Saturday night bugfest and fest

For the last few days, there’s been swarms of a certain kind of bug around and just after sunset. Sometimes, a few will get inside and spend a couple of hours flying into lights, droppings wings, flying into people and generally being annoying. This afternoon, we forgot and had the doors wide open over sunset and for a while after the sun had completely set. By the time we noticed, tons of the bastards had got in and were flying dementedly around the lights.
The only plan of action Nina & I could think of was to turn off all the lights, open the door back up and lead them outside with torches. It was a rather successful operation, but did result in a lot of bugs flying into us, which made for a lot of swearing and flailing on my part. Being not the most intelligent of bugs, there were quite a few stragglers, which I took to ushering out with judicious use of a thong. The really irritating ones that kept flying into me got swore at and batted out of the air (with aforementioned thong).
Meanwhile, Ollie was upstairs with hundreds of them, taking photos of a tokai (huge colourful gecko) having the feast of it’s life. He then quietly and calmly dealt with the situation, which I assisted with when I was done downstairs.

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Then, there was a massive (by Ubud standards) outdoor all ages concert on the soccer field. Everyone was out for it and the streets were lined with motorbikes. They’re always lined with motorbikes, but this time it was several layers deep and on streets that would otherwise only have a few bikes.
The concerts spin me out. Tons of crap pop groups, boy bands and girl bands. Some had co-ordinated outfits, others just plain slutty ones, some even had co-ordinated dance routines. There were also stands selling ice cream, fairy floss, corn, inflatable thingies, etc.  At one point, part of the crowd were clapping along to electronica.
Basically as soon as we got there, we decided it was beer time and went to a small expat bar off to the side of the soccer field, where we could still see a little of the action. At one point, a pickled old white bloke went and had a nap on the raised platform behind our table for about an hour, then got up, moved to an outside table and continued drinking and smoking.
As we were going home, concert still in full swing, the band playing were apparently too hardcore and risky for an earlier timeslot. Unfortunately, their version of hardcore basically meant fast pop-rock with crap singing.

Ah, yes. I finally got some drawings on the computer, so here they are. Ideas for REMAKE/REMODEL: Irma Vep, over at freakangels.com/whitechapel/ Photos of drawings.

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Bowel movement man (100 words)

“I’m sure I don’t need to bore you with the details of my bowel movements, but I will…” He intones soothingly to some horrified girls in tiny skirts and plunging tops.
It’s the man in the beige suit jacket with the slicked back hair. Sadly, she thinks, as she drifts though the bar collecting classes, he is only one saving me from a night of excruciating boredom. The throng of tight-shirted, waxed chested, immaculately groomed and toned homo-erotic homophobes, might otherwise impel her towards violent suicide.
Bowel-movement man seems pretty cool by comparison. He beams, while frightening more young women.

Contraption: 100 words

“This is not going to work” Hadley insists, eyeing the contraption.
“Dude, it so fucking is” Dean grins, donning his helmet. Sunlight streams in from the broken wall, reflecting off the rails, winking.
“If you die, I’m not responsible. And I’m not telling your family.” Hadley shouts from behind protective glass.
Dean looks back and gives the thumbs-up.
“Dickhead.”
The crash test rig jerks into motion, rapidly accelerating, then slams violently into the end. Hadley stares at the empty chair at the end of the rails, the daylight through the hole in the wall and he begins walking towards it.

Not a replacement

Last weekend, as promised…

Saturday was by far the less eventful day, as all I really did was go to a life drawing class and buy a helmet. The life drawing was great and it was the 1st time I’d tried straight watercolours/brush ink in life drawing. Sooner or later, I’ll hijack the scanner or give up and take some photos of the work I’ve been doing.

Having a job and a life again leaves me with less time for things like writing and drawing, and the tropics seem to sap me of energy. Once I’ve set myself up with a desk and got my drawing paraphernalia in order, I’ll get back into it more seriously. There’s a story idea that’s begging to be worked on, once I can set aside the time.

Sunday was the biggie. Nina, Ollie and I set off at an ungodly hour of the morning to go and meet their friend who lives in a small village up a mountain surrounding Lake Batur (one of the biggest lakes on Bali). They were one bike, I on another; only the third time I’d ridden a motorbike. Considering my lack of experience, I think I did quite well, especially given it was 2.5 hours up and 2.5 back. There were two minor incidents and no injuries. One wasn’t my fault and one was just me being crap. No, I don’t care to elaborate, thank you.

So, after the monster ride there, we met their friend, Pak Yodi, and headed straight up a very steep mountain to where Pak Yodi’s village is. It’s a big climb that the locals do, often several times a day, sometimes laden with large bags of rice, onions, etc. Beautiful views straight down to the lake and across to other mountains, so at least they have stunning scenery for their toil.

It was quite an experience getting shown around by Yodi, who is basically in charge of a whole village up there, who have it pretty rough. It’s a poor farming community, earning nothing from the tourism trade that most of Bali runs on.

After visiting the temple, his friends, his home, the holy well, the new school and his unfortunately unwell mother, we had to head back, hoping not to ride too much through the darkness and needing to return the bikes. The only photos were from the ride home, because somehow, it didn’t feel right busting the camera out up there, though I’m sure it would’ve been fine. Sometimes, rather than document physically or digitally, it’s good to simply commit the experience to memory.

It was an pretty exhausting trip, both mentally and physically, which took me several days to recover from, but it was all worthwhile. The concentration and stress of riding the bike for 5 hours was pretty draining, without the mountain and all the rest.

When we got back that night after the hours of inexperienced motorbike riding and precarious steep mountain paths, there was one last danger in store. As I was relaxing and preparing for bed, I went to pop outside to turn the outside light off. Opening the door, what should be nestled up against it but a snake. It was night, so the little fella was cold and slow, plus it was quite a skinny little thing, so I snapped some shots before it slithered groggily on it’s way. But you’ve already seen those photos, so I essentially ruined my own story. Good on me.

This week it’s been all work and meetings. I’ve decided to introduce musical interludes at least once or twice a day now, to keep things up-vibe interesting. Yestreday’s selection was ‘Love Will Bring Us Back Together’ by Roy Ayers (shout out to Dave). I think today, in honour of Nurock & Cystem‘s ‘Gangster Friday’, some Little Wayne might be on the cards. Meltdowns, Meters and Curtis Mayfield might be on for next week…

Happy Birthdays to Sunaree, Peta, Jesse, Ollie, Brad and whoever else I may be forgetting.

Rest in Peace to my iPod. You served me well for many years and I thank you for all the good times and tunes.

Testing

I am mostly posting this to test out my new email rss subscription function. There will be a real update soon involving climbing mountains, riding motorbikes, and a snake (no, I don’t mean riding a snake), but right now my brain is mush and I should be working.

You can see the pictures from said events over at my flickr for now (bar the snake riding and mushy brain), few in number though they are. This post may disappear, magically transformed into something coherent, once my ability to think and write return.

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Ooh, my flickr plugin works again!

Here is the email RSS form thing I mentioned, but I’m only testing it now, so no guarantees.

Enter your email address:

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Carry on.

*Edit to add: More tests! I’m testing how to get stats on downloads from the site, so here’s a couple of options for things to download from me. So, if there are any English teachers out there, or people looking for activities to help with teaching English, here’s the book of activities compiled from my time working on VoiceBox.

VoiceBox English learning activities book.pdf (2.7mb)

Or alternatively, try this 30 second clip of my soothing barritone guiding listeners through parts of the body for an English exercise. bodylesson1.mp3