Saturday, November 29, 2008

I've been

So, friends ask, "How've you been?" and I never know what one-line response to give. If I had more than one line, this might be my answer.

Apart from fighting my university in a battle that mostly didn't need to happen, and meeting the living embodiment of passive aggression, and reminding myself that throwing a defective almost-new mobile phone on the ground and stomping it to pieces is not productive, I mean, other than all these things, this is what I've been up to. And more, but these are the photo highlights.

I've been making almost weekly trips to Paddy's, usually for my fresh fruit and veg run. Admittedly, sometimes it's also to browse the non-produce side to see the best of suspicious DVDs, tacky lingerie, sweatshop apparel, decidedly un-Australian souvenirs, and cute wooden toys it has to offer. If you know me well enough, you should know which of the above is the only category of merchandise I find worth photographing.

Then there's all this sitting/standing around that I've been doing, waiting for buses and trains.

And, before Semester 2 ended, there were those crazy Thursdays with nine hours of class held over a 12-hour period. So, I've been spending some quiet time during the 2-hour afternoon breaks. It helped keep me sane. The rainbows helped, too.

And because this is Ren, and Ren tries never to miss an opportunity to capture beauty, I've been snapping away. I actually walked out of class to snap this early-Spring sunset. Allrighty, it was also extremely stuffy in that mobile classroom. Wasn't too much of a chore to bring the camera with me when I skipped out to get some air into my lungs.

I've been having thoughtful dinner chats with friends. While uni was in session, evenings were sometimes spent in conversation at the grassy knoll, and this one time, nobody else seemed to notice that there was an extra guest at the table. (Shall I state the obvious and ask you to spot the ladybug?)

And now, as of three weeks ago, I've been working. After 10 months of searching and more job applications than I can count, I was and am so thankful to have got a job, and one that I even like. So what if, at the end of the first day, I ended up waiting an hour in the cold for a supposedly quarter-hourly bus? It eventually got me to let go of the idea of catching a bus on an empty stomach, and led me here:

To Not Bread Alone, celebrating the job, good weather, literacy and writing ability, and the invention of salt-&-pepper squid with lemon aioli. My unbiased, paying-customer opinion: it was really very tasty, and served not more than 5 minutes after my order. I'm not in the mood for long and laborious food reviews so I'll leave it there.

And these days, when the working and commuting and talking with friends and visiting 16-year-olds from Singapore all becomes so tiring that I can't fall asleep at night, I've been listening to this album a lot. Contrary to what the cover might imply, it isn't baby music played on, like, tinkly chimes and synth strings. It's grown-up and pretty and peaceful, and I wake up happy. I don't seem to fit into the producers' target demographic, but we all know that's nothing new.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

...grumble... what does it take to get good service?

I prefer to be happy and not pick on faults, but this is ridiculous.

The e-mail I sent to tech support is self-explanatory.

I just picked up my mobile from the [x] Store on George St, Sydney today, having dropped it off for repair last Thursday, November 20. The reason repair was needed was that the camera function would not launch. The "loading" icon would appear for several seconds (sometimes minutes), during which the phone was not functional, before it returned to the home screen. This occurred in both still and video mode.

I did not test the mobile in-store when I picked it up because I took it on good faith that your service technicians would have ensured that the specific problem detailed in the repair request had been solved before returning to the customer. Unfortunately, it seems my good faith was misplaced.

Only now have I had the time to test it, and find that the camera function is STILL not working. I am not particularly interested in the reasons why a faulty phone sent for repair was returned to the customer still faulty.

I AM interested in telling you that I am extremely dissatisfied that I have had to send this phone in for repair twice in the three months since I purchased it, and the second time, the fault was not even addressed. I don't have the time to keep visiting your store to drop off and pick up my mobile, and neither do I enjoy the inconvenience of switching to a loan phone for 2 weeks or so.

Please provide me with a new mobile of the same model or equivalent that works perfectly well in all its features, because clearly the one I have has problems that even your technical staff cannot solve. I have inferred this from the fact that I got the phone back with the fault intact.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

One dark night, on Glebe Point Road

Thai food takeaway had been taken away, and we were walking to the car.

"This church looks a bit creepy," I muttered darkly, staring up at what looked, in the shadows, like a Gothic sandstone mammoth under the trees.

"Ya. Let's go."

"That thing looks a bit creepy," I muttered, still darkly, once we'd buckled in.

"What thing?"

"That thing, in front there with the head sticking out the front."

(It was some kind of memorial gateway with a cherub head, torso, arms and wings in relief.)

"Oh! Didn't see it. Ya lah... very creepy. And this guy..."

I looked at the couple walking up the street. Short, nondescript woman. Tall, wild-haired, pale-faced, unnaturally thin guy. Yesss...

"... looks a bit creepy also."

"Yeah, so let's go. Door locked?"

"You think I wait for you to tell me meh, with this kind of people about? Hey, what's he carrying?"

I dared not answer, having seen what Creepy Guy was carrying. I waited for her to figure it out, which she did:

"He's carrying... a head!"

For indeed, that dark night on Glebe Point Road, our paths had intersected with Creepy Guy who was evidently on his way home from a hot date at the sculpture studio or something. Because he was, in actual fact, carrying a human head. Not a real one, fortunately, but the effect was no less eerie in the shadow of Creepy Gothic Church and Creepy Angel Head Memorial.

We high-tailed it home, while the pad thai and pad see eew stayed warm and fragrant in their plastic microwaveable boxes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No moss on this stone

I have rolled much this year. Three moves in 10 months of Sydney living, and counting.

Thank God for a great friend in Mich, letting me move in at the drop of a hat.

Thank God for three Sums and two Silvas who pitched in to do most of the heavy lifting of the move.

Thank God for generous friends who paid for my van rental in addition to doing the heavy lifting.

Just... thank God. That after all that's transpired, I'm still standing. Not only standing, dancing. Not only dancing, but laughing at the days ahead.

This is why I believe.
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