Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Catastrophizing and Black Holes

December 30, 2010
Currently reading: Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian
Current obsession: rainbow Paddlepops
Current obsession: Tavi Gevinson 
I'm making an effort to get Flossblog up and running again. I suppose I simply lost interest, and motivation, and inspiration. LAME. It's been neglected for far too long, and it's been weighing on my conscience a little, like I'd left a kid locked in a cupboard or something. And the kid's been locked up in that dank little cupboard for 11 months. The kid in the cupboard is cold and lonely, and he's starting to smell a bit. It's dark in the cupboard, mommy, so very dark.

I’m torn between claiming that “nothing ever happens to me”, and spilling out all the tawdry details of what’s been going on with me since I last wrote here. Instead, I’m reaching a compromise and doing neither. The truth is that a lot has happened in the last few months, but paradoxically nothing much has changed. I retain the right to remain cryptic on these details, because this is not a diary, and I’m not comfortable with sharing every intimate detail about my life on an open internet forum. There are some things that should remain private.

Yeah. Hi. There’s no particular reason I should post this picture, but I want these shoes more than oxygen and if someone could please buy them for me I’ll clean your feet with my mouth like those Japanese nibbler fish. Thanks.

SO. Since I last updated Flossblog, about a thousand years ago, I have gained a boyfriend, gained a full-time job, lost the full-time job, suffered my worst bout of depression since London, had surgery, gained another full-time job, lost the full-time job, and have continued to be veritably steeped in poverty throughout this entire time. Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta blah blah something, piss off. Being poor is starting to grind my goat somewhat. I basically just struggle through from one paycheck to the next, and simple items like groceries are not always affordable. I am, however, trying to embrace the artist’s lifestyle. I have no money, but plenty of time to paint and draw and write. I discovered that I have somewhat of a talent for painting, and I’ll upload some pictures later.

Flossblog this time round probably won’t be as structured or coherent. It’s probably going to contain posts about, like, how the ocean STAYS TOGETHER, or if monks are celibate then where to little monks come from? And puppies. Lots more puppies. But at least it will get done. Maybe. Probably.

PUPPY! I want a Yorkie puppy and I shall call it Quiche Lorraine and I shall keep it in a sock

Did I mention I’ve applied to Uni? It’s been almost 10 years since I finished school and declared I was done with education forever more, and people keep on telling me I won’t know what hit me. I’m frightened. This is definitely something I want to do, but I’m getting a little concerned about how I’m going to handle it, what with my propensity for stress and anxiety. Plus, I need to work to support myself, which will be even more difficult. Wait and watch, kids, you might be lucky enough to catch me breaking down in real-time.

Bear with me, friends and strangers, as I try to resurrect Flossblog. I can’t guarantee it will be interesting, or that I will manage to pull it off, but I’m trying here, I’M TRYING!

Coming soon- my second annual 7 Favourite Books 2010.

I’m going to be a FAMOUS WRITER

February 22, 2010

Currently reading: The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas
Current obsession: Christina Hendricks from Mad Men (phwoar!)
Recurring dream theme: packing, trains and travelling overseas

Edgar Allan Poe: alcoholic, opium addict, married his 13-year-old cousin, unable to negotiate waistcoat buttons, moustachioed

As most of you will know by this belated stage, I have been pondering of late what to do with my life. And by “pondering” I mean endlessly whinging and moaning and metaphorically bashing my head against the wall (except for the time I did bash my head against the wall, but that was an accident because I was thinking about puppies and not looking where I was going). The only thing I have always known for certain is that it’s my greatest fear (other than falling headlong down a flight of stairs and shattering all my teeth) to wake up in 10 years time and discover I’m still working in customer service. I’ve seen those belligerent 50-something-year-old matrons in Woolworths or Coles with whiskers on their chins and chips on their shoulders, spreading bad cheer and squashing my perishables, and I’ve instructed my friends to never allow me to reach that point. It’s just that retail has always been a means to an end, and once you’re in, much like the Mafia and almost as terrifying, it’s almost impossible to get out.

William Faulkner: lifelong alcoholic, adulterer, moustachioed, pipe-smoker

So. I started thinking about what it is that I’m passionate about. I mean, really passionate about. It seems so simple really. It’s such a pleasure to watch people talk about something they’re really passionate about. Be it astrophysics, late-Medieval armoury, lepidoptery, or the versatility of bamboo as a textile (shout-out to mah flattie, yo) it is wonderful to see people discuss that which makes them most happy. Unless of course they tend to go on a bit, and then generally I want to see if I can fit my entire shoe in their mouth.

Ernest Hemingway: alcoholic, bipolar, KGB spy, adulterer, bearded

So what is it that I’m really passionate about? Well, considering I’m unlikely to make a career out of Matt Berry, that leaves one thing- BOOKS. Like, I mean, DUH. I know books, I know literature, I know WRITING. I always wanted to become a writer, but school, as it did with so many of my childhood interests, effectively destroyed my love of writing stories with all it’s rules and guidelines and markings out of 10. My creative writing may have since become a little rusty, but in one way or another I have continued to write, in either letters, blogs, on forums or Twitter (and a little more of that later).

J.D. Salinger: recluse, loony, predilection for teenage girls

This past week I started a creative writing course through the Sydney Writing Center. It’s once a week for 5 weeks. It’s just an introductory course, which I hoped would kick-start my story writing and provide some encouragement and inspiration. And, by jingo, it worked! From the very beginning, when Jeni Mawter started speaking, I immediately understood and related to every point. I sat there nodding like a bobblehead toy on a dashboard. For the first time whilst doing a course I felt like it all made sense. The film course I did last year, within the first few minutes, sailed straight over my head, and never became any clearer for me. And the resulting short film that we made I really didn’t feel represented me in any way. Despite having a role within the film itself, I didn’t feel as though I had anything to do with it. But with this writing course, I’ve realised I just naturally have an affinity with words. It just makes sense. The more I consider it, the more I realise that I have all the habits of a writer- except for a drinking problem, which I swear I’m working on. However, as any writer can tell you, it’s the writing that’s the hard part. And, honey, if you haven’t written anything, you ain’t no writer. It’s like that episode of Sex and the City with Charlotte and the lesbians, when she’s told by a Power-Dyke “If you don’t eat pussy, you’re not a lesbian”. See, same thing for writers. Except without the pussy. (Hi Nan, if you’re reading this!)

Dorothy Parker: alcoholic, wisecracker, Communist, clinically depressed, suicidal, pen-chewer

My first order of business as a FAMOUS WRITER (for those of you familiar with the Mighty Boosh, that is to be said in the style of Hamilton Cork) is to make a belated return to this blog. It’s far too easy for me to neglect Dear Flossblog in favour of playing Plants Vs Zombies or something equally as important. Over the next few weeks I’m going to make a concerted effort to practice writing and set time aside without distractions. I already have the habit of writing down observations and random thoughts I have, albeit on Twitter. I for one would like to champion Twitter as a great tool for writers. For one thing, the character limit forces you to be economical with your words until you get down to the bare necessities of what you’re trying to portray. Also, it allows you to follow and communicate with other writers, artists, generally interesting people and creative types. And whenever I have an amusing thought I can send it out onto the netherwebs for a distant, anonymous people to pick apart and judge…

Hunter S. Thompson: alcoholic, substance abuser, gun-toter, Gonzo, pipe-smoker

There you have it- I am going to (try) to be a writer… *ahem*, I mean, a FAMOUS WRITER. I want to write the story that is clamouring quite loudly to be told. I’m sick of it bouncing around in my mind. Perhaps one day it will become a published work. In that eventuality, anyone who writes a comment on my blog gets an acknowledgment in the afterword, promise.

My 7 Favourite Books 2009

January 15, 2010

Current obsession: my imaginary boyfriend, Julio.
Currently reading: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Current bad habit: cracking my toe-knuckles.

Regeneration  – Pat Barker

There have been countless novels written about the Second World War, both during, and in the many years since. Regeneration is the first in a trilogy, followed by The Eye in the Door and concluded with The Ghost Road (which won the Booker Prize). What I particularly like about these novels is that they deal primarily with the psychological damage caused by war, as opposed to the physical accounts that most war stories provide. Sure, this novel has its fair share of bloodshed and recounts of the battlefield, but its primary concern is with what happens to the mind of a man who sees frontline battle. It was a concept that really struck me, and one that I find fascinating. I’ve always been curious about the strange ways in which the mind works. Set in an Edinburgh mental hospital for afflicted soldiers during the War, Regeneration is also revolves around psychology and methods of therapy during the era, which now seems both familiar and archaic at once. The story also involves the friendship between two real-life poets being treated at the hospital. I haven’t read The Ghost Road yet, but The Eye In the Door was slightly disappointing to me after Regeneration.

London Fields – Martin Amis

I have a bit of a literature-crush on Martin Amis. I read an interview with him in Vice magazine where he said “I used to be a Mod, but that all changed after my fourth scooter crash”. And that’s when I decided that I loved Martin Amis. Another of his novels, Time’s Arrow, very nearly made this list because it made me completely reconsider the nature of the world and the way in which things happen. I recommend it- it’s a bit of a head-fuck at first, but once you set things right in your mind (the story is told backwards. Like everything is being rewound on a big video player) it takes you in very unexpected directions. BUT, I digress! It was London Fields that I ultimately chose for this list, seeing as I created all these imaginary rules, like that I couldn’t have the same author twice. I absolutely loved this book. Firstly, as the title may suggest, it’s set in London, which as we all know, I have developed an unhealthy obsession with. In fact, my main reason for seeking this book out at all was due to its having “London” in the title. What really makes this special are the characters, which are so unbelieveably well-written they genuinely seem real. Keith Talent in particular was apparently the literary embodiment of a London flatmate of mine who will affectionately be known as Cockney Steve. I was also completely enamoured with the character of a 9-month-old baby named Kim, which took me completely by surprise. I don’t like kids, y’see. But Kim was so beautifully characterised that I found myself genuinely concerned for her well-being. I found it necessary to unburden my fears for Kim on one of my (then) new workmates because I just couldn’t bear the thought of her coming to harm. Oh, and above all, this book is funny!

Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Well heeeellllloooooooo, Rhett Butler! Thus heralds the most throbbingly intense crush I’ve ever had on a literary character. Move aside, Yossarian, you’ve been trumped! Gone With The Wind is such an epic story in the true sense of the word. Grand, sweeping and all-encompassing, this book has everything- love, war, passion, births, deaths, betrayal, heartbreak. Even though I know the classic movie well, it was no detriment to the multilevelled story. There is so much detail, and it is written in such an engaging style that I immediately found myself swept up in it. Rhett and Scarlett are not in the least bit likeable- they’re selfish and stubborn and completely self-absorbed, and yet, they are so intriguing it’s almost impossible not to follow their story adamantly. It wasn’t until I had finished the book that someone informed me that Margaret Mitchell had come under criticism for Gone With the Wind bearing strong resemblances to Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. I have Vanity Fair on my bookshelf, so I plan to make my own assessment.

Nights at the Circus – Angela Carter

I adore Angela Carter’s stories. They are always full of magic. Writers such as Carter and Jeanette Winterson, another favourite writer of mine, seem to effortlessly blend fantasy and reality, where it is entirely natural for tigers to disappear into mirrors and clown troupes to get blown away in a snowstorm. Nights at the Circus is like every dream about running away to join the circus writ large. There is an enormous winged lady at the center of the story, which naturally appeals to me, with my stubby inked wings. PLUS, she’s delightfully Cockney. The circus travels from Victorian London to St Petersburg and a train on the Russian tundra. It’s lovely and sad and poignant. I would like to live in that world.

Nervous Conditions – Tsitsi Dangarembga

There are so few black African writers, and even fewer of those are female. In Nervous Conditions Tsitsi Dangarembga presents the story of three African women torn between two cultures. I have an interest in Africa, and African writers, and this book in particular really touched me. It had a profound effect on me, not just as a novel about the African experience, but as a novel about women. They could be any women in any country- the experience is universal. What I liked about Nervous Conditions is that it presents the problems that arise from Western education and the juxtaposition between the two cultures, in a very subtle and heartfelt way. It makes an important point in a simple, unassuming way.

Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry

I’d been searching for this book for months, ever since Graham Linehan raved about it on Twitter, and as we all know, anything said by Graham Linehan, or on twitter, or said by Graham Linehan on twitter, I unquestioningly accept as gospel. And so I was particularly glad to discover that this book was every bit as incredible as Mr Linehan promised it was. Much like Gone With the Wind, this novel is an epic in the true sense of the word. It’s a hefty piece of writing, weighing in at about 800 pages (I think), but is so enthralling that I found myself flying through it. The characters are believable and likeable, yet realistically flawed. I found myself becoming attached to the characters, and if anything should happen to them, I felt genuinely distressed. I always think that the mark of a truly remarkable novel is the ability to make the reader feel something, even if it is distress, or horror, or sadness. As well as being an epic, Lonesome Dove is also a traditional adventure story, full of cowboys and Indians, love unrequited, abductions, ambushes, raging river crossings, outlaws, cattle-drives and shoot-outs, and yet it never ventures into cliche or repetition. People seemed surprised when they saw that I was reading a Western, but I never really thought of it as such- to me it was just an epic story set in the time of the settling of the American West. Don’t judge a book, etc, etc.

Fear of Flying – Erica Jong

This is blurbed (if that’s not a word, bite me) as being “the female Portnoy’s Complaint“, and as exploring the essence of female sexuality, but to be honest, I found it to be more about psychology than sex. Of course, if you should happen to ask Freud, it’s all the same thing (the dirty pervert). I absolutely loved this novel, because there were so many passages that I felt could have easily have been written about me. The way women think, the way they make themselves suffer, and the way they view themselves, it’s almost as if this book was, in parts, written specifically for my benefit (although I’m obviously not so deluded as to believe that it was). I love those lightbulb moments when reading novels when a passage just hits you and you think “Yes! YES! Exactly!” That is the whole reason I read at all- for those moments when it becomes clear that there are ways that other people can put my feelings and beliefs into words on a page and have other people feel them too. Except that they’re not my feelings, they’re the feelings of the author, or the character created by the author. And then I start pondering that I am not alone in the world, and that other people, both real and fictional, share the fundamental similarities that I do. Novels are like a dialogue between two people- the author and the reader. A.S. Byatt wrote “Think of this- that the writer wrote alone, and the reader read alone, and they were alone with each other.” And this is why I read.

Monkeydogs

January 12, 2010

Current obsession: my Seamonkeys
Currently reading: The Story of a Nobody by Anton Chekhov
Last DVD purchased: Mad Men series 2

I’ve been working on a blog about my 7 (five is too few, ten is too many) favourite books that I read in 2009 since, well, since last year. I’m having trouble with it because ultimately I’m not a reviewer. The extent of my reviews on books and movies is generally “Yeh, it’s good n’ shit?” so trying to write about why these books had such a profound effect on me is proving difficult. So in the meantime, while I’m supposed to be writing this book blog I keep getting distracted by things like, oh I don’t know, image-searching “puppies” and the like. Boy howdy, I can look at puppies for HOURS! And hours and hours and hours…

I mean, just look at this! He can’t get up! HE CAN’T GET UP!!!!

So I was actually thinking (prompted by @nashtom) of doing a countdown of my favourite puppy image searches, just to waste some time, and because puppies make me so shitting happy. But, once I started doing “research” I got distracted again by the multitude of pictures I found of dogs with monkeys. Which I then thought was much more interesting and bizarre (and hence, right up my alley) than simple puppies. And so I bring to you: Monkeydogs!

You’ve got your monkeys with dogs-

You’ve got your monkeys on dogs-

You’ve got your dogs dressed as monkeys-

Aaaaand then you’ve just got these things….

Stevie Nicks is a witch.

December 28, 2009

Currently reading: Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Currently eating: Tiny Teddies
Current obsession: my bank balance

I said I’d do a review of the movies and gigs I’ve seen recently, and even though I’ve lost interest somewhat in this idea, I’ll do it anyway, because I have no better way to spend my time. Ooh, yikes, that was a bit defeatist, wasn’t it?

The B-52’s

Blimmin ‘eck, how I love these people. As most of you already know or may have gathered, I am somewhat prone to obsession, and when I was about 19, The B-52’s were IT. I’m particularly drawn to their early albums and dime-store aesthetic. They used to shop in second-hand stores for deliberately out-of-date fashions, and beehive their hair 20 years after it ceased to be fashionable, and subsequently started a minor fashion resurgence of their own. They would wear sheets and dance without music at the bottom of the garden, and go to the local Chinese restaurant for a cocktail called a Flaming Volcano, which was particularly potent, and served in a fishbowl (it was also the only thing they could afford on the menu, being students). They created their own self-contained little world, full of retro images of outer space and beach parties. The idea of escapism, and being cool by deliberately being uncool really appealed to me. I wanted to live in that world. I desperately wanted to have huge bouffant hair, but it wasn’t until a good 6 or 7 years later that I realised that it was easier than I expected to beehive my hair and set about developing the Floss look that you’ve all come to know and love.

So it was a pleasure to be able to see them live again. I saw them at the Hordern in 2003, at the height of my B’s mania, and it was one of the greatest gigs I’ve ever seen. I very rarely go to see a band and find I know every word to every song. Unfortunately, this time round they didn’t quite match that night, and they were struggling to overcome some unavoidable setbacks. The heat was oppressive, and two songs into their set Cindy walked offstage, and never returned. The band had to struggle to fill in time, because no-one knew where she’d gone or if she’d come back. This left Kate to sing all the female parts, and jiminy crickets, she was fracking fantastic, but the main attraction of The B-52’s is the girls’ harmonies so a little something was lost. Still, they sounded great and I had a wonderful time, and people kept taking my photo because of my outfit (50s style sunflower-yellow dress, complete with crinoline petticoat). And I caught Keith’s guitar pick.

Fleetwood Mac

Is it just me, or does John McVie look like Bob Hoskins here?

So I got to see Fleetwood Mac for free, from the comfort of a private box, with thanks to my mother. The company she works for owns a private box at Acer Arena, and sometimes get free tickets. Rock on, gold dust woman! Fleetwood Mac to a person of my generation is just one of those bands that has always been there. A staple of every classic rock radio station, movie soundtrack and advertising campaign, their extensive back catalogue of songs has meant that they’re never far from the public consciousness. Listening to them live, you’re constantly thinking “Oh yeah. They did that song too.” Boy howdy, do they know how to rock, but I suppose they have been doing it for a long time. Mick Fleetwood is a cheeky scamp, Lindsey Buckingham is a maestro, and Stevie Nicks is a witch. A new twitter friend who was also at the concert commented that she had the impression John McVie could fit inside Mick Fleetwood like babushka dolls. Now, when I say Stevie is a witch, don’t misinterpret that as a bad thing. To me the image of a witch is a strong, powerful, magical woman, and Stevie Nicks may well be the High Priestess, next to Kate Bush. She’s utterly captivating onstage, and has a rotating selection of scarves and shawls that she floats around in. She’s also a big fan of air drumming.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

There's a fairly obvious dick joke here, but I'm not even going to go there.

(This one’s primarily for Jon Wong) I liked this movie very much. It made me happy. Reasons you should see CWACOM, as I now choose to call it- 1) Mr T. 2) Chicken-Brent 3) saying things as you’re doing them 4) fishing metaphors 5) the best visual gag about Neapolitan icecream I’ve ever seen 5) Ratbirds 6) Steve 7) Chicken-Brent (I can’t stress this enough) . There are many reasons to see this movie. It’s very sweet. Following the travesty that was 2012, it was refreshing, and hilarious to see a movie that actively made a joke of recognisable landmarks in cities around the world being struck by giant food items. Go see it.

Just hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling ting ting ting-a-ling LAH, It’s such lovely schmeh meh hngh mff mff hmmunuh SNOW

December 28, 2009

Currently reading: Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
Currently listening to: Morrissey
Current bad habit: drunk-tweeting @porksmith

‘Tis the season to be jolly, they say. Deck the halls, they say. Fa la la la la la la la la, they say. Bah humbug, says I. Oh, Christmas is all very well and good, I suppose, but that magic I felt as a child, the wonder and anticipation, is gone. The Christmas Spirit does not exist for those who work in retail. I do like decorations, though. People who know me are well aware of my magpie-like fascination with flashing lights and shiny objects, so naturally Christmastime presents me with plenty of pretty things to look at and touch and electrocute myself on. My favourite Christmas ritual as a child was decorating Nan’s tree, and until this had been completed, it just wasn’t Christmas yet. Nan’s tree, like most of the things my grandparents own, is at a bare minimum 3 decades old, but they are of the opinion that until something disolves to dust or spontaneously combusts, it’s still useable. Nothing gets thrown out. (At my birthday dinner recently, Nan had trouble getting the matches for the candles to light. We discovered she was using a book of matches from a chain of hotels that went out of business in the early 90s). It consists of strips of white plastic on sharp, pointy wire limbs that these days would surely not meet safety regulations. There was usually a grandchild impalement at least once every holidays. Up until recently I’d never seen another white Christmas tree like my Nan’s. She claims it’s “snow”, but it just looks anaemic. The decorating of the tree was a sacred tradition, and one which most of the grandchildren took part. Rediscovering all the baubles and ornaments was like greeting old friends, and almost as good as unwrapping presents. The white Christmas tree hasn’t been assembled the past few years, with all the grandchildren grown, and Nan and Pa having gotten older and slightly less mobile. This year, in lieu of a tree, my Aunt wrapped the pedestal fan in wrapping paper and coloured streamers, and the gifts were scattered at the bottom of it. Ingenious!

Santa's urine glows from all the magic eggnog he drinks. And gin. Eggnog and gin.

Even though the excitement of the Christmas season has long since departed for me at least, it still remains the best reason for families to get together and eat and laugh and bicker and eat and reminisce and eat some more. With Pa having been in and out of hospital these past few months, and operated on not a week earlier, this Christmas was a more subdued affair than previous years, but still lovely. Although I’m still a bit sad that we didn’t have crackers and paper hats- I mean, what is this, Iraq? Nan, Pa, Mum, my Aunty Karen, my cousin Lisa and myself were there for the festivities, and another cousin, Scott, and his newlywed bride, Jade, dropped in to wish everyone well. Scott is 9 months younger than me, and as young children I would often force him to play “Mothers” with me and dress him up in my Mum’s lacy nighties. I once made him cry when we were colouring-in when I said my picture was better than his because he drew outside the lines. And now, there he is, all growed up and married, tall and twice my size, with a baby on the way. He’s going to be a daddy. Isn’t that something! At least he’ll have had plenty of practice from playing “Mothers”. I’m quite sure there’s a picture of him somewhere at age 4, wearing a blue negligee and breast-feeding a handpuppet. (On second thoughts, I think that was me…)

All I want for Christmas is some self-respect and the chance to prove I'm not a pervert

At some point during Christmas lunch Nan, her toothless gums gnawing on a cherry pip, mentioned that she often “sampled” the cherries in the supermarket, and then discreetly scattered the pips amongst the lettuces or avocados. We informed her this was shoplifting, and that she was lucky to not be arrested. Nan rejoindered with “They’d have to catch me first!” Aww, God bless ‘er! She’s steadily shrinking, her spine hunching over, her bones are fusing, she’s riddled with rheumatica and arthritis, and has a club foot, but she still believes she could outrun Woolworth’s security guards if the opportunity arose. She’d be hobbling along in her clunky orthopaedic shoes like Quasimodo escaping the mob. Then again, Nan’s not above milking the “Little Old Lady” routine for all it’s worth, and would probably escape any reprimand by acting confused and helpless. Works every time! She once knowingly got into the Easter Show two days in a row with an expired ticket by pretending she didn’t know what day it was.

Christmas is GAY.

My least favourite part of any family gathering is the washing up. (I can hear my mother sniggering from here) I hate doing the washing up! And at Christmas there always seems to be so much more of it. Generally Mum or Aunty Karen will do the washing, and I assist with the drying, or rather, flounce around the kitchen with a dishcloth. This time I decided to take the opportunity to explore my (fairly distant) Jewish heritage. First I wished the family a Happy Hannukah (which Nan seemed surprised of the pronounciation, having only seen it written and assuming it rhymed with “bazooka”), and then using a dishtowel as a shawl and singing snippets of Fiddler on the Roof. This effectively exhausted my knowledge of Jewish culture, so Nan decided to bring out the family tree to demonstrate our history as Mum and Aunty Karen, hands dripping with soap suds and faces dripping with disbelief, looked on in indignation as I successfully avoided the washing up. I did dry a token teaspoon, so don’t say I’m a shirker or nuffin. If you were interested ( I certainly am, especially in the presence of dirty dishes) it was my Great-Great-Grandfather, my Nan’s grandfather, who was a Jew from Latvia. He escaped the Russian pogroms in the 1820s, moved to Australia at about age 14, changed his name from Grun to Green, and became an optometrist. I may have gotten some of those details wrong, because as Nan was telling me, I was attempting to avoid the daggers of scorn shooting from the eyes of my Mum and Aunt.

Unfortunately the visit was shortlived, because I had to work on Boxing Day. And I’m not going to mention my visit to the beach, where I got dumped in the rough surf and briefly “misplaced” my bikini top. Nope, not mentioning that at all. I also got to drop in on Cass and Jess, and good tidings I…brung. It was but a fleeting visit, but truly luvverly to see them again. So, remember folks, Easter is just around the corner… there’s Creme Eggs in Coles already. Peace out.

Resume

December 11, 2009

This week I received yet another rejection letter from a job I interviewed for. Yet again, it was one that I thought I was perfectly qualified for, and in my head had already worked out all the details regarding when I would start working there. Bummer. Anyway, I’ve become strangely more convinced that I will be offered a job through the internet, based perhaps on my hi-LARIOUS tweets, or fascinating blog. Someone out there may just read them and say “This is exactly the creative, unique young go-getter we need working for us at a grossly inflated wage. But we’re going to have to send her directly to our London office.”

So, please take the time to read my resume.

 

Sarahfloss – Resume

Experience and special skills-

  • Has worked in retail and customer service for over 8 years. 8 long, agonising years.
  • Is adaptable and responsive to new environments, having never worked in the same position longer than 18 months.
  • Can assemble flat-packed IKEA furniture with only a knife and a heavy shoe.
  • Can differentiate between the Allen’s pineapple lollies and the inferior Home Brand variety by taste.
  • Discovered the “mute” button on her iPhone only a month after purchasing.
  • Is able to accurately render the cast of AD/BC: A Rock Opera in paper collage purely from memory.
  • Has really big hair, is remarkably adept at beehiving.
  • Has a truly astounding sense of colour co-ordination.
  • Knows all the words to the rap in Blondie’s Rapture and is willing to display this skill at parties.
  • Bakes like a mad bitch.
  • Is an excellent dancer. Can waggle legs and flail arms roughly in time to the music, though never both at the same time.
  • Has read Moby Dick, Mrs Dalloway and 3/16ths of War and Peace. Understood NONE of it.
  • Is totally not a psycho, and is fully aware of the invisible line between “fan” and “stalker”. Mostly.
  • Speaks fluent Bird.
  • Can do uncannily accurate impressions of Bono, Gary Numan, and the lead singer from Fine Young Cannibals.
  • Can do lots of other stuff good, too.

 

Education-

  • The School of Hard-Knocks
  • The University of Life
  • Google
  • Wikipedia

iPhone Apps-

  • Bejeweled 2– High Score 106, 085, Level 15
  • DoodleJump– High Score 49,177
  • Tetris– High Score 435,695
  • Zombieville USA– High Score 465 zombies killed, Level 15

Interests-

  • Frontwoman for the (very) underground electro-pop outfit Dubious Gum
  • Chocolate connoisseur
  • Enjoys British comedy
  • Enjoys outdoor activities, like that sport with the balls, or whatever?
  • Men with red hair

Awards-

  • The Martha Stewart Award for Excellence in Baking, Borders, 2006
  • Most Likely to be Famous/Infamous, Bunnings Warehouse, 2003
  • Academic award, Year 3, 1992
  • 2nd place, 50 m sprint, 1989

References-

  • Jessica KaKa: Relationship- Band manager, legal counsel, choreographer, Rennaissance woman, spirit guide
  • Cass O’Wary: Relationship- Pimp.

Dear Hollywood, Stop giving Roland Emmerich money

December 10, 2009

Currently eating: Arnott’s Tic Toc cookies. It’s not snacking- they’re educational. I’m learning to tell time.
Currently listening to: Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack
Current obsession: Burt Bacharach

I said I would make this blog a collection of reviews for the movies and gigs I have seen recently, but once I started writing about the spectacular piece of hoo-hah that is 2012, it became clear that Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, The B-52’s and Fleetwood Mac were just going to have to wait…

Hahahaha!! Take THAT, Jesus!

I recently had the dubious displeasure of seeing 2012, because due to a typically large-scale marketing campaign it gave my darling mother the impression that it was a “good” movie, and perfect for some mummy/daughter bonding time. To be fair, I did derive a certain amount of enjoyment from the film, because I haven’t laughed that hard or continuously at a movie for a very long time. Please note: it is NOT a comedy. And also note that in order to rip this film to shreds I’m going to be dropping some major spoilers, but if you’re really, seriously concerned about me ruining the plot of 2012, then I suggest you seek professional help, because spoilers are the least of your worries.

The movie starts off with a series of seemingly unrelated, globe-hopping scenes designed to set up the story and introduce the 9275 different characters. It’s a device popularized by Steven Spielberg in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, intended to keep the audience’s interest piqued and to pose the questions that will be addressed in the course of the film. Speilberg naturally does this to brilliant effect – that is why Close Encounters is an undeniable classic. Note to Roland Emmerich re: Spielberg – Roland, you are NOT Spielberg. Within 5 minutes I was already impatient for all the characters to start dying, which I can only assume was not the original intention. The only thing Emmershit achieves is to bore and confuse the audience, and to prove what a tenuous grasp of world politics and geography he possesses. The scenarios range from the ridiculous to the plain insulting. The World According to Emmerich- All windows in the Louvre, including one opposite the Mona Lisa (which one would suppose is surely too valuable to be placed near a natural light source) show a view of the Eiffel Tower. All hotels in London have a view across the Thames of the House of Commons. There is a mine shaft in India that goes all the way to the Earth’s core; the slow, rickety elevator takes less than 20 seconds to reach the foot of the shaft; the Earth’s core looks like a lava lamp. If an assassination in Paris is required to look like an accident, it will be a car crash in the same tunnel that Lady Di died in (ooh, see what they did there? Topical). And in an insulting display of American imperialism, despite scientific information coming from around the globe, it can ONLY be the US President who alerts the leaders of all other nations (of which there are only eight) of the coming global catastrophe. Clearly no other nation is capable of reviewing the available data. Everyone knows that all world leaders do is sit around wringing their hands and waiting for the US President to tell them what to do- “God bless you, President Danny Glover! Without you the nation of Italy would surely just run into the sea like pizza-eating lemmings!”

Then of course, you’ve got your Everyman hero- the deadbeat down-at-heel who eventually comes to reveal himself to be the ass-kicking saviour of the human race. Does this Everyman have a typically deadbeat job? Yes, he’s a limousine chauffeur. But he really has some brilliant hidden talent, right? Yes! He’s a published (but unsuccessful) author. Is he struggling to redeem himself in the eyes of his children and his beautiful but emotionally distant ex-wife? Wow, how do you know all this? And I bet his beautiful but emotionally distant ex-wife has remarried a ridiculously successful, but slightly foppish Porsche-driving surgeon who his kids adore and is thus emasculating our Everyman Hero? His name is Gordon. You’re really good at this. So our Everyman Hero, played by the beautiful John Cusack, who really should have known better, is desperately trying to save his children and beautiful but emotionally distant ex-wife, (and poor foppish tag-a-long Gordon) in a series of desperate situations escalating in both level of danger and ridiculousness. There’s the race through the crumbling streets of Hollywood in a limousine, the race through the erupting hills of Yellowstone in a campervan, the race through a toppling cityscape in a light aircraft (Gordon can fly a plane! He’s had one lesson! Good for you, Gordon!), you get the idea. The limousine scene was what prompted my first serious attack of the giggles, particularly the giant donut, and the underground train shooting out of the side of a chasm into nothingness was just a bit too much for me to handle without hysterical laughter. I’ve mentioned the enormous building-crushing donut enough times already, I know, but I’m just trying to convince myself it actually happened. And perhaps I’m being overly sensitive on this one, seeing as it’s 8 years since the fall of the Twin Towers, but the image of a light aircraft dodging between falling highrises, and especially the shots of people dangling or falling from office blocks torn wide open left me feeling extremely uneasy. Having comical moments of giant donuts and then ultra-realistic shots of people tumbling to their deaths from the side of buildings just seemed very tasteless to me.

From that point in things just got worse. It seems as though Emmerich just threw every disaster movie cliche in indiscriminately. I think he must write scripts with the use of a chocolate wheel, but instead of prizes each segment of the wheel features an overused plot staple. He just gives it a spin and sees what it comes up with. The Disaster Cliche Chocolate Wheel landed on “soppy, emotional telephone call between estranged parent and child” four times. FOUR TIMES! Jesus. He’s really not even trying, is he? There’s even a cute little dog placed in danger (Disaster Movie Rule #145- you can kill as many people off as you want, but never kill a dog), the self-sacrificer, a Tibetan monk (to fill the quota of spiritualism needed), the raving madman whose crazy prophesies prove to be correct, the selfish Russian who gets his comeuppance, the obligatory “Do the right thing, where’s your HUMANITY?” speech, the ubiquitous shots of recognisable landmarks and monuments being destroyed in ever more elaborate ways (the White House is crushed by a gargantuan tsunami and the USS John F. Kennedy. Neat-o. My favourite was Rio De Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer enveloped by waves, see picture, above), and typically countries like Australia don’t even get a mention (presumably we just got flooded. Too bad.)

My favourite characters by far (which is saying a lot, because I wanted them all to die almost without exception) were the 12-year-old Russian twins, followed by Woody ‘Arrelson’s scraggy madman of the mountains. Woody for one was either not taking the role too seriously, or was far too deeply in character. Hard to tell with Woody ‘Arrelson. Now, as part of my “research” for this blog, I discovered the resumes of the Russian twins (who are not Russian at all! Gasp! As well as a Russian accent they are also masters of Cockney, British and New York/Brooklyn accents) and decided they were my new favourite people. Alexandre and Philippe Haussmann, if you were interested, are identical twins, although Philippe is 1 inch taller, and 11 pounds heavier. As well as acting, they are trained as dancers (line, square, break, club/freestyle), they both play French horn, can sing (Alexandre is an alto, Philippe a soprano), enjoy ice-skating, swimming, martial arts and are certified scuba divers. Their performance skills include, amongst other things, comedy, improvisation, ear prompting (I don’t know what that is. What is that?), firearms, and whistling. They both previously appeared on tv’s Most Evil, on which Philippe played the young John Wayne Gacy and Alexandre played the young David Berkowitz – Impressive! These kids are, like, 12 or something. What exactly were you doing at that age? Do you feel like a pathetic underacheiver now? Yeah, me too.

He's looking for Shelley Winters

Having exhausted every cliche on the chocolate wheel, Emmerich wasn’t opposed to unashamedly ripping off other disaster movies. Poseidon Adventure, anyone? There is even a shot of a luxury cruise liner capsizing, and a protracted, drawn out sequence towards the end that just smacks of Shelley Winter’s underwater swim in the original Poseidon Adventure. This is naturally a pivotal moment in 2012, because in one fell swoop it marks our Everyman Hero as the self-sacrificing saviour AND effectively kills off poor, foppish, plane-flying Gordon. Everyman Hero obviously survives his “suicidal” underwater rescue mission, and with Gordon effectively out of the picture (both literally and figuratively), EH and his emotionally unavailable ex-wife are making out before Gordon’s corpse has even grown cold. You heartless bastards. Still, without Shelley Winter’s enormous arse filling up the screen, some of the magic is lost.

My final word on 2012 is this, and listen VERY carefully (I’m looking at you, Jon Wong) – Disregarding the appalling story flaws, intellectually insulting plot, and clunky dialogue of a film with the retort “Yeah, but the special effects were great” IS NOT A VALID EXCUSE! In fact, it just makes the whole thing even more insulting. It’s like trying to excuse dreadful behaviour by claiming to have been drunk. It doesn’t matter if alcohol, or special effects, were involved, you’ve still done a terrible, abhorent thing, and you need to apologize to all the people you’ve hurt in the process. Films are meant to entertain, certainly, but not at the expense of the audience’s intelligence? I don’t care how spectacular the CGI in a movie is, I still expect all other aspects to have had just as much care put into them. How many countless billions were pumped into 2012’s CGI budget? Surely some of that should have been diverted into hiring decent scriptwriters? Roland Emmerich…you’re just…not good…at things.

Oh, and by the way, Alexandre and Philippe Haussmann are willing to work unpaid, and they have valid passports. Hire them.

Come Mister Tally-Man, Tally Me Banana

December 8, 2009

Currently reading: Dr. Johnson’s London by Liza Picard
Current obsession: Bejeweled on my iPhone.
Current greatest fear: falling face-forward down a flight of steps and breaking all my teeth off.

Sarah is so cute.

Right. Yeah. Blog. Hello. Remember me, blog? I created you, like god did to the world. Then I abandoned you to your own abhorent devices, like god did to the world. Hahahaha, I’m just kidding, blog, don’t worry! (There IS no god)

Sarah is so smart.

I don’t know why I’ve found it so difficult to write lately- I’ve spent many hours over the past month or so since my last post having opened a page for a new post and then staring blankly at the screen. Is it writer’s block, or just lack of motivation? Or is it because I downloaded Bejeweled on my iPhone and can spend hours at a time playing it, or at least until my batteries die? If it is writer’s block, it makes me feel quite validated as a writer, you see. Only writers get writer’s block. Usually with my blog I like to elaborate on a theme, but this post I think will be a traditional What I Did On My Summer Vacation-type update. Hopefully it will get me back into the swing of things.

Sarah's blog is very interesting.

So, things are going well at Schmicked. I recently had my employee evaluation, and to paraphrase slightly, generally they said I’m brilliant, but crap at counting. I rejoindered with the claim that I’m numerically dyslexic, which makes it hard to count, or tell the time. This may or may not be true. It’s never been diagnosed, I just suspect it. That also goes for my undiagnosed hypoglycaemia (it’s true that I get lightheaded and unresponsive if I’ve not eaten in, say, 3 hours, and that the only cure is chocolate, but is that hypoglycaemia, or just fatty-boombah-ness?) and my occasional convictions that I’m autistic, or have a brain tumour (those are unrelated). Anyway, I was talking about Schmicked, wasn’t I? Yes. Here’s an amusing little anecdote, please don’t sue me for slander. Last week someone forgot to turn the Wicked Witch’s mic off when she made her exit, and during a particularly quiet moment she was heard to exclaim from offstage “They’re fucken LOVIN’ it!” All the Front of House staff pretty much wet their trousers simultaneously in excitement, and within 3 minutes they had spread the news throughout the entire theatre. We LOVE it when things go wrong. It keeps us sane. Meanwhile, my work colleagues don’t seem to hate me any more, so that’s, y’know, nice n’ all.

Send Sarah money NOW!

 Things at home are going well. We have things to sit on now! We got our sofa and dining table, finally, so I have something to sling a sheet over the top of to make a fort (but I haven’t done so yet- it wouldn’t be right without Cass & Jess). My peace lilly, Butterman, is flourishing, despite my constantly forgetting to water him. I was concerned at first that he might be developmentally retarded, but he’s very robust. We also had an infestation of weevils, which thankfully seems to be clearing up now. We had to clean out the cupboard of cereals, pasta and flour, and put inappropriately cheerful daisy-shaped moth repellants in every available space. At least Lyndal and I provided amusement for each other, leaping vengefully around the flat weilding gigantic fly-swatters (that was Lyndal) and jumping excitedly “like a Jack Russell” (that was me).

Subliminal messages totally work.

I have seen the following movies: 2012 and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. One was good, the other was very, very, very bad. Both contained giant donuts crushing buildings. I have seen the following live gigs: The B-52’s and Fleetwood Mac. Both were wonderful. Both contain members now in their 60’s. Old people rock hard, I suppose because they’ve been doing it longer. I just decided, like JUST right then, because I live life on the edge and have no qualms about making exciting impulsive decisions like this, that I will devote my next  blog post to a review of the aforementioned films and gigs. Clearly, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here. Have my blogs always been this shit? I think to compensate for the crushing disappointment of this post, that I will scatter pictures of adorable little animals amongst the paragraphs in a misguided attempt at subliminal messages. Perhaps you will come to associate me with small, cute things (some of you already do).

Would you like to look in my book? My hands turn green in the rain.

October 26, 2009

Currently reading: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Current obsession: peanut butter-flavoured chocolate snacks
All-time favourite movie line: “You wear too much eye makeup. My sister wears too much. People think she’s a whore.” -Charlie Sheen, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

I have a notebook. It’s just a small, spiral-bound notebook with hard covers, separated into three sections. In this notebook I list all the books I wish to read, record all the books I have read, and the dates when started and finished, and also write down favourite quotes and passages. I call it, with an uncharacteristic lack of imagination, my Book Book. Just recently I reached the end of my Book Book, which was a rather bittersweet occasion. This notebook represents my life- My life in books. I can’t think of a better way of recording my life than through books. I can flip through the Book Book and recall where I was, what I was doing and how I felt at the time of reading almost every entry.

the-amazing-adventures-of-kavalier-and-clay

It starts in January of 2004 with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, which was read over a scorching fortnight (28.01.04 – 17.02.04) spent mostly on the beach. It was a big hardcover library book, and I remember the sand getting caught in the spine and between the pages.  Reading books on the beach is one of life’s truly underrated pleasures. I have a love/hate relationship with the beach. As a child I could rarely be dragged away from the beach. I was a golden brown colour and would stay in the water until my skin turned pruney, and clamber barefooted across the rockpools collecting starfish and prodding anemones. However, with the onset of puberty and a burgeoning sense of self-consciousness, I began avoiding the beach like… a thing… that avoids…. things worth avoiding (insert your own witty joke here. Almost 2 weeks I’ve been searching for an appropriate joke to go here. Bollocks) With time, I have gradually made my peace, even if I am still not entirely comfortable revealing so much of my skin in broad daylight, in the company of other human beings. To distract myself from the paranoia of being scrutinized in my teeny-weeny bikini, I take a book along with me, which in itself is not unusual, because I take a book with me everywhere I go. So Kavalier and Clay will forever be associated in my mind – along with other beach-books No Logo by Naomi Klein (15.01.05 – 26.01.05), Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (07.01.08 – 10.01.08) and A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry (30.01.09 – 03.02.09) – regardless of their setting or subject matter, with the heat of summer, the sound of surf and seagulls, with sea salt and sweat and towels that stay damp despite the heat, sticky 30+ sunscreen that smells like zinc and coconut, and the soft crunching sound that sand makes underneath your head.

midnight's children

When I made my solo trip to New York and California at the age of 20, it was Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (01.03.04 – ????) that I took along with me. All alone in the world’s most famously impersonal city, Salman kept me company as I dined solo in tacky themed restaurants in Time’s Square. From icy, windblown, desolate, wonderful New York to humid, overcast Anaheim, where Midnight’s Children provided a welcome distraction from the tourist hokum and interminable lines for Space Mountain. I would brandish it proudly, my Booker-of-Bookers. “I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveller. See, look, I’m reading LITERATURE.”

mambo kings

In Hawaii my reading material was The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos (30.12.05 – 06.01.06). Set in steamy New York and sultry Cuba, the warm, lively atmosphere of Hawaii provided the perfect accompaniment. I had decided that year to do something truly spectacular for my mother for Christmas. She asked for a car radio. I bought her 5 nights in Hawaii. With an ingenious creative flair, I hid the tickets for Hawaii inside an empty car radio box, and then filled it with pebbles wrapped in bubble-wrap to provide an authentic sense of weightiness. It was a lovely holiday, and even now, four years later, I’m still reaping the benefits of such an extravagant gift, but I had just wanted to show my mother how much she meant to me, and means to me still, after my selfishly disaffected teen years. My mother still doesn’t own a car radio.

asuitableboy

I was reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (16.09.06 – 03.10.06) when I arrived in the UK, and The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (29.09.07 – 05.10.07) when I left a year later. After a month in Manchester, and a truly spectacular falling-out with my so-called “friends”, I found myself in London with no connections, no friends, no job, no direction and a palpable sense of absolute loneliness. I fumbled my way numbly through first a dilapidated horror hostel, and then an even more horrific sharehouse in Ealing with 15 residents, 5 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, sticky floors, a fungus in the shower recess named Shroomie which was roughly the size of my fist, and a fortnightly drug run like other people order pizzas. I slept in the kitchen on a tiny filthy couch regurgitating stuffing and loose threads and fabric gone gray and congealed from sweaty hands. I had, by this stage, found two jobs- one at The Body Shop in London Bridge, one of an evening at Schmicked. I would wake at 4:30am to be at London Bridge by 7, then work until 4:30pm, walk from London Bridge to Victoria Station, start at Schmicked at 6, finish at 11:30, get to Ealing at 12;30, asleep at 1am. Then wake again at 4:30 and do it all again. It was gruelling, it was devastating, but it was somehow preferable to having to spend time with my detestable flatmates, or to having to stop and consider the awful situation I had found myself in. For the whole of my first dreadful weeks in London, I was reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (18.10.06 – 10.12.06). The size and shape of a housebrick, I carted it around dutifully as I stumbled bleary-eyed along the gray streets of London, perhaps the physical manifestation of the load I was bearing. It certainly was the book that took me the longest time to read in all of the recorded novels in the Book Book. Rather than the spice and heat of India, I can’t help but associate reading A Suitable Boy with desolation, wet, gray Fleet Street, and numb fatigue.

wildswans

I seem to have a history of taking an unrelated novel to a distant location. A Suitable Boy doesn’t quite match up with London, nor does Wild Swans by Jung Chang relate to Egypt, which is perhaps why I chose to take it. An autobiographical recounting of China’s Cultural Revolution, I unfortunately can’t help but associate it with unbearable heat and a concentrated sense of discomfort, loneliness and confusion. I have never been so sick, or so miserable, and my ankles have never been so swollen with fluid than during those two weeks. Ever had an intestinal bug? Ever had an intestinal bug whilst spending 8 hours climbing Mount Sinai overnight with no available toilets or medical assistance? A phrase like “the worst night of my life” is one that gets bandied about rather liberally these days, but for me, that really was the most appalling and difficult evenings I have ever endured. I doubt many people could have gotten through such an awful experience intact, as I did. I can still smell the cloying ubiquitous dust, primarily consisting of camel dung, that coated the nostrils, eyes, mouth, and clothes, I can still feel the sickening cramps and wrenches in my gut, the pain and discomfort was intense. I was dreadfully ill, I was aching and tired and frustrated, my body was yearning to lie down, and no-one was willing to help me. Every aching step was an internal struggle of mind and body. All I concentrate on was making it off the mountain with my dignity intact, with my guts threatening to explode at any moment. Thankfully, (and forgive me for being so graphic) I managed not to shit myself. Hurrah! A victory for Sarah’s already damaged self-esteem. The return to the hotel was pure relief. I’ve never greeted a flushing toilet with such unadulterated joy and enthusiasm. The next 3 days are murky- I first washed myself clean of the solid coating of camel dung-dust, sitting on the floor of the shower because I was too weak to stand, and then got into my nice crisp, clean hotel bed, and proceeded to sleep for 26 solid hours. My roommate apparently came to check on me every few hours to make sure I was still breathing, but for over a day I remained unconscious. Egypt is an incredible, astounding, amazing country, and it saddens me to think that the predominant memories I’ve taken from my time there is a horrific mountain trek, and spending a 5-hour return trip to Cairo laying on the floor of a mini-van with nausea so severe I was considering death as a viable option. I did take some truly fantastic, professional-quality photographs, but somehow, during the course of my Mount Sinai trek, I must have sacrificed it to Amun-Ra in exchange for the gift of keeping my pants poo-free.

 warandpeace

I took an ambitious stab at Tolstoy’s War and Peace (16.04.07 – 09.05.07 [unfinished]) when I went on my European Topdeck tour, but it’s one of the few “unfinished” entries in the Book Book that haunt and nag me. I hope to return to it one day. I very rarely abandon books halfway through, and they pull at my conscience like a toddler you accidentally left at the liquor shop for four hours. Once I’ve committed something to the pages of the Book Book, it basically stands as a written contract. The book must be finished. Unless the novel is so impenetrable for me (The Clearing, Tim Gautreaux; City of God, E.L. Doctorow; anything by Jane “The Pain” Austen) that I feel I’m wasting my time, I will most likely persevere. I hope to return to War and Peace some day.

 harry_potter_and_the_deathly_hallows

Ooh, here’s a good one- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (21.07.07 – 23.07.07). The majority of the text was read in one sitting, but not because of a desire to finish the exciting final installment. Oh no, the truth is I was suffering from the very worst hangover I’d ever experienced and I was unable to move from my bed except to occasionally crawl- on my hands and knees, no less- to the bathroom. Now, many of you may already be familiar with the story of how I came to be in that predicament. It involves a Mexican restaraunt (named Loco-Mexicano, I think, although that may just be wishful thinking, help me out here Noel Barrot? Jon Wong? Guys, what’s it called?), a Sex on the Beach cocktail, 2 strawberry daquiries, and three, count ’em, THREE, Long Island Ice Teas on an empty stomach, and a fair amount of ineffectual, amateur pole-dancing. I was under the impression that my pole skills were quite impressive, but the enormous bruises on my legs, arms and torso the following day suggest that this may in fact not have been the case. It’s worth mentioning that the writing of this entry is particularly shaky.

timbuktu

Not all of the books conjure up incredible memories of dramatic holidays or hangovers, and some I remember only the stories, and not the details of where they were read. Hemingway’s The Old Man And The Sea (07.06.05) I read while eating a big bowl of seafood noodle soup in Broadway shopping center. The irony of eating fish whilst old Santiago struggled with his is not lost on me. The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin- yes, THAT Steve Martin- (26.07.05 – 28.07.05) was so sweet and lovely it made me cry. Timbuktu by Paul Auster (05.07.06 – 07.07.06) also made me cry, but because it was so sad and touching. I was reading Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres when I camped out overnight outside Ticketek for a U2 concert that I ended up never getting to see. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (29.01.08 – 09.01.08) and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (23.06.08 – 03.07.08) both just make me think of working on the mall site for the bookshop.

pleasure of company

This notebook represents 5 years, 8 jobs, 5 houses, 4 continents (5 if you count the 2-hour stopover I had in Singapore), and roughly 420 books. So what do I do now that it’s full? Ah, well obviously I anticipated this eventuality and bought another identical notebook quite some time ago. The pages are a great deal whiter and crisper, and not smeared liberally with chocolate and biscuit crumbs. I don’t know what I’ll do after this one’s full up, but I’ve got another 5 years to think about it.