Sunday, 30 November 2008

Under Pressure

You ever feel the weight of responsibility pressing down upon you?

That terrible feeling of accountability and the fear of failure?

The careful balance between doing too little or too much?

Knowing that if you mess things up it will be visible and real and you will have to deal with it?

I'm there right now.

But soon it'll be over and I will be able to put it all behind me.

Because tomorrow my workmate comes back from their holiday, their bloody potplants are still alive and they better damn well still be that way tomorrow morning.

God help them if they ever ask me to mind their children.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Oh Dear

This week I realised that I managed to blissfully press 'SAVE NOW' instead of 'PUBLISH POST' for the past two weeks running.
Gosh I'm bad at the internet.
I reserve the right to blame November but secretly know it is because I am techno-challenged.

Prices and Prices

The cat is asleep on my lap which makes it impossible to settle my computer there to get on with the job of frying my ovaries.

Instead it is balanced on my left forearm like an oversized Predator wrist console as my right hand taps out the code for nuclear destruction of the immediate vicinity aka this blog.

What with the bracing challenge of NaNoWriMo and my suddenly bustling social calendar - when the heck did that happen? - November has been exhausting so I hope you will forgive me as I crap out in the grand tradition of those who have gone before me and post a little 'woe unto humanity' chunklet I wrote a while ago

~ ~ ~

It’s nothing special, no magic insight, everyone knows it.

Big stores sell you things more cheaply and have a larger range.

Little stores have less and charge more, sometimes the employees are a little… strange.

Not quite right or too close or too verbose or rude as hell.

But they’re a story to tell, a memory to have.

In both instances you walk away with a purchase but in one you have been robbed of your memory, your story.

The experience has been laminated and nothing sticks.

It is shiny and sterile and we have nothing to talk about with each other anymore.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Hungry Eyes

You know what, I’m actually not that worried about certain aspects of the inevitable break down of society. Food shortages specifically.

I have this sneaking suspicion that human beings are delicious.

I went to an exhibition a couple of years ago called Body Worlds with my mate Awesome*. It was an array of plastinated human bodies, bodies that have been prepared using certain plastics until these plastics replaced their normal fluids, preserving the bodies just as they were when the process began. And in this case 'just as they were' was for the most part without clothing, without skin and without certain of their bits.

One man was looking reflectively at his own skin which had been removed almost in a single sheet and was now draped over his arm… like a jacket.

Other figures were posed as if frozen partway through a tennis game or football match, different muscles stripped away to allow you to see exactly what is going on inside the body as they undertook different motions.

One woman had been carefully sliced into one centimetre thick segments so you could see the different bone structures and organs as they appeared within the body by following where they disappeared or appeared in the revealed pieces. And then you saw the tattoo on her wrist and you realised, properly realised, that this was a real person. Who had one day decided to get a tattoo that meant something to her.
And yet...

And yet as Awesome and I circled around, marvelling aloud at the intricate construction that is homo sapiens all I was thinking inside my diseased*** brain-case was ‘we are all made of meat, tasty looking meat’.

Everyone else was chatting loudly about tendons and cartilage but then I realised so was I. Was everyone else thinking thoughtful things about ‘long pig’?

As we wound our way to the end of the exhibition and stepped out into daylight again my question was answered for me as Awesome slipped on her sunglasses and said "Let’s go get something to eat, I’m starving,"

"Any preferences?"

"Anything made of meat. Was it just me or did you have to stop yourself from thinking of those guys as big strips of beef jerky?"

"... I love you,"


*You remember Awesome? From this Thrilling Adventure! Her awesomeness, as you can see, is fairly consistent**.
**Hey look! I just linked to a previous post on my own blog! I have hit the big time!
***And I mean actually diseased, not just 'I am a weirdo' diseased. After seeing what passive smoking has done to my lungs via the medium of plastinated lung display I am fairly sure I also have the brain mould that accompanies other such 'oh what can it hurt, I'm just in the vicinity' leisure activities. PS Ha ha! You thought I had crapped up my asterisk system until you got down here didn't you!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The Priorities Of Bureaucracy

I received one of those little cards in my letter box last week.

Not one of the kind that says ‘you may already have won’ or ‘you’re next, sleep with one eye open’ or even ‘you were out when we called but have you heard about Jesus?’ but one that said ‘you have registered post waiting for you at the Post Office’.

Of course I did what anyone would do. I started imagining that I’m going to end up in Cartagena being pursued by Danny DeVito.
Despite the fact my sister isn’t married, doesn’t live over there and nobody we know has been chopped up in a bath tub.
That I know of.

So a week later I finally get down to the Post Office during opening hours* and it is not a package but a registered letter which once opened informs me that my rent is going up. Five whole dollars.
‘Shut up, you smug bitch,’ you might be muttering right now and rightly so, who am I to complain what with the economic crap-splosion being experienced by most of the world right now.

Fair enough but my point wasn't the rent increase. What actually tickled me about the situation was the fact that my real estate agent’s office – which is closer to my home than the Post Office is – routinely sends out things like, oh, I don’t know, the lease to my street address** where it can be gently moistened by the falling rain, dyeing the document a light yellow to match the cheap envelope. IF it isn't stolen or pushed into the wrong mail-box OR caught between the fence and the box in a way that invites tetanus or exciting faux tribal scars around the hands if you wish to retrieve it.

I expect it is so you can’t claim ignorance of the rate increase, which is probably more substantial for the people in less ‘characterful’ vintage abodes***, so that if you try to say ‘What? Rent go up! When? What an outrage!’ they can point calmly to your signature acknowledging receipt.

My lease is due for renewal in a month but the politely harrassing calls about why I have not returned the canary coloured document of joy have already begun and are set to continue.
Especially as I stubbornly hold on to the thing for just a little bit longer to bring a little panic and excitement to their lives.

Bah, I suppose I'll sign the thing and send it off just to hold their whist.
Now all I need to do is find the bloody paperwork for the rent payments so I can update the amount...

*Call me Ms Lazy if you must.

**My letterbox is of the ‘don’t want nothing too fancy’ design where you cut a rough rectangle in the corrugated iron of the fence and then shoot a box type shape you made in woodshop onto the back of said fence with a nail gun.

***The building in which I live was built by Jesus in his architectural experimentation days when he was on exchange to Australia. What? He can't visit other continents? I've heard otherwise...

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Is There A Problem Ossifer?

I tend to have realisations in cyclical patterns.

I realise something, am astounded, forget about it and realise it again a few months later when it comes up in the rota.

For instance, I am surprised at each change of the seasons by a vague sense of nostalgia, of dej√° vu, that this all seems kind of familiar.

As the weather heats up I am amazed each night at how annoying the sheets are getting and how I need to remember to put the fan on before getting into bed.
I have this strange premonition that it’s going to get warmer before it gets colder, seeing as it isn’t even summer yet… but I’m getting off topic.

The astonishing revelation that I am re-experiencing at the moment is that I used to read far more books far more often.
I would knock over a book every day or two easily and have a stack ready and waiting to go on with.

I have no idea when I stopped hitting the library on a semi-regular basis but it coincides suspiciously with my last year of university when I had books being crammed in both of my eye sockets as literary theory was dribbled into each ear.

Determined to right this wrong, I rocked up to the local library, had a bit of a browse and came away with a stack of books. The first one I picked out was Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham which led to another epiphany.
I really need to stop reading crime fiction for about... 20 years.

Not because I don't like it. I think it's fantastic.
It's just all the impassioned, grizzled, principled detectives/policeman are all about 40+ as a rule and when I start getting all misty eyed about their angsty emotional problems and their bad luck with dames and how the system is always against them no matter how many people they save and how they suffer... *coff*

Tom Thorn, Sam Vimes, Salvo Montalbano, Adam Dagliesh* - and many others - all 40 to 50ish and all so very honorable**.

While many 40+ year old men would be A-OK with the idea of a 25 year old woman giving them the glad eye*** it just makes me feel a bit... reverse cradle-snatcher. There's a term for it... not grave-robber, something else... Anyway, back to my point.

The young fictional policeman just aren't that exciting. They're either wet behind the ears and still being taken under the wing of scruffy-but-ethical older detective or they're hot-headed and there to get stabbed up by some psycho for being too overzealous and going in without back-up and dammit, what are we going to tell the kid's mother?
By the time they've been on the job long enough to have an eye for the job and to have suffered enough to be attractively damaged they are getting into that age bracket and I just feel like I'd be taking advantage****.

So the best thing to do would to just put the crime fiction aside for about 10 to 20 years and by the time I came back to it we would be of an age and everything would be fine*****.

Actually probably the best thing to do would be to actually get some sleep once in a while and not get on the internets when in the grips of that out-the-other-side-of-exhaustion bug-eyed clarity. And a nice bottle of Merlot.
Damn Adam Dagliesh.

*Yes Adam Dagliesh is a bit of a ponce but I let him stay on the list as every time I read any P D James I end up making myself really fancy meals and drinking nice wine, P D James really loves talking about food. And clothes. Woolen clothes. Go figure.
**And cynical! And sometimes sarcastic! I really like cynical sarcasm...
***If they actually existed and all...
****If, y'know, they existed...
*****If they weren't fictional characters in books.