Sunday, February 28, 2010

No, they'll never catch me now.

The above comic is courtesy of Oglaf and DO NOT FOR THE LIFE OF YOU CLICK THAT LINK IF YOU ARE AT WORK OR IN A PUBLIC PLACE I MEAN IT. It's an adult comic, 'adult' in this case meaning 'full of quite sizzling steamy smut' and 'comic' in this case meaning 'fucking hilarious'. It just happens that my favourite two comics are entirely smut free.

I really mean it. Don't click that link in public.

I didn't make a New Year's Resolution because I was out of the country and thus out of my life and thus not in a position to see what needed resolving. So I made a February-Onward Resolution. Which I have now achieved. This year? Sorted. Next!

First week at the new job completed and oh I'm so in love. This thing! This not having my hands hurt thing! I could get used to it, I really could. My novel is growing so! And you should see what I have waiting for me on Monday morning. I can't tell you, of course, it's confidential. Which makes it sound much more exciting than it is.

Amanda Palmer played at the Forum on Friday night, and I went red, red, red and broke in a new red dress and new red boots and had myself a fantastic time. It was a brilliant show. Amanda Palmer never just does a gig, she does a show, selecting her opening acts and bringing in all sorts of guest performers and trying new things and taking risks and making hilarious mistakes right there on the stage. She played some new material, one song of which I'm going to call "Exhibit E" which broke my damn heart it was so beautiful. Cannae wait for her next album.

The sun is not yet set. To bed with me! There's DVDs to be appreciated!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blow, blow damn you!

  • Halo: Evolutions has been spied out in the wild of Australia. By me. I stared at it a bit, checked that yes, the behemoth Story of Doom was still in there and it wasn't some fabrication of my ever treacherous subconscious, and tried to work up some sense of...accomplishment? Satisfaction? True is, it doesn't feel real. The publishing end of this whole writer gig may never feel real. Jeff is probably some spectral figment I conjured up just to flesh out the delusion.
  • Speaking of Mr VanderMeer, his novel Finch has made the Nebula Awards Final Ballot. Not bad for a figment.
  • Speaking of VanderMeers in general, Amazingly Awesome Audacious Ann has been promoted to Editor In Chief at Weird Tales. Far too brilliant to be a figment, I have to say.
  • Speaking of brilliance and weird and stories, the exceedingly eloquent Madame Bishop has a story currently online at Subterranean; The Heart of a Mouse. She's a writer who teases her readers, putting out a story here, a story there, and making us wait so. And it is always worth the wait.
  • Speaking of putting out stories, I am not. I realised that once the other leviathan is released in April, I will have nothing 'forthcoming'. I feel I should bash something short into shape to release into the wild, but, I am not so flexible. I cannot work on more than one thing at a time, and my novel, poor old potato.
  • Speaking of potatoes, I was snapshotted. Because this blog is not soap box enough.
  • Speaking of enough-

Monday, February 22, 2010

: )

My resolution for last year was quite specific: when walking along a relatively empty street on my own, with an individual also on their own walking towards me, to stop ducking my head and looking away as passing, and instead look 'em straight in the eye and give them a big ol' smile.

Which is actually pretty fun, especially when your target is really uncomfortable and off-put by being smiled at. I'm not even pretending to have good intentions.

Aside from giving me practice at meeting people's eyes, it also worked towards shaping my face. I do not fear wrinkles, as some might, but I do not want the wrong wrinkles. In particular I do not want to get a puckered mouth that looks like I've been sucking lemons my whole life. Those mouths some women have where the lipstick bleeds out from the lips. Those sour disapproving mouths.

I don't want one of them because I don't want a life that will give me one.

The last few months the ratio of amiable smiling to angry lemon mouth has been shifting for the worse. It's been a losing battle to crack a smile without a whole lot of provocation, and even then the smiles are really bad. I made some great headway into developing a cat's bum mouth.

Today was my first day in the new office. The people are not nuts. It's cozy and sane.

I worked the whole day and my hands did not hurt.

I. Am. So. Happy.

I'm going to get the right wrinkles.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

El Calafate; side of a street garbage bin

Why ruin good tea like that?

The Ever Awesome Madame Healey, Eternally Unfettered Madame Kalin and I, Sir Tessargh, ventured to the theatre yestereve, and because less-than-stella vampire films are something of a tradition of ours, we saw Daybreakers.

Which I was expecting to be utter shyte.

And it wasn't! Can you imagine what a pleasant surprise it was to find my interest perking and my curiosity raising its jaded old head?

It's a decade in the future, with the world's population made up of vampires, and only some 8% actual human beings left. The majority of that percentage is locked up in a literal blood bank, nom nom nom.

But the numbers don't work, and they're running out of humans, and thus blood. Blood deprivation leads to a devolution from pretty sleek strong vampire into bat-ugly nosferatu, so not only are they going to starve to death, they're going to go crazy too.

And oh my goodness, there are so many juicy throwaway details in the movie! News bulletins that the biggest cause of bush fires was vampiric animals caught out in the sunlight! The rise in suicide from kids who will never age! The (very relevant) question of what to do with food shortages. What to do with the devolved vampires. The commercial realities of devising a blood substitute verses the basic necessities of life. An Uncle Sam poster ordering you to join the vampire army, kiosks selling coffee with 20% blood in your blood type of choice, oh, it was wonderful.

Just a pity the main plot was made of sweaty rancid cheap scrotum.

Seriously. All the trappings, all the paraphernalia in the film, the textures and furnishings there only to add depth: they were boss! King! They were Elvis! We sat around afterward discussing the implications of the politics and logistics involved in running a country that just happened to be populated by vampires. Homeless vampires and cleaner vampires and train driver vampires.


You don't ruin tea by putting blood in it. You don't ruin an awesome idea by putting a shit plot in it.

(And exactly where was that bat in the water tank hiding?)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

By The Numbers

There was what I've come to think of as a communication station a couple of doors up from the hotel we were staying at in Buenos Aires. Internet kiosks and phones set up for long distance and international calls, we got pretty good at spotting them. They're useful creatures, and reliable. It was the only way I could the Manu as trying to call a BA number from an international phone is some complex eldritch art I had not the resources to master.

This particular station also functioned as a lottery outlet, and one morning as I was idling by the door waiting for my cronies to finish talking to home I looked over this poster, which gave each number an association.

Some of which seemed random, some made sense, and one of them made me squawk. Do you see it?

Information wants to be freeeeeee!

I came back from Patagonia full of mountains and glaciers and giggly giddy things, and-

-went back to work, where I still could not do my job, and was still stuck doing the scanning, which was still demeaning and still humiliating and still made me feel like a useless shit tube and every time I typed at work I could feel the keys I could have been pressing on my novel disappearing and I resented it, and every time I worked on my novels I could feel the keys I should have been pressing in my contracted paying job and I resented it, and I couldn't move, and couldn't breathe, and couldn't see a way out.

Which is a little melodramatic. There's always a way out, but it may take some time to deal with the choking feeling of being trapped before you can do anything about it.

On Monday I start a temporary position in another department, and there is no data entry!

No! Data! Entry!


I think guilt kept me from truly ravishing my novel, guilt and fear, and now these things have been taken from me the only thing to stop me ravishing my novel is the fine art of procrastination.

My hands! My hands! They will get better!

ETA: I feel joyous and jolly, just as though there were a plump toucan in my head flapping my worries away.

Monday, February 15, 2010

There is no more terrifying a height than hope.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, GONG XI, gong xi, gong xi gong xi, GONGXIGONGXI GONGXIGONGXI gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, GONG XI gong xi GONG xi gong XI gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi GONGXIGONGXI gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi gong xi gong xi, gong xi, GONG XI.

And, also?

Gong xi.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Girl And The Horse

The Dogs of Pucón

Pucón was my introduction to South America, the first place I actually stopped being in transit and started being in a foreign country. One of the first things I noticed was the dogs. Stray dogs everywhere. Stray dogs here are generally hungry, frightened, snarling things. The stray dogs there were happy, amiable, fat and lazy things. They'd trot up, tail wagging to say hello, take any food on offer, and amble off. They played with each other and roamed around in great gallumphing packs of rolly-polly dog.

Despite this, many households kept dogs as pets. These dogs were normally in small yards behind high fences, and spent a lot of time barking their envy at all the stray dogs running around free and easy, or pretending they couldn't see them.

This stayed true of everywhere I visited. South America is Happy Dog Country.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Wait. Tess. The one with the lesbian tendancies?"

For the record, my sexual orientation is "bi-apathetic", which can be defined as I DON'T CARE.

Home: Three Things I Appreciate


In the month I spent in Chile and Argentina there was only one place that had drinking-quality water on tap. That was in Torres del Paine, and was purely because, being in a national park, the refugio had to be entirely self-sufficient and didn't have the option of nipping around the corner to buy water.

Water was kept on the truck in jerry cans, with water purification tablets thrown in. The other option, if you did not happen to have your bottle handy or were not near the truck, was to buy water.

I take the presence of drinking water for granted, yet I do not. I don't seem to have much in the way of water retention given the speed at which I dehydrate and start to feel bad, so I always carry water on me. I've fainted a few too many times not to. What I take for granted is being able to fill up from any tap.

I was constantly buying water, and feeling guilty for churning through so many plastic bottles, and getting my ire up at having to pay for water in restaurants.

It drove me nuts. Sobering to think that there are people who don't even have non-drinkable water on tap.


Actually, I gripe about this whenever I get back home from overseas. Australia is just insane for brilliant fresh produce. Patagonia, with the distances and largely arid land involved, is not. The fruit was limited to the basics - apples and bananas - and they were sad little things. I practically live on fruit. My body was starving for vitamins within a couple of days. I've been gorging myself on nectarines and apricots since getting back. So far, in my not particularly wide sampling of the world's bananas, Australia is a clear winner.

Toilet Paper

Outside of Buenos Aires, there is no toilet paper in the public toilets. For a day or so there I was living very dangerously. It's nice not to have to carry a wad of toilet paper in my back pocket. Just sayin'.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


About an hour ago a storm rolled across across Melbourne. I sat at my window and watched it go by. It got quite passionate, but nothing out of the ordinary, or so I thought.

That's Flinders Street as of maybe half an hour ago.

My office is on Flinders Street.

Really glad I didn't go to work today.

(Also; EW. Dude, that's FLINDERS STREET. Don't swim in it! You KNOW what's been there!)

You Never Listen

Last night was not full of bravery and daring do. I didn't trust myself to turn the light off and find my way across the bridge into the Land of Sleep without being severely accosted by demons, so I spent most of the night watching short movies on youtube.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Aerolineas Argentinas is the Suck, Spit and Swallow

Tuesday, 22nd December, 2009

Qantas flight to Sydney departs and arrives on schedule.

Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet proceed to the Aerolineas counter in order to pick up their boarding pass for the Sydney-Buenos Aires leg of the journey. While waiting to be noticed, they in turn notice a sign stating that the flight in question has been delayed by approximately two and a half hours.

They were prepared for the two and a half hour wait scheduled in their itinerary. They had changed all their cash for US$ and ARG peso and left just enough coinage for a cup of tea, having hit up the bakery very early in the morning for cheap nommy snacks to sustain them while they inhabited the gate lounge. They are not prepared for a five hour wait.

The Aerolineas staff give them a $15 food voucher. This does not go very far.

Sydney Airport is newly renovated and modern, which you can read to mean it contains all the mind-numbing qualities of both an airport terminal and a shopping mall, and combines them into a sublime ecstasy of hope-felling purgatory. Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet walk around, and around, and around, and inspect every single gate lounge (more than sixty), and inspect them again, and again, and stop at every single free internet kiosk to shoot off bland emails to unwilling victims on order to alleviate the boredom, the emails them selves being entirely contentless as they are that bored there is nothing to write about.

There is the concern that with the flight so delayed, they may miss their connecting flight in Buenos Aires to Santiago in Chile, where they are to join the tour. If the delay is only as long as proposed, they will probably still make it.

The delay is longer. Of course.

The plane, a 737, is a (and we use the technical term here) "piece of shit". The tray tables are broken. The arm rests are broken. The chairs cannot actually be put in the upright position for take off and landing. Staff are indifferent. Food is quite ordinary, and Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet are not fussy eaters. Coming in to Auckland, the plane makes a hideous sound which unnerves everyone, and Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet are not nervous flyers either.

It is just after nine at night. While waiting for the doors to open to begin the get-off-the-plane-get-on-the-plane-again-cha-cha-cha dance, an announcement was broadcast as paraphrased below:

"This flight has been canceled. After you have cleared Customs and Immigration please proceed to Check In Counter 38, where accommodation has been arranged for you. Repeat, this flight has been canceled. You will need to collect your luggage from the baggage hall."

Sans explanation. Sans apology. Sans any information regarding exactly how we were going to get to Buenos Aires.

Exhale. Our travelers indulge in a fair amount of pissiness, but refrain from actual stress. The flight to Santiago has been missed. They suspect that tomorrow's flights to Buenos Aires will be departing at approximately the same time, so while they have lost their opportunity to explore Santiago, they still stand a good chance of making the information meeting/trip welcome.

The majority of other people on the flight are not travelers, however. They're going to visit family for Christmas. South America does not do the big schbang on Christmas Day, but on Christmas Eve. Note the date. They were making the ground staff cry.

At Immigration Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet are given a suspicious look and questioned regarding their planned stay of a single night. "Drug mule," the officer is thinking. "Did you not just process all the other disgruntled passengers also staying one night because of the canceled flight?" Sir Tessa is thinking. "I'll slit your nostrils," Shark Puppet is thinking.

At which point, the Quarantine sniffer dog jumps all over them, being as they are carrying bakery rolls covered in pineapple and ham.

They are provided overnight accommodation at the Holiday Inn near the airport, dinner and breakfast included, with a courtesy bus to transport them their. They are told the bus is yellow. They are not able to get any sort of word on whether or not there is a flight tomorrow, at what time, or if they will be able to get on it. They are simply told, "You will be told."

There are no yellow buses. That is because the buses are navy blue.

When asked at what time they were alerted to come pick us up, the bus driver states that they were called at six o'clock. Interesting.

They reach the hotel around ten-thirty, and are pleasantly surprised to be given a private room. It's a good hotel, but not used often given the dust everywhere. The pillows are labeled "soft" and "firm". Dinner is sitting in the bain-maries, and has probably been doing so for the last five hours. Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet, having collected a handful of fellow solo travelers, risk adding food poisoning to their woes, and over this daring-do bond and swap tales because there's sweet fuck all else to do and their body clocks are screwed.

Twenty minutes of complimentary internet is provided. This is of marginally more use than the ten minutes of complimentary phone calls, at $4.50 a minute to contact Chile. The internet time is used to hunt out an email address for the joining hotel, and let them know of her delay so they may pass the information along to the tour leader. They hope.

Eventually, Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet retire to their quarters, where they write the first entry of the South America trip journal.

It does occur to them, over and over, that while they will probably get to Buenos Aires tomorrow, being right on Christmas they may not be able to get a connecting flight to Santiago. If that's the case, they'll miss the tour departure, and if that's the case, they'll have to find some other mode of transport to catch up with them down the road, and if that's the case, then they're going to be fumbling around behind an enormous language barrier.

Which, surprising, doesn't stress them, but they're not exactly looking forward to it.

They watch some documentary on psychics helping police with investigative work, and don't watch Halloween, and eventually leave it on BBC World News with the volume turned down, and completely fail to sleep anyway.

Wednesday, 23rd December 2009

There is a notice board in the dining area saying that there is a flight - huzzah! - and that is all. Rumours abound. One of the collect posse states they need to be out of the hotel by one, although that is probably more to do with hotel staff wanting to clean the rooms than anything else.

They sit and eat breakfast over a long period. Then they sit and drink tea over a long period. Then, purely because they're sick of the hotel, they grab their bags, check out, and wait for the shuttle bus. They were told the shuttle bus was free. They go to board it, and are asked for a ticket. They dash back into reception, are given a ticket - no charge - dash out and give the ticket to the driver. This is getting to be a pattern.

At Auckland Airport they are somewhat confused. There is no Aerolineas counter. Recalling that it was Air New Zealand staff that handled them the night previous, they corner some staff not looking busy enough and dump a general "WHAT IS GOING ON?" upon them. The Air New Zealand staff confirm that there is a flight. Yay! But they cannot check to see if our travelers will get a seat on it, as the Aerolineas system does not open until one thirty, so they will have to wait an hour and a half.

This whole ordeal has consisted of HURRY UP AND WAIT.

Apparently proper transport was organised, as when they return to the counter later they discover the whole flight has appeared. Hotel staff could have told them this, but didn't. They get in line, and wait.

When the counter opens, and the queue starts moving, there is a lack of screaming and crying. This is a good sign.

When Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet's turn comes, they're given a seat on the next flight to Buenos Aires. They're not sure when this flight leaves, or from what gate, but it will be soon. What about the connecting flight to Santiago? The staff won't have a bar of that, and tell them they'll have to sort that out in Buenos Aires. Most helpful.

Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet would be more likely to accept that were it not for the fact that boarding passes were issued for other passengers with connecting flights. Seemingly at random.

Passengers have been talking to each other. Reasons for the cancellation are as follows:
  1. There was a mechanical problem. (Fine if that developed in flight.)
  2. The mechanical problem was known in Sydney (!!!) and they didn't think the plane would last the flight to Buenos Aires. (EXCUSE ME WTF WHY FLY IT FROM SYDNEY TO AUCKLAND THEN?!?!)
  3. They needed to wait for a part to be flown in from Buenos Aires.
  4. They needed to use our plane to take people who had been stranded in Auckland the night before we arrived onward to Sydney. (Get your own damn plane!)

The majority were of the opinion that the flight was canceled purely because it was only one-third full.

Those with connecting flights to Santiago watched the departure board, in particular a LAN Chile flight direct to Santiago, and wept a little. The board was also watched to see if our flight would be given a gate at any point in time (it wasn't), and exactly when boarding would commence. The board displayed a helpful countdown on every flight listed for departure - boarding in 45 minutes, 40 minutes, 35 minutes - and Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet watched it make it all the way down to 5 minutes, where it remained unchanging for approximately half an hour before jumping back up to 50 minutes. It did this approximately three times.

At some point in the long dark tea time of the soul, Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet noticed an Aerolineas plane sitting out on the tarmac, with maintenance popping in and out of it.

"That's our plane," spoketh Sir Tessa, and Sir Tessa spoketh true.

At last a gate was given, and when the announcement came over the PA there was cheering. Cheering! The posse head to the gate lounge, where they waited a further hour, ANOTHER DAMN HOUR, before boarding. Where they sat on the runway for another twenty minutes or so. And when they roared up the runway and finally left the ground, there was a hell of a lot more cheering, in a sort of "we're in the air you're stuck with us now!" way.

Staff, just as indifferent, and nigh prickly. Food, just as ordinary. Sleeping pills, well, they can only do so much on a plane. Which turns out to be not much at all.

Buenos Aires, ACHIEVED. That is exactly what it felt like, a grand achievement touching down on, at the very least, the correct continent. The longest leg was done, not long to go now.

Commence mad rush on the transfer counter!

Where it was made very clear that they needed to get to Santiago today. The Aerolineas staff plopped them on the next flight without even raising an eyebrow, and told them to check in their bags at-

But we don't have our bags, we're not entering Argentina, so...

Arcane symbols jotted on a list and a paper and pencil luggage receipt is handed over. Paper and pencil. This does not bode well, and gives rise to images of getting to the right city only to be without rucksack. Not a good state to be in, given the tour is due to depart Santiago at six in the morning tomorrow.

But, nevermind! They have a boarding pass! They are so close to their objective! They race to the gate, and hurry up and wait.

Such a lovely sight (and further proof that even at their home base, Aerolineas can't get their act together).

They boarded - ON TIME. The plane was in much better condition than the one flying the Sydney route. Interesting. They took off - ON TIME. Ham and cheese sandwich and further indifference. They arrived in Santiago - ON TIME. Their luggage arrived - ON TIME.

And so, more after more than twenty-four hours delay, most of which was spent completely in the dark having been given no information on the situation or what steps were being taken to see them reach their destinations, Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet arrived in Santiago.

They had missed the introductory meeting, but were in the right city, and would depart with the tour on the morrow.

That is, if the tour were following the planned itinerary. Which it wasn't. But that particular tale is for another time.

Wednesday, 6th January 2010

The final deviation from the tour's itinerary came from below, not above. It was noted that Metallica were playing at Estadio River Plate in Buenos Aires the night before the truck was due to arrive in the city.

Hell yes?


Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet plant themselves in an internet cafe in Ushuaia. After much wrangling with the Spanish dictionary, tickets to the concert are bought. This is followed by plane tickets to fly from Trelew to Buenos Aires the day of the concert.

The Aerolineas site (which shall not be linked to here) is old fashioned, to put it kindly. Booking the ticket online is straight forward, surprisingly. And lacking any point at which to enter credit card details, surprisingly.

A read through of the confirmation email confirms that Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet have indeed booked a seat upon that flight, and it is reserved just for them, but they will have to pay for it within twenty-four hours or it will expire.

Oh. Well. Okay.

Fortunately there is an Aerolineas Argentinas office in Ushuaia, and it is still open. They roll in, take a number, mutely hand over their reservation details along with a wad of cash, and their seats are paid for and confirmed.

Some of their fellow Metallica-goers are told that twenty-four hours prior to the flight they will need to reconfirm their tickets AGAIN. Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet are not told this.

Yet others who booked the flight do not notice the caveat about payment. When all have regrouped back at the hostel and they are informed of this, there is some concern. This is followed by confusion about the Aerolineas opening hours, which leads to them not going to the office until it is well and truly closed.

This leads to further concern, as on the morrow the tour is leaving lovely Ushuaia and its Aerolineas offices and heading out on long remote highways to camp on the side of the road.

One Metallica-goer calls the Aerolineas customer service line with the intent of paying by credit card over the phone. Their call is picked up and put on hold. When they come off hold, the operator tells them that the office closes at ten o'clock. It is three past ten. Five minutes were spent on hold. The operator answered purely to state that they would not be offering any assistance good bye.


Phone calls ares made the following morning, in the last big town the truck passes through, and the various orphan tickets are paid for.

Friday, 22nd January 2010

At Trelew Airport, one Metallica-goer has trouble checking in, as apparently his ticket has not been paid for. This is despite him paying at the same time, on the same call as everyone else. It takes much to-ing and fro-ing before he is allowed to pay cash.

The flight is half empty. It isn't as though there aren't enough spare seats.

Another Metallica-goer misplaces her wallet at the check in counter. It is later discovered handed in, sans cash.

Ham and cheese sandwich. The stewards do not wish to work any longer than they must, nor do they want work hanging over their heads, so as soon as they are done handing out the meals, they come around to pick up the trays, taking most meals before they are finished, whether the person wants to give up the meal or not. This is followed by a bit over an hour of flight time.

Tuesday, 26th January 2010

Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet bid adieu to their new friends and the city of Buenos Aires, and head off to the Buenos Aires Airport. Again. They arrive at ten-thirty at night, just over three hours of check in time, which is suitable for an international flight.

They check the departure board to see what check in counter they need to head to, and discover that their two am flight has been delayed till quarter past four in the morning...



Buenos Aires airport is considerably less interesting that Sydney, and considerably less clean, and has even less going for it in the small hours of the morning. Sir Tessa attempts to contain her mildly unhinged giggling. Shark Puppet curses all the friends they just left in Buenos Aires, knowing they are at a live drumming show and heading onto a bar afterward.

Only a few of the chairs lack arms, and so sleeping space is at a premium. Weeks of camping comes in handy and Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet make do on the concrete floor, where they completely fail to sleep.

The Aerolineas staff appear and form a processing line, where they call up row numbers, check passports and proceed to check everyone's hand luggage. Again. As if that hadn't already been done. This takes a very long time, and it is closer to six than four by the time the plane leaves the ground.

The staff and food are as expected. They are, thankfully, not held hostage in Auckland a second time, but apparently others were, as there is once again great cheering when the plane departs Auckland for Sydney (after yet further delays).

Because their travel-fu is so corrupted by Aerolineas's interference, even the Qantas flight home to Melbourne is delayed.

Sir Tessa and Shark Puppet are not impressed.

It isn't as though Aerolineas is hiding what they are. Their emblem is the condor. What's a condor? A giant smelly scavenger. A carrion eater. Yep. In the official inflight magazine, there was a letter from the CEO of Aerolineas Argentinas, where he proudly states that in the last year they renewed their aviation safety clearance. That was all the airline achieved, and this letter toted that as if it were something to be proud of, a massive accomplishment. DUDE. YOU NEED THAT TO OPERATE AN AIRLINE. ANY AIRLINE.

This airline was chosen because it was the cheapest. Flying to South America is usually reasonable, but at the peak time, which combines Christmas and the summer holidays, prices rocket up to well above $4,600. The Aerolineas flight was around $3,400, which is still a lot of money but fit in my budget. Just.

If you, like me, must fly Aerolineas because that is all you can afford, then take an extra day or two to get to your destination. I believe you have a 50% chance of being stuck in Auckland, as while there is only one flight number, there are two planes, one running between Sydney and Auckland, and the other running Auckland to Buenos Aires, and they don't always meet up in the middle.

If you expect any degree of customer service, drop those expectations. Aerolineas isn't there to help you out, even when they mess you're in is their cause. They. Don't. Care.

If you are buying internal flights for Argentina, don't book online. Just go into an office, they're quite common.

If you can't eat a ham and cheese sandwich, bring your own food.

Hell, if you want to eat anything bring your own food, or they'll steal it back.

In fact, just don't fly Aerolineas Argentinas.

The Ghost of Harddrive Past Does Not Walk

Took Eddie's old brain to a data retrieval centre. A quick diagnosis indicated that the reading arm was busted, a mechanical fault that would cost over $2,000 to fix and take up to four weeks. That was a punch in the guts, but I told myself I was buying my future self a present, and there was a finance scheme of sorts, but-

But that particular model of harddrive was built with a coating on the disk which comes off, clogs the head and erases the data.

He said they could give it a go, but the chances of retrieving anything were infinitesimal.

Sayonara, Hokkaido.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Baggage: Imminent

KJ Bishop wrote of what her story, 'Vision Splendid', means to her, did to her, and her apprehension at its forthcoming release.

Usually, by the time a story is released into the wild, I've broken up with it. I tend to lose interest once it's out of my hands and out of my power to tinker with. When it has moved through the tenses from "writing" to "written". Past tense for the writer, now present tense for the reader, and what the reader does with the story is a relationship that I, the writer, have no business meddling in.

This works pretty well for me. Criticism doesn't matter so much when you're not still in love with the story.

It would appear that even after prancing around Patagonia for a month, which was sufficient to kick pretty much everything out of my head, 'Acception' and I haven't had enough time apart. Not that I was ever in love with it; it's "complicated".

And I’m still nervous, perhaps because I’ve been told what to think about cultural baggage by academia and the media, so that it was difficult to put a whole bunch of very educated people’s opinions aside and tell the story I wanted to tell; and there was always the terror of clumsily saying something I shouldn’t, or not saying something I should, and that terror is now echoing on, probably quite irrationally, now that I can’t make any more changes.

Kirsten says it better than I, and with less waffle. Except I would take out 'nervous' and replace it with 'fucking terrified'. You could say that I say a lot on this blog, but my statements generally only relate to me in a purely personal manner. Through this story I have said something that remains personal, but passes judgment on a great many other people. It says something I don't always agree with, but have yet to doubt. It must be important to me, for me to fear it so. Important enough that I don't want to have any part in the discussion at all, yet care too much what people will think of it.

But the story is written, and so it will be said. I challenge myself to stand by it.


Vision Splendid — K.J. Bishop
Telescope — Jack Dann
Hive of Glass — Kaaron Warren
Kunmanara – Somebody Somebody — Yaritji Green
Manifest Destiny — Janeen Webb
Albert & Victoria/Slow Dreams — Lucy Sussex
Macreadie v The Love Machine — Jennifer Fallon
A Pearling Tale — Maxine McArthur
Acception — Tessa Kum
An Ear for Home — Laura E. Goodin
Home Turf — Deborah Biancotti
Archives, space, shame, love — Monica Carroll
Welcome, farewell — Simon Brown

Of Baggage Gillian says;'s a speculative fiction anthology that examines the stories and other cultural baggage that migrants have brought with us to Australia over the last 200 odd years...If you think Australian culture is all about neighbours and mateship, you may find Baggage distressing.

What I know of my fellow contributors, and knowing Gillian, I don't imagine this will be an easy, leisurely anthology, and despite my apprehension, I'm looking forward to holding it in my hands. Because I feared it, it was difficult, and because it was difficult, it was worth doing. That's enough to be proud of. On a purely personal level.

There is an electronic uncorrected proof of the anthology available for review, for those of you interested there is more information here.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

"I DID NAAAAAAHT- Oh, hi Mark!"

I just got back from a late showing of The Room at the Nova.





A movie hasn't made me laugh so much for a long time. Not since Twilight, actually. Not a single redeeming feature, nothing was done right, appalling acting: MAGNIFICENT. I understand why it has a cult following. Believe I was just conscripted into it.


Can't sleep; too busy giggling/wtf?!ing.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Ghost of Harddrive Past

Eddie's first brain is dead. Long live Eddie. New brain has been installed. They don't make small 80GB brains anymore, so his brain is much bigger now.

Backups of all important work exists and is current.

Unfortunately, backups of files that are no longer active (not being worked on) were not so good. Or at least, if a backup of said files exists, I've put it in a Safe Place, which is pretty much the same as it not existing. One such casualty, in fact the only casualty I care about, is my Japan trip journal.

Most of it is online here, but there's still some two weeks of the trip I had yet to load up, and they're the best two weeks, Hokkaido, oh, Hokkaido, and uuuuurgh.

I didn't sleep well last night. It's hard to sleep when you're kicking yourself in the head repeatedly.

Data recovery is not cheap.

But trip journals stay with you for life. Travel writing is armchair travel, even more vivid when it's not poking your imagination, but nudging your memory. I'm buying my sixty-seven year old self a present (that's how I'm justifying it, at any rate).

And if any of you know where I put my legitimate paid-money-for copy of MS Office for Mac, I'd really appreciate a tip.