Wednesday, September 30, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 16:28 THE END IS STILL NIGH. and there is cheese cake. sweet. #
  • 17:28 THE END IS NIGH. THERE ARE AWESOME COCKTAILS (cinnamon, dark rum, oj, half a lime). I am durnk. #
  • 18:22 emo panda says the end is nigh too - #
  • 20:32 also, i wrapped my cubicle in paper. because the end is nigh. #
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

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do not go gentle

A lot of bad things happened last year.

The good thing about bad things is that they must end. That's not an optimistic "it'll all be okay" statement. It's not a comforting thing to tell yourself (hell, I don't care if things will be better later, I'm living in NOW and NOW sucks). But it is true. Inevitable. All things end, nothing lasts forever. Well. Except for amputation. That seems to last a long time. And is a bit of a bummer. I've managed to avoid amputation thus far, though. Go me!

A lot of good things happened this year.

The bad thing about good things is that they must end. That's not a pessimistic "THINGS FALL APART DECAY MISERY WOE" statement. It's not a comforting thing to say to yourself (no, not at all, oh shit oh shit oh shit oshi-). But it is true. Inevitable. All things end, nothing lasts forever. Well. Except for learning to ride a bike. You never forget that. Although if you do have something amputated, well, that's a bit of a bummer.

Like the bad things last year, the majority of these good things I have no power over. They affect me, but exist out of my control.

I thought, being fully aware of what's coming down the pipes aimed straight at my forehead, I'd be a stressed out, anxious, despairing mess. The conclusion of my work secondment and return to shiftwork has an incredible knock on effect into the other areas of my life, and then there's everything else beside that. Loss leads to grief. Grief leads wondering what I could have done to prevent it. Wondering leads to focusing on my uselessness, and down the hole I go.

Yet I am not a stressed out, anxious, despairing mess. I'm squeezing the most out of these good things while I still have them, wringing them out, milking them for all they're worth. I'm aware of the approaching use-by dates without fearing them. I'm behind on everything, I'm amassing consequences like there is no tomorrow, because THERE IS NO TOMORROW. There is just an apocalypse. The only way to meet the apocalypse is hungover and sleep-deprived and with your cranky pants ON. Posting and emails have been quiet because I'm off wreaking havoc on my life before my life gets its groove on and starts wreaking havoc on me.

The good thing about good things is that they remind you what it is to be invincible.

And those cranky pants are just about ready to go. Madame Fearsome Baboon is wearing them right now, to give them the appropriate bouquet (taken at the Melbourne Zoo).

Things are gonna get ugly. Oh yeah. It'll be fabulous.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Current Mood:

(gakked from zooillogix)

Sometimes the bird/windscreen metaphor just doesn't cut it.

It is possible to be opposing viewpoints simultaneously. When I say I feel like this video, I mean both the eagle and the mountain goat. It's the act, that terrible moment of release. There is no going back.

Friday, September 18, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 12:15 man walking cat in park. cat is totally freaking out. #
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Thursday, September 17, 2009


it's cold. the wind is sneaking in and down my collar. it's raining. the street lights are split-personalities with the runnels down the window. there are layers of stress stretching themselves across my passage through time. thin, delicate layers, transparent layers, skeins that cannot stop me, and yet they grow, and keep growing, and the world is getting heavier. one day at a time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 20:43 the key is in the bottle the bottle is in her hand her hand is on the wall - #
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 15:39 entire theatre to myself. middle of a week day is the only time to go to the movies. #
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Monday, September 14, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

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what i mean when i say "i've had my insult for the night and i'm leaving."

I don't think I'm that easy to insult and/or offend, not on personal level. I could be wrong. I might just be fortunate in that the majority of people I interact with are not the sort of people who go around saying insulting and/or offensive things with a particularly personal bent. It is very easy to irritate me, frustrate and vex and annoy me, but offend?

I'm pretty sure I'm not often offended, because this weekend I found myself offended and it was a fairly novel experience.

So, for the record, when you say, "I hate you. I fucking hate you. Fuck you, and fuck your family. Yep. Fuck your whole family," you should know that you have completely and utterly failed at the friendly joking funny shittalk.

My initial reaction was to slap the person who said this. I managed to pull it back to being a playful slap. Just. I can't say I've ever really hit someone in my life, so I'm not entirely proud of this reaction, partly because such violence is petty and pointless, but mostly because I did in fact pull back and did not break his fucking nose.

This was followed by, "you're a bad person-" (which, admittedly, I get told a lot) "-you're evil. You're the root of all the evil and bad and wrong in the world. You're the cause of all genocide. All the genocide in the world is because of you." Which, after the "fuck your family," line, was icing on the cake.

This isn't the most offensive thing this person has said to me either.

Why's he still in my life?

I've finished my angry drunk fuming and had a good amount of hangover surly ranting. I'm spending no more time on the matter. It is noted here, for future reference.

And on the subject of shit-

Food that tastes better than it looks.

Looks like I dipped white bread in tar.
Tastes like mmmmmm, hot black sesame bao. Awesome stuff.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

They're evil! EVUHL!

Fire and flight no turn off for horny devils (Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with the headings The Ages chooses to run on their site.)

SHE may look cute, but Smooch is a ferocious little devil. Born amid the ashes of Black Saturday, her existence is a small but significant victory in the desperate fight to save the Tasmanian devil.

The feisty six-month-old is one of 28 disease-free joeys born in Healesville Sanctuary's new devil breeding centre in the aftermath of February's bushfires.

Amazingly, all nine of the centre's wild-caught females became pregnant soon after being evacuated to Melbourne Zoo as embers rained down.

''We were very concerned that evacuating them would disrupt the breeding cycle because it's extremely stressful and traditionally devils have a really low breeding success rate,'' senior keeper Tiffany Eastley said.

''But they didn't seem to mind at all. Usually they have only a 30 per cent reproduction rate in captivity, so to have a 100 per cent reproduction rate is amazing..."

I can't be the only one getting Midwich Cuckoo vibes. They're telepathic-psycho-kinetic-hivemind furballs, and they will be the ruin of us all.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Breathmoss and Other Exhalations - Ian R Macleod

buy - author site

Another book from the heatwave, another book I've taken far too long to write about. A travesty doubly so because this book is just...amazing.

As with most collections, reading from cover to cover is a touch foolish. You become familiar with the writer's various methodologies, and in doing so sabotage the stories for yourself. You know what to expect, what to look for, and predict the shape of the narrative to come. This occurred when reading this collection, as there is a focus on transformation and loss running through each tale, and yet, it did not happen. Each treatment of the theme is so markedly different, the flavour and texture of the stories so contrasting, they are not the same even as they are easily recognisable as bearing Macleod's signature.

A particular strength of his lies in the depiction of the physical world through which his stories wend. My goodness. I was overwhelmed. A sensory overload. Beauty, beauty, beauty. I was in love.

When was the last time I was in love with prose? Truly in love, not just recognising skill and power, but giddy and delighted and excited? Reading this book made me excited about reading, which made me realise how out of touch with it, as a pass time, I had become. And how much I missed it.

The title story, 'Breathmoss' is extravagant and soft, and took my breath away. 'Verglas' following on its heels, is a different sort of extravagant, and a different sort of soft, with different joys and losses, and took my breath away. And so on, and so forth, with each story to follow.

I remember thinking 'The Summer Isles' stood apart from the rest. But, fool I am, it has been too long since I read it, and now I cannot remember why. It was a different creature, like a tortoise among turtles.

Macleod strikes that perfect balance between the art of writing and storytelling.

In fact, there should be no differentiating between the two, and when he writes, there isn't.

Verdict: Magnificent. Just touching this book again after all these months makes me want to read it over, and I do not reread. It's a sign of just how beautiful a collection it is, and how sumptuous a writer he is, and oh, I'm still in love.

The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham


When did I read this? Ages ago. February. During that insane heatwave. When I was staying with Mum and Dad, convalescing after the excavation of my wisdom teeth. I remember lying on the floor boards in the hallway, in the vague hope I'd be in a position to take advantage of any breeze coming through the front door. There was no such thing. The power went out, because every single privileged bastard with airconditioning had it maxed out and overloaded the power grid. We had no airconditioning. We had desk fans and wet towels. Then we only had wet towels.

So I read to escape the heat and my square face.

This being a 52 year old classic, I don't feel there's anything I have to say about it that will be new or interesting. It has earned the title of classic, it is a masterful work of suspense and body horror, even though the phrase didn't exist at the time. The village of Midwich is unreachable for a couple of nights due to mysterious forces, and then just...comes back. Everyone wakes up not realising anything untoward had happened. The effects only reveal themselves later, when every woman in the village is pregnant.

This is dealt with in largely practical terms - in that stalwart British style - which allows the underlying tension and horror to build in a wonderfully subtle and insidious fashion. An unplanned pregnancy is scary enough, imagine if you were in fact a virgin, or with menopause well in the past. Imagine you didn't want children. Imagine something was growing inside you, and you didn't know what it was, and there was nothing you could do about it? I imagined all that very well, thank you very much, and was terrified. Dude, pregnancy is frightening enough when it's planned and you want it.

And then, everyone gave birth, and aside from some peculiarities of appearance, everything was fine.

Until, of course, it wasn't. As the children develop, a new sort of terror takes shape, no less powerful. Part Stockholm Syndrome, part necessarily illusion for the sake of your own sanity, neither of which alters the circumstances, about which nothing can be done.

Unfortunately, this incredible tension and momentum the story gains is deflated when the children finally reveal themselves, and the characters and reader become aware of their true nature. Then, as with horror movies for example, it stops being about the waiting, and becomes just a chase - and there's only ever one ending for a chase. The question of ethics does make the decisions made particularly nasty, but no longer unexpected.

What struck me most, however, was not just that no one would publish this story now, but that no one would even write it. It's lean, it disregards the passage of time with barely a nod, it does not flesh out characters more than is utterly necessary. It's from another time and another place. It works in unfamiliar ways, and makes unexpected assumptions. No one would write it.

That can only be to our detriment.
I dreamed I gave birth to twin girls. I couldn't give them names because to do so would be to take away all the other potential names they could wear, and there were no names that understood how amazingly wonderfully perfectly delightfully devastatingly existent they were. I couldn't even bring myself to feed them, as that would then ground them in this world, like Persephone and the pomegranate, and they were so much more than that. They didn't need feeding. They didn't need defining. They just were, and they changed everything.

And then I woke up.

The next person who tries to argue with me when I say my subconscious is out to get me gets it in the neck.

Friday, September 04, 2009

I try not to use the phrase "I wish-". I don't like what it signifies. A magic wand. An easy way out. All your desires to just happen, like that, with no effort on your part. As if the universe were listening. As if the universe cared. As if you deserved it. Say it too often, and you start to expect someone to listen, and make it so. You wind up waiting for your wish to be granted without even noticing.

I want nothing I can't do for myself.

So I try not to say it. Obscene words get more action than "I wish". I catch myself if it even enters my thoughts, and I take it all back, that plaintive cry for some sort of intervention, even in the privacy of my own skull, and I do not wish for anything. I will make everything I want to happen through my own efforts or I will live without. That is what I choose. That is what I want.

Sometimes, it is easy to enforce this censorship.

Sometimes, it is not.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

the roarin' forties care far too much


The Fringe Festival is imminent and YOU MUST SEE VIGILANTELOPE'S SHOW "THE TALE OF THE GOLDEN LEASE", and no, that is not a recommendation, it is a fucking ORDER the damn world will END IF YOU DO NOT SEE THIS SHOW and do you really want that on your conscience NO YOU DO NOT.

We saw this at the Comedy Festival last April. It was a last minute 'what the hell' ticket buy, based on a passing recommendation. I think we saw around five comedy shows all up, Danny Bhoy and Jason Byrne included, and this was the best show of the whole festival, by miles and miles. In fact, it remains the best show I've been to all year. It was spectacularly funny, clever, absurd, with dancing and singing and tomfoolery and, and, you know I am not capable of the lyrical waxing necessary to do these guys justice. It was that fucking OARSUM. Quotes have stayed with us and randomly tossing them out is enough to reduce us to tears STILL.

Tickets are cheap. Opening night is 2 for 1. 2 for 1! Take your friends. Take your cat. Just do something in character and go. Do something out of character and go.


I also discovered that Mono will be playing at the Hi Fi in December. This is not the Mono that released Formica Blues, this is the Japanese instrumental Mono that puts me in mind of Explosions In The Sky and the new album by Jónsi & Alex (part of Sigur Rós which I discovered by accident when I foolishly entered Polyester Records just to "look around" - you'd think I'd know better by now).

I also discovered the Hi Fi has a bar in Brisbane. This discovery occurred when my browser had a hissy fit half way through buying a ticket, and in the process of starting over I ended up buying a ticket for the gig in Brisbane. Which should hopefully be refunded, but anyway, Brisbanites, they're heading your way too.


Mammals Underfoot! An Interview With Emerging Writers

conducted by Jeff VanderMeer, featuring Jesse Bullington, N. K. Jemisin, Meghan McCarron, Shweta Narayan, Jeremy C. Shipp, Angela Slatter, Genevieve Valentine and some other muppet.

I like the idea of 'emerging'. It puts me in mind of the headhuggers in Alien. The egg peels open, I extend my creepy-arse legs over the lip, I emerge, and then I leap at you, shove my gonads in your face and ram my proboscis down your throat and lay eggs in your chest, and then those eggs hatch and a wee bebe alien emerges. From your chest. At velocity.

I would like to one day write a story that has that sort of effect on the reader.

It would probably put me in gaol. Oh well. Totally worth it. You suffer for my art!

Jeff sez:

Every once in awhile, it’s good for a fool like me, entering mid-career, to check the pulse of what’s going on among the emerging writers who will one day call you a curmudgeon. Keeping tabs on this unruly, diverse lot not only lets you see the end of the road coming from much farther away and softens the often abrupt transition from “young turk” to “old fart”—it also re-energizes you and helps ensure that your reading patterns don’t get too predictable. Usually, I keep up via blogs and online fiction, but I thought it would be interesting to interview a few emerging writers about subjects like their connection to the larger community, where they see themselves in five years, what they’ve been reading, and their take on mammals versus large reptiles. A kind of core sample, if you will.

Last week I received my ARC of Booklife, which I read in manuscript format. It was an interesting exercise, seeing as I've never attempted to offer constructive feedback on a work of non-fiction. It evolved from comments into a conversation, and bits of me scratching my head and saying "well, wot I think is-" have been quoted throughout (introverts and socially-disinclined hermit crabs of the world, represent yo!).

(Being an introverted and socially-disinclined hermit crab I find the 'Private Booklife' section - looking at the various internal aspects of being a writer, strategies on dealing with the emotional pitfalls and psychological traps most of us find ourselves in at one point or another - much more interesting than the 'Public Booklife' section - excellent strategies and tactics on PR, marketing, career goals and being a real go-getter. First read through, the Public section left me feeling inadequate. I am not the type of person capable of networking, promoting, or doing anything that, to me, smells like coming on with an agenda, all of which are becoming increasingly important in the current market. But everything I read has been stored and percolating in the backbrain for some months now, which is time enough for me to see what I could conceivably do without making a wreck of myself. Time enough for it not to be scary. It's an incredibly interesting and (depending on who you are of course) useful book - hermit crabs, I know you're out there and staring at the idea of PR and marketing with the same horror that I am. Read it, feel horrified and awful, go away and don't think about it...and later, when you need them, you'll find the ideas have already been planted in your head, and they're not so scary any more.)

Interestingly, I'm listed in the acknowledgments as a "constructive curmudgeon". Now, taking the above excerpt into consideration, what do we get when someone who has attained the state of curmudgeon calls someone who should be calling them a curmudgeon a curmudgeon?

Paradox! The universe is going to collapse in on itself! Run to the hills!

I have no idea what I was on when I wrote those answers, by the way. I don't think anything I said will be out of the ordinary to those of you who've been reading for a while, which probably isn't a great thing. I'm being a twat in front of a whole new audience. To those of you who have arrived here from Clarkesworld - there's just more of the same here, yep, years and years of mental diarrhea. I would apologise for bringing down the standard of a fine quality publication, but, er, well...

Heh. Hehe.

Tessa, I hear you say, Tessa, you used to post actual content. What is all this NEWSFLASH! you have going on?

Dude, I say, dude, I am still not capable of writing. Still. I don't want to. I just don't want to. I don't even want to think. I am not processing. The end is nigh, truly it is, and the cracks are showing, and I'm beginning to transition from whole person to loose swarm of neuroses, and I just don't want to.

(Totally the perfect time to answer questions about writing.)

I've just finished baking triceratops biscuits. It must be bed time.