Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tracing the arc of the hour hand

Sometimes you just have to go with what feels right.

Also, happy halloween!

Sydney put in a particularly woeful attempt this year, but what can you do.

Originals here and here.

Music: Worth the wait - We Are Scientists
Mood: Bit out of it really

Friday, October 29, 2010

Photos From My Sidekick

In a Mat Devine type of move, I will subject you all to the photos saved on my phone despite that a) I am not Mat Devine or indeed a rockstar and therefore my photos are not nearly as interesting or funny, and b) my phone's camera is quite crap. So there.

This is the view from my desk. The bike magazine guys are loitering out the back, I silently refer to them as the Blink Revival Crew as they run around in long shorts and backwards caps as if its still the 90s. (Please note the post its were there when I started.)

My random pineapple. Having it around made me feel like The Doctor. Random fruit is so his thing.

The current reading pile.

Don't know why I took this. I was lying on the floor. I'm sure I had my reasons at the time.

Mini house guests. I had ramped my little car off the deck and they rushed to my defence.

Only to take said car hostage. This was last week. Since then I have discovered soldiers lying in the fountain without legs and arms. Casualties everywhere!

High tea time!

This is the look I'm now getting. Seems like a good time to stop and take a certain ridiculously spoiled princess for a walk.
Music: About a girl - The Academy Is...
Mood: Chipper

Wine Related Madness

You know that moment after you've sent an email when you go oh shit, maybe I should have thought about that a bit more? Yeah. I’m clearly an idiot. I blame the workplace wine (someone brought in a bottle of sparkling rosé and we discovered a bottle of vodka in the freezer. It will be no surprise that late afternoon productivity faltered somewhat.) And then there’s that moment where you're over-thinking absolutely everything far too much – that’s the after-work wine. And then there’s that moment where no one likes the second bottle of wine you’ve opened and you get to have it all for yourself (cause it is your favourite and you basically wrote your thesis on it...oh wait, that’s just me, isn’t it?) and that obviously results in blogs like this.

So, blog! Stuff has happened. Inevitably.

Em had her birthday party on Saturday which was absolutely loooooovely. High Tea at the Park Hyatt, across from the Opera House. It would not be us if there wasn’t some sort of incident, so naturally the minute we all arrived at the station it started pouring. Armageddon pouring. Our umbrellas barely survived – or in R’s case didn’t survive even opening. But we did get there, soaked and bedraggled, and proceeded to have a fabulous time! Everything was delicious, the company was great and the Alice in Wonderland cupcakes were so pretty, no one wanted to eat them. It is just a wonderful thing to do and a perfect way to celebrate the awesome that is Em. She is the sweetest, kindest person, the fashionista of our group, and one of my oldest friends who I cannot possibly imagine being without. I hope 23 is a fantastic age for you, miss M.

The family have been enjoying themselves. I met up with them for dinner following the high tea, and ended up catching a fireworks display on the harbour. Sydney will of course use any excuse it can dream up for fireworks. While everyone was off enjoying themselves, I sat about and worked on my dread essays. The evenings are however filled with chatting and drinking, if that’s not already glaringly obvious. They went to Brisbane during the week, arriving back last night. On Monday they’re off to Perth. Tomorrow they’re heading to the mountains and caves. I will of course be doing....uni work. Yay.

Speaking of uni, only two more weeks left. Woo! I have approximately 15000 words (yeah, fifteen, that's not a typo) to write before then, but heeeeeey. Of course nano starts Monday too, so that should be an interesting multitasking. Tis why I am attempting to get the uni stuff out of the way this weekend. I’m feeling productive now, but I suspect that is the wine talking.

I had something else to say but I have completely forgotten. Did my postmodernism presentation which went very well. Confundled them all and made the tutor think I knew what I was talking about. Always a plus. I’ve got another presentation but I’ve worked it out so I can do it on adaptations, so I can talk about our set texts as well as Sherlock and LOTR. Because fandom is productive that way.

Uh what else, what else. Enjoying getting into the wedding planning spirit of things with Abs. Em’s planning a birthday party for me even though my lack of socialness is a frustrating road block (sorry hun, but I do appreciate it!). Personally I’m in a bit of a weird place and yeah, there’s uni work.

One of the girls at work is leaving and everyone is really pushing for me to take her job saying I’ll enjoy it more. I really doubt that. I mean I hate the industry, the magazine industry, so surely it can’t matter that much where I sit and hate it?

I’ve randomly applied for this other job that would completely screw up everything if I got it, but at the same time it’s travel related and I can’t resist that sort of thing. Plus all my plans are a bit off anyway. I really need to revise the strategy,

OH YES that’s what I wanted to say! (Blame the wine, alright?) Jack went in for a service last week. Now before this happened I made it very clear to dad to get a quote before committing and to make sure it’s not over a thousand as I cannot possibly afford any more than that. We were quoted $300 to get the aircon fixed, $600 for the service. Got a call on Wednesday from the much do you think it was? Let me tell you, $1300. Just for the service. This always happens with my dad. I thought mechanics only ripped off housewives! I don’t know why I bother. Anyway it’s all supposedly necessary and yadda yadda yadda, got Jack back today and he does drive very well. But still. Ouch. Apparently absolutely everything is fixed now- cam belt, aircon, wheel balance, brakes. So now it better stay working for at least, at least a year. After that, I’ll worry about it when I come back.

That is the extent of my very fascinating and enthralling life. Weekend plans include uni work, more uni work, a brief movie break, and then dinner for cousin’s birthday – on Halloween which, despite my best resolutions, I am shamefully neglecting this year. I blame uni – yes uni, not wine this time. Sigh.


Music: Flume - Bon Iver
Mood: Weird

Sunday, October 24, 2010


You know what’s hilarious? My mum always tells me off for downloading music, saying that I will get a virus, and yet in all the years I’ve downloaded music, I never once got a virus from that – I trust the people supplying said music after all. Yet when I do fucking software updates, the things come waltzing in like alcoholics to an open bar. I had a particularly lovely spyware come in with Java this morning (useless Java, why is it on here anyway?? Dammit!) and it took aaaaages to clean it up. I’m not convinced it’s all gone either. I might have to do some registry changes if all else fails – I hate doing those. But yes, the irony. This isn’t the first time it’s happened either. Windows update wrecked my last laptop – granted that wasn’t a virus but it just would not work properly after I ran the update. Rawr.

While waiting for my antivirus (and where the hell was this when I needed it anyway? Real time protection my ass) to run a full scan I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Interesting film, made me wonder about the nature of art. Like if someone inspires you and directs you saying take a photo of this or try painting like that, does that make it less your art because it’s their genius? You become a conductor for their idea almost. Sure, you’re still the one doing the work, but would the work have any power without that insight and following on that, is your work really still yours?

I don’t know. I know I’m not going to settle until I find what I’m looking for. Something…else. I want something different, something more…some sort of counterintuitive love.

Music: You wouldn't like me - Tegan and Sara
Mood: Frustrated

Saturday, October 23, 2010

No stranger to upheaval

Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

- Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

I'm feeling so much better today and it is mostly because of Frank. He will hate me saying this no doubt...but it's my blog so tough. (But seriously, thank you.)

Our house guests seem to be going well. The kids are a clever pair and so well-behaved. The youngest is obsessed with Superman, the other is off in his own little magical world half the time. They somehow managed to get me roped into their games this morning - very amusing.

They've all headed off to the harbour now to visit the aquarium and wildlife world and all that stuff, so I've got some peace and quiet to work on my postmoderism essay. Still a lot of work to do but I am no longer feeling stressed to the point of hyperventilating.

Heading to high tea in a bit, not entirely sure what to wear. Doesn't really matter, I'm just looking forward to spending the day basking in glorious sunshine and excellent company. The day is full of promise.

Music: Music again - Adam Lambert
Mood: Optimistic

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wrapped inside a dirty blanket

How can it hurt so much to be so empty?

I've lost my mojo. My writing depresses me. It's flat and generic, and lacks that something that makes it special. I just feel like throwing it all in and never writing again. Who was I kidding anyway, thinking I could do this. It's all just delusions of grandeur.

We have guests arriving tonight - my dad's cousin, wife and their two kids are staying with us for the next two weekends. Months ago when this was first being organised, I offered up my room for the two kids as we only have the one guest room and I figured they wouldn't like to camp out in the living room so far from their parents (they're only little). I hugely regret this now though because all I want to do is lock myself in my room for the entire weekend. Instead I'm being moved into the garage. That's going to be a treat.

I'm not in a good place right now. It's not just the writing thing, it's...everything. I'm wound too tight and stretched too thin. I'm so stressed about uni work, it's like a weight pressing down in the middle of my chest. And I'm so tired. The kind of tired that seeps into your bones and weighs you down, the kind that sleep won't fix.

I almost thought I kicked this feeling yesterday, but it didn't last. A gig can only take you so far after all (which is unfair, why can't I carry that feeling with me all the time? Why am I incapable of holding onto my own happiness?)

But I suppose I shouldn't complain, I've had a good run this year and all things considered I've been worse. It's just hard to be objective when you're feeling like a shell of a human being. Just have to tap into the reserves to somehow manage to wade through at least one essay this weekend.

At least there are things to look forward to - high tea and picnics, the promise of sunshine and great company. Got to grab hold of those silver linings.

When I took the blame
We laid in ruins trying to quote your phrase
We're yelling "someone's got the answers"
But I rather think there's nothing to be found

Music: I can barely breathe - Manchester Orchestra
Mood: Been better

Thursday, October 21, 2010

For Your Entertainment

As much as popular music sometimes present challenges, it is also often a huge source of fun. In a throwback to ye olde days of music marketing, it was through radio that I got hooked on Adam Lambert. Ok, this is not strictly speaking true – he was on American Idol when Abbi was visiting and she got me straight into the cheer squad but, as much as I loved the kid, it was only hearing the songs on the radio that pushed me towards getting the album. One song in particular just put a bigger and bigger smile on my face every time I heard it. I am in love with it, as much as one can be in love with a song.

Anyway, I find my love of Glambert kind of amusing but I am powerless to resist and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t enjoy myself. So off to the Sydney stop of the Glamnation tour I went. I just have to say I’m glad they upgraded it to the Enmore Theatre – not only because this meant I actually managed to get a ticket, but I just don’t see how that stage show would have fit on the Metro stage. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a sell-out gig at the Enmore before (oh wait, Florence + The Machine but we were upstairs so it doesn’t really count), the floor was packed and the place had such an amazing energy.

Weirdest crowd ever though. Seriously. What a strange, mixed bunch. There were a lot of girls running around in towering heels and short skirts. I just hope they didn’t have any plans of hooking up with anyone as I’m fairly sure 90% of the guys in attendance were gay. Then there were the middle aged women like the really pushy two who stood beside me. Middle aged women are mean in a crowd. It proved a dilemma for me as I didn’t want to be mean back and elbow them out of the way as I would a similarly pushy scene kid. They’re mums people! The entire situation was just wrong.

Any old who, the actual gig was so much fun. Lots of dance-y pop songs played during the infernal waiting period which got the crowd buzzing. I caught myself thinking that if you threw in some more glitter, beads and naked people, it’d be Mardi Gras. It was all theatrical madness after that. It was so different to what I’m used to – Costume changes! Dancers! Staged melodrama! And it was fabulous. I still think there was slightly less eye make-up than at a classic Panic! At The Disco gig though.

Technically I suppose it should be described a pop show, but it’s not really that simple. Adam has always been so unashamedly different, marching to the beat of his drum, and like him, his show is a proudly unconventional, vivid hybrid of elements.

The bastard child of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, he was clearly born to be on a stage. He owns it with his own brand of confident flamboyance. There’s something about him that reminds me of Gerard Way but I can’t think about this for too long as I just end up imagining how much of a hobbit Gerard would look like if they stood next to each other. Anyway, the MCR fans must agree on some subconscious level – I saw plenty of them milling about.

Then there’s the kid’s voice. I mean seriously, it is fantastic. It held up beautifully for the hour-long set (which actually felt a lot shorter). But it’s not all singing, making out and prancing about, there are also guitar solos that make it feel like you’ve stumbled straight into a 70s metal gig. Oh and lasers, mustn’t forget the lasers. Even though it has nothing really to do with the show, I must also mention Adam’s laugh – it is stupidly infectious and adorable. And you know, he really is quite gorgeous.

Random thought, perhaps its wrong of me to say so but if that bassist is straight (I don’t for a minute pretend to be an expert on the intricacies of Team Lambert) he must do very well with the girls. What? They can’t have Adam, by default he’s the next best thing. He seems to be continuing the trend of tiny bassists – although Adam makes everyone look little, so I can’t be sure.

Overall, it’s a smoothly orchestrated spectacle backed by some genuine talent, and I loved every minute of it. For once, I didn’t leave wanting to kidnap someone. Instead I want Adam to kidnap me so I can be part of this over the top circus and spend my days dusting everything in glitter.

Side note: It’s really sort of insane how good gigs are for me, doesn’t even matter what gig, I feel a thousand times lighter. Even with the risk of post-gig depression, it’s still great for my sense of wellbeing. Confucius says, life without gigs is not worth living.

Gothic Melodrama
Swiped from Pomegranate02 on Flickr

Escaping from the latest Tim Burton film

Aaaand pose
Both swiped from The Music Network

Music: The Queen of Lower Chelsea - The Gaslight Anthem
Mood: Calm

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cool really has nothing to do with it

I listen to a lot more popular radio lately than I ever did. Working 9-5 means I'm always waiting for the traffic report when I first leave work and as I also love the Hamish & Andy show, I have to unfortunately subject myself to it. Unsurprisingly, I take issue with a couple of songs for various reasons and I feel this needs to be addressed.

Let's start with Usher. One of his recent singles start with "now we're back in the club" - now, Usher this implies that you actually left the club. I think for you to start a song like that, you should at least have had a song that actually takes place outside of a club. Which will clearly never happen.

Then there's this song by...oh I think it's Taio Cruz, I don't know they all sound the same. Yes google says it's Taio Cruz, and it's apparently called 'Dynamite'. This song starts with the absolute pinnacle of lyrical genius -

I came to
Dance, dance, dance, dance
I hit the floor cause that’s my,
Plans, plans, plans, plans
I’m wearing all my favorite
Brands, brands, brands, brands
Give me space for both my
Hands, hands, hands, hands
The first time I heard this song, I just cracked up laughing. The whole brands thing greatly amused me as it was, but when we got to the 'space for both my hands' I just went to a whole other camp place I don't think Taio Cruz ever wanted anyone to go to. Now the damage is done and all I can ever imagine is a flamboyant Carson Kressley type on a dance floor waving their hands about energetically. I hope I'm not the only one. Don't misinterpret my scorn as indie kid superiority, I can totally enjoy a catchy song even if it does have ridiculous lyrics (frankly they mostly do) but this one can't get past me - the repeating nonsense just pulls me up every time.

Next up is, from what I understand, the newest whiz kid on the scene, Bruno Mars! No, it's not his real name (why anyone would choose the stage name Bruno, I don't know.) His number 1 single currently doing the rounds is entitled 'Just the way you are'. It is supposed to be oh so very romantic -

Oh her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they're not shining
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying
She's so beautiful
And I tell her every day
Yeah I know, I know
When I compliment her
She won't believe me
And its so, its so
Sad to think she don't see what I see
But every time she asks me do I look okay
I say
When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile,
The whole world stops and stares for awhile
Cause girl you're amazing
Just the way you are

My response, if I was in this girl's position? "Uh, I just asked a simple question, a yes or no would've sufficed." But I freely admit that I'm cynical, maybe other girls like that sort of thing. But "every time" she asks? Seriously, come on. Everyone loves a compliment, but draw the line somewhere (and hey, if you regularly carry on like this it's no wonder she doesn't believe you.) I ask people if I look ok all the time, and I'd get pretty damn sick of it if I was subjected to a sonnet or something on every occasion. All I'm saying is, it'd get annoying. Sometimes a girl just wants a simple answer.

Finally, there is the Billboard 100 Top 10 single 'Cooler than me' by Mike Posner. This song does my head in, mainly because I have listened to it too many times sitting in traffic, have read way too much into it and have come to the conclusion that the 'protagonist' (I don't know if this applies to songs, but I'm using it anyway) is an idiot.

If I could write you a song
And make you fall in love,
I would already have you up under my arm.
I used up all of my tricks,
I hope that you like this.
But you probably won't,
You think you're cooler than me.

This is the entire set-up of the song. So one would assume boy likes girl, girl's not interested, boy writes song to woo said girl...if in this case by woo you mean insult everything about her. The song systematically goes through everything about this girl, everything that makes her think she's cooler than the 'protagonist' apparently, and proceeds to knock it. Which to me just begs the question why he's trying to get this girl to fall in love with him anyway, seeing as he dislikes so many things. Maybe it's meant to be ironic, and maybe it is in fact a call-out song that I've misinterpreted - but that's idiot-jerk behaviour too.

Besides the fact that I clearly don't get the principle, I also think he's being insanely petty (knocking the noise high heels make, um, what?) and maybe if he pulled his head out and stopped making assumptions, he'd totally be able to win over said girl.
You got designer shades,
Just to hide your face and
You wear them around like,
You're cooler than me.
And you never say hey,
Or remember my name.
It's probably cause,
You think you're cooler than me.
Or I don't know, maybe she's just shy? Maybe the 'protagonist' is so wrapped up in his own little world that he completely misses his opportunity. He acknowledges she seems to have a mask on, that "behind your make-up nobody knows who you are", and yet he doesn't consider that this may mean she has her own insecurities that is preventing her from connecting with him. So, bit of an idiot then. Then how does he deal with not being shown the attention he feels he is due? By insulting her of course.
She probably is,
Was acting shallow until
She find out how deep that my pockets is.
Ms. prima donna,
This is your reminder,
That I think you're fine.
But I'm finer.
Or hey, maybe you're just a jackass? Just assume you're so damn wonderful that every girl wants you and then if one doesn't, it's got nothing to do with your arrogance and/or narcissim. Ergo, I have come to the conclusion that the reason the girl doesn't want to be with the 'protagonist' is not because she thinks she's cooler than him, but indeed because he is a jerk. Long may this stupidity live on in song form.

That's all for today's lecture on 'Over-analysing popular songs on FM radio'. For the next class, please unpack a popular song of your own choice in a similar manner so we can discuss it, and identify trends.

Class dismissed.

Music: Wheezing rattle of a broken air-conditioner
Mood: Feeling less than well

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You'll only leave me dry

The latest competition in one of the mags I work on involved roses, so I got a whole lot of entries about the meaning, favourites etc (there was a whole lot of death as well with the flowers acting as memories or trigger devices, I did not appreciate it). One of them involved blue roses and I of course got curious as to whether they actually naturally existed since I’d never seen them growing. Off to wikipedia I went. Result: blue roses don’t actually exist in nature, mostly they are white roses that have been dyed.

Now, I am obsessed with black roses and when dad tried to get me some for graduation this is exactly what the florist said happened – they dyed them black. I was fairly sure at the time they genetically engineered them to grow like that, but I let it go. The research on the blue roses however revealed that I was so totally right – black roses are genetically engineered to have that colour.

Just once in my life I’d like someone to get me a black rose. I know they’re expensive and nigh impossible to get around here, but still. And yes flowers are stupid and die far too quickly, but that kind of beside the point in this case. It annoys me that on NCIS everyone gets Abby bunches of the things, as if they can just pop down to their local florist and pick them up just like that. Why must I always be difficult?

Also, on this topic – "The black rose's quality of being a rare flower renders it an apt symbol of profound love, or other such things of a rare nature." You see? My sense of romance may be slightly skewed, but I am still romantic (see also: The Crow).

Anyway, random ramble aside, let’s also park my emo-ness for the moment and move onto something else…NaNoWriMo! Woo! I’m all signed up to the madness again and super excited to get into the more social aspect of it this year. It seems like a fun group of people and there are tons of write-ins and events lined up, definitely off to a promising start.

I’ve been ummm-ing and aaah-ing about what to write. I’ve had a few ideas floating around all year that I thought I might tease out, but talking to Abs about hers made me realise I really missed those Amped boys. So what the hell, I’m rekindling the ESM passion and writing a novel of the season 2 arc. I will of course ramble/rant about my progress, and you can also check out my profile should you feel so inclined.

Speaking of writing, I’m doing this ridiculous micro-fiction thing online where you can win a Random House mentorship. Brevity has never been my strong point so I’m harvesting the sympathy vote – come on guys, vote for me! I think you have to register, which is a pain I know, but pretty please? I’m happy to offer bribes of hugs or cupcakes or whatever you prefer (you’re reading that the wrong way, aren’t you? I know you are *narrows eyes*)

TL;DR – NaNo, yay! 12words, vote for me!

Music: While you wait for the others - Grizzly Bear
Mood: Procrastinating (naturally)

In Other News

1. Can’t wait for the UK to go off daylight savings.

2. We will be getting the Doctor Who Christmas Special on Boxing Day, and not weeks/months later as before. Big cheer for the ABC!

3. Sherlock* finally premiered here on Sunday. Despite being on Nine and subject to a ginormous amount of ad breaks, I think it did quite well. People on Twitter seemed to like it at any rate (and somewhere it was given 45 out of 5 stars.) But that’s not the point. The best thing about it being on air is that they’re doing tons of advertising for it, including radio ads. This is brilliant because it means I can be confronted with unexpected Cumberbatch at any time. And because it’s snippets of dialogue, I have the added fangirl thrill of then picturing the complete scenes. It brightens up being stuck in traffic, ok? Don’t give me that look.

* My love for this show has of course been detailed previously – I think it’s insanely clever, well-written, well-acted and the production is mesmerizing…and I’m writing an essay on it, so never mind that.

4. Here are three things I have gone off completely – Glee (granted I wasn’t a big fan but I can’t stand it now), Vampire Weekend, Donna (and I don’t mean my phone).

5. After I got home from my riding lesson on Sunday, I got hooked watching the Phillip Island MotoGP. While I have been known to watch Formula 1 and I absolutely love the Dakar rally, I’ve never gotten into bike racing. The only reason this held my interest was the fact that Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi were having an epic battle for third and the intensity of it roped me in almost straight away. I was backing Hayden so much because I think Rossi is an arrogant prat, but even thinking that I can acknowledge that he is so damn good at what he does. Just…wow.

I've tried to find footage of it but with no luck. A snippet is here from the 0.58min mark but it doesn't do it justice.

6. Ok so - Na Na Na. Hmm. I am reserving judgement on the latest incarnation of MCR mainly because I find their singles often have greater power in context to the whole (I heard the whole of The Black Parade before I knew what the first single would be). At the moment, I’m sadly of the opinion that this is about three years too late. I mean it’s catchy and fun and, you know, My Chem…but it just Muse and The Killers have already been there, done that.

7. I have been watching a lot of Fringe. I am really enjoying it. It reminds me a lot of Torchwood, but only the way I keep going ‘they tried this in TW, but they’re doing it better here.’ It doesn’t matter because they have completely different tones – except for COE. The exchange between Olivia and Walter in the first ep of season 1 greatly mirrors that of Gwen and Clem, except Fringe predates COE. I strongly suspect Fringe is what the next season of TW will be. But seeing as Fringe already exists, and exists brilliantly, I don’t know why they’re bothering. Overall, Olivia > Gwen. To infinity and beyond.

8. I am outraged by how incredibly convoluted getting a motorbike licence in this state is. You have to go for pre-courses before you sit the tests before you get the various licences. Six things before you get your full licence. And you have to pay for all of it. I might as well just save that money and buy a bike. See I don’t actually want to be licenced, cause I’m not going to drive it on the road, but as we no longer have a motorcycle, I have nothing to learn on. I could go for lessons, but then I need a learners licence (1 seven hour training course, 1 test). I can’t rent a bike and get dad to teach me because again, I need a licence and I’m fairly confident I’m going to fall over so I don’t think renting is really the way to go. So it’s back to the original plan of just buying a cheap second hand (dirt) bike. But I don’t have spare cash to throw around so it won’t happen. Le sigh.

9. Life on Mars. Omg I completely forgot about this. I finally, finally, finally, finally got round to watching the final ep of this the other day. Hmfgh. Love. Just love! It’s such a clever concept this show, I adore it.

10. The other day in class I had another moment where Torchwood made me look more knowledgeable than I actually am. My lecturer is a Chris Isherwood fan and the first time he mentioned him, he asked if anyone knew who he was clearly expecting to be met with blank stares. Not I! I know all about Chris Isherwood, even read some Chris Isherwood and went to see A Single Man precisely because of Chris Isherwood (ok and Colin Firth and Matthew Good). And why? Simply because he happened to be mentioned in ‘Reset’, TW season 2.

Martha: Oh, I'm a camera!
Jack: As Chris Isherwood once said to me when we were cruising the Kurfurstendamm.
In Jen world that translates into ‘oooh I wonder what that’s about, let’s research!’ The first time TW came in useful at uni was in cultural studies when no one knew who Philoctetes was (‘Greeks Bearing Gifts’, season 1).

And then people say watching lots of television doesn’t teach you anything. Ha.

Music: Knights of Cydonia - Muse
Mood: Confused

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's not a slow dance

I survived class. I survived Monday. That's about as good as I can hope for at the moment. I don't know why I thought this deserved a blog but oh well.

If I can get all my nonsense sorted at work, I think I may take Thursday off. Mental health day!

I'm feeling better since I surrendered
You can't climb 'till you're ready to fall
You're not a land mine
You're not a gold mine
No you're not mine at all

So tell me baby, can you hear me?
I sent a message out into the dark
It's a mystery, when you're near me
I've gotta find my way to your heart

Music: Into the dark - Ben Lee
Mood: Tired

Breathing is boring

I'm having an emo day. That's really the only way to describe it. No particular reason for it, I'm just feeling glum and deflated. Like the lone balloon superglued to the corner of my desk from some celebration years ago (it's kinda gross but I can't get it off).

Maybe it's cause it's Monday, maybe it's uni, maybe it's work and its endless repetitive bullshit, maybe it's tiredness or maybe it's just that I'm still coughing - maybe it's all of the above.

The prospect of class tonight however is definitely not helping matters. I lost interest in the subject alarmingly quickly and I don't think that's endeared me to anyone. I'm supposed to workshop this 1000 word piece tonight and already I've gotten emails from people complaining that they don't understand it. Ok granted, it is an excerpt of a novel and therefore lacks context, but I supplied both a summary of the novel and a blurb on what the chapter's about. This is the chapter I'm up to, I'm not going to submit anything earlier that that because what's the point of workshopping the same thing over and over again?

We were told we could submit more than a 1000 words for people to read and merely mark the bit we wanted to work on so I can understand the argument that I should have submitted the whole chapter. 'Cept I don't have the whole chapter. It's not done yet and I refuse to apologise for that. It would have been done if I hadn't lost the two weekends during the break, but I mean hell - unforeseen circumstances meant I just wasn't mentally up to it. Now I'm just generally in too bad a mood to care about making life easier for my classmates. Sure, it's your workshop and you're the one who suffers in the end, but frankly I doubt this class will rock my narrative world no matter what I give them. Besides, I've already done two workshops this semester, with another coming up on Thursday, so sorry popular fiction, you're last on the list of subjects making a valuable contribution to my education.

And I'm sorry, but it's ridiculous to constantly have to start new stories for classes. I'm doing masters to finish this novel, I'll present the chapters as assignments if I want to. So there.

See this attitude though? It's toxic. I've been so terrible lately, I snap at the slightest thing. Uni particularly. It's really, really getting me down. Not the work - I'm used to tons of work - but the people. I just don't have the patience for them and I don't have the patience to pretend to have the patience, if that makes sense. I'm frustrated by having to constantly loop back over things and by the inane questions and contributions. My mind goes at an alarming pace sometimes, and I don't want to have to stop and explain it to anyone. Maybe if the topics were interesting, or made interesting through some inspired teaching, but no such luck. Frankly, I resent having to cover material I already studied in undergrad just because some people didn't do undergrad. What happened to assumed knowledge? And why do we bother with prerequisite subjects then? I'm just bored with it all.

So yes, not looking forward to class. Not much looking forward to anything other than sleep really. Bah.

Oh hey, if you see my fifteen year old self running around anywhere, tell her she can have her stupid attitude back. Thanks.

Music: Thank you for the venom - My Chemical Romance
Mood: Emo

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Clouds in my coffee

I am so unbelievable tired today. I blame a certain someone and his dwarf fortress except not really. The blame lies only with my uni work...or possibly myself for leaving my uni work so stupidly late and even then lacking the motivation to work on it, so I only finished it around 4.

Of course by then I was too tired to sleep (this is an entirely cruel joke of the body and really should be stopped, somehow) and only drifted off around 5. No big, I could sleep until 11 at least. Ha. Ha. Ha. Maybe in the world where you do not have an overenthusiastic dog. Oreo had me up at 8 and despite my attempts, I have not been able to get back to sleep.

I feel drunk on the sleep depravation. Mum agrees, her first words to me this morning was "You look like you have a hangover." It's nice to be loved.

It wouldn't be an issue except I have a ton of stuff still to do today and I've just remembered a riding lesson I booked last month. That'll be fun. Ten bucks says I fall off within the first 15 minutes. Ah well, it's nice and sunny out. Fresh air can only be good for me.

I'm in a blogging mood lately - making up for all those missed days....and hey, procrastination!

Music: My protector - Fleet Foxes
Mood: Tired

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's been a while

...since I've bothered with anything about this - nothing about it sounds new or interesting and I've lost all ability to care about the updates, but I just saw this on the trusty interwebz and thought I might take just the time to share my initial reaction....

Make me care Torchwood, I dare you



Music: Catch Me If You Can
Mood: Meh

You sunk my battleship

I am in a terrible mood. Not that my mood this week has been that great, but right now I'm just gloomy and miserable. And I still haven't written a single thing despite the fact that I need to send a chapter out to my popular fiction class tonight. Other things I need to do this weekend include two 700 word exercises, a 2-3000 word essay/presentation, and another chapter. By weekend I now of course mean tomorrow since I have clearly wasted today.

Why do I continually do this to myself?

I don't even know what I've done with my time. Well okay, I took dad to the optometrist this morning and waited around for an hour, but that's about it. I've just been procrastinating by updating things. Ah the internet, the cause and solution to my uni troubles.

Meanwhile, stumbled upon this flowchart on female character stereotypes the other day. As my main goal with my current novel is to create a strong, unique female protagonist, I found it rather interesting.

Click to embiggen. Taken from here. Original here.

Music: The Simpsons
Mood: Frustrated

Friday, October 15, 2010

I think I can hear thunder outside

You are calm and reposed
Let your beauty unfold
Pale white like the skin stretched over your bones
Spring keeps you ever close
You are second hand smoke
You are so fragile and thin
Standing trial for your sins
Holding onto yourself the best you can
You are the smell before rain
You are the blood in my veins

Music: The low thrum of fluorescent lights and CPUs
Mood: Working

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The bandages just don't keep me in

Right, has it been ten days since my last blog? It doesn't feel like it should be that many and yet the last week also feels like one of the longest weeks of my life. I suppose I best explain.

After much aimlessly floating about on my part and being incapable of focusing on the uni work I was supposed to be doing, I ended up taking three days leave and heading to SA on Wednesday morning. It was as simple as these things get, got my boarding pass straight away (shock and awe) and there were tons of empty seats. I managed to get a couple hours sleep, watched Iron Man 2 (again) and Get Him To The Greek and helped myself to a large number of Lindt chocolates and chocolate chip cookies. Pause for a first world problem - has Qantas changed executive chefs or something? The new menu is so utterly unappetising. Blah. And some fourteen hours later I disembarked at OR Tambo and was collected by the parental unit and my aunt J, mum's youngest sister (mum has two other siblings, older sister C and younger brother T.) I have never gone through customs in that country so quickly - the World Cup has clearly helped organise something.

Everything was fine at first - people were obviously upset, but nobody was crying and that was a win in my book. I was sharing a room with my aunt J in my grandmother's house and everything was going pretty uneventfully until my cousin J and uncle A arrived from Cape Town around 10pm, joining my aunt C who was already there. We were all sitting away chatting about things when the inevitable happened and I had my first take at being the soothing, shoulder to cry on. This would set the tone for the following day.

Needless to say, there wasn't much sleep to be had and it was all a bit surreal as Thursday, the day of the funeral, dawned. My grandmother, aforementioned aunts and mum went to view the body and my poor dad was asked to accompany by my uncle T who didn't want to go himself. The rest of us weren't keen either, and thankfully there wasn't any room in the car otherwise I'd have had to go and that's not something I think I'm entirely equipped to deal with.

Emotions were already running high but when they returned it was steadily downhill. My dad was by far more upset than anyone I think, I guess because he hasn't seen my grandfather in well over a year. I was expecting it though - my father is very brash and bold, he talks big and makes a lot of angry noise, but he has the softest, sweetest heart and hurts really, really easily though I don't think even he really realises it. He was shattered, I mean completely and utterly shattered. My uncle A was also very upset - he'd only lost his own father in February - and it was sort of ironic that the brothers-in-law were crying way more than the son was.

I found some black humour in proceedings as everyone kept handing out these homeopathic pills that were meant to calm you down and my cousin J was just running around before the actual service handing it to anyone who even looked like they wouldn't keep it together - as I repeatedly told her, she looked like a drug dealer.

I don't have words to explain how shattered the family was. I don't have words to explain how much it hurts seeing the people you love hurt so much and knowing that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. I got through the entire thing without taking any of the little calming pills, and without a single tear, because lord knows, someone had to keep it together. I nearly lost it when my great-grandmother showed up crying, but I managed to maintain my composure.

I don't know if anyone appreciates what I did, how hard it was, or whether I just seemed indifferent and uncaring, but this isn't about me, so it doesn't really matter. What matters is that I held my uncle A's eye as he read the tribute and smiled at the happy memories so that he could get through it without crying; that I kept my mum calm as we drove to the graveyard and hugged my dad, let him cry and shielded him as he dried his eyes after he carried the coffin to its final resting place; that I made sure everyone knew I was there for them whenever they stood looking lost; and that I held my aunt J's hand and hugged her for the entire burial as she sobbed. I was not meant to see my family this broken, this family who have always been so close and so accepting of each other and our individual weirdness, but I am glad that I could be there for them so they could be broken, so that they could have that opportunity to acknowledge their hurt.

Things will probably never be the same, and it will take a long time for the hurt to dull - only dull as I know it will never truly fade. It will be hard on my grandmother now, when everyone has left or gone to work and she is left in her home alone where there had been only routine for years. That hurts me too because if ever there was a fairytale romance, it was in my grandparents. My grandfather was wholly, utterly in love with her every single day of his life and it never faded, never grew less. I wish I could spare her from going through this, but there's nothing I can do.

Anyway, at the wake I saw family I hadn't seen in years - it's kind of sad that this is the only way people really ever get together - but I had to leave well before it wound down as my flight left at 6. Mum stayed with the family, I said my goodbyes and made promises to return for my cousin L's wedding in February, and dad drove me back to the airport. His parents were there and so we spent a little time together, though there's a whole other world of drama in that - my grandfather has ongoing medical problems and my grandmother generally has no idea who I am, but I don't want to get into that. In the end we spent ages waiting around for a boarding pass as the plane was extremely full. An absolute angel of a woman was overseeing the flight however and after hearing my story and seeing that I'd only arrived the day before, she went all out to make sure I got a business class seat back home again, a minor miracle.

You cannot imagine how absolutely drained I was at this point, I hadn't slept properly in well over four days, the pent-up emotion of the day was thrumming through me and I was just feeling so, so tired. By now it was 5.30pm so I had to be escorted through security screening and customs or I wouldn't make the plane. There was some hiccup in the customs line however and the lady ended up saving me a spot in the normal line, so when they turned me away at the front, I just hopped over to where she was waiting. When she left me to go check up on the flight, I was chewed out by some burly South African lout for cutting in line. I'd like to think I thoroughly humiliated him in front of the other people lining up by heatedly explaining my situation and making him look like an insensitive arse, before promptly starting crying. Not that eyes screwed up crying, but the dignified standing tall while glaring at you as tears stream down my face kind of crying.

I couldn't take it anymore. I was all alone, everyone was out of sight, I didn't have to be strong anymore. The ground staff were so incredibly nice and supportive, and the nice lady even hugged me and told me to drink a lot of wine on the plane and get some sleep before letting me board. They virtually closed the doors behind me and before I knew it I was in the air again, alarming the man next to me as I resolutely sniffled and refused to cry as I attempted to read Fellowship of the Ring. This didn't last long however as I promptly passed out, forgoing another unappetising dinner, and didn't wake up again until breakfast, three hours prior to landing.

I believe I spent 26 hours in the air, and 25 on the actual ground in SA. I was entirely fragile when I arrived home on Friday, I couldn't muster the will to do much other than watch The Two Towers (yeah, I'm in the midst of a long overdue Lord of the Rings binge at the moment).

The entire experience was absolutely terrible and I would not recommend it to anyone.

My parents returned yesterday and mum looks awful. I don't know what I can do. What can you do? There's nothing you can say, nothing that will ever make this right with her. So I've booked her in for a massage on Saturday - I'd take her away for the weekend but I blew all my money on this plane ticket and my car needs a service. Also I'm scared of being alone with her, of having to talk about it, because I can't handle any more crying. I'm too drained, too numb, I don't have anything of myself left to give to others.

Work has been so uber nice about it all, just so by the by. The editor and subeditor even got me a card and a gorgeous pot plant - because it will flower every year around the anniversary and it will be something beautiful and happy to remember it by. Isn't that thoughtful and sweet?

Speaking of sweet, I just want to say thanks to all my friends who have been so understanding and willing to listen, and constantly offering to come over and make sure I'm okay, and those on twitter who have been so completely supportive. As you can tell, I tend to bottle things up and it's meant a lot to have that outlet there.

Now I am exhausted and probably done blogging about this. The backlog of everything else continues to grow, as does the backlog of uni work, not helped by my frayed temper and the overwhelming urge to throw books at tutors, but hopefully things will settle back into some semblance of normalcy now that everyone is back home at least and routine is forced to kick in again.

I'm glad that I was in the process of reading Lord of the Rings again now, and that I started re-watching the films a few weeks ago. I love the series and it has seen me through a lot, it'll see me through this. It's filled with such beauty, such sadness and so many brilliant quotes - and in the end it feels appropriate and bittersweet, and in the end we must all let go.

I kind of wish I could share the comfort I find in books and music with my family, it's how I recharge, how I rebuild myself after tearing myself down. Words saved my sanity all those years ago and I hope they have something similar they can hold on to, we must each find our own comfort in the end.

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your
heart you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are somethings
that time cannot mend, some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold.
Bilbo once told me his part in this tale would end, that each of us must come
and go in the telling. Bilbo's story was now over. There would be no more
journeys for him, save one. My dear Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You
will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to
be and to do. Your part in the story will go on.

- Frodo, The Return of the King

Music: American Slang - The Gaslight Anthem
Mood: Sleepy

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hold memory close at hand

I had all these things I was going to blog about - last weekend, random things from the week, upcoming plans - as soon as I finished my uni work, but to do any of that now just seems kind of callous somehow.

A few hours ago my maternal grandmother called to let us know that my granddad had passed away. His health had steadily been declining over the last few years but he hadn't been ill or anything right at the moment so it came rather unexpectedly. It happened at 6.10am (2.10pm our time) at home. From what I can gather he was just too weak and stopped breathing. My aunt and uncle (mum's younger sister and brother) were with my grandmother when it happened, so at least she wasn't alone.

My mother's family are an incredibly tight knit group. She is devastated, as you can well imagine. To me there's something extra horrific about something like this happening at home, I can't even fathom it. Your home is supposed to be your safe place, your sanctuary, and when something like this happens, I just don't know how you can ever feel the same about it.

I'm coping in my usual manner of suppression and cleaning. I'm trying to support mum (and dad, poor guy doesn't cope well with these things at all) as much as I can. They're going to SA tomorrow, and I'll go whenever someone can confirm the funeral details. At first I wasn't going to go cause there's so much to organise and dad thought it'd be easier if someone stayed behind. Mum would really like me there though so I suppose it's the right thing to do. I don't know. I don't know what to do, what the protocol is. Will I regret it one day if I don't go? Will my family judge me if I am the only one of the lot not to show? I'm not really a funeral person - which is probably a stupid thing to say as I'm fairly sure no one is. It's the people though - I don't think I can handle the people, all that emotion and the expectation of emotion. So I'll be going in and out as fast as I possibly can.

Of course it's also about organising work (I have a deadline on Friday) and uni - we start back this week and I have a presentation on Thursday that I doubt I'll be able to make now (I'm guessing the funeral will either be Thursday or Friday). It's much needs to be sorted out, I can't even imagine what it's like over there. But yes, I've booked their airline tickets and travel insurance, I've got accommodation sorted for them as I'm sure it'll be a little intense at grandma's house and dad will need a place to escape to - I'm just waiting for him to get back from work, he's getting a letter that allows them priority seats. One good thing about the airline industry at least.

Worst thing is that it would have been granddad's 80th birthday this December. They were organising a big party for him. I was encouraging mum to go and she was putting together this collection of old photos and home videos. I feel so helpless knowing how much she's hurting and knowing there's nothing I can do to make it better.

Soon I'll start to feel guilty for not having the appropriate emotional response. I can weep pathetically for two days over a fictional world until I rupture blood vessels under my eyes, but here I sit typing a blog and wondering what I'm going to do about these essays. What the fuck is wrong with me? But I guess someone has to keep it together.

I was always his favourite. We spent so much time together when I was little, and yet I didn't spend nearly enough time with him when we visited in February. He was different as he got older, I was different and there seemed to be a gap that I couldn't quite breach. Perhaps I didn't try enough. But I still cared, and I know he knows I cared. I wish now our last visit had been more amicable in general, but there was so much mum and I couldn't take, so much that broke our spirits. And now this. That's life I suppose, and as the saying goes, time makes fools of us all.

We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.

- Marcel Proust

Music: Rattling keys and falling rain
Mood: Sad