Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I am feeling rather precarious right now. As though I have only been fooling myself about my skills and talents, and my general position in life, and my relationships with others, when in fact I am either a laughing-stock or a despised incompetent, and I am about to get fired and lose all my friends.

Today is the last day to do my tax, and I haven't done it. Shit. Not only will I probably have to pay tax rather than get a refund this year, I'll also probably have to pay a fine. It is just the latest in a line of things that have gone straight through to the catcher. Like missing the early bird registrations for the CSAA conference. And my car registration - because I missed that date, now I have to get a roadworthy on the thing in order to re-register it, that is if it ever gets fixed from the smash last October. And my health insurance - now I can't claim on any pharmaceuticals or optometry, and it'll probably cost me a bomb to start up a new policy. I feel really mad at myself for being so disorganised.

And I feel very insecure professionally, like all my working relationships are failing and I will have to go back on the dole. I have always been a clumsy networker, and it has been bothering me of late that despite being excellent at what I do, I have always relied on the goodwill of other people to get work. Lately I have been trying to be proactive, directly contacting people I'd like to work for, etc. And I have picked up some new (albeit poorly paid) gigs, but I can't help but feel the rug is going to be pulled from under me. It's happened to other people.

As I said, I am feeling precarious.

Friday, October 20, 2006

One dress; three comments. Now I like to consider myself a thoughtful dresser. Thoughtful, because I feel generally humiliated by my physical appearance and spend a lot of time brooding over how I can camouflage my body so nobody realises how bad it looks. A while ago I was excited by a particular style of dress that has an empire line, so I could wear tights without worrying about them cutting in, and it would skim right over the fat roll on my stomach. I have three dresses in this style, which I wear a lot as pinafores.

But the most notorious is this one. By now you can get it at Supre in about a trillion colours and prints, but back when I bought it, it only came in grey and white. I searched the internet for a picture of it but couldn't find one, so you are going to have to make do with this drawing I just did.

It's made of t-shirt material so it's pretty comfy. And it is so low-cut (the edge of the bodice sits on my nipples) that you can't wear it without another top underneath (unless you're Emah, who owns the same dress). Yesterday I was wearing it with a pink blouse with short puffed sleeves, a pink pearl necklace, and round-toed pink canvas slip-ons with black spots. That's the thing that makes this dress so seductive. I don't have to worry about the length or the tightness of the top worn underneath, so I can wear it even with tops that I feel self-conscious about wearing on their own. So I can put together nice coherent outfits with jaunty colour combinations, and I can fancy that I look quite good.

But I don't look good. I look fucking pregnant. My mother loves to remind me of this, as in my hapless way, I always seem to be wearing the dress on days when she sees me. "Oh Melissa! It's so unflattering!" Thanks maman; I love you too.

I am now so ashamed of the way I look in it that I tend to save it for days when I don't have any social events planned; when I'm just going to the office to work alone, and then just going home afterwards. Or on Sundays, which I have designated my fashion downtime. It is the dress equivalent of tracky dacks. I was really annoyed last week when we were manning the Mobile Projection Unit for Digital Fringe, and I had to appear on live internet streamed video in this retarded ugly dress. But anyway.

Comment One. Location: corner Elgin and Lygon Streets, number 1 tram. Time: 9:10am. I get on the tram and my gaze meets that of two chicks around my age. They look at me in a friendly and almost expectant way that makes me wonder if I have met them. I smile and look away, hanging from one of the straps. I overhear one say to the other, "Cute dress." I feel happy - maybe it's not a maternity smock after all!

Comment Two. Location: Royal Parade, number 19 tram. Time: 6:20pm. I get on the crowded peak-hour tram, reading my book, and find a spot to stand. A girl perhaps a little younger than me, who looks like she might be an international student, taps me tentatively on the arm and asks if I'd like a seat. I am mortified that she thinks I am pregnant and say stiffly, "No thanks, I'm happy standing." I am filled with shame for the entire duration of the trip and brood vengefully on how I could have made her just as embarrassed.

Comment Three. Location: Rathdowne Street, outside the Sev. Time: around 11pm. I am walking home and see a guy loitering on the pavement. My instinct is to keep my head down and not make eye contact. He shouts after me, "Hey, nice dress!" I can't work out if he's being sarcastic or trying to compliment me. Either way, I stab the pedestrian crossing button at Princes Street about a thousand times before hurrying across against the lights.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On types. For a very long time I have been considering the phenomenon of people being attracted to particular 'types' of other people. There is really no point to this post except to go on about this for a while.

I have been through a period of self-imposed 'giving up' on ever having a love life, but it's pretty hard to change the social conditioning of a lifetime, which leads me to treat love and sex as mine by rights and to approach social situations as opportunities for hooking up with people. It's been hard and depressing work to go against this tide and to say, "Well no actually, some people never find someone, and you are one of those people." There have been moments where I mused darkly on the self-sufficiency that such a life entails, such as finding my own way home from the airport, waking up alone on my birthday, and having to detect incipient boobie cancer myself because nobody will find a lump accidentally by feeling me up.

But I have given up on giving up. It's such hard work and I am no less unhappy. Even though pretty much the highest I can aim is to look presentable rather than sexy, I am still a woman who is attracted to men. Which has gone on despite my determination to 'give up'. So we reach this issue of 'types'. I have always felt a little bit annoyed when people I know go for very obvious physical 'types' - little skinny rock dudes, for example, or sexy librarian chicks with dark hair and glasses. The thing that annoys me is the predictability - I would like to think I give lots of different sorts of people a chance.

But I don't. Nobody does, I think. Even if you're attracted to people who look very different from each other and have different tastes and lifestyles, there's still a common thread. People who treat you a particular way. Or people with a certain philosophy on life. Like, I'm always looking for someone who finds joy in the absurdity of the everyday. My benchmark is someone who would catch the bus to Garden City with me out of pure curiosity to find out where it was and what it was like.

A while ago I had a drunken conversation with Helen in which we realised that we have quite similar tastes in men. "Chubby Jewish guys with beards, right?" Helen said excitedly.
"Chubby, yes, Jewish yes, beards, meh," I replied.

Apart from the well-documented Mark Ruffalo Effect (aka the self-deprecating but still cute underdog rather than the alpha guy - aka the Ducky Effect), my oft-mocked thing for Young-Looking Boyish Sorts, and my pro-Semitism, here are a few more of my Types:

Olive Skin, Blue Eyes. Self-explanatory. Anyone who knows Jeremy's friend Mike will realise instantly what this is all about. I know Penny and Leanne are with me on the skin/eyes matter.

Friendly. I have always liked people who are friendly. It is difficult for me to isolate what makes them look friendly and it is not always logical or obvious to other people: Ice Cube is friendly, for instance. But the opposite of Friendly is Cruel and Standoffish, which I know some chicks dig but I don't at all. Why lust after Mr Darcy types? It's Bingley all the way.

People Who Tease Me. It's like bad pizza - I find it irresistible, feel awful about myself afterwards but always come back for more.

Please list some of your types in the comments, or weigh in on mine so I don't feel like such a frickin freak.

This has been giving me great joy lately. Watch in awe as I position myself within the gendered and politicised matrix of blogging by posting a YouTube clip of a talking cat! There are several versions floating around, but I chose this one because it has subtitles of the most commonly agreed-upon 'meanings' of the cat's weird vocalisations.

This has been doing the rounds for ages, but I got back into it after seeing it on Tom's blog. I can't decide whether my favourite phrase is the absurd "Oh Don Piaaano" or the cranky "Why I eyes ya!" But unfortunately, this version doesn't have the funniest part, which is where the camera tracks back to reveal that the cat is 'talking' to another cat, which is just saying "miaow".

But I have a decidedly intertextual enjoyment of this clip. I showed it to my mother the other night and she got this horrified look on her face, saying, "It sounds like it's dying!" So for the rest of the evening I was randomly coming up to her and imitating the cat. It's a pleasure that plenty other people on the internet have. Makes me wonder about the nature of catchphrases, like that one that's everywhere at the moment of "I'm in ur location verbin ur n0unz". But I can't be bothering wanking on about that right now.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tickle Me Emo. Amanda and Alex came up with an idea that has really, ahem, tickled me. If you tickled him, he would say things like "I didn't ask to be born", "Nobody understands me" and "I'm sorry I'm not perfect". And if you tickled him while he was on a shelf with dozens of other Tickle Me Emos, he'd say "I feel so alone".

I would have added cut marks on his arms, but I thought that was un peu de trop.

But sadly, Tickle Me Emo is not a unique idea. Here's another blogger, Christafer's, take on it:

It's all over the web. It even has its own Urban Dictionary definition. According to these online sages, when you squeeze a Tickle Me Emo, he cries, sings a song about breaking up with his girlfriend, cuts himself and counts various ways to commit suicide.

And it's also the name of an emo site that's basically a glorified collection of ads. Can I just say, what a missed opportunity for the web designers? It is the least emo-looking webite ever. Where is the black with judicious touches of red and white? Where is the lurid background of mascara tears running down pale faces? At least there are links to LiveJournal.

Monday, October 09, 2006

She died with a toothbrush in her hand. Now I have had some pretty gross share-house experiences. Like the Great Dish Stand-off of 2004 in which dishes were piled on the floor next to the sink once we ran out of room on it, and I was the one to crack and ended up washing them using liquid hand soap (we had no dishwashing detergent), retching at the mouldy pockets of half-eaten dinners I discovered upon lifting each plate from the stack.

Then there was the Tampon in the Wind incident of 2005, in which nobody emptied the bathroom bin for weeks and weeks, and I eventually cracked and carried the piled-high bin out on bin night, only for a gust of wind to strew its contents over the street and I had to pick them all up.

None of this has particularly thrown me, apart from the initial, instinctive revulsion. But I remain troubled by the incident last night in which I discovered a pubic hair in my toothbrush.

I'd just applied toothpaste to the thing and I saw this hair sticking out the side of the brush. I pulled it out, held it to the light, and stuck it the bathroom wall with toothpaste for further inspection. My first instinct was to go, "Well, it doesn't really look like a pubic hair. Maybe one of the bristles has come loose."
And then I thought, "No Mel, it's longer and curlier than a bristle."
My optimistic side countered, "But where's the follicle?"
"It doesn't need a follicle - get used to it Mel, it's a motherfucking pubic hair! In your toothbrush!"

The thing that has really troubled me about this is that I remembered another incident in the recent past where I had thought there was a hair in my toothbrush, but I'd shrugged it off as my fevered suspicion. Now I can't help but wonder what my hipster housemates are doing with my toothbrush when I'm not there. And I can't help thnking back to when I called Tin a little while ago to tell him I was away for a week, and he went, "Oh, we thought so. Your toothbrush was missing."

For a while now, I have put up with the filthiness of the house because I fret that this will only cement my own worries that I'm old and uncool - whether or not the others think this about me. I know that everyone to whom I've told this thinks it's idiotic of me to let my general worries about hipsterism dictate what happens in my own house. But I can't help but think this toothbrush thing is a prank they've been playing on me.

Oh also, I went on and brushed my teeth with the toothbrush. Then I hid it in my room.

Friday, October 06, 2006

SAAS Bulletin: falling on my head like a new emotion. Sometimes you have to wonder if people set up scenarios deliberately in order to create delicious puns. In this case, suspicion must rest upon the hapless events organiser who set up a halogen light on a stage at Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay, where Telstra boss Sol Trujillo was conducting a massive presentation to spruik the T3 share offer. The halogen set off the building's sprinkler system, which drenched Sol – and the first three rows of assembled analysts and journalists – with water.

Here are some of the ensuing headlines:

"Rain on Sol's parade" – Sydney Morning Herald
"Telstra launch turns big pond" – The Age
"Sprinkler fails to dampen Trujillo" – The Australian

My favourite is the "big pond" reference. Perhaps Sol wishes he could "1800 Reverse" the mishap. Or look up assistance in the "Wet Pages".

Oy, I can't believe that's all I had.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter