Saturday, 30 August 2008

Sweet Jiminy Christmas!

Crap in a hat it’s almost September!
How the hell did that happen? Where did the rest of the year go?
I don’t remember slipping into a coma but I suppose you wouldn’t… though if I did you'd think people would at least have the decency to ask me how I was recovering…
Anyway, it’s almost September which is practically October which – apart from heralding the indecently early arrival of Christmas carols in the stores – is right next to November which, as everyone knows, is NaNoWriMo time. Holy shits!

I haven’t done any preparation at all!
After I dragged myself weakened but victorious to the end of last November I had all these plans of writing various length pieces of a specific nature, having plotting practices and working on my dialogue until it sparkled like a very sparkly thing but um… I didn’t do that.
Oh jeez, what am I going to do!?
I already used a swag of ideas to get through last year’s run!
What if I can’t think of any more!?
What if that was it and I end up staring blankly at the screen, the cursor burning its blinking image onto my retinas as a cold sweat breaks out of my brow!?
No! Keep it together Ricochet! You can do this!
Stop listening to the Doubty McLogic part of your brain! When has logic ever done you any favours? You’re barely on speaking terms except when it comes to contemplating how to ‘remove the head or destroy the brain’ in the event of zombmergencies.

This fun-time panic all boils down to the fact that I can indeed talk a lot of shash but wouldn’t even be able to keep my own interest for 50,000 words without some kind of structure and direction. Being equal parts lazy and – if I’m being honest – perennially terrified of failure there is always the temptation to bail out on an idea when finding a Step B to follow my current Step A gets particularly difficult.
Finding a story worth telling is also tricksy – on an entertainment level or a deeper meaning level – as I certainly don’t want to end up with the ‘let’s say there’s a person a lot like me except with awesome powers/abilities and she saves the day and totally shows all those people who gave her crap; also she has this mysterious and alluringly dangerous guy hanging around her who in no way resembles any pre-existing sexy fictional characters’ story. If that kind of thing is allowed to run unchecked it can go very very wrong and the sense of achievement at the end wouldn’t be as high as an effort of 50,000 words should warrant.

I guess it’s just time to buckle down and have a think about the basics and psyche myself up to actually let something really bad happen to a couple of my characters this time.
I am such a wussie when it comes to really putting the screws to my little darlings. They give you the most betrayed looks. Big eyed puppy dogs have nothing on figments of your imagination who only wanted to live free under an endless sky and not accidentally or deliberately get booted off the top of a 20-storey parking structure just to keep your plot moving along.

Hmm, you know that could work…
Just have to calculate the velocity of a plummeting 80 kg man, factor in the wind resistance for the Panda suit and the probable impact on the vehicle below… let’s say it's a Rav 4…

Saturday, 23 August 2008

I Gave My Love A Chicken, It Had No Bones...

It's 11am on a Saturday and I have just made myself pizza for breakfast.
This is in keeping with the Healthy Weekend MealsTM that brought us such breakfast dishes as steamed dim sims, mystery left-overs with sauce and half a block of jarlsberg served with salt and vinegar pringles.
Oh sure, I had cereal in the house. I had bread for toast. Hell, I even had bacon and eggs but pfft!
How pedestrian!
How everyday!
Sure, any one of those other more traditional options would have been quicker to prepare and possibly better for me but... I didn't wanna.

It's so refreshing to be able to stamp your feet and pout and say "I don't wanna!" and then realise that you don't gotta!
You can eat pizza for breakfast!
You can go down to the supermarket wearing those clothes!
You can go to bed without brushing your teeth!
The face-melting morning breath, increased risk of cavities and strange looks in the supermarket are nobody's concern but your own!

Heck, I'd be jumping on my bed right now if I wasn't sure that I would instantly plunge through the floor of my upstairs flat and land on the family below. It could be kind of cool... but no!
The little girl downstairs thought I was a vampire, I want to preserve a mind like that*.

Of course, there are perils to doing everything you want...**

But it's nice to have the option.

*She never saw me during the day and only heard me moving around at night and drew the obvious conclusion. It is without a doubt the most awesome thing that anyone has ever said to me :-D Whatever that says about me...

**Oh Randall Munroe, how I love thee!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Curiouser And Curiouser

At some point about a week ago an ice-cream freezer appeared at the bottom of my stairs. The sort you get in get in milk bars*.
You know the type. One of those long bench affairs with the sliding glass top and the brightly hued casing that is supposed to remind you of the joy and brightness of a summer's day... or drive you into an ice-cream buying frenzy by hypnotising you with vivid colour combinations and dynamic shapes.

This, as I'm sure you'll appreciate, was all a bit of a puzzler.

I didn't order a large cooling unit for frozen dairy snacks and no-one else in the building seems to be doing anything with it. As far as I can tell.

I mean there is a blue plastic tarp taped over the lid.

Probably to protect the glass and to prevent people from opening the lid and leaving it open to the elements and potential damage.

Probably not to hide the fact that it is filled to the brim with carefully sectioned and stacked dismembered body parts, like a better padded version of the Parisian catacombs**.

I mean it's not plugged into anything so if it is full of cadavers it'll probably start to smell soon. It's been pretty cold recently but not that cold...

Y'know I'm going to be really disappointed when I sneak a look under that tarp and find out it's empty or full of old Tupperware or something.

I always assume abandoned items are full of bodies. Well, except for that shipping container near my Dad's work. I'd just watched Resident Evil 3 when that one turned up so I figured it'd be full of... other things, but technically they'd still count as bodies so...***

What with all the lovely exciting crime dramas we have entertaining us and giving us unrealistic fantasies about the heart-pumping excitement of forensic labs, is this assumption surprising?

You can't open a port-a-loo door, garbage skip, investigate an abandoned car, frolic innocently near the local storm drain outlet or wake up in a strange bed without having a cadaver leap out at you in an exciting way just in time to usher in the opening credits. Anywhere a body can fall out in a startling manner, a body will fall out in a startling manner.

Of course I probably shouldn't automatically follow my first instinct on these sorts of things given that I am the kind of person who whilst having a shower will wonder if my having Awakening by The Damning Well blaring away in the background makes it more likely that I'll be attacked by a psychopath****.

I know I'm just being fanciful.
There's probably a perfectly logical reason for the ice-cream freezer to be there.
I'm pretty sure one of the fellows downstairs owns a couple of businesses. He's probably just keeping the fridge there until it can be delivered to its end destination.
Or until I play something appropriate on the stereo so he can stab me up in the shower and then put my bits in the ice-cream freezer.

*Uh... corner stores? Small shops with overpriced merchandise. Like the 7-11 except independently owned so they get to use the excuse of being 'small business' and 'battlers' to justify charging $4 for a 1-litre carton of milk.

**I shouldn't have watched the entire first season of Dexter in one night, I really shouldn't.

***Does that count as a spoiler? Nah, I don't think it does.

****Or, y'know, vampires.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Extra Protein And One-Sided Arguments

Oh gross! There's a fly in my beer!
Argh, I have been drinking that for ages!
How long has it been in there?
Oh jeez, it's still moving! It's swimming in my beer! That's just not on!
I mean I've never been that excited about the idea of the worm in the tequila* and fly in the beer was not part of my plans for the evening!
Game little bastard is still paddling about.
See, now I feel torn, I can't in good conscience sit here and watch the fly drown but if I pour it out I'll feel odd about swatting it like I usually would. The temporary reprieve would feel too much like mental torture. But I don't want a sticky, beer-flavoured fly buzzing unsteadily about my lounge room, bumping into windows and explaining to my Venetian blinds that they're great really, they're like his most awesome best friends ever and if anyone says differently he'll punch them right in the cord toggle.
I guess a quick death is more merciful than a slow one and at least it'll be drunk and probably won't notice.
Huh, well it looks like I managed to drink enough of the beer to be having an ethical dilemma about a fly (dialogue included) so I suppose I'd better forge on.

[Empty bottle, squash fly, hold memorial service, obtain fresh beer, place protective thumb over mouth of bottle]

OK, so before I got distracted by anthropomorphising insects and weighing up modes of execution I was doing what now?

Oh Right! Blogging! Right, OK, back on track...

I'm trying to work out whether I'm obsessed with advertising or just addicted to sass-back.
I thought I had gotten the bug out of my system with the exposé about the car wash but it persists. Then again, seeing as I've been talking back to the television for about as long as I've been watching it I shouldn't be surprised.

One of those exciting 'drugs = hugs' ads came on just now, explaining with upbeat music, a suspiciously happy family and some mumbling about dosages and side effects how if you take this magical pill your crippling back pain will dissipate and you will be able to swing your 30kg** child above your head like a loveable sack of potatoes and I found myself snorting and saying something like...
"Oh that's fabulous, so instead of addressing the root of the problem you briefly dull the pain enough for you to do extra damage to your already faulty body so that your kid, momentarily elated by their whirl about your head, will be extra crushed by having to resort to child slave labour to support your crippled ass when you crap out like a pile of crap"***
... or something completely rational like that.

The ones that tend to send me off on mini Lord of the Rings style rants with everyone's family trees and complex retellings of other rants included are the stupid cleaning product ads for toilets.

Did you know that there are germs in your toilet!?
No really!
The place where you put your poo has germs in it!
Oh my God!
But if you use this magic new cleaning gel you can get rid of the germs you can't see!
In your toilet.
Like inside the toilet.
What are these magical germs going to do?
Form an army and dive up your bottom?
They're in the bowl of the toilet!
They are only a concern if you routinely drink out of the toilet and if you do that you've already got problems!
If you wash your hands properly after you've been to the toilet it doesn't matter how many 'scary invisible germs' you have in the bowl of the toilet which you don't touch, your hands are as clean as they're going to get!
Stop drinking out of your toilet!

I should probably take a bit of a time-out. I got a little overexcited.
Also I seem to have my thumb stuck in the neck of my beer bottle.
You carry on without me and I'll catch you up later.

*I don't think we even get that in Australia, probably against the quarantine laws. We are an incredibly laid back people until it comes to things like crop contamination, invading insects or suss looking animal products. On the upside, the cavity searches are is surprisingly gentle and they hardly ever hose you down with pressurised water any more.
**About 66 lbs.
***I had already had a couple of beers by this point (hopefully fly-free) and was a little more detailed in my objections than might be considered usual. For other people.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Trial And Error, My Friends, Trial And Error

Soooooooooooooooooo anyway I set fire to my kitchen the other day...

Not like in a big way. It was just the oven. I mean, just the griller of the oven.

I was making lamb chops and those things spit like bastards, so they were sparking little bits o' fat up at the gas element and I decided to take a "eh what's the worse thing that could happen?" approach rather than panicking and looking on like a nervous nancy. People are too nervous these days, don't you think?

Apparently one of the worst things that could happen is the fat that has been slowly gathering around the chops can finally catch fire, leading to a tiny re-enactment of Sodom and Gomorrah* as fatty spitty fire rained down upon the hapless chops.

It was really quite instructional.
I realised that I hadn't gotten around to buying a fire extinguisher for the house**.
I figured throwing water inside the grill would be tricky and a bad idea.
I noticed in time that if I pulled the grill out to extinguish the alleged 'fire'*** I would melt the knobs off the front of the stove...
So with my mad improvisational skills I took a pizza tray, shoved it into the grill over the burny thingy and bits of unfortunate and victimised meat and successfully extinguished the tiny tiny blaze.
Also I found out that meat that has caught a little bit on fire can still be quite delicious and still maintain a light flavour of seasoning and pepper.

It's the second episode in my latest series of Xtreme Housekeeping Events.

The first was flooding out my local Laundromat.
Technically I can't claim full credit for that one though as it had more to do with a faulty washing machine than it had to do with me but still... Having a washing machine jittering and spewing water and suds from both ends, freaking out both young and old alike was quite entertaining.
I do own a washing machine which should exempt me from the Laundromat experience but apart from the fact it was a little venerable to start with, it got dropped a little bit between the moving van and my latest place and has never actually, y'know, worked again.
Hence the local Laundromat and the joys that it brings****.

The simplest solution to this particular dilemma would be to buy a brand new washing machine.
That just seems a little extreme.
I don't really want to go into an electronics store because the barely controlled desperation and resentment lurking in the eyes of a salesperson on commission is second only to that seen behind the eyes of clowns.
There is also the little surly old person voice that has muttered from within me since mine birth that keeps on insisting that appliances aren't what they used to be and that the minute I buy something it'll either break down or be featured on a hard hitting news program as the sole cause of global warming.
This is, as I'm sure is obvious, a lovely lovely excuse for not having to go shopping and wade through a sea of minor differences between products and lies with the end result of being allowed to give other people money for an object that may or may not get dropped a bit on the way up the stairs...
Ah well. I expect I'll snap sooner or later.
Probably the next time someone comes up behind me whilst I'm folding sheets and tells me that I smell nice and not at all like socks.

*Just the 'fire and brimstone from above' imagery, not the ridiculous twitchy-eyed behavioural accusations and blatantly discriminatory bit.
**No! No! Bad! Buy!
***OK, yeah, it was really fire.
****Eg: Getting to see other people's smalls, being accused of stealing someone's drying after they'd only left it in there for seven hours whilst they rustled someone else's cattle (just going by smell here), wondering how on Earth you can raise a kid to be morbidly obese by the time they're, what? Seven? I can't quite tell...