Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poem In The Form Of Unanswered Gmail Chat Conversation Starter. As sent to Andrew, that anchovy-loving, non-Gmail-chat-answering bastard.
I bought some anchovies today
I figure that if they dissolve in food they will be okay
However, I feel quite ashamed of the over-whimsical potential of such a poem. Can you imagine the vile McSweeney's List that could be compiled from such abortive reachings-out on Gmail Chat?
Guess you're busy then

I just wanted to say I don't mind your beard after all

Are you around tonight?
We could get a drink
Two foods I really can't stand are anchovies and olives. It is their strong, salty taste, and in the case of anchovies, it is also their hairy texture. Once I was in the window at Mario's, where I am quite often to be found early on Sunday afternoons, and someone had ordered a puttanesca. The smell of it was so vile I thought I would throw up.

Another time I was at book club and Helen had made these little crostini criss-crossed with anchovies. I ate one to be polite but I made sure to eat it in tiny little bites so that I wasn't overwhelmed with the anchovy taste and made no involuntary facial grimaces. It actually tasted quite nice that way.

Now I have decided to try cooking with tiny amounts of anchovy after hearing (for the umpteenth time) that they dissolve in the pan leaving only a savoury, salty flavour behind. In much the same way, I can handle olives if they are mashed into a tapenade and spread over something else.

Friday, April 17, 2009

By poopular demand. I assure you, I really am a very intelligent person who gets a lot of work done in the average workday. However, a few weeks back, my Facebook friend Benjamin Law snarkily commented on the plethora of stupid quizzes that are currently showing up on Facebook by saying, "What's next – 'which poo are you?'"

This was like a red rag to a bull. I couldn't resist actually creating this quiz, but because I am (as I have previously mentioned) extremely intelligent and not interested in procrastination at all during working hours, it has taken me until just now to actually create the quiz. I drew the line, however, at providing images of each poo. There is already a distressing number of very uncompromising results when you do a Google Image Search for "poo".

If you'd like to do the quiz but are not interested in Facebook, then it is reproduced below.

Which Poo Are You?

You won't find a more intellectual - or revealing - Facebook quiz than this one! Discover your innermost personality, through the magic of faeces.

1. You're heading out to eat. What are you in the mood for?
a) Y'know what? Corn on the frickin' cob.
b) I wanna feel the burn – so maybe Sichuan or Indian.
c) At 3am? Okay, a large kebab with extra garlic sauce.
d) A giant salad with plenty of spinach and chickpeas.
e) A triple cheese and bacon burger sandwiched between two steaks.

2. How would you go about wooing that special someone?
a) I keep popping into view and hope they'll notice me eventually.
b) Tell them funny anecdotes. Get me started and I can't seem to shut up.
c) Ply them with liquor. If that doesn't work, I ply myself with liquor.
d) A big smile and a compliment. Simple stuff, but it works.
e) I get so shy that I clam up completely.

3. You're in trouble at work. How come?
a) I'm always hanging around, but never seem to get any actual work done.
b) I yelled at the boss. Don't ask me why; I just kind of exploded.
c) I roll in every day at 11am stinking of booze and gnawing on a KFC Colonel Burger.
d) I spend more time flirting with co-workers than doing my job.
e) I'm so stressed out I haven't left my desk for five days.

4. Describe your dress sense.
a) Bright colours and light, breezy fabrics.
b) Something dramatic; I love to make a bold impression.
c) Dishevelled and covered in mysterious stains.
d) I'm always clothed in silk.
e) Anything, as long as it's skin-tight.

5. Are you worried about the future?
a) Nah, no matter what life throws at me, I always bounce back.
b) I try not to worry because things always happen when you least expect them.
c) Who needs a future when you have tequila?
d) Not really, I can always charm people into helping me out.
e) Oh my god yes! I'm so stressed that sometimes I can't sleep at night.

Mostly As
You're a FLOATER!

Buoyant and tenacious, you can weather any storm(water drain)! No matter whether life gives you the half or the full flush, you're full of beans and bobbing up for more!

Mostly Bs

You're the sexiest poo of all: hot, wet, spicy and explosive! You certainly love to leave your mark. But you're also a poo of impeccable tastes: you'll only come out when there's a poorly refrigerated chicken salad or a delicious bain-marie pizza.

Mostly Cs

Some people have their fun during a night on the town... but the morning after is when you come out to play! Huge, fragrant and incredibly satisfying, you get a day off to a great start.

Mostly Ds

Where did you come from, you smooth devil? It's as though you were clothed in silk! A pleasure to poo and a cinch to flush, you're the old-fashioned lover boy of the faecal world.

Mostly Es

Boy oh boy, you don't like doing things the easy way, do you? Tough as nails and solid as a rock, you're also the stubbornest poo in the bowl. You need to loosen up or you'll give someone a hernia.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Today is one of my 'bad days'. I feel very lonely because I don't have any family events planned this weekend. I haven't gone away, and apart from seeing some comedy with Andrew on Friday night, which was more like work, I haven't seen any friends or done anything sociable. It feels as though the world is passing me by.

This year is also the most involved I've been with the Comedy Festival since I had a show in it four years ago. Reading back through my posts in April 2005, I'm surprised that I didn't write more about how unhappy I was feeling then, and how ostracised I felt by the other comedians. This post is perhaps the best indication.

Anyway, that feeling has been coming back as I go to festival shows and see anew what an incestuous business comedy is. Being a reviewer this time I can take solace in 'critical distance', but I still feel very much on the outer, and I haven't been enjoying hanging around in the bars with people I recognise but don't feel able to approach and talk to. Also, this time I feel isolated from the community of reviewers, in much the same way that I always feel excluded when I go to media screenings in my work as a film reviewer, noticing that all the other film critics seem to know each other and chat to each other.

Will I ever feel at home anywhere, as if I belong with anyone? I'm sick of feeling like an impostor. I realise I shouldn't look to other people for support and validation, and should be able to find resources within myself to get me through times like these. But I can't think of a single thing I like about myself that doesn't have to do with my work. Being smart, and good at having ideas and stringing sentences together, is no consolation for this crushing loneliness.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

My disappointing living room. I have a vision for my living room that is quite unlike its current state. I just want my living room to look as though some thought has gone into its appearance, rather than some share-house aesthetic that's about a jumble of cheap furniture.

If I had to summarise my tastes I would call them 'Hollywood Regency', which is a glamorous look that blends the ornate, the exotic and the modernist in a way that recalls the homes of golden-age movie stars. It was last year's Art Deco exhibition that really sparked this obsession in me, but then in the second half of last year I started to get into that modernist mid-century look, and Hollywood Regency kind of combines the two. Its furniture is like a more streamlined interpretation of French rococo antiques. There's also plenty of glass, gold and silver, Orientalist and 'primitivist' flourishes, and attention to texture.

I don't agree with all these things – a lot of professionally styled Hollywood Regency interiors look intimidatingly zany and over-the-top, with ugly crap like Louis XIV armchairs with brightly coloured upholstery – but what I like about the look is the way it evokes a lived-in, welcoming kind of glamour. For some time I have been trolling eBay for stuff like chandeliers, sofas, bevelled mirrors and sunburst clocks.

Yesterday I went to Ikea and bought a shelf to use as a TV stand/DVD shelf/bookshelf, and while I was there I saw a turquoise rug in the 'As Is' bargain corner. I have been looking for a rug for some time, ever since I read a magazine article about how to cut out noise in your home and thought to myself, "A rug! That will muffle the noise so I can actually hear the TV when someone is boiling the kettle!"

My ideal rug would be a Persian rug – in my mind I would juxtapose the rug with very simple, modern furniture in pale tones rather than the rich colours, fancy furniture and wood finishes in which you usually find them. But they are so expensive and are by definition a rip-off, whether you buy them actually in Iran, Turkey, Morocco, etc, at a perennially about-to-close carpet dealership here, or at a chain store, or on eBay. Also, I just can't settle on a design I like.

Anyway, the main problem with the rug I bought is that I think it's too small for the room. It looks so pitiful, as if it's afraid of the furniture. And Talor's coffee table – which I love, it has gold legs and edges and a marble-effect glass top – looks so lost, as if it can't decide where to sit. Everywhere I put it, it looks crap.

Also, I hate my lounge suite so much. I hate its dark brown wooden frame and its stupid shape and its colour. You can tell how much I hate it because I have tried to cover it up with cushions. I picked black-and-white ones inspired by Meep, who was curled up one day in the corner of a chair in a way that made me go, "Hmmm..." Also, they match the floor. And now they happen to match Graham, who quite liked the new cushion I bought from Ikea yesterday.

I would like to get another sofa and then get some fancy accent chairs, all perhaps in other shades of blue, or maybe white, to match the shelving units. Or maybe a deep rose-pink. I think a lot about sofas. I hate those turd-like ones you get at cheap furniture stores, and I also hate the boxy square ones. I love chesterfields but they are so expensive and nearly always only in brown and oxblood, both two colours I hate. If I got a chesterfield it would be black or white.

Anyway. It's a work in progress. I get so much pleasure from imagining my perfect living room, which is probably why it's so frustrating that the reality is so lame.

Clothes are fucked. God, I can't bear the way they make me feel as I walk down the street, riding up or slipping down or clinging embarrassingly to my body. The entire point of clothes is to feel reassured that the underlying horror is safely masked and contained, and that I can safely get about in public without having people look at me. Whenever someone looks at me, I assume it's because I've done something wrong or because there's something awry with my appearance. So since I know I can never look good, I just strive to look unremarkable.

Lipstick, for those playing along at home, is a good way to pretend you look okay when you actually don't. People see the lipstick and interpret your appearance as 'dressed up', no matter what other crap you are wearing. So if you ever see me wearing lipstick, it will be because I am feeling particularly depressed about the way I am looking that day.

This isn't paranoia; yesterday I managed to get through the entire day, talking to friends, hospitality workers and professional contacts, with a smudge of dirt on my face from working in the garden. Imagine what other horrors of failed personal integrity I have simply never noticed.

Here is my ideal outfit, which I would like to force the entire world to wear. Underwear would be a snug-fitting elasticised garment similar to the Australian women's basketball team uniform.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and… uh, his wife Therese Rein, re-enacts his notorious strip club visit with a gang of scantily clad hussies.

It could have a lower cut neckline in front and back – I would favour a round scoop neckline rather than the high V-neck – but would not have thin 'straps' that could slip over the shoulders. It would be made of a soft cotton elastane that could 'breathe', but was firm and elasticised enough to feel as though the body was securely 'held in'. There could be a built-in bra in the top half similar to those Bonds singlets, or in the male version, a built-in snuggle pouch for their boys.

As an all-in-one garment it would have no cruel waist elastic that would slide down to your hips in a tight, uncomfortable roll, causing unsightly bulges or 'muffin top'. And as it had the little bike short legs it would never give you a wedgie, droop in the crotch needing to be constantly tugged up, or cause a visible panty line. And your thighs would never chafe in hot weather. It could have a snap-fastened crotch so you could go to the loo without having to take the whole thing off.

Over this underwear everyone would wear a long robe similar to those worn by the Polyphonic Spree:

Or perhaps a muu-muu:

I got that muu-muu pic, by the way, from a website called Nursing Home Apparel.

I realise that people want to 'express their personalities' through what they wear, and they can still do that via the colour and pattern of their robes, or the design of the neckline, or the style and length of the sleeves, or via makeup, jewellery, shoes and accessories. But the robe would have to be loose-fitting and ankle-length. Looking at the Polyphonic Spree again, I think even their chicks' robes are too tight and revealing.

The point of this is that nobody can ever judge anybody by their bodies. Nobody has to feel ashamed of being too fat or too thin, nobody needs to worry about their bodies letting them down, and because everyone would be dressed the same, this garment would have no shameful connotations: nobody would mock anyone for dressing eccentrically or 'looking like they were in a cult'.

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