Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I've never been good at numbers.

I'm not even kidding. I went to put more money on my damn Myki then found myself staring blankly at the numbers. You know when something's so second nature that after a while, you don't even think about it? Like walking? I find sometimes I'll think too much about walking, and I'll end up walking funny because I'm thinking about each step. Same thing here. I had to remember what actual numbers make up my PIN and suddenly -ZILCH. Nothing. Nada. 

To make matters worse, I've somehow also managed to lose my drivers' license ... either at home, or on some sort of rampage over the weekend. 

I'm obviously really good at cards, and being a responsible adult (and penning haikus, duh). 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Adventures with Morse.


Given the hood that Castle Mega is situated in, the general demographic of our neighbours can pretty accurately be described as "similarly situated young folk" or "old folk" or "wholesome families" containing at least one "very botoxed female". To the delight of my mother, it's a rather uneventful place to call home. That is of course, apart from our next door neighbour. The very same next door neighbour we've decided - after about six odd months of inhabiting the Castle - is completely and disconcertingly Weird, and MOST PROBABLY a murderer.

At a party we threw a while back (which we were very sure he was going to take issue with and maybe go on some sort of killing spree as a result of), I couldn't help but regale some friends with a handful of the creepy-ass things he's done in the past. After I'd brought my pals up to date with his antics they stood there, mouths agape. As one, they slowly turned around to stare, slightly terrified, at the wall dividing our flat from his.

Mike met him long before I did. His introduction to our neighbour was ol' Morse leaping out of the shadows to cast his creepy-ass light upon us occurred on an evening like no other. Mike was chaining his bike to the bench outside our door, when Morse burst out of his flat, truly enraged.

Mike, understandably flabbergasted, could only tell the truth. "I'm locking up my bike."
Morse stared him down for a moment, then disappeared as quickly as he'd barged into view. Weird, we thought. Not troubling.

A short time after that first run-in, Mike was about to leave to meet me at the ol' cinematorium when he suddenly heard banging sounds coming from right outside his window. His window's pretty secluded, so someone would have to make a specific trip there in order to bang metal on metal (which is what it sounded like). Miguel then went over to his other window, following the sound of footsteps, to see Morse storming back to his house, glaring at Mike through the window. He wasn't holding anything. Disconcerting.

The resulting conversation between Mike and I became the catalyst for the nickname that's well and truly stuck, long after we learned his actual name. In Disturbia, David Morse plays the weird-ass neighbour who wants to kill Shia Le Boef.

"Dude. He's fucking weird."
"I think he's going to kill us."
"He definitely doesn't want to be our pals."
"We're Shia LeBoef. He's David Morse."

Note: I haven't actually seen Disturbia because the only thing I can tolerate LeDudd in is
this SNL sketch.

In any case, that's his name now.

A few days later, I get home from work (RIP Full Time Employment) and walk past his flat to ours, like any other day. This time though, his door is open and he's standing there, behind the screen door. Looming. Not doing anything, just looming there. Seeing him glaring and looming out of the corner, I jump in surprise and let out an involuntary yelp.

We stare at each other for a moment.

"Um. Hi?" I offer.

He continues to stare at me for a moment. Uncomfortable pause. I make a noise and rush the fuck inside.

Later that evening I decide to go for a run. I leave the house and walk up the stairs at the front of our block to the street. I look behind me, and see Morse leaning around his door, staring at the entrance to our house. I watch him for a few seconds. He's perfectly still, gaze fixated on our door. I run the fuck away.

After my run I walk back to our door, and he's loitering outside his door. I decide to take action. Maybe if he knows our names he'll decide we're worth sparing, I think to myself.

"Hi. I'm Rebecca." I held out my hand and gave him my most charming smile. "Nice to meet you!"

He shakes my hand. I'd expected him to answer with a "Hi, my name is _____" but instead he just glared at me while holding my outstretched hand. A very uncomfortable pause ensues, seemingly lasting eons.

"Uh...I live with my housemate, Michael. I think maybe you've seen him around?"

He stares at me for a moment longer.

"Yes." He says. "I have."

I rush the fuck inside and wash my hand.

Just about every run-in has been like that over the past few months. Looming, uncomfortable pauses and strange looks. It's a little disconcerting, especially when the occasional yelled expletives drift through the wall. After introducing myself to our other neighbours (all lovely), I soon found out that he must've taken some sort of a shine to me. Simply put, he yells at just about everyone in our quiet hood, and he hasn't yelled at me yet. Unless of course, the expletives heard through the wall were directed at me. Usually, they're roars of "FffffuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK." so you know, they could be anything.

No, instead he'd just glared at me.

Anyway, like I said every story since those first few have been just about as creepy or disconcerting as the last. Like when he demanded to know how many of us live at our place. Or when he loomed in FRONT of his door for a while. Or when the car crashed in front of our house and he spent the next four hours yelling about "THE ALMIGHTY CRAAAAAASH" that he'd witnessed to everybody at the scene (believe me, that is a long-winded story worth telling in its own right) and anybody who'd listen.

Amusingly, after my initial shock had worn off, I suddenly realised that watching Morse ranting and raving about seeing the horrible car crash ("WITH ME OWN EYES!!!") had been the longest I'd ever seen Morse talk, or interact with people. Or be out of his house, for that matter. By then Mike had arrived back from his weekend away and I was sitting outside, my attention divided between watching Morse yell wildly, and being intrigued by the flaming car across from our house. Suddenly, I sprinted back inside.

"DUDE. MORSE. HE'S SPEAKING. He's talking to people." 

Forget the horrible car crash, Morse was outside, talking, being a mostly functioning person. Not a looming, creepy figure that yells instead of speaking. Interesting realisation, that was. That Morse is an actual human with a name and the ability to interact with other humans. To be honest, I did become to be less creeped out by him for a while. I got a phone call from my brother when Morse was on the news yelling loudly about the car crash on the evening news, ("AN ALMIGHTY CRAAAASH!") which was pretty hilarious. Of course, the feeling that perhaps we aren't living next to a weirdo possible murderer lasted all of about a week, because before long he was back to his yelling, looming creepy-ass ways. You know, demanding to know how many people live in our flat, people knocking on the door inquiring as to his whereabouts, things like that.

Mike, Jaz and I recently compared notes on recent Morse antics while sitting at our picnic bench outside. All of a sudden someone noticed his window was open. An uncomfortable hush fell over the table. You could almost hear a wolf, or coyote, or creepy wind blow, or something equally as ominous cast a shadow over us.

Eh, we'll see how things go I guess. As long as no one tells my highly strung mother, I think we'll be okay.

Come over at your own risk.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I have actually been doing things.

Honestly, I have. While often "things" equates to consuming three boxes of barbeque Shapes within the space of two days and enduring the subsequent shame spiral, it also means I've been doing Legitimate Constructive Activities as well.

Apart from my usual role as photographer (read: occasionally the only way I end up leaving the house during the week) for the lovely and very cool guys at Venuemob, the lovely and very cool guys at Venuemob have recently enlisted me for another task. The task has been to write and/or re-write a very large amount of copy for their website, which is being re-done, re-launched and re-snazzed sometime this month (I believe).

That's meant writing all manner of nice things about venues around Melbourne, and finding all sorts of new and interesting ways to say "this venue caters to groups of all sizes" or "this venue has many rooms for you to use". It's been a challenge, albeit an enjoyable one. It's also probably a good thing, to have something force me to use my brain for things that aren't watching endless episodes of Friday Night Lights in between writing drivel and/or quite silly articles.

Speaking of quite silly articles (SEGUE! SEGUE! SEGUE!), I've recently begun writing for Port Whine. I've only written a couple so far; one about having no money, and one about my rather embarrassing penchant for nerds.  You can read them if you think that's the kind of silliness you'd be into.

I've also been recruited by Perth-based mag Colosoul, although the only thing I've done so far is for the print issue so I don't have a link for you because YOU CAN'T LINK TO IRL PAPER ON THE INTERNET, DINGUS.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gangster Squad or: The Untouchables Do LA

"C'mon Josh. I'll do my De Niro if you give us a cuddle."

The Untouchables Do Los Angeles
. That's what Gangster Squad is in a nutshell, and I say that without a hint of exaggeration. A hard-ass monster mob boss played by an Oscar-Winning giant of the cinema giant tightens his stranglehold on a decaying city and is taken down by a rag-tag group of misfits led by an idealistic honest cop. Along the way, families are attacked, the brainiac gets killed, and the mobster does a throat-destroying amount of yelling. Sound familiar? Of course it does!

To his credit, Ruben 'Zombieland' Fleischer's take on the gangster movie provides all the eardrum shattering shoot-outs, be-suited men in hats, and the montages of jazz music and violence that you'd expect and probably thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately, despite the stellar cast and eye-catching design, Gangster Squad is also riddled with cliche and ends up being the kind of flick you soon forget.

Like I said, if you've seen The Untouchables - and for that matter, just about any lawmen-take-on-the-mob film - you'll know the score An upstanding war veteran cop John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) is recruited by the chief of police (Nick Nolte) to use methods of badassery outside of the police handbook to put the spanner of the law in Mickey Cohen's (Sean Penn) gangster doings. One by one, we're introduced to the rag-tag bunch of misfits chosen to bash saunter away from explosions, and who mostly never become more than one-dimensional caricatures defined by singular characteristics.

There's the black beat cop (Anthony Mackie), old Wild West quick-draw type (a sorely underused Robert Patrick), his plucky upstart hispanic sidekick (Michael Peña), the brainy intelligence/electronics expert (Giovanni Ribisi), and lastly and most charismatically, Ryan Gosling as womanising slacker-cop Jerry. Of course, Jerry soon becomes involved with Cohen's current squeeze Grace (Emma Stone), although sadly the chemistry of Crazy, Stupid, Love is never quite recreated. In any case, a intelligence-gathering montage there, a shooting practice scene there, a botched first attempt at a hold up there, and BAM - you've got yourself a crack squad of gangster interrupting law enforcement brothers. Now we just sit back and place bets on who's going to die first.

Under-developed relationship, but still very nice to look at.

It's to Gangster Squad's great benefit that the cast assembled is of the calibre that it is. While there's hardly chance for any of the characters (with the exception of Brolin and Gosling) to do any sort of growing or to actually become interesting, the core ensemble and the a handful of supporting players are certainly enjoyable to watch. They even manage to mostly rise above the gangster cliches that abound, as well as the dialogue, which at times seems to have been lifted straight from the Gangster Movie 101 handbook. Of particular note is Mireille Enos as Brolin's pregnant wife, who manages to get a fair amount of warmth from a potentially thankless role.

Gangster Squad walks a constant and very fine line between taking itself seriously, and being utterly and completely ridiculous. Sure, there are a few good one-liners, but when the film attempts to delve into the moral dilemmas of being "outside the law", it stumbles awkwardly. There's a great smattering of bullet-ridden set-pieces, but when at least one of the dramatic moments is so clichéd you literally laugh out loud, it doesn't exactly bode well for the rest of the film.

The two sides of Gangster Squad are somewhat personified by its villain, Mickey Cohen. His gangster accent alternates between "kind of normal" and "truly absurd cartoon villain". He's sinister yes, but without any redeeming features or warmth, he becomes a caricature so over-the-top that it's hard to reconcile even with the more ludicrous elements of the story. "HERE COMES SANTY CLAUS!" he yells, before mowing down Christmas decorations with a machine gun in slow motion. Why is Sean Penn here? Is it to pay for a divorce? Did he just want to ham it up and chew some scenery? You know what though? Once you get used to the ridiculous accent, he's pretty fun to watch as a screeching villainous maniac.

Here's the thing about Gangster Squad. It's incredibly predictable, it's probably instantly forgettable, and it's uneven. However, it's also a lot of fun. It's visually lush, it's surprisingly funny, it's full of blood-spurting, gun-toting violence and the solid cast makes the most of less-than three dimensional characters. It's violent, stylish and entertaining instant gratification, and you'll most likely have a good time watching it. Especially if you're a fan of Ryan Gosling.

2.5/5 (I'm being generous)

Monday, January 7, 2013


This post was whipped up at the insistence of a couple of friends. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that my awkwardness knows no bounds, and that apparently said awkwardness is almost a superpower. Such is its awesomeness. 

Here's but a select few true nuggets of smooth talkin' badassery! 

Please, ladies and gents. Form an orderly queue, and try not to get too flustered.