Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Further to Naff Dance Face... I have been thinking about this some more, and thinking that it is almost better to look utterly hammered or to be making a stupid face than to be caught out doing Naff Dance Face. Here are some more examples from the Opulent party that are not Naff Dance Face.

Isn't he adorable! And not naff, even though he is a white boy wearing a backwards cap and a big fuck-off gold chain.

This is the look I aim for but never quite achieve on the dance floor: a kind of decorous disinterest in proceedings. However the makeup does look very fierce. I have one word for you: ah-lah-nah.

Now she is obviously shitfaced, but you can tell that she is enjoying herself. This is the dancefloor look I end up with more regularly. When I am not attempting to look jaunty, that is. Oh, speaking of jaunty, I'm about to go over and update Jaunty Crap. Why not follow me over there; it's a delightful place.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The curse of Naff Dance Face. I curse the advent of online party photos. It not only makes you feel awful about yourself if you aren't pretty or dressed stupidly enough to make the gallery; it also captures your drunkenness for all to see. Of course if you're me, this means your hypnotic powers are showcased for a global audience. But another dreadful side effect is the dancefloor phenomenon known as Naff Dance Face.

I have never known what kind of facial expression to make while on the dance floor. Usually I settle for a half-smile, because if you make any kind of expression that suggests you are nonchalant or cocky about your dancefloor prowess, you will slide headlong into Naff Dance Face. Here I bring you several examples from the Opulent Magazine party from last Friday night, which I attended but only moderately enjoyed. Even though the music was amazing, I didn't feel cool enough to talk to people, and the crowd was a strange mixture of extreme hipster-hoppers, average age 23, and bleary suits who'd been at the venue since 5pm.

One of the key elements of Naff Dance Face is to crinkle your brow and bite your lower lip as if in concentration.

Or you can kind of grimace, like, "Yeah, put it there!" Actually, you could imagine that all sorts of filthy things are happening to these people just out of frame. Flaps, as Sonya Hartnett would say.

If you have a fringe, make sure to swish it in your face. This guy is so good at assembling the component elements of Naff Dance Face that I have put two pictures of him in.

He looks a bit like Peter Andre in this one.

She, however, just looks constipated.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Is it possible to write a non-embarrassing 'erotic novel'? This afternoon I read Landscape with Animals by "Cameron S Redfern", which is a pseudonym for Sonya Hartnett, although Penguin still refuses to confirm this. We got a free review copy at the magazine, and everyone except me was too squeamish to claim it. The book had pretty wide margins and took about three hours to read.

Peter Craven, who wrote about Hartnett's last novel Surrender in gushingly positive terms ("she belongs to the handful of Australian writers who should command world attention ... If you read nothing else by an Australian this year, read Surrender"), wrote a fairly scathing review of Landscape with Animals in The Age. The tone is mainly of disappointment, as if a teacher's pet had let down the teacher.

Gah! That reminds me! At one stage in Landscape with Animals, the male protagonist's penis is described as straining for attention like a teacher's pet. I snickered with mortification. Other dreadful turns of phrase include describing the female protagonist's genitals as "like crustaceans" - please! anything else! - and also repeatedly using the term "flaps". The dialogue is very stilted and unconvincing, especially this stupid scene where they are taking an unspecified 'drug' and the guy feels "lordly thespian". That scene closed with the ripper line: "He had only to lift her shirt-tail..." Also, the 'animal' theme is hammered home in very unsubtle terms. Oh, speaking of hammering, I just remembered that the guy's cock is several times described as "punching" into her.

Oh, and the lubrication! There are fluids of every description, from "opalescent beads" of pre-cum to the chick's "balm", which at one point is used to "ice her arsehole"! Like a donut! And when they have anal sex, the guy is reminded of nothing more than being entangled in a heavy velvet curtain!

Are you as excruciatingly embarrassed reading this as I am? This is what makes me ask whether it's possible to write about sex in an erotic way without it being awful and clumsy and embarrassing. What makes 'erotic' writing anyway? Is it a tone or an excessively descriptive style? Or is it a contrivance of plot? Must it be bluntly and clinically described - and, perhaps, less 'erotic' - in order to avoid the embarrassment? Or am I just such a delicate petal that I get embarrassed at the drop of a hat? I ask, after all, as the co-author (aged 12) of a pornographic radio play entitled Drifting on the Lake, which contained the line: "She caressed his hard penis while he flecked her now-taut nipples." It took me many takes to record that line in a normal voice.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Did you know that I can actually hypnotise people when I am drunk? No? Fools! If you knew the tremendous power alcohol unleashes in me, you would quail like small game birds! Seriously though, I was looking at some more unflattering photos of myself, taken almost exactly a year ago at Andrejs's birthday party. And I realised that while photography can fail to capture the extent of my proud, wild beauty, amazingly enough it can document my powers in action. Truly it is an astonishing medium and one for the ages - bugger off Sebastian Smee, you piratical second banana.

"Look into my eyes..."

Look at this photo of me. Some say that I showed up at Andrejs's house absolutely tanked after a drinking competition with my 17-year-old brother at my cousin Elly's wedding earlier that evening. But they would be wrong. So if you should be drinking with me, as I really hope you do tonight - come on people, there's still time to call or email - you should watch out for the following tell-tale signs of impending hypnotism:

1. Eyelids droop, suggesting helpless amusement
2. Face grows very pink

Watch out! because I hypnotised these people and I could do it to you, too!

Man, one minute I was at the bar ordering Jager bombs and the next I was in this scary suburban house with chintzy curtains and this chick Michelle, who I'm pretty sure is some kind of Satanic swinger, was getting her kit off and barking for treats. It is my gift, it is my curse.

I convinced this fellow that he was a breakdancing Edward Scissorhands. I don't know how we ended up in that high-school auditorium with hundreds of whooping teenagers chanting "Snip! Snip! Snip!" But then I was drunk; how would I know?

I made these suckaz levitate. I remember dimly that it was part of an argument we were having about which was the better song: Lil Jon's "Get Low" or Cypress Hill's "Wanna Get High". I also remember them whimpering "Can we get down now?", which I thought meant they wanted to dance, so I started singing "Oh what a feeling, when we're dancing on the ceiling..."

It doesn't even have to be people. I can hypnotise animals too.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

SAAS Bulletin #4. Fresh from the Subeditorial Antics Appreciation Society comes this gem, courtesy of Miss Jane, via The Nightwatchman. I am sorry Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.

In other Herald Sun news (and I still get angry when people refer to it by such ideologically motivated pejoratives as the Hun or the Scum), there was a bogan baby whose fifth birthday was announced in the Sunday Hez: Khesanh Saunders. Surely this is the definitive bogan baby name. (And incidentally, I wonder if Khesanh has siblings called Flametrees and Bowriver.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Adventures in hosiery. As I think I have whinged here before - and let's not forget, whingeing keeps you warm in winter - I am constantly on the lookout for innovations in hosiery in order to prevent Mid-Section Issues. You see, when it comes to all kinds of mid-section clothing, from underpants to jeans to tights, women are faced with a cruel paradox:

Garments that fit properly don't sit properly.

That is, a woman with any amount of fat around her mid-section has to choose between creating a sleek silhouette and avoiding the dreaded 'muffin top', and having clothes that sit comfortably and don't require constant tugging and adjustment. You can only have one or the other. Because of the angle of the hips, if the clothes fit well enough to sit sleekly on the hips, then they'll soon slip down and have to be tugged up again. Whereas if they are worn too small, then the layer of fat around the mid-section keeps them in place, and perversely, the woman feels more comfortable. It's geometry, people!

I have pondered this a lot, usually while struggling with conventional tights, which bisect me cruelly at the waist, and 'hipster' tights, which refuse to sit on the hips and roll down to the groin in a tight uncomfortable roll. I have tried wearing the tights super-high, covering the ribs, which avoids that doughy waist but looks really, really daggy, and wearing them just below the waist, which in accordance with the Mid-Section Paradox, creates a muffin top but is more comfortable in the long run.

I pondered suspender belts, but as they strap on around the waist, they are also subject to the Mid-Section Paradox. After some successful experimentation with stay-up stockings, last weekend I decided to give these a go.

Advertised as being "for those of us who have a love-hate relationship with pantihose", these are stockings that hook directly onto special underpants. They look quite jaunty on, and the undies are very nice to wear. But as these wise women on the Vogue Forums pointed out, they need another hook for the back of the stockings, because when the stockings fall down, so do the underpants!

It is very disconcerting to be walking along and feeling your undies being insistently tugged down.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A couple of days ago I got a free knife. Yeah, this spivvy looking character came up to me in the street and said, "Eh lady, you wanna knife? Nice knife, sharp knife. Cut anything... yeah that's right baby... cut anything." And then he pulled out this blade and wiped it off on the back of his pants and then whipped it about expertly in silvery arcs, as his face got a little sweaty and red and his eyes began to shimmer like burning coals - "yeah, cut anything, baby!" - he was shouting as I began to get a little nervous and wondered if a wheelie bin would provide adequate shelter if it came down to it...

Actually, I was in Big W because I had some time to kill and I like to wander around in there sometimes, and an announcement came over the PA.

"Attention customers. If anyone in the store would like a free knife, please go to the counter under the sign that says 'Health and Beauty'. We are giving away knives to shoppers aged over 21. This offer is only valid for the next ten minutes, so if you want a free knife, no strings attached, please go to the counter now."

At first I wasn't going to go. I was like, "What do you want with a free knife, Mel?" And then I thought about all the crappy knives I've used in various share houses over the years. Like the one that the tip of the blade snapped off and it was kind of curvy at the end. And the ones where you needed to poke the tomato with the tip to break the skin before you could start cutting. And the one that was really a cheese knife but it really had the best serrated cutting edge...

Also I can't resist free stuff.

So I went and stood under the sign, where a number of people were waiting sheepishly. They were a surprising mix of age, race and gender, which seemed rather odd for a Monday afternoon. We had to watch a live infomercial-style demonstration of this product, which is called the Forever Sharp Knife.

It is made by a New Jersey-based firm with the dubious name of Twin Towers Trading. Do you remember the infomercials for it? They were great! They showed the knife cutting through an aluminium can. And it comes with a crazy juicer that you screw right into the orange and the juice comes dribbling out! I stood there with the credulous indulgence you show to a crappy children's magician, nodding and clapping in all the right places as the sales dude attempted to saw through wooden chopping boards and steel hammers with this knife, and then cut a tomato into paper-thin slices to demonstrate that it was just as sharp as ever!

He packaged up the knives, as you see in the picture - three knives, two paring knives and a filleting knife, plus two of the orange juicer things - and offered the box to people for $33 (online it costs US$35). I couldn't believe how many people rushed to grab the boxes. He must have done at least a few hundred dollars worth of business. Meanwhile, tightwads like me had to be satisfied with a free paring knife, valued at $5.

Five dollars? For that price I could have had a coffee over Time magazine, which has a cover story about autism right now, and I'm sort of into autism at the moment because I'm determined to prove to my mother that I don't have Asperger's Syndrome. And now I'm looking back over that sentence and thinking, what has my life come to?

As it turned out, the knife never had its triumphant debut that night, as we had a household crisis that made knives in very poor taste indeed. So it has stayed in my bag where hopefully it will come in handy one day.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Choosing photos to send to pretty men on the internet. Flicking through a list of image files, I have come to the depressing conclusion that I am not really cut out for flirtatious online photo sharing. Basically, I think I am drunk, making a stupid face, or both, in every photo of myself I have. There are lots of pictures of me hamming it up for various fancy dress endeavours, and plenty of dreadful Incredible Melk images that are very unsuitable because they are funny in the way that Magda Szubanski is funny. But no pictures of me looking presentable and normal. The ones you see below are, sadly, the cream of the crop. I am feeling quite disheartened.

Do you see what I mean? Here I am at the Issue 5 launch, dressed as a cigarette girl. Do you see my hat? It was made out of a takeaway food container. Please note also my facial expression, which I no doubt considered jaunty at the time.

As you can see, I am truly Steven Seagal-esque in my range of facial expressions. Here I am at the Retreat this summer, when there was a hipster bloggerati event, which I accidentally attended because I happened to be drinking at the same pub with another group of friends. It was about 40 degrees and I had started drinking at something like 3pm. I think this photo was taken around midnight.

This is me dressed as Marsha Queen of Diamonds for last year's Superheroes Ball. It is quite unbelievable what a large bedroom I had in my old house, now that I can see it in the background. There was an area the size of a small dance floor in the middle of the room. In fact, I think my bedroom was larger than my current living room.

How about I send the pretty internet man this one? After all, I am a jaunty pussy. Today I am wearing a black and white striped t-shirt and around my neck is a thin black pussybow with a diamante brooch. It is a sort of Colonel Sanders meets Hamburglar effect. What a lovely fast food inspired outfit it is.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Project Lady Macbeth. This year I am determined not to get sick during winter. Touch chipboard. Oh what a foolish project it is, especially considering that Natalya will probably infect me in the next few days. She has lost her voice, so she asked Gollum-like if I could make her doctor's appointment this morning. I felt like a right moron because I couldn't spell her name out for the receptionist.

I have always had trouble spelling words out loud. When I'm asked, I prefer to write down the word and read it out rather than summoning it from my brain. I remember reading once that it's a brain issue: you need to access different parts of the brain in order to express yourself aloud and on paper. But it really galled me in those spelling bees at school. This is because spelling bees are a public performance of competency or incompetency, and I hate being exposed as incompetent when my written spelling has always been nearly perfect (indeed, it's now a working necessity and a matter of professional pride for me). There was a notorious incident in year 7 in which I was asked to spell "diarrhoea" and, when I missed one of the letters, I ran out of the room sobbing and took refuge, ludicrously enough, in the toilet.

But anyway. I have decided to call my winter campaign against colds Project Lady Macbeth, because its main tactic is the washing of hands. But please, I am not turning into Howard Hughes here, even though my left index fingernail is becoming worryingly long and soon I will be able to use it to snort cocaine and to tap menacingly on hard surfaces and perhaps even to slash at my enemies like a velociraptor while emitting blood-curdling shrieks. Here's hoping. So after a little bit of trademark Mel online research, here I am proud to unveil the key strategies of Project Lady Macbeth.

1. Handwashing
Apparently bar soap is a perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, so use liquid soap instead. Wash your hands after going to the loo and after handling things that might have been touched by people with colds. (Like cats.) But don't do this obsessively or you won't build up a healthy immunity to bacteria. My ex-housemate Jasmine, who I hated, was a real clean freak and she was sick all the time in winter.

2. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
You would think people would do this instinctively, or have it drummed into them by their parents, but then you'll see them just propelling a mist of contaminated particles out of their mouths and into the face of the person opposite them. And I just despair about people who spit on the footpath. Fucking disgusting.

3. Surface washing
This is probably the best thing. When I worked in market research, the union instituted moist wipes at every workstation and this cut employee colds dramatically. Regularly wipe down surfaces that come into contact from multiple people: stair rails, telephones, counter tops, computer keyboards and door knobs.

4. Don't touch your face
Apparently a lot of colds are caught through the eyes, nose and mouth. So try not to rub your eyes, pick your nose or touch your mouth. Although this is easier said than done because most people have weird compulsive gestures.

5. Fresh foods and fluids
I am trying to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, concentrating on things like apples, oranges, carrot, spinach and broccoli. I think the cold-avoiding properties of Vitamin C are mostly bullshit, but I guess eating more fresh stuff can't hurt. Also, keeping your fluids up is meant to be good. Although considering that I drink about ten cups of tea during a standard working day, I don't really worry that much about it.

6. Getting enough sleep
Guess I'm lucky because I have never really had problems sleeping, but if you don't get enough of it, you'll wear down your immune system.

Friday, May 05, 2006

This post is not about Rohypnol. Instead it is about Smallville, a show that shares Rohypnol's ability to send its victims, ahem, viewers, into a stupor from which they awake with very little recollection of what just occurred. Anyway. So it was on in the background yesterday while we were eating dinner, and they had this plotline whereby anyone who drank this mysterious green cordial would fall in love with the first person they laid eyes on.

So Natalya and I got into a conversation about who we would feed a love potion to. "It couldn't be anyone you were actually in love with," said Natalya, and I agreed. Because how sad would it be to realise that the fulfilment of all your fantasies was itself a fantasy, and that the person only wanted you because they were 'not themselves'? Wouldn't you feel worse after that?

We agreed that the love potion would be very useful for seducing someone totally out of your league with whom you'd never want a relationship. Like a celebrity. Obviously, Natalya and I both have impeccable taste in celebrities. For example, dear reader, later yesterday evening I went out to Troika for Saige's birthday drinks and the barman bore a disturbing resemblance to one of Mel's Shameful Celebrity Crushes, DJ AM. But nobody at Saige's drinks even knew who he was, so they could not marvel at this resemblance, nor yet could they mock me!

But then I threw a spanner in the works of this theory by saying, what about someone you actually knew, with whom you didn't want a relationship, but who you'd still see socially after the love potion had worn off. This brought up several issues.

Would the recipient of the love potion have total recall of what happened while under its influence? I mean, you don't want to engender any social awkwardness as they look at you and remember all the wanton and animalistic things the two of you did together and think to themselves, My god, what have I done!

So, would it be better if they had no recall at all, and thus the two of you would just go crazy and then later they'd smile at you in the street and go, "Hi!" and you'd think, "Heh heh, I totally shoved a zucchini up your arse and you loved it and screamed for a whole ratatouille!" Or something like that. Or would it be better if they had a sort of dreamlike recollection of what had gone on, and they got little flashbacks in social situations? Most importantly, would the love potion somehow be able to work out if the sex had been good or bad, and thus erase their memory of the crap sex and enhance their memory of the good?

Would the recipient know it was you who gave them the love potion? I mean, wouldn't you feel a bit gross if you found out that you'd been drugged by some non-Rohypnol love potion and had engaged in all manner of hot action with someone that you aren't remotely attracted to? I mean, what if you hadn't shaved or waxed or worn nice undies or had the lights just so, or whatever it is that you do to fool people into not finding your body repulsive? Bleh!

I think the most important thing would be somehow to defer the blame. Like "Whoa-ho, that was some crazy party last night, hey?" Or "I think I saw Bill slip something into your drink while you were in the loo!"

What do you think about this scenario that most definitely does not involve Rohypnol? Natalya was going to text Stephen to get his opinion, but there really was no good way of phrasing a text message on this topic sent at 11:45pm.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Rrrrawrawrwwwrrrr! Don't you think that sound effect of a big cat roaring is just about the most awesome thing ever? It has very little to do with any actual roar - it is some sound effect - you totally know the one - that goes "Row-row-rowwwrwrwrwrrr!" It is the noise that Sex Panther cologne makes in the movie Anchorman.

Of course I did some investigating, and found this site which lists all sorts of big cat noises. The one I am thinking of is called "cougar.wav". It is awesome. I have played it about a billion times in a row now, and each time I feel my spirits rising and my entire being filled with the awesome ultimate power of the Mighty Roaring Cougar. I wonder how I could make that noise play every time someone loaded this blog. I wonder how I could somehow integrate it into Eye of the Tiger (even though it is a cougar noise) so that the main riff of the song went, "Row! Rowww-rrrow-rrowrrw! Row-row-rrrrowrowr! Row-row-rrrrrowrrww!" What a song of sheer animal muscularity that would be.

Now if I were in a contemplative mood, perhaps I would muse on the affective registers invoked by this sound, its implications in various anthropomorphic traditions, and its diegetic and non-diegetic use in contemporary cinema (wouldn't that be an excellent paper to attempt to submit to the journal Music, Sound and the Moving Image?), but its raw energy has put me into a sort of feline trance, and I wish I had a camera so I could take some awesome photos of myself prancing round the office with my teeth bared and my hands spazzed into claws, shaking my mane and making this noise repeatedly and generally justifying the poor impression we have left on our fellow tenants here at the Arts Precinct.

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