Monday, September 29, 2008

a. Cry. (coin toss tie-breaker)

“There, there,” the ButlerBot says, without making even the slightest effort to sound comforting. “There’s a time and a place for that, and I must confess to have neither the interest nor software to indulge in such behaviour. Please save such displays for Miss Henry.”

The ButlerBot ejects a spoon and scoops a thick glug of green puree from the bowl.

“The Rites of Heegurkurkur deplete the physical body’s precious bodily essences. Miss Henry is quite clear on the matter.”

The spoon nears your face, gliding closer, closer…

“You must eat to replenish your essences, before it is too late. It is nearly time!”

a. Eat the damn porridge.

b. Cry more.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

a. Throw the damn parsley porridge at the ButlerBot, throw the pillow at the ButlerBot, throw yourself at the ButlerBot, etc.

The bowl of fine bone china made from real Chinese bones smashes on the ButlerBot’s monoform head, and fails to even scratch the polished finish. Parsley porridge oozes down the ButlerBot’s chassis like so much ectoplasmic mucus, the smell of overstewed herb thick and repugnant in the air.

You leap after the bowl, flailing through the manchester trappings, and the ButlerBot bats you aside with ease, wrapping and pinning you in a sheet with a smooth fluidity that suggests you are not the first person to react in such fashion.

The ButlerBot produces another fine bone china bowl made from real Chinese bones.

The ButlerBot vomits parsley porridge into the bowl.

“Please eat, before it gets cold. The time is at hand.”

a. Cry.

b. Scream bloody murder.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

a. Swim to the edge of the bed, find your clothes and GTFO!

The ButlerBot sighs as you surge into action. The pillow, holy smokes, the pillow! It’s a trap! You flail about like an epileptic fish, the pillow your soft and loving captor, the sheets your decadent bindings. Oh, the pillow! An ill-calculated roll sees you near suffocating in that soft lovingness, but the same move allows you to get your arms beneath you, and you surface, gasping.

At last you can see the room. It’s all pillows and drapes and suspicious stains and burnt out candles and floral patterns and goat testicles.

Aaaugh, must get out must get out. You flounder about the bed, but holy smokes, the bed! It has no edge! The whole damn room is one giant bed and you’re drowning in throw pillows and 10,000 thread count sheets! It is a bog! A terrible bed bog!

“Please don’t spill the porridge on Miss Henry’s sheets,” the ButlerBot says.

a. Throw the damn parsley porridge at the ButlerBot, throw the pillow at the ButlerBot, throw yourself at the ButlerBot, etc.

b. Calm down, be reasonable(ish), request your clothes and a taxi. Quickly. NOW.

Friday, September 26, 2008

a. Do I look like I eat peasant food, you obsolete calculator?

“I’m afraid that is the extent of the morning menu. Miss Henry has very stringent ideas concerning early morning digestion. As is oft quoted, ‘that will go straight to your arse.’ I have no comment on parsley.”

The events of the previous night rise to the surface of your mind like so many cooked potatos. There was some tequila at a bar after work, which saw you entangled with someone’s after party that somehow lead to a circus, then there was some gin, and some gin got in your gin, followed by a sports bar, some scotch got in your gin, a souvlaki at an all night kiosk, and…Miss Henry. Followed by a lime milkshake and the Rites of Heegurkurkur.

Oh boy.

a. Swim to the edge of the bed, find your clothes, and GTFO!

b. Sit there grinning like a top square school kid who just won the spelling bee.

c. I’d really like a crocodile steak.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

c. Wait…er, where am I?

“You are in bed,” the ButlerBot says, with a faint tone of long-suffering and entirely non-judgemental patience that is nevertheless pure scorn. The robot goes on to lay out a silver tray set with lovely fine bone china, made from authentic bones removed with surgical precision from the bodies of authentic Chinese people.

There is a small vase with a jonquil. There is a large deep bowl. It is full of a disgusting green slurry. This is parsley porridge.

a. Do I look like I eat peasant food, you obsolete calculator?

b. Actually, I’m allergic to porridge.

c. Er…so how did I get here?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Predestined (to a point): MAJORITY RULE

These sheets have a 10,000 thread count. It could be higher, but there comes a point where quality can no longer be measured, and merely falls in that vast and unquantifiable realm of luxury. These sheets speak to you through your skin, and they aren't so much talking as kissing your back and ankles and when you shift, ever so slightly, oh goodness.

These pillows have been filled with the downy feathers of two week old baby FlufferBirds, lovingly plucked by VestalVirginBots, spun with the hair of plump burbling blonde babies and stuffed in something that also has an astronomically high thread count. Your head is sunk in one, and while it supports you perfectly, just perfectly, you’ve no peripheral vision and your ears are covered. No wonder you slept so well.

This mattress is...kinda weird.

As sleep recedes slow and gentle you open your eyes. Great veils of velvet obscure the ceiling. And the walls. You raise your head, but don’t quite escape the pillow.

"Good morning," the ButlerBot says. "I trust you slept well. Will you be taking breakfast in bed today?"

a. Not this morning, please pass my clothes.

b. Yes! I want a crocodile steak. With tomato sauce. And a toasted muffin. Is there any vegemite?

c. Wait…er, where am I?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It was a random encounter at the station, and I ran. I didn't know I was fleeing till I'd fled, and by then it was too late. Just goes to show that nothing has changed, and nothing will change, and I've gone nowhere and done nothing. Everything I thought I might have possible dealt with just came gushing back up the plug hole. That was probably the universe caught in a moment of kindness, giving me one chance to make things better, and I ran. I was ashamed and pathetic then, I'm ashamed and pathetic now. I fucking hate myself. These things will never change.

I said that it's probable all the fear and helplessness concerning Mum comes bursting out at any opportunity. There's nothing that can be done about Mum, I can't show these things to Mum, and so when entirely unrelated upsets pop up, it all leaks out and makes my ever reactions a bit more fraught.

I don't suppose it matters. I like to get big in my head, and imagine myself capable of dealing with the situation, any situation, better, but I know I couldn't. Even if I pulled such a feat off, I wouldn't be able to sustain it. It all ends on the lounge room floor, over and over.

I'm not reading, I'm not checking, I'm not here. Sorry.

Monday, September 15, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 08:56 Hello again, 4am. Oh, you brought a friend? Nice to meet you, 5am. And 6am? Gosh. Gee. Whizz. #
  • 11:32 Finally twitter has been blocked at work. I'm surprised it went unnoticed so long. #
  • 20:30 If you insist on crawling into my kettle, then I insist on boiling you alive. #
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

oh, she found a hangover to hide under

Letters from India: Serving the Goddess looks at the lives of current day devadasi, a class of sacred sex workers who ply their trade in the name of Yellamma. It is devastating, the lack of choice many of the women who become devadasi had, and then heartening, the way some of them use their position to their advantage and improve things not just in their own lives, but that of friends and family, and then devastating again, because no matter how they try, it can only end badly.

On a Wednesday Night

Each text message I receive is a Big Event, as they're as rare as rocking horse shit. This text message is from my mother, and it reads "So this is what the inside of a black hole is like. Looks familiar".

I stare at this message for a very long time. My mum just sent me the most depressing text in the history of history. I don't know what to do. Should I go home? Today was her chemo-on day, maybe she's having a bad time.

No, this isn't mum's style, not her style at all. I have no idea what she's talking about. But what if she's flipped out, like really flipped out so much she'd send out of character and emo as all fuck text messages? This is serious. Should I go home?

No, really, no that can't be it.



"are you talking about that collider thing in France?

"Yes. It happened about 2 hours ago."


A Yankee In London: From Hell Chapter Four Walking And Riding Tour is the report of one person following the steps of Sir William Gull and his driver Netley as they trot about London and Gull freaks poor Netley out with his vast conspiracy and ritual talk. It goes through many churches and sites of significant cultural, historical, and religious events, and on reading the chapter it is hard not to believe the whole shebang. Taking the tour today sounds slightly less magnificent than when Gull and Netley did so, but it remains an interesting read. That particular chapter of From Hell is my favourite, seeing it mapped out in photos is a treat.

On A Saturday Morning

I spend two minutes of my life waiting for the kettle to boil, and that is all those two minutes contain. The kettle clicks. I put the teabag in the cup, and pour boiling water, and little black shapes come whirling up in the currents.

At first I assume they're escaped tea leaves, but on closer inspection they turn out to be ants. Boiled alive. Six of them.

There are no ants in the tea box when I check it, and there were none in the cup. They must have been in the kettle. That could mean the insecticide I sprayed about got in the kettle as well.

I spend another minute of my life considering whether or not to drink this cup of tea, six dead ants and insecticide, and that is all that one minute contains.

As far as merchandise goes, I would love to have this t-shirt. Although the lack of visible collars bothers me. Ties without collars just don't work.

In the Sunday Smallhours

There's blood all over the toilet paper.


Surprise blood isn't that surprising any more. There's plenty of reasons to start randomly bleeding from the vagina. This blood isn't the colour of menstrual blood, it's brighter.

Maybe going off the pill brought it on. Maybe stress brought it on. Maybe a night full of alcohol brought it on.

Let's be honest, it's probably all three.

Let's be even more honest, I don't care.

NIN Dazzles With Lasers, LEDs and Stealth Screens looks at the light and video set up involved in the current Nine Inch Nails tour. The amount of interaction between performers and stage set up is brilliant, to the point where they're not just playing instruments, they're playing the whole stage. There's a video included, showcasing some of the incredibly nifty stuff they've pulled off. One thing the video demonstrates is the sort of crowd that goes to these concerts. The dull roar of people not paying attention to the quieter pieces, who are impatient with the soft piano and just wanted to bang their heads up and down, this vexes me. They show no respect to the music. I love those pieces most of all. Were Trent Reznor to tour alone, playing only the piano at tiny little venues, there'd be no upper price on what I'd pay for a ticket.

On a Sunday Afternoon

I put the tea bag in the cup, and pour boiling water. One dead ant swirls in the currents. I watch it sink to the bottom.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quote Captain Badass

On the few shifts I have that fall in the realm of normal, sane, everyday business hours, I tend to make an effort when dressing. It's in keeping with my usual dress code, which is less about comfort and more about blending in. The only way to blend into the crowd on the 23:08 train from Spencer Street is to look like a scruffy bum.

And the only way to blend into the crowd on the 18:05 train from Spencer Street is to look like an office worker.

Most of the time, exercising extra care in my appearance makes me feel like shit. I'm certain absolutely everyone can see through me at first glance, and are thus able to turn up their noses and snort, because daaaamn I'm a lousy poser.

I've never quite managed to achieve pretty, but thanks to my boots, I've been hitting badass quite regularly.

These boots, you see, I love these boots. They're the bestest, most badass boots in the whole world. They are not, as people are wont to say, made for walking in, oh no. These boots are made for standing on podiums and observing military parades, these boots are made for sitting in rolls royces, these boots are made for commanding the invasion of a foreign country in. Combined with the bestest coat in the world, their powers combine and I become Captain Badass, Your Slick As All Fuck Overlord. Ave moi, bitchez.

Which is pretty interesting. The idea that someone might pay attention to me is pathetically devastating, but I'm more than happy for people to pay attention to my boots. I've heard people talk about getting facial piercing and tattoos for precisely that reason, so that others look at and talk to the body art, not the person.

Still, Captain Badass is not a permanent diversion. Captain Badass does get attention, and while it's amusing every now and then, Tessa is better at being invisible. Even Captain Badass is just a poser, and every poser is seen through eventually. Probably right in the middle of a hostile invasion.

Monday, September 08, 2008

"The name's Crocker."

"Betty Crocker."

Yeah, I made Dad triceratops biscuits for Father's Day. I don't know if he liked them or not. I liked them.

After a mad search for envelopes I thought I had and did not have, the magazines were dropped in the post this morning. Arthur Miller should get his before the end of the week; you internetaional kids will have to wait and see. I've no idea how long they'll take, but it was airmail, so it shouldn't be too long.

I feel bad for those of you who missed out, so if you want to send me your postal address anyway, I think I have some squid and cuttlefish postcards still lying around. Somewhere. Possibly.

I'm having some trouble with myself. After a lovely couple of months respite the universe is reasserting itself, and the axis of Planet Tessa is a bit wobbly. I've also manaegd to fall behind on my own work, which is pretty impressive considering I don't actually have any deadlines to meet. Regardless, I'm behind, so blogging will be sparse for a while.

To keep you entertained while I am gone, I give you the end of the world, a la big ass asteroid.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


  1. Selena - because she's gone and moved herself to some sort of horrible alternate dimension where there are no books. What's up with that?
  2. Arthur Miller - as the goldfish ties in neatly with Evolution, in a far-reaching sort of way. Best of luck to the goldfish.
  3. Gillian - she's threatening to send me an old toothbrush, and of all the things I'd like to receive in the mail, old toothbrushes aren't in my top 10. Or top 100. Or top anything. Ew.
  4. And finally, Charles Tan, who, in a moment of acute insight, cottoned on to the fact that yes, I am the sort of person to get excited about posting mail to the Philippines. Whee!
YOU HAVE WINNAR! Please send me a postal address (email link on the right there), and I'll your copy of Weird Tales in the mail. Apologies to Chris, Matt and ~. I've learned my lesson; next time I'll just do first come, first serve.

Friday, September 05, 2008

An Exercise In Logic

Time is a guy.

I rather like Time, you know, in that way. Due to the current narrative laws of my life, this means that Time is charming and inconsiderate and never around. Where is Time? I want Time. I ain't gettin' any. There's shit I Need To Do and he's off somewhere else with other people and he's not even thinking about me.

That is Time.

All Hail The Shifting Gears

The Earth is in constant orbit of the Sun. Every day we've changed the angle the light hits us, and yet it only ever takes two or three days for the transition from the weak and distant winter sun to the brilliance and warmth of a real sun. Thump; and we have Spring.

Somewhere, deeper than molecules and cells, is the recognition that the Sun gives us life, winds up our lives and makes us go. We are no Pompeii Worms. It's hard not to be a flower in these early days, and turn with the spin of the Earth to face the Sun, where ever it is in the sky. I feel myself unfolding.

However Many Days Is Never Enough

Still life is not a relief.

So you've weathered the stormy seas, the swells have dropped and the winds died down and there's no more lightning and the thunder is only a distant grumble, not willing to leave entirely but prepared to leave you alone for now. You've weathered the storm.

Still life is not a relief. There's nothing to do now but try to clean up the wreckage and repair the damage and you're not up to the task. Maybe you didn't expect that.

It's a big knotty mess, and I'm picking at it and picking at it, because if I can unravel it, it will make sense, and if I can unravel it, then I must be able to make something positive out of it.

Maybe there is nothing positive to be made. No small triumph to be found. Nothing to make it worth the trouble.

It isn't the irresistible pain of a tooth ache. Treading the waters of these memories is a kick in the gut. I tell myself I go there over and over to make myself immune. I'm fooling myself. I'm just brooding, deepening the all the damage with needless repetition, and going nowhere.

Maybe there isn't yet enough time between then and now.

Maybe there never will be.

Heartache is radioactive. It leaks all over you, your life, you past and future. The depth of hurt correlates directly with the length of the half-life. The strength might decay over time, but it never disappears completely.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 12:39 Printing 100 double-sided pages without page numbers is not the most intelligent thing I've ever done. #
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 19:36 Athena has vacated my cranium. She said it was too cramped and smelt like mildew. #
  • 20:01 There is no icecream in the freezer. OH WHAT A WORLD, WHAT A WORLD. #
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Aside from a really bad photo, that's the current issue of Weird Tales. I just finished eating it, partial to All In by Peter Atwood, How I Got Here by Ramsey Shehadeh, and Evolution by Karen Heuler. Nom nom nom.

Ann, being a rocking sort of person, sent me spare copies. I have four to give away, so leave a comment and I'll send you one. I'd say first come first served, but if you're feeling particularly creative and come up with a compelling reason as to why you should get a copy, then I have no choice but to be compelled to give you one. You know what I'm after, blatant lies and blackmail attempts. Amuse me!

ETA: I'm going to leave this up for a couple more days before, er, probably pulling names out of a hat, 'cause you guys are too funny. I'm not afraid of paying international postage either.

and now we're falling off the launch pad

When I woke the migraine had downgraded itself to merely being a razor-edged headache, and that's, pfft, easy peasy, so I went to work.

Where the migraine proceeded to regroup and launch a second assault, having brought in the reinforcements of nausea and mild vertigo. Fuck that horseshit. I'm home now, am snorting my way through a sloppy lunch so the pills aren't sitting on an empty stomach, and I'm about to make a complete blistered baboon's arse out of my sleeping pattern and go to bed. Again. Where I will feel sorry for myself some more.

I would like to say that this is all run of the mill stuff, the harbingers of imminent period arrival, but, haha, I've been caught out.

The Vandermeers are off traipsing about Europe (as rockstar authors and editors do, right?) and in doing so discovered my Secret Glowing Penguin Army in Prague.

In the future, armies are manufactured on request (you've all seen Clone Wars), and this is the future. My marvellous Dr Who Villainesque penguins, you will note, are not walking the plank, but invading from the water. They're beamed down from the mothership (cleverly disguised as a weather balloon, as you can see), and are currently completing infiltration exercises in Prague.

Which mostly involves visiting museums and pretending to be art critics. They're doing a great job.

However, to oversee the logistics of such an operation I must project my mind-control super-vibes all the way to Europe, and dude, that's on the other side of the planet. Do you know how much concentration that takes? It takes a lot. Hence I have this blinding headache, and some rogue green penguins.

The bunnies, though, are nothing to do with me.

It's times like these I really feel for Zeus. His headache was so bad he had someone cleave his head in with a hammer, and lo! out popped Athena. I doubt any BAMF goddesses are lurking in my frontal lobe, but I do fully sympathise with the sentiment, and harbour a great desire to stick a screwdriver in my temple.

However, doing so will probably result in more multi-coloured penguins, and this army ain't no disco.