Saturday, 28 December 2002

ah. holidays.

people usually ask "are you going away somewhere?"

while i admit i have a somewhat misguided passion for travel, the answer is mostly "no".

but being at home the last couple of days, post-christmas, post-shopping-blitz-trauma, post-stressful-running-around-december-nightmare, i've been having a lovely time doing...nothing. well, not nothing exactly, but nothing i am required to do.

reading is a huge luxury, i find. i tend to read late at night in bed mostly, so hiding away in a quiet spot with a book in the middle of the day is a great indulgence. everything has to stop, i need to devote myself entirely to the book at hand (or else i read each paragraph five times and still retain nothing).

pottering is another underrated indulgence. getting up late. reading the paper. roaming around the house. tinkering on the piano. making ice cream. rearranging furniture (don't ask me why, but it's some sort of therapy, i'm sure of it). having vague flashes of inspiration and actually letting them unspool in my mind.

one more week of nothingness. bliss.

Sunday, 8 December 2002

here i am in canberra, our nation's capital, at a conference. we have around 750 students spread out over four colleges, doing a number of activities, and coming up to us every so often with questions little and big. yesterday i ate breakfast in ten minutes, went into the office at 8.00am, had a 15 minute lunch and dinner, and went out of the office at 11.00pm. my legs are very sore...

given that kind of day, it's interesting to note the various approaches when people have a problem with something. they will either be apologetic and say "you guys are doing great work, we really appreciate it" or they will be belligerent and inconsiderate, behaving as though they are the only people in the universe and we are here to cater specifically to them. not so unusual you might say, particuarly if you work in a 'customer service industry'. but the problem here is that all the students are Christians.

someone once said to me that as Christians we tend to hold other Christians to a higher standard, that we expect more of their behaviour and maybe overlook the fact that they are human and therefore flawed. maybe so, on some occasions, but in this instance i expect people, Christians or not, to be aware that when there are 749 other people around they might have to, i don't know, stand in line and wait...

tired. soooo tired. going to have dinner now. pasta bake. mmmmm.....

Wednesday, 4 December 2002

it's still hot. and the smell of burning is stronger. 30 fires starting within the space of one hour this afternoon. i just wish it would rain. everything needs a wash, a drink, a bit of dampening. the long since vacated spider webs need to be washed out of the eaves, the crumbly dry earth needs to be saturated, dust and grit needs to be scrubbed away.

and this is just living in the city, where i don't make my living off the land and i am nowhere near a potentially explosive national park or bushland. where i still have as much water as i need when i turn on the tap and i am not sitting around watching my farm turn to dust and my animals wither and die.

i wish it would rain.

Monday, 25 November 2002

it's hot. but in a good way. in a balmy summer evening kind of way. in an all-doors-and-windows-open-and-a-warm-breeze-blowing-through kind of way.

there's also the faint, sharp smell of burning. i don't know from how far away that's coming, but it's definitely there. we had a wall of bamboo running down the side of our house until last weekend, when a couple of guys with chainsaws came and cut it all down. it's good in that bamboo is a bastard of a thing and was getting into the foundations, etc, but not good in that now we can see right into the charming block of flats next door (heath will attest to their charm no doubt) and it's noisy and much hotter. but not so much of a fire hazard...funny, must be a throwback to stage managing days. i'll start complaining that we don't have clearly marked exits in a minute. ah, the memories.

Monday, 11 November 2002

crimes against humanity: fashion
okay, so generally it is possible to ignore fashion. you might be forced to look at it from time to time, but generally if you keep to yourself and it keeps to itself, you can live in the world relatively unscathed by the vapid ridiculousness of what a select few overpaid, overindulged wankers think the general populace should wear.

having said that, there are occasions when i have been unable to ignore certain disturbing fashion 'moments' that sear themselves onto my brain and make me wake, screaming, in the middle of the night. when i was younger i had a morbid fear of ending up a fat, middle-aged housewife who wore hair rollers and terry towelling track pants to the supermarket and had several snotty nosed rugrats climbing all over the trolley, pulling cheese-in-a-can off the shelves and opening packets of fruit loops all over the aisles. thankfully i do not own anything made from terry towelling, i do not have any offspring and cheese-in-a-can is not readily available in australia. i have successfully put that episode of suburban horror behind me.

some things still disturb and annoy me.

y-front underwear for women
these are ugly on men. while possibly convenient, the whole concept of them makes me feel slightly queasy. so could someone please explain to me why on earth it is necessary to put a (non-working) y-front on a pair of underpants designed for women and advertised by sarah o'hare? not cute! not trendy! just...not!!!!

strange denim occurrences
we lived through stone wash, we survived acid wash. the latest denim experiment started off, innocently enough, with a slight 'worn' effect on the front and backs of jeans. pre-loved denim. okay, i can understand that. in some instances not great, but ignorable. it has gotten completely out of control. i see people wearing these articles of clothing (women, usually) coming towards me and all i can look at are these strange white stripes down their thighs, stopping abruptly at the knees and occasionally continuing down the shin. do not wear them. it looks as though you have been careless and sat in a puddle of bleach, or leaned up against a freshly painted fence. whoever thought this up must have been playing a practical joke and i'm sure they are having a great laugh at your expense.

hipsters
even thin people seems to have major hip and belly overhang when wearing hipsters, not to mention plumber's crack. the worst is seeing overweight prepubescent girls trying to fit in with the trend and just hanging out all over the place. when will people teach their poor children about wearing clothes that look good on them and not trying to emulate britney spears? at least my mother did the right thing and banned certain fashion atrocities popular in my early adolescence (i'm thinking bubble skirts, shiny leggings, boob tubes, leg warmers (all worn in the same outfit of course)). while i thought she was the devil incarnate at the time, at least now i don't have photographic evidence of my gullibility.

retail hell
we would not have to endure any of the above if shops actually stocked a range of styles, not just the one style in a range of fabrics. oh no, that's right...we all want to look like britney. silly me.

one size fits all
oh it does not.

the singular
pant. jean. shoe. would you ever just buy one? (the worst is thong, meaning g-string in the states and 'flip-flops' in australia...no amount of potential confusion with that one...)

price tags
why is it that an article of clothing that is well made, an attractive colour, an interesting and flattering cut, and that fits perfectly always costs about four times as much as it should? i recently made my first two garments (overlocking...hurrah!) and the issue of how much things cost is even more frustrating as i have realised just how little it costs to produce most clothes. bah.

i think i need a cup of tea and a good lie down (don't need the bex, i'm already bec enough).

Wednesday, 6 November 2002

today I played the organ at a funeral at st martin's for a local kensington man named Charlie who lived alone and died alone - his neighbours found him dead in his bed a few days later. he had no surviving family, and didn't really have any friends, but had made an impression on his neighbours, obviously, as they were the ones who organised his funeral.

how awful to be so alone. how amazing that nine people who lived in the houses around him took the time to organise and attend a funeral. how lucky i am to have people who love me.

Monday, 4 November 2002

theatrical hazards

we went to see buried child by sam shephard at belvoir last night. very dense, harrowing, comic and enjoyable. but it doesn't put you in a particularly relaxed state.

after the show, we ran the gauntlet of the belvoir foyer. usually it's not too bad, but last night there seemed to be familiar faces everywhere i turned. an actor i worked with in first year. a director whose show i stage managed. a few friends from uni/theatre days. an actor who had once been a good friend but disappeared and cut connections when he went interstate.

and i had nothing much to say. i chatted to a couple of them, but that left mum standing to one side, uninvolved. besides which, i wanted to absorb what i had just seen and not give the standard vox pop "it was fantastic!" so we made up some transparent excuse and ran away.

it's not that those people aren't perfectly nice. most of them are. but i don't have anything they need. in years past, perhaps my currencies were talent and ability. i could write for them, direct for them, act for them, haul a show into a theatre for them. but now that i appear to have relinquished all that, there isn't a common point of reference. in fact i'd be happy to work in theatre again, but only if it was something new. not the same old unpaid stuff, masquerading as great avant garde artistes, "breaking down the barriers" and "pushing the boundaries" when we're just a bunch of uni students pretending to do shakespeare.

besides which, i hate schmoozing.

Saturday, 2 November 2002

what i did on my saturday
by rebecca jee, aged 26 and a half


i got up, had a blueberry bagel and read the icon section of the sydney morning herald. i drove through the university of sydney to drop my mum in newtown, and had a profoundly calming feeling wash over me as i looked at the sea of purple jacarandas on carillon avenue. just as i thought of calling heath and seeing if he wanted a coffee he called me and we had a coffee in his lovely new house, then we walked around glebe markets. i went home and had a delicious steak sandwich with the leftovers from last night's dinner and read the metropolitan section of the sydney morning herald. i went to paddington and had a drink with zoe and carol, good friends from adelaide who i haven't seen for years. i drove through town, got stuck in traffic because of the flocks of gay people carrying flags and dressed in uniform heading towards oxford street (the gay games started today). i came home and found messages from my friends on my blog. i had a beck's bier and am now going to go and watch MASH on dvd.

it's been a good day.

Friday, 1 November 2002

i was wondering when this would happen.

a young guy just got hit by a car outside my window. doesn't seem to have been too much damage done, the car clipped his leg, and there was some sort of grazing to his ankle. he was a tradesman with four other tradesmen to support him and the person who hit him was an older migrant woman with her husband whose english isn't great. so there has been a lot of screaming and shouting and now one of the guys is calling the cops after giving the woman a lesson on how to drive a car.

i live on a steep hill. people drive very fast down and very fast up the hill and i'm constantly surprised that there aren't more accidents, or at least side mirrors of parked cars being knocked off. i hold my breath every time i see a kid crossing the road.

it seems to have quietened down. it was a bit of a shock though. i think i heard the woman's scream more clearly than anything the guy said. the tradesmen sound like they're going back to work, the young guy's limping around with a piece of pipe.

i don't like the sounds of voices outside my window. this is different, of course, as something actually happened, but often i can hear people talking in the late hours of the evening or walking up and down the hill. it's completely silent at night, so the smallest sound seems amplified. it always sounds menacing for some reason.

one night there was a guy whose ex-girlfriend was living in the block of flats next door. he spent at least an hour in a drunken stupor walking up and down the hill screaming obscenities at her, her current boyfriend, speculating on what it is they might be doing inside, and what he would do to them if he got in. she screamed back occasionally. eventually he gave up and walked somewhere else, but you could hear him shouting for at least another ten minutes, getting fainter and fainter.

it's the sound of aggressive swearing i think. it's so hard and harsh. you'd think i'd be used to the sound these days, but it's all to do with the context. when someone swears in casual conversation it can be slightly jarring, or completely bland, particularly if they swear as verbal punctuation (like someone saying, for example, "i went to the f-ing shops"...i mean, what did the shops do?). but when someone is angry and aggressive the words take on a much more threatening tone. which, i suppose, is the point.

here come the cops. and an ambulance. and everyone's getting upset and the voices are getting heated again. people will play to any audience.
what am i still doing awake? i hate it when you stay up too late and you reach the point where you should be eating another meal. you get hungry but you don't want to eat because you might go to bed soon, but invariably you don't and you end up staring at a computer screen with a headache and a grumbling belly.

well i do.

the other reason i am still up is that i have run out of book. i finished lord of the rings, having bowed to the pressure of shame at not having ever read it before, and there isn't anything to fill that uniquely shaped gap. i kind of have to shake it off. there are many books on my shelves that i could read. across a wide range of genres. the ones i feel i should get to relatively soon are:

ash by mary gentle
the crocodile fury by beth yahp
songs of the last chinese poet by ouyang yu
little, big by john crowley
prodigal summer by barbara kingsolver
bombardiers by po bronson
last of the savages by jay mcinerney

and those are only the ones i already own. that's not including the unbought books that i want to read. of the above list, two are for my thesis (big guess which ones), two i've had for ages and just haven't got around to it, one has been recommended by some very trustworthy friends but i feel guilty reading it when i should be working, and the last two belong to brett and i 'borrowed' them when he was still living in darlinghurst, which was quite some time ago.

sorry.

as to what i actually feel like reading, i want american gods by neil gaiman, all families are psychotic by douglas coupland, goodbye tsugumi by banana yoshimoto and probably something yummy by terry pratchett (he's like comfort food, really).

i shall stop making lists now or i'll start to evolve into amazon.com...

Saturday, 26 October 2002

i'm trying to sell a car. that's what i'm doing with my saturday, nay, my entire weekend. people are so suspicious. one guy sent his brother to look at it and he brought a guy in overalls, so i'm guessing he was or was pretending to be a mechanic. he opened the bonnet, stroked his chin, looked over the top of his glasses and muttered "not worth it, not worth it". the brother said "i'll let roger talk to you" and they left without taking it for a drive. i'm sure they planned their little performance in the car on the way over...although i don't think they are going to buy the car, even if they were going to they would have reacted the same way so they can beat me down on price.

the thing that really pissed me off about this roger guy was the fact that we had this conversation when he called earlier today:

Roger: You said it was negotiable, right?

Me: Yes...

Roger: So you'll 'look after me', alright?

Me: Well...

Roger: Cos I don't have a lot of money.

Me: Neither do I.

Roger: But you live in Glebe.

will someone explain to me what that has to do with anything? yes, i live in glebe. i live in a rented house with my mother and brother, according to the recent census i fall into the 'battler' wage bracket, and i'm trying to sell a decent car for a paltry $4000. but because i live in glebe, apparently that means that i have a secret swiss bank account and am trying to rip everyone off.

the thing about glebe that i like is the fact that although there are some wealthy people, there are students, grungey people, ferals, conservative people, families, young people, old people, slightly odd people, slightly normal people...basically everyone fits in somewhere and you don't have to match a certain demographic to feel comfortable.

so i hope roger doesn't ring me back to try and 'negotiate'. i don't particularly want to be beaten down by some guy who thinks that i'm a rich snob when he hasn't even met me or come in person to look at the thing he wants to buy.

grumble.

Thursday, 24 October 2002

i've decided to use this blog as a bit of a drawing board. some sketches, some shady characters, a bit of experimentation. here you will have the breathtaking privilege of reading snippets of works in progress. mainly it's a ploy to make it look like i'm writing a lot...transparent, i know.

also, you can comment. which may or may not be a good thing.




Gabriel sat very patiently. He was sick of waiting but he tried very hard to look as though he was happy sitting on the hard, cold bench as he had been for the last hour. He caught the eye of Angelica, sitting opposite, and smiled. She looked away.

He sighed and looked down at his feet. White sandshoes. He hated the things. So ordinary. So inelegant. His feet looked like a pair of oversized dinner rolls, and he personally didn’t find them any more comfortable or practical than the shoes he used to wear.

He didn’t like white much, either. He would have preferred an all black ensemble, but if you wore black it meant you were otherwise affiliated. Sometimes he wondered why such distinctions were even necessary. Nobody seemed to care anymore; the uniforms certainly didn’t get the recognition they had in the old days. There had been minor reforms over the years to fit in with changing modes of fashion, but as far as Gabriel could see there was no style involved. No imagination. No sense of humour. At least in the past there had been the frills and furbelows expected of his station. Now there was an all-purpose white suit, white shirt, white tie. And white sandshoes. He sighed.

“Gabriel!” He heard his voice called out, and he stood up. Angelica gave him a look as he passed, a look that seemed to exude resentment and dislike. Except they weren’t allowed to feel resentment and dislike, so it must have been a trick of the light, he surmised as he walked across the courtyard.

“How are you today, Gabriel?” Marianne smiled as he approached, handing him a clipboard.

“Fine, Marianne. And yourself?” He signed the clipboard and handed it back to her

“Just perfect!” She smiled again as she countersigned.

I’ll just bet. He thought, watching her flick through a set of files. When is she not perfect? Perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect everything. He looked at her feet. I’ll bet she even likes the shoes.

“Here we are!” She handed him a large envelope with his name on it. “Have a great day!”

“But I always do,” he simpered back, and she laughed. He got into the lift and pulled the wrought iron grille shut behind him.

He supposed there were negative aspects to every job. It wasn’t that it was a terrible occupation, but it felt like he’d been doing the same old thing for centuries. Day in, day out, helping others his only purpose, his only reward. There weren’t any other options, though – what else could he possibly be?

The lift stopped. He opened the grille and stepped out into another working day.
a strange blergging glitch below. have no idea how that happened, but now it won't let me in to edit, just sends me on a loop around forbidden ozemail pages. weird. (don't worry, you didn't miss anything interesting...)
in an attempt to break the so-called writer's block, i have resurrected the blerg. while updates may be infrequent and the content questionable, if i at least try to write often, something may indeed happen.

if you have read any of the other areas of this site, you'll notice that the stories are all first person, rather melancholy, reflections on relationships and such. while i think that's a perfectly valid thing, when they're all collected together like this it makes me wonder why my output has been so one-eyed. in recent times i have tried to write in the third person, and often those stories are fun and ramble on for pages, but i suddenly lose interest. i may soon post one or some of them in an attempt to force myself to finish something!

i find myself quite captivated by an image or a moment, and less by great story arcs or intricate plot. i'm often quite surprised to find, reading over something, that there was a plot in there, as it ususally felt as though i was stumbling around in the dark! i suppose that's why i write in a fragmented style most of the time, as it captures those 'moments'. i'm not sure if it's frustrating to read - is it? do let me know.

i suppose that's what the story