Consider My Arse Bitten

August 14th, 2006

Less than an hour after I made the previous post, I got a job offer. I am hoping this means that blogging about my woes and wants helps to materialise them. In which case, I WANT A PONY! No firm preference for equine or human, both are good.

Attributes Besides My Arts Degree Which Will Not Aid in Furthering My Career

August 14th, 2006

It’s that time of year again, where I get so stressed out about Uni (and the fact that I am STILL AT UNI, no matter how much I like my course, shouldn’t I be out in the “real world” by now, etc etc etc), and start looking for gainful employment. This tends to happen at the end of every semester when I have a wee crisis of faith, and anytime I start feeling poor (ie, all the time, and especially now), or realise that for the next fortnight I can pay my overdue bills or eat but not both. It’s hard to remember that one day this will all be over when you’re standing in the supermarket making what my friend Shannon calls the Toilet Paper vs. Tampons Decision. Apparently, I can look all I like, but gainful employment is going to keep hiding and chuckling to itself every time I storm past its hiding spot in a frustrated manner. No can do. So, in honour of my own frustration, and in recognition of the fact that a first-class Honours degree, relevant experience, a solid volunteer history and an internship will apparently get you nowhere (at least when you’re me – ooh, bitter), and in the interests of propping up my floundering self-esteem, I hereby present a list of the attributes that generally don’t make the CV cut:

  • I have worked hard to rise above my humble beginnings in life and to reject the path seemingly set out for me. As a young woman born in Moe in the early 1980s, avoiding this path has largely involved: not getting pregnant while still legally a child, not owning mocassins, leaving the house in something besides tracksuit pants, fending off the advances of identical guys named Robbo/Stevo/Greg Domasewicz, not getting involved in too many punchups or knife fights, and not throwing pig heads through anyone’s windows. I have also avoided the lure of intimate relations with family members. All this has been quite a struggle, as I’m sure you can imagine. Particularly if you’ve ever met any of my uncles. Phwoar.
  • I love language, and am always keen to expand upon my creative use of it. Referees to back up this claim: anyone who’s ever been in my car with me when someone cuts me off.
  • Can make my boobies applaud and do sundry other tricks. (Okay, so this skill would probably further certain career options, but only for careers for which my current BMI disqualifies me, so it’s not really helping me out at all.)
  • Most of my paid work experience has been in various forms of adult retail. You’d be surprised how often this doesn’t impress children’s book publishers.
  • Good at insulting people without them realising it.
  • Have learned to get along with just about anybody in a workplace environment, no matter how difficult or stupid they may be, through the use of creative visualisation (also known as “plotting their bloody demise”).
  • Firm believer in the philosophy that there’s a Futurama quote for every occasion.
  • Devout Pastafarian. Being touched by the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s noodly appendage changed my life.
  • Working on making what is actually social awkwardness appear to be charming eccentricity. This long-running and time-consuming project is still in its initial stages. I guess I’ll keep plugging away at it.

Maybe if I whistle casually and pretend to ignore it, employment will come sidling up to me in the form of some job application I’ve already forgotten about. In the meantime, polish yer boots, guvnor?

A Tram Journey of Self-Discovery

July 4th, 2006

Today I found myself without any forms of entertainment while on public transport, so I settled back into my seat to have a good, long think about some of the issues currently affecting my life. After mulling over some topics that have come up in conversation recently with friends, I had one of those moments where you realise that you’ve discovered a truth about yourself, but really wish you hadn’t. I was forced to conclude, as part of this moment of complete honesty, that while I am not too worried about being attacked by sharks while swimming in the ocean, I am genuinely concerned that swimming in the ocean may lead to me being attacked by the Kraken.

If that’s the best my brain can do in terms of self-discovery after all these years of navel-gazing, I am definitely making sure I have a book and my portable music box with me every time I travel anywhere.


June 25th, 2006

I just received an email from Maxim Jakubowski telling me that he’s accepted my short story “The Mercy of Strange Men” for his latest anthology The Mammoth Book of Erotica 6 (a title chosen because it’s a large anthology, not because it features erotica about mammoths. To the best of my knowledge). This is the story that won Palmprint Publications’s short story competition last year. I am now thinking of retitling it “The Freaky Little BDSM Story That Could,” although that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

If it weren’t for the fact that I should have been in bed hours ago and have just cleaned my teeth, I’d have a drink to celebrate.

Cherry Cola, Not Coca-Cola

June 23rd, 2006

The first time my father’s pack-a-day Benson and Hedges habit ever benefited me, I was nine or ten years old. B&H were running a promotion whereby when one bought a carton of their cigarettes, one received a compilation CD of classic rock hits. Since my father has always been the kind of person to buy in bulk wherever possible (our visits to my grandfather would always conclude with the boot of the car stocked with dozens of bottles of wine from local vineyards), he quickly ended up with two of these CDs, and gave one to me.

It was one of the first CDs I ever owned, and introduced me to the delights of Chuck Berry and Little Richard, and furthered my enjoyment of the Small Faces, while simultaneously establishing my lifelong hatred of Gerry and the Pacemakers. But my favourite song on the compilation was “Lola,” by a band I’d previously never heard of called The Kinks.

I quickly fell in love with the story of the young man’s seduction, but it wasn’t until many listens later I began to suspect that something was a little awry in this classic tale of boy meets girl. A few more careful listens confirmed my suspicions that Lola was no ordinary sexually assertive young woman. To my mind, this made the song even cooler, which retrospectively seems quite an interesting perspective coming from a sheltered pre-teen country bumpkin who at that point in her life had met few adults who weren’t church-going National Party-voting farmers. Lola, I decided, was a bit of all right.

But then it occurred to me that my father was also listening to the same song, and I began to worry. I mean, sure, I was nine, I could handle it. But what of poor, innocent ol’ Dad? I wasn’t sure he would be able to cope with the song’s message if he figured it out. I decided the best thing to do would be to gently point out the subtext of the song and reassure him that there was nothing wrong with a man dressing like a woman and seducing naive but curious young men on the dance floor.

I picked my moment as best I could. One weekend when I was visiting my father and he had a tape of the CD playing in the car, I waited until he was fast-forwarding “Ferry Across the Mersey” at my request. Casually, I piped up with, “hey Dad? You know that song ‘Lola’?”

“Yes, gremlin. What about it?”

“Well,” I paused. Then I realised that there was point stalling for time. “I don’t think Lola is really a lady.”

My father paused, obviously to take in this new information. I glanced across at him, to make sure he wasn’t too shocked.

“No, darling,” he finally said. “I don’t think she is either.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d educated my father, and he didn’t seem too shocked by my revelations. All was well, and I could go back to enjoying my song without the burden of unshared knowledge.