Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On Youth and Enthusiasm

Apparently youth is wasted on the young.
Is this a statement of the self-titled "old" who wish they could be there again?
Is it jealousy toward the innocence and enthusiasm that is apparently a trait of youth?

I'm old is an excuse, a way of hiding from things that may possibly be exciting. It's a division to put up in order to achieve one of two things -
1) to achieve a sense of superiority
2) to hide a lack of enthusiasm for an activity

"Old" is an affectation and it's bullshit.

My father has been toting the I'm old shit for years. It's attention seeking. It demands sympathy that I will not give. It's also downright laziness. I'm old is a poorly executed excuse that translates to I can't be bothered doing what you want to do.

Christmas just gone holds an example. The man sits in his armchair for most of the day, refusing repeated requests to do anything that may involve him being away from his armchair reading a book or watching television. If a person joins him in the television watching phase of this fat lazy lifestyle in an attempt to spend some time, to have a conversation in the ad breaks, they are either told to shut up or have to put up with the conversation being completely ignored every time the show returns. Then the man has the hide to whinge that nobody spends time with him.

He's old.
He's set in his ways.
His body cannot cope with the activities you young people want to do.

Fuck off.
He's tired, lazy and couldn't hive a shit about anybody but himself. He's scared to get outside of box of slowly decreasing dimensions because he cannot do the things he used to. Who really gives a shit? He's one of the smartest thinkers I have come across, yet he refuses to see that instead of doing things the way he used to, he could find an alternative. But... he would have to be interested in the person enough to want to find that alternative.

Old is selfish.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Jobsearch Gems

Apparently I can be a Carnival Worker in the town of Humpty-Doo.

I shit you not.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Whatever boils your water

I was going to record and post some of my guitar playing this weekend. But before I could even contemplate the details of getting even a half decent sound I got distracted. Not by the sounds of the neighbour going through the bad breakup (lay off the BeeGees for fuck’s sake lady, or you’ll never get a fuck again). Not by the sounds of the dogs, Joey Muttlet and his two friends, whom I collectively refer to as the Turdlets. Really, they should have their own band – Joey and the Turdlets. It just works. I wasn’t distracted by the sounds of the neighbourhood children wandering in to see whether the dinner menu is better here than it is at their place. No, I wasn’t distracted by the normal sounds of home at all.

I was distracted by the prospect of a completely different sound. Trains!
Not just any trains. Steam trains!

That slow heavy chug as they heave away from the platform… Oh hell yes. It's downright sexy.

It was more than the sounds (as deeply thrilling and exciting in a somewhat disturbing way as they may be) that attracted me. It was the prospect of chasing trains. Stuff watching them take off from the platform. Every grandparent, child and dumb Sydney weekend gawker could do that. I wanted to catch them in action further up the line.

It’s funny the spots you’ll put yourself in to get up close and experience something, let alone get a decent picture of it. Kate and Mr. Cellophane both took the crossing point. I got a little more adventurous. There was a bridge a bit further down the track with serviceman’s platforms off the crossbeams. Vic thinks I wanna be ON that when this sucker comes past and struts out onto this thing with no railings and a pretty damn big drop if you feel the need to jump.

It’s here that I admit that I didn’t read the timetable correctly – the steam service only ran on one arm of the line, which unfortunately wasn’t this one. But we got a diesel instead, and I have to say I near shit myself. That thundering mass was so close to my little platform and so fast as it hurtled by me. All I could do was yell FUUUUCK!!!!!! and hope that the air this thing was pushing didn't blow me backwards off my perch.

This last pic shows it all. Scared, shaking uncontrollably, in desperate need of a smoke and a sit down...

...and still stupid enough to stand in the middle of a railway bridge for a photograph.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Server Error

What do you do when you are hyped, nervous and unable to sleep? When you've spent hours playing guitar in order to unwind into that peculiar meditational state that practise brings on, but your jaw is still tense and painful and your mind has only slowed a little? What do you do when you've been flip-arranging yourself into a ball of sheets and pillows and legs for hours with the litany of fuck it, I NEED to sleep to be able to function properly tomorrow?

That's right - you turn to your laptop with the glorified coathanger internet connection and you think you might write a blog post.

What the fuck happens next?

Problem loading page
Server Error

Life is an absolute arse sometimes.

I'm off to look at porn. Possibly I will fall asleep from disinterest. Or, the coathanger connection will die completely - in which case I believe the modem will be a fantastic piece of modern art once it embeds itself at high velocity in my bedroom wall and I'll be back where I started.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More from the Den of Idiocy

For three hours yesterday myself and bunch of other hopeless jobseekers were locked into the Den of Idiocy for "On-Site Jobsearch".

The Den of Idiocy quite nicely provides computers and a couple of newspapers from two weeks ago. But let's get back to the computers. Yes, you can look online at the government jobsearch website. Any other jobsearch site will be blocked by the IT department as a possible security risk. You can specifically ask to see a site by writing the URL down on a piece of paper, taking it over to CaneToad Lady who masquerades as an employment consultant but really just seems to sit in a corner and ribbit occasionally, and she will email the IT Department who might get around to giving your specific computer access to that site sometime today.

In the meantime you are supposed to catalog all the Jobsearch contacts you have made in the session. CaneToad Lady doesn't count.

Funnily enough, we do have access to this particular employment company's website. They have had a vacancy for an employment consultant advertised for this particular office since last September. Go figure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Welcome to the Den of Idiocy

To receive my government "looking for work" payment - more commonly referred to as the dole - I have to prove fortnightly that I am, in fact, actively looking for work (bummer, because I'd rather not, but that's beside the point). Part of this process is registering with a job search agency and then being rudely told what to do by them, because they have the power of god over your future payments. Don't attend an appointment, you get a breach and a possible cut of your payment.

Here's what happened at the first required interview:
1. Vic walks in the door, resume and portfolio tucked under her arm, looks at the milling crowd of other hopeless cases and politely makes her way to the counter.
2. Vic is handed a questionnaire and told not to bother filling most of it out because she has an existing resume of her own.
3. Vic returns said questionnaire and is told that's all she has to do, so she can go now. No introduction to the facilities, no meeting the consultants, nothing.

Two weeks later I received a letter in the mail from this company that I am required to be registered with. It contained a welcome letter that looked like it had been photocopied from a copy fifteen generations past the original. It contained a job description of something they had going that they felt I was qualified best for - selling model aircraft in a specialist hobby shop. And it contained a new resume that they had prepared just for me.

It looked like the resume I had handed them at the 'interview'. Except it wasn't. One section had been moved. They copied the layout style. But the thing that got me... The information that they copied from my existing resume contained spelling mistakes. So now instead of looking not particularly qualified I look incompetent and not particularly qualified.


Today I start a four week intensive job search training course with this company, because it is of course a decree from the payment god that I do so. Let's call it character building. If I can get through a day without telling them they're a pack of overbearing idiots who can't spell I will be a stronger person inside.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mailbox Monday

This particular shot was taken recently, during a brief visit to my stomping ground of the past eleven years. What we were doing when we found this particular specimen of the mailbox genus was, and still is, one of my favourite pastimes. Driving around looking for anything interesting that takes my eye.

My friends in Armidale were great for this hobby. Weekends were mostly boring spaces of time reserved for being hung over, or working towards the next bout of being hung over, or generally complaining of there being nothing to do. Not many of them had cars, so when an opportunity came up to get out to a national park or just cover some country away from the highways, I could usually count on having at least somebody to take along for the ride.

The best adventures had no set destination. I would have a direction in my head, and a clear idea of where the surrounding main roads were, and that was all that was needed. You could wander around on small roads between the properties for half a day, and then branch off toward a highway when you were done exploring and be home to dodgey up a curry for everyone before dark.

I'm looking back at those days with an unfair lust at the moment. The lust is because I was confident in my knowledge of my surrounds, familiar with the country. I knew without a doubt that I could point my car in a particular direction and have a rough idea of what I was going to find on the way. It was also that I was in control of the game. I was the driver, I was trusted by my passengers that I would know where I was going, and most likely find something different and interesting to beat the boredom on the way.

That kind of lusting is unfair to myself, and the good thing is that I know it. I don't have the confidence in this far larger city to find my way about efficiently. What's more interesting to realise is that I miss the control. We go for a drive, and me being new to this place I just get to sit back and take it all in. It should be great, but suddenly I've become the passenger when for the past eleven years I've been the one that picks the direction. My mind interprets this as a loss of control, a flaw because I do not have the knowledge of this area yet. It's downright irrational. Of course I can't replicate the local knowledge of eleven years in a place I've only been in for a couple of months. Step one is realising the problem. What the hell do I do next?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

PhotoHunt: Twist(ed)

The PhotoHunt always makes me think. You get a subject weekly and when you first read the list you think ha! Easy! But it isn't. This week's theme, twist(ed) had me racking my brains and writing a list of all my ideas of possible subjects. Ropes? Wires? Guitar strings?

I spent some time taking shots of guitar strings and they were truly boring. If I perfected them you could have used them in a guitar magazine for an article about maintenance or something equally functional but visually uninteresting to most. What does it mean? Stuff all, really. There's no personality, nothing to identify with in there. Pretty shot. Great. Sometimes that works. I've got a lot of close-up pattern shots that I'd eventually like to frame, bit it's just not me at the moment.

What usually happens with the PhotoHunt is that I write a list, conjure up all sorts of ideas of set-up shots, toy with a few and then give up. In this case I gave up and agreed to be taken along for a drive looking at a few local graveyards. Typically, they don't interest me much. Decay of society is fascinating but depressing, and graves are a prime example of that. Plus they take up space. Monuments are nice, but if you carve away the landscape to bury every person that dies in the world, there's no space left for the living. These places are not very high on my list of locations to seek out as a general rule. Give me landscapes, different experiences and obscure art. Those things inspire happiness in me, so I am most likely to seek them out.

It's when I go off not in search of a PhotoHunt subject that I'm most likely to find it. Maybe it's art giving me a hint for life to imitate. You can research, you can investigate possibilities. You can ponder solutions and discard them all day. Then you can just give up, go do something else and damned if the answer doesn't just fall in your lap.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nalf-Nekkid Thursday

Dyke with back pain

I couldn't sleep. I tried the side, the stomach, the other side. I tried curled up with my legs crossed in the air. I crawled half off the bed and lay my poor screaming back on the cold hard floor.

Painkillers? Nope, they didn't help either.

So what is this dyke supposed to do?

Well of course. Grab that dildo out of the drawer, shove it right under the offending vertebrae and give it some relief.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Peanut Butter Sandwiches at 3am

"I have nothing to say / and I am saying it / and that is poetry / as I needed it" --John Cage

It's not every day that you wake up from a dream about the composer John Cage. It's definately not every day that you feel compelled enough to drag yourself out of bed and read more about the man in question. So here's the four in the morning, painkiller-laden peanut butter sandwich eating rundown.

There's a lot of fascinating things the man did, but I guess the most famous is the conception and performance of 4'33", which back in those tragic University music lecture days took me ages to figure out as being the shorthand for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Dumbarse. Apparently there's a few versions of the score getting around, but the most famous one is the Tacet edition. Tacet is the traditional musical term for when a musician does not play for a movement - basically it says Hey mate, just sit this one out. We don't need you for it. So the famous score for 4'33" goes something like this:

Movement I
TACET (30")

Movement II
TACET (2'23")

Movement III
TACET (1'40")

That's a score of the first performance of the piece, performed on piano. The performer signifies the start of the first movement by closing the lid over the keys of the piano, and then lifting it at the end of the allotted time. This occurs for all three movements, with pauses in between. The piece has traditionally been stuck with the title 4'33", even though it can be performed for any instrument, by any any number of performers, for any length of time. You're probably performing it now. Cage himself refers to it as his "silent piece" and writes:

"I have spent many pleasant hours in the woods conducting performances of my silent piece... for an audience of myself, since they were much longer than the popular length which I have published. At one performance... the second movement was extremely dramatic, beginning with the sounds of a buck and a doe leaping up to within ten feet of my rocky podium."

So why is this such a significant piece of music? On the surface it looks more like a theatrical stunt than a serious work. How many university composition students have come to studying Cage, with a composition folio due at the end of the week and thought Asshole! Wish I'd have thought of that! I know I have.

In a way it is making the statement that silence within music is just as important as sound, but there's more. It's about listening. While the performer is silent, the surrounding environment goes on making sound, often going unnoticed.

It challenges the definition of what music actually is. If it isn't pleasing to the ear, is it still music? Where does the definition stop? If you look at a painting and don't like it, is it still art? If the artist intends it to be art, do you challenge it's definition as that?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

What you get for downloading music

I did a search for Pseudo Echo's Funky Town, and what came up?

pseudo echo cute girl has orgasm on webcam

Well. That's taking grooving to the music to a new level.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Where I stand.

It occurred to me last night that my wrists were hurting, largely due to the terminally boring and soulless factory work that I've been doing. Yes, I realise that somebody has to peel oranges by hand. Somebody has to shovel hundreds of kilograms of prepared sloppy portion controlled salad into two kilogram bags and seal it. I realise that somebody has to come home with their skin oozing the smell of sanitising chlorine. Somebody has to go through their entire working week in a closed off room populated with other workers who appear too scared of losing their precious soulless jobs to have a conversation and get to know each other, just in case the bosses think they aren't working hard enough.

Fuck it. That person is no longer me. Smacking me in the head like a gangster with a baseball bat is the realisation that I want to perform as a musician above everything else. I get into a band after working my butt off on the audition material and now I haven't had the time or energy to work on the material for the rehearsal this weekend. Where do my priorities lie? I'm a fucking musician, dammit. A performer who loves to gain energy from the crowd and dance and lock into the band in the way that makes me so energetic and goddamned happy. I'm the fucking Groover. Second to that priority, and a little conflicting (but I'll work it out later) is the desire to travel, to see, to experience the world in a different way. My way.

It seems to be something I do to myself with regularity. This deciding that I need to work to supplement the traditional Musician income of dole payments and the occasional gig, and then realising that whatever shit job I supplement this income with is actually detracting from my goal. Luckily, the period of drudgery before the realisation occurs seems to be getting shorter. Maybe one day I will not go through it at all. In this case the job I have been in is causing so much strain on my wrists that strapping them is only alleviating the pain a little. I've already given myself a repetetive strain injury in a previous crap filler job (defrosting freezers with a rubber mallet and a bucket of water all day - go figure) and I get knocked around every time it flares up.

Then there's the fact that it is fucking boring. There isn't a social life to distract you from that fact at all. It's in your face all day.

Two strikes. Fuck off, work. I'm a musician.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Introducing my new bed partner

This afternoon I came home from work with aching wrists and no energy. Work is a soulless vegetable preparation factory that drains me mentally from the distaste of being part of an industry direction that I do not support, as well as physically draining me from the repetetive bending and limited movement nature of the work.

I sat on the bed in my room with a coffee and the intention of jamming out on my guitar to an easy listening playlist and eventually bringing myself to learn a few songs for the band I got into. I was all set up - coffee mug on the window sill beside the bed, snuggly pillows to lean against and ease the aching back, ashtray at the ready for the times of sitting back taking a break and just listening.

One song. That was as far as I got. My head couldn't take it and I quit, resloving to just play a few warm-up licks instead. Somewhere shortly after that I fell asleep, leaning back on the pillows on my bed with a guitar across my chest. I vaguely remember rolling over onto my side and thinking huh? Heavy thing near me? but being too absolutely fucked to even figure out what it was.

My girl woke me up later in the evening and reminded me that I do, in fact have a teddy bear for such occasions.