Monday, February 28, 2011

Want every last little light in New York City

Now, Soundwave. Where to begin?

When I woke up to the soothing sound of rain, things were already looking more promising than last year. I had secured provisions of water and a bag of lollipops, crammed a light jacket and umbrella (and book) into my trusty bag, and organised a ride to Lidcombe station around 11. A train arrived as soon as I got there, and within ten minutes I was shuffling through the gates. Everything worked so well, so smoothly, no major lining up anywhere. Brilliant. They did make me throw out my umbrella however, so that was a bit lame. After all, last year it was our only shade, but thankfully I didn’t actually need it this time. It was also broken, otherwise I’d have been much more annoyed.

So, all things told, I managed to arrive one song into The Starting Line’s set. Stage 3 was in a ‘tent’, hot but out of the glare/rain. I counted that as a win. It was the first time I’d had the chance to see Kenny Vasoli and the guys, and it was easy to see why they have such a die-hard fanbase. When they all cleared out, I moved in and managed to secure a spot at the front for The Gaslight Anthem. It was everything I could possibly have hoped for. I really just adore this band so much. They’re up there with Green Day and Brand New as my all time favourites. The set was hopelessly too short, but as I’m catching their sidewave anyway, I could live with that. The great thing about TGA being on so early was that I already felt like the day had earned its worth, and everything else was just secondary.

So with my minimal expectations already well exceeded, I set off and had a look around to get my bearings and figure out where everything was. It was good circular set-up, and seemed to manage the crowds well-enough. There were a lot of people of course, and even though I knew heaps of people attending, I didn’t see a single one of them. Don’t know why that always surprises me, but it does.

Getting my pop-punk fix, I saw We The Kings on stage 5 next. Their energy was catching, and the crowd were certainly loving it. I was surprised by the strength of Travis’ voice, especially since I have found out that both he and Dan are sick. You couldn’t tell by their performance. I’m a little tired of bands voicing their desire to sleep with everyone (The Maine did this as well), but that’s just me getting old. The crowd still cheered.

By this point, my company texted to alert me to their arrival, and I set off back to stage 3 to intercept them. This failed but led to a funny moment where I was standing around wondering who was covering Sum 41, only to realise it was in fact Sum 41. You just never know. Anyway, figuring I’d meet up with them at some point, it was off to the main stages in the showgrounds to finally see Bullet For My Valentine. Oh Matt Tuck, I love you and your (for some reason rather hilarious) accent. This actually all worked out rather well, as I found M and N waiting when I arrived. They were there purely to watch Thirty Seconds To Mars and wanted to get as close to the stage as possible. Neither had been in a mosh before, and we had to get through almost three hours of headliners in Stone Sour, Primus and Slash. But hey, it’s an experience, and everyone’s gotta mosh sometime. So with vague warnings and telling them to brace themselves, I led the way into the front section. The BFMV fans were clearing out or shuffling left to stage 1, so we got to the front with no trouble.

What followed was an agonisingly long wait. The Primus fans behind us kept yelling at Stone Sour to shut up (quote of the day definitely goes to the dude yelling “You’re not fucking Foreigner!” when they played their new single, cause it was kinda Foreigner-y) and then Primus came on and utterly bewildered us. What IS that? Seriously. I don’t get it at all. So much repetitive noise, it was torture. The most baffling part was how many people were so into it. And they were really, really into it. It nearly broke me. Longest. Set. Ever.

Seeing Slash was pretty cool though, it is Slash after all. Both Sweet Child of Mine and Paradise City went off. The sun had appeared at this point and it was becoming a little uncomfortably warm; a crush had settled into the mosh, including your standard contingent of 16 year old fans who would later be lifted out; and the world’s most annoying couple decided to come jump around and push and shove and generally be those people everyone in the mosh pit hates with the fiery strength of a thousand suns. Now I know that when you’re in the mosh, personal space doesn’t apply and you can’t expect not to be pushed about or whatever, but common courtesy can still apply. And so it is with no shame whatsoever that I say I got a huge thrill when, later, another fed up mosher picked her up and chucked her over the barrier. Her boyfriend had by this time already been removed. They were most probably wasted, and I hope that today she’s suffering from the bazillion bruises my elbow worked very hard to inflict in her ribs and lower back.

Like all things in life, moshing comes with a wall. It eats away at you, and wears at you, but as soon as you get past it, everything clears and you just enjoy it. You just have to get to that point. I drank a ton of water, had even more poured over me, pushed and shoved…and then somehow, not far into 30STM’s set, I found myself having a good time. I can’t remember Jared sounding that much like Billy Corgan the last time I saw them, but he does now. And yes, he still spends more time jabbering away and getting the crowd to sing for him than he actually does, but funnily enough when you’re in the front of that crowd he’s lavishing attention upon, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Some frontmen, like Billie Joe, have the ability to make everyone feel included, regardless of the size of the venue. Jared doesn’t have that ability, and when you’re standing in the back of that gig and he never actually finishes a bloody song when you have, and it’s crass to say I know, paid him to sing, it’s annoying as fuck. But when you’re in the front lines, that’s sort of secondary and it’s just a lot of fun.

It felt like they only did about five songs cause of all the showboating and crowd shenanigans…and I’ve just realised they didn’t even do From Yesterday, my personal favourite, but what the hell (or maybe they did and I just didn’t hear it cause he wasn’t actually singing, anything is possible.) I had zero expectations of them, was just in it for my own warped sense of humour and the spectacle, and on that they certainly delivered. Plus I got to chuck one of those balloons around. Jared, it must be said, is completely off his rocker. And also far too thin – eat a sandwich dude! Anyway, despite the fact that I don’t think he can actually sing live, I found myself defending him at one point. That’s right people, it’s snowing in hell. He also won the award for man most hated by security, hands down. First he encouraged people to clamber on each others shoulders (big no-no), then he encouraged them to crowdsurf to the front if they wanted to be on stage for the last song (even bigger no-no). More people got ejected than they got on stage, and security were looking very harassed. But overall, I actually enjoyed it, and I know this is only cause I expected nothing from them. So I guess we’ve learnt that if you’re going to a 30STM gig, get as close to the front as possible, or don’t bother. Or take your ipod and listen to the songs while watching them perform? Shannon’s very good, he always does his part. As do the others. You sort of forget they’re around.

This gets the biggest write up cause it was the most major thing of the day and memorable too, as my bruises can confirm. I was still damp two hours later. You get so overheated, it’s nice to cool off, but it’s also so unexpected that you’d be standing there minding your own business and suddenly there’s water dripping in your eyes. Ah, the glamourous life of the gig junkie.

Anyway, extracted ourselves for some much needed sugar and time out, before returning for Queens of the Stone Age. Another first for me, so I’m happy with that. Josh Homme’s hair kept distracting me though, it’s so awful. He really looks his age too and I had quite the time convincing everyone that he’s actually younger than Jared Leto (look, say what you want, he looks incredible for a guy turning 40.) I thought the set was great, and hey, they played Burn The Witch which is really all I ask for. M and N decided they’d call it a day, so as they went off, I headed over to catch The Maine on stage 5. The smaller crowd was something of a revelation after the crush of the main stages, and it was a nice way to wind down. Of course the big headliner of the event was Iron Maiden, and I couldn’t end the day without catching sight of such legends – even though Mayday Parade who I love was playing on another stage. I didn’t stay for the whole two hour set, knowing I’d have enough trouble getting up for work as it was. I was home, with absolutely no waiting and no trouble, just after 9.

Overall verdict of the day? So good. So very, very good. It is amazing what a difference a venue (and overcast weather) can make. I’ve never been very appreciative of the Sydney Showgrounds/Olympic Park precinct, all the concrete and epic amounts of walking I’d done at easter shows didn’t seem particularly enticing. But after the horror of Easter Creek, and the logistical problems of Sydney Park, this was a revelation. Why didn’t they just have it here from the start? Everything works. There’s water, and showers, and tons of food. The only horrific line I saw all day was for the ATM, but really, that’s your own fault and could easily be avoided. Not to mention that the easy access to public transport makes it much easier to plan your day.

So, yes! I had a brilliant day, a brilliant weekend and I’ll post up some dodgy camera phone pics with this later. Right now, it's back to writing profiles and attempting to rehydrate myself in prep for tonight *dances off*

Edit: Photos as promised. My phone actually takes the worst photos, but never mind.

Kicking things off with The Gaslight Anthem
We The Kings getting the crowd involved

Self explanatory, really. 

Setting up for Primus. Should have known weirdness would follow.

Placing Jared's little platforms, it's a step up from the infamous 'Leto box', our measure of all grandstanding since our first encounter with his penchant from clambering on things and talking a lot. 

Chilling to Queens of the Stone Age.

The Maine drawing a crowd on Stage 5.

The sun starts to fade over the showgrounds (and QOTSA).

Music: The Queen of Lower Chelsea - The Gaslight Anthem

We keep it down with the radio on

From the other side of an epic weekend, I bid thee welcome. I’m sore, sunburned and my energy is starting to flag just a little but I’m happy to report that I had so much fun. Not even the fact that a huntsman climb through my open car window this morning could damage my mood (freak me out, yes - but I’m proud that I managed to stay entirely calm. I threw open my door, it climbed back to the other side of the window which I quickly wound up, and then the guy in the car next to me jumped out, shoe in hand, to flick it off the car. We were united in our spider hate and triumphed over the hideous evil.)

Things kicked off bright and early Saturday with a trip to Kiama – a picturesque area that is utterly boring, like pretty much all of the South Coast. It was a family outing, as we all headed down to help out at the Kiama Rugby Sevens tournament. I highly recommend you go watch Sevens rugby if you have a chance – it’s tons of fun, and the speed of the game makes it perfect for a day out – kinda like 20/20 cricket. We were right behind the try line which made me slightly nervous, a valid response as I very nearly avoided being tackled. A quick roll to the right meant only the drinks thing was taken out – that would have left a nice bruise, I’m sure. Anywhoodle, I did a bunch of walking up and down in my role as fetcher and carrier, took my extra lense so I tried out taking action photos of all the goings on, and generally had a lovely time. The field is right next to the beach so after their matches the guys would all traipse down for a swim/surf. By 4pm, there were a lot of guys just wandering around in towels. Now, at the risk of sounding utterly shallow, there were some finely sculpted specimens on show. Had Jared Leto wandered in with his shirt off, he would not have drawn any special attention. I’m just reporting on the facts here, don’t look at me like that. At least I was there on official business and wearing more clothes than any other female my age/younger – you should see some of the girls, I don’t know what they’re thinking. It utterly baffles me. I’ve never been a girl inclined to that sort of attention seeking, though my cousins all were. They’d go off flaunting themselves, and I’d sit around and read haha. Sums me up really. Anyway, it achieves nothing. I was my usual emo self, minding my own business, and got picked up anyway, so why bother?

What you should bother with, however, is sunscreen. It was a lovely sunny day but I’d taken just a little too long to lather up, and now my left arm is pink. Bah. Only on the outside, from my sleeve to my watch, so it’s this really demented tan line. Annoyed and determined not to make it worse, I wore approximately half a bottle of sunscreen to Soundwave yesterday. Actually, the shirtless boys encountered here were in stark contrast to the shirtless boys from Saturday. And they lost. By a mile. I know, I know. I’m a traitor to my kind. This post will be way too long if I included the SW write-up, so it be here.

Music: The Queen of Lower Chelsea - The Gaslight Anthem

Friday, February 25, 2011

Top 10: Books I’m currently reading

On my bedside table right now, there are 21 books. I never used to read more than one book at a time, in fact I never understood how people did it, but somehow during the course of my uni career I had started doing it. I think it was because I wanted to read books I wanted to read, but I also had to read set books. So I’d alternate depending on what I felt like at the time. The problem with this system is that some books take forever to finish because they simply fall by the wayside as the others take over. And I also get a stack building up that never seems to get any less. But anyway, for this week’s Top 10 list, I thought I’d take the ten books on top of the pile and quote a paragraph (or part of one at least) from the page I am currently on. Reading = love.

He swung around to confront the others; in this instant the scene had changed, he saw instead the backs of the royal squires, shields locked, heaving off the Agrives. Hephaistion came breasting through like a swimmer through surf, and stood to shield his back.
Fire from Heaven – Mary Renault*

Old women wore it as a talisman around their necks, and they secretly knelt before idols carved from the holy stone. Mothers sewed it into their children's clothes, so the stone should make them fearless and protect them. But there had never been a Goyl whose skin was made of jade.
Reckless – Cornelia Funke

Finally after inflicting grave injuries on each other and doing much damage the two sides separated, and the Lacedaemonians saving all their empty ships except those which had been taken at first. Both sides then returned to their camps. The Athenians then set up a trophy, and gave back the dead. They seized hold of the wrecks and immediately began to sail round the island and keep it under guard, regarding the mean on it as now cut off. On the other hand the Peloponnesans on the mainland and the reinforcements which had now arrived from all directions remained in position at Pylos.
The best of Thucydides - Thucydides (trans. MG Dickson)

'The Hellenistic states had their origin on the battlefield,' Yvon Garlan emphasizes, 'and that is where they met their doom.' Throught the three centuries of their existence, warfare was continuous and ubiquitous, the main, and often the exclusive, topic of contemporary historians.
Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age – Peter Green

The morality of the Romans in this as in later periods had almost no connection with religion. The Roman did not ask his gods to make him good, but to bestow upon the community and upon his family material blessings. Morality was a matter of patriotism and of respect for authority and tradition. 
Western Civilizations - Edward McNall Burns

Whatever the origin of our representations, whether they are due to the influence of outer things, or are produced through inner causes, whether they arise a priori, or being appearances have an empirical origin, they must all, as modifications of mind, belong to inner sense. All our knowledge is this finally subject to time, the formal condition of inner sense. In it they must all be ordered, connected and brought into relation. This is a general observation which, throughout what follows, must be borne in mind as being quite fundamental.
Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant

But it was not so at all. They wandered, first down into the Vale and then gradually south and westward around the mountains, given lodging in little villages or spending the night out in the wilderness, like poor journeyman-sorcerers, or tinkers, or beggars. They entered no mysterious domain. Nothing happened. 
The Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K. Le Guin

Though he was the same age as all of them, Thor towered over the other Roosters and was, in fact, the tallest eleven-year-old on Clam Island, as he had been the tallest nine-year-old, and the tallest five-year-old, and the tallest toddler, too.
Summerland – Michael Chabon

And it seemed I understood more viscerally than ever the atmosphere of purposeful gloom which had overhung my childhood in far-off Kiev. I saw again the muddy catacombs, and the half-buried monks who had cheered me on to become one of them.
The Vampire Armand – Anne Rice

Connie went to the wood directly after lunch. It was really a lovely day, the first dandelions making suns, the first daisies so white. The hazel thicket was a lace-work, of half-open leaves, and the last dusty perpendicular of the catkins. Yellow celandines now were in crowds, flat open, pressed back in urgency, and the yellow glitter of themselves. It was the yellow, the powerful yellow of early summer.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence (this is a perfect example of a book that’s taking me ages to finish for no other reason than I keep reading other stuff. I like it, it's an interesting read, but others somehow keep taking  precedence.)

* I’m in trouble with this book, and I don’t know what to do. First up, it’s making me so ridiculously happy. I am in love with the characters. I adore Renault’s Alexander. He is just…divine. By no means is he perfect, you can see where the cracks will form, but the flaws just make him more captivating. I think because you follow the character from childhood, you just become completely invested. Olympias is just something else. And Hephaistion. Oh, Hephaistion. He’s everything Louis in the Vampire Chronicles could have been, had he not been so weak. His loyalty, his deference, none of it lessens his intensity or his pride. But now I have a problem. The book is part of a trilogy, so to speak. It ends with Philip’s death, and the next one picks up after the Persian campaign and follows the last years of his life. Like I said, I adore this Alexander, and I want to know how it plays out, but the book is told from the point of view of a character I know is going to break my heart. And I like delusion, you know? I would like to pretend Hephaistion never had to feel second best, or third, or fourth, whatever. I’d like to pretend that he really was the only one who really understood Alexander. Because Hephaistion is brilliant, ok? Team Hephaistion all the damn way. Also, I like saying Hephaistion. Hee. (Actually, I prefer using Hephaestion, but the other spelling is used in the book.) On one hand, I should probably give Renault the benefit of the doubt. I’ve loved the characters so far, who’s to say I won’t like Bagoas too? Except…how can I, when I am so invested in the other? I don’t want to see things from his point of view, and I know it’s going to make me angry. The same sort of simmering throw-the-book-across-the-room frustrated anger that the Torchwood books incur when Gwen is being pushy and acting (vehemently) entitled. So now I’m stuck. I’m tempted to just skip to Funeral Games, the third book that deals with the empire’s demise following Alexander’s death. But then Renault is so good at evoking character and creating scenes, I feel like I’d miss something if I did. Waaaah.

That awkward moment when you remember the character you’re in love with was a real person and won’t ever have any semblance of a happy ending because he’s devoted to a king who can be a bit of a prat but doesn’t realise because he’s just doing what king’s do after all; has his value doubted, and then dies at 32 because he eats after the physician tells him not to. And then, by some accounts at least, Alexander has the doctor executed. Everyone wins. Wait, what?

Music: Sowing season - Brand New

The world closed its arms on us now

If you’re wondering where I’ve disappeared to – and I know I have disappeared, I’m never online and I’m really sorry about that, I love you, you must know that – I’m actually spending all my free time reading. Work is sapping all my energy so when I come home, I have barely enough will power to have dinner, before tumbling onto the nearest soft surface with the nearest book. Falling into other worlds is much nicer than having to exist in a present reality.

Well, this is when I’m not out, which I am a fair bit too really. This weekend is going to be pretty crazy, long day tomorrow, long day Sunday. Cloudy, not too hot but humid, might survive to tell the tale. I’m just excited for TGA. If you’re going to Soundwave, say hi. I’ll be the one in the brown cowboy boots, and with the purpley tinted hair.

In other news, it never ceases to amaze me how much better I get along with older people than my own generation. I think it’s the lack of pretention, the sense that people know themselves and their lives, and aren’t messing about, pretending to be anything they’re not. And I know that’s not true of all older people, but it certainly applies to the ones I happen to spend time with. They don’t annoy me nearly as much my so-called peers.

I don't know. Sometimes I think few people my age don't have the ability to actually be honest (with themselves and acknowledge that freely) enough to have any real sort of exchange. Too wrapped up in our own insecurities, our own importance, it always ends in saying things we think people want to hear, or claiming things in the bid to be part of something, to just be noticed. Creative types are the worst. Just deciding to label yourself as something, doesn’t make it so. Oh, I’m an artist. Uh, no, you’re not. You took a photo of something, photoshopped the colours, and then smacked a phrase on it and posted it on Tumblr. You’ve got to earn these things people, your blood, sweat and tears have to go into it. None of this sitting around, chatting with grandiose aims about the nature of art, and then feeling very pleased about how creative you are. That’s not being creative, that’s just talking about it. Fuck off. It’s the same superiority complex, shared by the high school jocks who made your life a living hell, and makes you a slave to the competitive capitalist dogma you spend every moment of your waking life bitching about.

You’d think I’d grow out of my Holden Caulfield attitude to everyone, but it doesn’t seem to be happening.

Sticking to the Salinger references, after spending most of the last two weeks feeling suspiciously fragile in that Franny Glass sort of way and skirting the verge of tears, I felt such a surge of empowerment yesterday, I could hardly believe it. Nothing’s changed in my life (I still wish I could run away) but something inside me just clicked into place and it was, different. I felt different. I can’t properly explain it and I probably just sound deranged (hai, teen melodrama!) Maybe it was an epiphany of sorts. Here’s hoping I can hold on to it. That’s always the hard part.

Anyway, better get back to work. It’s been a major test of will for me, I must admit, I’ve just come to despise it so much. I find it hard to do anything. I always said I was constitutionally incompatible with this sort of thing, and I think I may have been right. I doubt I’m ever going to be able to hold an office job for long, not a full time one. But for the moment, even though the abject misery of it threatens to crush me, I’ll deal with it - only as a means to an end. I’m sure there’s something here to be said about building character…

Music: Even cowgirls get the blues - The Gaslight Anthem

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Louder than sirens

Does Australia have any history? Back beyond the settlement? Did the Aboriginal tribes have wars? Is there anything beyond the Dreaming, anything dealing with things beyond the creation?

I ask because I don’t know.

Africa has history, and lots of it. Whether European colonial, or traditional, it’s there. You can trace the footsteps of Shaka, find his kingdom between the Umzikulu river and Pongolo river, as he strengthened one of the proudest nations, or envision the diplomacy and victories that defined Moshes and the Sotho people. The Mfecane. That’s not even scratching the surface. That’s 'recent'. It goes up, further and further into the continent, all the way up to Egypt, its history stretching back beyond remembrance. It’s a continent filled with stories, marked by battle scars and glutted with the blood of warriors and innocents alike – continuing to this very moment.

History has its own power. To those who will feel it. I’ve stood on sacred lands and ancient battlefields and I think the earth remembers. There's something older, and deeper, and disconcerting. These things are so far beyond my comprehension, but it stirs something within me. And as I work my way through the ancient history of this world, not with the attention of a school girl but one with a genuine unquenchable interest, I find myself utterly enthralled. Can’t you see them, standing on the plains? Proud and fierce. All the warriors who lived and died by the sword, in a time when war was still honourable, glorious and terrible. The earth soaked in their blood, and never forgot it. Neither did history. Sure, it is written by the victors, and in the end we can never really be sure of the line between fact or fiction, and we will never truly know anything as time sweeps it away indiscriminately. But the great warriors all got what they wanted in the end, didn’t they? Immortality. Over two thousands years later, we know their names. We remember the battles.

And my heart aches from the majesty of it all.

Man’s immortality is not to live for ever; for that wish is born of fear. Each moment free from fear makes a man immortal.

Music: Drumming song - Florence + The Machine

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Let the sun rain down on me

Just a quick one to clog the already overflowing interwebz with a disaster update. Everyone is no doubt aware that Christchurch has fallen apart after a 6.3 earthquake yesterday. It was at a peak time in the day and the damage has been huge. Now, as one emotionally invested in the wellbeing of a lot of people down south, I was quite shaken by it. I love you Christchurch, please look after yourself until I can come over to see you in 49 days. Things are sadly not looking good. It’s just devastating. If you’d like to help out, you can donate through the Red Cross or Salvation Army. As they say, every little bit helps.

And if you’re a bit of a sad loser like me, you can follow a running report of everything here.

It’s just been disaster central around here lately. Half of Australia has washed away, fires and locusts in the other half. Floods in South America and South Africa. Cyclones. Mud slides. Earthquakes.

As someone on twitter remarked, if you ever wanted to visit the Southern Hemisphere, you’d better come now. We can’t guarantee how much longer it’ll be here. But you know, if the natural disasters don’t get you, the civil unrest and crazy dictators will certainly give it their best shot. All in all, the odds on Team Humanity really aren’t that great.

Music: The ballad of Mona Lisa - Panic! At The Disco

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reconcile the violence in your heart

Guess what? I’ve let go of the deranged Leto thing, and have diverted my attention elsewhere. The Super 15 season (or should I just call it Super Rugby now?) started this weekend, so I can go back obsessing over that for a while instead. First things first, it somehow escaped my notice but my boy Dan got engaged at the end of last year. I guess that makes him officially grown up now, awww. We’ve had some times *reminisces* He’ll always be my favourite. Anywhoodle, I actually managed to watch all the games, except for the SA ones as I’m disinclined to staying up all night in order to be aggravated. Oh and, thanks to having a migraine of epic proportions, I slept through the first half of the Highlanders/Hurricanes game…not that I missed much.

But yes! New season! Not a bad start overall, my team lost…but we always start slow, and it wasn’t a big loss, so it’s still good! My other team won by a mile, so there’s that at least. Hilariously, my family and I are playing against each other in a fantasy league. If you were in my house on Saturday night, this is why you’d have heard me yelling “I need a cheap hooker!” and no other reason. Ahem.

Overall, quite a nice weekend. I left work early on Friday after aforementioned migraine attempted to kill me – it was in a class of its own. Dragged on into Saturday, but I managed to numb it somewhat with drugs and head off to picnic with M and R. It was absolutely lovely, and I very ungraciously won a game of Trivial Pursuit. Sunday was dedicated to exploring these markets I’d just found out about with L – they were sadly very little and it was far too humid for comfort, so off to airconditioned shopping mall it was. There was much browsing, a nice lunch and a lovely catch-up. Saw boots I desperately want…need? Must exercise self control! Aaaah! Curse you, responsible adulthood.

Headache returned in the evening. Perhaps heat related? Not sure. Not entirely 100% healthy at the moment, in fact I generally just feel pretty crappy. Probably stress. Need a holiday. A proper holiday. Can’t wait for April – only 51 days to go, but who’s counting?

In other news, I finished The Iliad. I am so proud of myself. I know I attempted reading it before when I was younger, but I can’t remember ever finishing it. Anyway, huzzah! Now I can return to the library triumphant and shuffle slightly forward in history. Also borrowed a stack of books from R on Saturday, so recreational reading is definitely on the cards. Brilliant. Back to uni next week, don’t think I have much required reading for a change, so yay?

Well. That's my boring update. Work to do. Still scrambling with the last lot of deadlines with new ones looming. Also quite a busy week ahead with writers group Wednesday, and other things, plus I’m off to help out at the Kiama Sevens on Saturday, then there’s Soundwave on Sunday. Next week is going to be a tough one – after thoroughly exhausting myself by hanging around outside all weekend, I’m seeing The Gaslight Anthem on Monday night, and then uni 6-9 on Wednesday and Thursday. I’ve said it before, and I will say it many more times in my sad little life – sleep is for the weak.

PS: I know I skipped the Top 10 last week – blame the migraine. Will pick it up again Friday.

Music: Undisclosed desires - Muse

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Always up or down

Oh Jared Leto, you crack me up. It’s a serious concern.

Actually, don’t think I mentioned it, but in my noble quest to find loltastic Leto moments, I discovered he has an assistant (here she is holding his umbrella [that’s not a euphemism, christ people, get your mind out of the gutter – yes, I’m giggling cause I am 12…and love Torchwood]) Do any other rock stars have assistants? How does one even get such a job? I can’t say I’ve ever seen it advertised on Seek.
WANTED: One rock star assistant. Must be able to locate good coffee by blind instinct alone, be capable of wrangling overzealous fans, and deal with obnoxious people on the internet. High tolerance for grandstanding and self-involvement highly regarded. Send CV with references, and cover letter stating why you think you’re right for this job, to
I’m sure it’s absolutely horrible Devil-Wears-Prada-y overworking and under-appreciating, and a lot of getting coffee and standing around waiting/being annoyed, but you get to travel and attend so many gigs. I can do that! Travelling circuses are my thing. So. Rock stars of the world, take note. Hire me. I can run your life. And I promise not to mock you online.

Anyway, hello. Life is vexing. My work computer is having a major meltdown and IT ignored me yesterday so alas, it's dragged into today – frustrating not least of all because I can’t get to my files, but also because I know what’s wrong with it, having fixed a similar thing on my laptop last year. But oh no, can’t touch the work stuff, have to wait twenty bazillion fucking years for the one overworked guy to come look at it *rolls eyes* Meanwhile, stay away from Java. I’m serious. It is the devil. Or at least possessed by the devil. Despite not having my own computer, I was actually super productive today. Got a ton done, very pleased with that at least.

I wrote a blog yesterday shortly before my computer had this meltdown. It’s lost to the place where unsaved word docs go now. Mostly I was just lamenting my car, so I suppose the blogosphere hasn’t been deprived of much.

I’ve decided on my new car. The one I’m getting once I return from my ‘gap’ year and get a job again, I mean. Jack, I fear, won’t be around. He’s served me well over the time I’ve had him, but he’s old – naming him after Captains who pull of miraculous escapes/return from the dead was obviously a good call. Or a curse, I can never quite decided. Those paying attention will know I paid another visit to the mechanic on Saturday – had to get a new exhaust. I was very pleased with myself for organising all this by myself and getting it done for the price quoted to me. Such a nice change! There was a small hiccup when the garage I’d originally organised with wasn’t even open when I was told to bring the car over, but luckily I found a mechanic closer to home who did a more comprehensive job for cheaper. So I still consider it a win.

Thing with Jack is, he really is old. 21 this year, and he’s done a lot of kms. I’ve had him for about seven, a long time in my family for a car. All things considered, it’s been fine, but now he requires near constant upkeep. Every two months it seems like something else needs doing, eating away my trip savings. I fear the starter or the gearbox will go next - he’s very slow on the changeover and on really hot days, it’s a struggle to get out of third (or past 80km/h). We’ve fiddled with it and can’t see any major trouble, but you never really know. And if the gearbox does go, well I’m not replacing it. It’s just not worth it. I’m reminded of that Top Gear episode where James and Jeremy are discussing service bills and Jeremy’s turns out to be £15,000 and James says, ‘What? Did he buy you a Golf?’ Which, incidentally, is what I intend on doing.

So there you go – that’s the car story, sort of. Blogosphere didn’t miss out after all (what a loss it would have been too *cough*)

All other things remain the same. No real news that is not a giant whine about work...because it is an awful trial at the moment. Had a major clash with one of the ad reps shortly after the last blog was posted (and not the one I was waiting on an email from, oh no, I have two being pains). She was just carrying on so much and wouldn’t listen, and kept pushing and pushing, and eventually it reached the point where I was either going to punch her or cry. In the hopes of avoiding assault charges, I settled for the latter. So embarrassing. Luckily it’s just me and the deputy editor in the office, so it’s contained embarrassment. I loathe crying, but you know sometimes when you’re just so angry and frustrated that it has to come out somehow? Well it was like that. I’m annoyed that I let her get to me so much, but I’m stretched pretty thin at the moment and don’t want to deal with this kind of needless drama. And it really is needless, she’s just a melodramatic bitch. I don’t understand why workplaces keep people like her around – she creates a toxic work environment and drives others away. Nearly everyone working with her has quit or asked to be transferred. I’ve been in this job nine months and this is the first time she’s really riled me – apparently that’s a new record.

Gah. I’m just ignoring her now.

Whinge whinge whine whine blah. What fun. Thankfully it’s almost weekend. There’s a bright light on the horizon! Hanging with the girls on Saturday, and that is always a good thing.

Top 10 will be late tomorrow. Busy with other things at the moment.

One last thing -
Draw nigh, that thou mayest sooner enter the toils of destruction.
Don't know why, but I love that.

Music: Down and out - The Academy Is...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Only for a second

I have no motivation. Gah. Currently writing about floods and engaged in another battle with ad rep. Email me back, you bastard! Also on the to do list today: get info about prizes for future competitions from companies. Sigh.

My eyes can't believe what they have seen.
In the corner of your room, you've stockpiled millions of my memories.
Oh doctor, doctor, I must have gotten sick somehow,
I'm going to ask you a series of questions,
And I want them answered on the spot, right now.
Is it serious?
I'm afraid it is.
Am I gonna die?
Well son, death is gonna catch up to all one day,
But yours is coming quicker than ours, than ours.

Some things I may have taken for granted, again and again,
Well here's what was said then,

Hold your head high heavy heart.
So take a chance and make it big,
Cause it's the last you'll ever get.
If we don't take it, when will we make it?
I make plans to break plans,
And I've been planning something big, planning something big, planning.

I've never tried to make the best of my time,
When I thought that I had plenty of it.
Is this serious?
I don't know what to think.
Is it all a lie?
Well, one thing is for sure
I'm taken back to the glory days
When we were kids without a brash or bitter thing to say.

Now my life is one big make it, or break it.

Hold your head high heavy heart
Save your strength for the morning after.
So take a chance and make it big,
Cause it's the last you'll ever get.
If we don't take it, when will we make it?
I make plans to break plans,
And I've been planning something big, planning something big.

Music: The phrase that pays - The Academy Is...

Knock me down

News. I can haz it!

So, I attend a writer’s group now. It’s good, despite my general dislike for all group social interactions. I’m not sure how it’ll work out with uni as we currently meet on Wednesdays, and I think I’ve got class on Wednesdays. We shall see, I guess. Only two more weeks till it’s back to the dungeons of tertiary servitude (she says even though she secretly loves it.)

I’ve got an essay to write this weekend – please, please nag me about it, if you have the chance. I will kick myself if I don’t at least try because there are few things in life greater than marrying your fandom with academia.

Thirdly, after much deliberation, I have decided to apply for a new job. I was hesitant because I didn’t want it to seem like I was giving up with my current job – but it’s a great opportunity in a line I’m much more passionate about. Applying can’t hurt, right? Problem is now that I’ve decided to apply and I’ve written everything that’s required for it, I’m actually a bit scared by how much I want it. I have a personal rule against expectation and I’m dangerously close to breaking it :/

Yesterday, I had a day out with mum. We headed to the travel expo first and accumulated a frankly frightening amount of brochures. I may or may not have added another bazillion places to my list of places to visit. I think there should be a stall to help people like me navigate the logistical nightmare of wanting to up and leave for a significant period of time. I don’t really know what I’m doing and it’s very annoying. Following that, we had lunch at Pancakes and wandered about Town Hall, seemingly acquiring chocolate and cupcakes without really trying. Good times.

In news that is not my own, Pete Wentz and Ahslee Simpson have split. While I’m tempted to say ‘I told you so’, I’m more concerned with Pete’s self-destructive tendencies at the moment and I hope someone’s looking out for him.

What else? Oh yes, first wave of Sydney Supanova guests have been announced – including the insane (now married) James Marsters, Simon and Inara from Firefly, Cary Elwes aka Westley aka Robin Hood aka coolest dude ever, and my dearly departed fictional Welsh boyfriend’s doppelganger, among others. So all in all, it’s shaping up adequately geeky. Now, prepare the hip flask… not making the same mistake as last year, after all.

Just discovered Cary Elwes played Paris in a tv show about the Trojan War. Wonder if he was better than dear old Orlando Bloom. Speaking of the Trojan War, I’m currently halfway through the second volume of The Illiad. Oh my god, Homer. How long do people need to stand fighting over a body? The amount of time it’s taken them to get Patroclus’ body back to Achilles is only beaten by the amount of time it took Patroclus to actually start fighting in the first place. Epic poem is epic. Sigh. Greek mythology clearly favours my ‘setting sims on fire’ approach to religion.

On the work front – things are still completely manic. I had the fun job of sourcing a Kindle for a photo shoot this week and using one is actually not as horrible as I thought it would be. I still love books though. Nothing beats the feel of a book. But yes, work may still cause a nervous breakdown at this rate. And it’s extra stressful because I am not biting my nails anymore – as that’s my standard response to stress, I’m not quite sure what to do with myself.

And on that note, time to crack on. A bazillion profiles to write. From thin air as clients are useless. As always. Yay.

Music: Lips like morphine - Kill Hannah

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The road is life

I fear I am doomed to never be happy. All I want to do is everything, know everything, see everywhere. Touch, taste, feel, live everything. That's what I want from life, that's what I dream about. I don’t care if I never own a house, I don’t care if I never have any money, and that I’ll grow old one day and probably be completely broke. I just want to own the world, on my own terms, in my own peculiar way, and never be tied to anything. You may call me naïve, unrealistic, idealistic, whatever. I know you’re probably right. But that’s what I want, what I crave. I will never be happy in an office, never be happy with convention. I know because I’m never as happy as when I’m traveling. I like the person I am then, I like the challenges, the highs and the lows. I even like how I miss home when I’m away. At the end of the day, Sydney is my heart, my home, it’s a place I love and will always return to. I don’t want to live anywhere else really, but I also don’t want to be tied to it indefinitely. But as the saying goes, a wise traveler never despises his own country. I don’t know. I just…want. Give me life, give me everything. I have the heart of a gypsy, and I fear I won’t ever be able to settle for less. It’s impossible, maybe, probably, I know that. But I want to give it a damn good try anyway.


Music: Into the West - Annie Lennox

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Top 10: Random Albums

In my stressed out state the last two days, I forgot to get a Friday Top 10 organised. But rather late than never! Instead of a top 10, I've gone for a list of 10 random albums from my shelf. I have two cd shelves - one downstairs in my study between my bookshelves, partially filed with DVDs; and one upstairs in my bedroom. I keep the set up there as I don't have an ipod dock at home, unlike many people, instead favouring my five disc changer hifi. I'm old school like that. Anyway, I've gone for 10 random albums from the top shelves - taking the album at either end of the first five compartments, complete with a little story about its acquisition. Onwards!

  • Dookie - Green Day
My first exposure to this band came somewhere between the ages of 9 and 10, when I used to sneak into my best friend's older brother's bedroom and make bootleg tapes of his cds (tapes! remember those?) He was mostly into the Offspring, Green Day, Blink 182 and some other bands that I can't really recall. I developed a keen appreciation for Green Day that would later turn into something a lot more concrete. The first album I bought was International Superhits!, followed by Dookie and the rest. Now I just need a physical copy of 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours to make a full catalogue, although I'd prefer to get the vinyl pack of 39/Smooth, 1,000 Hours and Slappy instead.

  • Kid A - Radiohead
I bought this album after reading Killing Yourself To Live by Chuck Klosterman. In the sixth chapter it goes on drawing parallels between the album and September 11 as "Thom Yorke accidentally predicted the events of September 11 on Kid A." Now I'm not the world's biggest Radiohead fan, in fact I spend a lot of time thinking they're somewhat overrated (but yes, I adore Muse - don't make that face! You know who you are *narrows eyes* - heh, I love that I assume people are reading this, such a loser, me. But I digress) but after reading this completely hyperbolic analysis, I was intrigued. I've never regretted the purchase, in fact it's one of my favourite albums. I later went on to write an essay on Kid A for my Culture & Poetics class in second year of undergrad, so it's paid off too. That's always nice.

  • Deja Entendu - Brand New
This shouldn't be the album I'm listing here - it should be Your Favourite Weapon, but I don't know where that album is even though I am convinced I own it. I arrange my albums in order of release, except for the ones that have special cases or sleeves, they go at the end so not to ruin the look of it all. Yay, OCD. Anyway, Deja Entendu. Definitely an album I have in heavy rotation, I only got this after seeing them live. Prior to that, I had only downloaded it. I like having physical copies of the things I love, be it cds, books, or DVDs. I've discussed it before, but I have a weird affinity with Jesse Lacey. While The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is my favourite album from this band, I do have a lot of love for this one and 'The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows' is one of my all time favourite songs. 

  • Energy - Operation Ivy
I bought this album purely because of Green Day, I'm not going to lie. That said it's a brilliant ska punk albums, and certainly the best I own. The band features Tim Armstrong on guitar and Matt Freeman, the founding pair of another great punk band, Rancid. There was a guy at uni I had dubbed Mohawk Boy, and this band was our conversation point. That and Kafka. Anyway, I have a deep misplaced sentimentalism for all things late eighties Bay Area punk.

  • I brought you my bullets, you brought me your love - My Chemical Romance
Ah, My Chem. We've had an interesting relationship. The first MCR album I bought was actually not an album at all. If memory serves me correctly, I got Life on the Murder Scene  first. I have the 'Helena' single though, so I must have gotten that before anything else (singles, I know! Who even still buys those?) Thing is, I got into MCR cause of the music videos. I loved the videos so much. Then I saw them live, supporting Green Day on their American Idiot tour. Truth be told, I was more into The Used at this point but I'd heard whispers of this brilliant band doco and I was curious. It blew me away and instilled a huge amount of respect for the band. Since then I've acquired the other albums, threw myself wholeheartedly into The Black Parade when it was released, and never looked back. I am still deeply disappointed with Killjoys though...maybe I'll appreciate it more at a later stage in my life. Who knows.

  • This is a stick up, don't make it a murder - Hit The Lights
I forgot I owned this album till now. It's not exactly one that's in high rotation, neither is the band really. I bought this at the first Soundwave festival in...2007, I think it was. Got it from the band themselves after their performance on stage 2. I remember this because it was one of those moments where we were just shuffling left and right between stage 1 and 2 as it was too cold and wet to do anything else. We stayed in the mosh and hoped the body heat would keep us warm. I remember not a lot of people watched this set...I think Parkway Drive - who was just really blowing up - was on at the same time (but on stage 3, which involved too much walking.) That first Soundwave, while getting utterly soaked, is probably the one I have the most goodwill towards. And that's what this album reminds me of.

  • 30 Seconds To Mars - 30 Seconds To Mars
This is the only 30STM album I own a physical copy of. I actually bought it aaaages ago, along with Cartel's The Ransom EP and The Rasmus' Dead Letters. I got them from the JB HiFi in Bankstown Square when it was still open and they used to have those massive clearances all the time. I bought so much random stuff there, always in batches. I'm not sure when exactly I got this album, but at the latest it was first year of uni. Anyway, like most things I got there, it was purchased on a whim and I didn't know anything about them. Later, 'The Kill' received a lot of air time on the music channels and I realised I actually knew the band. So, really, I owned a 30STM album before I knew anything about many of their fans can say that? I'm thinking not many.   

  • Take this to your grave - Fall Out Boy
As I mentioned before, the trend of keeping albums in release order is broken when the packaging is different than your standard jewel case. This is one of those instances as TTTYG is in a cardboard type sleeve of some description. It took me an inordinate amount of time to find this album. Really, you have no idea. In the end, I had to go to Bondi to get it. For many new music fans, this is a foreign concept. Their first point of contact is the internet, and lo and behold, should you choose not to download, you can get it delivered to your very door. To that I say...bah. Until you have scoured record shops looking for something obscure that no one has heard of, you haven't lived. To quote Almost Famous - "They don't even know what it is to be a fan, y'know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts." Put in the work, it's a good feeling. I got this album, and From Under The Cork Tree, well before anyone had any idea who FOB was. It seems a foreign concept, seeing how they were everywhere not even two years ago, on every cover of every magazine it felt like, but the time did exist. Before 'Dance, Dance' - that's the one that really launched them here. I remember how happy I was when I first caught the video on television. Ah, the naiveté of youth.  I owe a lot to FOB, discovering them led to discovering many other great bands, including my darling The Academy Is... who I had the good fortune of finding early in their career (Oh, and a happy birthday to William for yesterday.)

  • William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet : Music from the Motion Picture
I've got a bit of a thing for soundtracks and film scores. It's developing more and more, and I find I'm generally much more productive when listening to them. This is one of my favourites. I own both version - the popular music and the score. This particular disc is the former. Not much to say about it really. Got it after I saw the film, and I love it for the same reason that I love the film - the blend between what is essentially old and classical, and that which is modern. It just works so well.

  • Bullet in a Bible - Green Day 
Pretty much covered all things Green Day already. BIAB is of course the live album/DVD documenting the record two shows the band played at the Milton Keynes National Bowl. It's the biggest shows they've headlined in their careers, playing to over 130,000 people. I love watching it. It gives me goosebumps, cause I'm the kind of lame music fan that does actually get goosebumps. That sums it all up really.

So there you go - ten random albums from my shelf. Next week, books! Most probably. If I remember.

Music: Under cover of darkness - The Strokes

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On the other side

You just love breaking me down.

Well it rains and it pours
When you're out on your own
If I crash on the couch
Can I sleep in my clothes?
Cause I've spent the night dancing
I'm drunk, I suppose
If it looks like I'm laughing
I'm really just asking to leave

This alone, you're in time for the show
You're the one that I need
I'm the one that you loathe
You can watch me corrode like a beast in repose
Cause I love all the poison
Away with the boys in the band

I've really been on a bender and it shows
So why don't you blow me a kiss before she goes?

Give me a shot to remember
And you can take all the pain away from me
A kiss and I will surrender
The sharpest lives are the deadliest to lead
A light to burn all the empires
So bright the sun is ashamed to rise and be
In love with all of these vampires
So you can leave like the sane abandoned me

There's a place in the dark where the animals go
You can take off your skin in the cannibal glow
Juliet loves the beat and the lust it commands
Drop the dagger and lather the blood on your hands, Romeo

Music: The Sharpest Lives - My Chemical Romance

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Made it harder just to go on

I'm through accepting limits, because someone says they're so. Some things I cannot change, but until I try, I'll never know.

Current Status -
Urge to kill: Moderate with rapid increase expected.
Urge to cry: High.

I'm not going to bore the world with more negativity regarding my current relationship with my work. Suffice it to say that on the inside I'm sitting in the corner, rocking backwards and forwards. Currently trying to get my leave approved, which is a much bigger drama than I expected. Sigh. But I need the holiday! I'm this close to running a rep over in the parking lot.

Definitely within the "extremely busy" part of the schedule at the moment, so I don't actually have anything else to report. I'm feeling a little under the weather, but suspect it may just be tiredness.

In other news, I've purchased what I resolve to be my last gig ticket for the year. Utterly depressing, but a necessary move if I want to have anywhere near a reasonable amount saved for the trip. As my car insists on continually sapping my savings, this is the best I can come up with. On that note, if any social outing requires more than $20 from me, I'll decline. Sorry, but Miser!Jen has taken control of my finances. I'm not very good at saving, extreme measures are necessary.

Oh yes, did I mention I am now going to Soundwave despite swearing backwards and forwards that I would never go anywhere near it again after the horror of 2010? I'm so fickle. And I regret it already. But I got the ticket on the cheap, and it's moved to a venue that's actually equipped to handle a festival crowd, as it has proved with the Big Day Out over the years. I don't have to worry about traffic/driving and, since The Gaslight Anthem are the second act to perform for the day, I'll happily be able to wander around without worrying about the epic fuck up that always happen with the set times. All things considered, it stops me spending even more money on other gigs. So there we go - another horrid festival experience awaits. Current plan is to get my pop-punk on during the day, and check out the big names in the evening. Seems a bit cruel to put anyone on with Iron Maiden, but both Mayday Parade and Less Than Jake are on during their set (as is The Bronx and Protest The Hero.) Actually quite psyched for Queens of the Stone Age, having never seen them before. I'll probably be dead at work the next day. And I'll probably complain. Don't feel sorry for me.

Right. Lunch over. Back to work. Or rocking backwards and forwards in the corner. Same thing really. Oh yes, here's the gratuitous Leto reference for the day...

I don't even know.
- Jen, what are you doing? See this face - this is my 'my brother is an idiot' face.
- I know Shannon, I know.

(Just so you know, this Leto thing has now become a running joke for me. It's my equivalent of David Tennant's constant 'ye olde' commentary on The Shakespeare Code. I find it endlessly amusing, but I doubt anyone else does. Sorry bout that.)

Music: Defying Gravity - Wicked

Monday, February 7, 2011

Leave the front light on

I'm not going to lie to you, internet, I feel a little sorry for myself today. Not only is it Monday yet again, the start of another boring week of the same frakking nonsense, but also....actually, I think that's it. I just am not ready for another week yet. Friday was a hellish day and I need some more time off to face this *indicates to office* They are totally killing me here. If this was ye olde times, I'd be allowed the honour of falling on my pen...swords being in short supply, as it were.

Of course, I arrive to work this morning with an inbox still devoid of any client material (two weeks behind deadline now, yay) but never fear, there is talk about giving me more work to do on the website (wouldn't be so bad if it was actually a functional site and not a buggy mess that takes forever to update - to wit, it took me four hours to update it this morning. Yes, I talk like this now, reading tons of classical theory apparently does that) AND, and if this isn't the cherry on top of my cake of woe, they are considering pushing back ad deadlines. This means I will have no time to chase clients between ads being booked and editorial being due. When I voiced my concerns over this, I was asked why I couldn't just do it during sub week. Yes, because that's working out so well for us this issue, isn't it? Two weeks behind. Bah. They just don't get how useless clients are. Anyway, I refuse to do it. I refuse to place myself under such stress for nothing. They will either have to cut my workload, by cutting one of my mags, or I will leave. I am, after all, just one measly human being. I know I do a good job pretending I'm not, but that is still what I am.

So we shall see what comes of it, I suppose. In the meantime, I'll try to keep my head above water with what I've got. Ad reps are destroying me with their late sales, one in particular. Then there's the psycho woman who has a meltdown every five minutes and is like a dog chasing a bicycle. These two reps are responsible for most people leaving the company. I'm engaged in a war of fake niceties and pretend adherence to the rules. It's a war of attrition, that's what it is.

But it's ok. It's ok. A little over three months, I'll have been here a year, that's the first mark to get to. Five more after that, and I'll be on the opposite side of the world of this miserable hellhole (yes, dive right off the melodrama deep-end.) Deep breaths. With a little luck, I may just make it out of here with my soul still intact.

In the meantime, my drives to work are proving very creative at the moment. I came up with another novel idea this morning that I'm burning to write. Wish there was a way of actually getting ideas onto paper by themselves, cause I just don't have time to actually write. I'm focusing on Amped at the moment anyway, if I get distracted by other projects, it all ends in nothing getting done. But! Wrote it down! So maybe some time in the future, I'll get round to it.

I've realised that every time I mention Jared Leto, my post hits go up. So, I'm testing it to see if this one gets hits too. But, not to be entirely cruel and fickle, have this. It cracks me up so much. Matching hair, matching shoes, matching suitcase....hell, even the cars in the background match. What have we learnt? I may be feeling sorry for myself but I'm still very easily amused.

Music: The Cool - The Gaslight Anthem

Friday, February 4, 2011

Top 10: Favourite Torchwood Episodes

In keeping with the theme of last week's Doctor Who Top 10, I present my favourite Torchwood episodes. My insanity regarding this show has been well documented on this blog through many an unstable post - it was my favourite television show and while I miss it quite terribly, I have little hope that the new season will rekindle the same feeling it did before. I have filled the void with Fringe, so I fear TW won't be able to live up to it in its new-found quest to be serious speculative drama. Ah well, such is life. Without further ado, the list!

  • Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang
    • "What a cosmic joke eye candy. An accident of chemicals and evolution. The jokes, the sex - just to cover the fact that nothing means anything. And the only consolation is money."
  • Captain Jack Harkness
    • "Someone saved my life, brought me back from death, and ever since then it's been like... they're keeping me for something and I don't know what it is. I'm sorry for dragging you into this."
  • Fragments
    • "Look, any conversation between us, no matter what the subject, is over. Finished. Done. Forever. I'm getting back behind the wheel of that car. If you're still standing in the road, I'm gonna drive through you."
  • Countrycide
    • " I hate the countryside. It's dirty, it's unhygienic. And what is that smell?" "That would be grass." "It's disgusting!"
  • Sleeper
    • "Mobiles, landlines, tin cans with bits of string. Everything, absolutely everything! No phones! Phones all broken. 'Hello, is anyone there?' No, cause the phones aren't working!"
  • Exit Wounds
    • "Brilliant secret - I ask, you tell. Well done!"
  • Cyberwoman
    • "You’re worse than anything locked up down there. One day, I’ll have the chance to save you and I’ll watch you suffer and die."
  • They Keep Killing Suzie
    • "This is. Driving through the dark. All this stupid, tiny stuff. We're just animals howling in the night, cause it's better than silence. I used to think about Torchwood. All those aliens coming to Earth? What the hell for? But it's just instinct. They come here cause there's life, that's all. Moths around a flame, creatures clinging together in the cold."
  • To The Last Man
    • "I left home a long time ago. I don't really know where I really belong. Maybe that doesn't matter any more."
  • Something Borrowed
    • "What I don't understand is if people are going to make such a big deal about getting married, why come all the way out into the middle of nowhere where no one can find you to do it? That, to me, suggests inner conflict."

My least favourite episode, for the record, is 'Combat' - a blatant Fight Club rip off that I wouldn't have minded if it at least directly referenced Fight Club, but it doesn't, so there. Excluding, of course, Day 4 and Day 5, the most traumatic television I've ever subjected myself to. Sad, but true.

Team Torchwood are baffled by the approach of legitimate drama.
Music: Strobe lights - Kill Hannah

The Leto Corollary

This Leto thing is out of hand. Last night I had a dream that I was in a sushi place and he was a chef. I was waiting for food. That’s pretty much it. Problem being a) I don’t like sushi, b) I sincerely doubt that Jared Leto has been, or ever will be, a sushi chef. I blame the heat. In fact, I blame this entire unfortunate infatuation on the heat. I mean really, what am I, sixteen? I’ll not tolerate this madness!

I know I said yesterday that I may have been a bit harsh and that I should give him a second chance. I discussed it with relevant authorities, and they are sceptical as my initial opinion is considered valid (ie Abbi also thinks he’s a tool). I watched a youtube video. It annoyed me. I looked at his twitter account. It annoyed me. Then I saw this from Kerrang this morning. Really, Jared? Really? Sigh. (I’m sure he means well, but something about the way he means well just comes across so smug, didactic and insincere – encouraging eye-rolling rather than fuzzy feelings of good will. See also: vid for ‘A Beautiful Lie’)

There’s that saying about judging a man by the company he keeps, and I want to trust Mat Devine’s judgement here. But really, trusting Mat is a bit like trusting an ADD child in a Candy, Toys, Puppies and Fireworks store. So as far as a character reference goes, there’s still a bit left to be desired.

So, what is a girl to do? My mum, being ever pragmatic, always tells me to make a list. In this case, it may be necessary.

Very pretty.
No, I mean really very pretty.
Walks around with his shirt off a lot.
Makes decent music videos. Kinda. (while ‘The Kill’ was so overplayed, it made me want to rip my eyes out and stuff them in my ears, ‘From Yesterday’ is still one of my favourites – even if it doesn’t make much sense.)

Likes to hear himself talk. A lot.
Suspect walking around with shirt off is symptom of liking himself. A lot.
Suffers from delusions of grandeur and/or self-importance
Suggestions of huge ego issues (see above.)
His films aren’t that great. (I know someone is going to say Requiem for a Dream, but I haven’t seen it.)
His band’s not great either. (The singles have their moments but, as they are basically indistinguishable from the rest of the album, everything combines in a big mass of mediocrity.)
Apparent lack of sense of humour?


I am, all things considered, an intelligent human being. I pride myself on trying very hard not to be unthinkingly judgemental or superficial. Try. Yes. In this case, I suppose I am being both. But! I think I should stick with my convictions and not be swayed by the pretty. Regardless of the strength of that pretty. Evidence says, hes’s a bit of an idiot. And I will have to let logic prevail.

Phew. Aren’t we all glad that’s over?

PS: Jared, if you happen to google your way here – and you do seem like the type – listen to Mikey Way, don’t google yourself! Also, should you feel I have harshly misjudged you, please feel free to change my mind. Being no stranger to misjudgement, I am entirely open to revise my opinion given enough evidence. Dinner?

PPS: I’m not creepy, I promise. I know I sound it, but it’s the interent! It’s what it’s here for! Being an INFJ, I am actually constitutionally incapable of being a squeeing fangirl in real life.

PPPS: No hate mail, Leto lovers, please. Unless you are also a Cedric lover, in which case I have wronged you many times in the past as well and you are free to take me to task on that…mostly so I can laugh at you.

PPPPS: I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.

Music: Curse of the Curves - Cute Is What We Aim For (It is apt.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Shaking through my skull

I’ve got a huge backlog of blogs that I want to do. Random thoughts on things, the standard. Sadly they must all wait until I actually manage to find time to sit down at my laptop and not get distracted by other things.

Until then, we shall continue with spur of the moment work blogs. I think I may have been too harsh on Jared Leto and maybe I should give him a second chance…I mean, surely someone who is friends with my darling Mat Devine (and Amanda Palmer? I think?) can’t be all bad. Right? It’s not like I actually know the guy, so being annoyed by him is a bit silly really, isn’t it? Look, I just need to reconcile the fact that I can be so obsessed with someone I find rather annoying. I’m appalled too, don’t worry, I never knew I had such shallowness in me. Live and learn.

Can’t really blame me though, can you? He’s even pretty in black and white
and you can’t even see how blue his eyes are. It’s so fucking unfair.

And he's 16 years older than me. Hang on, that means he’s turning 40 this year. Holy mother of Frodo. Also, I need to clarify that it’s not the first time I’ve been taken by his prettiness, this is more…a relapse. Last time it involved sitting through a lot of 30STM videos, and I promptly stopped doing that after the gig. But whatever. Props to Jared all the same, I did copy his hair after all.

Moving on.

After work last night I went to our council’s main library for the first time since moving to the area. I was pleasantly surprised – it was super organised, had friendly staff and actually had a good library vibe. It brought on a case of library reminiscing.

Truth is, I don’t go to the library a lot. These days I tend to just buy what I need, or find it online if I must (for uni, usually), and the only reason I went last night was because I can’t actually afford to buy books at the moment. The most significant amount of time I've spent in the library in recent memory was when I did honours, and that was hours spent in the State researching – a habit I’m glad I picked up as I still like to do that, I’m much more productive there than anywhere else. But an actual local library?  Haven’t used one in years.

When I was younger I practically lived at the library. I exhausted the local one near our house by the age of nine, and we had to go to the municipal one instead. This was pretty much a steady aspect of my life until we moved here. Of course, I wanted to keep borrowing books, but visiting our local library left me completely deflated. It sucked. End of. So I formed the opinion that Australian libraries were clearly deficient and started buying stuff instead. At the time I didn’t really understand how the system worked here and I was feeling too sorry for myself to bother figuring it out. Anyway, once I started buying books (and borrowing from R), I never really looked back.

Until now. Because I have all of $6 to my name, a car that needs a new exhaust, a speeding ticket to pay (no, it’s still the same one, I’m leaving it till the last minute), bills, and a year long adventure to save for. So books, though they are the very foundation of my soul, have become a bit of a luxury item. Temporarily.

I was actually a bit offended that the librarian wanted to teach me how to use the library, and then told me I could only borrow three books because I’m a new member. Like I haven’t ever used one before! Don’t they know who I am? Delusions of grandeur, I have them. Anyway, I was reading one last night and I completely forgot the peculiarities of reading a library book. Like finding random things in them. Or the way they are sometimes so old and well-read, it’s like reading some ancient manuscript. Or the date stamps in the front. Remember when they still used to stamp books? That takes me back. The one I’ve got now was first taken out in 1982, although they might have replaced the paper before that – there’s clear glue evidence on the title page to suggest this.

Long story short, I’ve borrowed my three books, and I’m speeding through them so I can return them on Saturday and get the remaining 11 that was on my list. I'm beginning to suspect I'm a bit of a book hog. According to Twitter, eveyone is encouraged to support their local libraries on February 5, so I figured what the hell, it works out well. As it turns out, book depositories face a real risk of extinction (ironically, the book depository no doubt has a hand in that) and I guess people don’t realise that they still serve a purpose. Even though I haven’t visited mine very often in recent years, I would hate to think that there would ever be a time without libraries. I don’t know what my 9 year old self would have done without them, and even though the internet can find anything you want, nothing really compares to that feeling you get when browsing a collection of books. As they say on the Simpsons, won’t somebody please think of the children!?

On another note, have I mentioned how much I love Twitter? On one hand, I find it a bit creepy when I complain about a service provider on there and said service provider tweets me back, but then they usually offer such excellent customer service, it sort of outweighs the creepiness. I've gotten more queries sorted through twitter, quickly and smoothly, than I ever have by actually calling them. Welcome to the future, I guess.

Music: Blinding – Florence & The Machine

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Surf's up

So, in case you’re not up to speed, Australia is the new hell. Come one, come all, we’ve got your disasters and plagues covered! Locusts, floods, whatever takes your fancy. Again I feel I have to say that this country just doesn’t want humans here. It tries to scare us off all the time, but we just don't listen. You'd think the spiders and snakes would do the trick, but there you go. Poor Queensland. Just what they needed – more rain. Not sure what they did, but they sure pissed off mother nature somehow.

Cyclone Yasi...what a stupid name. Why can't we give them mean wrestling
names, like The Destroyer or Maximum Extreme or something.

At the risk of stating the obvious, this is one huge tropical cyclone. Saw some mention on twitter that its eye is 35km. Category 5. They’re expecting winds of over 300km/h and swells of up to 7m. Pretty much the entire northern part of Queensland has shut down. Hope there aren’t any ships out there, that’d be nasty. (Understatement alert.)

In keeping with our new hellish reputation, it’s been sweltering in Sydney town the last couple of days. Yesterday we clocked 42°C at work, and it was still 39.8°C when I got home at 6.30 (after coaxing a near death Jack home, I might add. That car does not cope well with the heat and traffic. I’ve got Martha today, so at least I have an airconditioner that works when stationary.) I don’t really mind the heat as long as I don’t have to do anything in it – lying in my hammock on the deck, great! Moving or walking anywhere, not so much. Sleeping has been the most problematic. I just haven’t been doing much of it. Oh, I try, but it’s a long process and when I do actually fall asleep, I have such weird dreams. I don’t remember the details, but I remember that they’re weird.

In news not related to the weather, I’ve written over 5,000 words in the last 24 hours. Yay! Creativity! All on Amped, which is great. I’ve missed those kids. Shockingly, it’s already February, and before I go back to uni I still have to write more on Silver & Silent, and write an essay. Running out of time! As always. Eh. I’ll just have to fit it in...somehow.

Music: Derezzed - Daft Punk