“M A N I A” is the seventh studio album to be released by this Alternative Pop Punk outfit from Illinois, United States. It’s very clear that on this release, the four piece were wanting to make a dramatic departure from their earlier material in terms of musical direction. There’s everything here from EDM (Electronic Dance Music), Ska/Reggae, R&B, Hip-hop, Electro-pop, Trap music and Alternative/Indie. Whilst for the most part this album is very bold and ambitious in its intentions, there are also moments where it sounds like a chaotic mess and feels very inconsistent.

The band selected quite a number of different producers for this record including Jesse Shatkin, D. Sardy, Butch Walker, Illangelo, Andrew Wells and Fall Out Boy themselves. MANIA was intended for a September 2017 release but got delayed several months as “The album just really isn’t ready, and it felt very rushed,” (Quote from Patrick Stump, wikipedia page). Overall, this album is very much a mixed bag but certainly has some quality tracks on it.

Here is my track-by-track review of MANIA…

1. Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea…This track begins with some overpowering electronic drum beats but unfortunately the first of many awkward lyrics threatens to ruin it entirely (Are you smelling that shit? Repeated 8 times!). Not the best way to open the album. 6/10

2. The Last of The Real Ones…By contrast, this track is much stronger both lyrically and musically with some groovy rhythmic keyboards and a rollicking guitar riff throughout. Vocalist Patrick Stump delivers some of the best lyrics of the album here (I wonder if your therapist knows everything about me). The song itself is about finding a genuine person to fall in love with. 9/10

3. Hold Me Tight or Don’t…Here is the first taste of how experimental FOB have pushed themselves on this record with a catchy tropical reggae-pop beat throughout the track. Sadly the same can’t be said for the lyrics which veer into WTF? territory (I want to sleep on every piece of fuzz and stuffing that comes out of you). But if you can get past that, it’s a great track. 8/10

4. Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)…This track is probably the closest you’re going to get to a “traditional” Fall Out Boy track. It’s also got one of the best one-liners on the whole album as well (I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour). Musically, it just trudges along until it hits a catchy sing-a-long chorus which saves it from complete tedium. 8/10

5. Church…This is yet another bold and daring track complete with organs, bells and a sampled gospel backing choir which all feel very appropriate. Lyrically, there are metaphors abound particularly during the chorus (If you were church, I’d get on my knees). Definitely not subtle! 8.5/10

6. Heaven’s Gate…Similar to the above track however this is where things begin to fall apart structurally with a painfully long held note from Patrick opening the song and some far from subtle references to getting high on drugs (Would you give me a boost over Heaven’s gate…You’re one habit I just can’t kick). Not their best. 7/10

7. Champion…Another really strong track both musically and lyrically. The opening seems to be inspired by the Rocky theme song and the chorus is very punchy and intense. It’s a very inspiring and empowering song hence why I probably like it so much (If I can live through this, I can do anything). 9.5/10

8. Sunshine Riptide…Now we go from the best song on the album to the worst. I have no idea what FOB were thinking. Adding autotune to Patrick’s vocals during the verses was a terrible idea as was throwing guest rapper Burna Boy (God knows what the fuck he’s rapping about). The only thing that slightly redeems the track is the punchy chorus probably as they remove the autotune from Patrick’s vocals. 5/10

9. Young and Menace…When I first heard this track, I legitimately had mixed feelings about it as I really wanted to like it. However, the chorus nearly kills the entire vibe of the song with it’s screechy, high-pitched vocals and chopped up beats. What’s worse is that you have to endure it for near 30 seconds. The verses work much better with a neat reference to Britney Spears (Oops, I did it again, I forgot what I was losing my mind about). 7.5/10

10. Bishops Knife Trick…Thankfully the album finishes on a high note after some really average moments. It starts off really laid-back before it opens up to a soaring, powerful chorus. It also shows off Patrick’s range as a vocalist (These are the last blues we’re ever gonna have. Let’s see how far we get). I just wish the whole album was as consistent as this track is. 8.5/10


Standout Tracks: The Last of the Real Ones, Church, Champion, Bishops Knife Trick.

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​MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 91, February 2018

On Monday morning, I had my Healthy Cooking on a Budget class at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. Today we ended up making a pizza dough, pizza sauce and a sweet strawberry and chocolate calzone. Making the dough is always the toughest part for me as getting the consistency of flour and water is tricky. Usually it becomes very sticky and ends up getting on your fingers and all over the bench. However, once you’ve kneaded it enough, the dough eventually comes together into a ball. We covered it with glad wrap and placed it in a warm spot to rest for about half an hour.

During this time, we ended up mixing up the pizza sauce. Simply combine a jar of passata sauce with finely diced onions, tomato paste, a handful of basil leaves and some olive oil in a frying pan. Cook for about 15 minutes and it’s done. Next we started to prepare all the toppings for the pizza (onions, capsicums, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet potato, salami, cheeses). Taking the cooked pizza base out of the oven, we spread a couple of tablespoons of sauce onto the dough and then added whatever toppings we wanted before placing it back into the oven.

Our cooking Jodie was very helpful as always, running around the kitchen to assist everyone during the class. She was also brutally honest when it comes to her opinion on “I Quit Sugar” author Sarah Wilson’s theory about replacing sugar with rice malt syrup. It’s basically an unrefined processed sweetener that gives you empty calories in high doses. Therefore, Sarah Wilson is full of…shit (I mean sugar!). http://www.ballaballa.com.au/progra…

On Tuesday night, I went down to YMCA Casey RACE for a spa and sauna session as well as a Water Workout class with Suzie. I really wasn’t in the best mindset for lifting weights tonight and I remember from my experiences last year how much of a bad idea it is to “push through” anyway (Mental illness > Frustration and Anger > Poor Performance > Emotional Breakdown). Plus I felt like I needed to be alone doing my own thing tonight after getting myself hurt and upset over Facebook conversations.

Tonight’s class was really fun and enjoyable as always but sadly my mind was clouded by all the worries that happened today. It was a struggle keeping up with fitness instructor Suzie at times but I just did what I could as usual. http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/…

On Valentine’s Day, Mum and I had lunch together at Colourfield Cafe Casey Central. We each ordered the French crepes with Nutella spread, custard, whipped cream, strawberries and pine nuts. It was absolutely amazing. We also treated ourselves to 20 minute head and shoulder massages at Therapy Zone Casey Central. I was feeling incredibly tense and sore through this area after building up so much stress and pressure in my life. It’s been a tough few weeks for me to say the least with the VCAT preparation, financial pressure, getting oversensitive and taking things the wrong way, having low energy levels and trying to fit too many things into my week. http://caseycentral.com.au/store/th…

On Thursday morning, I had my Body Balance class with Wendy Lynne Perrow at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. I was feeling restless and sleepy but determined to still come along to this class. My attendance has been pretty inconsistent of late but instructor Wendy is always pleased to see me in her classes. Physically, this class was exactly what I needed to release a lot of tension and soreness through my muscles and joints.

Today’s class consisted of: Tai-Chi Warm-up (Wide legged energy flows and releases), Standing Strength/Yoga (Standing Forward Fold, Downward Facing Dog, Plank, Baby Cobra, Low Lunge), Balance (Tree pose, Flower pose, Dancers pose, Chair pose), Pilates/Core (Toe taps, Seal, Criss Cross Crunches, Bridge pose), Twists (Extended Child’s Pose, Thread The Needle, Wild Thing), Hamstring Stretches (Pigeon pose, Splits, Happy Baby) and Relaxation. https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/f…

On Thursday night, I attended my first AS Adults Peer Group meeting at The Nerve Centre in Blackburn. Of course with any “first” there will always be triggers for my anxiety levels (meeting new people, visiting a community centre I’ve never been to before, being new to the area of Blackburn). But I wasn’t going to let these things stop me from going. It’s only been a few months since I got diagnosed with High Functioning Autism (or Mild Autism) and I wanted to explore some options in terms of social support as well as understanding my condition better. https://www.aspergersvic.org.au/eve…

When I found a street-side parking spot close to the Centre, I decided to have a wander around to get my bearings. A handful of people were already waiting in the courtyard area for the meeting to start and I could already feel myself getting nervous and flustered. I decided to just keep to myself and take in the conversations that were happening around me. Half an hour later, I was beginning to wonder whether the host Colin was even going to show up. I figured he might be running late and it turns out I was right.

Making a bee-line to the men’s restroom, I had a brief conversation with one of the other Aspergers members named Simon so at least I broke the ice with someone. There were about 22 odd people at tonight’s meeting which was held inside one of the boardrooms. The first five minutes felt like an AA meeting with everyone having to do standard introductions. Somehow I pulled it off without making a fool of myself. On observation, a few others struggled in this department so I didn’t feel so bad.

Tonight’s topic was on “Diagnosis Considerations” which looked at self-diagnosis vs. professional diagnosis, whether people should tell others about having the condition and their personal experiences. I didn’t really feel that comfortable sharing tonight but there were several meaningful discussions that were had that were very useful and educational. Just hearing from others, it provides both acceptance and a better understanding of what it means to have Aspergers or in my case Autism. https://aspergersvic.org.au/Just-Di…

On Friday afternoon, I had my counselling session with Ruth Piece Together Counselling in Narre Warren. Today I had one of the most honest and personal conversations I’ve ever had with a therapist. It was all about the relationship between my parents and my feelings towards it as well as sharing some of the traumatic aspects during their separation a few years back. I felt uncomfortable, overwhelmed, confused, angry and sad. It’s probably the hardest topic to talk about but it’s easily the most important seeing how it’s about my family.

On Friday night, I went to an Open Gym session at The Yard Strength & Fitness in Pakenham. I treated tonight like a catch-up seeing as I missed the last two Strength & Fitness Fundamentals sessions this week. I decided to work on bench press and overhead press, starting at very low weight. I also did quite a few warm-up stretches related to powerlifting such as butterfly, hip flexor opener, modified hurdler’s stretch and pigeon pose which can all be seen in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb2…

It was very quiet tonight with myself, Rodney Millar and Mandi Herauville all working on various exercises and workouts. I did some TABATA styled core exercises with Mandi including plank hold, superman hold, dish hold and hollow rocks before setting myself up to do some overhead power lifts. Rodney also showed me how to roll out my shoulders using the foam roller. It was awkward getting my body position correct but I eventually got there. Just need to learn how to slow down and relax into it. It didn’t help with Audrey (the border collie) slobbering all over me! 😛 haha

“I love the world but I just don’t love the way it makes me feel. Got a few more fake friends And it’s getting hard to know what’s real.” Fall Out Boy – Church (2018)

“I hope the roof flies off and I get blown out into space. I always make such expensive mistakes. I know it’s just a number but you’re the 8th wonder. I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color.” Fall Out Boy – Wilson (Expensive Mistakes) (2018)

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​DRIVEN TO THE VERGE + Moustache Ant + This Life I Live + Amaros + Special Guests @ Rockstar Bar, February 2018

I have to say that the Rockstar Bar in Frankston is one of the most chilled out venues when it comes to live bands. The atmosphere is great. Everyone is friendly. There’s plenty of seating around the bar and main stage area. They have music videos playing on the flat screens. It’s pretty much an introvert’s paradise. Well, it is for me anyway.

Yeah I still struggle a lot when it comes to making conversation and being social but tonight I felt comfortable and content being in my own space. I did spend some time hanging out with the guys from Driven To The Verge and This life I live in between bands. Social environments will always be difficult for me no matter what but at least this is a venue I love coming to and it’s not too far away from where I live.


“Enter scene, New York City 1998 NYPD, living the good life ‘til Valkyr showed its face. A mother cries as her baby dies. The Valkyrie strikes. Wife shot, daughter slaughtered. Death of the American dream.” – The Flesh of Fallen Angels

I’m 95% certain that I’ve seen this Progressive Deathmetal band play somewhere quite some time ago (The Bendigo Hotel? Rack ‘Em Up Pool? I’m not sure). The boys were very impressive with lots of epic guitar solos and growling metal screams. Most songs range between 5 and 10 minutes and it’s interesting to hear all the intricate layers of the multiple riffs and drum patterns building up.

Setlist: Order of Chaos, Eye For An Eye, Progalogue, The Madness.



“Why does it scare you? Why do you fear? Love decency and compassion, or the end will be near. Spreading hate, it gets us nowhere. And we’re alienating our sons and daughters with fear.” – Ronin

It’s been a few months since I last saw this Progressive Metalcore band play and as usual the boys were tight as fuck. Unfortunately, they were plagued by some annoying feedback issues and a faulty microphone that kept cutting out (SO RUDE!). But they managed to carry on regardless and even banged out a classic The Ghost Inside cover (Engine 45).

Setlist: The Petty One, Ronin, Plot 33.



“Building the towers of sin. Functioning power the gives you a grin. Why don’t you go destroying the icons where music would play. Respect the victims. Reject control.” – Grandiosity

The last time I saw this three-piece Groovy Heavy Metal band was probably at The Barn Live in Bayswater. The boys were on fire both with their addictive energy on stage and their entertaining wit in between songs. Bassist Michael Ballsington Ball ended up playing half the set sitting on the drum kit stage after his strap broke (or was it because he’s fucking lazy? Hmmm).

Setlist: Open Season, Titties, Grandiosity.



“So here I am, I’m back at it again. So much time I’ve wasted, sitting on my own hands. Nothing’s gonna stop me, from doing what I love. With determination, running through my veins. It’s now or never, this is my second chance.” – Persistence

It’s been over six months since this local Melodic Metalcore band played a gig so it was really exciting watching them perform again. They did a really good job considering they only had one rehearsal session in the past month prior to this show. They have such a tight, kinetic stage presence that’s really infectious. Once again the microphone was playing up but the boys soldiered on anyway. Vocalist Luke Barrows gave me a shoutout during “What You’ve Become” which was really nice and thoughtful. Keen to hear some new songs from the boys soon!

Setlist: Persistence, What You’ve Become, Skybound, Rule Breaker, I Am Deception, Absent Eyes.


ESCARION…Unfortunately Escarion pulled out of the show at the last minute due to band member illness. Check out their new EP “Pinacle of Neglect” via their bandcamp page here:  https://escarion.bandcamp.com/releases

DESERT KINGDOM…Unfortunately I couldn’t stick around for this Heavy Metal/Stoner Rock band from the Mornington Peninsula. Check out their self-titled EP via their bandcamp page here: https://desertkingdom.bandcamp.com/album/desert-kingdom

“Well the good time’s not what it used to be. Got noise restrictions and fun police. Plastic cups, gotta suck it up again. We say hell no, it’s time to take a stand.”                           Shannon Noll – No B&S (2018)

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​MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 90, February 2018

On Monday morning, I had my first Healthy Cooking on a Budget class for the term at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. I was feeling quite rattled and shaken from being hit from behind at the Thompsons Road round-a-bout. Thankfully it was only a minor bump and didn’t cause any noticeable damage to the rear of my car. I think it was more that I wasn’t expecting it as I was stationary at the time waiting to enter the round-a-bout. I’m also glad that no road rage ensued. It’s the last thing I wanted this morning.

Filling out the enrolment form was a welcome distraction from the above and a chance to settle my nerves. This term there was only 7 people in attendance which I am more than comfortable with. I felt like the last one had too many people and the kitchen became far too busy and cluttered. Once again, the class was run by pastry chef and cooking teacher Jodie rocking her usual headband and thick-framed glasses.

Today we ended up making a silverbeet and ricotta cheese quiche, an egg and bacon pie and a cheesy veggie pastie. It’s been quite a few months since I’ve made a shortcrust pastry from scratch but things slowly became familiar to me. Of course rolling the dough out is always the part I struggle with and had to get Jodie to come to my rescue. I was working along side a lady named Cathy who seemed friendly and was also very new to cooking.

My anxiety levels weren’t too bad today considering what happened earlier though I did have a few fleeting moments of “I don’t know what I’m doing” and feeling a bit self-conscious. But this is pretty much the norm when it comes to “first days” and meeting new people in a group. I’m slow to start, slow to warm up but eventually it gets easier over time.

On Monday night, I went to my RPM class with Matt at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. Tonight’s performance wasn’t really my best as if wearing my bright green active wear top on inside-out seemed to indicate. At least nobody else seemed to notice. I also had to deal with shifting bowel movements during my class which were distracting to say the least. No matter, I still did what I could. Our fitness instructor Matt chose to put on Release no. 54 which included tracks like January Rays feat. Riley – Moves Like Jagger, Coldplay’s Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall and Tiesto feat. Kirsty Hawkshaw – Just Be. That last song in particular is a nostalgic one as it brought me back to my trance days.

Of course the hardest ones for me involved steep uphill mountain climbs with increasing resistance. I did my best to keep up and surprised myself by reaching level 53% at one point. As for the racing sections, my best speed was around 135 RPM which is pretty decent for me. I’m happy staying 90-110RPM+ even though this is considered “slow” for trainers but at least I’m still exercising and burning calories. http://www.totallylesmills.com/site…

On Tuesday morning,  I had two people from Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door and my brain was like “Ohh shit! Help. Get me out of here.” Thankfully I only had to endure a couple of bible passages and a 3 minute video. I’m far too polite to slam the door in their faces. I deliberately didn’t open the security door for my own safely whilst they were delivering their spiels. The man asked me if I believed in God and I replied “I’m a fence sitter. I’ve never had a really strong faith in religion though I do meditate and practice yoga so I have some belief.” I kindly took the business card that he gave me and rushed out a sigh of relief when they left.

Later that morning, I went to the YMCA Casey ARC for a Vinyasa Flow yoga class with Michelle. Today we focused on the theme of courage (To be courageous is to live with your heart) facing our challenges and fears in life. We did several sequences of poses including Downward Facing Dog, High Pushup, Chaturanga, Updog, Low Lunges, Three Legged Dogs, Reverse Triangles, Warriors (Peaceful, Reverse, Humble, 2 and 3), Happy Baby, Bridge Pose and Shoulder Stand. https://www.essentiallifeskills.net/…

On Tuesday afternoon, Mum and I attended a Health Strategy life coaching session with Anna Berkelmans at Body Yoga in Berwick. I really didn’t know what to expect in this session but I remained open minded to any advice Anna had to give in terms of my goals of losing weight, increasing my energy levels and reducing my stress, anxiety and depression. We talked about trying to eat dinner a little earlier at night and trying to avoid snacking late at night. This is essentially fasting between dinner and breakfast to allow the body to digest and process the nutrients we consume while we sleep.

Anna also talked about her Mindful Habits course which runs for 13 weeks online via forums and Skype sessions as well as classes at the yoga studio. Honestly I don’t think I’m quite ready to commit to it both financially and time wise. I’ve already got enough on my plate as it is though I can always keep it in the back of my mind and just start by working on eating dinner at an earlier time at night. https://annaberkelmans.com/health-c…

On Tuesday night, I had my first Strength & Fitness Fundamentals Level 1 training session at The Yard Strength & Fitness in Pakenham. It’s been a few months since I last did any sort of heavy weight lifting or strength resistance training so I was pretty excited to get back into it again. It was just a small group of us consisting of Rodney MillarAlisha MillarKyra Bree DawsonTrish Markulija and myself.

Tonight’s session was all about running through the basics. We did a few warm-up exercises including squats, bear crawls and sprints/runs outside. I was more like “mindful running” to me, focusing on particular aspects of technique like swinging your arms, length of stride and how hard your feet hit the concrete. We finished up by doing a fitness test which included sprinting around a circuit of cones, reaching out and trying to touch your toes, push-ups, running around the block and a maximum weight farmer’s carry.

The first two were fairly easy for me. Push-ups I still struggle with a lot and I had to end up doing some of them on my knees. I managed to do 15 push-ups in a minute. I actually really surprised myself with my run as I’ve hated running most of my life. It’s very much the mental aspect that gets me every time. The feeling of being out of breath and knowing that you’ll burn out soon. But I deliberately paced myself the whole way, didn’t overdo it and ended up getting a time of under 4 minutes (3 minutes and 56 seconds).

The last part was the farmer’s carry. I haven’t done one of these for a while so I didn’t know how I was gonna go but I managed to lift up to 60kg. I’m still working on my lifting technique as I have to remember to switch on and activate certain muscles like my glutes, lower back and keep my back straight to avoid injury. Overall, I really enjoyed the first session. I think it’s important to walk away feeling proud and having a sense of achievement

That was a big hurdle for me in 2017 as walking away from some sessions feeling depressed, upset, angry and deflated which wasn’t doing my mental health any good. It’s all dependent on the trainer and the other clients in your group. It makes all the difference. https://www.facebook.com/TheYardStr…

On Wednesday morning, Mum and I had coffee together at VENUE 101 Cafe, Amberly Park Shopping Centre in Narre Warren South. We grabbed a few copies of this week’s Cranbourne Leader as my article on the Now, Yoga studio VCAT case had gone to print. It was a mixture of emotions for me as I was excited to finally have a story written about me in the local newspaper but the circumstances behind it are still frustration. I just hope that this will result in a positive outcome for everyone involved and that the media exposure will help in some way. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/…

On Thursday morning, I decided to “serve” my VCAT papers to my two respondents, Melise and Tony, at their last known addresses. It was such a surreal and eerie feeling especially walking up to the front of Tony’s house. It was a large rustic country style home with a tin roof and a timber veranda. It felt like I was in one of those Haunted House movies as even the entire street was quiet and abandoned as this house was. I basically just shoved the envelope with the papers enclosed into the letterbox and left the premises. I don’t think I could have handled doing it face to face even if he was still residing there. https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/steps-t…

On Thursday night, I had my second Strength & Fitness Fundamentals session for the week at The Yard Strength & Fitness in Pakenham. It was a smaller group tonight as Rodney and Alisha weren’t able to make it but it was still a really fun class. Tonight’s focus was on doing deadlifts with the correct technique, form and posture. It all really comes down to body awareness and it’s something I’m still learning. There’s a lot that goes into a movement and it does take a lot of practice to get it right.

We started with some warmup exercises consisting of: a 100m sprint on the rowing machine and continuous movement of the battle ropes (5 rounds) plus a bear walk, 10 dead ball deadlifts and 10 dead ball deficit deadlifts (2 rounds). Next we worked on developing our deadlifting technique as well as finding our heaviest weight. I managed to do 75kg quite comfortable but could have gone up to 90kg+. Still not bad after a few months off.

Lastly we tackled our first workout which involved 3, 6, 9, 12, 9, 6, 3 reps of the following: Deadlifts (comfortable weight), push-ups, step ups or box jumps and sit-ups. It didn’t take long for me to start pouring with sweat but I honestly felt great about my performance. I was a little slow at times but I’m just easing my way back into this. And really if you’re dripping with sweat, you’re working out “hard enough”.

I’m honestly feeling really comfortable with these group strength training classes so far. They’re really small and not socially overwhelming. Everyone has a good laugh and still works really hard. And I feel like I can be myself there. I don’t have to impress anyone. I don’t have to be fake or put on a facade. Thank you to Mandi and Charlie (Lydia) for both being awesome coaches!

On Friday morning, Mum and I headed down to Cranbourne Police Station to get my Declaration of Service forms stamped and signed for my VCAT case. Honestly I was feeling a bit nervous walking into the police station and it seemed really silly to me since I had honourable intentions. As usual, my anxiety just blows things up to be bigger than they are and as a whole, it’s been an overwhelming experience for me. I was worried I’d have to explain the details of my case to the female constable sitting at the reception desk. Instead she just asked me for my ID and signed the papers. All over in two minutes. Unfortunately the hearing won’t be over that quickly but I’ve got a whole month before that happens. https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/resourc…

“That’s who I am. This is how I ride. I came to live this life. Climb every mountain high. I’m giving all I can. Just try to bring me down. I’ll be the better man. Take it or leave it. It’s no secret. This is who I am.” Shannon Noll – Who I Am (2018)

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​MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 89, February 2018

On Monday lunchtime, Mum and I went to The Coffee CLUB Cranbourne for a “coffee date”. I was still feeling exhausted and washed out from the Australia Day weekend and of course it’s still really humid. We’re both holding out for the cool change to come this afternoon. We ordered iced coffees with whipped cream and a chicken, avocado and cheese toastie with chips for lunch.

After weighing myself recently, I’m really not happy with my weight right now. I’ve jumped back to 92-93kg over the past couple of months due to Christmas, travelling, going out for lunches and dinners etc. But I am determined to jump back on the health and fitness horse and focus on slimming down again. I mainly want to focus on losing body fat (visceral fat) around my stomach/belly/abdomine as this has been the source of my body image issues. https://www.muscleforlife.com/visce…

On Monday night, I went down to YMCA Casey RACE for a Spa & Sauna session as well as a Water Workout class. My heat tolerance in the sauna is still quite low hence why I limit myself to 5-10 minutes max in there. Even that duration is a struggle for me but I quickly remind myself of all the health benefits I’m getting for sitting here pouring with sweat (weight loss, stress relief, flushing out toxins from the body). The spa was also helpful as my glutes were still a little tight from last week’s beach run. http://www.finnleo.com/pages/health…

The Water Workout class was really packed tonight. I’d say around 25 people were in the pool with me but there was still plenty of room to exercise in. The young female instructor is someone I’ve had before last year and of course like last time, she made us work hard tonight. I swear she’s probably a personal trainer as well. We did lots of jogging, running, star jumps, tuck jumps, cross-country skiing, rock n’ rolls, donkey kicks and side jumps plus work with the underwater dumbbells. Whilst I was a little rusty and uncoordinated at times, I still walked away feeling like I’d done a decent workout. http://sgac.com.au/Blog/the-top-10-…

On Tuesday night, I went to a Body Combat class with Cinamon Guerin at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. I’ve only owned my 2015 Hyundai Accent for just over 3 weeks now and I’m still slowly discovering all of these new features. Tonight I was trying to figure out how the interior lights worked and all found that my compartment for slashing loose coins was located above the windscreen rather than down below the radio like where most cars have it. Oh well, I’m slowly working it all out.

Tonight’s class was a little more challenging than usual for me tonight. I was having some issues with my levels of fatigue and could feel my face getting flustered much more quicker than usual. But I soldiered on and slowed down when I had to. I was also trying hard to focus on my technique and felt pretty good about some of my combos.

There were a few surprises that Cinamon threw in like forming a circle and doing HIIT sprinting in the spot, holding planks for 30 seconds and doing core exercises which we all love to hate. But considering I’ve been focusing on weight loss again, this is the exact reason why I’m doing these sorts of cardio classes. It’s never going to be easy but it will always be achievable. https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/f…

On Thursday morning, I had my Gentle Hatha Flow yoga class with Dell Brown at Just Be Yoga and Meditation in Beaconsfield. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been going to yoga classes at this studio for 8 years now. Granted, the last few years have been choppy, turbulent and inconsistent to say the least but I always try to set good intentions for myself in terms of having a yoga practice (whether it’s regular or irregular). Even when I haven’t been there for months, somebody will still remember me and that’s what keeps bringing me back to Just Be. That sense of community and enjoyment for doing yoga.

Of course there were times where I had my doubts. Embracing change is something I still struggle with at times and there have been many changes at Just Be. Changing owners, changing yoga teachers, changing classes, changing students, changing interior layouts. But I’ve tried to remain open minded every time I end up coming back. Admittedly, I did feel a little awkward and I couldn’t really explain why. Maybe it’s that unnecessary need to explain myself to Michelle as to my whereabouts or that I “should” be speaking up more. But these are pressures I still place on myself and I’m still learning to let go of.

Today’s class was really laidback and blissful. I’m honestly glad I chose it because I noticed how tight, stiff and sore my joints where particularly in my hips, glutes, lower back, neck and shoulders. So thankfully there were plenty of poses to relieve these issues including spinal twists, cat-cow pose, cobra, hip-opening poses, low/high lunges, sun salutation, dancers pose and a supported shoulder stand. I’m really hoping to hit the reset button on my yoga practice and attend a little more regularly than last year. http://www.justbeyoga.com.au/

On Thursday afternoon, I had an appointment with my support worker Ally at Colourfield Cafe Casey Central. Today I discussed with her why I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed lately. The process of my VCAT case has now recently began and now I have a hearing date set for the middle of March. I’ve got a bit of preparing to do in terms of “serving” papers to the people involved which means a trip down to Officeworks and lots of photocopying. The whole thing is very new to me and whilst I know I have a strong case, I’m still daunted by it all.

I’m also learning to deal with my emotions better. It’s still inevitable that I’ll have moments where I want to get upset, get defensive or get angry when someone insults me or makes me feel uncomfortable or threatened. It’s about discharging myself from the emotions and telling myself that everything will be okay plus lots of deep breathing. It does get easier but I’m still a sensitive person. It only takes one thing to trigger me off but at least I can generally calm myself down quicker.

On Friday morning, I had my photo shoot for an article I submitted to the Cranbourne Leader for the Now, Yoga studio VCAT case. I was feeling a bit nervous and awkward about it as I generally hate posing in front of the camera. Thankfully the photographer Wayne was pretty easy going and patient with me as I followed his directions about how to stand and which way to look. I’m definitely not a natural but I did the best that I could. Certainly wasn’t expecting this opportunity to pop up this week so I’m counting my blessings.

On Friday afternoon, I had my appointment with my counsellor Ruth at Piece Together Counselling. It was 4 o’clock and was already starting to feel exhausted and worn out. Ruth asked me what’s bothering me the most at the moment and I said my energy levels during the day and being able to cope with everything that’s currently happening in my life. She suggested to break things down and just focus on one thing at a time especially in the short term. https://www.piecetogethercousellingnarrewarren.org/…

My biggest issue in terms of my energy levels is my sleep disturbances and lack of sleep in general. Earlier in the week, I decided to seek out the advice of an online Naturopath through the Blackmores website. She suggested a number of different things in her email including taking vitamins for stress, seeing a doctor to get a blood test done, eating more proteins and complex carbohydrates, drinking more water, regular exercise and reading some articles on fatigue and the energy clock. https://www.blackmores.com.au/ask-a…

On Friday night, my parents and I went into the city to see the Mrs. Brown’s Boys live stage show at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). I actually enjoyed it more than I expected. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the TV show though I did watch it now and again. It had it’s moments but I wasn’t falling off my chair laughing. But tonight’s live show was a million times better than the stuff I saw on TV.

Certainly it’s much ruder (If you don’t like jokes about dicks, boobs, masturbation, sex etc, steer clear) and the actors do ad-lib and go off script at times. Those were probably the funniest moments for me when the actors couldn’t keep a straight face and lost their shit. The storyline about online dating and Valentine’s Day worked really well for the comedy material. I’d highly recommend seeing it.

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​DISILLUSIONED w/ Distracted By Pink & One More Weekend @ Mr. Boogie Man Bar, February 2018

My energy levels were pretty low today and yet I somehow managed to push through all the hectic events and tasks that I had to complete during the day (I actually spoke to a Naturopath about it this week but that’s another story). I knew that once again I’d have to endure the tediousness of replacement buses (this time between Dandenong and Westall) along my train line due to the Level Crossing Removal Works.

I got myself a little lost and confused at Dandenong station as the replacement buses weren’t departing from their usual place (Foster Street). Instead I had to traverse the overhead walkway out to the Cheltenham Road end of the station. Luckily I asked a couple of staff to make sure I was getting on the correct bus towards the city.

Surprisingly I made pretty good time and managed to get myself to Collingwood station by 7.30pm. When it comes to areas I’m not too familiar with, the most important thing I need to do is get my bearings. Fortunately, I did my homework prior to tonight and managed to locate both Mr Boogie Man BAR and a local McDonalds store in the opposite direction along Hoddle Street.

Whilst I recently stated that I’m trying hard to get back into working on my weight loss goals, I really didn’t have the time to consider my food options and I was starving (eating is important, just saying!). I also usually don’t do caffeine at this time of night but again I really needed to remain awake and alert for the next three hours or so. The last thing I wanted to do was pass out on the sofa inside the Mr. Boogie Man Bar before the bands even start.

I was actually really looking forward to this gig despite how tired I was and how long it took me to get there via public transport (a couple of hours). The social anxiety and awkwardness was also giving me grief tonight. I immediately could feel myself getting flustered and on edge when I was hanging out with the boys from Distracted By Pink and meeting a few others in the bar. But this uncomfortable feelings began to dissipate as soon as the bands started playing and it was a welcome relief.

ONE MORE WEEKEND                                                                                          “It’s kinda funny. Don’t you think. How we talk while using technology. And I, I don’t get why. You misguided me . I thought I was your friend just talk to me.” – Generation

So I’ve been meaning to see this four piece Alternative/Pop-Punk band from the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne for quite a few months now. I first discovered them after tuning into an interview and live acoustic performance they did on the radio program Not Quite Midnight on 3MDR back in August 2017. Borrowing influences from Australian bands such as Kisschasy and Birds of Tokyo, I instantly fell in love with their music and quickly purchased their debut album We Used To…

Recently, I formed an online connection and friendship with lead vocalist and guitarist Connor Dougan who I had the pleasure of finally meeting tonight. I really wasn’t expecting him to be short nor to be rocking a 90’s styled perm haircut so I was a little caught off guard. Performance wise, the boys were highly entertaining with plenty of in-jokes made, audience participation by call and response, sing-a-longs, cuddling and a group photo by photographer Dylan Martinhttps://onemoreweekend.bandcamp.com/…

Setlist: Leave Me Be, Faceless Names, De-Icing My Car, Listen, Deprived, Boxheads, Generation.

DISTRACTED BY PINK                                                                                          “With a whisper in the ear. You started out like gold. You turn right into paper. But cut beneath my soul. I started as an Angel. But fell into a hole. Apart of me is waiting. To see sun set again.” – Whisper

The last time I caught this Melbourne-based Alternative Rock/Pop-Punk band was at the Rockstar Bar in Frankston last year. Lead vocalist Andrew Hewitt sung his heart out passionately, sitting on the black stage box and getting intimate with the audience. Drummer Matt Wanden also joined in for a sing-a-long and fronted the band briefly with a few punters huddling around them. It was great to see the boys having a laugh and not taking themselves too seriously like Andrew doing a random Coca-cola product placement!

If you know me well enough, you’d know I’m a pretty modest, humble and low maintenance guy who hates being the center of attention. So of course I got a shoutout from the Distracted By Pink boys. I was buzzing with positive energy and it was a very kind gesture which I appreciated greatly. https://www.triplejunearthed.com/ar…

Setlist: Hypocrite, Whisper, Opportunity, Cheated. Covers of Green Day’s Basket Case and Panic At The Disco!’s I Write Sins Not Tragedies.

DISILLUSIONED…Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stick around for this four-piece Pop-Punk band from Ringwood but make sure you check out their tunes via the following link: http://disillusionedbandau.bandcamp.com/…

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​THONGS, THRASH & TUNES! AUSTRALIA DAY COMP @ Knoxfield Skate Park, January 2018

Today on Australia Day, I won’t be celebrating all the terrible history that we’ve endured as a nation (Attempted genocide of the aboriginal people, the Stolen Generation, the White Australia policy, the cultural divide between whites and blacks, the cultural racism). Rather I will be celebrating what’s great about our country, how lucky we are to be living here in Australia. I will be celebrating our core values and positive qualities of being patriotic, loyalty, friendship, helping other people, having a democracy, having freedom of speech, a fair go, gender equality and more recently same-sex marriage.

I got myself really upset and depressed last night after expressing myself (about Australia Day) on social media. Of course a handful of people ended up unfriending me over it. But I’m at the point where I don’t give a fuck anymore. For years I’ve held back and bite my tongue for fear of rocking the boat or offending somebody. But I deserve to express my opinion too. Why should I keep quiet when I have something to say? There’s always going to be someone who disagrees with me, gets pissed off or doesn’t like me. Time to let go and do me.

I really didn’t have any plans for Australia Day after my original idea to throw a BBQ got busted as I didn’t have much interest and then my parents decided to go away to Paynesville for the weekend which is a 3 hour drive from where I live. So when I saw this event come up a few days ago, I figured I might as well come along for a couple of hours. I’m honestly not the biggest fan of skateboarding or BMX riding though I did attempt to get into it back in late high school. That didn’t last long.

Besides having a rude wanker tailgating me in a white 4 wheel drive from Narre Warren North to Lysterfield, the rest of the drive to the Knox Skate Park was pleasant. I really didn’t know what to expect in terms of turn up though I was surprised to see the carpark mostly empty. My initial thought was “Are you sure you’re at the right skate park?”. And then I heard The Patient performing from a far distance away.

The weather honestly felt sweltering at 32 degrees, overcast with a light breeze and there wasn’t many places for shade besides a few nearby trees and a small sheltered area near the skating bowls. They had an outdoor stage set up in front of the skate park with a large black marquee over the top.

The organisers had a free BBQ running with sausages in bread and cups of cordial (gotta keep that hydration up!). It wasn’t a massive turnout but there were quite a few parents, kids and local youth hanging around, some of which entered the skating and BMX competitions they had on. It’s basically all I wanted for my Australia Day…something simple and chilled out.

TALL RELATIVES…Unfortunately I wasn’t there early enough to catch this 4 piece Alternative Rock band from Melbourne but you can check their tunes out via the following link: https://tallrelatives.bandcamp.com/…

THE PATIENT…This was my second time checking out this local Hardcore/Punk-Rock band.  By the time I got down to the outdoor stage, vocalist Tommy already had his shirt off and was doing punk jumps and bouncing all over the stage. Despite the hot weather and only a handful of people watching, they still put on a wildly entertaining performance.                    Set List: Loyalty, Time Is Our Possession and Premortal Existence. https://thepatientlives.bandcamp.com/…

GREYVIEW…Today was my first time checking out this 3 piece Alternative/Pop-Punk band and despite how fucking hot it was, they managed to put on a really solid set. There was lots of lame jokes made and hilarious banter between lead vocalist and guitarist Michael and bassist Paris. There was also plenty of support from friends in the audience which made it a bit less awkward for them (more maybe more awkward, who knows? :P). Right on cue, they even had a Mr. Whippy van rock up on the side of the road at the end of their set.                              Set List: Faded and a cover of Blink 182’s Dammit.

THE DEAD FLARES…Again it was my first time checking out this 4 piece Blackened Metal/Punk Rock band. Honestly the genre isn’t exactly my cup of tea but they sounded pretty good and I really dug the guitar riffs a lot. I only stayed for half their set as it was getting far too hot for me. You can check out a couple of their songs via this link: https://www.triplejunearthed.com/ar…

“What about me? It isn’t fair. I’ve had enough, now I want my share. Can’t you see, I want to live. But you just take more than you give.” Shannon Noll – What About Me? (2004)

“You’re the voice, try and understand it. Make a noise and make it clear. Oh-wo-wo-wo, oh-wo-wo-wo. We’re not gonna sit in silence. We’re not gonna live with fear. Oh-wo-wo-wo, oh-wo-wo-wo.” John Farnham – You’re The Voice (1986)

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