Sunday, July 22, 2007

The pleasures of clean sheets. A while ago I was quite struck by Ms Fits's advocation of a whisky-fuelled heavy petting session with a redhead on clean sheets (although I also felt a little uncomfortable, seeing as I had actually witnessed her working the early stages of her magic upon the redhead in question). Forget the politics; Fits really excels at the poetics of hedonism, the invocation of pleasurable scenarios of all sorts.

But back to the sheets. Lying in clean sheets is one of the nicest things ever, although not as rewarding in this cold weather because I am all rugged up in pyjamas and can't feel the sheets against my skin. The annoying thing, though, is that the more you enjoy clean sheets, the less clean and enjoyable they become. For some reason I like white sheets best; there's something deeply satisfying about pulling back the snowdrift of my white doona to reveal equally snowy pillows and sheets.

This morning I was folding sheets while listening to the neo-Curtis Mayfield soul of Justin Timberlake's "Damn Girl", a song that had popped into my head while I was in the shower. Even though my SMS fuckup of Friday night has been troubling me all weekend, I felt content as I smoothed the sheets into neat rectangular parcels. I was reminded of my parents folding sheets when I was a child. They'd take an end each and walk towards each other until their hands met in the middle. Then they'd take another end, pivot and do the same gesture again. It always seemed like a grave and courtly dance to me, of the sort showcased on the miniseries of Pride & Prejudice. There seems to be such a muted eroticism to those dances; they are all about eye contact and fleeting touches of hands. It seems a perfect semantic fit that I should associate this with sheets, erotically charged as they also are.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Delta Function: Scene 2.
Executive Office. Night.

Cut to an office interior. An anxious, sweaty, balding man is sitting at a large mahogany desk, papers strewn in front of him. His face is lit eerily by a desk lamp: there is not much other light in the room. He addresses an unseen person.

(with an air of desperation) How come you never told me you were having personal problems? We could have worked something out.

(from out of shot, barely controlled fury) Yeah, I guess we could. Maybe when you got your head outta your ass and started treating your employees like human beings.

(puzzled) Human beings...? This company pays the best in the industry!

Yeah, and you expect quite a return on your investment, don't you? I've been working sixteen-hour days for you, and have you even noticed?

We never expect our staff to work unreasonable hours.

That's what it says on paper. But if I hadn't got the Hirschfeld account in, you'd have fired me anyway.

As the BOSS is speaking, the camera swings slowly around to show the FIRED GUY leaning against the wall. He's in shirtsleeves; the bomb looks like a backpack. He looks bone-weary, tightly-strung, as though the tiniest thing will make him snap.

(attempting to be placatory) Jeffrey, you know how much you mean to this company. It's just that... well... lately you've been sloppy. Not meeting deadlines, making mistakes in your accounts -

(suddenly psychotic, gesturing towards the trigger of the bomb strapped to his body) You'll be pretty fuckin' sloppy if you don't give me back my job!

Doofus act of the week. Last night I realised that for the umpteenth time in my life, a guy I am crushing on (the same one I dreamed anxiously about marrying) doesn't feel the same way about me. I realised this because we were at the pub and he was telling me about this girl he was interested in. While I had been getting shitfaced at a hipster party on Thursday night (without a plus-one) he had been getting it on with her. That was a depressing enough situation, but the fact he was even telling me this was an instant giveaway that we had reached 'mates way' territory.

Despite an excellent dinner of tacos (a meal with which I've lately become obsessed, for some reason), later in the evening I began to brood in a maudlin and tipsy manner on the sorry state of my sex life. My thoughts turned to the guy I was meant to bone in Sydney back in April; the one who would never, ever be boyfriend material but whose lust for me made me re-imagine myself as a sexy woman rather than a perennially doofusy friend character. In those days I felt alive; inhabiting my body because someone else found it desirable in ways it had never occurred to me to consider. I felt awakened to possibilities that had been hammered out of me by years of disappointment.

The raunchy text messages have petered out lately; it's as though we both started from a daydream and went, "This won't work. We live in different cities. We're really different people." Last night it seemed really sad to me that it should have fizzled so quietly, as if by mutually wilful forgetting. I wouldn't stand for it. So I wrote this guy a text message: I still think about you sometimes even though we never did and probably won't fuck.

And then I sent it to my current (newly unattainable) crush.

You know that feeling of total out-of-controlness that hits you in the stomach when you realise you've just done something that can't be undone? All you can do is send a follow-up SMS begging them to disregard the last one. To make matters worse, he replied straight away sounding disappointed that the message wasn't for him - in his words, that he "wasn't even in the picture". I wanted to write, My god, don't you realise the picture is a closeup of you? But doofuses don't tend towards sensible things like that.

Oh, I slept badly last night.

In other news, at the pub I came up with the idea of "vagina candy" to explain the difference between men that women enjoy looking at, versus the ones they actually want to fuck. I felt this was a rich metaphor that deserved further exploration, but the conversation moved on. Don't you hate it when that happens? When you want to talk about something in more detail but you have to follow the conversation to something else? The conversation at the pub was like that last night; really fast-paced, so many topics thrashed over in quick succession, each of them causing little peaks of concentration and enjoyment in my brain.

A while ago I was interested in the linguistic subdiscipline of conversation analysis, and particularly the practice of turn-taking - the cues by which we signal our entries into another person's statement. Transcribing interviews really throws light on this process; I am always so embarrassed by how nakedly you can observe turns being taken, efforts by one person to dominate the conversation by ignoring the turn-cues of others. You can always tell whether people are really listening to each other or whether it's like a social dance, a performance of engagement without real exchange.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Plus none. As I write, there is a free double movie pass sitting next to my computer. We were giving them away for the Friendly Society and there were some extras for us. The pass is only valid for this weekend and I am planning to go with one of my friends. But looking at it makes me wish I could use it to go on a date with some guy.

I love my friends and it's great that my work gives me regular chances to do fun things with them - movies, gigs, premieres, launches, etc etc. And I love being asked to events as a friend's plus-one. But I do kind of wish I had someone to be my plus-one in general, as well as for an event. I feel a little sad at missing out on the flirtation and sexual tension that going on a date implies.

What's the alternative? I feel like a loser when I go to the thing and see my name on the media list with "+1" written next to it and as the door chick crosses it off she looks expectantly for my partner and I go, faux-cheerily, "Just me, I'm afraid." Jeremy says I should use the plus-ones as opportunities to ask people out. But what if I did bring some guy I had my eye on, but he was more into the prospect of free liquor and scopin' for babes than he was into me?

I don't know; the last guy I summoned the threadbare courage to ask out agreed to the date, but only after he had run my request past his "insecure" girlfriend, who was okay with it on the condition it involved "no funny business". This called for many sessions of lying face down on my bed and listening to Interpol. Even though Interpol now have a new album out (which the hipster media don't care for but I think is great), I am in no hurry to get humiliated by asking someone else out.

Is this a lame post? Ah, fuck it; any regular reader of this blog will realise instantly the sort of lame individual they are dealing with. I should pwn my lameness.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Delta Function. Okay, I am totally pumped for the new Die Hard movie, and Stuart, Penny and I have been preparing by watching Die Hards II and III. (I missed their screening of the original Die Hard, but then I watched it at Christmas with my brothers.) And last night, in one of those weird serendipities that makes you wonder whether there really is a higher power, I discovered a dog-eared hard copy of my famous Die Hard 'spoof' screenplay, The Delta Function. I use the inverted commas because it is more like a loving homage than a parody.

There is no electronic copy of The Delta Function. I hold the only copy of this cultural phenomenon. The story is that one day at uni back in 2000, we were joking about the cliches of the 80s action genre, and we ended up brainstorming the entire movie's plot. (Or not really, because I don't think we ever decided how it ended.)

It's the story of John McCormick, a former NYPD bomb squad officer who ends up suspended from duty after the trauma of his partner's death in a botched special op finally causes him to snap. But his boss has to bring him back to save New York from a terrorist who has a poison-filled bomb rigged to the New York water supply. The only way to disarm this bomb is through a mathematical formula called the Delta Function; and McCormick happens to be an untapped mathematical prodigy who never went to college because he is autistic.

The cops get McCormick's curmudgeonly old high school maths teacher, the only man who understands him, to persuade him to help save the city. Helping McCormick to reach the bomb site is a foxy NYU history professor. whose speciality is the New York sewer system. She has all the old maps, knows how to get there, and most importantly, is wearing a white t-shirt for when they inevitably get drenched. There's probably a wisecracking black guy too, but this wasn't really thought out.

Anyway, I bring you... SCENE 1.


As opening credits roll, dolly camera along a dark, dingy underground tunnel, in what seems like one continues POV shot. At times the shot veers to left or right, following a path through a series of tunnels. The shot is deliberately confusing and claustrophobic: it is never clear exactly where the scene is taking place. The shot continues for several minutes, until a round pattern of light and shade can be seen in the distance. As the camera draws closer and closer, it becomes clear that we are looking at a manhole grille: we can see feet moving over the grille. The camera draws closer and closer...

until it appears to rise through the grille, tracking a pair of men's shoes as they walk away along a city street. Dolly up from the shoes to reveal pants, belt, shirt, badge (the man is revealed to be a police officer), and finally the face. It is JOHN MCCORMICK.

We starting early today?
Sorry to get you out of bed, John. But we thought this was kinda up your alley.
What's up my alley?
See up there?

MCCORMICK looks to the top of a nearby high-rise building. A helicppter is circling the building. Red and blue cop car lights reflect off the glass on the walls.

That's the Dieter Jackson Young building.
The accounting firm?
(nodding) Guy got fired yesterday. Today, he got past security with a bomb strapped to his body. He's in there with his boss. Says if he doesn't get his job back, he'll blow the damn thing.
It's tax time. I know how he feels.

APOLOGETIC COP looks at MCCORMICK quizzically for a moment. Then his mind snaps back to the job at hand.

We got a SWAT team ready. You and Anderson are goin' in with 'em.
(sardonic) And then what? He blows us up too?
(getting impatient) The team will immobilise the guy, then you defuse the damn bomb.
Sounds like a walk in the park to me.

He quickly strides away over a grassed area towards another group of cops standing by a tree. His partner NED ANDERSON is putting on Kevlar body armour. A group of SWAT personnel is loading semi-automatic weapons. MCCORMICK joins the group and also starts putting on a bulletproof vest.

Hey John.
(with playful annoyance) I know you wanted that promotion, Ned, but really... This ain't your nine-to-five shit.
(wryly) No rest for the psychotic, John.
I bet Tess wasn't too happy, you goin' off at two in the morning.
(rolling his eyes) Hell hath no fury.

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