Sunday, March 30, 2008

- for reassurance.

I stare myself down as I brush my teeth, until I have to look away. I’m not sure if that means I won or lost. The bathroom light may or may not be fluorescent. It doesn’t matter. Either way, I look bad. This morning, the shadows under my eyes are particularly pronounced.

I spit, rinse, and wipe my mouth. My eyelids are puffy. They go down, eventually, but it takes a couple of hours. I have to leave now.

My reflection leans out of the glass, and puts a hand either side of my head. She holds me so I can’t look away, and looks at me with earnest eyes. She says-

Today is not a butterfly day.

Oh fuck off. I brush her off irritably. Not a butterfly day. No fucking shit, Sherlock.

She shrugs.

Way to kill all my hope that maybe, just maybe, something random and nice would happen in the next twenty-four hours.

I didn’t say nothing nice would happen, she snitches.

I leave the bathroom.

She’s relentless, though. Stubborn. She just doesn’t let it drop. In every window and puddle and reflection she stalks me on the walk to work. And she mutters, dropping comments meant to only be half-heard, more gleaned from her tone than her words. Am I like that?

Obnoxious fucking cunt.

I pass a taxi rank, and a driver puffing on a smoke calls out to me. Hey, he says, it’ll be okay.

What? I slow, and behind him she leans out of the car window and gives me a thumbs up. I hurry away.

At the lights a woman in a business suit and early morning sneakers approaches, smiles, and tells me that everything will work out.

The little asian girl opening up Krispy Kreme ducks out the door and chases after me, waving and gasping in the cold, and tells me not to worry.

A car pulls up beside me as I wait for the lights to change. I turn to the passenger window, and she’s there, looking expectant.

These are not nice things, I say.

The window winds down. The passenger leans out and tells me that everything will be fine.

There are no reflective surfaces at work. The monitors are matt LCD, and the windows are hidden behind blinds. Good. I sit through encounters with everyone who walks into the office, whether they’ve worked with me for the past three years or they’re just dropping off some charges. Everyone pauses by my desk, and reassures me that everything will be okay. My answering nod and polite smile becomes sicker with each visit.

I have to go to the toilet, and she’s waiting for me in the mirror again. She’s wearing a ridiculous looking grin. My grin. I never knew I looked so fucking stupid.

Are you doing this?

She doesn’t say anything. Infuriating fuck.

Can you make it stop?

Today is not a butterfly day, she repeats.

I know, but can you stop it? I can’t take much more of this.

She shrugs and does nothing more. The door opens and a random uniformed officer enters. She nods at me, and tells me to keep my chin up. I just about vomit.

She’s right. Today is not a butterfly day. I’m tired and cranky, the tearstorm from the previous night leaving me sapped, and I have no resilience against the world. All the fear and anger and destruction in the reports gets under my skin. I take everything too personally. This constant barrage of hope, support and positive thinking is wearing me down and stressing me out like the best of slow tortures. I have nothing left to spend on keeping a bright face. I walk home with blurry vision, and when the door closes behind me, I cry.

Eventually, I go into the bathroom.

I told you so, she says. Fucker always has to be right.

But you didn’t have to tell me at all.

What do you want me to say? The same things everyone else said? That you’ll get a lucky break, one day? That things will work out, one day? That you’ll remember where you’re going, one day?

I shake my head.

Here, she pulls a wad of grey mush out of her pocket. Take it.

I look at it suspiciously.

Take it! It’s a present.

No thanks.

She glares at me.

Look, no offence, but you’re clearly a product of my unconscious or my subconscious or something like that, and so you’ll just have to forgive me if I don’t trust you.

She doesn’t say anything, just deepens her frown.

Last night my subconscious gave me a dream in which there were icebergs that holed the ship, storms that broke the ship, waves that swamped the ship and a freaking whirlpool that dragged the ship down and I drowned AND froze to death for good measure. You have it out for me.

She puts the grey mush on the bench. It sags a little. The most unappealing playdough in the world.

What is it?

It’s hope.

I raise an eyebrow at her.

I kept some aside for you, and you seem to be running low.

Hesitantly, I take it. It feels like fairy floss, or a spider’s egg sac, but doesn’t collapse when I handle it. It’s warm in my palm, unsettlingly so, and seems to breathe and shift about, like a sleeping foetus. Ick.

You should use it for general purposes, she advises. Keep you going for a while longer.

I think I want-

You don’t know what you want. She reaches out and pats my head. You’re a silly muppet. You’ll be okay.

I fucking hate you.

That’s because you know I’m right.

I crush my hope in my fist, hold it up to my lips and whisper: I hope I’m not going crazy.

She drops her jaw, furious and betrayed for one brief moment, and she’s gone. Tessa Victorius. It’s just me, talking to myself in the mirror. I don't know if that means I won or I lost. I don't think it matters. Time for a cup of tea.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

triceratops come home

This postcard is currently up on Postsecret. I think Bert sent it. I know Bert sent it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"Kind of like Thor."

I was reading this, and was having a gay old time with it, but alas, could not finish the article. For some reason the cut feature is crashing both Safari and Seamonkey. Bummer. Stalked barnacles sound gnarly.

"What is so cool about barnacles anyways? They are the John Holmes of the invertebrate kingdom with penis lengths exceeding 8 times their body length...Imagine your self glued head first to a rock, kicking your legs out your front door to draw in a current, hopefully with food - that is the barnacle."

Being so thwarted, I clicked through to this article about mantis shrimp and how they see, and, like, WHOA. They possess the kewlest eyes in the animal kingdom, they see the difference when light is turning clockwise and anti-clockwise. I didn't even know light turned, my eyes are so dumb.

They also fuck your shit up.

"Mantis shrimps are no stranger to world records. They are famous for their powerful forearms, which can throw the fastest punch on the planet. The arm can accelerate through water at up to 10,000 times the force of gravity, creating a pressure wave that boils the water in front of it, and eventually hits its prey with the force of a rifle bullet."

Like, WHOA. The wiki article linked up there goes into further detail, stating that they're so fast, the energy from their punches creates light and heat, and the wake of their punches has enough pressure to act as a second punch. Holy smokes. Well, with a face like that, you can't really blame them. They break aquarium glass too. I want one. To go with my flamboyant cuttlefish.

There's a video at the bottom of that article showing a mantis shrimp wailing on a crab, but here's a different one.

It's also wailing on a crab, but this video has some great shots of how they move. There's something delightfully centipede-y about them. At the very end, it snatches the crab and drags it off into its lair in a very Alien-esque manner. Fucking OARSUM.

Mantis shrimp. Not a mantis. Not a shrimp.

Also, more unknown beasties found in the Antarctic depths, including these:

Nooooow, am I wrong in remembering that Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness was set in Antarctica? And the beasties were starfishy? ZOMG. THEY ARE BABY ELDER THINGS. WE HAVE STOLEN THEIR BEBEES. WE ARE SO BONED. FHTAGN.

(I always thought the Elder Things were pretty silly looking, myself.)

Phew. I'm rather flustered now. That's far too much radical awesomitude for one day.

Friday, March 21, 2008

consider it passed on

(faraday street, carlton)

worship at the great shellfish pyramid

(taken beneath the Rye front beach pier / the only interesting thing the beach had to offer)

what's in a name?

I think about names a lot. In the course of a day, I can churn through literally hundreds of names, and not all the crapass try-hard wannabe writers in the world can come up with some of these names. People walk around with these names, every day of their lives. They go to the shops and put orders in for books and have to spell their names out every single time, and every single time people still get them wrong.

There are a lot of children out there with 'pretty' names. As though giving your child a name that even a Disney Princess would hesitate over will make them special. As though changing the spelling of a perfectly good name will make them special. Parents, your kids are special, regardless of what you call them. There's only one of them. So do them a favour, and don't spell Chloe like that (I can't even spell it out here, it's too distinctive and I'll get in trouble, but oh my god why). Don't name your batch of children after Top 40 singers. Don't name them something unique and ornate that they can't drag through the mud. Name them something you can yell from the backdoor and not sound daft. Name them something they can introduce themselves by at the G8 summit and not smile apologetically for.

(I can't really talk. My character names suck.)

I think I got lucky with Tessa. It's easy to dress up and easy to dress down. It isn't much of a mouthful, yet still has plenty of play potential. It's plain, but there aren't many Tessas around, so it has rarity going for it. There are more these days, but I haven't met them. I don't know what any other Tessas, so I don't know what they're like, but I've made this name mine. I wouldn't know how to be anything else.

Can you imagine yourself with another name? Would anything else fit now? Do you make the name yours, or do you grow into the name?

(Mum regrets naming me Tessa, actually. She didn't realise it had catholic connotations. When I asked her what else I might have been, she popped out a couple of gaelic, welsh and scottish names that were very, very 'pretty'. I'll stick to Tessa.)

Still, I think there's room to improve. I would like to be this Tessa, or this Tessa, and even this Tessa. Flickr and Google Image Search indicate that I'm bringing down the good name of Tessa. I'm letting the team down with my general lack of presentation, and the fact that I'm not a dog.

Image search your name. I'm curious to know if you think what you see fits.

scuttley crabadger is scuttley

There is no texta here, so I cannot do proper palm graffitti. No mere palm graffitti could possibly do justice to the utter RADNESS of this bar of soap. Phanks gurl.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

let me take you down 'cause i'm going to

I'd never been strawberry picking before. The sun was high and the air hot, and standing out in the field the breeze brought the smell of rotting strawberries up on a silver platter. The most delicious air I've ever breathed, it was like standing in a jar of jam, but without the drawbacks of standing in a jar of jam, like stickiness, which is what happens when you standin a jar of jam. It looked an entirely uninspiring way to spend an afternoon, until someone pointed me towards the older rows, where the plants were thick and rampant, and the strawberries invisible beneath hairy leaves. Right then, it no longer became about having strawberries, but finding them. It turned into a treasure hunt, and the discovery of the treasure was more important than the treasure itself. I stayed in the fields long after everyone else had filled their punnets and retired to the cafe, lifting leaves and parting bushes, looking for that one perfect red strawberry.

Then, I ate them. With ice cream.

The End.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

you know who you are

Permanent marker doesn't come off easy. I spent the rest of the evening with gratitude stigmata on my palms.

Operation GTFO
Phase 1: successful!
Phase 2: where am I going?

Since my last 7am shift, the Earth has moved so far around the Sun that it is still dark when I leave, and there are stars in the sky.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

GTFO. No, Really.

Operation GTFO, Phase #1 -
Current Status: "ask me again later."

(I'm not hopeful.)

Sleight of Mind

There's a huge albino killer whale out in the ocean, fucking HUGE, look at him in comparison to his pod. Biggest, baddest ghost of the sea. Link also contains pictures of various other marine-related albino animals. Leopard slug included.

Iron & Wine at the Athenaeum

Set List

  1. The Trapeze Swinger
  2. Jezebel
  3. Peace Beneath The City
  4. Innocent Bones
  5. Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car
  6. Lovesong Of The Buzzard
  7. Each Coming Night
  8. Woman King
  9. Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)
  10. oarsum jam session
  11. Boy With A Coin
  12. Sodom, South Georgia
  13. House By The Sea
  14. The Devil Never Sleeps
  15. White Tooth Man
  16. Upward Over The Mountain
  17. Resurrection Fern

Sam Beam looked like the living 60's. He has so much hair, he's like a bear. Throw water at him and I bet he'd halve in size. Can play slide guitar like nobody's business, and a voice so tender I could sleep on it. When at last the whole band started jamming, they filled the theatre with this incredible full-bodied sound that was crisp and clear and precise. It's a sound that has evolved far from the folky single guitars of the earlier albums. Hell yes I cried. In the first song. And the second song. Those two have always set me off. They're better live than I could have hoped for.

They're playing again tomorow at the Corner, and I'm more than little tempted to go. But that'd mean bailing on a couple of friends who would guilt trip me to the ends of the earth if I did. Oarsum band alone, or pretty good band with people who make me laugh. Hmm...decisions.

Moment; A

There's a stretch of paving behind the building, along the Yarra. It's over the bridge, and heading towards the Westgate, so apart from the few people living in the apartments there, there's no one around. Directly across the river is a small wharf, and a huge construction site, hoary with scaffolding. I don't know what they're building, carparks or apartments. There's a crane set up on a barge, floating in the middle of the river.

I've taken to going out there to my own personal mooring post and eating my dinner with my feet hanging over the water. It's quiet. Right on seven o'clock is when the trash and clean-up barges are being towed back in from the shipping docks, with thick men in saggy overalls sitting and content to do nothing as they move up stream, the sun setting behind them.

Seagulls attend me. The laziest seagulls I've ever met. They don't work for their scraps. They sit in my shadow and chirp every now and then to remind me that, actually, they're still there, and waiting. I can get them to within a foot of me. Yesterday I brought bread crusts with me, and cultivated my own flock of adoring worshippers.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Viewer Discretion My Hairy ARSE

"Adult householder? Viewer discretion? Que?"

It's a pro-life brochure, and it is full of dead babies. They're smart. They only list a PO Box as a means of contact, and they dropped this in the letter box after dark.

Colour me entirely lacking in sense of humour.

Have a nice fluffy chaser;

I sent RedSun (you'll need to be logged in to view that) a post card that I'd snagged from the Melbourne Aquarium (which was so devastatingly disappointing after Osaka) about giant squid. The card said giant squid were fearsome predators, and they're not, which I waffled on about at length on the back of the card. RedSun drew my waffle - a sperm whale picking on a giant squid and stealing its lunch money.


Operation: GTFO

I have to go. I need to go. When I get up in the morning, I just move from the bed to the floor. Turn the stereo on. Stare at the ceiling for hours, till it’s time to go. No desire to do anything, and this doesn’t bother me. So, I think I have to go. I have a nightshift coming up, oh glory days of hell and horror. I have days off after nightshift coming up after that, and I have to go. I’m thinking of stealing a car and heading down the Great Ocean Road for a few days. Drive with all the windows down and the volume up. I want hot chips on a rocky beach, covered in enough salt to kill me. Maybe with gravy. Definitely with chocolate milk. I’ll take up cigarettes for the weekend, just to watch the ocean wind steal the smoke away. Lug my camera around and pretend I know what I’m doing, that I’m taking cliché photos on purpose. Walk on the sand till my ankles hurt. Throw rocks off cliffs. Watch the waves till the sun goes down and there’s nothing left to see. Eat more hot chips. Give chips to seagulls. Be in some other space, because I know all these spaces around me now and I have to go.

Thus commences Operation GET THE FUCK OUT (GTFO).

Phase 1: convince parental units to let me take a car for several days, ‘cause I can’t afford to hire one.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Neighbourhood Watch, foo'.

The Police Force Of The Future Protects You And Helps You Sleep At Night

another train of thought too hard to follow

This morning, I turned off my alarm in my sleep. I think. It's entirely possible it didn't go off just to spite me. Either way, I opened my eyes at 7:07am, which was 7 minutes after I was due to start work. It isn't supposed to be light outside when I get up.

This is largely Andrew's fault, for if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have been at Toff in Town for the album launch of ii (pronounced 'aye aye', apparently, although in my head it's 'eeee!'), who I'd never heard of, but he reassured me they were great, and so far his music props have been on the money, as proven by various other music recs and the Adam Franklin gig down Brunswick a couple of weeks back, who I'd also had never heard of before, and you know in an infinite universe there's infinite possibilities, the whole monkey/typewriter/hamlet thing, so there is a chance that I might eventually be pointed towards music that is shit, but I find that as probable as the monkey/typewriter/hamlet thing, and should it ever happen, I'll-

-probably just type in capital letters for a while.


They were great. Like a mash of Mice Parade, The Album Leaf, and a whole bunch of other bands that I can't recall the names of off the top of my head, because it all mixed together to make a brilliant, deceptively easy-looking blend of incredibleness. They started with two drum kits having a duel, oh what an opening paragraph. At one point, someone came on stage to play a time machine. Truly, it looked like a car battery hopped up on high school science projects and duct tape, and it sounded like a time machine. He took us through light years of time and space, till the guitars came in and we landed on a cold alien planet, which was initially devoid of life, but time flies, and the cities were built and grew and took over and fell down again.

At least, that's what I heard in the music. They might have been pining over ex-girlfriends. That's why people make music, right? Maybe they were weeping over the fact that their girlfriend left them for their brother. Who went on to have a snip become their sister. And now they want them to step in and father their lesbian love child. Something fucked up like that. But, that isn't what I heard in the music. I heard landscapes and time, and my time in that music was wonderful.

Which was why I was home after midnight, with an alarm set to go off only a few hours later. To be honest, even if I hadn't gone out, I wouldn't have slept. I'd have just lain on the lounge room floor with different music playing, and probably gone through a box of tissues trying to cry out all the poison in my head.

(For the record, I don't have a couch, or any manner of chairs. The floor is pretty much my only option. I'm not down there trying to add to the emoness of my current state of mind, I just don't have any other place to be except my bed, and right now I fucking hate my bed. Nothing but horror there.)

There is a great gap between me and myself. The me that is out in public around other people is fine. I'm not putting on a brave face or forcing a smile. I don't feel the need to, other people just bring that out. I'm not clinging to my moodiness for the sake of feeling sorry for myself. Admittedly, it takes some time to get past it, but not that long. Other people crack me up. People, man, what a fucked up bunch of walking meat sacks we are. You're amazing, stupid, gobsmacking and eternally surprising. What's not to laugh with?

The me that exists in private isn't doing so great. The last few months have been eventful in that entirely non-eventful way which comes only from failing, failing, and failing. Every direction I've tried to go, in every area of my life, I've been blocked, denied, and quietly and systematically fucked over. The last couple of days I've been wondering if this feeling of being entirely powerless and having absolutely no control over anything is the final step towards becoming an adult. I fight. With myself, the world, anything that comes along, 'cause I'm trying to get where I'm going. I've lost sight of where I'm going. I've tried new directions, and they haven't worked, because sometimes you just can't win. There's only so many times you can 'get over it and start over'. I didn't know that, now I do. I'm running out of Plan B, C, D, I'm running out of alphabet. Running out of fight. Running out of desire. My mum keeps calling and asking how I am. I'm not dead, but dead in the water. Going nowhere. Nowhere to go. I've had months to stare at proof of my own worthlessness, and now I can't see anything else. Can't see past it, can't move past it, can't even breathe past it.

Is that division healthy? If the public me was a mask, I'd say no. I'd know no. But it isn't, I'm not hiding anything. There's nothing to hide out there, because out there I'm okay. I'm okay here, because here I'm home home with dogs and creaky floorboards and gum trees dropping sticks on the roof. If it is like a switch flipping, is my personality splitting?

Just what I need, MORE ME.

I censor myself so much, I don't know when I'm lying to myself any more. It's been getting worse lately; I'm more and more aware of how many people read this place, which makes it harder to put things like this here. This isn't written for you, it's written only for me. It's my survival mechanism. It's my sabotage of my mind. I betray my secrets so I can't keep them. This isn't written for you, but you read it, and without you reading it, it doesn't work. What's the point of exposing a secret if no one notices it? I'm sorry, if this is not what you came here to read, but I need to take it out, and put it down, here. I don't want sympathy or pity, I don't want advice or attention, and I don't want to talk about it. Just need it out, out, out. So, now, I take this space back.

This is Tessadom. The shit smells like fucking roses.

Incidentally, that is why I haven't been so hot on emails lately. It's a private me that checks my mail. It's a private me that's lost her voice and can't say anything to you. Responses will happen, sooner or later. (My money is on later.)

I don't know what I need to do to bring myself out of this, which isn't a position I've ever really been in. I've always known how to pick myself up, but this time, I don't have much reason to do so. Was it Nietzsche who said (paraphrased) that man can tolerate any how, as long as he has a why? I have no why. Don't know where to look to find one. Didn't even realise I'd lost the last one. There's nothing I can do, except wait for life to do what it does, and change. There is only time.

Until then, I'll lie on the floor like a melodramatic twat and weep at sad songs. I just preordered/downloaded Ghosts I-IV, the new album by Nine Inch Nails, which Reznor appears to have tailor-made just for me. In The Fragile and Still I found the most resonance. I consider all NIN albums to be fucking OARSUM, but those two resonate with an emotional complexity and maturity that gets in my blood and lives in my bones. Some call it self-indulgent. I call it beautifulperfectsoundtracktomythoughts. Ghosts I-IV has that same breath-taking resonance. It is pianos and cellos and so thick with mood I can taste it, and it tastes like-

It starts with music. It ends with music. Just ignore all that wank in the middle.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Kitchen, 1:52pm 4th March 2008: who cares if it was half-empty or half-full, it's broken now.

While eating a sandwich at the kitchen bench I knock a glass, and the fingers of both hands cupping bread, watch it smash on the tiles. That’s the usual state of my dirty dishes; twenty or so used mugs and glasses, the bread board, and a couple of knives from making sandwiches. There’s a pathetic lack of plates.

That particular glass had only been sitting beside the sink since somewhere between four and five am. I’d woken myself crying, head pounding from drink and a tearstorm, and downed two Berocca and two Panadine before crawling into bed. Prior to that, I’d fallen asleep on the lounge room floor with Metamorphasis One on repeat. I’d drunk till I’d stopped crying. I’d drunk till I started crying again.

This glass must be safety glass. It shatters in tubby blocky little chunks, spread across the room. I have this habit, when standing and barefoot, of lifting my toes off the ground. There’s glass now under my toes, and I can’t put them down. I can’t move.

I won’t move. Or I might smash all the others, and while that would offer some fleeting satisfaction, then I’d have nothing to put my juice in.

I don’t move. I stand, with toes in the air, and finish my sandwich. The glass is broken. The mess isn’t going anywhere. The larger pieces, run through with cracks, separate and fall apart with little ‘tch-tch’ noises for minutes afterwards. The glass is broken, the glass keeps on breaking.

Monday, March 03, 2008

They are selling my apartment.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Flamboyant Cuttlefish

It is pretty, cute, flashy, limp wristed, POISONOUS and walks. Seriously, what a lump of adorable dragqueen death. This is a case of nature understanding the importance of packaging, and getting the contents right.