Saturday, 29 December 2007

The Future May Be Bright And Shiny But It Needs To Be Serviced Every Month

I spent a good part of the afternoon having the equivalent remote control sex with my DVD player.
This isn't as exciting or depraved as it might sound.
I popped open the DVD player, put the DVD into it and hit the close button.
I sat down.
The DVD player opened again.
I hit the close button on the remote control.
The DVD player opened again.
I closed it.
It opened.
I closed it
It opened.
I closed it.
It opened.
I closed it.

This 'yes, no, yes, no' game went on for a solid five minutes of digital foreplay before the DVD player just accepted it and started playing the damn DVD.
We've gotten so used to everything crapping out on a regular basis we hardly even notice it any more.

My parents only replaced the washer and dryer they bought for their first house when I was of an age that everyone I knew was having pregnancy scares on a regular basis. The new set almost immediately proceeded to break down on a bi-annual schedule.

This is why all the appliances in my place are second-hand vintage-y numbers.
The microwave is too big to fit on my bench, being probably the first even microwave sold in Australia with flat face touchpad buttons and therefore expanded fourfold to contain the reams of electronics. But I could probably cook a fair sized chook in it... if I was the kind of person who did roasts in the microwave...
My washing machine is older than I am but doesn't throw a fit every time its load destabilises, it just washes my clothes.
True I almost couldn't get my fridge up the stairs or through the door of my flat, yes it could conceivably hold a decent sized human body if you took the shelves out - and that may one day prove useful - but it works dammit!
They all work.
My friends may insist that I only have all these antique white goods because I am a poorsy poor poor person who still decorates like a university student.
That is a damn lie.
I have at least four more chairs than any university student and absolutely none of them are made of milk crates...

Sunday, 23 December 2007

How To Get A Good Night's Sleep

Step One
: DON'T chain drink coffee all day whilst reading Lovecraft!

Step Two:
DON'T absent mindedly polish off a bottle of red wine whilst still reading Lovecraft!

Step Three: DON'T decide that you've had too much wine and try to balance this out by drinking more coffee... whilst continuing to read Lovecraft!

Step Four: DON'T suddenly realise that it is the middle of the night and that you are alone in a dark and suddenly sinister house and yet continue to read Lovecraft!

Just follow these four easy steps and with good luck and forward planning you will not find yourself jazzed on caffeine, tipsy on wine and twitching at shadows and half imagined sounds as you wait for dawn... still unable to stop reading Lovecraft!

Monday, 17 December 2007

I Just Thought You Should Know...

Your shirt went out without you the other day.
I saw it in the city on another man.
They seemed quite close.
I don't tell you this to hurt you, you understand, I just thought you should know.

They were walking together down the street and every now and then the man would glance at the reflection of the shirt in the shop windows they were passing and he would duck his head and smile.

They looked quite sweet as they strolled along, their arms swinging, his fingers curled around the ends of your shirt's cuffs.
If someone walked too closely by, the man would pull his arms in to his body, holding the shirt safely to him until the danger had passed.

They ate together in a cafe, the man tenderly brushing crumbs from the shirt's collar for it, and smiling with rueful sympathy when the shirt got a touch of coffee on its sleeve.

You might wonder why I'm going into such detail when I claim I'm not trying to hurt you.
Well the thing is... they saw me looking at them and together they smiled, the young man invited me to join their table and as we drank our coffees he reached over and the shirt brushed my hand with its sleeve.
I'm seeing the two of them again this weekend, hopefully one day you'll forgive me...

I just thought you should know...

Monday, 10 December 2007

The Dog Ate My Blog Post

As this is the first full weekend off after NaNoWriMo I thought I would be hella full of energy and ideas and my writing muscles in my brain would be so bulgy that I would churn out a teetering stack of blog posts that I could release at whim over the course of many weeks.
Unfortunately given several factors this did not happen.

First of all my weekend was hijacked by malevolent elves. Well OK, they weren't actual elves.
One of them does look like an evil version of Jesus though and Jesus hung out with a bunch of guys kinda like Santa and... look one of the factors is that I didn't get a lot of sleep.
Let me start again.

Weekend. Hijacked.

What with cancelled trains, late nights, too much booze, demanding friends who have unrealistic expectations of the amount of hours in a day and my ability to travel from one place to another faster than the speed of light I seem to have spent most of this weekend turning up to things just in time or just in time to be asked why I didn't turn up earlier.

Without the power of sleep I have been unable to come up with any rejoinders wittier than 'so's your face'.
Without the power of wit all the conversations I've had have been ridiculously boring.
I tried to remedy these two problems with the power of alcohol which unfortunately just made me sleepier and my rejoinders slipped down the class scale to involve such zingers as 'your mum was [insert other person's previous statement here]'.

I've only been home long enough to have a couple of showers and get enough sleep that I didn't actually pass out at any point.
I've got nothing done, had no real meals and am getting major guilt trips from the cats and the dog who are going to great lengths to point out to me how abandoned and starved for affection they are. This has been conveyed via the mediums of poop, shedding and piteous noises of an almost Geneva Convention breaching magnitude.

No part of the weekend was actually bad per se but they were all jammed together so closely that I have had no time to myself and am going to roll into work tomorrow feeling tired, cranky and wondering if I somehow hallucinated the weekend altogether.

I know that this rambling bitching about nonspecific events doesn't constitute much of a blog post.
I also know that this is basically me making excuses to myself about not getting anything written during the week let alone over the weekend which is pretty weak.
But despite all the things that kept me from doing anything this weekend, none of them were actually significant enough to stick in my memory which is a little depressing.
The most memorable part of my whole weekend was this dream I had about a time travelling bumble bee man who changed the universe so that everyone I know was working at a giant hairdressing salon... but it doesn't get any more lucid as it progresses and I know that there are few things as uninteresting as other people's dreams.

Except the one I had where Batman was rappelling down the inside the chimney of a mansion wearing a santa hat as a disguise so that the gremlins who were living there would think he was Santa and... *coff coff*

Anyhoo by next weekend my energy levels should be back up, I should have actually produced some actual material, and I will be politely but firmly telling anyone who wants me to go anywhere or do anything to go do something of a fairly unpleasant and probably anatomically uncomfortable nature. Because if you can't occasionally tell your friends to go swivel then are they really your friends?
In the meantime I'd better go grab some sleep so I don't start trying to tell that bumble bee story at a meeting at work...

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Eat It Everyone Who Has Never Won A Nobel Prize! That Includes You Amy!

Take that cynical voices in my head! Take that and swivel on it!

I may have had to basically give up TV for a month - I did not miss much, apparently the new summer programming line up is to include crap and shash.

I may have developed a reflexive twitch that sees me hit Ctrl+S every few seconds even when I am not in a word document - did you know you can save your Spider Solitaire games?

I may now have to make a concentrated effort to use contractions once more as I purged them from my repertoire to make sure that I was making maximum progress with my word count - has anyone noticed how wanky the sentence fragment 'aren't you' looks when expanded to 'are you not' or 'are not you'?

I may now be the proud owner of some of the longest continuous sentences ever written outside of James Joyce's Ulysses - I is can use full stop now!?

I may have ended up eating the laziest meals - can you say microwave cuisine!? - since my Honours year at University! How do you cook again? I remember that fire is hot...

I may now be freaking out because I can not remember what the rest of November entailed apart from squinting and muttering in the light of my computer screen - I assume I went to work because I am still being paid...

But I made it!

I joined the ranks of thousands of people around the world who have managed to churn out at least 50 000 words in one month and I am so high on the feeling that I may in fact be seeing colours that do not exist!

My goal for next year's NaNoWriMo is to learn how to plot because let me tell you, sitting down on the 1st of November and going 'durh what should I write about' and just letting your characters - who are mysteriously close-mouthed about what is going on - drag you from one event to the next makes for an interesting ride but not much in the way of pacing!

I am going to just take a moment to bask in the warm glow of having finished, continue retraining myself how to blink and contact all my friends and family to let them know that the kidnap note and the ransom demand that followed it were actually just a ploy to silence the constant demands for contact and/or attention that they kept making of me.

This fun genre-specific logo is one of many provided to the NaNoWriMo community of Melbourne by the lovely Lauren E Mitchell who knows that we are excitable little pixies who like bright colours

Friday, 23 November 2007

Stop Denying It. The Television Already Dictates Your Schedule To You Via The Television Guide...

It took me a while to work out what was going on but I've finally clicked.
My television has become that annoying person at everyone's office who keeps running over to insist they have something hilarious to tell you or show you.
They've always had the 'you will never believe what happens next time on Generic Drama' advertisements but now their cheese has slipped completely off their cracker.

They have a television show which is entirely comprised of showing us clips that they've found on YouTube.
That's the whole show.
Oh apart from some awful banter between some idiots who came to their position of fame and prestige by either appearing on Big Brother - dear God when will it stop - or from hosting another stupid game show type thing where they ran 'challenges' similar to the intellectually stimulating endeavours that participants on Big Brother apparently had to go through. Both shows were introduced to fill the vast gaping hole in people's lives that were left when actual Big Brother went off the air.
We aren't even able to browse the internet by ourselves any more without someone else showing us how or for what. The television is jiggling up and down by our elbow telling us that we just have to watch this video of a kitten wearing a tiny hat because it's sooo cute!

The very next thing likely to be brought to that section of the public that has been broken by the Reality TV assault is going to be a television show hosted by the same range of 'basket short of a picnic' hair-gel addicts where they just sit there and read out humourous email 'forwards' that they've found online.
You think I'm joking don't you.

It's only a matter of time before you flick on your TV one day and there's just a close up of one of these goons just sitting there grinning at you. There will be options on your newly customised remote control so that you can have little conversations with them via multiple choice options that flash up on the screen.
It will no longer be enough to watch people fart arsing around sunbathing, swearing at each other, sleeping, blobbing about in the hot tub or hooking up in grainy night vision camera sight.
Society will slowly become unable to actually relate to people they haven't been able to watch like stalkers and will need to simulate a relationship with these people they 'know so well' and gradually the actual people that they meet will seem less real than these 'press button friends' and they may discard reality entirely in favour of Reality...

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Our New Religion...

Clutch your petition - or application form - close to your chest with your hands respectfully clasped. Keep your eyes down. Wait in line.

Did you know that this beautiful building was designed by the same man who designed St Patrick's Cathedral? Note the gentle arches of the ceilings and the windows. Is it just me or can you smell frankincense?

Shuffle forward. Tread gently on the marble floors. Don't raise your voice. This is the Cathedral's little brother - he might tell.

People stand in gilded booths to hear your sins, accept your sacrifices and grant your prayers. You can recognise them by their ceremonial dress. People move aside when they walk the floors. Only they can intervene on your behalf with those above, those who judge, bless and condemn.

If you look up, examine the curve of of the ceiling, the pillars that hold the roof at its correct height - look only to offer your awe, don't get cheeky. The line moves, follow it.

Belief is not the loving arms of the Father. It's fear of being smote from above. Real belief shakes you to the core and keeps you awake at night. Real fear brings you back time and time again, grateful for anything you can get. Real fear is this loan application. Are you afraid? Sensible of you.

It's your turn, offer up your supplication. Mumble your way through the liturgy.
"I have a steady income and will have no problem with repayments. As you can see I've listed my car as collateral...?"
Your intermediary listens with half an ear to the familiar words and either nods their head "Amen", shakes it ruefully, or begs a moment to pray to The Manager for advice.
You have been heard, you have been judged, they have your signature, now if you would just check your soul at the door we'll be done and you can go.


The Gothic ANZ Bank on Collins Street was designed by the Architect William Wilkinson Wardell.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Observations From The Bottom Of The Bottle

When I write something when I'm drunk - that I am of course convinced is passionate, insightful or mind blowing - I think my handwriting is graceful and fluid, melting from the pen onto the paper. When I wake the next morning in a mercifully darkened room and I can see that it looks more like the work of two mice, one standing on the shoulders of the other as they both try to work a pen.
You can even see the bits where the mouse on top has his lost his balance and sent the pen skittering when he tried to haul himself back upright...

* * *

I'm watching a funeral home ad and I know I'm drunk because I'm substituting the kindly pragmatic looking spokesman's dialogue in my head and am absurdly amused by it.

"You got dead people? Yeah, you get that. Better get rid of them before they stink up the joint. Call us, we'll respect your dead people like all get out. We'll respect the hell out of your dead people!"

* * *

You know that you're drunk when you start thinking that you need to make announcements that run along the lines of "Listen! Listen everybody! Mashed potatoes are fucking delicious!" and you actually expect this to be a revelation, for people to turn to each other in wonder and say "Shit! She's right! Mashed potatoes are fucking delicious! How come I've never realised exactly how delicious until today?"
It's not my fault!
I'm absolutely murdering a bottle of Cab Merlot at the moment and this Shepherd's Pie is fucking delicious. Probably something to do with the mashed potatoes...

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

November - The Novelling Month...

Well in accordance with the prophecy and also my whimsical ambition to one day write things with words 'n' stuff I am this year participating in the whirlwind of manic typing which is NaNoWriMo.

Considering my complete inability to plot unless I am in the midst of a project this has been an act of faith that has so far yielded 8102 of the 50 000 words that you are required to write between the 1st and the 30th of November in order to succeed!

I'm still going to be trying to post things here but they may be a little frayed around the edges as the majority of my brain will be dedicated to making sure that I get this done as
a) once I've committed to something I am somewhat obsessed with actually seeing it through and I don't want to fail in a hugely public way and
b) I've got a stupidly huge deadline at work that I also have to pull some overtime on!

And now I'm off to sit in a cafe, inhale some caffeine and furrow my brow in concentration!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Things Are Turning Ugly...

Australia: not exactly full of water.
We've always seemed a little taken aback by this, even though from the moment our European ancestors sauntered over and called dibs, the place has basically been desert with some green trim around the edges.
We cultivated great big 'just like home' gardens and parks, put in swimming pools and grumbled cheerfully about mowing our lawns whilst our children played on slip-n-slides during the summer.

Now we're somewhat parched what with this drought that seems like it's been going since I was born.
The bushfires are getting worse, the water catchments seem to be doing well to be in the double digits and we've got water restrictions finally ensuring that we don't do ridiculous things like hose down our drive ways because we're too damn lazy to use a broom if they get a bit mucky.

We still don't seem to have gotten ourselves quite figured out yet though, we're still clutching at straws like building a big old pipeline to get water from one region with very little water to another region with very little water. A slightly less strict set of water restrictions is in place in Melbourne - cos they're a big complaining block of votes - which is causing much grumbling in the country as the farmers wonder how long it'll take the yuppies to realise that the country needs the water to grow that food that turns up in the supermarkets. Also, hot tip CBD young professionals, milk comes out of cows! You don't want to hear where eggs come from but water is involved in them arriving in your breakfast as well!

So things have been a bit tricky as we try to adjust to actually being sensible about water after a couple of centuries of having our fingers jammed in our ears as we sing the la la la la I can't hear you song.

There has been much argument over who needs what water, taxes vs higher water prices to encourage people to use less water, fines for all sorts of things, not being allowed to wash your car in your drive way unless it's with grey water (collected from washing machine rinse cycle or from a bucket in your shower) etc etc etc and some raised tempers and voices on the issue but we've officially stepped into the realm of the incredibly worrying.

We've had a water restrictions inspired murder.
A sixty-six year old man was watering his garden.
A younger man walked past the garden and protested.
The first man wasn't moved to alter his behaviour by Ranty McPasserby's words.
Ranty McPasserby punched the grandfather to the ground and kicked him until the older man suffered a heart attack.
We now have water restrictions rage.

We have already started giving each other the squinty suspicious looks as our attitude has quickly become 'if we can't water our vegetable gardens when we like why should the neighbours get to?'
There are special phone numbers for the 'concerned citizen' to call to let the local council know if someone is watering out of allowed hours, you can have your water allocation slowed to a trickle if you use more than your allocation or disobey the restrictions, we have swiftly become a self-policing water state but I never thought we'd get to water vigilantes quite this quickly.

Whilst I am fairly certain that a good chunk of our population will eventually have to go back to where their great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers came from as the country will eventually be hard pressed to support us all; we're not at that stage yet.
If we just stop being wastrels and idiots we'll be able to hang about here for a while yet.

My family has only had to mow our backyard lawn four times in the last six years, none of the kids born in the last five years or any time after are likely to be allowed to run about under the sprinkler on a summer's day, every time it rains people start hugging each other in the street and re-enacting Singing In The Rain; we know things have changed. Permanently.
But the fact that something like this has happened at this stage of events has me worried for what the future may hold. Has anybody read Frank Herbert's Dune?

The really tragic thing is Ranty McPasserby had his times wrong and a family is short a father and a grandfather as a result

I'm A'Ready!

"The zombies are unlikely to eat your brain, because you'll be too busy using it against them. You're not 100% prepared for a zombie attack, but you're smart enough to improvise under pressure. Since you know that one reckless mistake could end it all, you'll be extremely careful about every move you make. You'll defend yourself with whatever you have available, and your creative solutions might just keep you alive. Humankind is lucky to have you on our side."

How encouraging!
Now to finish customising those monster trucks and to have the final fitting for my lightweight body armour!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Scourge of the Internet

The first boyfriend I ever had got married the other week.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not being overcome by feelings of sorrow or jealousy or a case of 'oh if only it were me's - he got married wearing a black shirt and a pink silk tie, with a pink silk handkerchief in his breast pocket - I am not sorry that I passed on that particular relationship.

What I am miffed about here is the fact that I know about it at all.
Because he found me and 'friended' me on facebook just in time to post a whole bunch of awful pictures of people I don't know doing the macarena as he and his elvis hair-do cut a cake with his new wife.
I know I am partially to blame, I could have just clicked the 'ignore' button and wandered away but there's something about all these damn sites that wakes the secret masochist/stalker in all of us.
We all want to know what happened to people we used to know, depending on the reason we don't know them any more we may be dancing up and down with our fingers crossed to find out that they're doing really badly, but I think overall we're better off not knowing.

Now anyone you have ever met who can remember your name can search for you and try to reintroduce themselves into your lives, you can do the same and the next thing you know you may be carefully sifting through their online profiles on a regular basis. Healthy!

The safest option would be to just opt out of whole deal but it's so addictive!
Even if you really did just join because it was the easiest way to keep up with people you'd met travelling yadda yadda yadda odds are you will either turn into twitchy-internet-stalker-person or you will be buried under an avalanche of special applications.

Add the 'werewolf' application, add the 'vampire' application, add the 'vampire vs werewolves vs robot monkey ninja pirates' application, join an interest group which hosts support conversations for people with issues about the schizophrenic nature of being both a vampire and a werewolf involved in a factional battle...

The simple and easy fun is suddenly getting more and more complicated and more and more of a hassle and I'm getting paranoid about what other forgotten shreds of my past are going to come searching for me.
Luckily I have a terrible memory and have been saved from the occasional drunken urge to do a broad spectrum search by the fact I sometimes think a person's name started with an R when it actually started with a T and so on and so forth.

The underlying problem is that we all want to know what is going on with other people but we don't necessarily want them to know what's going on with us. And whilst hearing a snippet of gossip from someone who knows someone who knows someone might kick off an interesting conversation, trawling the interwub all by yourself in the glow of your monitor just kicks off a whole raft of problems you really don't need.

One day I may manage to kick the facebook habit but until then I think I'll just go and draw some big curly villain mustaches on all the wedding photos with MS Paint.*

*Oh I know I sound all bitter but that's because we parted spectacularly in a fit of teenage passion and now a good eight years later he's come giggling up via the electronic medium and made me think about him again! I had other plans for those memory sectors of my brain dammit!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Your Internet Horoscope #4

It is not yet the season! For God's sake it is not yet the season to be jolly! Knock it off and come back when it is seemly!

If you try to swim in your loose change like Scrooge McDuck you'll just hurt yourself. Trust me.

Feeling screwed up? Watch Jerry Springer. It'll make you feel better.

You will be overcome by an overwhelming sense of dread and not know why until you realise that they're playing Christmas carols in the shops already.

Acting like you know what you're doing is fine until someone asks you for advice. Bluff!

Trying to reconcile your horoscope and Chinese zodiac can give you a headache. As can combining aromatherapy and acupuncture.

Put some time aside each day to relax. Preferably between the start of the work day and quitting time.

Your starsign isn't talking to your right now. You said something mean about it last time and it isn't in the mood to give you advice. Or warn you about the thing with the apples.

Never go out with someone with the same starsign as you. You think the same. They'll know what you're up to.

Low GI is the new anti-oxidant. Vague nutritional concepts have never been so fashionable.

Has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful eyes?

Buying a high-powered telescope is NOT in keeping with the spirit of your restraining order.

Never try to expect the unexpected. You feel like a complete tool when it catches you by surprise.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Behold My Secret Glory!

When you start to see the same handful of people popping up in different streets, different towns, different states, you start to understand how paranoids can believe they're living in their own Truman Show.
When they pop up in different countries you start worrying that you might be becoming a bit 'conspiracy theory' yourself.

It also plays wonderfully to your sense of self-importance. There's no apparent reason why these people should be following you so there must be something extraordinary about you that you just don't know about.

One wrong step later and you've got yourself convinced that you're the next Jesus Christ/Harry Potter/poor-goat-herd-turned-royalty, have attracted a devoted following in California and are able to live off the donations of the faithful before they become distracted by something shiny and scatter like startled chickens.

Broke, listless, alienated from former acquaintances due to their refusal to believe you the Messiah/a wizard/their liege, living in a cardboard box, you will at least be able to comfort yourself with the assurance that something is bound to happen sooner or later because this is your story and you are special and, like John Connor, you will rise from the rubble!

Sweet Temptation

He had practiced it, the way he moved his head, the slow easy smile, the way he brushed his fringe aside with feigned nervousness.

He was delicious and men and women alike flocked to him and he enticed them closer, like a predator playing lame.

He knew that they wanted him and he eased their reluctance, their misgivings, drew them in. And even as he dropped his eyes or staged a self-conscious laugh, his teeth flashed white in the darkness and his lips curved in a secret smile.

He gently herded their reactions, nudging and tugging until he had them. And even when they were ensnared, he let them maintain the illusion that they were leading as he controlled their every move.

He never played in the same place twice, though sometimes he would pass through to see the confused and worried glances his previous toys would throw him, wondering whether it was him or them, convinced that he had revealed to them something dark and raw inside themselves. And he would laugh silently and demurely look away before moving on to find a new haunt, a fresh toy, to open them up and take them apart and leave them to put themselves back together again as best as they could, and to radiate out into the world like ripples from his epicentre, shaking all they touched.

Monday, 8 October 2007

So, If A Pigeon Drops An Egg Onto A Hard Surface... Is That Avian Abortion?

There are two pigeons who live on my balcony and crap all over everything.
Being too kind-hearted to let my old Greek landlord do away with them, as he once offered to in his matter-of-fact way, I have as a side effect committed myself to an ever renewable cycle of crap cleaning.

Resigned to their presence I have even named them - Vanilla Ice of the snow white feathers and Speckled Jim, the dappled bird of mystery - but I will never feed them, there's quite enough crap already.

Pigeons aren't supposed to be overburdened with brains in the first place but these two... it's a miracle they manage to fly let alone anything else.
They've tried to lay four eggs to date that I know of: two on the hard unaccommodating surface of my bar *smash smash*, one on a slanted seat *roll + smash* and one - finally - in a nest that they cobbled together under the bar *disappeared*. Either something managed to make off with the egg or - considering a suspicious scattering of white feathers recently - one of the downstairs cats waited for the fresh meal to hatch.

So stupid they can't even breed and even bogans and hillbillies manage that.
Nevertheless, for some undefinable reason, I've got a soft spot for them. The pigeons that is, not the bogans or the hillbillies.
They aren't the typical grey and petrol-on-wet-asphalt examples of their kind, the ones who immediately make you think 'rats-with-wings' or 'oil slick'.
They are smooth-feathered and healthy. In flight they are graceful.

They may be too dumb to successfully reproduce but at least they're optimistic enough to try.
And I suppose it's good that someone is having wild, abandoned sex on my balcony, even if they do crap on it afterwards.
Each to their own.

Spin Cycle

I'm down at the local laundromat hoping that no one notices that I'm not wearing a bra. What with one thing and another I completely ran out by the time I made it down here.

There's a shaggy-haired man with a gold ring on each finger of his right hand which is so distracting that you almost completely miss his atrophied left hand, folded delicately back against the wrist. He hauls his clothes out of the drier, whistling and hoicks the washing basket up onto his hip with an easy movement. A gold tooth glints as he smiles at me.

A gentle giant of a boy is reading Robert Rankin and sneaking furtive, bespectacled glances about himself as the small woman who must be his mother keeps up a constant muttered stream about the quality of the machines, the state of the facilities and what dinner is likely to contain.

People wander in and out.

An upper middle class couple who have fallen on hard times sip their McCappuccinos as he reads the paper and she pats her garish neon-red dye-job.

A girl returns to claim her orphaned washing and rants to anyone who will listen about whoever dared to take her things out of a machine and dump them on top of it.

My machines finish.
One of my socks has gone missing - a sacrifice to the God of communal laundry.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Three By Three

This story was written to meet Erin Palette’s challenge to create something inspired by the sentence Witch children fallow the elder's footsteps which is just all sorts of awesome all by itself.

Just to clear up any confusion, in Australia biscuits can mean 'crackers' or 'cookies' and has nothing to do with those bready things Americans are talking about when they say 'biscuits and gravy'. Don't tell me it's confusing. How do you tell the difference between gas for the car and gas for the oven? Well there you go.


Three has always been a number of power; from the pagan religions and cults through to today's modern incarnations, even the larger more orthodox 'cults'.
The three aspects of the goddess: maiden, mother and crone.
The three faces of God: Yaweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
The neat way that 1 + 2 = 3, which is also the number that follows 2... Not quite as dogmatically significant but still kinda neat...

When the three women fell pregnant around the same time, no one thought very much about it.
There were a few jokes about the friskifying powers of spring and the good old fashioned tradition of 'making your own entertainment' but nothing was thought to be out of the ordinary.

When they began to swell at a surprising rate - pale haired Meg, dark skinned Sarah and fiery Janet - there was some comment but usually to the tune of badly judged jokes by their spouses which led to some fairly heated verbal smackdown but little else until the ultrasounds showed that one of... two of... all three of the women were carrying triplets.
Then talk began to flow.

"Just seems a little odd, doesn't it?"
"Not really. The government is putting fertility drugs in the water supplies,"
"Oh don't be silly,"
"They are! Birth rates have been dropping for years and this is the easiest way to make sure we replenish our own population without actually paying people to have more babies, which would just encourage the wrong sort anyway,"
"Are you going to get onto your damn immigration conspiracy theories again?"
"They're not conspiracy theories!"
"Oh for the love of God!"

Everyone liked to think of themselves as living in a small town - despite the fact that in a few years the edges of the city would reach out to gather them up and make them into an outlying suburb - and Father Mark was happy to play the part of the small town priest.
He rode a bicycle because people liked to see him wobbling along on it with his neatly ironed shirt and slacks and the somehow incongruous safety helmet.
He kept a neat front garden and a vegie patch out the back and spent a lot of time pottering around in them so that people could stop and have a chat over the fence.
He could even drop by and pay visits to parishioners and non-church goers alike for a chat and a cup of tea without ever making anyone feel as if he was sizing them up or trying to save their soul against their will.
He was a gentleman of the old school, he was of an older school than he seemed.
Meg, Sarah and Janet were all grateful for his pragmatic, measured words and the simple, bachelor-grade biscuits he would bring round as a gift. The recipe was basic but by virtue of many years of experimentation, Father Mark said, he had hit upon a mixture that was tasty nonetheless. He was right, it was.

When all three women went into labour on the same night, there was talk again but no one could really work themselves up into much of a tizzy about it. Sitting in front of the TV, passing comment on the event, it felt too Twilight Zone to think of it as anything other than a strange coincidence.
It wasn't as if it was the third day of the third month of a third year. It was the 14th of August. Not an especially portentous day as far as anyone could tell.
"Psychosomatic," said Belinda Chapman, who had taken one unit of Psychology in her first year of university and who was eager to show the breadth and depth of her knowledge to Sam Nicolls. Luckily for her, Sam was much more interested in the breadth and depth of other parts of Belinda.

In the early hours of the morning, in the maternity wards of the same city hospital, each woman gave birth to three small but healthy children.
Two girls and one boy to Sarah.
Two boys and one girl to Meg.
Two girls and one boy to Janet.
There was to be a story on the local news about multiple birth families and a film crew popped around a few days later to take some footage of the three new mothers and their children. But when the story was aired their time was cut to a few cutesy shots of the tired mothers cradling their babies to make way for more time watching the two sets of identical twins of a nearby town run around their school yard.

As the children grew and the new mothers became more adept at juggling the needs of three children apiece and herding them about, the locals became used to the sight of ridiculous multi-seat strollers, then small overactive children on those odd 'kiddie leads' and then just to the different women wandering about, each with an orbiting collection of kids; sometimes just their own, sometimes a mixture.
Given the situation it would have been stupid not to pool their resources and often Meg and Sarah would mind the brood whilst Janet braved the supermarket on their behalf or Sarah and Janet would sit and chat whilst Meg grabbed a few hours sleep and so on and so forth.
And always Father Mark would pop around for a chat and a cuppa and to leave a tin of his biscuits, which the children were always trying to get their hands on.
"You've got to tell me what you put in these, Mark," Sarah said one day when they were all sitting in the yard watching the four year olds run around and scream at shadows and pretend that the dog was a great bear.
"Oh no, you've got to let an old man have some secrets. I've precious little of the housekeeping arts mastered but I know how to make a batch of biscuits."
"Can you at least give me a hint?" Sarah persisted.
"It might be a touch of herbs or spices,"
"Like what?" Meg asked.
"Oh, mostly marijuana,"
He roared with laughter as Janet spluttered her tea and wiped tears from his face as the children looked around to see what was going on and then got on with their games.

The only primary school in town was Catholic but apart from the usual association with plaid this entailed, it didn't make a big deal of the fact. So when time came for the kids to all be sent out of the house and into their education that was where they all went.
And next door to the school Father Mark tended his garden and baked his biscuits and would nod to the children as they ran past his gate in a jumble, laughing and shouting on their way to school.

There was none of that 'mystical twin business', no knowing when another was in pain when they weren't there or reading each other's minds; but it was inevitable that the children would feel a bond. They had grown up together, spent so much time together that each felt themselves to be one of nine rather of one of three.
It was handy to have so many willing participants in re-enactments of favourite movies, in pitched battles to the death between pirates and whatever they decided was fighting the pirates today, and to play make-believe down the back of Meg's garden.
There was a hollow under a cluster of bushes where they could all fit, sitting cross-legged in a circle and murmuring to each other in the solemn, serious way of children everywhere engaged in rebuilding the mysteries of life from scratch and assigning themselves important duties in this new world order.
Father Mark would hear them chanting and stifling giggles as he wandered up the driveway to see their parents and he would smile to himself and laugh a little with them.

When Meg started making noises about finally clearing out the bottom of the yard the kids were up in arms and told her that she couldn't, that they were going to make their own garden, that Father Mark would show them how and that no one was allowed to wreck it!
When Meg raised an eyebrow and asked whether anyone had actually asked Father Mark about this the kids all just shrugged.
Father Mark said he'd be happy to give the kids some pointers and make sure that they didn't try to plant any giant's beanstalks. And he came around with some tools, some fertiliser and a tin of biscuits for the busy gardeners who were busy carefully setting up a small fence around their new garden, in front of the old bushes.

They grew some simple vegetables in rows with little herb plants dotted amongst and around them, some for the kitchen and some just for scent and flowers. For the girls mostly, Father Mark explained, because what little girl wouldn't like a bit of colour and life in a garden.
And he taught them how to tell when the vegetables were ripe so that they could proudly carry in baskets of fresh produce to their appropriately admiring parents.
And he taught them when to plant and when to pick from the smaller plants, some of the uses that herbs could be put to in the kitchen and home and the old names by which they had once been known.
And shooing Meg and Sarah out of the kitchen one day with a conspiratorial grin, he extracted double-pinky promises from each of the children and he taught them how to make his biscuits.
And periodically after that the children would take over one kitchen or another and the scent of baking never completely faded from any of the homes.

When the children were ten and the 'shake and bake' planned communities creeping out from the city were within plain eyesight, it was announced that a new freeway was to be built to help connect the city and it's ever spreading fiefdoms.
It was to cut through the last of the countryside between the city and the town and whilst the suspiciously enthusiastic local member of government assured them that it would bring fresh money to the economy and fresh opportunities to the community, the image in most people's minds was that of great semi-trailers belching black smoke and riding their airbrakes on their way past.

The surveyors turned up and had a few patches of bad luck. It rained for three weeks for the first time in over fifty years. The ground became boggy and impossible to negotiate.
One man set up a tripod and stepped back to get a bit of a feel for the angle it was on and watched it disappear into a forgotten mine shaft which had opened up just as he was back on firm land.
Small marsupials and rare birds thought to have left the area decades ago were found nesting, foraging and breeding all the way across the bushlands that the freeway was to cut through.
Protestors from the city hired buses and drove out to campaign against the freeway, bringing their signs and their chants. And Father Mark would set up a table in the school yard where the groups would gather before their marches and he dispensed cups of tea whilst the children trotted around with plates of biscuits, bright-faced and helpful. Janet, Meg and Sarah watched with indulgent smiles as their self-proclaimed little 'Greenies' did their bit to save the environment.

Under the pressure of mass public opinion, conservation laws and the eye of the Nation, the Premier announced the scrapping of the freeway plan and the unveiling of the new plan to resurface the existing highway and add two more lanes, which would barely impact on the current environmental conditions at all whilst still providing the increase in services that he had promised to the people he was proud to serve.

When it came time for the kids to start high school in the next town over, Meg, Sarah and Janet fussed a little, bought them their new uniforms and sent them off on the bus. And when Father Mark went by on his bike, he stopped a moment at each house to share their wonder at how quickly children grow up and to reassure them that the kids would be just fine with this new phase in their lives.

There was a bit of a to do some time later when Brian Marsden, an unimaginative but persistent jerk-butt - as one of the girls put it - from the new school managed to fall down a flight of stairs all by himself in full view of the playground and in the process broke a leg, an arm and gathered himself a concussion.
Meg, Sarah and Janet tried tactfully to make sure that the kids weren't upset by this turn of events and independently tried to start one of those 'talks' that adults give to children when they're not quite sure what point they're trying to make but they're sure that one should be made.
The kids said that they were fine, Brian Marsden was a jerk-butt and no one minded that he had fallen down the stairs. And Meg's daughter didn't come home with red eyes or blotchy cheeks any more.
Father Mark dropped around and had a quiet word on how they were all God's children and should care for each other and not be glad or indifferent to hear of someone else's suffering, even if they were a jerk-butt.
No one else fell down any stairs after that but Brian Marsden kept his distance all the same.

And the town rolled on as the children grew and the city crept no closer as there was now a National park between it and the town. The small local businesses did well enough for themselves that people could stay and raise their families and not have to commute or move for work. And Father Mark wobbled around on his bicycle and worked in his front garden and every now and then one of the girls would pop around and bring him a tin of biscuits and he would laugh and thank them.

All too soon the kids were getting their Learner's Permits and taking it in turns to pester their parents for driving practice around the streets of the town and out onto the carefully maintained highway, making plans for what they would do when they got out of school, talking of travel, of study.
And Father Mark knew that it wouldn't be long until the kids scattered, went out into the world as young adults and started to find their own way. But it had been a good sixteen years and he had at least another two before the twin spirits of 'progress' and 'change' would begin to creep back in to this little corner of the world which he had cosseted and protected.
And wherever the children went they would carry a little of his knowledge with them and one day, when each of them found a place to settle down, they could plant a little garden, even just a few pots of a few different herbs and they could teach their children to make biscuits.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Sense Memory And Nostalgia

Across the carpark from my house is a McDonald's. The industrial-strength fans from the kitchen, carefully hidden from street-view, have been perfectly positioned to blast the scent of warm grease into my bathroom.
From now until forever the smell of hash browns will convince me that it's time to brush my teeth.

Despite the convenience of its location I've only bought food there twice.
Once after I'd just moved in and hadn't even progressed to the stage where I could proudly heat myself a supermarket-bought pizza.
Once after a drunken night with a friend.
Either my tastebuds are growing more refined or the taste is actually getting worse.

"Research is in, boys. They're going to keep buying the swill regardless. Might as well relax the standards, ey?"

On the corner which the building has claimed, used to stand the 'Mayor's House', an historic monument, a piece of our raw and youthful history. Presumably it was heritage-listed, or close enough, like the second-hand bookstore across the road which is up for auction.
The sweet little brick building is carefully regulated, the fittings can only be painted certain approved colours. Any alterations, repairs or touch-ups need to be cleared, ratified and sanctioned before any steps are taken.
I hope the bookstore-lady can top the bids. I have laughed, browsed and splurged there, chatting until well after close whilst her daughter frowned and puzzled over a primary school assignment in the other room.

It is business district zoned so either way it must remain a shop. It, at least, is safe from the golden arches. On the wrong side of the street, away from the busy intersection and in no way as suitable a location for the 'drive-thru'.

With enough money you can buy enough time to make it too late. Once something is gone, it's gone. I knew there was a reason I was scared of clowns.

We can't rebuild the Mayor's House, the old wooden timbers have been disassembled, broken down and carted away. It will be much easier to rebuild the faceless/soulless McDonald's building, if they so choose, but it'll be a pain in their arse, a thorn in their side.

And as the waves of heat wash through my bathroom window, carrying the smell of melting plastic and boiling grease, I am overwhelmed by the feeling that it is time to brush my teeth.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The Day That The Swears Died

For anyone who has ever had anyone laugh at them for using the word fruitcake or any other suitably genteel swear-ternative, prepare for more company.
I wish to join your people.

The swears have died.
Their power to shock has faded away to nothing.
People are using the F word in primary school.
The C word is dancing in the street and tipping its hat to old ladies.

What on earth is the point of swearing if it doesn't get a reaction or at least help express the rage/surprise/fear or any of the other feelings that may have inspired you to open your hatch?

I have discovered over the course of some years that whenever I attempt to rein in my potty mouth and start making nice in social situations by using fakey swears, it gets a lot more attention than it would have had I used a canon swear and I actually feel that it has achieved its purpose.

One of the random non-swears to wander into my vocabulary is 'fart-knuckle'.
I can't tell you what it means, do not even want to visualise what it could embody but it is an incredibly satisfying thing to threaten a person with or to yell at a computer which has crashed halfway through something I kept meaning to save but sort of didn't get around to.

Almost any noun coupled with a verb can be uttered with the spirit of swearing but some are more effective than others.
Almost anything can work if uttered in the right tone.
Here are a few random examples I have just thrown together : crab-sprinkles, fruit-monkey, hat-spanker, cack-spackle.
They don't need to be double barreled, I just likes them that way.

It just seems that if swearing can no longer convey the depths of your feelings, no matter how loudly you utter the curses, we need to take it back a step.
Using a fake swear gives the illusion of swearing, often suggests the word you might have used instead and gives back the gift of taboo.
Once it's naughty again, it will have regained its power and will be elevated back to its proper position of power.
Until then, stop fart-knuckling around and get on with it.

Update: We have one taker for cack-spackle! Any new bids? Going once...! Going twice...!

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Little People Who Live In My Brain Have Gone On Strike...

My brain is a jerk.
Or, more accurately, portions of my brain are jerky.
The part that regulates my organs seems to be doing a bang-up job, we get along fine.
It's my... imagination?
Not the bit that makes you imagine deeper shadows within the shadows or spiders in your hair, that's running at full capacity though I do think she's a bit enthusiastic about her job.
It's the bit that allows me to write, my... inspiration? My muse? She's an asshole.

I only ever get my material sentence by sentence, rarely allowed to glance even half a page ahead.
It's like reading a teleprompter! I keep expecting to be tricked into saying 'rubber ducky nipple pinchy lover'... dammit!

It's like working with a paranoid who thinks that if she gives you all the info at once you'll dump her, go it alone and then won't mention her in your acceptance speeches. She is also an egomaniac with an absurdly inflated opinion of these 'nuggets of gold' she's doling out piecemeal.

I get to be surprised at the same pace as my theoretical readers, the only difference being that they're surprised at how poorly structured it is seeing as I wasn't given the opportunity to plot the piece.
The paranoid muse also doesn't take kindly to editing. Takes it kind of personally if you know what I mean.

I've tried bribery, cajoling, wheeling, dealing and bluffing.
It's time for the threats...

Your Internet Horoscope #3

In a blatant show of favouritism, today's horoscope is calibrated specifically for those in the Southern hemisphere...

You will notice a mysterious increase in the number of hayfever ads.

In the course of spring cleaning you will find something that you lost long ago. Pray that it isn't a sandwich.

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Fool me thrice, you should go into politics.

You will be unable to recall where you put something down despite having it 'just a moment ago'.

You will have trouble remembering precisely when daylight savings begins.

If you're feeling cross, imagine you're in a summer meadow full of daisies. If this doesn't help, imagine stamping on the daisies.

Change is inevitable, sometimes welcome, but too much of it stretches your wallet.

Other people's standards aren't always set in reality, neither are yours. Cut yourself some slack.

No matter how great our differences, we are all united by our frustrations with public transport.

It is foreseen that summer TV programming will include Reality TV! With bikinis, breast implants and an unnecessary amount of beach volleyball!

If you realign your furniture for maximum happiness, be prepared to stub your toe in the night when you forget you moved the d*mn couch!

There is a planet rising in your 'love' sector. But it's that new one and we're not quite sure what it does yet.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Late to the Party

My attempt at the Thor meme created by the talented Erin Palette over at Lurking Rhythmically

Broken Sky

On TV when someone is dead, the doctor or whoever needs only to pass a hand over the face of the dead person and their eyes close. Maybe they need to be newly dead for this to work. She was still warm when I got to her but maybe not warm enough

I think for a second about trying to draw her eyelids shut with my fingertips but can't bring myself to try. No more than I can bear her wide staring eyes or stiff unnatural pose.


"Are you sure you're OK? We could get a taxi, or stop the night here,"
"Nah, I'm fine. Don't worry about it. It's not that far anyway."
"You're sure?"
"Sure sure sure! Shut up and get in the car,"
"OK, Bossy-bum, shut up yourself!"


The red and blue lights spark a brief reflection in her eyes which quickly fades into darkness before being rekindled by another flash.

The dizzying interchange of light and dark changes but doesn't change her face. The light moves and it seems she moves with it, surrounded by a galaxy of glass stars in an asphalt sky that blaze in time, blue then red.

Did she blink when the lights blinked out?


I put my head down on the table in the vague hope that by closing my eyes I can divert that energy to my ears and maybe finally manage to grasp what's going on. That's the kind of logic you get on four hours of sleep. It probably doesn't help that I've put my head down on the scarf. The conversation seems to have become muffled, even though my ears are uncovered, my lecturer is drifting away. This, I discover after a moment, is because I had dozed off. I hadn't meant to. It isn't that I'm not interested, I am. Unfortunately my body has its own priorities. I shrug off my jacket, hoping that the reduced warmth will wake me up a little and pray that I haven't been snoring as I try to pick up the thread of conversation.


"Miss? Miss? Can you hear me? Are you alright?"

There are hands on my shoulders, someone is trying to look into my eyes, getting in the way, getting between me and Bron. I push them away.

They try to lift me up and behind them I see the car, nuzzling up to the telephone pole. It looks like it's winking. Passenger-side of the windscreen gone. Driver's side door hanging open. I don't want to see.


Bron is waiting when I get out of class and grins at me when I roll my eyes and let my tongue hang out.
"That interesting, huh?"
"I'm telling you, I never sleep so well anywhere else,"
"You're not going to fall asleep at the party are you? It's a twenty-first so my cousins probably started their preliminary drinking yesterday and it's too late to designate another driver..."
"No, I'm fine. I'm still good."
"Party party?"
"Party party!"


There's a blanket around my shoulders, I'm sitting in the back of a van and someone is shining a torch in my eyes. Beyond the light of the van two men are slipping Bron into a big bag.
"Sweetie, can you hear me?"
I look up at the woman holding the torch. Her hair is bound back tight, she's wearing a uniform. She smiles at me and gives my hand a squeeze.
"Well your eyes are responding OK. You're a little cut up but your seatbelt saved you from going through the window. Can you tell me what your name is?"
"My name?"
"Just to let us know you didn't bump your head too hard,"
"It's... Bron... Bronwyn,"
"OK Bronwyn, well you're going to be just fine..."
I close my eyes and draw the words tight around me, trying to use them to drown out the sound of a long zip being pulled closed.


Bronwyn you're going to be just fine you're going to be just fine Bronwyn
Bronwyn you're going to be fine just fine just fine fine fine fine Bronwyn?

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Good Intentions

Your Internet Horoscope #2

Cos if you can't prove I'm wrong you'll always wonder...

Today you, and 1/12th of the world's population, will meet a tall dark stranger.

Your mother once gave you some good advice that would have come in handy today. Unfortunately you weren't listening.

Take things one day at a time. It'll take people longer to notice that things are going missing.

Take care of the big things and the little things will accumulate.

Even if everything DOES happen for a reason you still have the right to get mad. The reason may suck.

Never imagine your audience naked during a presentation. You'll either lose your place or traumatise yourself.

Don't waste your time wishing on stars. Odds are they can't speak English.

Don't take any advice today.

Beware of people who offer proverbs as problem solvers. They're jerks.

Tomorrow may be another day but you still have to get through today first.

Have you checked behind the sofa?

They're up to something. Keep an eye on them.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Do You Have Your Z-Day Buddy?

You ever have one of those days where you just can't stop thinking about zombies?
Where everything you do and everywhere you go is judged by whether it will make you more or less likely to survive?

Question: Say you go to the pool to do a few laps and as you were splashing back and forth, the pool were surrounded by zombies - exactly how screwed would you be?
It would depend on whether they were enterprising enough to follow you into the water or just stood swaying at the edge. If they did get topple into the pool you should be able to outswim them for a while, considering how unwieldy those guys would be in the water, but they'd get you eventually through numbers.
The second scenario, persistent poolside swaying, presents its own problems.
How long are you going to be able to survive on nothing more than water that is equal thirds H20, chlorine and tinkle?
What are the odds of anyone running a rescue mission to the pool 'just in case'?
Eventually you will pass out and drift to the edge and that will be that. You can console yourself with the thought you'll be all pruney and will probably taste weird.
Answer: Yeah, you're pretty screwed. Your chances of being able to beat a path to freedom with floaties and flippers are slim to none.

This is an important thought process as it can be factored into your Zombie Survival Action Plan.

Buildings are assessed on the number and nature of entry points. Decisions have to be made on whether it's safer to be up high (top floor = less random marauders) or on ground level (easier escape if breach occurs).

Where will you get food? How much can you carry with you without slowing yourself down? Will you survive the initial chaos and so on only to die of scurvy because you can't find any fresh produce? That would be so lame, death by vitamin deficiency...
When the utilities break down because all the engineers have been eaten, where will you get water?

Do you band together with other survivors (extra eyes/skills = good vs big group/target = bad) or do you go lone-wolf (easier to hide/run vs being eaten when you stop for a nap)?
You must also be very careful who you team up with, just in case they're planning to 'sacrificial lamb' you the first time you run into trouble.

How do you keep your blunt and/or sharp weapons handy for 'removing the head or destroying the brain' in the pre-Z-day world without looking like a crazy whacked-out vigilante? Though all those bastards will be laughing out the other side of their faces when they're eaten alive trying to defend themselves with their house keys... *ahem coff coff*

Remember! Supplies, position, defence!

There are also best case/worst case scenarios.
For example, Army bases.
An Army base would either be the best or worst place to be when the zombies rise.
Either you are surrounded by a group of highly trained and disciplined soldiers with a lovely cache of weapons and foodstuffs OR you end up surrounded by an until recently very fit and healthy horde of ravening flesh-munchers. And that isn't even taking into account the possibility of all these big, highly strung fellas going what I like to call goo-ga-lally, anointing themselves from head to toe in camouflage paint and declaring themselves the Lords of Life and Death and you their Official Bitch (Please note that your gender is irrelevant at this point: 'Official Bitch' is an equal opportunities position).

Depending on a variety of factors, survival may be a temporary thing.
Shuffle zombies vs creepy-assed sprinting zombies.
Military/scientific solution solutions forthcoming (Y/N)
Zombies die out vs we're all screwed.

In the event the negative rule came into effect in each of these cases you're pretty much doomed unless you're some kind of MacGyver/Aragorn hybrid: able to live off the land, make weapons from the contents of the odds and sods drawer (or the glove compartment) and with reflexes like a squirrel on speed.

I suppose all you can really do is keep your wits about you and take up a sport or hobby that will mitigate any suspicions that people might have about the number of heavy, swingable objects you keep about the place...

Sunday, 19 August 2007


If you've ever almost done something monumentally stupid, you've probably had a quick vision of your averted doom flash through your brain.
Being the well-wired individual I am, in my case this is usually followed by a slow-mo replay and the equivalent of a 'five years later' extrapolation.

Last night, completely buggered, a little tipsy and a touch too carelessly, I gathered up my laptop and headed for bed. On my way out of the lounge room I stepped on a pair of shoes I had forgotten were there and couldn't see through my precious 'puter.
For a second I was on the verge of being flung forward and my only thought was "No! Laptop smash!"

As I recovered myself and breathed a sigh of relief, my brain considerately pointed out to me that the only way I could have protected my interwub-box would have been to hold it out and up as I arched my back, ensuring that I would hit the hard-wood floor groin first and would probably break my pelvis.

I envisioned myself in a 'death-by-snoo-snoo' style cast trying to explain to my friends and employer exactly what had happened and how I would need some help with my 'special needs'.
Not the fun kind.
I became bitter and twisted and eventually grew to resent my laptop, poisoning our relationship...

Somewhere in a parallel universe I look like a croquet hoop and have to pee standing up.
In this universe, I'm just mental.

Resuming Transmissions...

My children, I have returned from the desert with much wisdom!

The devil tried to tempt me with anything I wanted in the world and I gave him a very definite answer.

Being absolutely exhausted at this point I've had to take a hiatus from that whirlwind of enticements and have remembered that I started this little project as a way of making myself actually finish pieces and follow my ideas through to the end.

Being of an easily distracted nature I've found that the only way to get myself to buckle down is to give myself deadlines. Therefore I'm committing myself to posting at least one piece every weekend or may the nearest deity strike me down or at least give me most annoying of ailments - waking up every hour during the night thinking I'm late when the next day is actually Saturday.

Whether or not anyone ever finds or examines my lonely internet island, the only way I'll ever develop as a writer is if I actually, you know, write something.

So here I go.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

The Answer

I found another.
A partner.
A better half.
A life mate.
To share.
My time.
And experiences.
And we made.
A pact.
An accord.
To ensure.
That between us.
We experienced.
All life had.
To offer.
To do this.
We decreed.
That to any question.
Any decision.
I would say.
And he would say.
And so it went.
As I said.
And over.
I was subjugated.
I soared.
As he said.
He was stifled.
He was saved.
And although.
All in all.
It balanced out.
Each of us.
Taking pleasure.
Along with pain.
Spending roughly.
Equal amounts.
Of time.
In the sun.
In time.
We each became.
Of the other.
Of their answer.
Of their path.
And wanted.
To wriggle.
Our toes.
In greener grasses.
We began.
To argue.
To clash.
But all.
I could say.
All he could say.
And we went.
Until we realised.
That we could set ourselves.
No more.
No decisions.
Ever again.
Just floating.
Through life.
Going with.
The flow.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Your Internet Horoscope

Because the stars demand it...

Today you will realise that you distrust horoscopes.

Did you lock the front door?

Don't worry. They'll never find out.

Your neighbour has been stealing your newspaper.

Your socks don't match.

Just stop thinking about it.

A change is as good as a simile.

Count to ten before losing your temper. You'll have more to shout about by then.

Flip a coin and then ignore it and do whatever you want.

Your best friend has secretly been watching The Bold and the Beautiful for six years.

Today is an auspicious day to buy a doughnut (donut).

Don't forget to look both ways before crossing the street.

Sunday, 27 May 2007


Her hands were beautiful but she never would have believed that.

They were all soft lines and gentle contours

Her thumbs stood independent but closely linked to their cousin-fingers.

Each finger had its own sturdy nail, its own shape but not its own space.

A delicate web of flesh bound each finger to the next, blurring the borders and barely allowing fingertips.

Her flesh was smooth, it had none of the usual callouses, holding its own conventions.

Knuckles and bones moved and presented through the sleek skin as she gently grasped a cup between her palms and lifted it to her mouth.

Her hands were alien.

Alien and beautiful, but she never would have believed it.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Don't Interrupt Me! I'm Readin' Mah Stories!

My offering to Chris Sims' spider-meme challenge and homage to the crazy soapie story lines that make comics so sinfully enjoyable.

Marvel - bringing people back to life and ruining marriages from other dimensions since time immemorial!

Norwegian Brown Cheese...

... it's as if peanut butter and cheese had a delicious caramel-y baby!

Thursday, 12 April 2007

When You Least Expect It, From Out Of The Shadows - Muffin Squad!

There used to be this old 'Weight Watchers' ad, back in the mid-eighties, that really caught my attention. The jingle went

"Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeight Watchers! For people who care for their weight!
Because people who care for their weight are gonna get... watched!"

And there was an energetic set of people speed-walking in parks and playing sport and eating ricotta cheese in celery sticks and other people were watching them and marvelling at their happy smiles. And popping out from behind buildings and bushes and staring at them...

I would have been about five years old and I got entirely the wrong idea. I thought that you signed up for 'Weight Watchers' and then a secret society of people followed you around, tracking your movements and critiquing your eating habits like the FBI of pastries.

I kind of like that idea.
Apart from the fact that people will pay for anything these days - pet therapy, customised daily star signs, Justin Timberlake CDs - I would relish the opportunity to be part of a crack squad of hard-asses that leaps out and bitch slaps people for buying bear claws.

People paying me to smack them goes nicely with my spanking fetish and also would allow me to pretend I was a gritty film noir detective whose significant other has done them wrong. My beloved would have betrayed me with with a custard tart and I would have to exercise my demons - or feed my obsession - by following people and taking pictures of them getting nasty with their illicit lamingtons and cream buns, shining bright lights in their faces and demanding to know where they were on the 13th of the month and how they want to explain the powdered sugar on their sleeve...

Have I thought about this too much?
But it doesn't make me wrong...

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Togas - The Garb Of Champions

"Oh Lady Justice, I come to you to plead my case..."

The great lady starts as the voice breaks her chain of thought and she tries to peek under her blindfold. "Who said that?

"I am but a humble petitioner, my lady..."

How embarrassing, her gown has slipped from one shoulder and her breast is exposed. There's no way she can expect any respect from this man if she's standing there with her dumpling on display. She can't put down the sword and the scales, what with this damn blindfold she'd never find the things again. "Do tell,"

"Lady Justice, I have been greatly wronged and do beg your impartial judgement on my behalf,"

"Yes, yes. Go on," Maybe if she shrugged like this and swung her arm like this she could get the sleeve back onto her shoulder. It's all a matter of balance after all, as long as she doesn't tip the scales it should work.

There is a resonant Donnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng! and then a thump in the darkness in front of her. The lady, resettling her dress without the aid of her hands doesn't notice the silence for a moment.

"Yes? You were going to tell me a story? Hello?"

She hears a groan, a sort of scrambling sound and the man speaks again. "Ah, yes, gentle lady. I come to beg your protection and aid, as I have been wronged and those who have wronged me must know your wrath..."

Crap, now the other side of the dress has gone. Why on earth did she choose such a bloody flimsy garment anyway? It's not as if it makes her look good and the slightest little breeze and out pops a boob. Ok, she did it with the other sleeve she can do it with this one. Just shrug a little, swing the arm forward at shoulder height like this...

There is a soggy sound as something bounces away down the stairs that leads to her dais, followed by the sound of something larger tumbling down after it.

Now that her dress is on properly she can finally concentrate.

"OK, sorry about that but I'm all good now. You were saying? Hello? Hello?"

No-one answers. Oh well, he seems to be gone. Whatever.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Condiment Withdrawl

I think they're putting drugs in the tomato sauce.
Think about it.
When was the last time you had a sausage roll or a pie without sauce?
Just to experience the delicate and complex interplay of flavours...
You can't remember can you?

It all starts out innocently enough. Everyone else seems to be doing it. So you have your first taste of the red devil. But everyone knows that once you're on the sauce it's awfully hard to get off it. And pretty soon one sachet per pie is not enough. You have to have another. And another.

Saying you eat meat pies because you like beef would be like saying you eat McDonalds hotcakes because you like pancakes.
Have you ever tried a McDs hotcake without syrup incidentally?
The one occasion I undertook this gastronomic challenge I was halfway through the polystyrene container before I realised that I had in fact finished the hotcakes. And it wasn't the change in taste which alerted me.

It's time we admit that all the pies, pasties, sausage rolls and buckets of chips that we soldier our way through every year are merely a front, a pretext, a screen to draw attention away from our tomato sauce addiction.
Australia needs to take a deep breath, step up to the mirror, look itself squarely in the eye and say in a firm voice 'We have a tomato sauce problem.'

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Bat Angst!

Couldn't stay away from this one...

Secret Bat Phobias Rear Their Ugly Heads or...

Batman Shows His Emo Side?

My little contribution to the meme-tastic firefight of awesome over at Random Panels.

Tonight's The Night, We're Gonna Celebrate!

This very evening, in the dead of night, when there will be no one around to see, I am going to sneak stealthily into Ricky Martin's house and garrotte him with a guitar string.

You might think this a touch harsh given that the man's livelihood is derived from twizzling his bottom about. You may wonder what it is precisely that he could have done. I mean, what else can he do?
Some people are born to cure diseases, some build mighty cities... others twizzle their bottoms.

Yes, I admit that he's hardly a criminal mastermind. The poor dumb lunk probably doesn't - if you're going to get technical - deserve it, but he's going to get it anyway.

You want to know why?
Cup of Life.

Yeah, that's right.
That awful song they attached to the World Cup back in '98.

Yes, I know it was energetic and catchy, and the gay community was probably thrilled to have a soccer song they could call their own (and by Ricky's bottom twizzling) but now I can't get it out of my head! And I am sick to the teeth of the looks I get when I realise that I've just 'ole ole ole'd in public.

It might not be fair, it might not be just, it might not even work, but one way or another, Ricky Martin dies tonight!

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Digital Debute

Hello my electronic peoples,

How are you?

Yeah, I'm not bad either.

How about that local sports team hey?


So... anyway... It has become apparent that the internet is not sufficiently full of random insane babble and I figure I should do my part. Don't want anyone to accuse me of not pulling my weight!

So welcome to Pinball Mind!

I have no objective. There is no format. I just want to subject extra people to the diseased waste matter of my brain-pan. Random thoughts, scraps of writing, the occasional Apocalypse warning... The whole shebang.

Ricochet :-)

PS. For our American cousins...


I... am from Australia... I am spelling like this on purpose...
Thank You.