Are You Keeping Up


Thursday, 31 March 2011

I forgot all about this ad.  My partner reminded me of it this morning at 6 am :)  What I want to know is, what's going down a waterslide got to do with anything?  Apparently people who are keeping up with the Commodore like watersliding.  Of all females who are watersliding at any given moment, going by advertisements an enormous proportion of them will also have their periods at the same time.   This will be demonstrated to you later via safe blue chalk and a glass and a piece of chalk and Mrs Marsh.

I will, for the term of my future menstrual history, forever buy the feminine hygiene products from the company that dares to show its product demonstrated with something red and a bit clotty.

But I digress.

Sixty-four kilobytes of memory the Commodore 64 had.  Woohoo!!!  Not really too hard to keep up with, I guess.  I remember playing "Worms" on the computer in my Grade 6 class at lunchtime.  Sort of like Pong ; lots of black screen with green graphics that consisted of ... well, lines, really, that grew like worms.  Your goal if you chose to accept it was to keep moving that growing worm all round the screen without running into any other part of yourself.  High-tech stuff, indeed.  Or at least it felt like it at the time :)

Blah blah blah


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

I'm taking part in a university study that is testing the effects of kava on anxiety.  The kava root has been used for thousands of years in Pacific nations like Fiji.

Or at least I will be taking part if I could call her back.  I don't know if it's a passive aggressive thing (I hate mobile phones) but the woman running it has been trying to get in touch with me for several days and left several messages and I just ... haven't ... managed to get there to get back to her.  I'm sure procrastinating about calling people back is a contributor to anxiety but meh.  It's not like the mixed bag of temperamental aspects never said anxiety and procrastination wouldn't go together.  Nor shyness and outgoingness.  Nor anger and timidity.  Nor a whole stack of other seemingly contradictory aspects.

My anxiety levels are such that its levels are not as debilitating as it is for some people.  If I did yoga and meditation every single day, it probably wouldn't be too much of a problem except in stressful situations where I still could possibly melt into a puddle on the floor.  And because I apparently come across as such a capable sort of a person, basically I don't think a whole lot of people believe me when I say I suffer with anxiety. Even though sometimes I sit there or stand there or lie there and try to beat it back all day long, and it feels like its worming its electrical little way throughout my entire body, entrapping me, closing down my lungs.  Then it is the entire world.

I get so frustrated about that whole thing - about how our appearances belie just what it takes to bring ourselves to market.  The guy who seems uncommunicative?  He's Aspergers.  The woman who seems like a bitch?  She's depressed and barely holding it together.  The boy prodigy who writes beautiful words?  He has to beat down the flames that lick at him saying that he's a pile of shit and what's he got to say that's any good?  The guy who's always friendly and outgoing?  He's got a whole lot of demons to slay to get to that point every single day of his life.

You Are Entering the Dead Zone


Friday, 25 March 2011

I've just spent what felt like half an hour but was probably closer to 10 minutes listening to some guy in the Phillippines read me out the terms and conditions of my new mobile phone contract.  Put the phone down at one point to crack the egg into the laksa-flavoured two minute noodle mix, picked it up, and he was still talking.  The words had long since begun to merge one into another into Swahili.

I wonder how many times that young guy has to read that shit out every day. 

I also wonder how the good people of Dodo can sleep in their beds but hey, they're just following best practice/value-adding for the shareholders.  It's amazing what you can do when you've got the approval of current business practice models.

Then I called my old service provider and spoke to a lovely lady, this time in India.  My request was short and sweet - I wanted to cancel my service with them.  But no matter - she had the spiel in front of her on a computer screen, and she had to follow it, and so it took a bit of firm, "Look, I'm sorry, but I've already transferred over to someone else" to get her to shut the hell up.

How weird.  Three different people in three different countries, all in conversation with each other and all shrouded to each other by distance and by "professionalism".

I wonder about professionalism.  Seems to let all sorts of nasties in.



Thursday, 24 March 2011

Okay.  So I've pulled the plug on Facebook (at least for the foreseeable future).

It reminds me a little of when I quit smoking (minus the intense cravings).  Life feels a little ... emptier.  There's a phantom limb feeling, a wondering what I'm going to do with my hands without a cigarette in them, when I get those creative little thoughts in my head throughout the day, the "That would be a cool status update" thoughts.

The emptier feeling is exactly why I have disabled my account.  Trying to fight the sensory overload.  For me, working on a computer that needs to be online, flicking over onto Facebook is akin to taking 137 tea breaks throughout the day, breaking down my boring worklife into 38,592 segments that leave me feeling disjointed and out of my own body and wasting time like you wouldn't believe.

The "wondering what I'm going to do with my hands" smoking analogy is a good one.  It  may sound strange that since closing my account I feel emptier.  I notice the difference in feeling a little lonely at times throughout the day as I work here alone.  It feels like extra space has appeared in-between the molecules now that I'm not seeing status updates for a whole lot of people I will never meet or will never meet again.  (That however doesn't include all of my Facebook friends.  There are a couple who I really am going to miss seeing their thoughts each day, like Erin, and Barbara, and Kent).

The extra space has already brought me back here to my blog.  How weird it is.  And I know it's going to take me back to my ratty old notebook again.  A place to write down all those pithy little sayings that would make good status updates, channel them maybe one day into something else a little larger than a soundbyte.

But geez, I'm gonna miss it.

Throwing it to the Tiles


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Saturday night was the equinox in the southern hemisphere.  The true arrival of autumn, the time when day and night are equally balanced.  I love the turn of the seasons, the division into four parts (or 94 if you live in Melbourne), all different tastes and colours.

Even the depths of winter I am beginning to appreciate more and more.  The deep waiting (and sometimes weight) of the darker months where things die down to reseed again in the spring.  As I get older and get rocked by just how deep and rich the inner space goes, so I am finally becoming friends with the time of year where everything seemingly dies and retreats.

If a Japanese Maple goes through an "eternal summer" period where rather than the variances in seasonal light it is provided with a supermarket-style ongoing continuous source of light, the tree will grow continuously for up to two years.  But eventually the growth period will stop, and the dormancy phase will kick in regardless of whether the extra light continues or not.  The tree must sleep.  And the result of its eternal summer and automatic dormancy is stressful enough to kill it.  Everything needs dying down.


The tip pile and the Freecycle pile are growing in preparation for me moving.  They both each contain a craft project I began back in 1994.

In the tip pile:  a half-completed jumper.  Seventeen years later it's a size too small and a style too gooberly for me to now want to wear.  Impressed, however, at my knitting style.  I think that's the last thing I ever knitted, and the thing's got bobbles and different patterns and patterned edging and all sorts of stuff.

Less impressed at my sloppiness.  One ball of wool has red dye spilled all over it.  The other pieces I've already knitted, the front and the sleeves, all have stains on them from my sticky fingers and my childish inability to wash my hands after sticking it in the honey jar and before picking up the needles to knit once more.  Hence, the tip.  Otherwise, it could have gone in the Freecycle pile with the next item.

In the Freecycle pile:  a 90% sewn cotton dress.  Also one size too small but fitting, nevertheless, much better around the boobies area than anything I try on in the stores that is made for a one-size-fits-all-apparently-12B sort of chestline.  This boobie problem is what motivated me to want to start sewing in the first place.

The dress is the first - and last - thing I've ever sewed on a sewing machine.  Again, I'm impressed with what I managed to achieve having no prior experience.  The dress is sleeveless, with a tie at the waist, and flares out a little in a couple of gentle pleats at the bottom.  It's even got darts and a well-placed zipper.   All that remains for it to be finished are the facings - I had forgotten that term, facings - for the neck yoke and for the armholes.

It seems strange that I did so much of it and then stopped.  Why would you 90% finish a project?  Casting my hooded retarded fish memory back to the marijuana-smelling annals of 1994 and I vaguely remember an old, enormously cumbersome sewing machine that I'd picked up from somewhere.  I also seem to remember that sewing machine giving up the ghost at the same time and as these things happen, I never got around to getting another one, and nor did I finish off the pattern.


It feels enormously liberating to be finally getting rid of these two items.  It reminds me of a story I first came across in Women Who Run With the Wolves called "The Three Gold Hairs".  The story is about an old, old man, creaking through the dark forest, beset by tree limbs, on his last legs, with his "long yellow hair, cracked yellow teeth, and curved yellow fingernails" with his "back rounded like a bag of flour.".

The old man comes upon a lighted cottage in the middle of the forest.  The old man is so exhausted.  The light in his lantern dies and he falls through the door and collapses.  Inside an old woman is in front of a roaring fire.  She takes the old man in her arms and rocks him in her rocking chair, saying, "There, there.  There, there.  There, there."

The old woman rocks the man all through the night and by the middle of the night he has grown into a strong young man.  And she rocks him.  "There, there.  There, there."  And as dawn comes the young man has become a small, beautiful child.

Just at the moment of dawn, the old woman plucked three hairs very quickly from the child's beautiful head and threw them to the tiles.  They sound like this:  Tiiiiiiing!  Tiiiiiiing!  Tiiiiiiing!   And the little child in her arms crawled down from her lap and ran to the door.  Looking back at the old woman for a moment, he gave her a dazzling smile, then turned and flew up into the sky to become the brilliant morning sun.
Take three hairs out of your endeavor and throw them to the ground.  There they become like a wake-up call.  Throwing them down makes a psychic noise, a chime, a resonance in the woman's spirit that causes activity to occur again.  The sound of some of one's many ideas falling away becomes like an announcement of a new era or a new opportunity.

Modern Day Past History


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Susie's place is a bombsite.  I have begun the anxious and tedious process of removing any trace of my existence from my previous-but-sorta-still-current abode (with a little help from some Sugar Soap and Freecycle and my boyfriend).

I think photography has a lot to answer for.  The stuff I'm putting on Freecycle, like the old rocking chair, and the pine kitchen hutch, look so much better in the photos than they do in real life that I am tempted to keep them.  At the same time, I am paranoid that the people coming to get the stuff will change their minds once they get here, because this happens to me on eBay all the time.  The lovely looking top or the cool-looking boots just look like more junk when they get here.

So someone is coming to pick up the old DVD player (to be sure, it's a reasonable one I suppose, a 5-stacker 5-speaker deal.  But it's rather scuffed and seen better days on the top of it).  More surprisingly, someone else is coming to pick up the wonky old rocking chair, and another person is coming for the grey, soulless, three-drawer filing cabinet that is the perfect and fitting place to fit your capitalistic accoutrements.

I hate stuff.  I am inspired and motivated by my friend Jane who had a big cleanup recently and got rid of heaps of stuff and feels so much lighter for it.

Ahhh ... stuff.  Bloody stuff.  I hate stuff, and I don't even have that much compared to some other people.  But still, I feel weighed down even by what I do have.  The stuff that I run my eye over and it feels like the dead zone 'cause it's stuff I don't use and I don't want.  But I hold on to it out of guilt.  Throwing stuff out into the rubbish makes me feel so bloody guilty.

Yet there is gonna be a tip run here.  It's gonna contain the stuff that's so dead zone that it's in cardboard boxes in the cupboard, along with an old HP printer/scanner/copier that even Freecycle don't want.  Oh, the guilt of making a tip run, of contributing to the Plastic Island in the middle of the ocean.  The tip run will at this stage contain a cardboard box filled wiht the following items:  old 33 records;  a glass bong;  a bunch of tapes I sent away for in my fundy Xtian days, awful things with titles like "Last Days Chronicles - Part 8:  Rome" and tapes from Presbyterian churches in the States, and things from places called Grace to You and Firefighters for Christ and now, lo, though I do be a sinner hellbound I feel lighter already that that stuff is in the box marked "Tip".

So I am here surrounded by bits and pieces.  Because we all know that moving house means it's gonna get w-a-a-a-y worse before it gets better.  That's why the bench top has an old teapot and a lampshade  and bits of paper and just STUFF all over it..  And I'm on my old laptop that hasn't seen any action for 9 months, and I've opened up Outlook, and now there's old reminders in there as well about things I need to delete.  And I hesitate to delete, even though I have no remembrance of what is on there anyway.

But this is what I've got wondering about.  It strikes me how our technological footprints are just as great as our carbon ones.  But while the latter has its effects on the earth, the former has its effects on our sense of history.  Has there ever been any group of people in the history of the world who have so much history documented right there in their inboxes and on the interwebs, on social networking sites?  Does it make you cringe, to think of how much of you is out there online?  And how much it doesn't reflect the you that you may be now?

How much of the past is best kept there?  But it's emails from people I lurve that stump me when I'm going to hit the delete button.  I find it very hard to delete them because they're like mementoes, reminders, snapshots of 2008 or 1995.  I like reminders because my memory is like a brain-damaged fish and I can't believe how much stuff I forget. 

And yet, perhaps a certain amount of forgetfullness is bliss.  I like how someone somewhere said at some point that if you're not ashamed about certain things in your past that you once liked, then you haven't been growing enough.  But does that mean we want to be reminded?  Like, I forget how, for example, apparently going to bingo was something I did regularly enough back in 1990 that I put it in my address book.  I'm so embarrassed.  And yet here I am writing about it online.  So that address book is in the rubbish bin.  And yet I liked being reminded of how my friend moved house on four different occasioins in the time I had that address book.  That's something I like remembering.

But is it something I need to?  And I wonder this too: do those people whose emails I want to keep even want me to keep them?  So much documentation in paragraph form and sometimes I wonder if leaving stuff in the deep misty ether isn't an entirely sexier way to look at history.

Gotta fly.  Someone has agreed to take the filing cabinet wth the Hawthorn stickers all over it. I need to empty it before they do.

Checking In ...


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Hello to the two people who still read here :)

I miss blogging.  I haven't done it for a whole month.

I struggle with time management.  I like spending an hour or two just rolling around doing not a whole lot.  That smells like chocolate.  I can do it all day, no problems.  I like getting about in first gear.

It would sound cooler if I could say I do it with a total "up yours" to the system.  But it doesn't feel quite like that.  I feel like I'm being naughty, like I'm wasting time.  Because while I love gearing back and spending seemingly fruitless time wandering around, I don't feel entirely comfortable with it.  There are nagging bits in my head while I do it sometimes.  And, although I hate the word efficiency and think it is overrated, there's something to be said for being disciplined with your time.  And when it comes to work, I just haven't been.  And I think if I was more efficient when I'm working, I would feel better about wandering about for hours doing not much at all.  But the inefficient work practices are seeping into everything else, and I need to find a way to dam it up better.

So I'm 40 years old and I've uncovered a little girl cowering in the corner who feels  naughty and scared about everything.  I may look it, but I ain't childless :)

I have been working more hours recently, in my little ole at-home transcription deal.  I have to, to start paying the tax bill that I ... aherm ... haven't been paying as I go.  I'm not so great at some things.  Managing money is one of them.  Doing this job is another.  It is so boring but can I find anything else?  Nope.  Sending lots of CVs out to jobs, but no fish are biting.  I think I'm going to have to have a go at starting something up myself, in an area where I have no prior experience and a welter of voices will be waiting to tell me why I can't do it (while this welter lives inside my head, in the land of the great tall poppy, you can guarantee that they will be living outside my head).

This layer of myself where everything I do I feel like I'm going to get into trouble, it's always been there, I think.  How weird discovery is.  It's like lifting up a rock and layers of centipedes are milling around.  It is so strange to find this layer, and to find along with it that every time I say, "No, sorry, I don't buy that fear," that the centipedes scurry and a few of them go away.  That's pretty cool.  But it's damn hard work.

I have just finished writing another short story.  I don't know how good it is.  It's so scary writing things and then finishing them and they're out there.  And then you send them to a competition and you don't win.  The last time I finished a story my toes scrunched up while Anthony was reading it and I don't think I even gave him an hour to mull over it before I was asking him what he thought of it.  How tiresome a place to be, with a terrified writer waiting for your feedback :)

Because I'm such a scaredy cat, and because I'm 40, now I can feel the centipedes scurry whenever change is in the air.  And it is.  Moving from one suburb to the other, both beginning with B, but both completely different, an hour away from each other.  One suburb, in a small house (or a large flat?) living alone for four years.  How did that four years happen?  A landlocked house in the backyard of another, facing a garage.  A house where I cracked open and cried more than I have cried in my entire life.

I shall miss that house, though.  But it is with great excitement that I move to another B suburb, but this one so different.  A suburb where if I dare to wear my ugg boots outside I pay for it, but not by the fashion police.  My ugg boots have NO traction whatsoever.  I wore them outside last winter to the shops (oh, the shame) and fell over on the stairs on the way back.  I wore them outside to the veggie patch the other day and fell over twice on my way there.

I am moving to a house in the side of a hill.  I am so much more level than when I lived in the house facing the garage where the ground was flat but I was topsy turvy.

This is a much better way.

This house has a man in it.  That's very scary.  I love him so much.  We are both old and decrepit and wise now, and have learned from the past.  I am so happy to be doing this but oh, it is scary.

Scary also is writing short stories, facing yourself and holding onto what you see, seeing how easily things come out of the clay, toying with ideas about venturing into areas you know nothing about.  Scary is going your own way when everyone else thinks you should go theirs.  Scary is opening your mouth and seeing what comes out, all good and bad jumbled, and owning it, even if other people may not like what you are saying or think they can tell you differently (because wow, what a generic and boring fucked-up unit this society is).  Scary is worrying about what other people think, because you will dilute your own colours to try to please them.  Scary is cleaning up the kitchen after you've been cooking in it.  Scary is feeling happy, because scary is the feeling of wanting to hang on to something.  Everything moves and flows; holding onto it lightly stops life bunching up while it flows into your hands.