Monday, November 29, 2004


i accidentally deleted my template. damn. consequently, this is what my blog now looks like. the 'recent posts' thing on the right is ugly, i know, but i'll work on that. likewise with the links to other blogs... i'll work out some way of setting up a permanent links bit. looks like i've unintentionally effected a large-scale renovation on the blog.

i left my phone at a party last night - it's lovely. no calls, no immediate connection with the entire world. does anyone still use pagers these days?

anyway. *cracks champagne on blog* here's to a new template. i should go to bed.

What I would like, more than anything in the world, is time to read. I picture myself with simple equipment - two square books, perhaps a pen and notebook - at the State Library, reading. I would like to peruse the letters, without the demand to quickly amalgamate all these theories and philosophies in my mind. This would be a state of contemplation, of looking over balanced sentences, in which I would pen not interrogations and rash questions, but whatever came to my mind. I would work my way through clear, restrained works, with balance. Another world, with puzzles in place of passions.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

They should release dogs without bumholes.

I say this as I look at my sausage dog (L-O-L-A Lola, like the Kinks song) lying beside me, placid and sweet as she snoozes infront of the heater. I know that any moment now, when she is sufficiently relaxed, her anal glands (yes, unlike humans, dogs have anal glands - they do the same job as the hose does on slip 'n slide-type water toys) will let out the most acerbic, nauseating, haunting stench, to which my only response will be to gag and rush her outside in a flurry of repulsion. You'll be patting her, cooing at her, she'll look rumpled and sleepy - and then, she skunks. It's really quite a barrier in our relationship. Kind of like how Buffy and Angel could never get together, lest Angel experience total happiness and then... Well, I didn't watch the show. But you know what I'm talking about.

Meanwhile, my other dog, Pip the whippet, has hurt his leg, so he had to wear a bandage last night. He was so cute! Dogs dressed up as humans, it never ceases to amuse. There's nothing like projecting human emotions and attributes onto animals. It's surely the lowest of the low, of course, as far as humour is concerned. Even so, I do indulge in this low-brow activity. Like this calendar I saw once in Borders, which had pictures of frogs with hats on - I titter everytime I think of it. Heheh... one was wearing a floral dress, too. Ahh, stupid-looking frogs. Pure gold.

(I would post about something other than my dogs, but they're really all I have at the moment.)
new blog!

i have - or rather, i am contributing to - a new blog: the picnic folk. yay, blogging...

[&catherine apologies for this interruption to &so this is christmas' regular schedule of essay-related angst.]

Friday, November 12, 2004

This is John Howard's response to the death of Yasser Arafat:

"I think history will judge him very harshly for not having seized the
opportunity in the year 2000 to embrace the offer that was very courageously
made by the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, that involved the Israelis
agreeing to about 90 per cent of what the Palestinians wanted."

I hate it when politicians make appeals to this figure of History as final judge and arbitrator! Really and truly, where is this great umpire supposed to be sitting? I wasn't aware that this was a tennis match. I thought teleological views of history were supposed to have died out in the 19th Century. But no, here it is, John Howard has endorsed the view that one day a great Cosmic Arbiter will reach out his giant finger, place it against the globe of the earth to stop it spinning, and then start drawing up tallies of Good and Evil in His Holy Excel Spreadsheet. Though I suppose it's not as absurd as when Bush talked about "the dustbin" of history, as if History were a movie in the making and the Nazis ended up on the cutting room floor.

Why doesn't Howard just come out from the bushes and admit that what he's really talking about is history, as judged by John Winston Howard? Oh, that's right, because that would involve the indication of subjective judgement taking place, and then misguided souls might mistakenly get it into their heads that all views of these things are political - and heaven forbid that we become skeptical about this so-called "bi-partisan" blather, intended to stifle debate by pretending that there wasn't ever one happening in the first place...

PS. Is there any place - the T. A. B. perhaps? - where I could place a bet about what Age columnist and long-time neurotic-about-the-left-winger Gerard Henderson will devote his next column to? $5 says it's the hypocrisy of the left in mourning Arafat.

PPS. Oh, and $10 says that Pamela Bone's next one mentions Rwanda. I reckon I could nail a trifecta at this rate...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Listening to Genesis' "Jesus He Knows Me" - an appropriate warm-up song for a Bush rally if ever there were one. Go and download it, post haste.

Have been worrying so much about the work that I am avoiding that I gave myself stress-induced stomach pains over the weekend. Possibly psychosomatic. Yes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Zizek on the recent Bush victory - "The Liberal Waterloo (Or, finally some good news from Washington!)". As ever, Zizek is good for shaking you to your senses, but deliberately useless for 'helping' you decide what to do or think...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

"There's still time..." - the problem with time is that it is quicksand, not solid ground. It looks, when the imagination projects itself onto future days, like a buffer zone between the real me and warded-away ordeals and strife. But that's its deception - time is always ebbing away, it's melting ice, nothing that you can stand on. Even so - it's vulgar to talk about it like this.

(seeing a spider in the corner of my eye, drifting and billowing its legs out up under the computer chair one metre away from me) - Jesus Christ, spiders are horrifying.

I don't know if a sense of humour is a defensible thing. I'll elaborate a little - I'm not trying make jokes and jar you when I write this; I'm trying to be felicitous instead.


The destructive character has no interest in being understood. Attempts in this direction he regards as superficial. Being misunderstood cannot harm him. On the contrary he provokes it, just as oracles, those destructive institutions of the state, provoked it. The most petty of all bourgeois phenomena, gossip, comes about only because people do not wish to be misunderstood. The destructive character tolerates misunderstanding; he does not promote gossip.
Walter Benjamin, "The Destructive Character", One-Way Street
2 things: 1. It looks to me, from where I sit, that so much theory and philosophy and opinion and perspective has built up over the last 2,500 years - but particularly in the past 100, and especially in the last 40 or 20 - that I shall never be able to dig to the bottom of it and find anything. All I can obtain is a partial picture. Which is a lie, of course - I don't find anything in my reading, I just churn up and rearrange what has always been 'inside me'. (Though perhaps with some new bits...?)

2. This article by Zadie Smith on Franz Kafka and the novel is quite good. Rather amusing, too.

3. (it's on at the moment -) "Nothing Compares 2 u" is a glorious song - and part of this lies in the way the relationship is all there is in the singer's life. "I go out every night and sleep all day..." - note the lack of going to work, thinking of banal everyday, quotidian things - a relationship has eclipsed everything else. It's the Sex and the City view of the world - all personal. The utopia of ... well, everyone with to-work-and-home-again lives, which if you think about it, is probably almost everyone...

('2 things' turned into '3' when Sinead came on...)

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I'm yet to settle in a comfortable relationship with this blog.
I'm still up all alone with my two dogs.
I'm yet to hand in anything on time.
I think I miss the sun - I want some wine.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Tomorrow / today is Melbourne Cup Day, and I think that this is a beautiful thing. Why? Because it is a public holiday, and therefore a day in which more people than usual are doing NOTHING, absolutely nothing. There is such waste – betting money spent. And sure, a few crooks will be sitting at the top, scooping up the cream. But this is a small blot on something with many advantages. (Oh sure, you could get all Marxist and claim that this short time of debauchery is just “a spoonful of sugar” to help the foul-tasting medicine of wage slavery go down. But who wants to be thinking sensibly at this time of the morning?)

I found, today, a Baudelaire poem that I think I shall pin up above my desk or somewhere like that – actually, perhaps not near my desk, as it would better sit above those places that I go to hide when I should be forcibly farting out essays. Nonetheless, here it is, in a translation by James McGowan. (Wow, there’s a squashed spider in the book – it’s the most perfectly symmetrical things that I’ve seen all day, so long as one discounts the blob of dried spider fluid that is also preserved between the pages.)

The Clock ("L'Horloge")

The Clock! a sinister, impassive god
Whose threatening finger says to us: 'Remember!
Soon in your anguished heart, as in a target,
Quivering shafts of Grief will plant themselves;

Vaporous Joy glides over the horizon
The way a slyphid flits into the wings;
Each instant eats a piece of the delight
A man is granted for his earthly season.

Three thousand and six hundred times an hour
The Second sighs, Remember! - Suddenly
That droning insect Now says: I am Past
And I have sucked your life into my nostril!

Esto memor! Remember! Souviens-toi!
(My metal throat speaks out in every language)
Don't let the minutes, prodigal, be wasted-
They are the ore you must refine for gold!

Remember, Time is greedy at the game
And wins on every roll! perfectly legal.
The day runs down; the night comes on: remember!
The water-clock bleeds into the abyss.

Soon sounds the hour when Chance the heavenly,
When Virtue the august, eternal virgin,
When even (oh! your last retreat) Repentance,
Will tell you: Die old coward! it's too late!'


No more comment from me. Other than to say that 'one more for the road' is an imprudent motto when the road extends only from the computer to bed...

Monday, November 01, 2004

Where has Tim gone? Go on, Tim, we've all seen you lurking about the Symposiasts' comment boxes, give us a shout... I want you to post more about music that I've never heard of, so that I can again feel understudied in an area of life that is important to me.

Actually, on second thoughts...

In other news, I voted for the first time for Australian Idol tonight (once for Casey, once for Courtney, if I must reveal those cards also). Why? Because the trifecta from hell of Howard, Bush and Anthony would see me slashing my wrists before the end of November. And my death would render all this Honours application-writing completely useless, among other inconveniences. So I allowed myself to be in-sucked into spending the money that I do not have, once more.

(And I tried Passion Pop the other week, too - talk about totally selling out. Actually, it was quite nice. But shh.)