The lady goes to some sort of group-therapy sessions. The man tries to forget his troubles by having a "boys' night out". A long time passes and then the two people run into eachother at a friend's wedding and it's really awkward – they have another argument and then that's the end. It's a sad ending. This is kind of a typical break-up story – there are no unexpected twists or turns in the plot, it's just a thing where the characters talk about how they're feeling so sad, and sometimes they lie and say "I'm happy! Everything's fine!" but we can tell that they're lying.
I suspect most of the audience would have been thinking, "That's almost just like what happened to me." Maybe some of the younger audience members would have been thinking "I hope that never happens to my relationship," and some of the older ones would have been thinking "It didn't happen like that in my day." As for me, when I wasn't trying to imagine what sort of drum-track would go with the piano, I was thinking "Human beings are so screwed up in the head. I don't understand them. If the guy still loves her, why doesn't he go back to her? Or maybe he really doesn't want to see her again. But if that's the case, then why is he so sad about the break-up?" I didn't understand the motivations behind the character's actions. But the music was great – I especially liked that slow song where the guy sits by the river and reflects on his lonely situation, and then we cut to the woman who is reflecting in a similar way as she sits by the window. The fast songs were good too, but they sounded like they could do with some extra instruments.
I'm a member of a Pink Floyd tribute band, and now we are practising twice a week. In between practices, I generally put a lot of work into learning Pink Floyd songs, writing down the chords and changing the settings on my keyboard so that I can get the correct sounds for each song with a couple of button pushes. It's a lot of work, and I don't get paid for it, but sometimes it pays off in other ways. Like, at out last band practice, the singer was saying that I should highlight the bits on the printed lyrics where I have to join in on the backing vocals. I replied that it wouldn't be much use doing that, because I don't read the lyrics while I'm playing keyboard – I'm too busy reading chords.
At this the singer said, in a humourous way, "Well get your act together, Stephen!" Then he went out of the room to attend to some business outside.
The bass-player, not sure if he had heard correctly, asked me, "Stephen, did Vincent just tell you to get your act together?" The look on his face was like, he couldn't believe it.
I replied, into the mic, "Yes, but he was only joking."
And the bass-player relaxed. But the implication was, that it wouldn't be right for Vincent to tell me to get my act together, because of all the band-members, I'm the one who's most well organized. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's nice to think that the bass-player would be so incredulous at Vincent making such a comment, even if it was just a misunderstanding. That's the kind of thing that makes it worthwhile.
Today, before I went to the theatre, I worked on my painting for a couple of hours and concentrated on the skin-tones of the girl's head and arms.
Lately, when I try to play an audio CD in my computer, the CD drive starts making a funny noise and then the music stops and starts. But it seems to have no trouble with data CDs, or making copies of CDs. Mmmmm I don't know what's the matter with it.
It's been a boring sort of week, but last Saturday I went to a special kind of event – I went to Federation Square because I heard there was going to be a free dance lesson (the last of its kind) about disco. So I thought, "This will be good – if I can learn to dance in a disco style, then I can be like John Travolta in that movie 'Saturday Night Fever', and all the girls will like me." Anyway, I showed up at Federation Square and it was kind of deserted because it was raining. But there was a sign which said that the dance lesson had been moved to an indoor location. So I followed the directions and ended up in a nearby auditorium where lots of people were gathered.
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There was a lady up on the front stage who taught the disco dancing, along with her assistants. I joined the young crowd which massed together on the main dance-floor. The lady was an okay dance teacher, but some of the moves she taught were hard to remember and I had trouble with them 'cause they went so fast. And she didn't address the problem of direction – she was facing the other direction from us, so when she turned to the left we weren't sure if we should turn to our left, or her left. So there were times when the crowd were facing in different directions, and moving in different directions. During the "bus stop" move we sort of got it all together in sync, but I got dizzy with all the spinning around.
So I decided to leave the dance floor. There were people dancing all over the place – in the wings, in the aisles, even on the seats. Some of them couldn't follow all the moves correctly because they didn't have the space to move, but they were still having fun. So I figured maybe if I relax a little in my approach, I could follow just the dance moves that I feel comfortable with, and do my own thing for the rest of the time. As I moved towards the back of the room I saw people dancing a little more spaced out, and they were less synchronized but doing more vigorous dance moves in their own way.
By and by I was able to appreciate the spectacle of an auditorium full of people all doing the same dance, and become uplifted by the happy vibe in the air. I also joined in with the dance moves, but not so much with the feet, just with the arms.
A few hours later I was walking up the main shopping street in Diamond Creek. It had been raining for hours. My umbrella was damaged – one eighth of the material had broken away from the metal part. It was well after dark. The streets were deserted. I saw this pizza shop and I thought, maybe I could get something to eat because I'm hungry. I wasn't even sure if it was open – I couldn't see anyone inside. But the door opened when I pushed it so I went in. By and by someone came out to take my order.
I bought a pizza with cheese, tomato, ham, pineapple, prawns and mushrooms. While they cooked it I sat at one of the tables and read a book about how sometimes, in prisons, they put on shows and have dances to make everyone feel at ease. When the pizza was ready, the man at the counter said, "Here You Go, Champ." By that time the rain had stopped. So I didn't need to use my broken umbrella again – I was able to carry the pizza onward to my destination without getting wet, although it was sometimes a bit muddy on the dirt tracks they have around there.
Flash animation – move your mouse over the abstract shapes.
I don't usually watch that programme Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, because it's too money-oriented, but a few days ago I watched the first bit of it on tape after I taped it by accident because I forgot to change the video-clock to daylight-saving time. It's a game-show where the contestants have to answer a series of questions for money, and the questions get harder as they go along. The first few questions are easy, but on the episode I saw, the contestant was really stupid. He was asked a question like, "Which time of day is a palindrome: morning, noon, midnight or evening" and he didn't know what a palindrome was so he had to phone a friend. And later he lost out on another question, I can't remember what it was but I would've got it right. You know, I think they pick stupid contestants on purpose just so they don't have to give away much money.
When I'm in a good mood and doing active stuff in my apartment, like making a toasted sandwich, I like to listen to some break-beat dance music like the Resin Dogs, who are an Australian electronic act. They use a lot of samples and hip-hop style music – it makes me feel good 'cause I can move around with the rhythm while I'm doing other things. I've seen the Resin Dogs live a couple of times in the past – they have a drum kit on stage to make the beats sound "fat". It's fun and unchallenging, and the youth really dig it. Sometimes when they "rap", it doesn't sound so good because their voices sound too Australian, but some people like it.