She is Infinity

Twelve years ago, give or take some days, two women introduced themselves over the call centre partition that separated their desks.

We both worked ingloriously in the personal loans department of a finance company, and the office had decided to move floors. We’d never met, until that day.

I might have passed her off for your average wedding band toting Indian woman. Except she dressed wrongly. And spoke the Queen’s English too loudly. And exhibited the kind of dark humour that instantly recognised my own.

She might have passed me off for your standard snooty white girl. Except for the book lying on my desk, boldly announcing my current ethical dilemma, The Battle with Beef.

“What’s the book you’re reading?” She asked, and so began a lengthy conversation about my studies, and anthropology, and the general state of the universe.

Then she asked to read one of my essays.

From that day forward, she read every single word I put to paper. And in the course of time, reminded me what it was I once dreamed of becoming. She still does – and a whole lot more besides.

I wouldn’t say her twelve years of belief in me have been well spent. There’s only one thing scarier than having no one who believes. And that’s finding someone who does.

Somehow, despite my flair for self sabotage, she still has faith.

In all the years we’ve known each other, I’ve never been able to put into words what it is she means to me. I’d say it’s past time, wouldn’t you?

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Gustav Klimt – Water Snakes II

Seems like a lifetime ago, yesterday
Our names were introduced.
What’s in a name?

It’s a cataclysm
A beginning and an end
A whole new looking glass.

You gave me, me.
You gave me, you.
You gave me, infinity.

Who knew that worlds apart
Together
We would find a home?

Sometimes I think I ruined you
And even as I do
Your eternal hope meets my eternal gloom…

Never too late, you say.
Take my hand, and shed another skin
Of new tomorrows.

Secret lives and
Sacred lies and
Finally we come into the light.

Sometimes I wish time stood still
So we could be who we were yesterday
Today.

Everyday I wish that I could be
The woman you make me want to be
Tomorrow.

The one who turns to You
And says
It’s all going to be alright.

This is not the end.
This is the beginning
Of the Age of Us.

Twelve years to infinity
And not a moment left to lose
Except with you.

Thank you, Aneeta. My Heroine. My Goddess. My Infinity. 😉

If you had to thank someone for the person you are today, who would it be?

Plastics PostScript

“A thing’s greatest weakness
is also its greatest strength.”

~ Horrorshow (reworked)

So I freaked myself out with last week’s post. I had a dream where I visited the future.

Took a drive and found myself airborne over Seattle. We flew higher and higher and I was feeling greener and greener…

I cast a glance over my shoulder through the rear windscreen. There, in the process of construction, snaked a giant coastal fortress made entirely of rubbish.

“Holy crap,” I thought, “we’re living in Wall-E!!”

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It’s almost the sequel to a dream I had 18 years ago.

My family were shipwrecked at sea. The lone survivor, I was washed up in the year 2020 where everything moved at warp speed – even the garbage collection, which was taken up by little men in green spacesuits, running around with industrial sized wheelie bins!

It’s frightening living in my brain. I promise after this I’ll stop talking rubbish 😉

But a couple of things were brought to my attention this week that I had to share.

First, the ugly beautiful.

Chris Jordan, the filmmaker of the shocking albatross story, is also an artist. He’s created an amazing series of images that put into perspective the  “increasingly enormous, incomprehensible and overwhelming” reality of our collective existence. Check it out – it’ll blow your mind! Thanks Sean Bidd for the share 🙂

Second, the plastic fantastic.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Valerie Davies pointed me to a man in Japan who has invented a “plastic-to-oil-fantastic” solution to all the non-recyclable plastics we consume. Just check out this video (thanks, Valerie!):

“The home is the oil field of the future.”

~ Akinori Ito

With incredible simplicity, this man has put a solution within reach of all us little people. Together with Boyan Slat’s ocean hoover, and our own efforts to reduce plastic usage, change suddenly seems infinitely more achievable.

I think I’m on the verge of doing something drastic. Like selling the car to buy one of these oil making machines (as of last update, the cost was $12,700 US).

We already have the answers to all the world’s problems. As some of you pointed out, what’s missing is the awareness and, quite possibly, the will. But maybe with one, comes the other – and when that happens…

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Butterfly Nebula – image source NASA

…shine, shine, dead star shine.

~ Horrorshow

Think I’ve done my dash with horror stories for this month! I’m changing my fortnightly schedule to continue from this week, as I’ll be caught up with family commitments on the off weekends.

So, until next time, have a Happy Halloween!

Message in a Bottle

“Why move through the oceans
if the oceans can move through you?”

~ Boyan Slat

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‘Manta Ray Cleaning Station’ courtesy NOAA’s National Ocean Service

A few months ago I clicked on a YouTube link that said “this film should be seen by the entire world!”

Yeah, right. I thought. Which twerk is it this time?

But, for once, the claim was true. If you haven’t already, please watch it. I don’t care if it gives you nightmares, because WE ALL DID THIS.

The images from that video have been burned in my brain, suffocating me (and no doubt the million other viewers) with despair because I can’t do a thing about it.

Or so I thought.

Luckily, someone much cleverer than I am is working on a solution Right Now.

Watch this TEDx talk and tell me you’re not blown away by the simplicity of an idea that began with one small admission:

“It will be very hard to convince everyone in the world to handle their plastics responsibly, but what we humans are very good at, is inventing technical solutions to our problems.”

What that reads to me is:

Let’s just admit we’re not going to change (this century), and find another way until we do…

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‘Why’ courtesy Andrea Zanivan

Inside the shell of memory
I hear
The squalling of the ocean
And the sound of
Hope on our horizon
Washing out to sea.

What’s the message
In the bottle
She would send to me?

She giveth and
She taketh away
And somewhere
Out of sight and mind
There lies an answer
Buried in the bellies
Of our shame.

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
And everything returns
From whence it came.

Deliverance.

Follow the current
And we find
The sirens’ call is not
The journey’s end.

What price – Hope?
What cost – Dreams?

Surrender.

Not to what we should be
But to what it is we are.
Nine tenths of reality.
Could change be
As simple as
The turning of the tide
Of what we see?

Sure, there are the critics out there who say this just won’t work. But the best ideas always sound far fetched – until they do. Does that mean we shouldn’t even ask ‘What if’?

“We created this mess. Heck, we even invented this new material [plastic] before we made this mess! So please. Don’t tell me we can’t clean this up. Together.”

~ Boyan Slat
19 yo Aerospace Engineering Student

Tell me, what do you hear? Naivety? Arrogance? Or possibility?

Road Map

Since my last post, when I discovered no one else wants to go to Mars, I’ve been pondering the source of this ever present need for escape.

You’d think a wholesome upbringing in the country, with home grown vegies and hand made saw mills, might have set me straight.

But maybe I forgot to mention the part where my family was less garden-variety-hippie and more monogamous-Juniper-Creek-meets-Nostradamus freaky.

Growing up, the future my father had mapped out for me was one that would assuredly end.

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1833 meteorite shower – A Great Disappointment

The Truth, according to Dad, was that the world should have imploded back in 1844 (or was it 1833?) after the sky fell in somewhere over North America. So now we were literally on borrowed time. A fact, I felt strongly, that he resented on account of having hungry mouths to feed.

As for Y2K. Pfft. We’d be long gone by then.

In eighth grade, we moved interstate. My new English teacher set us an assignment. We had to draw a timeline of the future.

Mine went something like this.

Someone clever would invent an electronic device that would replace our windscreens. So when we drove around, we’d be looking at dots on a moving map, instead of cars on a road.

Road Map to Future

Then, sometime before the Year 2000, the world would end. And we’d all go to heaven and watch the evil undead burn for a thousand years before we made it back to earth for a fresh start.

After I handed in the graphically illustrated project, my teacher came up to me, “Do you really believe all that?”

“Yes.” I said, without a blink. I didn’t understand then why she walked away looking mentally disturbed.

After that, she kept offering to take me on her family outings. I think she was trying to get me away from my parents. But alas, we moved states again and that was that. I never did get my assignment back.

Year 2000 came and went.

With it, this feeling, like you’re standing in a silent, unfamiliar universe, wondering what comes next.

You wouldn’t think so, but there’s something freeing about that space.

Dreams don’t always work out. It’s not the end of the world (unless that was your dream, and then yeah, that kinda sucks).

But moving on to the more positive spin. It’s a chance to start over. Again.

HeavenWTF

On those days when I feel like my life’s an epic failure, I think about the Year 2000.

Next to an apocalypse, somehow it doesn’t really seem to matter quite so much. What matters is what’s left – and that is You.

No road map. No future. Just You at the end of the earth.

You could do nothing. But, then again, you could do anything, as well. It could be heaven, if you wanted it to be. What have you got to lose?

Where’s your road map taking you? Does it have a reset button?

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Credit for images is as follows:

‘Flaming gold’ by Paloetic
‘Earth horizon’ by DonkeyHotey

Fast Forward to the Fifties

So it’s official. Australia is returning to the 1950’s freakin’ dark ages.

Remember this guy from my post a few weeks back?

Ditch WitchThe guy who happily stood in front of the “Ditch the Witch…Bob Brown’s Bitch” banner, and then said Julia Gillard was being “too precious”?

Yep. It obviously struck a chord with my fellow country-folk, because he’s our new Prime Minister as of last weekend!

With Tony Abbott at the helm, this is what we have to look forward to:

Foreign AidNo more charity (but better roads)

Courtesy of our mining boom, we weathered the global financial crisis better than any country on the globe. Now we’re apparently too rich to help out anyone in need.

Stop Boats

No more refugees

We’re so rich we can now afford to buy up all of Indonesia’s leaky boats before the people smugglers get to them. Innovative new plan to →

No more climate change

Climate Tax

Since Abbot believes climate change is just a load of “crap”, there’s no more need for any kind of forward environmental planning.

More ironing for housewives

In the world according to Abbot, women have less physiological aptitude for leadership, and abortion is just ‘the easy way out’. So we can soon expect a return to this…

Laundry

Yay……………………………………….

Help.

Anyone?

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to get back to the…

Future

1.  Volunteer for Mars.

If my head hadn’t been buried in the video project that will never end, maybe I would have heard about it before the applications closed.

2.  Become a refugee.

The other day my hairdresser told me about a backpacker who overstayed her Visa.  She escaped on an Indonesian boat and is now happily posting Facebook updates from Nepal! I’m all up with the squatting toilet now, so this is sounding good. One small problem: They’re stopping all the boats!

3.  Become a hippie.

The same hairdresser asked me if I want to join her setting up a commune. All I need is $100,000. Sigh. Apparently it costs money to drop out of society, these days.

4.  Wash it all down with Martini and write this blog.

The 50’s were good for something, at least.

Martini

”Cause we’re all doomed, even if we’re livin’ on the moon…’

~ Brett Amaker  & the Rodeo

If someone offered you a ticket, would you move to Mars?

The Bittersweet Escape

Ever had a gut feeling that you shouldn’t do something, but did it anyway?

I’m blaming it on cabin fever, because the forecast really wasn’t any good for a day trip.

It was Sunday morning, and I was doing my little “need to get me outta this joint” routine, so before long, Ms and I were sailing away to greener pastures…

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Meet Noojee. An Aboriginal word that means ‘place of rest’ or ‘contentment’.

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Just say it. Noo-jee.

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Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

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The stares we got when we reached our destination were less than warm and fuzzy, just like the bartender’s polite suggestion that we dine down at the bistro.

But I wasn’t in the mood for subtle messages that day, so I put my cider down and prepared to soak up the atmosphere.

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The table next to us was having a conversation.

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“Saw these poofters down the street the other day. They were all over each other – holdin’ hands an’ everythin’!!”

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“For real?! Aw, I wouldn’t come here if I were them…”

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It slowly dawned on me that the bartender’s gentle suggestion was probably for our own protection…

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Too late. Our meals arrived.

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The place is noted for its Chicken Parma’s (Aussie speak for chicken schnitzel with tomato sauce and cheese, usually served with chips, vegies and beer).

The food really was as good as all the hype. Even the Veggie Parma was delicious.

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We rolled out of there a few hours later, perfectly contented in the belly, and took a look around the sights.

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By the end of the day, we could hear the wind between our ears and agreed that we got just what we came for.

Driving back, I had zoned out to a bit of Aussie trance music

…when I spotted a policeman pointing from the window of his parked car.

“Was he pointing at us?” I wondered, barely registering that the 2.5 buildings we just drove past were probably meant to be a town.

Sure enough, the lights came flashing behind us. I pulled over and was informed I’d been driving 79 km/h in a 60 zone.

“There goes my overtime,” says Ms.

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All $289 worth of it.

We re-traced our steps through the ‘drop-in-the-dirt town’, as Ms likes to call them. Found the 100m stretch of 60 zone I’d overlooked. And drove on home, subdued.

I learned many things that day. Well, a few.

  • Don’t listen to trance music on a Sunday drive in the country.
  • Do listen to the forecast your gut instinct.
  • The price of contentment is, sometimes, staying home where you belong.

When was the last time you ignored your gut instinct? Was there a lesson to be learned?

Small is Big

While many of you have been enjoying that last of summer’s sizzle, this past fortnight saw me huddled in my own bundle of mid-winter misery.

So here I was on Monday, fighting off my winter woes, when a precious little package arrived in the mail…

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Inside was a hand-painted wooden box…

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A gorgeous hand-crafted bracelet…

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A curious note…

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And a hand-written letter from a special faraway nephew

DSC01090It’s been almost a year since Pepi passed away, and his story was released into the digital landscape of endless ones and zeros.

Who knew he would capture the imagination of young men and colourful painters half a moon away, and come back to nudge me with his little button nose?

“So much personality in such a tiny package!” someone said about him, once.

And they were right. He was always so much bigger than I gave him credit for…

GiftofLove

Somehow, the writer boy reached through the fabric of reality and delivered an enormous Pepi-shaped hug – just when I needed it. I am deeply moved.

Who is Oliver Colors? Where will Pepi’s legend show up next? Only time will tell…

Thank you, Vincent Mars, for this rare and beautiful gift. YOU will never be forgotten.

Tell me about something small you feel is a BIG deal…

…..

On 21 June, I noticed a tweet by my dear Twitter pal, Tessa, that read:

“Paul’s very ill…Scared witless. Ambulances here.”

Not knowing it was the evening of her birthday, I immediately replied, sending hope that everything would be okay.

It wasn’t.

A few hours later, I was hearing the unthinkable words…

“The love of my life, one beautiful, funny, rock of a man has died.”

Since then, though we brush paths on Twitter, I observe her grief, feeling utterly helpless that, in this digital world, all we have are words. And empty words of comfort don’t do justice to a thing like this.

This is my personal attempt to imagine what it must be like to lose someone so dear – which is to say, unfathomable. It’s dedicated to Tessa, just because…I don’t know what else I can do.

Empty

Emptiness is not nothingness.
It is the absence of
Something.
That was there.
Once.
A void so great
It sucks life
Out of the air
And turns you
In. Side. Out.
Unsure, anymore
What space you occupy
What time you travel
Non-linear as the day
They left.

Black Hole

Where am I?
Who am I?
Were you even here?
And if so,
Show me the exact
Dimensions of the space
So I can stuff it full and
Shut. The. Door.

Locked Door

But no.
It’s a space where only you can go.

Never the same
For having met you.
Forever changed
Now that you’re gone.

Am I supposed to thank you?
Am I supposed to curse the day
You ever came and made a place
Where only memories
Echo
Loudly of your loss?

Time heals all
Blah blah blah
Well, fuck time.
And fuck the big bang who created it.
I’ll exist.
Right here
Beside you.
Wherever it is that you went.
Until we’re done…..

Please visit Tessa’s post on Paul, while you’re there, read the Valentine’s Day post she wrote for him last year. Send her some love…

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Credit for original source images is as follows:

‘Dark tunnel – Please stay here’ by Karoly Czifra
‘Empty page’ by Shirin Winiger

Mad at Monet

Last week, I received a message on social media that went something along the lines of:

“You must be very busy. Too busy for me. I’ll stop bugging you, Alarna.”

The message came two days after our previous interaction, from someone well aware of the project currently taking up all my hours of screen squinting time.

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Persistence of Chromatic Memory by Jan

It would have been so easy to fling accusations and blame right back where that came from – except that I was blocked.

Forced into a moment of self-reflection, I realised.

There’s a great disconnect that seems to happen when I compare my online activities with real life.

In real life, I guard my time with the jealousy of a besieged lover…

Friends would be lucky to hear from me once in a month. My family, maybe once in a fortnight.

It’s taken years of training for them to finally understand:

When they text, they may or may not get a reply in the near future, and;
If they don’t explain the nature of the emergency, they (very likely) will not get a call back!

Now, instead of leaving me snarky messages, they call each other to compare notes, and comfort themselves in the knowledge they’re not the only ones being ignored.

So how is it, when my online interactions go beyond casual acquaintance that daily conversations start to be the norm?

Truth is, home alone in the office, faced with jobs you’d rather not do, it’s all too tempting to go on virtual walk about…

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facebookgooglepluskik-button2youtubelinkedinflickrpinterestbloggrinstagram-buttonBy the time you realise you’re enjoying being needed just that little bit too much, you’ve also built up an expectation that you’ll always be there.

Anytime of night or day.

And the rest, as ‘they’ say, is History…

It’s so much harder to break bad habits, than it is to make good in the first place.

So whom do we blame? The ghost in the machine with ADD? Or the attention starved grown up, outside?

A couple of weeks ago, Ms and I took her mother for a birthday treat to see the Monet exhibition at the National Gallery.

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The Seine near Giverny by Claude Monet

The nuances of light captured in his paintings are what might now pass for time-lapse photography. Only instead of a camera, it was a man standing for twelve hours a day, honing his paintbrush with the precision of a lens.

On these working trips, he’d write to his wife, bemoaning the isolation. He couldn’t even reply to his friends, because his work required his ‘total dedication’.

When I read those words, instead of admiring his immense discipline and focus, I suddenly found myself having one of those ‘lucky bastard’ moments.

“He didn’t have to deal with social media, lucky bastard.”

“Neither do you,” piped in Ms, which just made me all the madder.

But she had a point.

How do we expect to create, when we have one eye fixed permanently on whatever social media widget(s) takes our current fancy?

It really has nothing to do with being busy.
It’s about creative focus.

Silly as it might be, I was mad at Monet, because there was no one left to blame but me for my fragmented brain.

We blame ‘them’ for making the rules of engagement, and robbing us of our focus and our peace of mind. But in the end, who are ‘they’ except ‘us’ – which means You. And. I?

‘They’ may not like it, but we do have the power to say ‘no’.

It’s times like this I wish I could get off this planet and issue a general apology for ever being sociable…

You know what I’m saying?

Switching Up the Roles

Women in Australia have just been royally screwed.

Julia Gillard, our first female Prime Minister, kicked out of leadership two months before the next election, in preference for her predecessor, Kevin Rudd.

Okay. It is true. She did kinda oust Kevin in his first term of government. But what everyone seems to forget is that her party put her up to it – with a VOTE!!

Her reward for being a team player was negotiating a hostile hung parliament through three years of extraordinary reforms. Being the target of a vicious media campaign. And then being dumped as unceremoniously as she started out.

Here are some of the headlines we got to enjoy while she was PM:

Julia Gillard

Ju-LIAR – Bob Brown’s Bitch

Her fatherdied of shame

Ditch the Witch

She should be put in a chaff bag and thrown out to sea

She’s been served up on an Liberal (Opposition) Party function menu as “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – small breast, big thighs and a big red box”.

And recently, asked if her male hairdresser partner is gay.

There are some in the media who would have us believe that “women are destroying the joint” and others who feel quite comfortable telling journalists “women should shut up in public”.

To top it all off, any sign of disapproval is met with the accusation we’re just “too precious” and “playing the gender card”!

Thank god for GetUp, who established a Gender Card campaign to address the “deep, rank, sexist bullshit” in this country.

I mean, seriously. What the hell century are we living in again?

On the up side, representation of women in Australian media and politics is apparently reaching a 30% critical threshold. So maybe that’s why the old fellas are getting all hysterical…

What you mad? Can’t handle that?

By the way, Happy Independence Day, America!

If you could switch roles, what’s the first thing you would do?