Sunday, December 30, 2007

TMI

Someone, somewhere, came up with the bright idea of putting interesting little facts on the back of the wax paper that seals the sticky side of sanitary pads. The sort of useless triva you get in Christmas crackers, most of which is utter bullcrap, can't be quantified, but entertaining for about 10 seconds none the less.

Today, I was found this;

ODD SPOT #411
hard-boiled eggs will spin.
Uncooked or soft-boiled eggs will not.

...eh? Does that even make sense? Spin in what context exactly? Of course I grabbed an uncooked egg and tested it on the bench, and it span, quite nicely.

The moral of this story is: do not patronise your target audience's intelligence, especially if your target audience consists solely of PMS-rabid harpies.

Seriously, if you're going to make stuff up, at least put some effort into it. Make it interesting. Better yet, give me this job! I'm great at spinning bullshit. I'll make going to the toilet to deal with the fact that you leak blood every month a fun and entertaining experience!

No, really.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

My, that's a lot of crapping on about dead trees. No more till next year, promise.

2007 saw me eat 36 books. I think. I went back to count the write ups, but there were books spilling over from 2006, and I'm not sure where the cut off lay. Might have read more. It's 3 up on last year's count. Let 2008's target be at least 37.
Haunted: A Novel - Chuck Palahniuk



In the interests of fair disclosure, I shall state right now and up front that I love Palanhiuk's books, that sort of rabid adoration that is a little embarassing, and if your views on his writing don't happen to coincide with mine, then clearly you're some sort of monobrow ignoramus with smelly fingernails.

Still, I think he went off the deep end with this one.

The book revolves around a group of people on a "writer's retreat", who've locked themselves away from the world for 3 months, to write their magnum opussesses. Instead, they work on creating a story by putting themselves through the worst things they can imagine. They kill, maim and eat each other, all to make the story, their story, better.

I didn't buy it. In less than a week they're sabotaging themselves, horrifically, and I didn't buy it.

Fortunately, that's only a third of the book. A chapter of real time. A poem about each character, under the spotlight, and a story, told by each character. Maybe about themselves. Maybe not.

The stories are the strong point. They're universally goddamn fucking awful, in new and spectacularly fucked up ways. This isn't a book I ate in one night, although I tried. There was too much oh-gross-oh-sick-oh-I-just-overloaded-on-scum-of-the-earth for any longhaul reading. Fantastically horrible. Hard to keep away from, hard to stay with.

The universally present narrator began to bug me after a while. Not third person, no he/she, but 'we'. I didn't particularly want to be grouped in that 'we'.

Last night, I forced myself in for a long haul, and I finished it, and the grand finale was what I expected, and something of a let down. I'd reached my saturation point of despicableness. There wasn't any further to go - just sit around, making our own stories hard to keep away from, hard to stay with.

The moral, of every single one of his books, is that we're all fucked.

Word.

Verdict: If you haven't read Palahniuk before, don't start here. Start with Fight Club or Choke. If you have read him before, well, complete the collection. The short stories are great, but you're not missing out on the rest.
Parasite Eve – Hideaki Sena, translated by Tryan Grillo



I ate this in one night.

I didn’t mean to, there just didn’t seem to be a good place to pause. All the chapters ended on cliffhangers. AND I HAVE NO WILL POWER.

How on earth to summarise this?

Toshiaki Nagashima’s wife, Kiyomi, dies in a car accident. It’s a standard fare death when viewed from the outside, but we, lucky readers we are, view it from the inside, and it’s strange in there. Toshiaki, being mad with grief and a pharmacist, has her kidneys donated and takes her liver for himself, to preserve some cells, to keep some part of her alive.

In any situation, that isn’t healthy behaviour.

Her liver cells are alive, not in the cellular sense, but in the sentient and coherent life form sense. They have willpower, desire and intent. They are not they, but She, unknown and quite frightening. Dividing and multiplying is child’s play compared to what this baby can do.

She has lived in Kiyomi for some time, gradually taking over her body, down to the cells, shaping and moulding it, directing Kiyomi in her life, until at last, She can take control.

She wants Toshiaki. Among other things.

Kiyomi’s fear, knowing her body is not entirely hers, is contagious.

It’s beautifully balanced. The slide from every day life and every day beliefs is gradual and perfectly measured, each new shock, a little worse than the last, immaculately timed, until you expect monstrosities, you wait for monstrosities, you cringe and hide and don’t want to look because the monster is about to appear but you keep looking none the less. The monster doesn’t disappoint. She’s ghastly.

Some of the passages are quite dry; explanations of chemical processing that is a bit too rote and step by step to hold my interest, a side effect of the fact that Hideaki knows what he’s talking about. He’s better in relating his theories about mitochondria in dialogue, which is easy to swallow. Grillo’s translation isn’t flash, but is invisible.

There was a moment towards the end, where I thought that oh, this was just another ‘women are the root of all evil’ story, but in hindsight that’s the cheap opinion. There’s a lot of interesting stuff to chew over here, and it doesn’t take much digging at all. It’s easy to be distracted by Her single-minded and primordial emotions.

Well. There’s still a little demonising going on, if only because She is damn fucking scary. That’s some hell good monster.

Verdict: This book surprised me. I know there’s a Parasite Eve game out there, somewhere, so I wasn’t expecting this fascinating, complicated and impressively well-drawn story at all. It’s a very human story, behind all the muck and horror, and well worth checking out.
No idea how they got a game out of it though. Seriously, how would that work? Get points for operating the centrifuge correctly?
The Surgeon’s Tale and Other Stories – Cat Rambo & Jeff VanderMeer



One night, I harp on about the little story lost. The next night, I read this, and lo! Little story lost has grown up, grown out, got some kickass threads and sweet boots and is out on the town turning heads. No, really. “Hey,” I said, suspicions slowly growing, “I know this story…” I’m glad to see it got out into the world. Maybe it'll even be read out loud.

‘The Surgeon’s Tale’ is a story of a drunken and mostly failed attempt to raise someone from the dead, and the misplaced love that grows from it. It is a sad, confused, often forlorn story, full of regrets that he doesn’t regret, and mistakes that maybe weren’t mistakes. Creepy, but softly so. Beautifully written, definitely the crowning piece of the collection.

Accompanying it are a handful of stories by Rambo and VanderMeer, each with a lovely fairytale flavour. I was particularly fond of ‘The Dead Girl’s Wedding March’ and ‘The Key Decides Its Destiny’, both by Rambo, both having that touch of the absurd I’m partial to, both reckless in their conclusion. To hell with the world. After five stories that bled together sweetly, ‘The Strange Case of the Lovecraft Café’ felt out of place in tone and content, but was an amusing note to end on.

On the last page is a little poem, which sums up the collection neatly. I’m particularly fond of the last two lines;

No one lived happily ever after,
but some of them did, indeed, live.


Indeed.

Verdict: This collection may contain traces of giant cats, romantic rats, dead strangers, strange deaths, and you know, good readings in general. Consume at your own risk.
Making Money – Terry Pratchett



It’s a Pratchett book. You’ve already made up your minds.

I had to go back and read Going Postal, as I couldn’t remember who this Moist von Lipwig fellow was. I’m inclined to think of him as a Rincewind-type, but without the running away. He has Rincewind’s guile and cunning, and dives face first into trouble instead of fleeing, which makes him much more interesting.

He’s totally outshone by Adora Belle Dearheart.

Mr Bent’s story didn’t really gel with me. I was too busy ogling over Vetinari. He’s da man. Fiction needs more Vetinaris.

I enjoyed it, but the individual plot points never really came together for me.
Syrup – Max(x) Barry



‘cause after Baltimore, I needed a fluffy pink unicorn chaser. I settled for this.

AAAAHAHAHAHAHA!

I bought this a year ago, in a second hand bookstore in Gardiner at the entrance to Yellowstone, and it banged around in my rucksack, then sailed home in a box, and sat on my shelves waiting for when I needed a funny book. (I ration out my funny books. There don’t appear to be that many. I cannot decide if this is sad or odd.) At that point, Syrup wasn’t available in Australia; now it’s everywhere.

The tip of the iceberg: Scat has a great idea, a million dollar idea, for a new brand of cola. Ideas are easy, making them work isn’t. With the aid of his housemate, Sneaky Pete, he gets an in at Coke, pitching his idea to the New Products Manager, 6. Thus begins an enormous tug of war over trademarks, money, power, careers and anything else you can imagine. Fukk, the new cola, is small fry compared to what follows. I’d love to go on, (and on, and on), but sharn’t. You need to read this book completely blank, so that on every other page you can burst out laughing while thinking “DID THEY JUST DO THAT NO WAI” yes, even in capital letters.

There is a commonality between it and Company, mostly in the relationship between Mr Protag and Ms Femme Fatale. Apparently, women make men really stupid. Is this true? No wai! Methinks most men are pretty good at making themselves look stupid entirely on their own. Also, women are apparently entirely incomprehensible, and sharks. Ruthless, treacherous, backstabbing, manipulative, hilarious sharks. 6 is my new favourite female character ever. I have to work on my levelling my shark skills. Clearly, I’m letting the fairer sex down.

It shows its age a little, the risk you take when you name drop celebrities and brands like it’s autumn, but at the heart is…a whacky ball of ridiculousness that I have no trouble believing in. And ridiculousness is timeless.

Verdict: AWESOMESAUCE! I had to take breaks from this book, I was giggling too much. Faaaaabulous. I mean, just look at the back cover!



I'm not sure I believe the monosyllable count. The rest is pretty spot on.
Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire – Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden



Impulse buy. Weakness for illustrated novels, especially ones that are sealed thus I have no way of knowing if they’re interesting enough to buy, so I buy them to find out.

The illustrations are a nice touch, but generally don’t have much impact on the story. A great many little inserts of stark faces and shadowed rooms. The full page illustrations are quite striking; I’d have liked more of them.

The story is…meh.

As you can tell from the subtitle, it’s about a warrior and a vampire, one hunting the other through the first World War and into the years beyond. Baltimore ‘woke’ one on a battlefield, and said vampire was a bit pissed about having his face cut in half, and did his thing. Namely, making a rash of vampires to plague mankind, in a sort of ‘serves you right’ manner. He goes after Baltimore’s family and wife, which ends badly, and galvanises Baltimore into some sort of god-chosen warrior who stumps all over Europe kicking butt and taking names, looking for his scarred vampire. Only the book unfolds with a bit more class than this summary would imply.

Actually, that isn’t what the book is about at all. That’s just want the book wants you to think it is about. What it’s really about, is ghost stories.

Oooooh!

Three acquaintances of Baltimore’s have been summoned to attend a miserably pub in a miserable town at a certain time on a certain day – only Baltimore himself doesn’t arrive. They fill their time, waiting for him, by relating to each other their encounters of Baltimore, and the events in their lives that made him choose them over all others. They tell each other stories, ghost stories, as the light fades and the pub empties, and yes, I was utterly and totally creeped out. I started to get the willies, which meant I had to keep reading as an excuse to keep the light on, which meant I freaked out even more. IT IS A VICIOUS CYCLE.

My favourite, the story that made me check under the bed (oh yes I did) and making stupid delighted little “eeee!” noises, starts on page 162, with Childress revealing a rather horrifying event of his youth, taking place in Chile, in the mountains. It did not contain that flavour of the familiar, of having heard an echo of this story over torch light, under covers, it was entirely unknown, and so very addictive. The end, that final revelation, shocked me, and I loved it.

The rest of the book, all Baltimore’s parading about, didn’t even compare. The hero of the story, the title of the story itself, he fails to be interesting and borders on cliché. Behind him he drags pieces of the Little Tin Soldier fairytale, a theme that is nothing other than forced and clunky. It never gelled, and when he pulled his tin heart from his chest, I snorted. It was most unbecoming of me.

Pick it up wanting yet another vampire saga, and- hell, why are you picking up yet another vampire saga? The setting of post WW1 era gives it a nice flavour, but otherwise, these aren’t new vampires, and this is not a new vampire hunter.

Pick it up wanting some most delicious ghost stories, and you just might get what you want.

Verdict: I’ve seen better writing, and deeper characters, and less clichéd warrior vs demon stories, but the ghost stories, my dear, they hit the spot. Yes, I really did check under my bed. Mostly because I was pretty sure there was nothing under there. If I’d suspected otherwise, I wouldn’t have checked, I’d have taken a flying leap off the end and bolted out the door screaming. Otherwise, meh.
Postcards: True Stories That Never Happened – Jason Rodriguez (ed)



I first bumped into this while poking around for a birthday present. It had a pretty grumpy looking elephant on the front cover, and who can’t not pick up a book with a grumpy elephant glaring at them? The premise sounded interesting, so I bought it, wrapped it, and sent it away.

Later, the shop had restocked the book, and I still liked the elephant, so I bought it myself. (No, I did not read the birthday present. Shame on you for thinking so!)

(Kinda wanted to know if I’d given someone a lame gift, too.)

(You know, just in case.)

(My honour was at stake.)

(And there was an elephant on the cover.)

It is a collection of shorts by various and sundry, each one based on a single postcard, each postcard found and bought for pittance in an antique store. As the subtitle says, none of these stories ever happened, but pieces of them are true.

It’s a very mixed bag. Some of the stories are weak, or too simple to stand out next to their more textured neighbours, but then they themselves possess beautifully striking art. ‘A Joyous Eastertide’ by Phillip Heaster and ‘Tic-Tac-Bang-Bang’ by Stuart Moore and Michael Gaydos were particularly gorgeous.

Quite a few made me sniffle, as loss is a prevalent theme throughout the collection. Not surprising I suppose; sending mail is an act of reaching out to someone far away. Their company isn’t to be had. Two stories stood out, my favourite two, the best of the lot, dealt with different forms of grief. ‘Homesick’ by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Micah Farritor is based from a postcard written by an American in France, during the Great Depression. It is a sharp, crisp, miserable little story, containing nothing but sparse and precise dialogue between Marjorie, homesick and adrift in a foreign land, and “François” so eager to leave his troubles behind he would change into someone else. The art is gorgeous, and possibly my favourite of the lot.

‘Best Side Out’ by Antony Johnston and Noel Tuazon is-

-hopeless-

-hopeful.

Hopelessly hopeful? Hopefully hopeless? Stunningly awful? Awfully amazing? Brilliant? Horrible? All those. A little piece of genius. The postcard, the true postcard written by a real person, is the voice of someone tired, so tired, with all the fight gone out of them. The story takes that voice, and makes it rebellion all of its own. Just reading it again, now, had made my throat go tight. (You’re right, Lydia, I don’t understand, but then again, I do.) It only takes one story to make a book worth buying, and for me, this was that story.

It’s an addictive idea. The stories never end. It will always be a mixed bag, and no one will have the same stories call out to them, and that’s why I want to see more. The postcards are real. Maybe forgotten, but real. They meant something to someone, once. We’ll never know what, or who. These stories recognise that once-held importance, in pencil smudged with handling and handwriting with the curls and joints of another era.

I’d like to see more, many more, postcard books.

Verdict: How can you not love the idea? But methinks, with this lot, you’ll have to decide for yourselves.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Her: Brother, you don't have a brother, you're an only child!
Me: I am?
Her: Do you have a brother?
Me: ...Yes?
Her: Really?
Me: No, I just made him up.
Her: You're very mysterious. Not much is known about you.
Me: That's because I'm an international woman of mystery.
Her: *eye roll*

Well...I thought it was funny.
This woman has worked with me for over two years. She should have at least eavesdropped that by now.
You know, if you want to know something about someone, all you have to do is listen.
And remember.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Brasyl - Ian McDonald



-and then this book spanned hours at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and the first few nights in my new cubby house (every now and then I call it 'mah crib' and then can't stop laughing), and is generally associated with turbulence. It was just a random grab in a bookshop in Malaysia. Possibly, I should have read a couple of pages and chosen something with less portugese. I'm dumb, and didn't realise there was a glossary in the back. Imagine me exhausted and stressed and sitting in the departures lounge, as you do, attempting to read when every other word was foreign and my figuring-things-out-based-on-context muscle putting up a fight.

Excellent fun.

The book is split into three time lines; one in the very recent past, one in the very distant past, and the last in the not too far off future. (Unfortunately I left my copy at home, and I'm at true home now, so I'm going from fuzzy memory here.) Near past follows Marcelina, an amusing TV producer having a horrible time/great time/horrible time as quantum, in general, inteferes with and takes over her life in unusual and frightening ways. Distant past follows Luis Quinn, a Jesuit sent to Brazil where everything is different, and charged with a task most difficult, made even more difficult by quantum, again, intefering. Edson, a hilarious dude of whatever trade he chooses, brings quantum inteference on himself by pursuing a quantumerino (I'm sure I'm spelling that wrong), even when his chosen girl is killed, and one of her parallel universe versions appears.

Despite the years, centuries between them, the stories bleed into each other beautifully, until battles in the jungle centuries before have more than direct effect on the fate of high-flying quantum assassins in the future. It is most spectacularly, intricately, beautifully written, and I adored it. It isn't, as that sloppy summary suggests, about quantum anything. Quantum, while being the driving narrative force, very much plays second fiddle to Brazil itself. There is a distinct lack of brain-bending quantum theory, and a lot of fabulous, fascinating pieces of the nation.

My only nitpick (and it is very much a nitpick) was style-related; I felt that, given there were three very distinct storylines being rolled out, each should have had its own distinct voice, which wasn't the case. There were instances, sentences, where the structure was distinct enough to stand out, and I'd see such sentences in every timeline, and it pulled me out of the story. I felt then, I was reading McDonald's voice, not the story's, if that makes sense. Which it doesn't. Him being the writer and all. ANYWAY.

And what was with all the Star Wars reference? Not that there's anything wrong with Star Wars references, there were just a lot of them.

I hope there is never such a thing as the Angels of Perpetual Surveillance.

I suspect there will be.

Verdict: This isn't being touted as one of the best books of the year for nothing. Seriously, check it out. Incredibly well crafted, frabjous characters, and the frogs- I didn't know that about frogs. Is it true? I want it to be true, so I won't check to see if it isn't.
Shriek: an Afterword – Jeff VanderMeer



I read this sitting beneath the patio at my grandparent’s house in Malaysia. It was hot and muggy, with the moist air thick and sticky and the sky constantly grey with haze. Malaysia is a land gone mad with green (at least to my Australia-accustomed eyes). All buildings, roads, fences, walls, it seems everything is being over run with plants and lichen and moss and mould. What with family being what it is, it isn’t a country I’m comfortable in. No better place to read this book.

It is the story of the city of Ambergris, told through the lives of the siblings Janice and Duncan Shriek, further filtered through overlapping accounts and narrators editing each other’s voices. The primary account is laid down by Janice, who frequently uses passages of Duncan’s journal. This narration as a whole is scattered and interrupted by Duncan’s later notes, correcting her, agreeing with her, chiding her, filling in some of the voids in her knowledge, just as she is scorning, admonishing, and sighing at his private writings. They expose each other as highly unreliable narrators, leaving the reader wandering somewhere between the two of them. VanderMeer pulls this off with minimal wobble. Carrying multiple voices simultaneously isn’t so hard, no more than having your own conscious pass judgement in the back of your mind.

I couldn’t say which story takes precedence; their personal lives, or that of the city shaking history. They’re so entwined, there may only be one story. The city forces the paths they take, their private decisions have ramifications on the whole city. Duncan in particular, with his subterranean ramblings and increasing knowledge of the entirely incomprehensible greycaps warns of a terrible doom and seems to bait said doom all on his own. His mushroomification hints at things to come. There are probably worse fates in life, than to be turned into a walking mushroom garden, but it’s rather unsettling, to say the least.

This book is too confused with where and when I read it. I can’t draw together any coherent thoughts without dragging in the patio, the concrete garden, a foreign country and a family of strangers. I can say that I didn’t entirely like the demystification of the greycaps. I preferred them as entirely alien, it made them far more creepy. Giving them a purpose to reach for and fail and made them (mildly) more sympathetic.

In the end, it doesn't really matter how insane the setting, the world, the character or creature is; everyone's just trying to get where they're going.

Verdict: Excellent, but you've probably figured out by now I'm partial to a VanderBook.
The Stone Ship – Peter Raftos



It’s been a couple of months since I finished this. It kept me company late at night while I was entertaining a mild alcoholic buzz and the blatant absurdism of the world was reflected within the story in a style which quite pleased my palate.

Having just lost his wife, Shipton has retreated to the Isle of Goats to kill himself. He’s not very good at this. At one not-quite attempt at suicide, he’s interrupted by a ghost, who claims to have saved his life, and in return demands a favour. Having nothing else to live for, Shipton obliges the ghost, and so ventures into the University, where everything is just. Fucking. Mad.

I was won over on the first page. Raftos has perfectly captured that state of despair in which one no longer wants to live, yet does not want to die. That state where being yourself is the worst thing you can conceive, and all you want to do is go somewhere, do something, be someone else. Anything else. A state of extraordinary vulnerability and apathy. The ghost’s manipulation of Shipton is a work of art, even as he sabotages himself. Giving Shipton a purpose – fulfilling the unspecified favour required – gives him the strength to continue on, and within the bounds of the mad, senseless, entirely unpredictable world of the University a battle of wills is fought between them, until nothing makes sense anymore, which, in a way, makes the most sense of all.

It was exactly the right book, read at exactly the right time. I loved it, and came out the end bemused and satisfied and wishing there was more to be had. It wasn’t without its flaws – the undercreature never really gelled for me, and insane blood-crazed librarians are on the threshold of becoming cliché – but overall was exceptionally well crafted. Raftos is sparse with his prose and precise with his detail. A great tight little book.

Verdict: Well worth your time. Possibly you need to have a taste for humour that is ludicrous in its deadpan delivery, but who can’t find the appeal in the abusrd?
Alice In Sunderland - Bryan Talbot



I finished reading this before I went to Japan. Yah. Back in August. I’m a bad bad person.

Normally I don’t write up the comics I read, simply because I go through that many, that quickly, I’d end up writing about nothing else. Alice In Sunderland is an exception to that, as it followed prose reading patterns.

You’ll notice that it’s a fucking enormous book. Wrist-snapping, ribcage-cracking enormous. I have coffee table books that are less dangerous to pick up. Thus, it was only read in bed, or at the dinner table – anywhere that I didn’t have to support it.

It’s also dense. It’s a the singularity of graphic novels. Every page is a riot of colour, text and information thick and fast. This isn’t a comic you can rip through in an afternoon, toss back on the shelf and move on. It demands your attention and concentration, as the rabbit/pilgrim/Talbot takes you on a grand tumble through history, legend and the little lives of Sunderland.

While this exegesis, of sorts, is framed as being an exploration of the origins of Carroll’s Alice, I was more interested in reading it as a general history of a very small area. Under Talbot’s brush and research, Sunderland becomes an incredible town saturated in fascinating tales and details and a long history. It is tempting to, when the rabbit/pilgrim/Talbot reveals something new on every page, believe that Sunderland is the source of the whole damn world, let alone Alice.

Do you remember that chapter in From Hell, in which Gull has his poor, poor driver take him about town on a seemingly rambling tour of the various temples and buildings and religious sites? The information is a giant plate of spaghetti, and you work your way through it, enjoying the jumble and trusting that at the end, all will be revealed.

Alice In Sunderland is 318 pages of information spaghetti. It’s lush and rich and overwhelming, and a fabulous ride. However, the final climax didn’t satisfy me.

The weight of all the preceding pages rather outweighs that.

Verdict: Huge! Lush! Overwhelmingly decadently colourfully fantastic! Would make a great blunt weapon!

Monday, December 24, 2007

i haz presunt 4 u lol

The Victorian Police Health & Wellbeing Calendar for 2008. This item is not available for sale. You're fortunate I'm such a caring, sharing and generous life form.



As you can see, this calendar is Serious Business. This constable is at one with his balls.



Truly, Serious Business. Not a one of these people is cracking even a hit of a smile. These aren't random models, by the way, that guy at the front is an assistant commissioner. With a big blue ball.



Oh noes! THE BALL IS INVADING OUR PRIVATE LIVES. IT IS BRAINWASHING OUR CHILDRENS. Actually, my manager and the supervisor in charge of rosters need to take heed of this month, and stop giving me crappy rosters.



Now we see the ball in its natural environment! And these people are happy to be in the ball's natural environment! So! Very! Happy!



The ball is not just for sitting on. It goes out in the field and assists members in their daily duties. It's all PREPARE TO STOP, BIATCH. The cars that don't stop, they hit the ball, and the ball goes bouncing, and some poor member has to go fetch the ball.



IS THIS NOT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PIKCHUR YOU HAVE EVAH SEEN!?!!!??!?!?!!??!??!?!? IT IS LIKE THE MATRIX! AND MODERN ART! IT IS SO EMOTIVE! AND ABOUT GOOD BACK LIFTING TECHNIQUES OR SOMETHING! And it was taken on the roof of the carpark. We all recognise that view. Methinks the SOG peoples are glad they have masks.



After all that hard work modeling and working with amateurs, the ball goes to the beach to chillax with a nice cold beer.



The ball starts getting a bit full of itself. It brings its cousins in, like it thinks it has influence, and starts wanting in on all the decision making meetings. As you can see here, from the positioning of the ball and its yes-balls, clean intimidating and stand over tactics at work.



Top brass isn't impressed with this upstart ball muscling in, and demote it quite severely. It struggles to find work in K-mart catalogues and settles for walk-on roles suited to lesser talent. Playing second fiddle to an apple, some pipsqueak little green ball, strengthens the ball's resolve.



The ball swallows its pride, and through diligence once again comes to the fore, although not quite as prominantly as in that glorious month of May. People like the ball. The ball makes them very comfortable.



Very. Comfortable.



And at last! Once again, out doing field work, in the middle of the fucking road until a car doesn't stop, and hits it, and it goes bouncing, and that poor member has to go fetch the ball. Again.



December's Playmate paid attention to the previous months, and hid his face. The balls went crazy and bounced everywhere. And there was much rejoicing. The end.

<3 Sir Tessa
xoxox

Thursday, December 20, 2007



It is not Cthulhu's lollipop. It is a Neptunea Amianta atop an egg sack-stalk-thingy. Do you want to know more?

ETA:



"That's no moon. It's a spacestation GIANT FUCKING ANEMONE!" I particularly love how, after detailing its size, the article goes on to state, "That's just downright dangerous."

Well. Duh. IT'S A GIANT FUCKING ANEMONE! RAAAAAAAAAARRR! Cthulhu uses these to powder his nose after his choc-top. Totally.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Madness? THIS IS SPAAAAARTAAAAA FRIIIIIIIDGE!"
"That's no moon. That's a space station FRIDGE."
"I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog FRIDGE too!"
"Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage FRIDGE against the dying of the light."
"Hey, joke 'em if they can't take a fuck FRIDGE!"
"A cat FRIDGE is okay too."
"My name is Ozymandias TESSA, king of kings: look in my works FRIDGE, ye mighty, and despair FRIDGE!"
"There's a thin line FRIDGE between not listening and not caring FRIDGE. I like to think FRIDGE I walk that line every day."
"Frankly, my dear FRIDGE, I don't give a dam."
"Indy! They're digging in the wrong place FRIDGE!"
"That is why evil FRIDGE will triumph FRIDGE, because good is dumb FRIDGE."
"You just had a near FRIDGE life experience!"
"The night FRIDGE was sultry."
"I was cutting FRIDGE raw fish and thinking about you."
"I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle FRIDGE."
"I am the law FRIDGE!"
"Many have come to taste my lord's meat mead FRIDGE."
"Oompa loopma FRIDGE."

I FRIDGE HAVE FRIDGE A FRIDGE DAMN FRIDGE FRIDGE FRIDGE.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's only insomnia if you're actually trying to sleep.

You know what Yoda said about trying. I'm not trying.

Around 2am I started listening to Lundberg's podcast of Vandermeer's Appogiatura. Lundberg reads well. He even does voices. Not enough people do voices. I'd read an earlier version of the story- no, that's misleading; I'd bashed my nightshift-addled mind against an earlier version, and lying there listening with a not-insomnia-because-I'm-not-trying-to-sleep-addled mind, I noted all the changes. They were only little, but they were right. Until the last segment, which was entirely new, and the story I thought I knew turned out to be entirely different and wonderful and not unlike having the carpet ripped out from beneath me, but instead of falling on my face and embarassing myself the wind caught me, took me for a tumble in the clouds and deposited me somewhere high and far from where I could see for miles and everything was clear.

But out there, somewhere, is the little story of dead arms and dirt I anticipated. Creepy and strange and now, disappeared. It will never be read out loud, sad little story.

I want to be read to. It isn't really something you can ask of other people, not without receiving a funny look and an extension of personal space. I should put out a personal ad, "wanted: reader. That is all." Or start a business, with a troupe of readers on call, to come to you whenever and where ever you may need a story read to you. Funny voices free of charge. Pillows supplied on request.

I think this is a sad little want.

Afterwards, I dreamed that I'd messed up history so badly, the history books on my shelves were spontaneously changing their titles and texts, as the history of the world wobbled about and tried to reassert itself.

I couldn't hear rain when I woke.

There are things you consciously give away when you move out. It's the things you didn't know you were losing that make you stop and wonder if maybe you made a mistake. Losing the sound of rain on a rusty old corrugated iron roof, for example.

You gain other things. Tiles, for example. Light globes, when dropped on a tiled floor, make the most spectacular, satisfying, comical 'pop!' noise this universe contains. I stood very still for 2, 3, 10 seconds, until I was sure I wasn't about to toss the second light globe on the floor just to hear it again.

Nothing in this soundscape drowns out the noise in my head. It roars, it mutters, it doesn't shut up. Come on, 4am, bring it. I'm not trying, I'm not afraid of you.

(I just don't like you.)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Around 6 o'clock I surfaced. My eyes were already open - I didn't open them - and slowly I became aware that they were seeing and I wasn't dreaming. I slid sideways into consciousness with Amanda Palmer's voice still in my head, telling me I wasn't the crazy one.

Odd way to wake up.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

All of these songs are sad songs. Even Especially the happy ones.