Monday, August 30, 2004

Chicks and their breasts; or: hello, Google perverts. I was at a warehouse party on Saturday night, wearing a hot pink satin halter-neck top with jeans rolled to the knee, pink and silver lurex-striped knee socks and my pink Converse sneakers. I bought the top to wear on New Year's Eve. It has a very deep cowl neck and a racer back and is quite loose but has a wide waistband. It's my practice not to wear a bra with low-cut tops. Nor do I believe in double-sided tape. Either the tits stay in or they fall out and I'm prepared for either eventuality. I imagine that a slow-motion video of me dancing in this top would resemble that Berlei sports bra ad where they measure how far tits bounce without a bra. And I get chronic headlights.

Anyway, as anyone who observed me being groped on the dancefloor on NYE can attest, this is my Magic Breast Top. It cemented this status when on Saturday night this guy came up to me and said, "You know, I just have to say that you're wearing the best top in the room." I was thinking to myself that no straight man would ever say something like that, which was a pity because he was cute. I've been told variously that my reply ought to have been, "Did you like the top or its contents?" or "Yeah, well not many people can fill it out like me." But I don't know, those kind of sound like terrible lines.

So I started thinking about how women display their breasts, and the paradox of wanting to be admired for the way they look in clothes, but at the same time not leered at. Also, about how knowing that the woman deliberately wants you to look at her tits takes some of the viewing pleasure out of it. I have to say that sometimes I wonder if I should enjoy looking at other women's breasts, given I'm not a lesbian. But why not? I mean, a tip for the straight gentlemen out there: it's my theory that no woman 'accidentally' wears a low-cut top. No - she's proud of her breasts, and she wants people to look at them.

Of course, this disregards the minefield of sexual politics that anyone possessing or admiring breasts must negotiate. We've recently had that rape case where a guy saw a semi-naked woman asleep in her own living room, busted in, started raping her and was acquitted. This is an ancient issue in feminist criminology: should a woman be responsible for the sexual reactions she provokes in others by dint of her appearance or behaviour?

There's a brand of 'feminism' (I use inverted commas because I don't think this school of thought really helps ameliorate the systematic societal denigration and devaluation of women), sometimes known as 'post-feminism' or 'girl power', that holds that women can wear whatever they want, and shouldn't be held responsible for the reaction this provokes in others. I agree that women shouldn't be "God's police" whose role is to protect men from their uncontrollable animal desires. And I realise that when I describe women's fashion and behaviour using economies of "sluttishness" and "self-respect", I'm buying into misogynist clichés. Yet, I'm pragmatic enough to realise that wearing low-cut tops does invite unwelcome sexual attention.

I'm just not sure where we can draw the line between admiring a chick's tits (or feeling admired and sexy), and reducing her to nothing but the tits (or feeling gross and ogled). In the meantime, I'm happy to pretend I don't notice or enjoy the way they look peeking out of tops and dresses, or the effect that has on cute guys.

There is also a hilarious post on Whitebait in the City about a deliciously awkward moment in which a breast is inadvertently groped. Forget those fucking Olympics, this is gold! Gold! And it also provokes ideas about what boobies mean and how we relate to them.

Friday, August 27, 2004

How about an experiment? A while ago at Petrol in the Car, Guy was conducting an experiment to see what people thought about just before they fell asleep, making coffee, sitting on public transport. And here's what I was thinking last night before I fell asleep:

Who has been writing me anonymous nasty comments on this blog? It has to be someone who lives in Melbourne. It might be someone who knows me in real life, because they have a real problem with me "slagging off my friends". Who could it be? Why don't they just tell me to my face, or write me an email? But maybe they don't know me, otherwise they'd know that how I write on this blog is exactly how I talk. They'd know that I say what I think, and that many of my sentences begin with "Do you know what gives me the shits?"

Really, I didn't know people could be more critical of me than I am of myself. So the first thing I thought when I read "Anonymous"s comments was: "Oh it's true! I'm a terrible person!" But then I started to think how silly it was that I was worried what some faceless commenter on the internet thinks of me, and how people have told me that the reason they like this blog is precisely because it's gossipy.

So to settle this matter, I've decided to conduct an experiment of my own. For two weeks, starting today, I'm not going to mention anyone I know on this blog. Celebrities and other public figures are different - they're fair game. After this period, I'd like to get your feedback (that's right, Anonymous, I welcome your feedback!) and if you think A Wild Young Under-Whimsy is better without me mentioning anyone I know, I'll keep it that way.

Love and sunshine and fluffy kittens,

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Random musings. I wonder if chicken schnitzel has anything to do with chicken whatsoever. Maybe they just get some cellulose, mix it with mechanically reclaimed chicken to give it a "chickeny" flavour, then cover it with breadcrumbs and fry the shit out of it so nobody will tell. But I don't care - chicken schnitzel rolls with avocado, tomato and cheese (but no butter or mayo) are the closest I get to 'eating healthy'. Except perhaps for ricepaper rolls. I had a mania for those a few weeks ago. So cheap! So available! So filling! So tasty! So easy to pretend they're healthy!

Also, yesterday I was musing that you could probably successfully sell a brand of bottled water called Melbourne Tap. You could sell it super-cheap, for say 50c a bottle, because all you'd need would be a tap and some plastic bottles. And then people would fill them up themselves. If the label was cool enough, I reckon you could sell enough from sheer novelty value to at least cover the cost of this silly prank.

The Headtapes... continued. I am still smarting from an allegation yesterday that I have the musical taste of someone who goes to Chapel Street on a Saturday night. That hurt. Nevertheless I will press on with the songs that enter my head (usually from having Nova on in the office), whether they are to my taste or not...

Tuesday 24 August

Move Your Body - Eiffel 65
Move Ya Body - Nina Sky
Bring Da Ruckus - Wu-Tang Clan

Wednesday 25 August

Owner of a Lonely Heart - Yes
Stand Up/Sit Down - Incredible Melk et al
Summer Rain - Belinda Carlisle
Can-Can Theme
Pieces of Me - Ashlee Simpson

Thursday 26 August

New York New York - Ghostwriters
Stand Up - Ludacris
My Happy Ending - Avril Lavigne

Sunday, August 22, 2004

I am a teenager in denial! Yesterday I went to the Supre factory outlet in Collingwood.
"Oh, is it for research?" people have been saying.
"Ummm, yeah... research, that's right..." I have been responding.

I found out about the sale when I was doing some 'research' at their wonderful
website, which has the most wonderful teen-girl language. I was amusing myself by reading large slabs of it aloud to Gemma in an excited high-pitched voice. (Gemma is so stressed with confirmation right now that she probably just endured this because it's the path of least resistance!) Anyway, nothing was over $5, though that was a big lie because when I got there, some things were $10.

I went with Shane. When I met him, I was very excited. "It's all last year's clothes and they're playing last year's music too!" I told him. (I had left to go meet him and they'd been playing "Never Leave You (Uh Oh)".) Shane behaves with much more dignity than me in public, which may seem strange because just the night before he had gone out to an 80s night wearing a black, flesh-coloured and holographic fabric leotard and a pink trucker cap that said "I'm with stupid." And he lost the hat, but was too embarrassed to call up the venue to see if it had been handed in. That made me laugh. Shane often seems to encounter such delicious situations.

I bought two slinky evening tops: one was that colour in between pink and red that's so hot right now, with a silver paint-spatter print, with a halter neck and cowl neckline. The other is a slinky black singlet with a cowl neck and a disciplinarian strap across the chest to keep it from falling off. I was going to wear one of them out last night, except I didn't get home til 1-ish.

Oh, also I went to the Vic Market and I bought one of those silly hats that has been obsessing me - the sort that's a cross between a knitted headband and a visor. I disobeyed my own Pink Default rule and bought black. When I told Penny, she said she would have to lend me her own such hat, that Tash had bought for her on the very day, weeks ago, that I said I wanted to get one. I was so infuriated by that.

Anyway, that afternoon I began to fret that I am behaving like a teenager; or more precisely, like I would have behaved as a teenager if I could spend my money on whatever I liked, and was as shameless and smutty as I am now. I started to think about this when I was getting ready for the 90s party: how I wasted my vital youth dressing like I was 40 and not taking drugs or sneaking out my bedroom window to go clubbing or to boys' houses. And how the way I behave now is some way to try and make up for that.

This really hit home when I was on the 86 tram with three teenage girls. One was having a mobile-phone fight with a friend of hers who wanted to borrow her new blazer. "Everyone will think it's her blazer!" she complained. And I was thinking sheepishly about how Tash stole my hat idea. I sat down next to the three girls and realised with a terrible jolt that I was dressed like a parody of them. I looked down to put down my bag, and I was wearing yellow Converse All-Star sneakers. The chick to my left was wearing beige ones. The chick opposite her was wearing red ones and the chick opposite me was wearing blue ones. We were all wearing tight jeans and zip-up jackets. We all were wearing cheesy bling. We all had straightened hair. And we all had carry bags from el cheapo slutto teenwear stores. And then later on, when I went to augment my already impressive underwear collection at Target, who should I see in the change rooms but the same three chicks! (I bought a pink Bonds bra and black lace underpants with pink lace trim and pink satin ribbon bow.)

Later, I went to see Ruth's
band, who were awesome!! They were so good! You see, there are bands you go to cos you like the band. Then there are what I call Friends' Bands, which you have to assess based on totally different criteria. 1) Musical Virtuosity. 2) Stage Presence. 3) Concept Originality. I think I've discussed this before with reference to the Young Professionals, who I went to see at the hateful Ding Dong Lounge last week (and it was crawling with hot men! Oh, why do hot men have to be pretentious Vice Magazine Wankers?) and they have actually improved out of sight - they're kicking goals in all three criteria now.

But I was really blown away by Absinthe's musical talent. I thought they were just great. I don't really like rock music, but they were great.

But one thing I realised on Saturday night is that even though I act like a teenager, and my mother is the first to volunteer I am "immature", I think I'm way savvier that I was when I was actually a teenager. Although that might just be cynicism rather than sagacity.


My brother Matt is making me help write his house play for school. I have been pressured by my parents into masterminding many of Matt's successes at school: he won a public speaking competition with a story I came up with about teeth that jumped out of people's mouths and tried to take over the world, and last year he won his house play competition with a farcical story about a school that burns down for insurance purposes.

This year the theme is "Waiting Room", and I was basically expected to come up with the entire concept for Matt. I was very tired and was playing the piano when Matt asked me this, so I basically regurgitated a story that Virginia had told me about the time she took some cartoons into the New Yorker for Mic, the cartoonist at The Reader, and the highly ritualised procedures that ensued before they accepted them.

Anyway, in this story there's a Jewish guy called Stanley (hmmm, wherever do I get my inspiration?) who takes the same cartoon into the New Yorker office every week. I made up this cartoon on the spot this afternoon and I'm really pleased with myself. It's about a lemon that goes to a complaints office.

Anyway, here it is and you can judge for yourself whether it's funny. Personally I like it because it's such a lame parody of New Yorker cartoons. Also cos it has a pun. I'm interested in hearing if I should quit either my day job or my night job and take up professional cartooning. Every time we need some extra art at work, my boss says drily to me, "Can you draw?" And I say enthusiastically, "Yes!" but he never believes me. Posted by Hello

Friday, August 20, 2004

Haircuts and the Nineties. I went to a 1990s-themed birthday party last night, except that nobody dressed up except for me. The worst thing about 1990s themes is that nobody can tell you're going to a fancy-dress party; they just think you're a dork or a bogan or both.

Yesterday I had my hair cut by the famous Stanley, who does a great job with Saige's and Dan's hair and is also a hairdresser to the stars (because he cuts Sophie Cunningham's hair). The salon was like some Zen den: really minimalist and white with clear bead curtains on the wall, and in the headwashing nook, the wallpaper was black lino with raised circles on it, like they used to have at the Box Hill swimming pool.

Having been to many hairdressers in my time, I was impressed with Stanley's unorthodox technique: he picked some seemingly random bit of hair in the back, spent ages on it, and then matched every other bit of hair to it. I was panicking that he was going to make my hair really short in the back and long in front (and was saying to myself "You wanted directional, remember, you wanted directional!") But in the end it was heaps longer in the back.

It is ridiculously layered, and seeing that my hair is wavy, it will look crazy when I attempt to blowdry it myself. But I got them to straighten it, with the result that I looked like a Little Collins St booty ho! Gemma was freaked out because she said I looked like a completely different person!

But I'm dressed like an international student. I'm really pleased with my aesthetic today, given that yesterday was a bit of a disaster fuelled by a black Supré singlet-minidress with black leggings, a white off-the-shoulder angora jumper and shitloads of white and pink pearls. Today I am wearing loose black pants tucked into a pair of black opaque knee-socks whose toes I cut off to transform them into legwarmers. The legwarmers extend halfway down my feet into a pair of pink Dunlop Volley slip-ons. The effect is vaguely Shaolin monk. ("Shaolin shadow-boxing... and the Wu-Tang style... Do you think your Wu-tang sword candefeatme?) I am also wearing a pale pink blouse with puffed short sleeves, and a hot pink singlet, and mismatching earrings, one a mid-pink heart shape, and one a pale pink circle with a hole in the middle.

Having been sidetracked by my own excellent clothing today, last night was another story. After consulting with various peers about what to wear, I decided on a pastiche of early-90s Deee-lite (itself a pastiche of the 1970s!) and the pseudo-goth look. I had black leggings (that come up to the waist), black platform high-heel sandals, a pink semi-sheer floral-pattern top with low décolletage and slashed long sleeves, with a black bra (remember how in the 90s it was really cool to wear sheer tops with dark underwear?), and one of those black fabric headbands that you wear at the hairline.

Now I like to pay attention to detail when I do costumes, hence I also had black-painted toenails and this horrid purplish-black lipstick (damn Uma Thurman; she started this 90s craze for goth-styled makeup. It's so fucking unflattering!) And, in my favourite touch, I doused myself in Dewberry perfume from The Body Shop, which I used to love when I was about sixteen. With the toenails, I couldn't find my black toenail polish anywhere, so I went back to what I used to do as a teenager: I painted my toenails black with a texta! It washed off in the shower, leaving my toenails looking yellowish with black around the edges, like I was one of Michael Jackson's Thriller zombies.

And then I got to the party and nobody else was dressed up as hideously as me! Roland was wearing a t-shirt that said "Calvin Klein 1995" and white Seinfeld-esque sneakers, but really, he still looked normal. There was a chick wearing high pants with her top tucked in, but I thought it would be dangerous to compliment her on her costume in case she always wore pants like that!! There was also some guy wearing boat shoes, but again, I don't think it was ironic!

I went up to the bar and said "Hey, I'm at a 90s theme party."
"Really?" she said dubiously, "they're all dressed normally."
"I know!" I said, rolling my eyes.
"Anyway, I'm looking for a really 90s drink. You don't have any Lemon Ruskis, do you?"
She thought a minute. "What about Midori and pineapple?" (As an aside, it drives me nuts that people pronounce this liqueur "Miduri" - it's an O - you say Mi-DOR-i!)

So I had that ($7! hardly 1990s prices!) and then I had another drink of champagne with raspberry cordial in it. And then I left. The stupid platform shoes were killing my feet (two bad shoe experiences in one week: not good!) by the time I got to my tram stop, so I had to decide: would it hurt more to walk in the shoes, or to walk in bare feet on asphalt footpaths?

I went the barefoot option, making little noises of "Ow! ow!" with every step. It was so embarrassing: this guy who lives in a house on the corner of Abbotsford St, and who I'd peered at through his living-room window twice earlier that night, stuck his head out the window and said "Are you OK?"
"Yes, except my feet really hurt," I said lamely.
"Whatever," he said and stuck his head back in.

Thenks fow a laff, spemmers! I just got the most hilarious spam in my uni account. It's apparently a trick to get past email screening software that looks for keywords, but what they didn't seem to take into account is that it would be a) nigh-incomprehensible; b) dashed hilarious!

The subject line is: "Naed the chiipast mads on wab? We gut them! airmail". It then continues:

Hi and welcome to our phaarmecy! One of the things we offer to you, as a selected costomer, is a big variety, combined with good prjces. All the medjcatjons you need with cheep prjcees ! We got all original brands and geneeric: vjagra, cjaljs, lavjtra, xanaax, valioom and a lot more!

Ha hah ha hahahaha! Ha! ha! My favourite is "valioom", or perhaps the cheery assertion that "we gut them!"

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Headtapes... continued. Yes, after a break they're back! I stopped doing them during the music conference I was at in mid-July, because all the songs I would've had to write down would have given my brain a meltdown. I started to do it again because I was being tormented by "Popular" by Darren Hayes (who, can I just say, in the verses to "Popular", sounds a little like Madonna in the verse to "Die Another Day". And in the bridge he sounds like "Pop Musik" by M) and "Push Up" by Freestylers (another lame rhyme in that song: "baby shake that ass/I love it when you feel like gettin' nasty")

Monday 9 August

Move Ya Body - Nina Sky
Popular - Darren Hayes
Physical Attraction - Madonna
Secret Buff - Incredible Melk
Dry Your Eyes - The Streets
Ooh Na Na Naa Naa - Lil Jon et al
Crazy in Love - Beyoncé
More Than I Can Say - Leo Sayer

Tuesday 10 August

Ooh Na Na Naa Naa - Lil Jon et al
One Call Away - Chingy
Snappy Tom - Incredible Melk
Finest Dreams - Kelis/Richard X
Digimon Theme ("Digimon are the champion!")
More Than I Can Say - Leo Sayer
Part-Time Lover - Stevie Wonder
In Public - Kelis featuring Nas
Break in the Weather - Jenny Morris
Gotta Get Thru This - Daniel Bedingfield
The Voice Within - Christina Aguilera

Wednesday 11 August

Beautiful - Christina Aguilera
Secret Buff - Incredible Melk
Burn - Usher

Thursday 12 August

Outrageous - Britney Spears
Salad Song - Incredible Melk
Attention - Kelis
Move Ya Body - Nina Sky

Monday 16 August

How Will I Know - Whitney Houston
Year 3000 - Busted
Waltz of the Flowers - Tchaikovsky
She Will Be Loved - Maroon 5
U Got It Bad - Usher
When the War Is Over - Cold Chisel

Tuesday 17 August

When the War Is Over - Cold Chisel
Rich Girl - Hall & Oates
There Is Nothing Like a Dame - Rodgers & Hammerstein
Up in the Air I Fly - from Play School
Send in the Clowns - Stephen Sondheim
The Thieving Magpie - Rossini
Somebody Told Me - The Killers

Wednesday 18 August

Scar - Missy Higgins
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
Dry Your Eyes - The Streets
Stand Up/Sit Down - Incredible Melk featuring Joel Sinclair

Thursday 19 August

Snake - R Kelly (Delightful imagery: "Like two gorillas in the jungle, makin' love!")
Tooken Back - Ghostface Killah featuring Jackie O

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Emotional intelligence. I have just been reading SundayLife - which has got marginally better since the disastrous editorial reign of Marina Go and her obsession with her own children and the yearnings for Rustique Chic* of thirtysomething professional mothers. Anyway, there was this story about emotional intelligence as a managerial technique. I was quite interested by its implication that there are two sorts of 'emotional' people: people who are empathetic (coded as a desirable quality) and people who are not very good at controlling their emotions (coded as an undesirable quality). And the article does bring up these tensions:
Peter Drucker [an American management guru] says that if people perform, they have the right to be disagreeable. We are getting rid of the eccentrics and the high-achievers and we're creating armies of robots.

I was interested in how emotion is invoked both positively and negatively in the workplace. For example, do Gordon Ramsay's hapless apprentices work with him because he's a 'brilliant' chef, or because we've come to expect that 'brilliance' in a chef must be accompanied by foul-mouthed, belittling behaviour? In other words, emotional 'control' equates to mediocrity.

This also ties in to the book I've been reading (two months late, but I'll say no more because of the First Rule), The Curious Incident... whose protagonist is a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism in which people have no empathy and organise their world in highly ritualistic ways.

Anyway, they had a URL to an online emotional intelligence quiz. I believe I've done these before (I went through a thesis-triggered crisis over summer in which I convinced myself that I was psychologically androgynous), but anyway, my emotional IQ is 60. Perhaps this partially explains my difficulties in relating to other people, but I also think the survey design is fishy. Like, they sometimes reward points to a response that is completely contrary to the way we're socialised to deal with situations of emotional stress and conflict. Like, you're supposed to negotiate rationally and formulate 'plans' for situations, which seems like the opposite of emotional response to me. Instead, it seems like the "armies of robots" critique in action. I think it's very creepy to be telling people that they are emotionally stupid based on these criteria. But maybe that's just sour grapes cos I'm an emotional Forrest Gump.

* I've tried to pitch my scathing expose of Rustique Chic to several newspapers now, and nobody will take it on because their entire editorial policy is based on this idea. Maybe I'll blog about it.

It's my birthday today. I'm quite sad and haven't had a very good day. I went out drinking last night. I was wearing my black cowl-neck, halter-neck minidress as a top, with my black hooker heels and a pair of very tight grey pinstriped jeans that only cost me $10 (!!). They were too long for me so I rolled them up. Later on in the evening when I was stumbling to the Rob Roy in a desperate attempt to inebriate myself, having forgotten to bring alcohol to the G-Street party, I got one heel tangled in the cuff of my pants and fell over. Now I have a lovely bruise on one knee and one forearm. I don't think anyone was around to witness this except some tosser yelling into a mobile phone, "It's Jordan, come to the party motherfuck!"

But I had a very delightful afternoon shopping at Chadstone yesterday, in the guise of 'doing research' for my CSAA bling paper. Me and Gemma made a day of it - we had lunch first, then we went to all the trashy teenwear shops (which would have been our favourites anyway) and I took surreptitious photos of the displays. Unfortunately I was too paranoid of being accosted by security to take photos of the interiors of the shops, except for Sportsgirl.

Here is what I bought:

an elasticated bracelet made of gold squares threaded together ($3)
a pair of gold earrings in the shape of large flat teardrops ($2)
a white off-the-shoulder, three-quarter sleeve angora jumper ($15)
a pair of earrings in the shape of music notes, one a quaver and one a semiquaver ($6)
a fluffy lipstick-pink flat cap ($5)

After having watched Mallrats on telly last Sunday night, I have really been thinking about the nature of the mall as a privatised public space. Gemma was jestingly calling me "Meaghan Morris". I haven't been to a big shopping centre like Chadstone on a weekend for years, and I was quite alarmed to see all the packs of thirteen-year-olds roaming around. Makes me remember that my idea of a sophisticated Saturday was to get all dressed up and go to the city, where I would browse the shops, imagining what I'd buy if I had any money, and maybe get McDonalds. Classy.

It was kind of like re-living that on Saturday. Me and Gemma would make silly jokes (eg: in front of a display of pearl jewellery I made up a song to the tune of Jay-Z's "Girls, Girls, Girls" ("I like pearls, pearls, pearls, pearls, pearls I do adore...") And in the car we would turn up the stereo really loud when there was a good song on.

As for my birthday drinks, thanks to everyone who showed up (you all know who you are!). I was particularly pleased to see so many people from my work show up, although I was quite disappointed that some of my best friends weren't there. Then I went to the G-Street party which was amazing. The dance floor was so crowded that it was like a cross between moshing and freaking (Ethan described it as "having really bad sex with forty people at once"). And Tristan burnt me with a cigarette. Thanks Tristan.

However, after a while I felt myself starting to get really sad thinking about how another year had gone by and all the things I like to do (like shop at places like Supre and wear gaudy teenwear, listen to pop music, drink to excess, watch Video Hits) will soon be considered undignified, and that all my friends can attract men and I cannot. That's when I tried to seek out more alcohol, but the Rob Roy didn't do takeaway, so I had to scull a pot and then go back to the party.

I decided to go home because being at the party among all these hot twentysomethings snogging each other was really getting me down. It was quite embarrassing: when I was saying goodbye to Tash, I lost it and started crying, and she grabbed me by my wrists, forcing me into a posture like Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, and said that if I wanted to change my life I had to stop drinking and start exercising, and that she would help me with that. I can't remember whether I actually told her my objections (1: exercising with her would humiliate me beyond belief; 2: the mere thought of the enormity of this plan was enough to drive me to drink; 3: plenty of fat, unattractive drunkards can find sexual partners, and so there must be something wrong with me).

When I got home at about 3am, I was so overwrought that I couldn't sleep. It was about 7am by the time I drifted off, and I was feeling like Atreyu in the Swamps of Sadness again all today. Video Hits didn't cheer me up; it only irritated the crap out of me, particularly the dumb hosts Axle and Kelly's bad impressions of Molly Meldrum. (Can there be such a thing? Molly was bad enough himself!) I wonder how they feel having to introduce new clips by people who were more successful at Australian Idol than they were. Particularly Cosima DeVito's stupid cover of "When the War Is Over". Cosima is so ugly. She looks like she should be one of those creatures off Star Trek that has a wrinkly forehead. A Klingon? And she wiggles her jaw when she sings. And the video was so highly ludicrous that I can't even be bothered to describe it (I think Guy or Elanor might have done so already). I even found myself shedding a tear at Paulini's shithouse song, which I hate.

But on the upside, here are the best birthday presents I have received:

Renee, Gemma and George gave me the hip hop yoghurt maker, the EziYo! That is so cool! Ever since Gemma bought one several weeks ago I have been obsessed with it.

Agent FareEvader gave me a notebook set with alarming Engrish inscription, which i can't recall exactly cos I don't have it on me, but it was something about "I like viruses".

Chris and Ari gave me a white and pink handbag.

My parents gave me some earrings that are a cluster of different shades of pink beads.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Look at the stars, see how they shine for you... At the moment I'm really into the colour yellow. Only bright yellow like a taxi, not orangey yellow like a road sign. When I was in grade six I used to fancy that pale lemon was a flattering colour on me (someone probably told me so!), but later I took on the colour preferences of Christopher from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: I really liked red and hated yellow and brown. At the moment my favourite colour by far is pink. I have a little rule: if you can't decide between colours, get the pink.

But on Saturday I was in Target, ostensibly purchasing 'exercise wear' for my latest exercise kick (god help me!), and I bought three singlets: black, hot pink (nothing new there), and a lurid bright lemon colour. It is even more lurid than my sneakers, which you may recall Gemma referred to as "very Uma Thurman". And for some reason I thought that this colour would look really good with pearls. It clashes horribly with my hair. (Dougie, bless him, wears this yellow t-shirt that clashes in the most abominable way with his hair. Hi Dougie if you're reading this.)

Anyway, today I am wearing a pale aqua-blue puffed-sleeve blouse with white lace trim and pearl buttons, under the yellow singlet, with a black knee-length skirt, black footless tights and my yellow Converse sneakers. I have a bracelet of two rows of pearls the size of marbles, with another chunky pearl necklace and pearl earrings. And my white parka, which in Penny's eyes last week ludicrously qualified me to look "hip-hop". Penny used to pronounce fashion 'looks': Saige, for example, did "military Mao" for a while last year, about the same time that I was doing "preppy Flashdance". I would classify my look today as "80s High School Movie".

My mother would be horrified, of course, because I am wearing sneakers with skirts, one of her key criteria for being unable to "get a man". But seriously, the fact that the yellow clashes with my hair made me think again, resentfully, of the refrain I hear so many times from so many guys, "I prefer brunettes." I have never heard one male friend or acquaintance tell me he likes to date blondes, and I hate it. It's not like I dye my hair blonde - I was born that way! It makes me feel genetically rejected - would I have to dye my hair brown to get any action in this town?

This kind of moping seems to be a meme right now, as Agent FareEvader is demonstrating. Tragically, while he's moaning about being unable to score cos he's "baby-faced", I'm all depressed about being left on the shelf cos I'm turning 27 on Sunday. (And please, spare me the Luke Skywalker jokes.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Musical musings. Since I moved house, my car has been so crammed with crap that I can't reach the CD stacker, so I've had the same few CDs in there for months and I'm really sick of them. Not enough to move the crap out of my car, though. And at home, my CD player has become 'the' CD player in the living room, meaning that in my bedroom I have to listen to a crappy little tape deck. So my musical musings are probably quite boring. But anyway.

I think that Nina Sky's "Move Ya Body" is the "Never Leave You (Uh Oh)" of 2004. It has a dancehall beat underneath (though not bassy enough for my liking - recently I just can't get enough bass!). It has an irritatingly catchy chorus. Irritating, I say, because, like Lumidee, the chicks from Nina Sky can't sing, which bothers me. Yet, you can't get their off-key moanings out of your head. I first heard this song on American Top 40 - it's a measure of how old I am that when I was recording songs off the radio, Shadoe Stevens was hosting that show, then it was Rick Dees and now it's Ryan Seacrest. They had it as a prediction, and I remember thinking to myself, "This song is almost good, but not quite. But I bet it'll get big anyway."

I also think that Britney Spears' "Outrageous" and Beyoncé's "Naughty Girl" sound very alike. I wonder which was recorded first. I remember when I first heard "Naughty Girl" I was like, "This is a total rip-off of 'Outrageous' - that Bollywood sound is so 2003." But then I started to sing them over the top of each other: I'll be in the car randomly expostulating, "Outrageous! my sex drive! Outrageous! my shopping spree!" over Beyoncé, or caterwauling, "The way your bodyyyy moves across the floooooor..." over Britney.

I have also been obsessed with "Push Up" by the Freestylers, but not enough to buy a CD single. Maybe I will illegally download it. I was listening to it in the car the other day, trying to work out why it was such a great song even though it has one of the dumbest rhymes ever: "your body, your body next to mine/I wanna make that sexy booty mine". I think it's a combination of funky bassline and strategic use of high-pitched woo! sounds, and the chord change in the middle eight. I will have to work some of that shit into my Melk stuff.

Which has been driving me crazy. Chris accused me of "channelling Big Boi" - I am constantly dissatisfied with the drums and bass and always want him to make them louder. Plus there are some seriously cheesy synth lines and fake handclaps etc that would make Lil Jon run from the room in embarrassment (maybe shouting something unintelligible as he did). And I think the songs need more 'direction' - at the moment they're just grooves on one or two chords or bass notes, without actually progressing anywhere.

Also, I was listening to some dumbarse song - oh yeah, it was "Everytime" by Britney - and was annoyed at how unoriginal some lyrics are, like they come in prearranged pairs. Like "baby" can only ever rhyme with "crazy", "lady", "maybe". I loved it so much when Beck mocked this in "Nicotine and Gravy" with various rhymes like "I think I'm going crazy/her left eye is lazy/she looks so Israeli/nicotine and gravy" and later, "love the way she plays me".

So, I decided to look up the dumb rhyme in "Everytime", i.e. "strong" and "carry on". And this is what I found...

Our love is strong
Why carry on without me

Britney Spears, "Everytime"

I must be strong and carry on
Eric Clapton, "Tears In Heaven"

Love make me strong
Give me the strength to carry on

Olivia Newton-John, "Love Make Me Strong"

For the strength to be strong
For the will to carry on

Christina Aguilera, "I Turn To You"

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on ...
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong

Mariah Carey, "Hero"

Okay, you get the picture. The Christina one is particularly silly - the strength to be strong????

What if Jacques Derrida sees this? Just read something in The Australian about a film on Heidegger called The Ister. These two filmmakers, Daniel Ross and David Barison, used to sit around in Mario's in Fitzroy drinking coffee, and conversation turned to Daniel's PhD thesis about Martin Heidegger (which is available in the Monash Uni library). According to the paper, Ross "was interested in making a film that might become part of a philosophical discourse rather than a mere commentary about a particular person's ideas." So they made this movie, which apparently has taken the festival circuit by storm.

But my favourite part is that in the back of Ross' mind was the worrying thought: "What if Jacques Derrida sees this?" And I thought how debilitating it would be to go through life worrying about what Derrida would think of this or that. It's almost an idea for a film in itself. We were laughing about this at work because one of the guys, Mike, is obsessed with some philosopher and constantly wants to insert mentions of him into his articles. We thought the philosopher in question was Heidegger, but then Jane remembered it's actually Kierkegaard.

Oh no, what if Derrida does a vanity Google and reads this blog? I would, like, be sooo embarrassed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

My lame exercise kick. I am very unfit. In just over a month, I need to be able to rap and dance simultaneously for twelve periods of 45 minutes. I can't do this right now. So I need to start up yet another lame exercise kick. I can't tell you how depressed this makes me.

When I was a child I used to really enjoy being active: I used to walk a lot and climb trees and ride my bike around the neighbourhood for hours. But now I consider exercise a horrible punishment designed to make other people laugh at me. I was conditioned to think this from primary school, when I would always be jeered at and picked last for teams and relegated to the sack or egg-and-spoon races in the interschool athletics, and was once hit in the face with a softball. Another time they sprung a long-distance running race on us without prior warning, and I was wearing silly inappropriate shoes (I haven't changed at all), one of which fell off and it was on sharp gravel, and my foot started bleeding, and I came last and everyone laughed at me.

And then in high school there was all sorts of humiliating compulsory sport, but to give me credit, I really tried. I got up early to train with the swimming team, even though I was so much slower than everyone else. I played interschool hockey and volleyball (always on the B team, and even then sometimes relegated to the bench). I also tried out for all sorts of other teams that I was never accepted into, like softball, basketball and badminton. I was also an enthusiastic participant in house sport, including the compulsory cross-country race that always put a metallic taste, like blood, in my mouth. I'm mentioning all this by way of explaining how I learned to associate exercise with inadequacy and shame. My school PE reports always mentioned my "bad attitude".

As readers of this blog may know, I have gained roughly 25 kilos since I left school. Despite my mother's attempts to pin this on fat and hairy disease, it is purely my own greed and sloth that has led to this situation. I am disgusted and despairing, and I hate myself for my indiscipline, but I just can't make myself diet and exercise. Over the years I have started various crazy programs including:

1999: The Merri Creek Walking Plan

In this plan, dreamed up when I was unemployed and had nothing better to do with my long, useless days, I used to walk first thing every morning, setting out anytime between 7:30am and 9am, and walk north along Merri Creek from Normanby Rd to Bell Street, or alternatively south to St Georges Rd, and back. This lasted several months but eventually died in the arse when the weather got really cold and rainy and I was disinclined to get out of bed.

2001-02: The City Baths Swimming Program

This was my most successful program. I took out a three-month membership in November 2001 and swam a kilometre five times a week. It even survived my spraining both my ankles jumping drunkenly from a bench at the Field Works Christmas party. People said I looked thinner, and my arms were definitely more muscular, but I never noticed any difference in my appearance. When my membership ran out I was too poor to afford another one.

2002: English Department Volleyball and Bend It Like Britney

This was the year we were seized by a kind of madness and started up an English Department postgraduate volleyball team. We were called the De[con]structors. We were so keen we trained twice a week in preparation for a social lunchtime competition, and we even had t-shirts with theorists' names on the back like basketball shirts. I was Foucault. Penny G was Baudrillard. Renée was Bhabha. Lachlan was Deleuze. Daniel was Butler. Tash H, Cat and Angela K were also on the team but I forget who their theorists were. Despite our practice, we were so spectacularly shithouse that the opposition's scores regularly doubled ours.

At the same time, I enrolled in an eight-week short course in hip hop dancing at Melbourne Uni, expecting to learn video-clip style moves. Instead, we learned breakdancing. This requires flexibility and upper-body strength, neither of which I had, and it was generally humiliating, especially when we had to grovel on the ground doing "power moves". But it was a good aerobic workout. Unfortunately, it only lasted eight weeks.

2002-03: Walking With Tash

Tash and I started an early morning walking plan twice a week. This was supposed to be an improvement on the previous walking plan because we would have to leave our respective houses at 7am and meet each other on Albion St (she lived west of Sydney Rd, I lived east of Lygon St) and then walk around Brunswick together. Tash would sometimes forget and stay at her boyfriend's house, or sleep in, and sometimes we agreed to miss a particular session. It got so that we weren't doing it most of the time, and I got so mad at Tash for a perceived lack of commitment to exercise that I started...

2003: Walking Without Tash

I would allow myself half an hour to do the same Albion St route I'd done with Tash. I would walk really hard, and when I got to Sydney Rd I'd jog back as far as I could (which wasn't far). Sometimes I would revisit the old Merri Creek route, again allowing myself only half an hour and walking really fast to cover the same distance in a quicker time. Oh, the endless conversations I had with Sandor about how to improve my performance. But this fell by the wayside for the same reason as the first.

2003: Swimming Again

This time I bought a ten-visit card to the City Baths, but I found it so stressful to fit in swimming sessions as well as working and trying to finish my thesis that I only went six times. I recently donated the card to Penny because I realised it would be pointless to keep it. She pointed out that it was marked "pensioner" which caused much laughter and depressed me.

2003: Jogging With Penny

I only did this once because I found it so depressing. Penny genuinely enjoys exercise and at this stage, she was jogging around Princes Park almost every day, plus doing a weekly kickboxing class. I find this kind of mindset really hard to understand, because I see exercise as punishment, and especially hate exercising with people I know, because I don't want them to witness my pathetic performance. But I humoured Penny by coming along on one of her jogs. I was so proud of myself for making it all the way around the park. Probably about a third of that was actual jogging, the rest was walking.

I might have done it again, but then Penny got all these other people, like Tash and Ethan and various members of the Bourgie crowd, to go jogging with her, and there was no way I was going to humiliate myself in front of that lot.

Saturday 7 August, 2004: Jogging in Royal Park

On Saturday I decided that it was time to start exercising again, so I went jogging in Royal Park. Okay, I started jogging, but it was up a hill and I was gasping like a fish and my mouth tasting like blood before I even got to the top, so I walked really hard for the rest of the time. It was dark and I had never been to Royal Park before, so basically I was wandering around and had no idea where I was most of the time. I went up the hill to a kind of oval, did a lap of the oval, decided I wasn't sweating enough and started a second lap but then decided to strike out in another direction, found myself at the intersection of Gatehouse St and Royal Pde, walked down Gatehouse St towards the Royal Children's Hospital, cut behind the hospital and found the track I'd started from and went home.

Then I was hungry and walked down Abbotsford St to the pizza shop, where I bought a takeaway matriciana, which I ate in front of Australia's Funniest Home Videos. My throat was so sore from gasping for breath that my laughs at animals humping people, people injuring themselves and children stepping in dog poo came out like coughs. Then I went out to several functions where I drank large quantities of beer and danced, and then I got home at nearly 6am.

On Sunday I woke up with the kind of hangover where you feel you are still drunk. I drove to McDonald's where I bought a Big Mac value meal, which I ate at Chris'. We worked on Incredible Melk stuff and when I went to get up from my chair, my muscles were so fucked I could barely walk.
I staggered out of Chris' room groaning "Oh my god, I'm so sore!"
Chris opined that it was a pity nobody was around to read anything into that.

I was supposed to jog again on Monday but I was still too sore. Then I was supposed to do it today but it's now 9:27pm and I don't think it will happen. I hate myself for being so incapable of self-motivation. I hate myself for using food and alcohol as replacements for self-esteem and affection. Maybe I'll go for a jog again tomorrow but really, I'm just fooling myself.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Another weekend of drunkenness begins. Last night was the Spinach7 launch at Readings. I went because a certain 'really shy', crutch-wielding person, who may be familiar to regular readers of this blog, was on the cover. If I'd spotted the poster with a mouthful of food or drink, I would have sprayed it out - that's right, it was Texta!

Marni, one of the editors, who also works at my work and had witnessed the hobbling aftermath of my last encounter with Texta, asked if I was planning to have a "confrontation" with Texta, but I couldn't think of anything more disastrous. I just wanted her to see me at the launch and maybe ponder that since she was going to keep running into me, it might pay to be civil to me. Also, I'm so stubborn and perverse that her rudeness just made me more determined to get to know her. But I cannot deny that another part of my motive in going was tasting the unspecified but delicious 'balls' Readings provides for their launches. That's how I got Gemma to go with me!!

Anyway, we rocked up and were quite put out that there were no balls - Spinach had self-catered with chips and dips. But on the plus side there was beer, and one of their sponsors was Nudie Juice, so that was nice. Despite my bravado, I was shitscared of talking to Texta, who now had two crutches instead of one, and was sitting in state on a chair. I was certain that if I came up to her and said hello, she would cut me down with some withering comment and I would be forced to slink away in full view of all the other people there. Shane was also there, but I couldn't face talking to him because he was talking to Texta.

Gemma and I were about to leave, because we were pretty sure Shane hadn't noticed we were there, but I had to finish my beer, during which time he came over and talked to us (mostly about the Kelis concert). Marni asked if we were going to the after party at the Retreat on Sydney Rd.
Gemma said she was going home.
"I don't know... I won't know anybody," I said.
"I know, I overheard your conversation," said Marni, smiling.
I was supposed to be sitting at home that night writing Incredible Melk lyrics for my rehearsal today, but I said I might go to the after party on the condition Marni introduced me to people.

Jesus I hate introducing myself to new people. I have no gift for coming gracefully into conversations and keeping them rolling. I have a tendency to babble when I'm nervous, and talk about crazy things, and ask people unintentionally confronting left-field questions like "So, what's your story?" And I have such a low humiliation threshold that I'm paranoid that I'm making an idiot out of myself. This was painfully obvious at the architects' party.

But recently I've decided that I need to cure myself of this social retardation, if for no other reason than I don't want to end up a lonely old cat lady. So I've deliberately been putting myself in situations that make me intensely uncomfortable, like hanging out with anarchists at the IRENE warehouse or going to launch after parties with a bunch of activist types I know only by scary reputation. This weekend I'm planning to go to two parties for workmates I don't know very well, where there will undoubtedly be nobody I know there and I will be forced to meet new people.

I decided to get some dinner on Sydney Rd and psyche myself up before I went to the Retreat, but on the way there, Saige called me, so I ended up getting dinner in Chinatown with her, and then we had a beer at St Jerome's. She would have had me stay for a second beer, but I narrowly evaded her siren call and went to the Retreat instead. The alcohol proved fortifying and I managed to have conversations with several people, including Esther Singer who used to terrify me as an undergraduate. She wasn't so bad. We talked about handwriting. (As an aside, I would be interested to find out if anyone who's reading this learned to write in primary school using slates.) I even introduced myself to some random guy who'd been on my tram minutes earlier.

I was pretty pissed, though. I realised this at the end of the night when I was sitting at the tram stop waiting for the tram and it was taking a really long time. When I consulted my phone again, I realised that this was because the trams had stopped running an hour earlier and I was just sitting there like a dero. Oh, and I was singing, which would have made me look even more like a dero. And this dog that had been sitting outside the pub came and kept me company, making me look even more like a dero!! When I realised this, I felt like a complete moron and ran away down the road.

Yay! Now for more drunkenness to numb the humiliating social obstacle course I have set myself this weekend.

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