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  • Are you there, Barrels? It's me, Andy.

    I have once again taken an unforgivably long time replying to you, which I think we should just stop acknowledging going forward because we spend half our messages apologising for the fact that the message has taken so long and lamenting the days when we would have a shiny new message waiting on the daily.

    But, as it's been another four months (with no excuse other than I thought I'd replied, but this empirical evidence suggests otherwise) I now feel stupid actually replying to anything you said in your last message as it's all likely become irrelevant in the intervening time.

    So rather than chuckling along with your gratitude at having one channel on the box, I'll give you another update of "what's going on with Andy" in the hopes of returning to some kind of VM rhythm!

    So through my housemate Matt I've met a whole new group of friends that I actually enjoy hanging out with more than any of my existing ones! We only get to hang out like once every two months on average and spend the rest of the time talking daily in a communal Facebook Messenger chat but they're among the funniest bantery-est guys a man could hope to find on this silly island (or anywhere outside of The Mother Country) and there's about a 60/40 hetero-to-homo ratio within the dozen or so of us which has the dual benefit of creating wonderful banter opportunities and also finally giving me a group of smart straight guys to hang out with. When you hang out with exclusively gays too long they start to get tedious, but don't tell that to the Christian Lobby, they'll just misquote me and make it a hate commercial.

    But speaking of the gay/straight divide, I'm sure you've heard that Australia are finally going through our long overdue showdown for same-sex marriage! We're doing it through a non-compulsory and non-binding postal survey that the Conservative Government wasted a lot of money on but promises that they'll do something about if we get a majority Yes vote (which we expect to, but then again Brexit Trump etc). The No campaign know they can't fight the debate, so they've changed it into something completely different and started straight-up lying to win people back to their side, which is Classic Bigot, but it's made some great memes so you gotta be grateful for that.

    In a heartwarming move that even melted the ice around my own, Good Guy George (straighty from the new group I mentioned above who is actually sleeping on my couch as I type this) got his postal vote in the mail and then went around calling all his relatives to convince them all to vote yes.

    This whole message looking back is like "oh look at me I have new friends even though i'm so serious and preachy as fuck about gay marriage", but when I closed my eyes and thought "What DOESN'T Barrels know about the last four months?" this is all that sprang to mind haha. OH! I went to the Blue Mountains in July for a weekend and had a Christmas in July feast and spent $110 on lollies that'll take me til this time next year to eat! That's something new! Other than that, work work work.

    What's going on with you? I apologise for my complete lack of personality today. Seriously, I just read over it and I'm so dull I couldn't even spare you a goddamn emoji! I'll get it back; I just gotta run down to the shops, I traded it in for store credit so I can buy a Switch.
    I'm actually really disappointed that things have died down and gone back to normal. Trump keeps doing stupid outrageous shit on the daily, so if people are getting used to it that's really not a good thing. We need more of those Women Marches that caused all the rage a few days after he was elected. Though I suppose it doesn't affect you too badly, if it all goes too pear shaped you can always crawl back into the bosom of the mother country and hope the BBC will pay you to make the wonderful things you make.

    I wasn't aware godfathers had the option of drowning them in a sack. But since a godparent is in charge of a child's spiritual guidance, perhaps I'll convince them to drown themselves. Though why am I the godfather of your grandchildren and not your actual children? Seems like you're making your children's decisions about their own children before you even have them, you helicopter parent, you.

    You do realise that you've sentenced me to death at age 70, when most people don't die until their 80s or even 90s these days. Why am I in a care facility at age 70? What happened to me to make me so dependent? Was I in a horrifying car accident, or did I just never learn the skills to survive on my own? What happens to me, Oracle? WHAT HAPPENS?!

    No, you're not the dainty flower you once were. You went to America, visited a roadhouse diner and ordered bacon and eggs, and by the time you finished the complimentary side-stack of pancakes, you were swearing like a sailor on leave!

    What's American Netflix like? I'm so jealous, we got Netflix in March last year and it's still nothing to the wonder of the American library. I hear you have Grey's Anatomy on it! Not that you'd watch that specifically, but it's so good to have the option! And Parks & Recreation! The world is your oyster. But alas, it is not mine.

    But in conlusion, I've missed you too. Lets never let four whole fucking months go by without a message again. I miss when you were still a teenager and didn't have a life :P
    So if we'd set a record before, I think now we have for absolute certain, my friend. I'm writing this from a brand new MacBook that I got in September last year and didn't open until March, which just goes to show just how long I can let things lay before I finally get to them :P

    But at this point I feel we should just start fresh, because if your message from January was catching up from last October, and it's May 1 now, it's probably far too late to get any references to anything from back then at this point :P

    As glad as I am to have you on Facebook (don't you fucking dare delete me or I'll trample Trump's America until I find you) it did make me a little complacent, but NO LONGER. This, PokeCommunity, is our chosen medium and here we shall talk until the end of time - or until one of us dies, 50-70 years from now - though less for me, as I am old, as you were so kind to point out :P

    Alright, so my life... my life... what's been going on in my life? A sad amount of nothing is where my mind goes first, but I'm trying to actually come up with something because I'm sick of having the same conversation when I reconnect with people and they ask me what's been happening and all I have to say is "not much" like a broody, grunty teenager before he gains the ability to articulate.

    I have been to see Guardian's of the Galaxy 2 twice in two days now, and if you haven't seen it yet I can definitely say that it is not Severely Lacking in the visual department. I've been going on a bit of a spending spree in general lately - I bought a new iPhone, a gaming laptop, a new PS4, DVD racking for my apartment - all to cover for the fact that my job has become so desperately unfulfilling that I need something to remind me of why I go there every day. I even found myself Googling "work worth doing" trying to find some kind of meaningful career path only to have a whole bunch of inspirational articles come up telling me that any work is worth doing as long as you look at it the right way because even though you're just an immigrant cleaning hotel rooms you're actually helping people feel comfortable away from home, and you'd know a little something about that, wouldn't you, you filthy foreigner?

    That got dark fast, but before I started typing this I was watching three back-to-back episodes of Grey's Anatomy and that show always makes me a little dark and twisty. It's actually not all doom and gloom, but it's interesting that that's where my mind immediately went. I wanna be 19 again and full of promise, not 26 and hardened into cynicism by nothing in particular.

    I'm rambling. I'm pretty sure you're gonna reply to this with a concerned "Are you OK?" to which my answer is yes, I am lmao.

    But HOW ABOUT YOUR LIFE? Yours is much more exciting, you're living in Trump's America, as you say! He wasn't at that Congress dinner, and neither were you! Tell me more things!
    Hello my love! I sat down on my bed just now and realised that it has to have been over a month since I opened my laptop for anything other than a quick glance at a Word document I made back in August which details everything I need to do every day while I'm managering my workspace. Turns out I was damn near right; you messaged me on October 12 (or as I refer to that date, Day 43). Today is Day 70 and I'm only just getting back to you! Such is the life of a manager. I don't want it anymore take it away from me.

    84 is the magic number. On Day 84 I get my life back.

    But anyway, before I get too busy staring off into the middle distance, HELLO HOW HAVE YOU BEEN WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING? I have been lucky enough to see your adorable face pop up on my Facebook feed a few times; even if you don't post things luckily your friends seem to. It's good to see you enjoying your time in America; you get to be there while history goes down (which should be happening as I speak)

    Thank you for my lovely birthday message, in my PC hey day I would have had dozens of messages; but when I logged in I had a lowly 5. But as long as one of them was from you that's MORE than OK with me :D

    We'll have to start writing much more regularly again starting November 22. Well I will anyway; your busy-ness isn't tied to mine, I expect :P

    I have no idea what I'm writing; the words are just coming out of my fingers almost as though they have little to do with my brain whatsoever. I'm acutely aware of how fast I'm typing because I did a typing test and got 79 words per minute and now every time I type something I feel like a hacker from a TV show. In contrast my housemate types 35 words per minute and I just don't understand how anybody would be so uncoordinated.

    I'm rambling talk soon!
    There are way more tourists at Hogwarts than I thought there'd be. I guess when you write a best-selling series of novels about a school of magic, it makes it a little hard for the school to keep its privacy. Ah the selfish things we do for money.

    I also find it hilarious that Hogwarts is in England but you had to go to America to see that lmao. Awesome though, I'm completely jealous. WHICH I SUSPECT WAS YOUR PLAN ALL ALONG SO CONGRATULATIONS, SIR. I HOPE YOU FEEL GOOD.

    Chicken salt is made of salt and artificial chemicals and flavourings. It's chicken flavoured salt! Have you never had anything chicken flavoured before? Surely you have chicken flavoured things there.
    I feel my rage has sufficiently subsided on your comments about Legally Blonde, Meryl Streep, and Love Actually that I can actually speak to you again (Christmas nonsense indeed, sir).

    I can however not get past the fact that the British do not have chicken salt there. It's a staple in every takeaway shop ever! When you order a serving of hot chips, the person serving you will invariably say "do you want normal salt or chicken salt?" to which the only acceptable response is "chicken salt, please" (one must be polite, even in the face of being asked such a stupid no-brainer question).

    Chicken salt is, unsurprisingly, chicken flavoured salt. I imagine you have chicken flavoured crisps over there (look at me I said crisps)? Well chicken salt tastes nothing like what you'll find on those. GIVE ME YOUR HOME ADDRESS RIGHT HERE IN THIS PUBLIC PLACE AND I WILL MAIL YOU SOME CHICKEN SALT.

    I may write an Ode to Chicken Salt just for you. That was a lie, I won't do that because I have barely found the time to write you this nonsense piece of crap that is essentially an ode to chicken salt anyway :P
    Still haven't forgotten! I'm the manager again so my life is not my own, but your call is very important to us.
    I can't believe it's been the better part of a month! I also thought you'd be in America for a lot longer haha

    But this is just a quick one I'm afraid, to ensure you in the busyness of our lives that once again I have not forgotten about you. More to follow very soon!
    I am truly aghast. I did not know that you'd have to Google Brooke Wyndham. How was I to know that for the past half-decade I've been speaking to the one living soul that has not seen Legally Blonde? Even the newborns have seen it, it's the in-utero film of choice! You MUST see it; it's iconic! Your friends might call you a homo (or a 'bender', you charming British folk) but I don't suspect you'll mind so much once you feel that beautiful dialogue, or a really tight rear end.

    And don't even get me STARTED on The Devil Wears Prada! That's probably even more iconic, if somewhat younger! MERYL STREEP! MEERRYYLL SSTTREEP!!!! Jesus, for a film student you've sure missed a lot of films.

    Cronulla is just the tip of the iceberg for weird names in Australia :P. You actually have no idea what happens when you let the Indigenous folk start naming things just because you stole their land. My home suburb is called Kariong. Other places that I can think of just off the top of my head are as follows:

    Woy Woy
    Wagga Wagga

    I'm not sure whether their language was an actual language or just a series of hoots and clicks, but it's no wonder that the Europeans thrashed them and took their lunch money, or whatever happened when they conquered the land.

    Speaking of your government (which we weren't, but Foreign Secretary jogged my memory) I was watching TV and finally saw my first ever glimpse of Boris Johnson and I was hearing about how popular he was and I was just thinking "how could a man that ugly possibly have garnered any popularity whatsoever?' Christ that's a frightening looking man. Politicians aren't generally known for their killer looks, but damn son that's not right. Some chromosome shifted a little too far to the left on that one.

    A Pluto Pup is basically a huge frankfurter on a stick, battered and deep fried. A Kransky is another kind of sausage that they sell at takeaway shops, but it's more of a cured meat kind of sausage and it's deep fried but not battered and not on a stick. A hot chip is a fried slice of potato, heavily salted, usually in Australia with chicken salt. I know you said you could figure that one out on your own, but you have friends like me so that you don't have to :P

    You could be slaying all kinds of American poon, my friend. You are English, they fucking LOVE the English? Haven't you seen Love Actually? Oh, of course you haven't, it's only the greatest collaboration the 'special relationship' has ever produced, but why should that matter to you? Basically in it this character named Colin Frizzle travels to America and has a foursome with three hot American blondes because they found his accent hot. As do I. So get on that.

    I had much better witticisms prepared for this post but I'm coming down with a cold and I'm not feeling up to merriment :( make me merry, Barrels. Make me merry.
    I have a very difficult time believing that you were so young at age 15 that you did not know who Michael Jackson was. And if in fact you weren't eating your Coco Pops as I suspect you weren't because your figure is still intact, wouldn't you have heard the gunshot? And if in fact you had heard the gunshot, Brooke Wyndham wouldn't have had time to hide the gun before you got downstairs. Which means you would have had to find Brooke Wyndham with a gun in her hand to make your story plausible, isn't that right? That's right. The Devil might wear Prada but the villain always has eyebrows. #barrelsshotmj2k16

    You might be onto something with your riot logic, though. We had a thing a few years (wow, maybe even a decade now) back called the Cronulla Riots, which I think were a race-fuelled thing as well, but ours weren't quite so easy to put out because everyone is just constantly agitated by the Fucking Heat. I can't imagine tears being a currency in Britain, though. I was under the impression that the British never cried at all, only stiffened their gaze. The idea of the country is that the weather weeps so you don't have to.

    I am also nonplussed at the Conservative Party's ironic naming. It's kind of like how we have a minor party here called the Christian Democrats which on the face of it sound like a lovely progressive Christian group but on the sly are fighting gay marriage and poking holes in condoms to spread children and disease. You really do have to look at what party you're rallying behind, you can't just go on their name because for all you know The Anti-paedophile Party could be run by a group of self-loathing kiddy-fiddlers.

    Unfortunately though, the results are in and we are indeed stuck with the conservative party for (another) three years. Conclusive proof that science keeps old people alive for far too long. I've recently seen a spate of people on Facebook mourning the loss of their grandmothers. Like three or four, they're dropping like flies. Couldn't they have done this before the election? Grandma's parting gift is the removal of penalty rates and another three year delay on same-sex marriage! Cheers Grandma, I hope you have cancer in the afterlife too.

    We have neither vans that sell burgers nor chips. Unless you're at some kind of carnival then there's your generic hot dog stand that will sell Pluto Pups, Kranskys and hot chips. No burgers though, I don't believe. Too messy. We're a classy people down here in The Place You Sent The Convicts. We've evolved far beyond the Motherland.

    But onto the matter of dipping sauce, I swear to you it is a thing. Just because I use it incorrectly does not remove its status as a sauce for dipping. The fact that I've gained 5kg despite trying to lose it will attest to the fact that I have been using it incorrectly. But I was very satisfied at your wording too :P.

    I've actually decided against telling you The Story of San Churro. When you accept my Facebook friend request you can scroll back to May 29 and read the whole thing in its entire glory. If I don't make you work for your stories sometimes, how will you ever appreciate their value?

    Resurgence? I take issue, sir! When did we ever de-surge? Though we have been at this for almost half a decade now, it would stand to reason that the surge fell short once or twice. Perhaps while England was burning, or Australia was doing nothing even close to that interesting, as it always does.

    Oh dear Lord where are you moving this time (I say, as though moving is all you ever do).

    Well, I gave you til the day AFTER tomorrow and you still haven't replied! But more pictures of Malcolm Turnbull won't be sufficient punishment. You'll have to endure a Joe Hockey giving the world an indication of the size of his penis.

    I did hear that you'd up and left Europe! I know I'm not particularly well-versed in current events but I actually saddled up and listened to this one because I feel like if I were to go to England right now it'd be a lawless waste land with chunks taken off buildings and random fires around the place just large enough that the incessant rain can't quite put them out. People would be stumbling through the streets looking confused and shrieking 'WHAT HAPPENED' - except for the Queen, of course, who somehow has a Segway and is shouting 'ONE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND'. That's the only reason I'd ever willingly pay attention to the news, when the stakes are so high that you feel like you don't want to have to make up an answer when a child asks where you were when it happened.

    I learned this lesson on September 12, 2001 when I stumbled out of my bedroom at 7am to get ready for school and saw TV coverage of the attack on the Twin Towers. We're the best of friends so I'll gladly tell you the truth, but when I'm asked where I was when I heard about 9/11, I tell people I was water-skiing on two dolphins when I got the call from the Australian Embassy in New York.

    I wouldn't take the haughty criticisms of the French too hard; I spent five years learning their language and their native tongue and I came out of it with a great understanding of the language and a sense that they are a people who feel superior simply because it's built into their DNA and not because they have any actual reason to. Baguettes are fucking dry and their cheese is soft and flavourless. They can go fuck themselves. #fuckfrance2k16 #brexit

    We've just had an election 24 hours ago ourselves. I realise Brexit wasn't an election, but I feel the stakes are similar. You see, if the Liberals (the ironically-named conservative party, helmed by the man who knifed Tony Abbott) win, we have to wait another three years for gay marriage and I lose my sweet time and a half rates on Sundays. If Labor wins, I get to keep my extra money and sit alone in my bedroom every night wishing I had somebody to marry. The results are so close that they're still not in, but it'll be just my luck that the Liberals will win and I'll get to stare at this shit-eating grin for the next three years.

    As for your Comic-Con, I know plenty of American Doctor Who fans, as well as a considerable amount of Australian ones. Doctor Who is what we traded you for Neighbours and I think we definitely got the better end of that deal. My mind never went to the gutter when you wanted to pay extra for Billie Piper; she used to be well fit but now resembles something more akin to a horse, so barring any sexy farm yard fantasies you might be harbouring, I never would have assumed you'd sink to that level when you as a film student and wonderful all-round human being could probably pull some Grade-A age-appropriate humanoid clunge.

    Any sauce is dipping sauce when it comes in a tub! Sauce that you make or that comes out of a bottle a la ketchup is just sauce, but if you squeeze that same ketchup into its own bowl and use it for dipping then it's a dipping sauce. I'm fairly certain that's just the Queen's English. Not that you'd use ketchup as dipping sauce, that's clearly an over the top kind of sauce, not a dunking kind of thing. Ironically, the caramel dipping sauce is actually too thick to be much good for any kind of dipping, so I'm forced to just go at it with a spoon like a sophisticated animal and forego the fruit altogether.

    Burger sauce is an interesting thing. You've intrigued me, Barrels. Is it burger flavoured, or intended for use in burgers? Why do they sell it in chip vans and not burger vans? Is this the first sign that Brexit has caused irreparable damage to the United Kingdom and the toys will never return to the pram? So many questions!

    AH, THE CRUSADE. I don't know whether this is only happening in Australia, or whether it's a full-blown worldwide epidemic like The Blessed Zika Virus (I love The Zika Virus) but everything that was once caramel is now salted caramel. It's the new fashion. And it's disgusting. It's just so unnecessary. Why would you add salt to caramel? What the fuck was so wrong with caramel up to this point that somebody thought that it needed improving? There's a finite amount of salt on this Earth and we're wasting it on things that were perfectly fine without it. It angers me more than the idea of overpopulation.

    So when my favourite chocolate place - San Churro - started selling their banana caramel cup as a "banana salted caramel cup" I got angry, and I took action. I'll tell you more in the next exciting installment of Andrew and Barrels: The VMs.

    I also have another thing to kinda awkwardly bring up haha. I... found you on Facebook. It actually wasn't hard at all lol. You've always been incredibly cagey and subject-changey every time I bring up the idea of contacting anywhere outside of PC or Skype so I was afraid if I sent you a friend request you wouldn't accept it (and I'm afraid now that I've mentioned it you'll hide your account lol). SO IF I SEND YOU A REQUEST AND PROVE TO YOU THAT MY DETECTIVE WORK IS SOLID, MAY WE FINALLY BE FACEBOOK FRIENDS? We can still VM of course. But you're only getting like 20% of the Andy Experience here, and I feel you are entitled to more.

    Bones is also forthcoming, but as it is 4am I am unable to presently take pictures.
    I've never once felt the urge to sit in the sun. I live in Australia, and in Summer all I want to do is sit indoors in the air conditioning and play video games, read or similar. What is there to do in the sun? Tan? Dear sweet God no, one must never tan...

    I do admit I expected your Comic Con to be all about Doctor Who. Like all Doctor Who, all the time. I know technically it's not a comic series but I thought that the start and end point to British sci fi and that was all you knew :P Special guest stars Billie Piper and Catherine Tate, maybe an extra special appearance by one of the Doctors now so old nobody but the most die-hard of Whovian could even recognise. TARDISes are far as the eye can see for people to get photos with. That kind of thing.

    Our shitty Comic Con version happened today actually. Holly Marie Combs and Shannen Doherty showed up to ours, so that was pretty cool. Not that I got to go and see them, but it was cool nevertheless lol

    But you got The Men Themselves, Jesse Eisenberg and Raj From The Big Bang Theory! Colour me impressed!

    I shall show you pictures of Mr Bones the second he comes out of his box and goes on display... which will be when I clean and organise my bedroom properly. Get to work on those arteries, I need to get back into shape myself, I've let myself succumb to buying tubs of dipping sauce and eating them with a spoon. This must come to an end.

    I also must tell you about my crusade against salted caramel some time. Remind me.
    Tell me everything about Comic Con. We have a cheap budget bullshit version of it here called "Supanova" and I find myself not so much happy in nerd culture, but wanting to kill each and every one of a room full of sweaty cosplayers with body odour. We may have touched on this before, I got to sit for an hour and listen to Amy Acker talk. God, that was 5 years ago. You were still a child, I, barely a man.

    Not much is new with me, I did however get a fantastic statue of Bones (an iron Man suit) so that was pretty cool. So I guess technically that is new.

    How are your many many projects going?!
    or did it????

    Now it has, but I am notoriously hopeless, as we both tend to be :P

    I don't remember at this stage whether I have a PM to send you or not but I think it's time for the VM renaissance anyway haha.
    First of all lets not pretend that you have the ability to 'innocently' walk anywhere :P

    Secondly, yes that's exactly what I'd do, because your head injury would be nothing to the headache I'd have to endure by having to clean up the pyramid (lol you think we make fancy pyramid displays) of broken glass and wine while customers walk around me saying "Aw, ya dropped something, didja?" and making me wish they had head injuries severe enough that they couldn't demonstrate their perpetual need to point out the obvious.

    Oh my God I really need a break from my job though. You just got a small peak in that last paragraph at the intense vitriol I'm starting to feel toward every single one of my customers. Even the perfectly lovely ones that I have absolutely no reason to hate. I just hate them so much. I have this constant - and I do mean constant - internal monologue happening all day every day at the moment where every time a customer walks in and I hear that beep, my mind says the following, verbatim:

    "Oh you've gotta be kididng me you fucking disgusting little junkie"

    That's how I've started thinking of them. As junkies. I don't understand the NEED for alcohol and I just really really really hate them all for not being able to stop themselves from walking their dopey fucking asses into my shop day after day killing more brain cells than absolutely required by daily cellular function. It makes me so mad, and it has absolutely no reason to.

    I really think I need a holiday. Or a new job. Probably just the holiday though, because let's be real, I ain't gonna go searching for another job in this economic climate. Hell, I couldn't even be arsed looking for another job in a decent economic climate, if such a thing ever did exist.

    So that answers your "what's new with yu, chu" question haha. I'm not gonna read that back and correct what I'm sure are the seven hundred mistakes one makes when one loses oneself in a rant, I'm just gonna hit "Post Message" and let the chips fall where they may :P
    A free plastic bag? Was there anything in this plastic bag or did she just feel that plastic bags are a cure-all remedy for stupidity and head injuries? Was she hoping you'd put it on your head and suffocate for destroying her display? That's something I'd do in my shop. Then again, when wine falls it's a lot messier than biscuits.
    After Googling to ascertain that Jammie Dodgers were actually a real thing (and I spelled that correctly, you did not :P), I will say that number 2 is the falsity! Although jumping off a 30-foot building would be a perfectly reasonable response to purposely waking up at 4am, so I'm left entirely unsure.
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