Friday, February 25, 2011


Tanja had the non-sarcastically brilliant idea to toddle down to the Museum of Contemporary Art for the Annie Leibovitz exhibition. After queueing for about 15 minutes, we arrived at... a second queue. Then we got in. The photos were amazing, with huge photos covering half the wall, as well as a sort of tunnel that showcased everything she had collected for the show in small scale. On show were all sorts of photos: her portraits of musicians (like the White Stripes, which managed to look both staged and snapped in-the-moment; and Willie Nelson, who resembled nothing more than an Indian Head penny; Iggy Pop, muscular & cadaverous), actors (Al Pacino resembling Napoleon in bare feet; Jim Carrey making faces and roaring at the world), heads of state (The Queen, removed from her usual setting, making her a monarch unadorned & out of time, but a monarch nonetheless; the Bush administration, particularly John Ashcroft (no link, sadly), whose portrait had him off to the side on a white background, with have the set in view, including a secret service agent and an American flag, tucked away like a forgotten heirloom), her partner of many years Susan Sontag (who died of cancer), and perhaps my favourite, many photos of her extended family, particularly elderly folks and children, most candid snaps.

It was extremely crowded. Not "I can't move" crowded, but the more subtle kind of crowded where each time you stopped to read or look at something, you would amass a small collection of people who would hover at your elbow, just behind you, or off to the side, so that when you decided to move again, you'd nearly trip over them, or they'd catch your elbow or something. This stressed me. The stressing was increased by the fact that I had neglected to bring my glasses. Normally, that would not be an issue, my being only a little nearsighted, but all of the writing was small, so I had to get within a few feet of the wall, or I wouldn't be able to read it. Also, through the entire event I was composing this post in my head, and as such wanted to take a quick picture of how crowded it was. I took out my phone in an out of the way corner, as I didn't want to make it look like I was taking photos of the art. I saw a guy with a ponytail glace at me, and I quickly put my phone away. I then noticed that Ponytail had his own iPhone out, and was checking Facebook. "Oh," said I "he must not work here." But no sooner did I take out my camera and snap a quick photo, than he apporached me and told me that no pictures were allowed. I tried to say that I just wanted to show how crowded it was, but he would have none of it. I did get a photo, though not a good one:

So anywho, this exhibit got me thinking. Not thinking; yearning. I yearn to take photos of people again. Candid photos, staged photos, whatever. I want to be able to capture the look on someone's face; the intent in their eyes. I want to photograph them, warts and all. It's the same kind of feeling I got after I got my Flip video camera, and realised that the easiest way to get people to not act naturally, was to point a camera at them. No one will let me. Not at all. I content myself with taking quick snaps on my phone, but really, I'm filling up on bread, and it's starting not to satisfy me. I've ruminated on this subject before. But it still bothers me. I think I may have put my finger on a portion of what bugs me today.

When someone takes a photo of me, be it one where I look good, or one where I look bad, I know it is a photo of me. It may not be a photo I like, but it is an accurate representation of how I look from that particular angle at the specific moment. It's true. People who give the "Oh, I look stupid in that one/all those photos" are implying that the photo is somehow a lie or a trick, imposed by the photographer to ruin their self-image, and the image held by others. Maybe Facebook is to blame, what with the ability to untag photos so only you get to choose what appears when someone searches you.

However, telling someone, especially a female someone, when they say "Oh, that's a terrible photo!" that "Hey, that's how you looked like in that moment." does not help.

Rudie Can't Fail

Lately I've been listening to The Clash more than usual. This is partially due to my showing Strummer: The Future is Unwritten to Tanja, and partially due to the fact that I've restricted the music on my ipod thanks to my playlist growing too large for it. Rudie Can't Fail is one of my favourite Clash songs, as it's cheerful, easy to sing along to, and has a happy vibe which befits sunny Australian afternoons.

Or so I thought.

I googled the lyrics on my way to the store because I wanted to send out a tweet with what was in my head on a loop and didn't want to get the words wrong. When I had a read all the way through, this is what I found.

The lyrics describe a young man being harassed by an Unnamed Someone for being, essentially, an angry young punk wasting his life drinking and generally wrecking up the place. The young man replies that he knows his life prevokes the Unnamed Someone by its very existence, but that he was born without knowledge of who he should be or his place in the world. In the bridge, (I think it's a bridge), the young man explains that he dislikes his lack of purpose, and went out looking for a Way to follow to fill his void. The world gave him back anger and pain initially, then instructions to "curb his temper" and "find a job in the paper", and go to church and "find a saviour", essentially curbing his questioning spirit, in order to make fewer waves. His response?

I reject your reality, and substitute my own.

I will be angry, and rude, and drink in the morning, and be provocative, until you give me a better answer. The track ends with the young man calling out random insults to the Unnamed Someone, calling out his pork pie hat and "chicken skin suit", which is both his outfit and his cowardice.

So yeah. Nice sunny happy song, right?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

That Which In The Doing Takes Longer

I had something composed in my head that was long and impassioned, explaining how, using an example I saw on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, I was raised free of racism, by pointing out that it took that episode subverting a racist, stereotyped act (that a black man driving a nice car in LA will get pulled over and potentially jailed) for me to know that the act existed at all.

But really, even finding a way to explain it like I just did took long enough that I don't feel like doing the long version.

Oh, and I'm on major antibiotics for my illness. 2 pills, 4 times a day, for 7 days. Bad news? I can't friggin' drink while I'm taking them.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Daydream Believer

(yes, I just named a post after a Monkees song)

So I'm still sick, though things have changed a little.

1) I got a doctor on Friday who actually listened to and examined me (who happily agreed with my opinion that the previous guy was a quack), took blood and... other samples and sent them off to be tested. She was extremely worried by how long this virus had been hanging on, and also by the fact that I had walked up to Broadway with a 39.5 degree fever. In the sun. Without a hat or sunnies. Dumbass. Now, we don't have a thermometer at home, nor do I really know what my temperature should be. Only by using Google and a little math did I realise that, as it's the equivalent of 103 degrees Fahrenheit, 39.4 is the threshold when you should seek medical attention for fever. Oops. All I remember is that Bret Hart once wrestled for his Intercontinental Championship against the Mountie with a 103 degree fever.

He DID lose that match, though.

So anyway, the good doctor said she'd call me with test results and that I had to chill out and monitor my diet in the meantime. Also I needed to get a thermometer.

And 2) (And apologies if this is a bit squicky), my illness has changed to the point that instead of chills, I now have to visit the bathroom 15-20 times per day. Yeah. Do the math. This has resulted in my drastically reducing what I eat out of self-preservation, which has resulted in an overall loss of energy (I'm fine moving around the house, but take me outside and I start shaking and spooking at shadows within 15 minutes). Tanja (who had IBS when she was a kid) recommended I fast for a day. Not liking this idea, I did some research, on INTERNET. Turns out I should be eating cooked or tinned fruit, Greek yogurt with active cultures, dry cooked rice or pasta, tea, toast, and especially applesauce. Bananas too, but I hate bananas. Yesterday was the first day of that diet (after two days of surviving on 1 or 2 pieces of bread and peanut butter per day), and my god, was I glad to have food again. Tanja even whipped up a pasta dish with plain pasta, chicken breast grilled without oil, yogurt and basil leaves. I fell upon it like a hyena. Hopefully the new diet'll kick in soon.

So why'd I name the post "Daydream Believer"?

Because since the first day I've been limited (that'd be Wednesday, when the cramps and fever were too strong for me to do anything but nibble bread) I've been daydreaming about food.

And I don't mean, leaning back and going "Man, I'd sure like a cheeseburger." I mean, I'll be reading or doing something else, and a vision of food will crowbar it's way into my head and take over my entire brain, to the point where my mouth starts to water. I'm talking serious mental-food-porn description. Most recent ones have been a particular almond-and-apricot-custard tart that Caketown used to make before they went on vacation, and oddly enough, sliced pepperoni with cheese and crackers. I told Tanja about the pepperoni, and she said "What, like on pizza?". Then i couldn't stop thinking about pizza. Thanks, hon.

Yeah. It's like that.

I have been restricting my diet for a little less than a week. Admittedly, it helps that I don't feel hunger anymore (at all) due to the cramps masking the hunger pangs, but my GOD how do vegans and gluten-free people and kosher folks DO IT? Admitted, though, with them it's a choice, made from willpower, as opposed to an option taken in weakness. So perhaps I need to adopt a more philosophical bent and get in touch with my inner Chi and all that.

However, on Thursday night, Tanja ate a fragrant massaman roast beef curry with rice and a Peroni right in front of me and I wanted to die. That sort of thing fucks with my Zen.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Oh, and...

I cut my hair. Like a lot. Nearly shaved my head, in fact. I consider it a first step towards not being so damned insecure about myself. It's hair. It'll grow back.

For those missing the old looks, I'll let you know that if you beat this blog on Hardcore mode and only save 3 times, you unlock Britpop Lucas and Oasis Lucas as new costumes. The Big Lebowski Dude-Sawyer-From-Lost PonyTail Lucas was going to be available, but had to be cut due to issues with the physics engine.

Also, I've been reading the Dresden Files. You should too. It's epic.


So I've been sick the last two days. I came home with a head and body ache, and was running a fever before bedtime. I spent the first two hours in bed shivering uncontrollably (not little winter-shivers either, full-body muscle spasms). When the shivering let up, I went towards the bathroom, got nauseous and blacked out (would have hit the floor if I hadn't caught the door) then slept maybe a couple hours before waking up at 5am. Still sick, but less feverish, back to nausea and body-aches. I call in sick and go to the doctor in Marrickville due to being scared stupid by the evening I had just spent.

Got in to see the doctor. I explained it to him, and he looked at the back of my throat and made a face. An "ugh!" face. Then he asked if I was a smoker (what?). I said no. So he then let the matter drop (what?! What if I had said yes?). He asked whether I could have a few days off work, I said yes, he wrote the certificate, stamped it, and handed it to me and showed me the door. I asked if I should take anything, and he said just painkillers and rest.

When I got out, I looked at the sheet. He had said the cause of my absence was URTI. I puzzled over that for a moment before realising it meant "Upper Respiratory Tract Infection". You know, in your nose, lungs and throat. So coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sinus pain, NONE OF WHICH I HAVE.

So I'm here now, in the evening, feeling the fever heat up again (seems that this time I get the "too-hot-unreasonably" night as opposed to the "too-old-despite-blankets" night). And I'm angry, damnit.