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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mormolyke's advice for children

Bliggetty blarg, I am getting sick. Hey, kids: even when you are an experienced adult drinker, remember not to drink when you're on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories! Even when you get the drinks for free!

I sold my violin on eBay for a little more than I paid for it. We're waiting for the money to clear into my bank account from Paypal. The wait is tinged with desperation. I have five dollars in cash. Every bank and credit account is in overdraft. Our cellphone service has been suspended. The game of financial catch-up is not over yet!

Having no money, yesterday I dressed Matt as Ming the Merciless for his Slow Andy gig at Murph's Other Bar. I was near hysterical with laughter, especially since the fake-fur beard I made for him resembled Brian's actual facial hair. We couldn't afford spirit gum. I was all ready to blow my $5 cash on some, but Matt counselled sense.

In the last few weeks, I have had some terrific Halloween costume brainwaves, but I lack the wherewithal or the balls to pull them off.
  1. When Jennie was heavily pregnant (SHE IS NO LONGER!!), I lobbied heavily for her and Sean (OMG CLICK FOR BABY PHOTO) to rent a donkey and go trick-or-treating as Joseph and Mary. The trick would be Mary goes into labor and Joseph freaks out and demands a room for the night. I can't actually imagine anything more awesome than this.
  2. Jesus would be a great choice, but no tongue-in-cheek zombie Jesus. I want to see gory Jesus as in The Passion of the Christ. I actually thought it would be nice to do this as a twosome and enter a Halloween parade with Jesus covered in blood dragging his cross and a Roman soldier behind him beating the crap out of him with a whip, a la A Clockwork Orange.
  3. Spread the insensitivity! If I weren't a snivelling coward, I would totally dress up as Mohammed for Halloween. Not just any Mohammed! Bomb head cartoon Mohammed! What a riot!
  4. Stephen Hawking! Come on, it would be awesome. You could carry around a computer or sampler with several phrases run through vocalization software such as "Trick or treat!" "We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star," and "I love to sex hot nurses."

Speaking of hilarious horror, check out this awesome e-mail I got the other day!
From: Holt Granger []
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2006 12:00 AM

wretched half-chink

Thanks, Holt!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Synchronicity: Lucy

In 1997, I was a sixteen-year-old first-year med student at UNSW in Sydney. There were few things I missed about my life growing up in Brisbane, but one of them was competing in drama eisteddfods.

America doesn't have anything quite like drama eisteddfods, which are basically monologue competitions, although they can also include duologue, poetry, speech, improvisation, narrative, and reading aloud events. There's at least one eisteddfod in every major Australian city, and Sydney's grand mother of them all is the drama section of the McDonald's Performing Arts Challenge.

Although I had developed a host of shallow drunken friendships at Goldstein College, I always travelled to the PAC alone. This involved a journey of around an hour and a half by bus, train, and on foot to the competition venue, a church on the other side of Sydney. On one night of the eisteddfod, I noticed a girl in the warm-up room. She seemed different. She wasn't being coached militantly or fussily by her parents, or engaging in ridiculous warm-up exercises. We caught eyes, started a conversation and found out we were competing against each other, but unlike most of the competitors, we didn't develop an instant aloofness or antagonism. When the evening was over, she asked her mother to drop me at the nearby train station. Actually, she asked her mother if I could be dropped off all the way at my college, but, given that it was so far away, that wasn't a real option. I adored her for trying, and I didn't forget her. I think she was the only person I spoke to during the entire run of the competition.

This is how I met Lucy.

A year later, I was holding auditions for Rhinoceros, which I was directing for the university theatre. Suddenly, Lucy walked into the room. We recognized each other immediately. She nailed the audition, and played Jean. She also played Constanze in my production of Amadeus.

A year later, we were living together in an apartment on Maroubra Beach, and we were constantly and consistently being amazed by how alike we were, contrary to all logic and reason. Lucy had a friend at college, Laurence, who, unbeknownst to us both, was also one of my work colleagues. One day, Laurence declared that Lucy inexplicably reminded her of someone else she knew. "It's strange," said Laurence, "because you look nothing alike." After Laurence mentioned this several times, Lucy asked for the name of this mystery acquaintance, and of course, it was me. Laurence could scarcely believe it when Lucy explained that we knew each other. In fact, we lived together.

To clarify, Lucy is blonde-haired and blue-eyed, with a peaches-and-cream complexion (except when she is tanned). About the only thing we share physically, aside from basic symmetry, is our height. Lucy wears a lot of color. We also have fairly disparate tastes in music, literature, and pastimes.

Somehow, though, we were born under the same star despite emerging into the world, and into vastly different families, eight months apart. Since we've known each other, almost every time something important happens to one of us, it happens to the other immediately or soon afterwards. When I was a VJ finalist on Channel [V], Lucy was a finalist in a Disney Channel host search. Our love lives were screwed at the same times, and stable at the same times. We both ended up in children's theatre last year. There are a million other examples of our synchronicity, ranging from things as simple as making non-sequitur statements at exactly the same time to undergoing intense life changes simultaneously while on opposite sides of the world.

And now, Lucy tells me that the AMW episode which I mentioned in my last blog entry might well be the one in which she appeared. There is a good chance she was the girl whom I noticed and remembered (who remembers the actors in AMW re-enactments?) fifteen years ago. After all, how many blonde girls with bobs around my age could there possibly have been on AMW at that time?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In Cold Blood

Ever since I was a kid, I have had an irrational fear of home invasions. Personally, I don't believe the fear to be irrational; home invasions are fucking terrifying. It seems to make much more sense to me than, say, Matt's fear of moths ("Moths happen more often," he counters).

I can pinpoint the moment I developed this fear. When I was ten or eleven, I saw an episode of Australia's Most Wanted featuring a re-enactment of a home invasion. (Ironically, my very first television gig eight years later was as an actor in a very similar re-enactment on AMW. As my mother is quick to tell me, I did a pretty awful job.) The criminals broke into a pleasant suburban home containing a charmingly normal nuclear family, tied up the parents, stuffed them in a closet, and proceeded to rape their eleven-year-old daughter on the master bed.

I assume this was the moment of germination of my fear, because I can remember the bound girl shivering on the bed as though I had watched it yesterday.

For years, whenever I woke up in the middle of the night, I had trouble sleeping again. I would lie, wide-eyed and white knuckled, under the covers, inventing horrific scenarios and improbable modi operandi. What if the front door were unlocked? I was usually too petrified to check. Were those footsteps on the stairs? Was that the faint whisper of a finger running along a knife edge? I'm sure I hear footsteps!

I remember particularly one night being so sure I heard footsteps that I nearly screamed. I broke out in a cold sweat. I desperately tried to think of places I could hide, if only my muscles would allow me to move. Then a light switch clicked, and the unmistakable sound of my dad peeing into the toilet with the bathroom door open came trickling down the hall.

As a "grown-up," I'm no longer too scared to check the locks if I suddenly get the fear. I can usually fall asleep again just fine if I wake up at night. But if I hear a strange sound, the first conclusion I draw is "OH SWEET JESUS IT'S A HOME INVASION." The first time a bat flew into our apartment and Matt woke me up with "What the fuck was that?" I fully expected to see one or two burly men silhouetted in the door of our bedroom with guns and duct tape.

Currently reading: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

  • The ten greatest horror death scenes. A joy to watch! Also, Lucio Fulci is king.

  • US bans Vegemite. This is utterly horrifying to me. Good thing I had over a dozen jars foisted on me by relatives when I was there in August - they ought to last me a few years. I'm very curious if the ban also applies to Promite, since I actually prefer it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Just links

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The drugs like me, and I like them too.

I made some DIY corsets today. There were many, many other things which would have proven wiser and more intelligent to do, but that is what I chose. You can find these totally awesome corsets for sale here. Or, hey, you could custom-order one if you feel like it.

I also went to the doctor and got a whole bunch of extremely interesting medicine! I love having health insurance. Among the many prescriptions I procured was one for physical therapy for my neck and shoulders, should the first-time anti-inflammatories not produce any marked improvement in two weeks. Yay! I'm going to milk this damn health insurance policy for every cent of the $100 per month I'm putting into it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

No will to do anything useful
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.
How many have your name?

Home Depot sent me a "FREE Do-It-Herself Workshop" pamphlet. The workshop looks incredibly retarded, containing instruction in skills such as unclogging drains, repairing walls, and "air conditioning" (ten bucks says this involves describing how to put a window unit into a window). You know, I'm pretty sure I can do it myself better than most men. Why target women this way? Why not leave gender out of it and have "DIY for novices" since that's obviously what you mean, Home Depot?

Speaking of being slightly miffed at retail outlets, Wegmans has a number of Wegmans-brand breads that contain not "high fructose corn syrup" but "corn syrup (high fructose yield)" What's this now? Are you trying to sneak hfcs past me or is this some new evil sugar?

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I filed at the beginning of August to have the conditional status removed from my permanent residency. The Department of Homeland Security usually sends a receipt in four weeks, but they're "backed up" right now, so it is taking in excess of ten weeks to mail me a piece of paper that says "We have received your form." (Of course, they took less than 48 hours to bank my filing fee check.) I hope I get the receipt soon, because my Green Card expires on November 4. Once I get the receipt, it will be eleven months if I'm lucky before I get a new Green Card.

This time next year, however, I will be eligible to apply for citizenship, w00t! Last night I decided to check out that process for the first time. The filing fee is $330, plus a $70 biometric services fee for fingerprinting. They have taken my fingerprints at least a half-dozen times during the immigration process, and each time, they have charged me around $70, but you never know: this time, maybe my fingerprints will be different! (I wonder what would happen if they were.)

There are a couple of interesting questions on the form itself. I had this sigh-inducing question on my original fiancee visa form:
Have you ever been a member of or associated with any organization, association, fund foundation, party, club, society or similar group in the United States or in any other place? If you answered "Yes," list the name of each group below. If you need more space, attach the names of the other group(s) on a separate sheet(s) of paper.
Last time, it was just Mensa; this time, it's Mensa and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians -- a union! This places me squarely on the intellectual left. I hope that's all right.

And, of course, this question is a regular, even on the questionnaires all tourists to the US have to fill out at airports:
Have you ever been a member of or in any way associated (either directly or indirectly) with:
a. The Communist Party?
b. Any other totalitarian party?
c. A terrorist organization?

But I especially liked this question:
10. Have you ever advocated (either directly or indirectly) the overthrow of any government by force or violence?
Wait wait wait wait wait. Wait. Have I ever advocated the overthrow of any government by force or violence? Phew! Good thing I always thought the war in Iraq was a bad idea!

Seriously, did anyone at the BCIS read that question? Didn't a single underling proofreader pause to think, "Ho-o-o-old on a minute ... wasn't the violent overthrow of a government a recent US foreign policy decision? Shouldn't we encourage our would-be citizens to advocate this policy?"

Moving on.
Have you ever been a habitual drunkard?
I think it's sort of charming that alcoholics can't become American citizens.

At the end of the form is the Oath of Allegiance. It's actually very, very different to the Pledge of Allegiance, so all this time, I've been spouting a lot of untrue bullshit in internet arguments about how I have to take the Pledge when I become a citizen. I don't. I say this:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and
that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
So, basically, the Oath of Allegiance is more about fighting and dying in wars than anything else. Hrmm. It doesn't really inspire me. I mean, I'm fine with saying it - if I were required by law to participate in a war, I would, and cross my fingers it was a worthy war, and also I hope they'd put me in codebreaking or something because that would be sort of fun. But I wish the oath mentioned some other things about what it means for me to be an American.

Thus, I penned my own Oath of Allegiance.
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support the spirit of the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and should I feel that any laws ought to be amended, I will advocate legal methods of change;
that I will travel as much as possible to different regions of the USA to soak up the varied cultures within them;
that I will do my best to educate myself before and while engaging in political discourse;
that I will never take for granted the opportunities offered to me, and work my foreign arse off to contribute to and better the country financially, culturally, and intellectually;
that I will sing the US national anthem with gusto, because it's one of the best, and I have the vocal range to carry it off;
that I will follow American standard forms of grammar, spelling, and punctuation and abjure words such as "capsicum," "balaklava" and "crotchet";
that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

Oh, yeah, there's the much-famed government and civics test as well. You can test yourself here. It's not too bad; most of it is more of an IQ test than a knowledge exam. There were only a couple of questions that made me go "Huh?" I really thought it was the Secretary of State in the line of succession after the prez and veep, but apparently it's Dennis Hastert.

  • Greek Mythology:: "Melissa (1) One of the priestesses at Delphi whose name literally means Bee; she is the sister of Amathea and, as a child, was nourished by Zeus with honey.
    Melissa (2) The wife of the tyrant of the city of Korinth (Corinth), Periander; she was the daughter of Prokles (Procles) from the island of Kerkyra (Corcyra); she was murdered by her husband Periander circa 600 BCE." Murdered by her husband!? Oh noes!

Friday, October 13, 2006


A couple of days ago, I learned that 'mormoloc' is a Romanian word for a small fish or tadpole. This makes me happy! I'm not sure why.

I listed my violin and viola on Craigslist. I am surprisingly not very sad about this, probably because they are taking up space, and if there's one thing we don't have enough of at the moment, it's space. Well, actually, it's money, but space is next on the list.

I had a funny conversation over lunch with Patrick and Tara regarding our toilet. Matt and I bought our toilet on the cheap at Lowe's. One of the bowls on the shelf was missing a tag, so we asked a manager for its price. He was in a great hurry to knock off for lunch, so after mulling it over for about two seconds, he said, "Well, it's the last one, so I'll just mark it down to $70. Here." We later discovered it was worth a couple hundred. Score!

It wasn't until we had installed it that we realized that we had bought what's known as an "elongated bowl." Elongated bowls are for Americans whose giant, dimpled backsides are so fat that regular bowls are too short to allow them to position their relevant orifices over the water. Our home improvement bible recommends installing elongated bowls in newly renovated bathrooms to comply with "universal" (i.e. accessible by hambeasts) standards.

I am left with the indelible image of a ridiculously fat person desperately trying and failing to go to the toilet in a regular-sized bowl. Shits and giggles, indeed.

(Are you eating, Sheryl?)

Another interesting fact about our toilet is that it can flush something like 27 ping-pong balls effortlessly in one go. Perfect for anyone who poops ping-pong balls, hambeasts who eat a lot of bacon, or unfulfilled Suzie Wong sex acts.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A little too much regression

Today in string quartet rehearsal, I was concentrating quite hard on Beethoven's 4th, when I flubbed a note. "Pah!" I ejaculated.

That is, I opened my mouth to say "Pah!" and a GIANT quantity of saliva spilled out of my mouth and all over the top and front of my cello. WTF!?! It was a ludicrous amount of drool. I must have been concentrating so hard that I forgot to swallow for the entire movement.

Needless to say, the music stopped and everyone laughed at me for an extended period of time. Myself included.

We thought it might be even funnier if I could get that much drool to come out of my mouth at a constant rate during all the ostinato passages.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mundane update

Things are coming along a little better this week, though midterms are just around the corner, so we'll see for how long this positive energy sticks around. I've been kicking all sorts of arse in my pre-midterm assessment: everything has come back over 90%, though I don't expect that trend to last forever. They say that in the business world, employees rise to the level of their incompetence; by the same token, as a student I tend to continue taking on extra credits and activities until I start seeing Bs on my transcript, so I fully expect my GPA to be a disappointment to my mother to me by this time next year.

Speaking of happy pessimism, I've been assigned "A Cockeyed Optimist" from South Pacific in my Musical Theatre workshop. The song is short and easy, but it's proving a challenge because Nelly is a pathetic and contemptible character that I have no desire to play I think I'm having difficulty with the philosophy behind the song. One of the other students got "As Long As He Needs Me." I'm so jealous.

In a bizarre new twist, thus far this semester, I am scoring slightly higher in physics than I am in music theory, which is supposed to be my major. Keep your eyes peeled for flocks of migrating Canadian bacon this fall.

I have begun taking St. John's Wort in an effort to counteract the inevitable seasonal affective disorder. I can't tell if it's doing anything or not, though I notice that I feel slightly more focused yet also simultaneously a little more anxious.

This blog entry is being cut short because I have to go practice the cello! Yes, I have the will and the time to practice this week! Praise be to Jebus.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thoughts on Foley

The Foley scandal is cracking me up. I read the IMs, simultaneously gagging and guffawing at Foley's awful, awkward, sex-obsessed posts. I'm watching the fallout with bemused interest. How inspiring it would have been if a real issue had inspired outrage among the Republican base rather than a stupid and sordid sex scandal. But, as I posted on a messageboard last week, the priorities of the average American voter are:

1. How much does it cost to refuel my totally bitchin' SUV?
2. What does he do with his penis?
3. Does he sound like me when he talks?

One of the interesting things I realized while reading this story is that the age of consent is 16 (in some states), but it is illegal to supply pornography to anyone under 18. So a 55-year-old man may have sex with a 16-year-old boy but may not show him dirty pictures. To put it another way, he is allowed to put his penis into the boy's mouth, but if he shows a boy a photograph of his penis, he will be arrested - I'm guessing even if (twistedly) the boy asked for one. Does this seem odd to anyone besides me?

The newest exciting development is that Foley is mixed up with Scientologists. Look! There he is! Can it get any better than this?

Lizards. That's all I have to say. This entire episode is explained to perfection by lizards.

Mormolyke | Melissa Dunphy

A few months ago, while we were clearing out some of the amazingly old and decrepit junk from our house, we pulled up the bedroom carpet to find a layer of crumbling linoleum, and under that, several spread out newspapers which had served as underlayment for the last 60 years.

I know times have changed. But it was so much fun to go through them.

Here are a couple of the most eye-popping things I found. I particularly like "Johnny Solves a Mystery" for the shock value. I'll add more when time permits or I feel inclined i.e. when I'm procrastinating like mad.