Archive for March, 2004

The Trouble With Names

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

Unable to sleep on Sunday night, I entertained myself with reading the parts of Baby’s Named a Bad, Bad Thing that I hadn’t yet encountered. While it had me cackling madly for much of the night, it did keep me up quite late and I was a little worse for wear at Uni on Monday.

For one of my history subjects, we had a guest lecturer who gave a fantastic lecture and was really engaging. She spoke about the last 100 years or so of South African history, obviously largely apartheid but about other things as well. Unfortunately, my brain hadn’t quite gotten over the horror of finding out that someone, somewhere named their baby Karryllinne (because that spelling will ensure that their baby turns out unique and special, not like all those nasty Carolyns and Carolines), so I wasn’t entirely present mentally. Which turned out to be a bad thing indeed, as I got an image of two women, not unlike Kath and Kim, saying “Apartheid! That would make a really nice name!”. As a result of that, I sat there tittering to myself, right as the lecturer was talking about some particularly horrific examples of racially-motivated violence.

I can’t help but feel that this makes me A Bad Person.

Dodgy Bastards Abound: The Househunt Continues

Thursday, March 25th, 2004

I wrote some time ago that I would keep you abreast of my search for a new abode. That was a while ago, but in my defense I would like to point out that nothing much has been happening on that front (although Castle Anthrax has seemed less Anthrax-y of late. Maybe it looks really good in comparison to all the other places I’ve seen?).

Earlier this week I very, very nearly had a new house. It was a lovely house, had seemingly nice people there, and was in a suburb I really like. The interview went swimmingly and the house was actually in my price range, which was nice because nothing else seems to be. It wasn’t until I got a message from them on Tuesday saying I could have the room if I wanted and that it was almost $100 per month than they’d first said that the alarm bells started playing Betty Blowtorch’s ‘Shut Up and Fuck’ (they’re my personalised alarm bells, you see). I rang them back in the evening and spoke to the guy who’d called me again. I asked about the discrepancy in rent. “Well,” he said, “the total cost of the house is $X a month…”.
“Hang on,” I said, “you told me it was $Y.”
“Did I?” he asked innocently. Yeah, butter wouldn’t melt up his arse.
I mumbled something polite along the lines of “oh, I must have misheard” (despite the fact that we’d had a long conversation about the total monthy cost of the house during my interview because it wasn’t $Y precisely, but some weird amount that involved uneven numbers and cents), and made my conversational retreat. It was all just a little bit fishy. As, actually, I’ve found all the male-dominated sharehouses I’ve looked at so far to be. Sorry, guys, but that’s my experience. Maybe I am drawn to them somehow? I make a point of not dating fucktards or arsehats, so maybe I need to fulfil my arsehole quotient elsewhere?

Seeing as how I ended the conversation before I could ask any of the other questions I had about the house (since they all pertained to me living there, which I’d decided was not an option), I had some questions unanswered. The one that I’m most curious about now is that he mentioned in the phone message that another guy who was moving in was called Troy and is “from the country”. Now I know it’s very naive of me to assume connections just because I’m originally from the country too (‘though ahm smrt enough not t’ get suckered in by them thar city slickers), and used to know a guy named Troy. But for a while, I was genuinely wondering if it was the same Troy I went to high school with. Before the rent malarkey eventuated, I was also fervently hoping it was not, because there’s no way in hell I’d want to live with the Troy I know. This Troy was, in his high school years, really not a very nice person. He was creepy, but the kind of creepy a lot of stupid girls seem to go for. My friends and I called him Mr Date Rape, partly out of a general dislike and partly because of things we’d either noticed or heard about him.
At one stage he was dating one of my good friends (who, it must be conceeded, wasn’t all that bright), so he took to hanging around my group at recess and lunchtimes, which naturally we were all delighted by. I know it’s terribly prudish of me, but I find it kind of annoying when I’m trying to talk to a friend and someone else is trying to finger fuck them at the same time and we’re all sitting in a public space in broad daylight.

After I left high school and moved to Melbourne, I put people like Troy (and there’d been a lot of them) out of my mind. In fact, I lost contact with most of the people I knew from the area I’d grown up in (with a few very notable exceptions). The thing is, even far away from home, people from dear old Gippy seem to flock together. The friends I had in Melbourne who’d moved up from home had other friends who’d also moved up, so at one point a few years ago I had quite a large network of Gippsland expatriates. They still had ties back home, so I got quite a lot of gossip about who was seen screaming at their significant other in the middle of the street about who’d smoked the last Stuvey, and about who was now fulfilling the dual careers of junkie and single parent.

One of the people in this group was a guy called Andy, whom I’d actually known many many years before through a drama class, and who was now a friend of one of my friends. He was a very camp, pretty young gay boy and had done the whole move-to-St-Kilda-and-go-wild thing. We (being a bunch of mostly straightish girls) all enjoyed hearing his stories of his latest conquest. My ears pricked up one day over breakfast when he started on about his Gippsland conquests. I was surprised to hear Troy’s full name come up in conversation.
“Him?” I said. “But he’s Mr Predatory Heterosexuality!”
“No,” Andy said slowly, “you must be thinking of someone else.”
We compared notes on physical attributes to make sure we were both talking about the same guy. It turned out we were, although I refused to agree with Andy’s assertion that he had a great arse. I sat back, stunned.
“But…” I murmured, “he’s…just…gross, and he’s…I can’t believe it.”
“Well, you’d better believe it.”
“I’m just not sure I can, Andy. I’m just not sure I can.”
“Well, darling” he said, with a theatrical toss of his head, “if it convinces you any further, he certainly sucks cock like a faggot.”
And there was just no argument I could make against that irrefutable statement.

The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God, and Other Stories, by Etgar Keret

Wednesday, March 24th, 2004

A collection of short short stories and a short novella, and Keret’s first English-language publication, this slim volume showcases the author’s simple, often almost childlike prose style, which both compliments and contrasts with his preoccupation with the darker aspects of humanity. Touching tales of childhood innocence sit alongside dark treatises on racism and religious intolerance, and Keret’s use of language and imagery ensure that the stories stay with the reader long after they have put the book down. Keret’s black sense of humour and keen eye for the strange and ridiculous bring comedy to every subject he writes about. His understanding of how humanity works makes even his most political and heartless characters human. His knack for putting familiar characters in new situations – like the cold-hearted, efficient assassin hired to kill the man who saved him from an orphanage – keep the reader guessing until the last page of every story. The novella, Kneller’s Happy Campers, takes as its subject a road trip through the afterlife for people who have committed suicide, and manages to be touching, thought-provoking and humourous.
Keret’s dark sense of humour, warped world view and keen eye for the absurdities of people may not be for everybody, but those who like their fiction short, thought-provoking and off the wall may find that The Bus Driver… is what they’re looking for.

This Blog is Educational

Friday, March 19th, 2004

You’ve knocked back a couple of drinks by now, so everything is starting to get that warm, slightly fuzzy glow to it. You’re also mixing your drinks; your standard beer is interspersed with the brightly-coloured pre-mixed chick drinks your significant other stole from a party at the office with the sole purpose of getting on your good side and playing a game of hide-the-source-code.

You’re in the presence of good friends who have gathered to celebrate the occasion of your 21st birthday. As such, you’re flitting around like a social butterfly and hoping that no one notices you’re actually just a social cabbage moth in drag. You have the camera out and are snapping away, much to people’s collective dismay.

Your friend Loz iz present. Loz is a very bad influence on you. Loz offers to take some photos for you as you frolic with your female friends. This is a little like letting Larry Flynt come to your all-girl slumber party for “journalistic purposes”. You kneel on the ground to pose and hand him the camera. He goes to take a picture and realises it’s not working. You grab the camera back from him without turning it around, so it’s still pointed at you, ready to shoot. You unsteadily show him how the focus works and which is the button that actually takes the photo. Your finger hovers over it and because you don’t quite have the motor skills you’d have if you hadn’t been drinking, it presses down without warning.

And that, children, is how you end up with a close-up photo of your own cleavage.

Your Film SUCKED, and other stories

Monday, March 15th, 2004

After so many years of catering mediocrity, Monash Clayton fiiiinally has a spanky new cafe, one that actually serves decent coffee. Before I go on, I should defend Wholefoods, the student-run, hippy cafe-restaurant. I love Wholefoods, and there will always be a place in my heart for it; after all, it’s been such a huge part of my Uni “experience”. That said, I get really frustrated with it sometimes. I really don’t like having to wait for someone to recover from their most recent goddamn bong hit before they make my fuckin’ coffee. Anyway, it’s great to finally have a nice place to hang out at Uni that does decent coffee. Even though Bronwyn (who seems to be my source of information for everything these days) told me that the Science Faculty had to build the new building its in so they could start working with dangerous contaminants, presumably of the nature of Anthrax and such. And still I ate there. Just shows you what a girl will do for coffee, really.

Earlier tonight I caught up with my dear friend Sonya and went to see Boob Tube, a collection of short films that is part of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. Overall it was a really excellent collection, although of course some were far better than others.
I felt sorry for the director of one of the films, who was actually in the audience and got up and spoke before the screening began. I felt sorry for her because hardly anyone spoke after her film was shown, and that was because it was A HUGE LOAD OF SELF-INDULGENT CRAP. In its defence, though, I guess it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the films, because it was experimental and also a documentary of sorts, and the rest of the films were a) fiction and b) generally had a least some humour to them, even if they weren’t funny overall. But even saying that in its defence, it was still shit, partly because it took itself soooo seriously, and partly because I could see that if it had been made better (and possibly by someone else), it would have had the chance to be really, really good. As it was, though, it reminded me of that South Park episode where they took off exactly that sort of film – I think it was the one where South Park got a film festival? With the bad black-and-white lesbian film that made people want to gouge out their eyeballs? That was the same episode with the Gay Cowboys Eating Pudding film, yeah? I loved that. Ever since that comparison formed in my mind, I’ve been going around saying “Gay cowboys eating pudding!” and giggling to myself. Because I am ten. At any rate, it was pretentious twattage, and I’m an Arts student, for fuck’s sake. It’s not like I need any more pretentious twattage in my life right now.