Friday, August 29, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 07:30 MonsterLasagneOverlord demands to invade and infiltrate parent's fridge. I must obey. #
  • 07:43 Holy fudgcicles, Batman, MosterLasagneOverlord needs to lose some weight. Or get an elephant to ride on. Or something. #
  • 08:14 MonsterOverlordLasagne smells good. Come sit in my lap, MonsterOverlordLasagne. #
  • 08:16 Great. It just peed in my lap. Now I smell like cheese juice. #
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 08:40 Oh, my furry overlords! Your slobbery kisses wash the worst of nightshift away. #
  • 11:05 I'm being "AHSTOPTHAT" every time I make a tired grumbly sound. This bear does not know how to live under censorship. #
  • 15:00 Nightshift: cheaper than heroin, just as effective. #
  • 16:13 Smoke from the charcoal chicken shop on the corner has insidiously invaded my room. #
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It was good enough for Tintin.

The idea settled a month or so ago, and grew over the course of the Olympic Games, and in the middle of nightshift as I sat watching the closing ceremony, a big and harmonious and united party, I decided that fuck yes I'm going to Tibet.

Because I was sitting in the office at 2 o'clock in the morning that meant I had to start research RIGHT AWAY.

(Don't ever made decisions on nightshift, else you find yourself signing leases on city apartments and doing other fundamentally life-altering activities.)

Tibet is open to tourists, something that only occurred in June and which I entirely missed at the time. Already I've picked out a tour, a long thorough and grueling one that goes over Sawa Daga next year, and ends at the Everest Base Camp. It's within my price range, and so are flights to Kathmandu (don't try to fly straight to Lhasa, the price is three thousand dollars extra), and I've already budgeted how much I'd need to save to cover that, rent, and sundry other expenses.

I should not be doing this, to say the least. The 'grueling' aspect is a slight worry, as even if I start training now I'm still just a slovenly office worker, although this is not enough to put me off the idea.

So I did some research on the political situation and what being a tourist there really means.

Leaving Fear Behind is a video about Tibetans, made by Tibetans.

The idea of our film is not to get famous or to give entertainment. But at a time of great difficulty and a feeling of helplessness, it is for us to show such a film to get some meaningful response and results. It is very difficult [for Tibetans] to go to Beijing and speak out there. So that is why we decided to show the real feelings of Tibetans inside Tibet through this film.

Nowadays, China is declaring that they are preserving and improving Tibetan culture and language. That’s what they’re telling the world. Many organizations and offices have been set up for these things. What they say and what they do are totally different, opposites. If they really want to preserve and improve Tibetan culture and language in Tibet then they should withdraw Chinese people living in Tibetan areas. Tibetan culture and language has to be practiced in all Tibetan areas. If it’s not practiced, how can it be preserved?

The desire to demonstrate against the Chinese hosting of the Olympic Games was strong in me since long ago and I think I will still do it... I think I need to stand up for the Tibetans and this is where I need to go. Staying away from my children and family is one of the hardships, if I live on.

-Dhondup Wangchen

Dhondup Wangchen and his assistant were arrested shortly after filming was completed, and to this day have not been released. I found it very hard to watch. I cried.

Over at ICT I found Interpreting Tibet: A Political Guide To Traveling In Tibet, a PDF going into specific detail as to the current political, cultural and religious stomping that is going on. Monasteries contracted out to become tourist traps, nuns and monks who cannot teach and so cannot pass on their knowledge, 'Tibetan' goods imported from China, it goes on. It's sobering, sickening, and gut-wrenching.

And some part of me is more determined than ever, and some other part of me is certain this would be very bad for me. Initially I wanted to visit Tibet as a contrary reaction and because the wilderness would be wonderful, but I don't think I could enter a nation in the process of being gutted and look the other way, and I don't think I should.

The question is then, what could I hope to achieve? What am I trying to prove?

Mum is trying to convince me that Paris is a better option. She may be right.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

- to walk through walls.

I tell everyone I’ve moved back home, but actually, I live nowhere. Paying for a storage unit to keep my books in is far cheaper than rent.

At night I ghost through the walls of houses and apartment buildings till I find an empty abode. You can tell the degree of emptiness just by breathing the air. The difference between not-home-yet and been-gone-for-a-while-probably-not-coming-back-tonight is distinct. That human smell of warmth and skin sinks and settles over time, without the passage of movement to liven the air again.

In these private domains I poke about, judging the occupants according to what books they have, if they have any at all. I study what photos they choose to display, and look for the photos they close away in albums and drawers and boxes under the bed. I find diaries and read them with only token guilt, and reassess the judgements I have made of these people I have never met accordingly. Sometimes, if I decide I like someone, or am feeling fairy godmothery, I pay one of their bills and hide it away.

I don’t eat their food. That would be stealing. I’m an invader, not a parasite.

My back is ruined from night after night of couch surfing. I’m not comfortable sleeping in someone else’s bed, with my head on someone else’s pillow, where they dream. That’s unhygienic. That’s asking for trouble.

When I slide into this apartment I experience a moment of recognition, yet I've never been here before. I don't know her, but standing in her kitchen, I feel I do. The private space of only one person, one tea cup and one bowl in the sink, one book by the bed, dirty washing piled none too neatly in the corner, underwear drying out in the open in the living room. The assumption that no one else would see these things. Little tics and signs I couldn’t define out loud; I’d found someone lonely.

I can’t find her diary. My instincts tell me she has one. My instincts tell me that, even living alone, she hides it well.

I leave her a big bunch of flowers. Not romantic ones, but lovely ones nevertheless, the biggest most lavish yellow tulips I can find, and a card with only a smiley face on it. I worry that might upset her – who wouldn’t be upset to find someone had broken into your home, even if it was to leave flowers? – but go ahead and do it anyway.

The next day, while she’s at work, I peek in. She’s placed a bowl of milk beside the tulips. I drink it, and because I don’t want to exacerbate any problems with reality she might have, I leave a note: I’m not a fairy, and you’re welcome.

I can’t stay at her place again, I realise sadly. She knows now, and she’ll be looking for signs. Still, I don’t want the mysterious stranger breaking her solitude with flowers only to up and vanish again. I leave a second bunch of tulips, and an ambiguous note stating my intent to disappear. Not that I’d ever appeared to her.

Dammit. I shouldn’t have done that in the first place.

One night, I find a wall I can’t walk through.

My face is a casualty of this discovery.

Intriguing. I touch my nose gingerly. Good thing I didn’t inherit my grandfather’s nose, else the mess would be greater. But...what? Are there other people who can walk through walls? Are we so common this home must be guarded against us? It is nothing remarkable, being one apartment in an old block, with the same floor plan as all the others. Why is it special? Why can’t I get in?

The wall feels like a wall when I tap it, now an unfamiliar sensation. It’s a wall, like...a wall. I can’t get through, which means I have no choice, I must get through.

The ceiling and floor are barred as well. Night after night I return and struggle against this mysterious wall that is so frustratingly wallish, and make some small progress – the spearing of a finger tip here, the depression of my palm there. All my instincts are rendered useless, so I combat them every step of the way, going blind and dumb and slowly. This wall demands I respect it, I learn it, I come to know it well, and one night it all becomes clear, and-

I fall through.

My feet tangle in power cords, I trip over a side table, rip the cable from the wall and land hard on the carpet in an entirely undignified pile. A man stares at me in horror.

I forgot to check if there was anyone home. Whoops.

He surges to his feet, and a great waft of stale armpits roils from him. How did you get in? he demands, outraged.

I gesture at the wall and pick myself up.

But I built them strong, I built them perfect! No one should be able to get in, no one should ever be able to get in.

People get through, I say, unexpectedly and inevitably so.

He looks disgruntled, with hair that hasn’t been brushed and tracksuit pants that he’s grown too comfortable in. It’s a nice little place, and well set up, but it smells like he doesn’t goes out much. I spread my empty hands, a bemused little shrug.

So it would appear, he mutters, and here you are.

I shift uncertainly. This is awkward. I’ve had some near misses in the past, but never actually crashed in front of someone.

I’ll just be going then. Through the door, if that’s okay.

Wait, he says, surprised, and catches himself. I mean, you just got here. It must have taken you a while to get through the wall, I really did build them well. You could tell me how you did it. Or not. I mean, whatever you’re comfortable with. I have Pepsi, he adds, and in him I recognise someone lonely.

I’m not staying, I say, but I’m in a fairy godmother sort of mood. Casting about, I spy a whiteboard on the fridge and on it write an address.

The password, I say, is ‘yellow tulips’.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

- to say what I mean

I say, “hey, guys!”
But what leaves my mouth is a ribbon of yellow, darting about like a blowfly on a string. As we gape, it stills, wilts to a limp little death, and fades.
I say, “what the-“
But what comes out is dirty wool, greasy and crawling with throbbing fluroescant green ticks. As my voice trails off, so the wool slides from one shade of filth to the next, all the way into invisibility.
“!!!” My exclamation is the shape of one red bird of bones, in a leap of alarm.
The people in the office stare at me.
“I’m not doing it on purpose-“ An explosion of lurid pulsating balloon-esque punctuation and the smell of a hot engine on a hot highway on a hot day.
I leave without saying another word.

My first instinct is to call home. When Dad picks up the phone I struggle against a tight throat and hiccup the colour of water tripping in a vast and empty cavern. He can’t hear me.

The doctors I visit are clueless. They provide me with endless hypotheses, none of which offer even the hint of a cure. Camps are formed in the medical field, quickly polarized into whether or not the effect is psychological, physiological or due to external interference. We must run more tests, they state, over and over again. The fact that I stop turning up to any of these tests doesn’t appear to faze them in the slightest, and they carry on without me.

One physicist is certain there’s a wormhole in my head, to another dimension. I joke about singularities and how dense I am, and he never replies to that email (which doesn’t stop him publishing a lengthy article on the topic).

(I send a letter for publication in the next issue, and point out that if he wants to use the wormhole to send a message through, as was his final climatic suggestion, he’ll have to pay the toll, little billy goat.)

(They publish it, sans density joke.)

I’m allowed to keep my job, and never answer the phone again. Surprisingly little changes. The stealth chatter I had via email become bigger and lengthier and just as silly. No one comes my work station to talk to me, except, that is, when they are bored. Then they gather round and beg me to say something, anything. Better than TV. Better than the internet. I tell them I have no voice yet my voice has consumed everything I am, and they shriek at the translucent nautilus that glide out, ghostly and lonely and dropping crow’s eyes.

I stop talking to myself. I didn’t realise it was such a deeply ingrained habit until anarchy-branded turtles swam from between my lips and bumped against the train window. Caltraps and bubblegum fell as I muttered to myself at the intersection of Collins and Spencer. A single resonant chord struck in the tones of a sprained elbow tendon while I watch trams pass and look for familiar faces aboard them. The smell of harmonicas and brine while I browse the racks in a trendy little boutique. All these things are accidental, and draw too much attention.

Mum still calls, because she doesn’t know what else to do. She talks until she has nothing else to say to the empty receiver, knowing I’m listening, full of candy floss and lions, and every time she says goodbye she hesitates, waiting for me to say it back.

Random religious people accost me in the street. Some of them want me to be a modern day oracle, a prophet full of secrets and wonders, and occasionally I am tempted to set up some crazy cult, the Church of Tessaology, and sit around on a cushion eating ice cream all day while my loyal followers build a pod of wooden mechanical hippopotamus so that we may parade around town looking like right tools. Hippolicious tools at that.

Others want to exorcise me. Yeah, right there in the street.

I find myself invited to exclusive functions in echelons of society I didn’t even know existed, much like the Elephant Man was put on display, like a clever little parlour trick. I suppose I am.

Sometimes, I even go as far as to attend these fancy shindings. I learn how to apply eye make-up just to blend in, put them at ease, and then vent my disgust in grand ballrooms and chic penthouses. Disgust has little stamina, and inevitably I end up delivering unto them a soliloquy that even Shakespeare would baulk at, in which is all the frustration I cannot give voice to. I fill their parties with thunderclouds and smog storms with the roil of stale oil and melting polystyrene curling in their delicately powdered noses.

The invitations stop after a few stunts like that.

I stop seeing my friends.

There’s no point. A one-on-one meet up is too much work for the other person; holding up an entire conversation on their own and me only being able to answer yes/no questions, and being able to ask none in return. I give up on groups – I was always the quiet one on the outer, now I’m even further removed from that.

No one can decipher all the nuances of my exhalations. I know, because I am me, and they confuse me even when I know what I am saying. It is an entire new and uncertain language, and no one spends enough time in my presence to justify learning it.

My entire emotional spectrum falling out in rainbows for all the world to see, I’m as transparent as I’ve never been, but I can’t ask for the time, I can’t whisper a snide comment, I can’t shout a warning or tell someone they’ve dropped their ticket, I can’t announce this pizza to be exactly what I need, I can’t tell someone their taste in TV is appalling, I can’t sigh with content at the first mouthful of tea from the first cup of the day, I can’t correct someone on the movement of the continental plates, I can’t congratulate you-

It’s an external synthesia of the subconscious, one supposed specialist says. It’s beautiful.

No, I say, the mournful cry of the wandering albastross drawn in water-coloured grass, it’s lonely.

My blog fills with spam-like posts; the debriefing of the day, inane observations, and my half of every conversation I couldn’t have. And I thought I crapped on too much before. There are few people who can sate my demands for email, the only form of communication left to me, and fate conspires to have them go on lulls simultaneously. Unsurprisingly, I start developing carpal tunnel.

At night, I lie in bed and sing to myself. I watch the colours and shapes and ideas that thread from my mouth until I’m too tired, and fall asleep with all my unspoken words pacing, restless and unheard, through my mind.

When people tell me to look on the bright side, I roar at them, and a monsoon flood of dried chilli blinds them. Then I go back to writing what I want from the deli in clear precise letters. They’re used to me there. They almost know my order by heart: 200grams of gypsy ham, some home-made pate, sundry others. Food for one.

In this movie, I can’t help but laugh, and my laughter is a fountain of warm sparks and the smell of marshmallows and woolly dinosaurs, swiftly damped to the flat odour of wet concrete as the rest of the audience turns to glare at me. I hunch in my seat and pull my scarf up over my mouth. Worse than a mobile phone, that.

Afterwards, as I’m leaving, someone touches my arm. There’s always someone coming on with oh hey, you’re that girl with the thing, right? Do something! Like the Elephant Man. Like a parlour trick. Like I owe it to them.

I turn, my I’m-not-a-friendly-person face on, and she smiles at me awkwardly. I hand her a sheet of paper I keep in my pocket – it’s too old and crease-torn, I need to make a new one – and watch her read my FAQ. Yes, I am. No, I won’t. Thank you for your co-operation.

She holds up one finger and I wait while she fishes about in her bag, because in her face I can’t read any hunger, no expectation of free entertainment. She hands me a piece of paper, soft with the same wear and heavy handling as mine.

It reads:

Hello, my name is Shelley. I am deaf. Please be patient and enunciate clearly when you speak to me.

I can read lips.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 23:50 entering silent #
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Monday, August 18, 2008

all you need to do is pay attention

Depressed? We can tell by your voice, academics say.

Dr Lech's computer program is scanning through the voice data, using pattern recognition techniques to seek telltale "harmonics" unique to a depressed person's voice. It can detect harmonics related to seven different emotions, including fear, excitement or anxiety...

Professor Allen said the research was at an early stage but showed great promise. "In clinical work, the voice is often one of the first things you notice (in depressed patients)," he said.

"I can tell with my patients on the phone, sometimes after only a few words, how they are going. You can hear a flatness, a tension coming through. The voice changes very dramatically when they are depressed."


This is called listening.

I find it upsetting and a little disgusting that there is room for demand that such a voice-reading program exist. We're all creatures of conversation, even me, Little Miss Hermit Crab, have enough and sit through enough conversations in a day to understand that the dialogue is only part of the whole interaction. Facial inflection, louder body language, pauses for consideration, the words you choose, the words you don't choose, and how you say what you say make the whole. These things make a face to face conversation so much more meaningful than some quick IM of txt speak, and even a hand written letter.

We all read these things. All you need to do in order to understand them is pay attention.

No one should ever need a computer to tell them what is contained in another person's voice.

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 13:29 Observation: keeping ham in plastic instead of butcher paper stops the colonisation of white crystaline stuff. Jolly good. #
  • 13:29 I'm not cool with no white crystaline stuff colonising my ham. My sandwich needs that ham, mini-civilisations be damned. #
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Current mood:

If this is going where I think it's going...

...well, there'll be a lot more pictures like this.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 01:33 "I took the man I loved from my best friend, she got real slick and took him back again." #
  • 02:07 Must get up by 1pm. Is alarm required? Serious contemplation involved. #
  • 13:53 Observation: cucumbers left in the fridge over long wrapped in plastic exude slime over their skin. #
  • 15:50 One fluro tube in the office is flickering and I am not going to last 8 hours beneath it. #
  • 18:51 only 4 people here, dark outside, lots of long corridors and empty rooms to hide in...this is the natural habitat of crazy axe murderers. #
  • 23:50 I lost the time between Westgarth and Ivanhoe. 10 minutes of my life I don't remember and won't get back. #
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A penguin who was previously made a Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian Army has been knighted at Edinburgh Zoo.
picture from here

There's a video in the top link showing his knighting, and unsurprisingly he's not impressed with the sword. Or the guardsmen he's inspecting. He arcs up at one of them, who probably isn't sucking his gut in enough. I love the commentator stumbling at just the moment of "that you are, as a- as a penguin, in all ways qualified-." Nils Olav is is a KNIGHT. You address this King Penguin as SIR. But more importantly NORWAY IS BUILDING A PENGUIN ARMY.

Yeah, I totally control the course of history. Me and the Norwegian King are tight like that. Just you wait till the dinosaurs show up.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lady Sings The Blues

I spent the evening at Bennetts Lane listening to Barbara Morrison sing, and sing, and sing from Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holliday. I've no idea how old she is, but she rocks a shock white afro, and when she giggles and gives her age as 28, I believe her. The way she flirts, sasses and plays with the audience, she's younger than me, and more woman than I'll ever be. I'm in looooove.

We didn't have a full band and stage, as Bennetts is a hard core jazz club, ie, small and cramped and well-loved in a scuffed and tired sort of way, but there she is.

Makes me want to spend the night dancing and drowning in outrageous romance.

Sleep is poor alternative (yet has its allures).

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 00:39 I am guilty of Editing Under The Influence. Avert your eyes! Do not see me! #
  • 00:50 @MattStaggs ribofunk requires a higher level of voice control. steampunk made top hats acceptable. #
  • 00:56 @MattStaggs Bass strung with viscera VS top hat? One is cooler than the other, one is more popular than the other. Alas. #
  • 00:57 Not that I'm dissing steampunk. Love steampunk. Would just like more ribofunk in the world. #
  • 01:01 @MattStaggs amazon wishlist +1, damn you, you recommending fiend. #
  • 01:32 There is a sigh that can only be called into existence after the first sip of that first cup of tea has warmed your throat. Ahh. #
  • 01:49 @MattStaggs just had a play - can't get my eyes close enough together. XD #
  • 02:14 5:40-5:50 sounds like sunshine through tears. #
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Cheese. Pie.

Kirsten made me giggle, comparing this place to a candy shop, because of course I immediately thought of that godawful arrogant piece of shit song by that rap guy whose name I don't know, going on about candy shops and letting you lick the lollypop, which isn't even a metaphour. He's not even trying there. And seriously, it is not a privilege to give someone a head job.

Anyway, this isn't that sort of candy shop. You don't have to lick anything you don't want to.

Especially considering today's topic is worms. A new species discovered in the Caribbean, and here I'll quote Ugly Overload as I can't say it any better;
Nemerteans are primitive even for worms. They are hunters, and kill by shooting their proboscis into their prey like a stun gun. And, AND, they produce more slime than the infamous hagfish. Morgan has witnessed firsthand a nemertean worm being placed in a petrie dish, the worm then filling the dish with slime, and thereby sealing itself in. How's that for ugly?

I mean, you can lick that if you really want to...actually I wouldn't blame you if you're mistaken at first, because these worms are so pretty! They're bright little raver worms, high on snot.

I'm pretty sure I've exclamation pointed about sun fish before, so I'll just stick to sharing this photo;

Yeah. That sun fish fills a whole freaking carpark. It was hoisted into the Australian Museum through a window. Photo found here long with general info on the sun fish, and if you like dead squid dead whales dead fishy things, the flickr stream the photo came from is worth checking out too.

You could lick that, if you like, but there've been reports that sun fish float up on the surface so that seabirds can land on them and pick parasites off them. More than 40 species of parasites. I better stop reading up on them now, or I'll be regurgitating useless information all night. I love them, they're so bizarre and dumb and adorable. They eat jelly fish, you know, by sucking them in and spitting them out so they get all ripped and easy to swallow.

Speaking of eating, I attempted to eat a piece of cheese pie for dinner. The deli advertised it as home made, and it looked good. For future reference, don't eat cheese pie. You will not win.


for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 02:37 7 of 7: 5,994 words. (Fattening to come later. Now, come coma.) #
  • 14:04 against my better judgement, I will not be calling in sick today. #
  • 14:05 yet, in a remarkable display of foresight, i have topped my mixers and will be able to get angry sloshed again tonight (inevitably.) #
  • 14:06 damn i'm good. #
  • 21:03 rain glow under a street light, old windows in lights, cars on a wet road, it's amoreeeeeeee. #
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

quote stealing

Concerning Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World:
The penguin was so enthusiastic looking, waddling excitedly toward the mountains. Toward its death. I keep thinking back to the footage of the penguin just looking off at the mountain instead of going for food or going back to the nest, like he was just realizing there might be another choice. And, yeah, maybe that choice means death, ultimately, but it's hard to watch him try and not feel a little excited inside your heart.

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 00:54 @scribblefly if you do to the pterodactyls what you did to the wookies, there will be a reckoning. #
  • 01:15 5 of 7: 3,812. (Concise again, but devised new ending for previous, thus undermining conciseness.) #
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 22:04 4 of 7: 3,275 words. (Concise, just for a change.) #
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Dirty, dirty, dirty habits

Over at Bibliophile Stalker the kazbar-rocker Matt Staggs has been grilled and interrogated interviewed regarding his work as a book publicist, and he mentions my writing, stating I write "these incredible little slices of creative fiction that you should really check out." Too kind!

He even warned me of this before hand, which was even kinder, since it gave me the chance to get my freak out over and done with in private. See? Me, being all calm and adult-like. Be impressed. Even more thanks, Matt, I'll endeavour to turn off all caps in at least one future email.

Back in May I had another stealth mad prop from teh oarsum Deborah Biancotti, who accused me of being a "compelling writer". Which involved a lot of tizzing about on my part, not unlike a demented blowfly.

Actually, I have to confess my first reaction to both of these didn't involve any freaking out. The freak out did happen, but later. I was stuck for a long while on asking what on earth these two were reading of mine, 'cause, ah, I haven't published anything of note recently. Or at all for that matter. IS MY FUTURE BODACIOUSNESS THAT GREAT, IT REACHES BACK IN TIME AND GIVES ME THE GLOW OF FABULOUS?

No, wait-

This blog is always an afterthought. Poor blog. I don't tend to count any of my nightshift shenanigans as "writing" for the true and hard and high and mighty definition of "writing". 7wishes is written for this blog, and blog writing doesn't count. Don't ask me why, but it doesn't. I'm also writing about me, and fictional situations or no, that makes it count even less. Even as I go write myself into another satisfyingly sticky end, it feels a bit...dirty. Like all those fanfiction stories in which the fan very carefully takes the universe they are so dearly in love with and then completely miss the point, commit not just character assassination but character genocide, and generally make a great big masturbatory mess out of everything. (It's not even like I'm a fan of my life, c'mon now.)

All that aside, 7wishes appears to be well liked, and which is a huge relief and no small warm fuzzy thing. I enjoy writing them; they're a bizarre little challenge and deliciously self-indulgent. They'll continue for as long as is sustainable, but I'm not going to push myself to produce a new set every nightshift, else they'll all turn out as hit-and-miss as 7wishesIII. Ideas come when they choose to, and the flavour that the stories have picked for themselves means I have to be fussy. More concepts have been discarded than used.

I'm not all that keen on resorting to painting every other nightshift (strangely grueling activity that), so I have a couple of backup ideas tucked in the hindmind that I'll mess around with at a later date. That's the only warning you get.

And finally, the whole point of this post; Matt's nudge reminded me to make a table of contents for 7wishes and 7paintingfiascos, which I meant to do ages ago. There's a permanent link up on the top right, for all those moments you need a fix of Bert and just can't find him in the archive.

Thank you, my strange and wonderful readers. You humble and honor me.

Next nightshift begins in T minus 8 days and counting...

7wishes Table of Contents

The stories of 7wishes were written to keep my head above water, posted to alleviate the loneliness and isolation of nightshift, and have moved on from their humble bloggy beginnings as these things are wont to do.

The collection has been gussied up so as not to be an embarrassment in polite society and is currently represented by Sally Harding of the Cooke Agency (Canada).

  • for a day when the gravity is turned down
  • for a pony
  • for a day in which we are only allowed to talk to strangers, and are not allowed to acknowledge anyone known to us
  • for real true amazing sleep
  • that there is a little door in my room, only big enough to crawl through on my belly, with paint so faded and peeled it is no colour, it is all colours
  • for silence
  • for them to finally drop the bomb
  • for a bigger, better, blimptastic balloon
  • for a world without secrets or strangers
  • for a rock to hide under
  • to save the world, one light globe at a time
  • for foresight
  • for the world to respect people on nightshift and during the day just stop it, seriously now, we’re trying to sleep
  • for consequences and crocodiles
  • for earthquakes
  • for more time
  • to be king, I hear it's good to be king
  • to live in the path of some great migration
  • for it to be bleeding obvious
  • sharing is caring
  • for a bear
  • for the revolution
Extra Love

Monday, August 11, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 21:16 1 of 7: 1,262 words. (Man, I really do crap on.) #
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knit me to the bottom of the sea

Steve's morning trawl pulled up a knitted nudibranch, and in his infinite wisdom he passed it on to me, and my head exploded. It was very messy.

Further investigations revealed the existence of not just patterns for a knitted nudibranch, but for an angler fish and hermit crab also.

Which caused more head explosions.

Further patterns are available at hansigurumi's etsy shop, including and not limited to, puffer fish, cuttlefish, squid, octopus, praying mantis and the Loch Ness Monster.

(I love the idea of having a making a whole bunch of cuttlefish and then hanging them from the ceiling. Or covering the couch entirely with hermit crabs.)

If you'll excuse me, I must go make puppy-dog eyes at my dear darling knitastic mother.

Well, hello there...

Is that an electricity bill in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?
Oh, you're not pleased to see me.

Good thing I don't have a life, or this would severely cramp my style. Yikes. Guess I'm not buying another bookshelf next pay. Or, you know, eating anything other than plain cooked rice. You'll just have to put up with my continual whining about how cold I am, as that's clearly cheaper than turning on the heater.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 00:39 @MattStaggs PITCHUR OR IT NEVER HAPPENED. #
  • 01:17 i'm durnk, strum strum, and right now i am soooo in love with you- #
  • 01:28 where is my mind? tum tum tum the bass guitar #
  • 01:40 @MattStaggs indeed you are rockin'! shuffle has moved on now, oh fate, what are you making me listen to? WHOSE MUSIC IS THIS CRAP-oh wait... #
  • 01:45 Nether-feathers! #
  • 01:45 Why don't I have nether-feathers? #
  • 01:46 It's more fun to say than 'pubic hair'. Nether-feathers. Pubic hair. Nether-feathers. Public hair. #
  • 02:24 I'm gonna hunt me some ZZZ's, and when I see 'em, I'm gonna drag 'em down a dark alley and have my way with 'em, oooh yeah. #
  • 16:08 i knew this was going to involve blood. #
  • 16:12 my coats have been having sex while i'm out. #
  • 16:13 there's red fluff all over this coat. it's been in congress with the lumberjack coat. #
  • 16:14 that's the only explanation there is, 'cause i have not been rubbing up on red fluffy people. #
  • 16:15 (my clothes get more nookie than i do. que?) #
  • 16:24 makes you wonder what's going on in the bottom drawer... #
  • 17:17 oh come on, this involves blood too? #
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Bratturd Suppression

My toes are actually interdimensional portals, through which come the dried up turds of constipated Elder Gods which are so frozen by the interstellar gulf they're invincible, and these then make up my toenails. When Sauron was chillin' in his tower, wondering how to most effectively terrorise the armies of Gondor, one of his henchies suggested throwing my toenails over the walls. Even Sauron said no, hey man, that's taking it a bit far. We'll just stick to decapitated heads.

So, for those of you not quick on the uptake, they're a right bugger to trim. It's a major undertaking. I was going to take the TMI I started in the previous post a step further, and inflict a photo of my frozenElderGodturd toenail cuttings upon ye all, because I'm a jerk like that.

But that's probably the reason why my sex life is the square root of minus one, and I've chosen to be merciful and not inflict my frozenElderGodturd toenails upon you. Am I not merciful? Someone pat me on the head.

(Actually, I really didn't want to zoom in. WHO KNOWS WHAT MYSTERIES LURK BENEATH MY TOENAILS? FHTAGN!)

Sharks, Velociraptors & Pills

Recently, I realised I've been taking oral contraceptive for about 10 years, another of those sobering even when sober things. When I moved back to Melbourne I stayed on it because it kept my periods shorter and lighter than off it.

But...bloody hell. 10 years? That's my entire adult life. I remember having TIDES OF BLOOD which lasted anywhere from 7 to 10 days, but 10 years? A lot changes in 10 years. Given my chances of having sex are less than zero-- actually, they're even worse than negative numbers. The potential for sex in my life has strayed into the realm of imaginary numbers, oh yes, the square root of minus one.

Wait, I have to stop laughing at my own joke.

Okay, done now. Where was I?

Control of my period, while convenient, doesn't seem quite enough of a reason to stay on it. I'm not travelling, I'm not fucking, and I don't know that the pill has done much to alter all the crap that heralds the arrival of a period. Cramps have never been much of a problem for me. The pre-period headache might have developed under the pill, but I honestly don't remember. Being crazy and cranky is...a negligible side-effect, yanno. I'm quite capable of doing that on my own.

Finally, when it comes down to it, I'm not comfortable with unnecessary medication.

Initial scouting around the intrawebz was eyebrow raising, considering there seemed to be very little adverse affects occurring from long term use of the pill. Eyebrows went up even more when I came across mentions that the pill can increase depression in already depressed people and oh hellfuck really? OH REALLY? IS THAT A FACT? GET ME OFF THIS THING RIGHT NOW.

Plus, my boobs might shrink. Booyah!

That's all well and good, but I don't believe stopping hormone control cold turkey after 10 years is something that won't have side-effects of its own. More scouting brought me to this thread.

I'm only up to page 5 and I'm scared shitless.

There's all sorts of contrary accounts of side effects from the particular brand I'm taking, some people stating they piled on the weight and the depression, other people saying it was great and nothing changed at all for them, and a couple even said it helped lessen their depression. I haven't been able to find any statement regarding withdrawal symptoms when coming of it, so maybe that means what effects occur may be mild...

I don't know what to do, now. I don't have a particular reason to stay on the pill, and I don't have a particular reason to stop taking it. It can take a year for your body to sort its hormones out and start running normally again. There are people in that thread saying 'oh, 4 months later and it's a bit better, I'm still miserable and depressed though.'

I just stopped drowning. I don't want to start again.

I didn't take my pill this morning.

I don't know what I'll do tomorrow morning.

ETA: Aha! Pre-period migraines are pill related. Stoopid pill. Also? Read the whole thread and decided the sensible thing to do is sweet fuck all. Huge intense depression plus dizziness plus fatigue for the possibility of mildly less depression and smaller boobs after a year or more of processing versus staying on something that gives me migraines and might be increasing my depression is...I don't know. It's a decision that can wait till next month. Too freaked out about it right now.


I've called time out on my errand/chore slaying to bring you an amusing food item found in the local supermarket.

It's a "piggy back" filled with lotus paste.

And it falls into an enormous uncanny valley. It isn't an impression of a pig, it's molded to look like a pig, a freaking dead pig laid out on the table and ready for roast, complete with buttocks. The eyes are closed because it's DEAD. It's laying down because it's DEAD. It's kinda creepy. I ate the face first.

There's nothing in the plastic base other than a couple of moisture-eating packets. It's peculiar and confronting and I'm not thinking it'll move from the shelves fast. Although you can't go wrong with lotus paste.

Hang on, the Year of the Pig was last year. How old is this thing?

Friday, August 08, 2008


Gakked from good ol' Deep Sea News, this amazing totally giddifying video of a special night time dive on offer in Maui, Hawaii, where they stick you on a rope and drop you 60ft down with one small flashlight.

I think I just creamed my pants. There's a colony jelly in there! And those mad little underwater blowflies hopped up on eccy! And flashing lights! And see through beasties! And space ships! And he's asking whether or not he should go.

I R ded.

And I need to go to Hawaii. And learn to dive.

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 12:30 The green grocer died. I'm trying to remember his face, but the sun is blinding me. #
  • 12:42 She's eating an apple, writing a poem on a wrinkled paper bag, supported by a book on russian peasant needle work. #
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[Not] Omelette


You know, I was about to write about seagulls, and then I checked my mail and found this piece of spam, and I think I'm going to copy 'n paste it and burn the fucker into your eyeballs.

Hitler gasped f or air. His left ha nd held a g l ass jar over the head
of his penis. His body suddenly spasmed against the plush of the
soft leather couch. A primeval scream p ar tially suppressed
through clenched teeth resounded through the room. The sound
was deadened by the rich tapestries that covered the walls of
the se m i-dark office.
Still breathing heavily, the leader of the Third Reich held the jar
up t o a light and studied the sticky substance s lowly sliding down
the insides of the container. He stood, screwed the cap into
place and set the jar on his desk next to the untouched
photographs of nude women in various provocative poses. He
fo r ced his still semi-erect penis into his pants and buttoned
his fly.
He looked down to see if his clothes were in proper array.
Satisfie d , he bent over and picked up the pictur e of his mother
t hat had fallen f r om his lap during the final moment of ecstasy.
He s l id the picture into the inside breast pocket of his tunic
making sure it was deeply seated. H e then pressed a buzzer
and left the room.
Moments later, Colonel Ludwig Schmidt, wearing the uniform
of the elite SS guard, enter e d and gathered the photographs.
He placed th e m in an envelope that had been lying on the desk.
The e nv elope wa s marked "TOP SECRET" in bold red letters
across its front and back. The Colonel then took the jar and
placed it in an insulated steel cased box packed with dry ice.
He closed the cover and secured it with a heavy brass lock.
From his pocket he removed a small candle and cigarette lighter.
After lighting the candle he held it so that the hot wax dripped
into the keyhole and the surrounding area of the lock. He then
pressed the face of a signet ring he was wearing against the still
soft wax. He then left the room taking the envelope and the box
with him.
& n bsp;
The submarine's periscope cleaved the warm waters of the
Caribbean Sea exposing no more than two feet of camouflaged
metal above the lapping waves. It slowly rotated, scanning the
horizon through the splash caused by the mild tropical winds.
The b r ight moonlight ma d e the lone freighter on the horizon
stand out in bold silhouette.
"Down periscope," the Captain said, smartly folding the handle
bars. He turned to the young blond militarily erect man dressed
in ordinary seaman's clothes and said, "Come Colonel Schmidt,
let us go to my quarters and go over the plans for transferring
the pers o nnel to the freighter."
Sitting at the steel planning desk in the cramped quarters the
Captain faced the Colonel and said, "It i s no secret the war is
going badly. The Allies are dominating the sea lanes and I have
grave doubts about my ability to get this sub and its crew back
to the Fatherland. It is one thing to die for the Fuhrer in battle;
it is quite another to play nursemaid to a dozen pregnant women.
Can you not tell me as officer to officer what this is all about?
I promise you the information will go no further than within this
room. It would make our fate more bearable if I knew the
sacrifice was of consequential importance." The Colonel studied
the su b marine's Captain across the desk before ans w ering.
"The twelve women are pregnant with the Fuhrer's children."

The Captain sat dumbfounded. Finally he said, "Gottimhimmel!
How is it possible? All twelve? W hy are they on this U-boat?
What is this all about ?& quot; As he starte d to speak, the Colo n el's
voice ros e from low key to a hysterical crescendo. "As you
observed, Captain, the war is going badly. Our Fuhrer is a
brilliant man. He sees far beyond the immediacy of today's
b a ttles—won or lost.
He p l ans only for the u l timate domination of> this globe by p u re
Aryans. The twelve women represent the best of German
womanhood, each the purest Aryan. Each selected for breeding
qualities of health and intelligence. Each from families that bore
predominantly male offspring.
“Through th e use of eugenic s e lection and artificial insemination
it is the Fuhrer's plan to father a child in his own image.
A c hild who would possess his genius and deter m ination.
That child will be raised in America and ultimately rise to a
position of pow e r. In America he will plant the seeds that will
mature into the Fourth Reich. He will become—The American Fuhrer.

That is quite possibly the best piece of spam I've ever had the misfortune to receive. Why couldn't it have arrived before the close of the Weird Tales Spam Fiction Contest? Now I'm going to inebriate myself and do the dishes. Love you / air kiss.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

What's in a name?

Optus is still fucking with my email. Not everything is getting to me, not everything is getting out from me. Trying to work around that.

I was attempting to set up sirtessa as a gmail account, but due to having that username and blogger being bought by google, I ended up with wonky accounts, and in an effort to set everything up in the one google account, deleted sirtessa as a gmail address.

After which I read the bit about the username never being available again.


I've bitten the bullet and just gone with my name. If you know it, you know it, if you don't, it isn't hard to find. I avoid using my surname because a) I'm the only person with my name in the world, b) I'm not sure if, on the path to being a Rockstar Superhero Mad Ninja God Author, it's a surname I'll be retaining, and c) it makes this blog pop up on porn searches in google. For Serious.

I've set up all three addresses to reply from the gmail one, so if you're too lazy to update your address books, don't sweat it.

(Actually, I'm not sure if the aunix one is set up properly either...I've sent, but has anyone received?)

In the process of sorting out that gmail account, I discovered I'd already registered it, and had mail in it from 2004. Ummm, sorry about that, you know who you are.


This post triggered a chewy discussion on "the mechanics of forgiveness", to steal the phrase from Kirsten Bishop.

I particularly like the last comment left by Deborah Biancotti;

'I forgive you', for me, does not translate into 'what you did was OK' or even 'we are OK' -- it is 'I am OK'.

And maybe it's 'you are freed from my previous need for you to address the hurt you caused me'. To be complicated about it.

Which I think is the purest ideal of forgiveness, and something worth cultivating in yourself.

That said, I will not, at the present, be using that definition of forgiveness on myself. If applied to me it reveals that I've never forgiven anyone in my life. BECAUSE I'M A MEAN BITTER SHRIVELED UP LITTLE HAGFISH. AND I EAT DESSICATED BABIES FOR BREAKFAST.

If anyone else has any thoughts to add, I'd love to hear them. I think I've said all I have to say, but given forgiveness is an intensely personal process, I'm sure there are approach vectors we've missed.

Actually, fuck forgiveness. If anyone has any tales of RAW AND STEAMING VENGEANCE, goddamn, share them.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Running While Standing Still

I’ve been thinking about vengeance. There’s a word that has it’s own sort of onamotapea. Venge has the same grunt of strain and force and motion as lunge, it’s the thrust of the blade, which comes up to smack hard on ge, as the hilt smacks on skin and bone, a moment of stillness before eance, a sibilant exhalation that comes after that act, that comes from either side of the knife.

It’s an idea that occasionally looks like justice, but from here the two don’t appear to have much in common. Vengeance sinks its roots in a reaction that can only be described as “how dare you.” A certain level of self-importance is required for such a reaction to occur, which enables anyone to take anything as a personal affront, and then seek to learn the offender of their mistakes, and learn them real good. It demands that the world respect or fear them, regardless of what the initial affront and its magnitude or triviality may have been. That self-importance is all that is needed to justify actions that are not always warranted, on either a personal, moral or social scale.

Suffice it to say, I don’t possess the required degree of self-importance.

I was thinking about forgiveness, a word that sounds nothing like what it is. Given my predilection for latching onto and holding long, entirely pointless and totally eventless grudges, it’s a habit I’ve been trying to cultivate. At first it seemed forgiveness should be indiscriminate, which is just what happens when you’re trying to find balance on new ground – you go too far in the wrong direction.

Forgiveness is no small thing (especially when you’re a grumpy old man), and is not doled out freely. I’ve found I don’t want to deal it out willy-nilly; forgiveness is like respect, it needs to be earned, not expected. Forgiveness means nothing when it isn’t met with an oncoming apology or acknowledgement of things past. If I’m not worth apologising to, then you’re not worth forgiving.

I was thinking about forgetting.

Which isn’t possible.

Finally, I was thinking about what was left for me to do.

The only course of action left is to run. It’s a familiar tactic. I have more practice at it than is strictly necessary and it's a dirty habit, but right now it’s the sensible thing to do. Saying nothing and doing nothing, I’ll flee through time, and every day without earthquakes and every day I see the end of is another day I’ve won, and I’ll put each of these days here, between then and now, until the distance is so great and old hurts are scarred over with new hurts and all history is no longer of any concern to me.

I know these are all just amusing stories in the making. Look at the past through the lens of so many days and nothing means anything anymore.