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Jul. 21st, 2009

Prayer

Glowing

Still glowing from the sunny weekend.

The impending and supposedly ominous deadline for two projects of mine on the same day - friday next week - refuses to create a sense of dread in the wake of a string of sunny days and a weekend with friends. But its not JUST that. The office has finally decided it would be a good idea to employ someone with office management skills, whose main task is to ensure that all the projects are adequately resourced, without tantrums and bitching and people working till midnight and falling over in exhaustion. 3 years 4 months 2 weeks I've been complaining about it.
 
How modern.

The weekend included a gathering of nudists, an alcoholiday among mates in the cross, intense yoga session with my new teacher, tender filthiness with b-bear, vegetarian roasting experimentation, Harry Potter, industrial-architecture-porn, wanky/creepy art installations, sunning on the harbour, and a little bit of housework. And I found a lamp on the side of the road that works perfrectly. It has a ceramic cube base that looks like woven leather, and a white linen cube shade on top.

How modern.

I think I might see what kind of unlikely jigsaw I can create this weekend. That was fun.

Jul. 13th, 2009

Jebus spunk

Grubby little scraps

I am reading 'The Bilnd Assassin' and ejoying it thoroughly. Margaret Atwood, delving again into small town domestic disfunction in Canada, managed to put the experience of finding Atheism into a single sentence. In this case as a consequence of witnessing war.

"Over the trenches God burst like a balloon, and there was nothing left of him but grubby little scraps of hypocricy."

Thankyou Margaret.

Jul. 9th, 2009

Piss Christ

Taxi to hell

Today I'm on the way to a site meeting at the school I'm designing for. I caught a taxi or the taxi caught me, let me explain.

I left the office and started to cross the street, and a taxi stopped on the other side before I had made it off the kerb. Good fortune,
I think. I tell the driver the suburb and he asks me what I do for a living.

I'm an architect. I design schools.

Thats very.... impressive. He seems to be trying out conversation.

The driver pulls out a wad of pages and asks me in reasonably good second language Engish could I check his grammar in something he had written for his class. I look at it without saying yes, and within a few seconds I scan and glean the theme.

Ah, look no, I don't think i will if you don't mind. I'm glad of my habit to always take the rear seat and never sit beside the driver. Essentially it was an exercise for Bible class.

Oh really? Handing me a pen. Just write over anything that might be wrong.

No really I won't. I'm sure somebody else can do that for you.

Disappointment, silence. So you have not met Jesus Christ?

Ah. No. I grew up in a religious family and was taught in depth all about Jesus and studied the Bible for many years. i came to the conclusion that the stories are not real.

So for you the Bible is just a book full of stories?

Yes. Interesting stories, and many have good lessons but all just stories. God doesn't exist.

Then came  a look of incredulous horror. He looks up into the rearview mirror to see if maybe I had two horns and he hadn't noticed before. He stumbled into the old chestnut - you know the one - So all these buildings, right, they were all designed by somone. So .....

Look don't try to tell me that the world was made by God because I know it wasn't. We design things. The world wasn't designed by anybody. We don't need a god to explain how we got here.

No its different. Oh if you knew God you would know the truth.

No thats not the truth. It might be true for you but not for me.

Oh I feel sorry for you that you have not met Jesus personally and let him into your heart.

Don't feel sorry for me. Look there's this idea which you call God. Its just an idea. I have my ideas about the world. They are just ideas and we disagree.

No but God real. God in all our life, without God there is nothing. His english is getting ragged, he's getting twitchy and frantic-eyed.

Well that might be your idea of life but I see it differently. I have a very good understanding of life without god.

Oh I pray that one day you will meet Jesus, and you will know, you will know. You are lost.

Rubbish. Do you understand how insulting it is to say that? Do you know how many times I've heard the same words from other people? You just repeat what somone else tells you to. You sound like a child. Turn Here and then Right at the lights. You can let me out at the next corner.

We stopped out the front of the building with the enormous steel cross on the front wall. His face dropped and I got out without another word.

Jul. 7th, 2009

kimba

(no subject)

On the weekend I baked some stuffed capsicum, veges & beets. And leftovers the next night.

For two days I pissed rose coloured water. Its enough to put a spring in my step in the morning

Jul. 1st, 2009

portrait

train story

This morning a man fell flat on his face in front of me on the train. It didn't quite register at first, I just heard the muffled crumpling sound of a body collapsing on the floor. He was unconscious only for about 30 seconds but all my emergency response adrenaline was pumping before I knew it. He was alright, just fainted. But what struck me was the expression in his eyes as he came to - a slowly emerging surprise, like slow motion panic. I was watching closely of course to see how he was, all the signs of panic but none of the darting sudden movement.

Over about another 30 seconds I watched his consciousness reassemble in little steps. He was confused, didn't know why he was on the floor or where he was, suspicious that I had hurt him, maybe, or someone else, then slowly working out he was on a train and eventually remembering feeling a bit off colour. Sweaty face, bloodless skin, eyes wide he eventually sat up and was starting to feel a bit embarrassed and grateful when it was my stop and I left.

Few things cut through the defensive barrier everyone projects when they are crammed on the train, everyone hermetically sealed in their headphones, books, vacant distant stares - anything to avoid acknowledging the person pressed against you. But this morning a couple of complete strangers stopped to look after someone, touch him, talk with him and care for him.

Jun. 29th, 2009

Piss Christ

Its a long river

Haven't been in these parts for a while - lets see.... Jeff's birthday, and then his birthday again, hmmm... there are a few holes in that week.

I finally got my taxes done for the past 2 years, and as of this time next week I will be up to date completely including the previous 3 years and the one we are just finishing. Yep I'll admit that with finances I am in complete denial. If I don't want to see it it isn't there. Thats why I have to work hard and earn lots of money because otherwise I'd have to work out how to manage it properly.

We had a big family gathering last week for Dad's 70th birthday. It was a full day project - all effort going into resisting the obvious frictions and animosity. All smiles for the visitors. But one interesting incident - my uncle (dad's brother) asked why I haven't had a girlfriend for a while - WTF? He was so embarrassed when explained. I was really amused - they obviously don't talk. In 16 years, my sexuality, my relationships and the several major arguments in the family over the issue never rated a mention.

I guess that goes to show the level of denial and the highly advanced avoidance techniques my parents have perfected and beqeathed to us. I can only watch in admiration.

May. 31st, 2009

submerged

How I became a real estate agent....

We came to a conclusion today (not agreement: nobody is happy with it) that Bro 3 will from now on own the family home, hocked to 50%, and his business hocked to 70%.

It is bound by several other contracts which mean he can't do anything with the house, can't sell it, can't refinance it etc, and Mum and Dad are lifetime tenants. The 4 bros are end owners when his debt is paid, if it ever is.

It means rewriting the title deeds, his will, my parents will, 3 new nuptial contracts to keep bros wives out of it, and .....I made my own proviso that from here on, since his business acumen is now the arbiter of our asset, that I am now a non executive director in his business, on behalf of my parents, for whom I am legal guardian. I'm party to all his major business decisions from here on. Fuck.

In some bizarre twist of fate I just became a real estate agent.

In other news I visited my friend Rick. His puppies are beautiful and fluffy.

May. 30th, 2009

Piss Christ

So it goes.

A few weeks back I got a call out of the blue from a stranger, telling me he had just arrived from Israel and had a gift for me from my ex Ziv. I was shocked - we have not been in touch for at least 3 years, maybe 5?, and we had no way of contacting each other anymore. Except my mobile number hasn't changed - ever - and Ziv apparently managed to remember one important detail about me through the fog of an allday/everyday dope habit.

So last night in the rainstorm I met up with Raphael, only to realise I know him - as Michael - and had a long glass of wine and told stories for hours. The parcel had a couple of israeli pop music cds, some photos and a hand written (bizarre scrawl!) letter. Its very sweet and made me cry.

Today I wrote back by email, and attempted to recap my life in its essentials, which is hard but revealing. Seems that nothing really changes.

Yesterday I had a call from one of my brothers (bro2) to tell me that another brother (bro3) is in such deep financial shit that his business is threatening to take down my parents house and savings with it. I spent all day talking between each of my brothers and parents trying to get the story straight, trying to keep them from killing one another - and trying to find a short term solution to a demand from the bank for $250k cash by monday (yes this monday). And I succeeded at all of these impossible tasks at the expense of the work that I was actually supposed to be doing, and despite the fact that I haven't spoken with any of them since I was deliberately treated like shit on Christmas day.

It turns out that the financial situation was partly known about by several people back then (bro1 and bro3) but nobody was speaking openly about it. Instead a poisonous undercurrent of accusation, resentment and anger was churning around the room before I walked in the door. It all suddenly makes sense but I am once again left wondering who the hell my real family is because this bunch of molluscs has nothing to in common with me on any human level. Emotionally crippled, uncommunicative perriwinkles.

Today I go to the family ranch (if its still ours) to negotiate a settlement. Seems bro3 is something like $1.2M in debt. Fuck. He has known since August. He waited until this week to put his $100k car on the market. Cunt.

Yesterday on the train Billy Pilgrim said "So it goes".

May. 13th, 2009

Piss Christ

Readings retrospectively

On the train tonight I finished Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and I am convinced it is one of the best things I've read in my life. A wholly satisfying story perfectly told through the voice of a woman, who you never can decide if guilty or not of a savage double murder. That takes some skill. I love the minute detail of her daily life, a servant in a small remote town in colonial Canada; washing, cooking, sewing, preserving food, all by hand before chemical or machines. And woven through with awkward archaic turns of phrase and antique etiquette. Today i learned a new name for 'dust bunnys', 'floor fluff', or whatever else you call the tumbleweed of hair, dust, dead skin and insect fragments that gather under beds and behind cupboards: "Sluts Wool"

Thankyou Margaret for expanding my essential vocabulary.

But its useless to say its the best thing I've read in a long time since its not true. In the past 18 months I've read a surprising number of excellent books and I just keep getting blown away. I had an irresistible urge to list them in reverse, back to when I finished the marathon of Les Miserable at the beginning of 2008....

Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
Player of Games - Iain M Banks
The Philosopher & The Wolf - Mark Rowland
Consider Phlebus - Iain M Banks
Payback - Margaret Atwood
The Velvet Rage - Alan Downes
The Steep Approach to Garbadale - Iain Banks
Look to Windward - Iain M Banks
When You Are Engulfed In Flames - David Sedaris
Whit - Iain Banks
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Leviathan - John Birmingham
24 Hour Party People - Tony Wilson
The Crow Road - Iain Banks
Mates And Lovers - Chris Brickell
God Is Not Great - Christopher Hitchens
Excession - Iain M Banks
The Vintner's Luck - Elizabeth Knox
A Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Wicked - Gregory Maguire
Les Miserable - Victor Hugo

That's 21 books in 18 months, 3 months on Les Miz alone, & 7 books by Banks. A testament to the hours spent on public transport, my hermitage social life, or an abiding love of words. Or all three. I'm especially happy to have been introduced to Atwood and Banks - big ideas in tiny detail.

I'll start Use Of Weapons tomorrow.

May. 7th, 2009

portrait

Bring on the 4 day week!

At the end of another 4 day week I've decided that a four day weekend once a month or so would be just about the right pace for me.... I'm proud of my forethought to book extra time off around the workshop in Melbourne. I got to spend time catching up with Peter, seeing a few galleries and a trip to the zoo. And as a bonus he practiced some photography on me, giving me a few surprisingly good portraits. I made some comment in conversation, that ironically enough I have very few photos of myself. When I arrived home next night he gave me a disk with literally hundreds of pictures of me from the past 5 years or so. Jaw, floor.

Evidently I can't post pics since I am downloading software updates and I have The Slowest Internet Service in The Western World Rudd 2007,2008,2009

Body Electric was well worth the trip. And it was a trip. For it to sidestep my abundant skepticism and armory of cynicism toward nery a sniff of quasi religious touchy feely, I applaud the guys who put this together. I'm still processing my experience, it was pretty intense, in a good way. 

The weekend before, I had my parents around for lunch. I cooked them roast lamb and, since it was a warm day, I served a greek salad with the warm lamb on top. I've been pretty pissed off about the way Christmas panned out this year. So I haven't been back to see them since, and haven't spoken with my brothers. I decided that if I'd prefer to see the folks without the rest of the mob, the decades-old pack mentality sucking the air out of the room. I swear its like Lord of The Flies. I refuse to be Piggy.

By the time they arrived and I found myself talking in a friendly way with a couple of frail old people. Nice people, with nice stories and interested in listening to mine. It was hard to be angry with them. Of course they know there is nothing they can do to affect the behaviour of my brothers now, if ever. So they accept that I won't be joining the family gatherings for a while, but I will make an effort to see them in our own time at least as often. Win win.

My eldest brother won Mum entry to a Nova FM formal ballroom event with that weird kinda creepy Austrian guy with the ugly hair, some kind of Orchestra Spectacular!! Err...  Well its exactly the kind of thing they love, so she's over the moon. They also got tickets to Caberet for May 14th, which happens to be her birthday. Could it be better? I'm really happy for mum, she's ecstatic.

Mmmmm .... bed

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