My parents invited me to a barbecue at their place on Monday – it was a public holiday. My sister and her husband came too. The normal procedure for going to Mum and Dad's place is, my sister picks me up from a certain intersection in the Carlton area and gives me a lift from there. I always arrive early at the pick-up spot and spend some time walking around the Carlton back-alleys.
Here's a picture of me reaching into a broken
window on Lincoln Place – I was placing a CD
on the little shelf inside there
(it was a CD that I didn't want).
My sister took me to the parents' place, the old house which I grew up in. The main part of the house is more than a hundred years old, but it's been well maintained and re-painted. The location is in a place where there aren't many other houses around – mostly trees and empty land and stuff. The parents have a portable gas barbecue and they set it up out the back where we could cook some meat and eat it with salad on the porch.
I had a good meal and, as usual, the family were reminiscing about the past. Mum was saying that when we lived in our first Melbourne house, in Box Hill, we were in a good financial position and we should've been saving lots of money for later but instead we didn't save any money, we just spent it on this and that. It was a time when all the children were under ten – Mum couldn't remember exactly where the money went.
"Vaccinations you never used...?" quipped my brother in law.
My sister said maybe it was medical treatment for when she fractured her skull from a bicycle accident. But Mum said no, that wasn't expensive. This led us to ask my sister if the bones in her head were still lumpy.
She said, "When I get headaches, that's where it hurts."
Dad said, "Maybe the surgeon left a scalpel in there."
And my sister replied, "Well that's why I've got such a sharp mind."
Later on, we had this dessert which was extremely rich and chocolately.
I tested some midi-files on Dad's computer and I looked through my parents' photo collection for photos of myself. I've been trying to collect and scan one photo from each year I've been alive, thus building up a digital slideshow of the aging process. But at the end of the day, there is one year missing – 1992. No one took any photos of me that year. But I did a few drawings of myself that year so maybe I can use them.
It's nice to keep in touch with my folks. But the next day, I did something even more nice – I went to the Botanical Gardens to see a movie at the "Moonlight Cinema". That's where a movie is shown outdoors on a big screen and the audience sits on the ground to watch it, usually on a rug with some cushions and a picnic hamper. As the sun goes down, people talk and socialize and eat their food, waiting for the movie to begin. But unlike them, I was there alone. So I didn't talk or eat – I just watched them and took photos of them.
This woman was sitting nearby.
The movie was called "Ghost World". It's a great movie, about this girl named Enid who's just finished high-school. She talks to her friend Becky about how the world is so stupid and how she can't fit in with society because it's all crazy and illogical, but she can often have a few laughs with Becky because they think the same way. Also there's this guy named Seymour, who's older, and he likes nothing better than a bit of traditional jazz and country/blues music and he's a bit lonely. So while Enid is pretending to look for a job, she latches on to this Seymour guy because she likes him. I guess she became friends with him because he was so far removed from the usual concept of "cool" and she wanted to be non-conformist with him. But it all goes wrong, because the more friendly she got with Seymour, the more distant she became from her other friend Becky. You see, Becky was going in the other direction, becoming more conformist, finding a job and a place to live and stuff.
This movie would be enjoyed by people who feel like they don't fit in with the mainstream. A lot of young people would identify with the characters. It wouldn't be so much enjoyed by people like cheerleaders and football players who represent popularity in high-school. I liked it a lot. I could identify with what Enid was going through – when I left high-school, I didn't want to get a job either, I just wanted to hang out with misfits and losers and draw a few little cartoons, like her. You know, in the film, she goes to art classes and her teacher is one of those really pretentious stupid arty types – there were some scathing comments about the art-world, and they were pretty accurate.
It was so funny sometimes. The audience was cracking up when that mullet guy came into the shop and waved his num-chucks around – it was the way he moved and the expression on his face which made it funny. One thing I couldn't understand was, how Becky and Enid were still friends at the end, when their relationship had been steadily deteriorating and Becky had just shown Enid's personal journal to Seymour without permission. If I were Enid, I'd be pretty mad about that. She kills herself at the end.
this photo by James Penlidis
Hey, there's a photo of me in the "St Kilda Life Calendar 2003", along with hundreds of other people in the crowd scene on the inside cover. At least I think it's me – I don't usually smile like that for a photo. This calendar is given away free in a lot of St Kilda shops. I have it on my wall.
my latest flash animation – you have to move your mouse over it (and squint a bit)
There's this show called "The Daily Show: Global Edition" which is like a satire on the news. They make jokes about all the top news-stories of the week. It's good because it pushes a left-wing view, but it's not very funny – I've seen news satires done much better, like at the onion and that TV show from last year called CNNNN which was a satire of CNN – that was much more clever. But I'll still watch this "Daily Show" as long as there's nothing better on at the same time.
I've just finished the book Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein. It's about these four people who have a time/space machine and they go into a lot of parallel universes, like in that TV show Sliders, searching for a place to call home. At first they're trying to rid the world of these evil aliens who kill people, but that plot-line takes a back seat as the four characters start arguing about who's the best "captain" of the ship. And that part of the book was the best bit. Then they start going into fictional universes and meeting characters from other famous books, like the "Wizard of Oz" and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". And then towards the end the story goes completely off the rails and gets all confusing with all these characters who we're supposed to know, I think they were characters from Heinlein's other books and he just assumes we've read all his other work and we're familiar with all his other characters – mmmmmm, he should have cut off the last few chapters.
Last Friday I went to "Revolver Upstairs" to see the band The Grand Silent System. They are my favourite band in the whole world. If you ask me to describe their music, I couldn't really do it, except to say that it gets loud and heavy sometimes – and soft and beautiful at other times – and it has flute and clarinet. It doesn't fit into any category – they've invented their own style. On this night, the weather was very hot and humid but they played brilliantly because they always do.
This Wednesday I went to the karaoke and sang the Dandy Warhols song "Bohemian Like You". But I screwed it up – I sang it an octave too high, so towards the end my voice was so strained it became damaged and I couldn't finish properly. Later on that night, I rescued some of my singing reputation by doing another song, it was a nice gentle one called "1979" by the Smashing Pumpkins and I didn't mess up on that one.