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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yes, I'm still alive. Somehow.

Well! It's been about two months since my last post. And an eventful couple of months it has been. Indeed. I've been meaning to chronicle my recent adventures sooner but there's so much to tell it's going to take a lot of writing.

I'll pick up where I left off: I finished my job (probably just in time, as you will soon discover). The following Saturday, two days before Christmas, I drove up to Armidale. It was going pretty well, and I was thinking I should do it more often. For a while. After I left Tamworth I was going up a not-particularly-steep hill when the car started losing power. I was probably just in the wrong gear or some crap, but given my previous experiences of cars overheating damn near every time I make that particular journey, I got paranoid and became fairly convinced the engine was overheating. I couldn't be bothered listing everything that happened, but basically it was a nerve-racking experience going the last hundred-odd kilometres thinking the engine was overheating and listening to coolant squirt out every time I hit a bump, having topped it up with some water.


That night I went to a party at my old droog Roff's place with people. Zeff invented a drink recipe - 3 parts Fruity Lexia and 1 part Pasito. After some shenanigans we went to the pub. We hung around at the Wicklow for a while then left, souveniring a few glasses, and went to Hungry Jack's. At Hungry's we filled the glasses with Coke and continued on our way. I can't remember where we were going but we went past the Police station which led to Run-in With The Law No. 1. Jaken in all his wisdom decided to pose on a paddy-wagon which was parked outside, just as three cops came out of the station. So they started asking us about the beer glasses we were still holding. Ever the smooth talker I told them we found the glasses, which of course nobody believed. So one of the cops escorted us back to the pub to return the glasses.

Good times.

So on Monday it was Christmas, which was cool. I got stuff and other stuff, although my biggest present was a hefty order of books from Amazon which I didn't get until I got back to Sydney. But I'm patient. Another thing I got was a cool bag to carry my new laptop. (BTW I have a laptop now. It's pretty cool.)

The day was however cut short because at about 2 PM Christmas day I departed for...


Now I've never been to Disney Land, but I can officially say that it's absolutely not "The Happiest Place on Earth". That title belongs solely to the Woodford Folk Festival.

Pretty much everything about Woodford is awesome. Everyone is friendly, the music is cool, the surroundings are beautiful, the beer prices are surprisingly reasonable, and the atmosphere is generally laid back and happy. Even the stinking heat is tolerable because of the other awesomeness factors.

When we got there Christmas (Monday) evening we set up camp and had to reserve a whole heap of space for the dozen or so other people that were arriving to camp with us over the next couple of days. For some reason I didn't have any tent pegs. Then, to our horror, it started to rain. Camping for a week at a folk festival is made significantly less fun when it's raining.

On Tuesday we picked up Kleff from the train station at Caboolture, a nearby town. It was pissing down constantly. I went to a camping store and bought a bunch of tent pegs. We then went to a shopping centre to buy a bit of food for the week and, more importantly, about ten goon bags. When we got back we wandered around the festival for a bit. At the camp site we had nothing to do but hang around in our tents, so we all just ripped into the goon. Then we met an English bloke called Andy who hung around with us for the next week.

Wednesday was when the festival actually started. It was still pissing down constantly. In the morning we saw Zeff's sister's band, Velvet Smoking Jacket, and then Kleff's girlfriend's band, Turkish Delight. Then we got drunk again. I saw a band in the program called the Old Spice Boys, which seemed kind of cool. They played instruments like the ukulele and tea chest bass. I didn't see them though. They did a workshop on the ukulele in the morning which looked pretty cool, but I only found out about it afterwards, so that sucked. I got a T-shirt printed that said "EAT THE RICH" in big white-on-black letters. Everyone thought it was cool. Random people commented on it frequently. I saw this in the toilets.

Food was expensive in the festival. I was stocked up with cereal, milk, bread and peanut butter to last me the week, but still had to get some meals from the food stalls. There was a place called Fine Earth Foods which had really good burgers and pies for not too much money. A more expensive but irresistible option was the Common Ground Cafe. They had delicious pancakes, nachos, and best of all, freshly pressed apple juice. It was damn good. It was run by people from a weird cult which had brainwashing pamphlets and magazines placed around the cafe. Then there was the ever-popular Pizza Loca, which is insanely delicious pizza from a stall of the same name (but expensive - $4 a slice). It seems to pop up at every festival. I also went to a place with wooden cutlery.

On Thursday the rain started to relent, and eventually stopped, to everyone's relief. We hit the goon anyway. That evening we saw Tripod play. They were cool, especially when they did a pretty decent cover of Paranoid Android. Then we went and saw a dude called That1Guy. He was awesome. He played a weird device made of galvanised pipes, with a single guitar string and other stuff... well I can't really explain. Check him out here. After that we saw Lior and Youth Group at the amphitheatre. They were both cool. The Old Spice Boys were on again, and again I didn't get around to seeing them. Kleff and I went to the Guinness Bar and talked to some dude for a while.

On Friday I finally saw the Old Spice Boys... and they basically sucked. Oh well. Kleff, Zeff and I went to the hilltop, which had a big awesome Woodford sign on it. In the afternoon we decided to get into the tequila Kleff had bought on our goon run. Probably the first time I've gone from totally sober to drunk in about ten minutes. Kleff felt really sick because he's a pansy and can't handle his grog. That night That1Guy was playing again but I only saw him briefly because The Umbilical Brothers were performing at the same time. They were hilarious as usual.

On Saturday there wasn't much on. Then Doff randomly showed up, which was cool. We knew he was coming at some stage, but didn't know when. I got bitten by a green ant or something causing my finger to swell up. Later when I was drunk I took pictures of the moon. I was dared to polish off about half a goon bag, which I made a pretty reasonable effort at. The reward at stake was a slice of Pizza Loca. I didn't quite finish off the goon but scored the Pizza Loca anyway. It wasn't the only dare for Pizza Loca. One other dare made at some stage was to eat a tablespoon of Vegemite. I declined.

Sunday (New Year's Eve) was more fun. In the evening Velvet Smoking Jacket were playing in the Chai Tent and we ended up loudly and drunkenly singing along with their rendition of the Pulp Fiction theme. It was great fun. Zeff got up and beatboxed with them and Mal Webb. At about 11:30 there was a 3-minute silence across the whole festival site, and then we all went back to partying. I cheered at whatever band was playing until my throat was sore. I wanted to stay up and watch the sun rise with everyone else but I got too tired and went to bed pretty soon after midnight.

Monday (New Year's Day) was pretty low-key by comparison. We hung around for a while and then went to the Fire Event which closed the festival. There was a long play involving giant puppets and then they burnt a big tower of paintings. Apparently it was pretty slow and boring compared to previous fire ceremonies. But the end was cool.

The next day we packed up and went back to Armidale.

When I got back I had an idea to film a sequel to a movie that Kleff, Jaken and I made about three years ago.

(Side note: The original movie was a James Bond spoof called Don't Forget To Die. The editing got quite badly screwed up because of time-code gaps in the DV tape. Having recently acquired a video capture card I decided to find my VHS copy of the movie, digitise it like I did with my other movies, and re-edit it into something coherent. When I get around to it, I'll put it on YouTube with the others.)

I knocked up an outline and script for the movie over a week or two, with a pretty lame story and some unused scenes from the original. I was pretty happy with the result. After some prop-gathering (mostly rounding up my multitude of toy guns) and last-minute tweaking of the script Jaken and I started filming. We wanted Kleff to help but he was a stooge and didn't want to be involved. Of course, once he saw the awesome stuff we'd already done he wanted in.

The first scene we did was the agent character (Victor Pond, 005.37) sneaking through the enemy base, beating up/killing guards. Then Zeff joined our crew and we did a car chase scene which ended up pretty cool.

Said car chase scene was what led us to Run-in With The Law No. 2. We had been hooning around the roads at Kelly's Plains, just out of town, filming the scene. We also had a bunch of toy guns for props. One shot we needed was Jaken driving along, then leaning right out the window firing a gun wildly behind the car. I was sitting in the back seat filming while Zeff sat in the passenger seat, just out of frame, holding the steering wheel so we didn't all crash and die. Jaken leaned out the window and pointed the gun out - "Fuck!" - Zeff's aviator glasses which he had been wearing flew off onto the road. Miraculously they survived. The second take would have been better but as soon as he leaned out and started pretending to fire the gun he immediately sat back down - "Oh shit, there's coppers!"

Not too keen on being fined for reckless driving, we got the hell out of there, taking the other road back into town. After much debate we went back to Jaken's place to drop off the tape - the only evidence of our driving activities. That would have been the end of it, but... we'd left my car on the side of the road. With toy guns all over the back seat.

Cautiously we went back to Kelly's Plains, in Zeff's car just to be on the safe side. The cops were parked next to my car. After pulling over and debating more about what to do, we decided we'd better just go sort it out. We drove over and parked next to the cars, where two cops (a man and a woman) were peering in the windows of my car. I got out.

Me: "I know how it looks. We're actually shooting a movie." (In retrospect, "shooting" was probably a bad choice of words.)
Cops: "Yeah we got a call about people out here with guns."

I explained about the toy guns being props for our movie and gathered all the guns strewn about my car for them to check out. They told us to be more careful about having toy guns in public, etc. We chatted a bit about the movie. The woman thought it was hilarious. The guy didn't seem so amused. We parted ways with the cops and then, like so many of our adventures, what had had us shitting ourselves for the last half an hour suddenly became pretty funny.

A few days before Run-in With The Law No. 2., I had helped mum move out of the house. I'd been slowly but surely packing up all the stuff in my room, sorting it into stuff to throw out and stuff to bring down to Sydney. I was pretty ruthless about throwing things out but nevertheless managed to fill my entire car with stuff. There wasn't even room for a passenger. I could barely see out the back window for all the stuff piled up in the back seat. Two trailer-loads of old crap from the house went to the tip, including my still. I'd decided distilling booze was too much trouble and I didn't need it any more, but it was still hard to part with (no pun intended). Kleff helped me take the first trailer-load to the tip, and while we were chucking stuff into the giant waste bins he asked my what some part of the still was for. I said "purifying water". The attendant gave me a conspiratorial grin.

When the movers had taken all the stuff away to be put into storage, I went around the house taking photos of the empty rooms. While writing this post I had the random idea to put the photos together in an interactive tour of the house, which consumed the next few hours of my time. Check it out here.

Among the moving and filming we also went to the pub, which led to Run-in With The Law No. 3. We'd just gotten out of Beff's car to go to the Wicklow and Jaken was sculling the remains of his bottle of Strongbow. He placed the empty bottle next to a sign on the footpath, just as a police car drove by. They swung around into the servo we were outside and told us to pick up the bottle and several others that were lying around. Then they drove off. Not quite as exciting as Run-in With The Law No. 2., but whatever. Another night we were at the White Bull and there was a bouncer with the memory of a goldfish. We went in and out a bunch of times for various reasons and he checked our IDs four separate times. Within an hour or so. Surely it's not that hard to recognise someone who came in and then out ten minutes ago?

After other adventures I couldn't be bother to detail here (such as terrorising Hungry Jack's with Kyff) the day came to go back to Sydney. The trip was fairly uneventful. Driving alone for seven hours isn't bad though, you can just put on whatever music you like, crank it up, and sing along all the way to Sydney. Good times.

Kleff and Zeff both came down to Sydney soon after to do bridging courses for uni. They stayed at Doff's place and we partied down.

Also I got some fish.

O-Week at uni has now started but I'll save that for the next post.

The End.