i don’t even have the where-with-all to think of a good title (meeting the family, perhaps?)

This past Saturday night, BoyRoommateFriend met the family. (Why, that’s a premise you could shape a Ben Stiller movie around!)

My family has a remarkable way of dealing with new significant others. Mum, in particular, has a knack for staging these so-called Events. When she can’t lure you into the trap of an alleged birthday party,* she resorts to emotional blackmail.

It's like a tagline for a horror movie.

So, she invited the two of us around for a family birthday dinner on Saturday, impressing the importance of the evening with an appeal to familial bonds so simultaneously sincere and full of shit that she could rival the greatest rhetoricians.

When I finally called back the next day to confirm that BoyRoommateFriend was indeed coming, she admitted that it was not really a birthday dinner after all, but (as had been advertised to the relatives) Meet Gregg Night.

So, believing that, come Sunday morning, I would find myself either newly single and/or disinherited, I survived the dreaded anticipation by telling myself that “at least there’ll be a good story at the end of this.”

But, alas, there isn’t. It went off without a hitch.

I don’t have a great story.

Yes, I know I received texts to the effect of: “Can’t wait to read the blog post!”

So, to you all: I am sorry.

Epic Expectations. Giant Anti-Climax. It's like the evening was written and directed by this guy.

I prepare myself for the worst, not for things going well. Thus, I don’t really know what to do.

Not that there wasn’t the potential for hilarity. Half the family were hungover. The other half were drinking. Dad had a pulled muscle (tragic curling accident). The Boy stripped himself of his pants and spent dinner jumping up and down on the couch with his widgie in his hands.

These were all plot points I fully expected to tie together like a Christmas bow at the climax of the evening: the proverbial gun introduced in the first act, the delicate chess pieces shifting slowly around the board, waiting to move in for the kill.

It’s just that they came to… nothing.

You'll get 'em next time, buddy.

Nothing at all. No racist tirades. No baby sicking up all over everything. No uncle pointing out who has tiny ears or receding hairlines.

My sister even arrived late, bearing a huge flat of fruit from the zoo. It wobbled beneath her weight as she carried it up the stairs. I mean, honestly. A giant flat of fruit. If you were watching at home, by the end of the night you’d expect that fruit to be splattered all over the walls.

But nothing.

Rather, there was a frequent refrain of how nice BoyRoommateFriend was, how tall, funny, etc, etc. The word handsome got tossed around more times than I think healthy for his ego.

I honestly think they were all just shocked I’d done so well and didn’t know how to react. I honestly believe this. So, I guess if you catch them off guard, their knee-jerk response is civility.

That, or they expected I would die alone, and thus were doing their absolute best not to scare him off.

Yup.

___________

*I’m now convinced that my entire twenty-sixth birthday party was a ruse to get the family out to meet my sister’s boyfriend. (This line of thinking was also encouraged by the fact that Mum completely forgot to tell me, the alleged Birthday Girl about said party until the day before.) Sister and her Boyfriend had only known each other two weeks and he arrived in the middle of a drunken menagerie of miscreants, where, due to unfortunate circumstances delaying the end of her work shift, she hadn’t even shown up yet. In the ten minutes between his arrival and hers, he bore witnesses to a drunken Ashleigh bailing over the baby gate; the solemn, horror film-esque stares of ten silent, male relatives; a kitchen full of a dozen gossipy, drunken female relatives; a moth fluttering through the kitchen resulting in shrieks, flailing limbs, and broken glass; and, in all her glory, Mum.

2 questions with aaron moran

A couple of months ago now, Taryn Hubbard, some friends, and I went out to visit Aaron Moran at in Harrison Hot Springs, where he’s the Artist in Residence at the Ranger Station Art Gallery.

We had a great night despite the raging storms and Cholo Ancheta directed this mini-doc about Aaron. (Fun Fact: I shot this. Mostly.)

Aaron’s work is phenomenal and he shares some intriguing insights into his process.

____________

2 Questions with Aaron Moran from thechololo on Vimeo.

only eleven more months until christmas is over again

“Douglas,” our chipper wee friend of a Christmas tree, sits discarded in the backyard. Having completely missed the free tree chipping the second weekend in January, we have no idea what to do with it.

I only remembered the tree at all when the snow thawed last Friday.

“Oh yeah,” I remarked to BoyRoommatefriend, “The tree.”

It looks so pathetic hunkered there in the corner of the yard, tilted sideways against the grass like a tourist who fell asleep on the beach.

Doesn't this tug your heartstrings?

The suggestion was made to cut it up into tiny pieces and squeeze it into the compost, but somehow the sheer brutality of such a feat made me wince.

This is the first time I’ve ever had my own Christmas tree to deal with. In years past, it was either the tree at my parents’ house, or we simply never had a tree.

Do we just leave it there in the corner of the yard until it decomposes into nothing, returning once more to the sodden earth from whence it came? How long till the needles fall from it, leaving bare skeletal remains? Will a forensic anthropologist, like television’s Bones, do a post-mortem, and point a wavering finger in my direction whilst snarling an hollow-but-accustatory: “You….” Will I forever be deemed incapable of harbouring any responsibility whatsoever?

Probably.

Maybe the tree will stick it out until next Christmas.  That would save us a quick $23.

It is less than eleven months away now, you know.

frustration towards an inability to find a suitable writing environment

I think I need an intervention. This post is ridiculous.

Sometimes I can’t even form a coherent sentence. But badly wish to.*

Following a rather messy attempt to write on my lunch-hour, I found this in my notebook. Word-for-word, without editing, this is what my (literally out to lunch) brain ranted about:

Lost in mess of abstract thought, struggling to get the words on the page, choking through the fog of random abstraction, flashes of brilliance, avoiding the minefield of cliche, all while dancing around the true human universal answer – digging into the pathos of sheer existence – a true moment of creative genius glimpsed through the foggy  lens of a chipped tea cup, a pen low on ink, blank white pages stained with coffee in the corners and a quiet desk with only minor auditory distractions – a true moment of creative genius! Edging closer closer! Like running wildly through a hedge maze – just after this turn! No, this one! No! Keep going! Keep going! almost there ———-

                                                                          ————–

                                                                             ————–

                                                                                      ————–

Fuck. What? A cell phone. A creaking door? The wrong sandwich in the bag. “Genius” lost to mediocrity.

NOTE: Nothing I’ve ever written can be considered “genius,” but when you’re trying desperately to get something down before you lose the thought and then indeed lose the thought, it feels like whatever you’ve lost must have been the Best Thing Ever Thought.

I felt I needed to share this frustration, if anything, to make myself realise the utter absurdity of it all.

________________

*Oh, Christ-on-a-cracker, nothing makes sense anymore.

the commune christmas special: it’s not the BBC or anything, but it works for us

It went something like this:

(photos courtesy of Dr. Roommate’s iPhone)

"Thumbs up for turkey dinner!"
"There is so much joy in this room right now. I love you all. No, really. I do. Honestly. Why don't you trust me? See: I'm making a happy face and everything."

 

"I am marginally less excited than the rest of you... since I've been cooking the turkey all freakin' day."

 

"I am just here for the food."

 

"WOOOO! I've been drinking since ten a.m.!"