Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 43: candyland

My back is sore from the sofa bed & my mouth tastes like something died in it but other than that I feel fine. No passion pop hangover!

AB & I were both woken up by what sounded like a cat being thrown into a wall, and then again later by some crazy loud owl hoots. What kind of menagerie does Tegan live in!?

We all had the giggles this morning, looking at pictures from the night before. My voice was lower than usual (for my b'ham peeps: "I'm really a man...") from being around smokers all night, and I think Lauren was still a little drunk - we could not stop laughing.

AB, Tegan, Lauren & I walked to a cute little cafe for breakfast, where we talked about office politics & Tegan's impending music stardom. Seriously, check out the Voltaire Twins so you can be all hipster cool & say you were a fan before they got big.

Voltaire Twins in concert

Fuled by coffee, eggs, toast & beans (very common for brekkie here, don't judge), I went straight to the blue room to continue the bump out of Llamaland.

Llamaland was an art installation & the only way to really describe it is: Tim Burton meets Dr Seuss meets Alice in Wonderland on crack & doused in purple. Doll bodies with legs for heads & doll heads with a leg for a body tumble off a teapot pouring sugar onto the astro-turf floor. Mannequin heads in cages & a mannequin bartender dressed as a circus ringleader serving up sweets & lollies that spill out between dissasembled robots. Toys & candy & styrofoam bubbles coating a world made from precariously placed monocromatic dishwashers, TVs, refrigerators, and copiers. For kids? Maybe. Creepy & kitschy & fun? Absolutely.

the first installation of Llamaland - not exactly what ours was like, but similar

Kat, Jenna, Kath, Rose (the artist) & I spent the day elbow-deep in sugar, pulling up fake grass, unscrewing purple household appliances (which were real, and really heavy), and ungluing & boxing toy parts, all to an appropos soundtrack of Tom Waits. Not a bad day, actually.

When we'd gotten most of it dissasembled & packed up & mostly just had big heavy man-jobs left, we knocked off & met the guys at William street for a beer. Rose brought her dog -oh I want a dog!- and we were all so exhausted that conversation was pretty minimal. Still good company though; I really like the people I've been working with. Despite the fact that AB will be in Canada, I would do this job again next year if they'd get me a visa. Just putting that put there... :)

Jason was awesome & drove me home again so I wouldn't have to take the bus. When I got in, the TV was on & I know The Scot isn't keen on conversations while he's watching TV, so I just said hi & quietly made myself a snack in the kitchen. After a few minutes, I realized they were watching Gossip Girl & I was like vomit! So disappointing! But I didn't say anything. Then, a few minutes later AB came into the kitchen to talk to me & I realized The Scot wasn't even home! I couldn't see the couch from the kitchen so I was assuming he was there! AB had even made some comments but I didn't respond bc I thought she was talking to him. She just thought I was in a bad mood & didn't want to talk. So funny. I'm still grossed out that she watches it (though she said its bc its so bad that its funny & its totally a guilty pleasure for when The Scot's not around), but I'm super relieved its not something they both watch seriously. We had a good laugh over that.

When The Scot came home, silly from an office function, we watched Glee & I tried to blog but I was just too tired. Ahh bedtime.

Today I am so happy & grateful for:
~ this job
~ my health & strength
~ the acceptance of the crew & kindness of new friends
~ not having to watch Gossip Girl! :)
Xo! n.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 42: Pash Attack!!

(**this post has been edited on Dec. 7, in a treaty of peace between two nations)

Thank God The Scot set the coffee maker to brew automatically bc I needed it this morning. AB & I took the train in (my first time on the perth train) & our friend Uta & her boyfriend just happened to get on at the next stop. AB texted them "I can see you. We're just down at the end" and we watched them read it with very confused faces til AB wrote back "...of the train" & they finally spotted us laughing. They had thought it was some cryptic philosophical message! So funny.

The frenchies were already half set up when I got there (ha ha payback for yesterday!) so I lent a hand & then enjoyed THE most delicious iced coffee EVER. Australian iced coffee is espresso & ice cream! Oh so yummy.

the frenchies & their "museum"

Its the last day of the festival & everyone is a bit exhausted & crazy; the conversations over radio are inappropriate and hilarious. Because of my earpiece, I look like an insane person sitting & giggling at nothing. :)

But despite the good start to my day, things unravelled pretty quickly.  I felt like everything between the frenchies and me was a misunderstanding or an argument; I would tell them what needed to be done & five minutes later they'd be doing the opposite & asking to speak to J.  It's unfortunate bc not only are they a tough group to deal with for anyone, I started with them on my first day with the festival, my second day in Perth, so I didn't feel I had much authority or even the knoweldge to execute their requests even if I had had the auhority. So by this point, while they appreciate my help, they don't exactly treat me with the respect I deserve.

They were grumpy, I was really irritated with them, we weren't communicating, I was tired, no one was in the office so I couldn't get my lunch or my money & I was starving -- and we all know how awful I am when I'm tired & hungry.  for reals.  It was taking all my energy to stay civil, professional, and composed.  Let's just leave it at it was a bad afternoon.

Finally, J showed up, the frenchies went to lunch, lovely Jenna came to help me strike, and it wasn't fun but we got it done.  After everything was struck & stored, we moved over to city within a city & started taking apart louise's mongolian urte. Some of the vollies were really getting under my skin; staff was in we're-here-til-this-gets-done work mode & they were in i-can-leave-whenever-i-want social hour mode. Don't get me wrong, they were very helpful, but I just wasn't in the mood for joking around; I wanted to get shit done so we could join the already-swinging closing party in the office.

Jenna (she obviously said something i found really funny at the bbq)

After that, I headed to the Blue Room to move Holiday's heavy as hell real airplane chairs & load them into the ute (pickup truck). At one point, I lifted one side by myself & Sean said "whoa! I didn't think you'd be able to lift that alone - that's the American coming out." And I, cheesy as ever, said "yeah I got the bald eagle in me" but really I was just tired & hungry & wanted to be done with it. But at least by that point, I was with people that felt the same & we got half the chairs loaded in half an hour.

J told me to knock off & take the vollies back to the office for the party, which was great but made me feel obligated to stick with them. It took almost an hour for them to grab some food (I had no money of my own but Jenna asked me to get her some hot chips & I did steal a few to keep me from imploding) and I was trying my very best to be patient as one wandered around saying "hmm what do I want..." (insert rolled eyes & hunger pangs)

Finally dragged into the party, changed, grabbed a mojito & my food from the fridge, saw AB, The Scot and everyone, and felt instantly better.

Two of the girls who were my vollies during the week (and were great) brought me a present - passion pop. Its the equivalent of boones farm, zima, or wine coolers, what you drink in uni, except with more alcohol & bubbly! All night, everyone was like, oh now you're really Australian! and, you're gonna regret that tomorrow... I ended up only drinking it til they left (sorry girls!); I knew I'd have to work tomorrow & I didn't want to risk a hangover.

my vollies Amiee & Emily, and my pasison pop

I spent some time talking to Sean, who works crew but is also an actor, and just had a baby. Its really nice talking to people about acting outside of LA. They're not judgemental and they understand doing it for the love of it rather than for money or fame. We had a really nice conversation.

After he left, Dan waved me over & I sat between him & Jason (crew), presumably so they could take the piss out of me, which is exactly what they did all night. But I did it right back so it was hell fun. Dan kept trying to dig up a scandal, asking who my favorite dutchie was & I would just smile all sticky-sweet & say, I'm sitting right next to him. We talked about America, Australia, Holland; I gave them cootie shots and slapped them around a bit when they got cheeky. They're both the type of guys who love to get a rise out of someone, but underneath their jerkface demeanors (and Dan's im-just-being-honest rudeness), they're good guys & I had a really fun time hanging out with them.

Dan & Staya (AB's & Lauren's Dutchie crush)

The last vollie standing was Shawn, who is really nice but really quite "special" and once he's cornered you into a conversation, you'd better get comfortable bc you're gonna be there for a while. His favorite topic is religion; if you don't believe in God or do believe but don't go to church or have permarital sex or do anything else catholics disagree with, he'll tell you, with a huge grin & a laugh, "you're going to hell ten times over! But I'll pray for your soul." yeah. Thanks, Shawn. As you can probably guess, it gets pretty old, pretty quick. He'd been hovering around me all day & by the party I was seriously trying to dodge him. He kept singing "oh Nikki you're so pretty, you don't understand" but he wasn't mimicing the Toni Basil song, he thought he'd just made it up. I don't mean to be high school about it but omg sooooo embarrassing. And awkward. And seriously, what do you say to that? By the end of the night I was just ignoring him & Dan & Jason were cracking up.

me & volley Shawn

AB stole my camera & got some great shots, including a few buttcracks - boys, pull your pants up! - and fantastic silly portraits of just about everyone there. Good work, little girl!

Jason & I had a really interesting conversation about the aboriginal culture & why there's such a racism problem here. In general, aussies are more racist than Americans & their civil rights movement is way behind ours. They're a younger country too, which explains a little of it. It keeps coming up in conversation (maybe that's my fault) & he gave the best explanation I've heard yet.

Jason & me

Around bumble stumble in the morning, AB, Tegan & Lauren ran out to pick up some pizza (during which time the Dutchies went crazy over a Paul Simon song - hilarious), and when they got back, Lauren & I opened up the dance floor doing interpretive dance, the robot, jumping around. We did NOT care that we looked like idiots.  All the Dutchies (except Dan, he's too cool for school) joined us and they were dancing even weirder than we were!  Hansel* kept pulling me over to dance with him but I kept wriggling away - I'm dancing with Lauren, yo! (Plus, to be honest, he was a little stinky.)  Man, I love me some tipsy dance parties!

I was still going strong when the dutchies started saying goodbyes; they had to catch a plane at 7am & I'm not even going to tell you what ridiculous time it was by this point. I gave the requisite hugs & cheek kisses to all of them, said bye, and resumed dancing, when suddenly Hansel came beelining back in, grabbed my head, and placed a big fat smacker on my lips! Aack!! Right in front of everyone, very abruptly, very awkwardly. Jason was standing right next to me & he said my face was priceless - pure terror. Hansel then picked me up, spun me around, set me down & attacked my face again. Not being able to get through the barrier of my tightly closed lips, he sorta gnawed my bottom lip for a second & then gave up, hugged me goodnight & left. Yikes. Then he actually came back again (what kind of signals does a girl have to give?!?); I looked at him, said "did you forget something" as I took a sip of my drink, and quickly ducked out of the room. That seemed to do the trick; he didn't try again.  kissed me!

Tegan & one of the Dutchies

Now, don't get me wrong, he was a nice, attractive guy, but - boys let this be a lesson - that was the worst way to pash a girl, ever! Without even having had a conversation with her all night, in the middle of all your friends, armpits a-blazing, coming at her like a grizzly bear. No thank you.

But hell, it was pretty funny for everyone else. :)

So Lauren got her wish, I kissed a Dutch boy. Sort of. I found out later that not only did Kat tell Hansel that one of the girls had a crush on him (actually Kat had the crush!) and Jason & Dan were egging him on all night, but when Lauren hugged him goodnight she whispered, you should kiss Nikki. Traitors!! Poor guy probably thought I was just pining away for a big wet smacker. Sheesh.

Then After the laughter from the face mauling incident died down, we reckoned it was time to go. Lauren & I still wanted to go out but by this time am, nothing was open! Jason very kindly gave all us girls a ride to Tegans house, where we snacked on carrots, laughed about the nights events, and finally collapsed on the pullout sofa bed.

(*names have been changed & details have been edited to protect the forgiven)

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ shenanigans
~ self-respect
~ hilarious boys
~ cameras
~ my last day working with the frenchies

Xo! n.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 41: shake it like a polaroid picture

Soooo tired. Pushed the snooze button about 8 times, got up, checked the bus schedule & went back to bed for just a bit longer. I was paranoid about missing the bus again but I still ended up getting to work 20 mins early AND about an hour & a half before my frenchies arrived. Grrrrr. Yaaaawn.


On top of that, apparently, last night, someone stole the tie that held the curtain back on the frenchies stage & its all blown over the front of the strings & the frame. I can't reach it to get it back to where it should be & no one else is here to watch the space while I go get a chair to stand on. No ones on headset so I'm assuming all the other spaces are locked so I can't fetch a ladder either. AND the wind is crazy & keeps knocking everything I just put up back down again, right in the middle of a pedestrian walkway. I don't have enough sandbags to weigh everything down. I am so frustrated & irritated it is not even funny.

A punk kid with a video camera just came over & filmed me, asking what frequency our radios were on. Uh yeah, like I'm gonna give you that information so you can mess with us. Try again.

My vollies were running late & when the frenchies finally got here, they were like, oh are we late? Ha. Ha. And since I had to wait for them to arrive to set up half their stuff, they weren't ready by the time they were scheduled AND they had a group of sponsors there that had to wait til they were ready. Ugh.

Then there was a big fuss over their photo paper supply - AB reckons there's no way they possibly went through it all; the numbers don't match up. The frenchies insist they did. I'm in the middle.

Its noon & I'm grouchy & exhausted.

the way i'm feeling- grrrr.  (from

On my 5 min lunch break, I checked my new bank account & it actually lifted my cloud a bit! I'm still not sure of my hourly rate, but let's just say I was paid more for one week of work than I am for two back home. Granted, that "one week" involved 8 days of full hours but still... That & the cheap, delicious pumpkin pie (savory, like a quiche) I had for lunch made me feel a lot better.

Time to quit complaining.

The rest of the day went pretty well, though I was continually fighting my irritation at the frenchies standing around smoking instead of taking pictures.

There's a 20 something french guy who comes by & just hangs out every day. I tried to talk to him in french the first day he showed up but since then he never talks to me. I assumed he didn't speak English, but today I was proven wrong; we had a very nice conversation. The frenchies kept passing us with raised eyebrow oh la la faces. They're such hams.

Stopped by the office for a bit where AB informed me we're going to a housewarming party tonight & The Scot is coming to pick us up. I like this, someone else being in control of my social calendar. :)

sunset at Cottesloe Beach

Went home to change & eat & I realized this is the first time in at least a week that I've been home before dark. Yikes. I sat on the couch & read!!! Yes, that does deserve three exclamation points - its been less than rare & was so nice & relaxing. The Scot cooked amazing fajitas & AB made tequila-less margs (yummy) & we sat out on the balcony and ate by sunset.

AB & Jeff

We headed to Jeff's for the housewarming, where we got the full tour of his brand new, super nice & spacious place. I met a bunch of Jeff's and AB & The Scot's friends, and got silly with Thomas, Stacy and DD, friends I've met before. I told DD that gin smells like Christmas trees so he went & collected some pine needles to compare & ended up putting them in his gin & lime, calling it a "nikki hendriks." Later in the night, the 6 of us were the only people left; we raided Jeffs CD collection & had dance party Australia in his living room. So fun. So silly.

DD, nikki hendricks, and me

I had no idea what time it was - getting ready for bed, I looked at the clock: 3am!!!  Shock! Horror! Why do we have a death wish??

Ah but it was fun. :)

Today I am so happy & grateful for:
~ improving my mood
~ some relaxing couch time
~ shade
~ dancing like crazy

Xo! n.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 40: le premier jour de noel


My bus is always 15 minutes late but of course the day I'm running late it's on time. I ran to the stop but I still missed it! Grr. By the time I arrived to work, AB had called to find out where I was & Jenna had already set up the frenchies space for me. She's the bestest.

I had to run some errands for the frenchies and, walking through Forest Place now that it's after Thanksgiving, the Christmas lights seem brighter & twinklier, the Christmas music makes me feel jolly, and I'm scoping out shop windows for pressie ideas. The hap-happiest time of the year has officially begun!


Pierre & I had an interesting conversation about acting, half en francais & half in english. I don't think my french is getting better but my level of comprehension is improving a bit. They want to take J, Kat & me out for dinner tonight; I'd really rather have a night off but I don't want to be rude & besides, it should be fun. If we don't do it now, it won't happen.

Work was good - the frenchies were fine, the vollies were great. No dramas. Sarah came over to say hi again and Dan from Crash did too but I think he had ulterior motives. He said, I hear you and the other Dutch guy were making out.
Nope. (its true, it was just some harmless flirting, we did not even come close to kissing)
Yeah, your friend told me you were.
Nope, I haven't kissed any boys.
Well they all have girlfriends anyway.
All but one.
Ah ha! So you know which one is single! You DID kiss him!
No I didn't! (laughing) and I'm sure what you heard is that Lauren wants me to kiss a Dutch boy.
(then we talked about Lauren coming to America - no, Lauren, he didn't call you bad names - and he had to go bc he was meeting up with a girl friend & her baby, and said) I don't know what we're doing; knowing women, we'll probably be shopping.
You're so sexist.
Thank you.

he's a little eavesdropping shit-stirrer.  :)

Then I went up to the office & the other Dutchies were there so I couldn't even laugh to AB & Lauren about what'd just happened. We chatted while I ate my - best part of thanksgiving - leftovers for lunch, and I was about to head home when the radio crackled & I was needed out in wondersite to stop kids barreling into the fish sculpture.

Hung out there for 2 hours with Matt & Kat & a precocious 13 year old vollie who knows way more about tech than I probably ever will. By the time I was done, it was too late to go home before dinner & the girls, along with Kase & Vincent, were having tails n teasers in the office, so Kat & I joined them. Laughing, laughing, laughing.

Caught a ride with J & Kat to the frenchies accommodation, which I thought was super nice with large windows, a patio & big kitchen, but they seemed to think it was crappy. They can be a really demanding group.

Dinner was delicious, no less than you'd expect from french cuisine. First course was a crab avocado bake with lemon juice & black olives, served with french bread of course. Then potatoes au gratin & baked chicken with peppers. For dessert, we had cheese & fresh fruit salad. Mmmmm... And of course wine, but I found it pretty funny that it was out of a goon box (boxed wine).

dinner with the Frenchies

Conversation was a bit labored due to the language barrier compounded by the wine & exhaustion from the day, but we managed. Pierre taught me Chinese checkers & none of them would let me take the bus home. Their friend offered to give me a ride but I didn't want to impose so it was lucky that AB called - she & The Scot were headed home & it was on their way to pick me up.

Got home & collapsed into bed.

Today I'm so happy & grateful for:
~ good food
~ jokes
~ social obligations
~ live music
Xo! n.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 39: Gobble!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

For the first time in my life, I have to work on Thanksgiving day. How very unpatriotic! :)

At least work went well, there was no frenchie drama & everyone was in a good mood from last nights fete.

My German friend Sarah (from the Sydney to Melbs bus) came to visit & we got our picture taken all pegged up! It was fun! J needed to reach an outlet up a tree so I stood on his shoulders, a feat which drew a crowd but no electricity - the outlet was turned off. Waa waaah.

me & sarah, pegged up by the frenchies 

Lauren spent the whole day making jokes & innuendo about last nights flirtations. She was cracking me up; she has a big crush on the dutchie boys but has a boyfriend so she just wants someone to kiss one of them bc she can't. AB has a crush on them too; they were playing thanksgiving & one of them said "I'm thankful that you exist." ha ha! When she told The Scot he just rolled his eyes - he knows its all silliness.

After work I went to woolies (Woolworths, a grocery store here - always makes me think "...and stay out of the woolworths!") for turkey day supplies & then caught the bus home.

But I guess the bus changed its number at the bus station bc after a really long time riding, the driver stopped, left, came back on, noticed me & said, what are you doing on here? I said, doesn't this bus go to marine parade?
No. This is the 24. You need the 102.
But it was the 102.
Not anymore.
Can you tell me where to catch the 102?
At the 102 bus stop.
Can you tell me where that is (you big fat jerkface a-hole)?

Luckily the bus I was on still took me in the right direction (which is why I didn't notice it was wrong) and the right stop was just around the corner. Then, the next bus driver was talking so loudly to a passenger that he missed a girls stop! What is going on with bus drivers today!?

I finally made it home, showered, picked up my room, washed dishes & started making appetizers: my famous stuffed mushrooms & a new feta, artichoke & red pepper dip - mmmm. AB came home & with both of us cooking it started to kind of feel like Thanksgiving.

We had a few guests for dinner: Uta, Lauren, and Sherie came over with her two young boys, who are so adorable & such a handful.

We had chicken casserole (AB's tradition), green bean casserole with french's onions of course, sweet potato mashers, a turkey roll (which was supposed to have stuffing in it but didn't - the only food I really missed), gravy & cranberry sauce. With the very first bite, it was officially Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgiving table: (L to R) Lauren, The Scot, AB, Uta, Sherie

The talk turned to Christmas & family traditions, and it started to sink in that I won't be with my family this year, for the first time. I won't be able to see my dad with the cat soft & purring on his knee, my moms knowing smile as we unwrap something she knows we'll love, my brother orchestrating the gift-giving so he opens the final present. I'll have to make my own pierogies on Christmas eve. And I know I'll be sharing it all with other people I love, and it will be ok, but it still makes me sad. Sigh.

But otherwise, it was great conversation with great people. I'm so glad to meet AB & The Scot's friends; everyone has been really lovely (of course) & I feel comfortable with them as though I've known them much longer than a few weeks.

Its not Thanksgiving if you don't feel like you're going to pop at the end of it & by the time I polished off my piece of pumpkin cheesecake, I was full to bursting.

We cleared the table, said goodnight, and I logged onto skype to call home. Had nice conversations with both of my parents & my very groggy brother, accidentally woke chick up (sorry lu lu I thought maybe you'd be up early for the parade!) and left messages for teeter & my BFF. Later, AB video chatted with her whole family & I got to say hi - that was nice. :) Then my big turkey belly & I went to bed.

Today I am so Thankful for:
~ this Australian experience
~ sharing Thanksgiving with AB & The Scot & new friends
~ skype
~ sunny days
~ the start of the Christmas season
~ comfort
~ bending & changing
Xo! n.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 38: making friends since 1981

Stressful morning. Rain caused major panic but thankfully it passed. Frenchies got pissed off because J, via Kat, said the city wouldn't allow them to put their signs on the benches like they'd been doing all week. The oldest guy (who seems a bit hot tempered anyway) was literally yelling in my face, in french. I just kept repeating "I know its not good but its the city, not me." I don't have the authority to make a compromise. Finally J showed up & got to play the hero by telling them they could use one of the benches. Sigh. Yelled at for nothing. But at least they were happy after that.

Once the mornings drama got resolved, the day was pretty uneventful. After work, I met the girls & all the Dutch guys in the office. AB put on a mix CD she made that reminded me so much of uni & it provided the soundtrack for the guys jabbering their oh-so-foreign-to-my-ears language and for the hilarity & disgust that ensued as the girls cleaned the fridge. Silliness.

AB, Lauren, Tegan & I needed to get off our feet for a bit before the big artist & staff BBQ at 6, so we went to ABs gym (so posh!) to sit in the steam room & de-stress. Ahhh... It was nice & relaxing until we noticed the lady next to us was bleeding all over the place & just rinsing it (spreading it) with her waterbottle! She made no effort to find a band aid or anything!! GA-ROSS!! We decided then that maybe the sauna or the pool would be a bit more relaxing.

via we heart

We showered & got all purtied up at the gym, then headed to Kings Park for the picnic. It was so fun! Just about everyone was there & I got to talk to quite a few people I hadn't before. I spent some time talking with two of the people from Holiday about theater & art & creativity. I'm just so impressed with all these artists, many of whom are in their 20s, who've created these shows & are touring them & making it happen.

Once the eating was done, most of the older people & families had left, and the drinking was rightly underway, it was a full on party, complete with spontaneous musical combustions. Two of the Pips:Lab boys are musicians & they started drumming on overturned chip bowls & before you knew it, people were beatboxing & blowing into bottles & whistling & one of the frenchies was singing along in this weird high-pitched voice. It was awesome & hilarious & of course I got it on video.

at least our party didn't get THIS out of hand!  (via we heart it)

At some point (it wasn't even very late) the park lights went out on us & we decided to migrate to the Holiday gangs apartment. I'm not sure who started it, I think it was Kase from Pips:Lab, but suddenly everyone was climbing up the side of the building onto the balcony! Frenchie Alan did it even tho he walks with a cane & Lauren did it in a dress! I was already inside or else I probably would've caved to peer pressure & done it too. :) Ah but the craziness didn't stop there...

TK from Holiday was impersonating Kermit the frog & offering kareoke massages (Sarah, you should steal that idea!), I got into a deep conversation with Dan from Crash about the existence of God (which he then grilled everyone else about - sorry!) and the difference between a girlfriend & a wife (Dutch use them interchangebly apparently), Lauren was bleeding from being hoisted up the wall onto the balcony, Kase was totally flirting with me, Alan barked like a dog, Vincent from Crash filmed everything & showed off pictures of his adorable yet devious-looking son, Dan pushed me over the back of the couch & my shoes went flying, and apparently two somebodies were making out but I didn't see it. It was hell fun (that's a good thing). :)

this was NOT our party, but it sure is a neat picture! (via we heart it)

AB & I caught an office-funded cab home (it was a company party, after all) and called it a night.

Today I'm so happy & grateful for:
~ fun with new friends
~ crazy artists
~ things that are walking distance & free cabs
~ BBQ picnics

Xo! n.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 37: "incredible things are happening in this world"

Another fine day keeping an eye on the frenchies. It was hot, hot, hot outside - thank God for sunscreen, shorts, and hats. They had a bunch of school groups; they dressed the kids up as flowers, posed them as hairs in a hairbrush, and pinned them up to look like a tornado was sweeping them away. It was a fun time for all.

My Swiss friend Erich came by so we took a couple pictures together. Pierre said, in french, kiss!, and I think Erich understood bc we both sort of nervously laughed & totally ignored him. We're not that sort of friends. :)

Had some drama en francais & ran my butt off for a travelcard for the frenchies, but it all got sorted out & I was still off the clock by 3. The girls in the office were having "we're stressed out & this gin was free" cocktails & gossipping so I hung out with them for a bit. And I'm glad I did; I was able to book into the last minute empty seats in 3 shows! One of the artists, Louise, who's really great, got stood up so I filled in as her "hot date."

The shows were AMAZING.

First, we saw Holiday, which is a group from Sydney. You walk into the bar adjoining the theater space & the 4 performers are there dressed as flight attendants. They ask you to please remove your shoes & socks & kindly check all baggage (put your purse in a cubby). As you pass into security, you're asked if you're bringing any emotional baggage onboard, and some people are given a health check: kneel on one knee, show two fingers, blow your nose...

The theater space is three rows of real airplane chairs with a large screen in front. I won't give all their secrets away, but it's truly a sensory experience; they take you on holiday all over the world by incorporating all your senses and largely relying on the element of surprise. It was very strange, very creative & very fun.

Next we saw Crash, an 8 minute live video performance held in a shipping container. This uncle/nephew duo is from Amsterdam & I've spent some time working with them so I was really glad to finally see their show.

It was so great! Live video feed from a couple of small cameras, of a running man (its amazing how much fingers look like legs when you put shoes on them!) and a model car. All accompanied by live music. Fantastically creative - I was smiling the whole time.

Then we headed to Lumasol by Pips:Lab, a group of 4 brilliant Dutch guys (lots of Dutchies!) who do amazing things with lights & computers. Everyone in the audience got flashlights & we were able to write with light, via a camera, onto a projected screen, which they could then play back & dissect & twist around. So cool. I was picked to go onstage & draw one of 4 huge dancing men with a purple light, which was captured in the camera, as were images of us drawing them. Then, while 2 of the performers sang, live, I got to hold the guitar-like flat screen computer monitor & play the pictures so they came on the screen with the music! It was crazy!! AB & Louise went up later & were part of a sort of music video, and The Scot sneakily took pictures for the blog (to come soon). :)

LUMASOL from PIPS:lab on Vimeo.

I'm so impressed with the creativity & intelligence of that show. I didn't know what they did was even possible.

After that, there was a reception & I chatted with AB & The Scots friends & co-workers, and then a bunch of us headed to Billy Lees (an apparently legendary tiny Chinese restaurant) for a late dinner with the Lumasol guys. Kat ordered for everyone, which I don't think anyone minded bc there's a big lazy susan in the middle of the table so we all shared everything. It was deeeelish and the conversation was great.

The Scot drove us home & AB & I chattered away til I collapsed into my lovely bed.

Today I'm so happy & grateful for:
~ creativity!!
~ getting to see shows I wouldn't have had time to see another day
~ the bus ride to work, which gives me time to write
~ incredible things

Xo! n.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 36: its too early to see a man in a budgie smuggler

With my Frenchies all day & it was fun.

The morning was pretty full-on; the frenchies were asking me for things & not all the crew had their headsets on so I couldn't get any answers. It was frustrating. BUT we got it sorted & it was smooth sailing from then on.

People were happy to have their pictures taken and the pictures were really great - I was even in a few. :)

Wrapped up around 3:30 & headed to the bank to finally open an Oz account - I haven't had time til now! It was easy & now I reckon I'm fully international.

Production called me to meet up for a drink so I texted Erich & Sarah - friends from my bus trips who just happen to be in Perth now! They were both available so they headed over - its so great to have a phone & to have friends. :)

It was SO wonderful to see them & so funny that we met back in my first week in Australia & now we're in the same place at the same time again. The bonds forged with fellow travellers are quick to form & hard to break. What a great time we've had together.

Caught the bus home for a much-needed early night. Its kind of disconcerting to be the only person on the bus & not really know where you're headed & not really able to see out the windows bc its dark & the bus lights are on... But I made it back, no problem, of course. :)

Today I'm so happy & grateful for:
~ new old friends
~ an early enough night to catch the bus
~ turpentine
~ people thinking I look much younger than I am! :)
~ the challenges I've handled on this trip

Xo! n.


sorry that my posting record's been so bad lately - i've been writing them, i swear, on my phone, and at least one of them is so lovely & long - but my phone hasn't been getting email reception (only phone reception that i can't use!) so it keeps rejecting it when i send it!!  grr...

as soon as i get reception or have the time to re-type everything out on the computer, i promise you'll be innundated with gorgeous posts to read to your little heart's content.

extra x's and o's... n.

ok postscript - they finally posted!!  please see below...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 35: "its the day of the show, yall!"

Awesome festival opened today, so I spent all day hurrying up and waiting.

That's how it goes - in theater as it is in film.

Not much to report. Felt like secret service in my walkie-talkie headset. I saw the parkour group perform; they were pretty incredible. I had to keep people from crossing behind the set & got told to eff off (but not the clean version) 3 times! And I thought aussies were nice! The frenchies performed but were annoyed when the crowd dispersed quickly so they could only get two pictures. Crash & Llamaland were mobbed with families, which is great. One mum complained to me & then later to AB that our program is all wrong and, of course, it actually isn't. Got to meet some of AB & The Scots friends & their kids. Ironed towels for Holiday. Painted the frenchies set & subsequently myself - the ladder was on uneven ground & I got blue paint everywhere - I looked like a smurf.

It was a long day & by the end I just wanted to go sit with AB & Ron & the girls from the office, who were having celebratory drinks at The Flying Scotsman. But first I had to run over to William St, get someone to let me in, turpentine myself, run over to Blue Room to get my purse (you may have noticed there are no pictures - bc my phone was locked away all day) & change, run back to Forest Chase to put away the ladder - but realized the ways to get to the storage unit were locked, oh well, hope it doesn't get snatched - my Oz phone died, tried to top up my bus card but the machine doesn't take credit & my credit card doesn't work in an ATM & I didn't have my debit card or any cash, a really nice transit officer took pity on me & gave me a free pass, searched out the right bus stop, had to wait 30 mins for the bus bc its Sunday, found the scotsman, found my friends, took a breath...


Had a nice time with them & ate some good cheap pizza. In the taxi home, AB & I were so wrapped up in conversation that I got out of the cab without my bag that had my sneakers, awesome t, chick's skirt (so sorry lu! I'll buy you a new one), water bottle, tank top, book, ugggh. I wasn't even tipsy! The biggest loss is my nice sneakers. :( we called & reported it, so we'll see, maybe I'll get it back.

I'm not sure what's up with my luck on this trip but...

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ there was no cash & nothing irreplaceble in my lost bag
~ finding my friends at a random crowded bar
~ the festival is open so my days should get easier
Xo! n.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 34: useful

Its a no-frenchie day! My brain can relax...

Spent the day building a urte (mongolian house - pictured), sorting saran wrap teepees, blacking out windows at the tippy-top of a very tall but not quite tall enough ladder, and running errands.

Got to know some of the people I've been working with better & had some great conversations with Kat as we shopped the aussie version of Lowes.

I kept busy so the day went by quickly; suddenly it was 7 and the crew & a few artists were sitting around having a beer. It was nice having some time to sit and talk & laugh with everyone, and it definitely made me feel a part of the group.

They asked, are you sick of us yet? Regret signing up? And I said no, anytime I feel a bit ugh, I just remind myself I'm in AUSTRALIA working an ARTS festival!! I'm so lucky!!

After a few beers, all of the crew scattered home & the last artist, Marley (pictured, with J), peddled off on his bike, J, Kat & I went out for a lovely, late Chinese dinner. They're pretty much my bosses, so its really nice to feel accepted by them. I know I'm not the most experienced when it comes to tech stuff but I'll do what you ask me, I try my best & I have no ego about it. And, let's be honest, they mostly like me bc I saved their butt by speaking some french. :)

It was too late for busses or trains so I caught a taxi & had a moment of panic bc I didn't have as much cash as I thought, but I ended up with just enough to get me home. Sigh of relief.

Today I'm so grateful & happy for:
~ getting to know people
~ gaining respect
~ scrounging enough cash for the taxi
~ soft-shell crab
Post Options
Xo! n.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 33: just call me mademoiselle seamstress

On the bus, I watched the schoolboys board in their brown boy-scout-looking uniforms, obeying their own social code by not speaking to each other or sitting together.

This is the 8am bus. The driver doesn't like kids & makes hard stops that cause old ladies to clench the railing in fear of breaking a hip. Guess he's not much of a morning person...

The houses we pass in Cottesloe are SO Australian, with wide verandas & silver tin roofs with scrolled supports. I love that the houses have names, written on placards beside or above the door; I can't tell if they're family names or if they're the names of the cities the original residents hailed from.

I have a lot of thoughts this morning.

The terrible blue cloth & its monsterous machine await me. Makes me wish I'd just finished it last night. At least I'll be alone to sew & won't have to speak French til I'm fully awake...

Done! Blue cloth conquered! Maniacal laugh of the victor!

...and then they brought me more fabric... Sigh.

Major miscommunication between me & the only English-speaking frenchie; even though I told her I'd sewed the panels she asked for & even described to her which edge was best to keep visible, apparently she had no idea what I was talking about but said "ok" anyway. So then she freaked out when we rolled the remainder out & it was only 3 meters. I, thinking she knew what I'd just explained, called the crew member who'd gotten the fabric to tell her it was wrong. Which it wasn't. After re-cutting all the pieces for what I had just sewed, I finally said something that triggered a "huh?" in her & she realized I wasn't lazy & HAD done what she'd asked, and I realized I shouldn't trust her when she says ok & the fabric WAS right. Major sigh (of relief, annoyance, exhaustion...).

Luckily we could still use the pieces we'd just cut & I spent most of the next 4 hours sewing them. There was a bobbin mishap for which I emailed my mom in a panic, but I managed to sort it out. There was also a needle miscommunication & instead of calling J, I just searched the convenience stores til I found some - and bought myself some chocolate in the process. I needed chocolate at 11am; that's how stressful my morning was!

BUT I got everything done. And, to their credit, the frenchies were very grateful.

Take that, sewing machine!! Ha ha!

I finally finished sewing around 5 & thought yay time to go! AB & The Scot had gotten tickets to a wine tasting from 6-8 so it was perfect timing.

But oh no, it just couldn't be that easy. Not today.

J & Kat (J's second in command - really cool techie girl) picked me up & we loaded all the frenchies set/props into their dressing room. Then went up to forest chase & watched the frenchies argue about set placement for an hour, during which I had to run back to the Blue Room to get the key for William Street from the Amsterdam artists to get the staple gun for the frenchies. Phew. Stapled the fabric that caused the mornings drama to a board suspended between two trees, while at the very top of a ladder, in the middle of a public square. Don't screw up, don't screw up... The frenchies hung up a bunch of little sandbags but then we had to take them all down again in fear of vandalization. Some punk kid stole some bubble wrap.

AB & The Scot showed up at 6, dressed all fancy, but I was still working so they wandered til I was done. At 7. It was a full-on day.

Finally heading back to the office so I could change, they looked so nice & I looked so gross that I felt like a kid whose parents had just picked her up from summer camp - today I learned how to sew & used a staple gun, mom! :)

Sometimes a glass of wine after a long day is just what you need to make your muscles un-knot. Ahhhhh...
The wine tasting was posh & fun, in an art gallery; AB & I chatted while The Scot took everything quite seriously, rating each bottle with a star system. Turns out the three of us have very similar taste in wine, so if one of us liked it, we'd all try & compare.

Apparently Sarah Palin's sister was there! We heard someone introduce her as such & thought it was a joke but she got really embarrassed so I think it really was her. She's the woman in red between AB & The Scot, pictured. Its weird that aussies even know who Sarah Palin is - I challange all of you to name a single VP candidate who WASN'T elected from ANY foreign country. I can't.

The Scot made friends with one of the wine guys (and a weird weird girl - AB & I had to intervene to get her to leave him alone) who gave us a free bottle of sav blanc! Yum. We took it to an Indian restaurant & drank it with our curry & naan. Highly delicious.

Then we caught a cab home and, sleepy with wine & a busy day, impressions came to me in fragments. Croatian taxi driver, soft-spoken, playing Led Zeppelin. Racing a train & watching the yellow lit tableaus retreat as we pass. The heavy fragrance of unnamed flowers through an open window. Home. Bed. Goodnight.

Today I am so happy & grateful for:
~ being able to handle such a crazy day
~ good friends & good conversation
~ this experience

Xo! n.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 32: ton epaule est l'oreille de mon vie

Spent a long day working with the frenchies. I mostly painted signs for them; I'm covered in bleu et rouge paint.

It was cool though bc we actually had quite a few conversations & I managed to keep up! Well, keep up might be a bit of an overstatement; there were things I understood without having to think, things I understood after my brain processed them, things I got out of context clues, and things I only got after a quick game of charades. But the point is, we communicated & I'm proud of myself for spending the entire day "en francais".

one photo from "The Museum of Everyday Life" - the Frenchies show

For a chunk of the morning, there were volunteers helping & one of the frenchies, Pierre, cracked us all up with his English pick up lines, which I was helping him translate. One of them is the title of this post: your shoulder is the ear of my life. Ha ha! Turns out he meant pillow, not ear, but that's pretty damn funny. He also said, your butt is the pillow of my life & we told him he'd get slapped for that one.

The volunteers are mostly college (uni) girls & super sweet. There's one older retired lady; we started talking about LA & turns out she knows Curtis Stone, the Take-Home Chef on TV! She told me he's single & "such a nice, handsome young man" & that she could give me his phone number! Ha ha! I'm gonna get me a celebrity date! ;)

Late in the afternoon, the frenchies needed some fabric sewed. A sewing machine was procured & I made the rookie mistake of opening my big fat mouth & volunteering. As soon as I did, the panic set in; I'm not very good at sewing & if I screw up, its a really big deal! But I just kept telling myself its ok, you can do this, just think of how proud you'll feel when its done.

Its 4 panels, 3.5 meters long (which I did not comprehend - its looong), on a sewing machiene that threads way differently than I'm used to. It took me at least an hour to thread the damn thing. The thread kept breaking when I tried to catch the bobbin thread! Grrr! But I finally got it working (yay me!) and then realized it has no setting for a plain, lines in a row, stich. What kind of sewing machiene won't sew a basic stitch!?!? Grrr again. But, sigh, no use in growling; I picked a simple zig zag & finally sewed the first seam.

By this time I'd been working on it for about 2 hours & J called & said I could finish it tomorrow morning. I almost opted to stay & finish tonight but I'd had it with the machiene & I was hungry so I locked up & left.

On the way back, of course (bien sur!) the frenchies were leaving at the same time. I don't know why but I did NOT want them to see me; I totally hid from their view & took a different route back to the office. I probably looked like a crazy stalker hiding behind a column. It was immature but my brain just didn't want to process any more french & I didn't want to explain I hadn't finished their sewing.

I tried to go back to the Awesome office but the lifts need a key after hours (and 6:30 qualifies as after hours) and the stairway doors lock behind you - it would not be fun to get locked in the stairwell all night. So I had to leave my sweatshirt & wallet in the office for the second night in a row.

As well as I thought I'd avoided them, the frenchies kept popping up - it was like a game of war! Especially when I realized I'd gone the wrong way to catch the bus home & had to go back the way I came - oh la la la la. It probably wouldve been easier to just say hi. :)

 At the bus stop - so cold bc my sweatshirts in the office! - I overheard an American guy describing LA. How funny.

Arrived at the house to a deeeeeelicous dinner courtesy of The Scot - red pesto salmon with an avocado spinach mango salad & a bean salad.  I could get used to these gourmet meals!  :)  Then got my fix of home watching Glee & time for bed.  Zzzzzzzz....

Today I am so happy & grateful for:
~ keeping busy
~ knowing I can handle whatever comes, even if I'm not super confident
~ je parle un peu de francais

xo! n.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 31: bump the jamz

Woke up to what looked like a stormy day, with the wind screaming through the house, frothy white wave caps & a grey sky, but by the time I walked out the door, shielded from the weather by my faithful hoodie, the sky was blue & the wind playful.

I'm having some technical problems with the blog; yesterdays entry didn't post. I sent it twice but I'm going to have to take some time to look at it & figure out what's wrong. Sorry, dear readers.

the shed behind the studio, with the Frenchies signs inside

Worked worked worked. Not a hard day, just a long one. Officially worked from 10-6 with the frenchies but stayed til 9:30 to help AB bump in (load in/set up) her exhibit. That's what friends are for. Plus, its the first time since I got here that I've really felt useful AND there may have been free pizza & beer involved... Just sayin... :)

AB's exhibition space before bump in

Sorry for such a short entry, there's just not much to report. I'm in a foreign country, meeting locals, working in the arts & life is good. The wind is still howling but now its my lullaby.

Today I'm so happy & grateful for:
~ my technical theater ability & problem-solving mind
~ not getting stuck in a downpour
~ an official "staff" badge for the festival!

Xo! n.


i've been having trouble with my mobile blogging the past couple days - hopefully i'll have time tonight to get it sorted.  meanwhile, sit tight, i promise new entries are coming soon...  xo!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 30: cameras & concerts

Went to the wrong bus stop this morning & missed my bus to work. Plus, in my cartoon-y Awesome T-shirt, capris, ankle socks & tennies, I look special.

Not really starting the day off right.

the wrong bus stop - but its a nice view!

Finally made it into the city & went straight to where the Frenchies were set up, as J told me yesterday I'd probably be with them. They were working with their volunteers & didn't need me for much but my stage manager instinct kicked in & I started organizing, making phone calls to the office (finally I have an Oz phone!), etc. Kept myself useful.

the Frenchie's volunteers filling sand into sandbags

The French performance is really quite interesting; without stealing, I'd like to implement the idea back home. They do living portraits where they set up the audience in picture frames with different themes, one might be a giant bed, one might be a clothesline. Its a little like those cardboard stands at fairs where you stick your face in the hole & you're a weightlifter or girl in a bikini, but much more participatory. Maybe I can find a link to it online to show you; its really cool.

They let their volunteers go at 12:30 & J showed up around 2 & said there's not much to do today so I had an early afternoon off, which was useful since shops close at 5 here so I hadn't been able to get anything.

the art installation in forest chase (told you about it yesterday)

Wandered around pretty aimlessly until I stumbled across a camera shop. My intention was just to compare prices but the guy was so helpful, they had exactly what I wanted, and he gave me a discount sooo I bought a camera! AND an underwater case! AND got a little tripod for free! Hee hee hee.

Its the newest version of my old camera, so I pretty much know how to use it & I can use the memory cards I have. The underwater case was made specifically for it & goes 130ft deep, which is most likely about 40ft deeper than I'll need (but the other option is a camera that only goes 30ft deep, per what I've seen online, and I've already dived deeper than that). It was all expensive but I feel like it'll be worth it. They're both by cannon so the picture quality & colors are good & I can get support in the US if there are any problems later.

 So I guess thats my Aussie souvenir!!

Celebrated (and plugged in) my purchase with a glass of wine with AB at her office & then we met up with one of the artists, M, The Scot, and their friend for a sushi dinner & a concert.

AB's friend Tegan is in the band Voltaire Twins & they opened for Massimo Park tonight. They were FANTASTIC. Tegan rocks it out in a ridiculously graceful way & the other singer is all floppy hair & spastic moves, but it works. I seriously advise you to look them up & buy their music. Now.

Massimo Park was pretty good too tho not totally my scene; the lead singer could've been my friend George & actor Seth Green's hyperactive British love child so he was fun to watch. :)

All in all, good day.

Today I am so happy & grateful for:
~ being able to buy a new camera & underwater case
~ good music
~ not knowing what happens next
Xo! n.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 29: first day of Awesomeness

Went into my first day of work bright & early with AB. I didn't feel nervous, just completely unsure what to expect.

The Awesome office is cluttered & adorable; cotton candy pink with black & white stripes. Sweet & smart, like the girls who work there.

this isn't their office but it's a similar feel (from we heart it)

AB took me down to Forest Park, an oddly-named cement courtyard in the city where the festival is building a maze-like art installation. There I met J, my supervisor, who is total techie/hippie/bogan (bogan is kind of redneck - no offence meant to him!) with long almost dreadlocked hair & a zz-top beard. But you can't judge a book by its cover; he's super nice. As soon as I got there I was really intimidated tho - I was the only girl & all the guys were tough looking techies & all I could think is, its been a while since I wielded a screw gun... But he let me run some errands with AB to get familiar with the city & by the time we met up again, there were other girls on crew.

I helped bump in (load in) some real airplane chairs for an installation, and saw the space they're setting up for AB's exhibit. I went on a supply run with J to the house where he's staying; we went into the backyard and -- there are KNIVES embedded into REFRIGERATORS. And rusty tore up fridges all over the yard. Apparently his friend who lives there not only throws knives but creates (really cool actually) lampshades out of the hole-y sides of refrigerators. Phew. It was one of those moments where you think, should I laugh or run...?

i thought this could be me! (from we heart it)

Back to the site & J wanted me to stick with him bc he found out I speak a bit of French & could possibly communicate with the french artists they brought in. Oh la la! THEN I got nervous. But I thought, just do what you can & if you really suck, this'll all be over in a few weeks anyway. :)

Met the Frenchies, introduced myself in french, explained I speak "un petit peu" & stumbled over a brief conversation. Its so hard to understand them, but they seem to appreciate me making the effort & throughout the day I had quite a few muddled conversations that were exhausting but "tres interessant". :)

I was pretty much j's shadow for the first 5 hours; I felt pretty useless. When he took the frenchies to the hardware store, I couldn't fit in the truck so I went to the office for lunch. My morning had left me feeling uncharacteristically quiet & unconfident; its tough enough starting a new job, let alone in a foreign country & doing something youre quite rusty at. But after a chicken wrap & a coffee, I reckoned I was ready to try again.

this isn't the installation but it's pretty similar...  (from we heart it)

J was still sorting things with the french so I offered my help on a crazy Alice-in-Wonderland-on-crack type art installation. I don't think they really needed another person but I was tired of standing around. That was nice bc it was all young people working & I got to pick up a hammer & a screw gun without fear of being laughed at.

I did eff up though - ugh on my very first day! - the artist asked me to bracket the plaster deer head to the TV (don't ask) so I was screwing it in & the antler snapped off. Balls! In my defense, she was very unclear how she wanted it attached & I didn't know the antler was so fragile. But I felt terrible & as I hot glued it back together, I hoped she wouldn't tell J or blacklist me from working her show. Oops.

After a few other small tasks, it was 5 & she didn't have anything more to do for the day so I checked in with J & he said I could go. Checked in with AB & she told me where to catch the bus but she'd be done in an hour & 1/2 so I decided to just wander the city for a bit & go home with her.

This really is a beautiful place. Its not a very tall city and there's a lot of green space, which makes it feel welcoming. Its already decorated for Christmas (!); at home I'd be mad but here its just pretty.

I walked down through the park, past a Ferris wheel to the water & sat under a palm tree to watch the sunset. It seems every major city in Australia has a Ferris wheel; not in a theme park, just in the city, which is funny to me.

Caught the bus home with AB when she was done with work & she & The Scot went to workout with their personal trainer, so I had the night to myself for a while. Just messed around online (obviously got a fix of my we heart obsession) & watched TV, then to bed.  :)  Another big day of work tomorrow...

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ my first day of work is out of the way
~ practicing my French
~ leftovers

xo! n.
Related Posts with Thumbnails