Friday, February 25, 2011

Mattress on floor,
Me on mattress,
Blinds pulled back,
Bats gone,
And one satellite flares, then dims, and crosses into the shadow of the Earth.

This is the last night in the home I made.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Life's Punctuation; the Full Stop.

That is the last cup of tea.

It, more than anything else, signals the End of an Era. That's the last of the milk. Once it's drunk I'm going to turn the fridge off, and that will be it.

I feel I should say something about the importance of true and vigorous independence, what it means to call time and space your own without compromise, and, I don't know, stuff, but I am tired in many different ways. My heart is sore, my mind is confused, and I have nothing in me.

So, I will drink my last cup of tea as I have done on many evenings.

And watch the flying foxes come out at dusk.

One last time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Domestic Archaeology

Having finally emptied my bookshelves (books, CDs and DVDs filling a total of 30 boxes), I've moved onto that part of packing involving rummaging around in boxes and cupboards that haven't seen the light of day since the last move.

It started with the discovery of an 'easter egg' in the packaging of my copy of MS Office 2004 for Mac, as blogged here. All that came to pass afterward was recorded on twitter, and by recorded on twitter I mean I spammed the crap out of my follower's timelines. Extracted and provided below, for your perusal;

  • What day is it?
  • You've had your banana, back into the breach, maggot.
  • Yes, you just smashed your head. Sit the fuck down.
  • OMG, Apple made the packaging on MS Office hipster and cool; toad town hall terraium?! -
  • That felt good.
  • I just found another tooth, and I know this one didn't come from me.
  • And a spent bullet casing.
  • Found my Red vs Blue stickers yesssssssssss!
  • Shit, nearly dropped the water buffalo.
  • Found mask from Buenos Aires. Shall not be taking it off for the rest of the day. Badass warrior packing FIGHT!

  • Required: Masquerade Ball, STAT.
  • Found: story books made in Prep. This one is about poo. Not the honey-eating bear kind.
  • Found: old diary.........................................................................yeah, I'mma stop reading and shove it in a box NOW.
  • I have hunger. Feed me.
  • My twitter feed is full of anti-old-diary activists. I defy you! Now hush, I'm reading 16 year old angst, hot damn it's bad.

  • Primary school diaries!
  • Found: letter I wrote to myself when 11 years old because no one else would write to me. It is very short.
  • In primary school, I made stories about explorers and yetis, sharks, dinosaurs, and magic ants. And dinosaurs. Also, dinosaurs.
  • 6 year old Tessa illustrated her grade prep work book with drawings of...Asterix.
  • My freaking darlings, sheepish apologies for spamming the crap out of twitter today. I go now to make my fortune/find dinner. As you were.
I also found old letters and post cards from people who weren't me (seriously!), and picture story books I'd made in school, and old school projects, and photos, and had myself a gay old time.

With various blogs, diaries and journals, I have an account of my life going back to 11 years old. Reading them is both hard, humiliating and hilarious, and in many instances, surprisingly dull for the drama being written about. Some find this dedication to documentation alarming, especially the fact that I keep it all. These are external memory devices. Just as you carry a USB stick about with all your photos and important documents on, I take cart these old books from home to home. One day my memory will start to fade, and I will have these as the back up of my mind.

That said, if ever I go into politics? They're going up in a bonfire.

Then I chatted to Ben Peek for a bit, and when the opportunity was presented I gleefully pointed out to him that I am not 32, 33, no, I am 29 years old. There's nothing quite so brattishly satisfying as pointing out to your older friends that you're not just younger than them, you're younger than them.

Having recorded my life since 11, that means I have 18 years worth of documentation. That's more than half my life.

Most of it has nothing to do with pants, either. How odd.

The Saint Has A Sense of Humour

While pruning packaging I have retained and accumulated over time, I came across this doozy of an 'easter egg' hiding under the fold the sleeve of my Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac carton.

Apple's power is so great they even made a plastic box for the product of a competitor coyly hipster.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Offerings the Saint Returned

It is inevitable that when moving house and delving into boxes and drawers that haven't been disturbed for years you will discover (or, more accurately, rediscover) items that you weren't exactly expecting.

See Exhibit A:

These teeth belong to me.

About whether they came from my mouth, however, I shall offer no comment.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mona Lisa is lining up her approach vector!

A long, long, long, long time ago, secret channels indicated to Jeff VanderMeer and I that our megasaurusodonohugearama collaboration for Halo: Evolutions, The Mona Lisa, was going to be made into a motion comic. You know, animated. Like wow.

This was officially announced at San Diego Comic Con, with a "COMING THIS FALL" slapped on the end of the video, and a more official release date given of November. November came and went, so did December, January and we're now half way through February, and we hear the slavering hordes cry, "WHERE THE HELL IS TEH MONA LISA?!"

The answer is still: on its way, with tentative hopes for the Northern Hemispherian summer.

Also: Jeff and I? Happen to have the first two episodes in entirety. What was that? We've seen the first not one but two episodes? Really? No. Really. I can rub it in if you like, just in case you have any doubts. In fact I will. How's about a couple of screenshots?

And pardon me for stating the bleeding obvious but they look OARSUM. Yeah, that's a lil' peek o' the second episode, none of which features in the teaser trailer. Introducing, Rebecca, the UNSC Red Horse's AI, and her Commander, Tobias Foucault.

The peeps at 343 are clearly awesome. I didn't think it was possible for them to get any more awesome. Surely they've broken some universal awesome limitation. Ha! LIMIT BREAK! We've specifically been told the later action sequences are hot, and that they can't wait for us to see Henry and Rimmer.

Henry FTW!

Pyramid have also done a gorgeous job with the voice acting, effects and music. Seriously gorgeous voices happening in there (I luuuuv Mama Lopez's growl!), and well matched by One's gorgeous artwork.

Dudes? This is going to rock like an asteroid.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When you look for signs, you find them.

There is nothing about moving that isn't horrible, and there is nothing about packing that isn't horrible, but, oh, well, if you insist, the time spent pulling my books from the shelves and handling them and running my palms along their spines and fanning the pages and remember what it was to succumb to this book or licking my lips in anticipation of one I have not had the pleasure of yet, well, yes, okay, that's not "horrible" as such, possibly more of a delightful agony in knowing I possess all these fine works of art and may only ever read one at a time and there just never seems to be enough time.

I do love my library. That's what I have you know, all walls in the lounge room covered in shelves and full of books. My library. Mmm. One day, I will have a proper room dedicated to only to being the home of books, and I'll have a fine deep armchair perfect for curling up in, and it will be a quiet place.

I just picked up the special edition of Shriek: An Afterword and flicked through the first few pages, and came across a page of four short quotes;

No one makes it out.
--Songs: Ohia

If you live a life of desperation,
at least lead a life of loud desparation.

--Dorothy Parker

We dwell in fragile, temporary shelters.
--Jewish Prayer Book

The dead have pictures of you.
--Robyn Hitchcock

And they resonated, in much the same way the impact of an icepick to the left temple has resonance. Parker made me laugh. Oh, I aspire to such philosophy. This blog is nothing but amplification, now, dance with me.

The Songs:Ohia line is not entirely accurate. We all make it out, in the end.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Schrödinger's Tessa

Music that is loud, unrepentant and live, no, alive, and awesomely alive at that, music so loud it fills your mind and leaves no space for you to think even the smallest of thoughts, music that makes your hair shiver and your ribs ache and for which you cannot help but grin manically, shout incoherently, and be saturated by it, no, not saturated, by absorbed by the music until you are nothing and it is everything. That is catharsis. That is clensing, purging, hell, an enema for the mind as all the shit gets blasted out and lost in the bass line.

That's what I expect of live music, and perhaps sadly what I need of it as well.

I was standing in the Corner Hotel last week. It was a Tuesday night, and I was alone in the crush of bodies before the stage, too hot but armed with water, mindful of those around me, resigned to tall people in front of me, and the band was good, they were fantastic at what they did, an incredibly tight and smooth performance with unebbing energy, but-


How to say this. My grip on my voice is uncertain of late, voice being such a slippery thing and I no longer have gentle confidant hands, I'm clutching and snatching too quick too tight and it's getting away from me.

How to say; I did not go away. How to say; I was neither saturated nor absorbed. How to say; I stood in the music, and apart from it.

I was waiting to be filled and full of something other than me, and so have some brief respite from the self-absorbed burden of being me. The spaces inside me were near quivering with anticipation of that storm of sound to come in and blow all the detritus of doubt and fear away and sweep all clean and clear, and those spaces waited, and waited, as the music beat in my bones and blood and came nowhere near me.

It's hard to control that little upwell of panic when one of your crutches breaks.

I kept moving. You can't help but respond to such volume when those around you answer the same call, but my hands were in fists and my teeth were clenched and I was already writing this post over and over, trying to define what it was that...what it was, what any of it was.

The invasion of living music into the mind serves not only as a clensing and purging process, it presents also the opportunity for a controlled instance of recognition. That is, the loss of self is defined as being the loss of the conscious and self-aware self, which in turns allows the unconscious and instinctive self a moment to rise to the surface and free of conscious oppression, be heard.

When the idea of Tessa is put aside, even for a moment, then foundations upon which that idea is constructed are bared.

That is my howling heart, resonating with the roar in my blood and bones, roaring free and uninhibited and anonymous in the roar of a hundred other voices.

I could almost feel it, almost, thrashing and gnashing and trying to get out get out get free. Here and there, in snatched moments, the music echoed something inside, for a moment there was synchronicity, but only for a moment. The show ended, and my howling heart had not surfaced.

This is perhaps an extreme example of the state of affairs of late. I find that I am fine, yes, I am fine. I feel solid and whole and well, and there are no undercurrents I am actively monitoring. But this being okay is, is, it isn't an illusion, it isn't a sham but it is. It is. It takes so little to rip everything out from beneath me, everything, with such swiftness and thoroughness and savagery I'm left gasping not only from the sting of whatever the world saw fit to slash me with, but with the seeming betrayal of my own self that it should collapse so easily, without even the semblance of resistance.

It is hard to trust myself, knowing that my limits are very much changed, yet still not being familiar with them, having as yet developed no understanding of how they lie and what weaknesses they possess, being now wary of anything and everything, for I do not know what will prove to be a fatal blow and set me back again and again and again.

Not knowing myself is a strange thing. It frightens me. A thorough understanding of myself and all my whys is the only certainty I've had, the only map and compass by which to navigate.

But it, I, it, that howling heart, it is still there. I felt it distant but straining in the music. I will feel it when looking at the carpet in my lounge room, or opening the fridge cabinet in the supermarket, or reaching for the phone at work. It is still there. It is still howling.

It is as though it is in a glass box. Double-glazed to keep the sound out in, of course. I'm sitting here at my desk, typing gingerly with my nerves sawing in my wrists, and this glass box sitting before me. It has no seams. Inside, my heart is a snarling, furious thing, all peeled lip and broken teeth. Thrashing and throwing itself against the glass when I fold my arms on the desk and rest my chin on them, trying to break that glass and have at me. It is so upset. There is such hurt, distress and rage in that wild mean little heart.

As it has always been, I suppose.


I can't hear you, and so I don't know how to sooth you.

I've been trawling through my music trying to find something that will, without volume, let you out. Even just for a moment, even now, at 12.17 on a Monday with the sun out and lawnmowers in the distance. I think that, if I find the right music, if I find the right emotive harmonic that is the same frequency at which you howl, with combined resonance from inside and out we may shatter that glass box and set you free.

But that is wrong. It is old habit for me to assume that which is within me is mine to change. The glass box is an alien intervention. To remove it, I need only stop taking the medication.

I am afraid, my howling heart, of not being able to read you and interpret you, I'm afraid that not having that understanding and thus not having that control over you means you will find ways out over which I have no power. I am afraid of not knowing myself.

I am certain, if I were to remove the glass box, that the understanding would not help me at all. I am certain I would not be able to contain you by mere force of will alone. I am certain you would devour me.

Who is in the box, you or me? Are we dead when you are in the box, or when you are free?

I wanted the anguish to be gone, yes. I couldn't carry it any more. But not like this.

I didn't want you cut out. I wanted you to feel better.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

When The Unconscious Drives

Some of us do peculiar things while we sleep, such as talk or fight or walk or make sandwiches etc etc etc. Some of us even snore. I have only been accused of snoring. On occasion. That said, I have from time to time found evidence of a rather peculiar nocturnal activity. That is to say, on waking, I have on occasion found evidence of what appears to be earwax (really thick orange gross earwax) beneath my finger nail. It would appear that my unconscious is taking care of my aural hygiene while I am not driving the body.

This is kind of weird.

Albeit not actually of any concern. Just a little bit gross.

This hasn't happened for a little while, and I had completely forgotten about this bizarre behaviour until today. I was changing the sheets on my bed and discovered a small colony of what appears to be earwax (really thick orange gross earwax) crusted on my cotton blanket.

I can only conclude that my unconscious noted that I had noted its activities due to the physical traces it left behind, and concluded that the best way to continue operations was to somehow negate these traces, ergo, covering my finger with the blanket so that the result of such nocturnal excavations would not be so readily apparent in my fingernails.

This is also kind of weird.

And a little bit irritating, given that earwax stains, and blankets are far more hassle to clean.

Dear Unconscious, I hope you are listening. Stop that shit.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Failing to Make a Difference

I have walked down a dark street towards the couple having a screaming domestic, his fist hovering by her face and obscenities in his spittle, and I have stopped, and said straight to the woman, “Do you want me to call the police?"

Sometimes I have called the police despite their answer. Sometimes I have not needed to. I have stopped a fight merely by being the only other person on the quiet station platform, standing up, and walking towards them, until they noticed me, and stopped screaming.

Today, some eight yobbos were crowded around the Coffee HQ at Spencer Street Station as I and the beginning of the peak hour crush hurried for that train home. They were shouting and screaming at the sole barister standing behind the counter. I stopped. I got out my phone.

After some more yelling, the gist of which I didn't catch it the cacophony of the station, one knocked a display of fruit bars from the counter, sending them spinning across the pavement, and the group walked away and up the escalators towards the platforms. I followed them. When they goaded each other into turning around and going back down the escalators, back to the coffee counter, I stopped, finger on the dial button. “Wait," one of them said. “We're gonna miss the train."

They turned again and ran back up the stairs through the barriers, and I followed them. I stood at the railing of the second tier and watched them push down onto the platform and dive onto the 4:14 Epping. Then I turned, dashed back to Coffee HQ, and babbled on about what train they'd caught, if I needed to make a statement, call the police, they'd be caught on CCTV, security saw them running. The barista just looked at me and shook his head.

“What's the point?" He gestured towards a far too late appearance by a security guard who very carefully did not approach the coffee counter. “Look at the security here. What they do." I offered to leave my details as a witness. He just shook his head again.

“Don't let the fuckers win," I said, and then left to catch my train.

Justice is not a concept with which I have ever thought myself particularly vested in. Nothing in the world is fair, I do not expect or even hope for fairness, but fairness and justice are two different things. It aggravated me to think that these jerk wads would feel no consequences for their arsehole behaviour. Having been behind the counter and screamed at by a customer, I know how it gets under the skin and makes it just that little bit harder to come to work every single day. This time the fuckers won, and I helped them to do so.

I am a lone and unintimidating female. In such situations this is to my advantage. The taboo of men hitting women, while it cannot be relied on, nevertheless exists. That I am diminutive to boot only compounds my lack of threat, and therefore, the lack of any gain in bullying or crushing me. The man who pushes over the small woman half his size is more likely to be ridiculed by his friends than lauded.

I am a lone and unintimidating female. Unfortunately, I am not unaware of this, and of the position society slots me into, and I let that inform my decisions. Cowardice kept my feet still. You could call it pragmatism, I suppose, but it was cowardice alone that stopped me from stepping in and taking more direct action.

I am a lone and unintimidating female, and I let this be an excuse not to be a Big Goddamn Hero.

I do not turned a blind eye walk away. I'm not a bystander, I will give myself that.

What disappoints me is that what action I do take is not enough.

One day it will be me surrounded by aggressive cunts, and when that happens, I hope someone, anyone, everyone, will step in and make more of a difference than I did today.