Saturday, July 26, 2008

Confession, or, Self-Imposed Drought Due To Communist Conspiracy

I haven't read a book in nearly 8 months.

Does that statement freak you out? It freaks me out. Various people I've said it to have got this look on their face, and the response is usually along the lines of "who are you and what have you done with Tessa?" Which is a pretty good question.

It isn't as though I haven't been reading stories. I've mauled three and a half manuscripts, and will be starting a fourth soon, not to mention all the reading for Weird Tales (a task that is perpetually surprising in both good and bad ways). Yet reading to provide feedback is a markedly different process than reading because you want to. I half wonder if I hit some sort of criticism burnout, but I doubt it.

Maybe it's because I haven't been able to create a dedicated reading space or time. The move to the city took away the time I spent reading on the train, and there was nowhere in the apartment to settle into for the long haul other than the bed. Maybe, but I doubt it.

Maybe it's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which has had a bookmark stuck somewhere in chapter 2 for the past 8 months. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book, but, you, I doubt it.

I'm pretty sure it's the symptom of a prolonged hissy fit.

When you're going through the emotional wringer, it is hard not to lash out at something. Anything. In an effort not to be a total jerk at people who didn't deserve it, my resentment of the world at large ended up being channeled towards something that both meant a lot to me and couldn't fight back (a very important trait when you're looking for a fight).

It isn't such a hard leap to make, when you think about it. Most books offer some sort of closure, or sense of balance and sweet holy fuck, they're qualities that life fails at, astonishingly so. Even those books that offer no answers or neat resolution are guilty of aggravation because they end. The words stop, there are no more pages, there is nothing more that the story can do to the characters. Life tends to just, keep, going, long after the story has ended.

'Allergic to fiction' I said, the same way people are allergic to others who have what they want.

It's stupid, but at least makes more sense than blaming a run of bad luck on some communist ufo government secret society conspiracy.

At least, I think so.

Oh shoosh.

8 months is, I think, long enough for a hissy fit. (Actually, that's quite a spectacular hissy fit.) There's a book-shaped hole in my life that, as vacuums do, is sucking me in. I still have no proper reading space or reading time, other than the odd hour spent at the laundromat, but desire is a force strong enough to bend time and space to its will.

Baby steps, as they say. I will finish Kavalier & Clay, one visit to the laundry at a time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Red Paintings

I discovered The Red Paintings a little while back. I had one track of theirs, a cover of Mad World, which was just brilliant, probably my favourite version of this song, which says a lot.

Finally, I bought Feed the Wolf, which is one of those rare albums that on first listen I didn't merely enjoy, but had my attention demanded and grabbed and held hostage till the last note ended, at which point I put it on repeat and sat in the dark for some time. I love the cello, but the piano knows me best, and when both instruments come together I can't help but stop everything else and listen.

We Belong In The Sea has that effect on me.

Somehow I managed to completely miss the fact that they're playing a free show at the Hi-Fi Bar TONIGHT.


Tickets have already all gone, but I've been advised to just turn up anyway. And oh I shall, even if all I do is loiter at the door listening. Eeee!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"I'm not foreign; I'm exotic."

The wonderful awesome amazing spectacular Jaime pointed this at me, and you must on love on her for it. This video concerns racism in Australia, and is hilarious and true. Especially about the tooth pick thing (except we keep ours in the kitchen drawer). I've watched it four times and counting, think I'm about to make it five.

Also, optus has been playing up in terms of email delivery; most messages get through, albeit hours late, and some are bouncing. If you require me to save the world, please use the bat tessa signal.

ETA: filched from deep sea news--

GIANT FLYING 100 YEAR OLD LOBSTER! Further details and move here.

filched from boingboing--

96 tentacled octopus! Which is...whoa. Every hentai-lover's dream come true. But imagine trying to do anything when you have 96 tentacles? "Still...cannot...grip...tweezers...!"

/end nightshift


FAMOUS SITE is R'lyeh, CTHULHU's most cyclopean crib. He was just chilling, checking Facebook when all this obnoxious braying started, and lo! GIANT FLYING ASS MULE. Cthulhu is all, "this is restricted airspace, get out of my yard!" and Anti-Facebook Ass is all, "he-HAAAAAAAAAAW! he-HAAAAAW-dude are you in your undies?"

(I started painting this before reading ~'s comment, which means ~ is in possession of some serious mind control ray.)

Monday, July 21, 2008


You ask for giant flying underpants!

We give you giant flying underpants! An Uluru! Here at Tessadom we bring joy to the world! Huzzah!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I'm never painting a city again. They're on the ban list with assmonkeys and mosh pits. Seriously. Fuck Paris.

Giant Evil Hover Penguin and a Fish Bomb will do that for me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008



...apparently giant flying deformed upside down albino greyhounds are something of an achilles' heel for me.

I'm hitting the nightshift wall pretty hard, as is indicated by the fact that the sky is overcast just so I wouldn't have to futz about with a shadow, and that the location is over the open sea.

For the record, they are not floating dog turds. The sea in question is the Sargasso Sea and those are clumps of sargassum, a seaweed that grows in great clumps. See Hodgson's stories for further information (it's far more terrifying and wonderful a concept in fiction).

Friday, July 18, 2008


Continuing FAMOUS PLACES and GIANT FLYING THINGS, a badly rendered dugong idling above the Great Pyramids (also badly rendered). I know the flippers are too far back and too fat, but correcting that made it look like I was drawing baby seal pups, and aw hell no.

It's a very silly place to put a flying dugong. There's nothing for them to eat there. Be better over a savannah or meadows.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Continuing the theme of FAMOUS PLACES and GIANT FLYING THINGS, here we see Mt Fuji and a Sucky Bus. The request was actually for a succubus, but...yanno.

Watch out Godzilla. Step aside Gamera. Roll over Ultraman. Sucky Bus is here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I failed to achieve critical mass, and so there will be no 7wishes this nightshift. Which means it’s mouse painting time! The evening was spent in the company of the Aanimal who has been tromping about Peru, and has greatly agitated the travel bug in me. Tonight’s painting is a direct result of that; I give you an artist’s impression of Machu Picchu, doodled from memory from hundreds of photos (see, there’s even the Sun Gate and Wayna Picchu, how good am I?).

And some giant flying sharks. Because when people talk about the collapse of civilisation, they’re talking about giant flying sharks. When people talk about sun worship, they’re talking about giant flying sharks. When people talk about anything at all, they’re talking about Giant. Flying. Sharks.

If you disapprove of this elegant piece of art, you have no choice but to tell me what I should be painting. Art critic rage in the comments, go!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008


I just caught up with all currently followed blogs and feeds, and-

Maybe having internet access is a bad idea.
Maybe I just need to reinstall an emotional buffer.
Maybe there should be no contact with the world after midnight.

I feel pummelled and overwhelmed and sad.

Everyone I owe stuff to; it's coming. You know, eventually. Sorta.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ninja Says

My MacBook here just died. No warning, no errors, it just turned itself off. Like it fainted. Which for a moment I assumed meant the battery was flat, but it's at 42%. Que? Eddie, please don't be getting crotchety on me! I love you, my facsist white laptop!

Monday, July 07, 2008

The First (new) Rule of Tessadom

1. No crying in the bedroom.

I’d decided on this before I moved into this place, although by then it was already far too late to try implement such a thing in the city apartment. When I wrote this post way back when (which at the time I thought was overly melodramatic, and in hindsight think it’s sadly lacking in exaggeration), all that had been the daily routine for a couple of weeks already, and it never really changed. It wasn’t quiet soulful little tears and a sniff either. It was violent, frighteningly so, it was screaming without sound, and no matter how much I gave in and let it out, there was always more, more, more. Whole nights were devoured by crying, until the sun rose or I took drugs, and then the alarm would go off, and before I’d even rolled over I’d be crying again, as if the intervening hours of unconsciousness had never happened.

After some six months of that, you have to start questioning the whole deal.

I started to worry about the long-term effects of prolonged and regular tearstorms, because that can’t be good for your eyes. Would the constant pressure damage them? Would, if the crying stopped, they be unable to cope without all the extra tears and dry out and die? Were my tear ducts going to wear out? Was my face going to fall off? No one notices when you turn up to work with a puffy face and shadowed eyes if you do it every single day.

Then I started to wonder why it never stopped. What caused it was damn freaking obvious, but the intensity and frequency went above and beyond what was warranted. Maybe it wasn’t just coming from me. Maybe it was the apartment, and it had some messed up super freak-out amplifying feng shui going on. In which case, it wouldn’t matter whether or not I had a reason to cry, I was fucked anyway.

Or maybe, since I’d been so careless about where I was doing my crying – this bit of carpet, that bit of carpet, those steps, that corner, this chair, the bed, the tiles, the other tiles, by the window, against the cupboard, etc etc etc – I’d inadvertently contaminated the whole apartment with emotional pollution and mental detritus, and with nowhere to go it just built up and concentrated until stepping through the front door was like stepping into a nuclear reactor of psychic horror. It’s a wonder anyone could visit at all.

Whatever the cause (if there was one), it panned out as these things do, and I came to associate the apartment with being nigh hysterical with misery. It reached the point where I didn’t want to go home after work, because that just meant starting another round of tearstorms.

I’m not keen on living in a space like that again, hence this new rule. No contamination of sleeping space, and given the desk is in the bedroom, hopefully no blogging while crazy. Which won’t stop me, I can always take my laptop into the lounge room.

It’ll be a challenge, as there’s nothing better to do in that space between turning on the light and falling to sleep than brood and dwell and mope. But it’s winter, and damned if I’m getting out of bed to go cry in the kitchen in winter. The first week it was pretty easy, as I was exhausted and busy and everything was shiny and new. It isn’t hard to be distracted by the excitement of new things.

But the dust has settled and the shine has worn off, and I’ve rediscovered that nothing has changed. At the end of the day I’m still a bitter, lonely, frightened fuckup with a broken heart and a sick mother and apocalyptic dreams.

And this fuckup won’t be crying in the bedroom. This fuckup won’t be sleeping in emotional pollution again. This fuckup won’t hate her bed, or fear stepping through the front door, or loose control of her space.

Because this fuckup really doesn’t want her face to fall off.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Heart Attack, Happy Dance, Can't Get This

I had a heart attack today, although not in the usual sense. It would be more accurate to say that I had an attack of the heart. Although not a day goes by in which my heart does not feel under attack from the world at large, so perhaps it would be more accurate to say 'this thing happened'.

Today, this thing happened.

I took a moment to zone out - from the report I was doing, the conversations around me, the various radios fighting for earspace, the office lights - and from nowhere felt sad. Not a wave a sadness, as that implies direction. It was a pulse, from the heart, and it thumped out like blood, just once, and faded away. It blindsided me. I hadn't been coasting near thoughts that made me sad, and I had not spent the day fighting off melancholy, in fact it was quite a cackle filled shift. It was pure sadness too, not tainted with regret, anger, despair or any other sort of emotion so easily confused with it. I sat quietly until it went away.

It's a puzzle, and I've been chewing over it since it happened. Normally I'm quite good at figuring out my own triggers, and why I react to something in any one way, but this sadness had no trigger. It was not a reaction. It shouldn't have been felt, and even as it spread through my limbs a part of me was already analysing and confused. I don't know where it came from, and having decided that I won't ever know that, I've started chasing sillier thoughts, and wonder if maybe some particular combination of lights and sounds or the way my gaze slid across this particular sentence triggered some flex in my brain, or connected the sadness dots, just for one pulse.

If I could find the sounds and movement to spontaneously trigger glee, I would bomb you with it.

Here is a video of people dancing around the world (as filched from boingboing).

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

It is quite unabashedly full of joy, glee, dorkery, and is beautiful. It made me think of my sad pulse. Sadness is a strange emotion, elusive and quiet and rare. It is beautiful, perhaps the calmest of all the negative emotions. Joy and sadness are not so different, methinks. They're as hard to find as each other.

Someone came to this blog using "CAN I GET TESS" in google. The answer is "yes". The next question is "but why would you?"

Ninja Says