Search blog:
Subscribe to blog posts:

Monday, January 30, 2006

My old mate and flatmate James has started a blog featuring his ramblings, mainly on the subject of sport. He's the only person ever to have made sport interesting for me, as evidenced by the fact that he's the only person I've ever deliberately punched in the face over a football game, during the deciding State of Origin match of 1999 which we were watching on the telly with a few too many beers in hands. I seem to remember that he was not best pleased about my physical outburst, especially since I bent his glasses and the game was a draw.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy 250th birthday, Mozart! I sure do miss you. And even though I'm very happily married, you will always be my first love.

It's been an odd couple of days. There have been various stress factors, but for some reason I don't feel like I'm overly stressed, probably because the emotional region of my brain has shut down for fear of overload.

Firstly, this e-mail from my mother:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: dad
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 21:29:45 +1100

dad is going to go very soon
just hope you will get to see him by the time you arrive
friday i'm having a meeting with his doctor they said they could do nomore
hoping to have him home to die but because i was sick i don't know if this
will happen trevor will have to talk to to the doctor as well i'm very sad
can't say too much let you know the result

mum & trevor

I wish I knew how to react. I've been hearing for so long that Dad's condition has been worsening and that he has been bleeding continuously and losing weight that I don't know whether to really prepare myself for his death or wait until I hear more news. I can't decide whether to break down and let something out or just hang on. Actually, I'm not sure if I have a choice, everything's so bottled up right now.

The next worst thing to happen to me this week was theft. Someone, somehow, got hold of my credit card number and used it to rack up around $400 worth of purchases online. The purchases themselves are confounding. First, $364 on Kmart.com. Then, an undisclosed amount on the Fredericks of Hollywood mail order catalog. That charge wasn't approved because the thief didn't have my correct billing details on the order, and Fredericks always cross-reference addresses for large orders (good on them).

The third charge is the most confounding of all: a ten-dollar donation to the Red Cross. What the fuck? Someone steals a credit card and gives ten dollars' worth of stolen money to charity!? I couldn't believe it. Is it a modern-day Robin Hood, stealing from the paycheck-to-paycheck middle class to give to the poor? Did she suddenly have a pang of conscience after buying a lot of frivolous junk? Was an acquaintance of hers affected by Hurricane Katrina or something?

I felt so horrible calling the Red Cross to tell them to refund the donation, but if I'm going to donate to a charity, I'm going to do it on my own, not because some cuntarsed miscreant chose to do so for me. They were very understanding and organized, unlike Kmart, who were rude and unhelpful, as usual. No wonder I don't shop there.

Kmart refused to allow me to dispute the charge myself; they will only speak to banks directly about unauthorized transactions. So while the red tape machine grinds into gear, the order has shipped, making a piece of shit somewhere out there very happy to receive free goods, while I'm out $364 for at least a month, and possibly two.

Remember the fucker whose lung I want to violently extricate? Maybe it's all the underlying stress, but he managed to aggravate me even more this week. See, another reason I hate him is because he's a blindly following, gung ho, dipshit Republican. I've had conversations with him about politics in the past, and he makes me sneer hard enough to cleft my own palate. He spouts forth every possible Republican cliche with no justification whatsoever. For example, he's said ridiculous things in the past about liberals being pro-communist that have literally made me want to ditch my anti-gun stance, buy a giant rifle with a sharp-looking front sight, and fuck him up the arse with it until he whistles Dixie.

This week, I unwittingly struck up a conversation near him about Zell Miller's recent behavior, and he decides to chime in with how "pro-life" he is. "It's a morality issue!" You know what? Fuck off. On top of your party-fed talking-point opinions, you have no fucking redeeming qualities whatsoever, you untalented, unintelligent, uninteresting, uninspired, unattractive social retard. I'm sure half the reason you're not concerned with a woman's ability to have a legal abortion is that you'll never actually have the opportunity to knock anyone up - unless you get a job in a coma ward, which I wouldn't put past you. Part of me wanted to enter into a proper debate with him, but I can't put up with his slurpy fucking mouth noises and creepy little mini orgasms for even as long as it takes to say, "I disagree," so I bottled up my anger and instead dreamed about travelling backwards through time, convincing his mother to have an abortion, and feeding his still wriggling fetus to my cats on a string.

In good news, I made another corset.

  • Being a fan of Project Runway and Nine Inch Nails, this cracked me up. It also softened my opinion of Santino considerably.

  • William Gibson essay via Saturnine

  • Homesickness
  • Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Yesterday was the busiest "day off" I've had in a while. I took Moonlight to the vet in the morning. I have the urge to state for the record here that Capitol Area Animal Medical Center are ludicrously expensive. They charged $150 for her shots and an ear cleaning (more about that in a moment), whereas previous vets have charged less than half that amount. Furthermore, they want between $140 and $195 to spay her. Good god!

    I went to CAAMC because I didn't think Keystone Mobile Vet Service performed major surgeries, but after being throughly disheartened by CAAMC's prices, I gave Keystone a call and discovered they will come out to my house and spay Moonlight in their clinic-in-a-van. For $112. Isn't that nuts? They will make a house call for less than it would cost to drive myself to the local vet and have it done there. And Keystone Vets are wonderful. I thoroughly recommend them. Moonlight's having her tubes tied (Or do they remove the ovaries? I'm not sure.) on February 6.

    Poor Moonlight. The trip to the vet appears to have set her back at least a week in the adjustment process. First, she did not react well at all to being put in a box. By the time she had calmed down and stopped clawing frantically at the seams, she was lifted out and prodded in every orifice. First, a teeth check, then a rectal thermometer, then an ear wipe. She was too shocked to react to the rabies shot, but during the distemper injection, she started to really freak out.

    The vet nurse wrapped her in a towel and tried to hold her down so the vet could administer a worming tablet, but Moonlight had had enough. She twisted her head violently every time the vet poked the tablet down her throat, sending the pill flying. After about four tries, she convulsed so extremely that she bit her own tongue and started frothing copious amounts of pink goo from her mouth.

    The final indignity was having her ears cleaned of mites. At least ten Q-tips came out black, and she yowled and twitched the entire time the muck was being extracted. Her ears were then filled with a foul antiseptic-smelling pesticide, and she was put back in the hated box for the ride home.

    So, yes, Moonlight is very pissed off at the world right now, and is back to hissing continuously. The good news is that she doesn't appear to be in heat anymore. I suppose she has a headache.

    I also built a magic blue fairy box for Beauty and the Beast (It's totally awesome. Well, I think so.), attended my cello and singing lessons, fixed a few costumes, and had my first class of my last semester at HACC. The subject is Philosophy 225 | Ethics: Belief and Action. I was rather worried when I first picked up one of the three textbooks and discovered that it's awfully dry stuff, but the professor is young, funny, and very laid back, so I think the class is going to be fine. He reminds me a lot of my brother-in-law, Ryan, actually, which is odd because he's also most recently from Philly and goes to Temple.

    He appears to be able to spell, which is delightful!

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    I have to share with you this article from our extremely hokey Commmunity Watch newsletter.
    OUTRAGEOUS BEHAVIOR CONTINUES
    In the last week of December, 2005, the person who continues to challenge the neighbors and the police department with his public masturbating act was at it again. This occurred in the 3000 block of 2nd St in the early morning. Three police cars responded within minutes of the 911 call to no avail; he was gone and had the advantage of darkness. This time there was a better description of the intruder because the person in the house was not alone when the caller tapped on the window for attention. He is 5'9" tall, light skinned African American with a thin build, a razor thin mustache, possible in his 20's and described as having "excessive abdominal hair". Now for the record, this apparently is his 3rd trip into Riverside. He previously appeared on Lewis St. at 11pm and 5am. He is now on 2nd St. at 6:20am. Weather conditions, good or bad, do not seem to stop him. The person who was assaulted on Lewis St. agrees with some of the description given for the offender involved in this latest incident.

    Oh, while I'm at it, I may as well share this story too.
    MISSING FERALS
    Last summer, two neighborhood non-domesticated cats were either poisoned or fatally injured. The one cat returned to die on the premises where it was fed. The other cat was never seen after that. These cats were both neutered/spayed and had all their required shots - all paid for by a neighbor who also fed them. In return, the feral cats were to be attending to the mouse/rat problems in the area. Since their demise, we have heard complaints from the neighbors last fall and this winter of mice invading their homes. Lesson learned here = don't stealthily kill the cats, who stealthily kill the mice.

    Also featured are a delicious tirade against the blight of graffiti-style advertising campaigns, and a very unfavorable review of "super-stick adhesive band-aids."

    Delightful as it may be, however, I have to throw the newsletter out immediately, as it seems one of the cats has pissed on it.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Moonlight is in heat! Why are cats in heat so disturbing? Augh, she keeps whinnying and shoving her vagina into the air. Augh! Tripoli keeps pouncing on her, causing mini tiffs, which just makes it worse.

    I need to fucking focus. I can't get anything done that I really need to do. I suck. God fucking damn.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    I am supposed to be asleep.

    God knows, I'm even starting to get tired, but I am suffering from an inertia that won't allow me to make my way to the bedroom.

    I forgot to mention in my last entry that I saw Brokeback Mountain with Matt and the incomparable Mr. Vince on Sunday. I thought it was a quite beautiful movie, and even though sappy tragic love stories are rarely my thing, I found myself tearing up quite painfully in the last scene.

    Matt thought it was all right, but claims he couldn't relate to it very well. Yeah, right! He's married to me, for God's sake; he's evidently in denial. Anyhow, I think there's a very clear universal theme apparent - the destruction wrought by "forbidden love," for want of a better term. Surely everyone's felt something akin to that at some point in their lives, even if it's merely a crush on a teacher in high school or an indelible longing for an ex you'll never have again. There was also the long distance relationship problem. Matt and I can relate to that better than anyone else I know.

    Or maybe I've just surrounded myself with so many gay people that their issues are now my issues. Who knows? In Matt's favor, I related more directly to The Joy Luck Club, which left me not merely tearing up a little but sobbing at top volume into a drenched tea towel.

    I also watched most of Salem's Lot, starring Rob Lowe, on television. I thought it was quite fun, but I was really blown away by how chock-full of Australians it is. I had no idea. The first face to incite a gasp of recognition was Rebecca Gibney, whom I used to adore in Halifax F.P., but she was soon followed by a slew of antipodean actors, including plenty of familiar faces from The Flying Doctors, A Country Practice, and Blue Heelers. Quite bizarre to see them all faking American accents (very well, I thought) and prancing around with vampires and Donald Sutherland.

    According to the telemovie Salem's Lot vampire mythology, when a woman becomes a vampire, her hair crimps like she's had it in braids all night. How odd.

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    I am happy to report that Moonlight now appears to be using the cat litter, although she did have an accident on the rug yesterday. Tripoli and Moonlight are not much closer to getting on peacefully with each other. Moonlight still hisses at Trippy every time she gets near, although poor Tripoli just seems to want to be friends. They have chased each other around the apartment a few times, but I don't think they've been friendly chases, judging from Moonlight's facial expression.

    I have embarked on a campaign to fatten Moonlight up. Mmmm, roast cat, delicious. No, I'm fattening her up because I have a preference for fat cats. They seem to have better temperaments. And I like the look of cats with a bit of chub on them. I guess I am a feline chubby chaser.

    No! Wait, I don't want to have sex with fat cats, I just like to look at them. A feline chubby chaser voyeur, if you will. Without any sexual innuendo whatsoever.

    Speaking of no sex, next week I'm taking Moonlight to the vet for the preliminary desexing appointment. I look forward to it. Neutered females get fat even faster!

    I have sewn my very first corset. I made it out of a NIN t-shirt with the intent to begin a cottage industry shifting overpriced NIN corsets on eBay. It took a week of experimenting, but the finished result is quite decent, I think.

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    Once again, life is racing along quite merrily. Not too fast, but fast enough.

    I'm back at work. No offense to my bosses, but it's actually been quite wonderful pottering around the theatre without them around. They're both in Mexico this week at a theatre conference, along with Amber. In their absence, I've had the freedom to completely destroy the costume shop and rebuild it in an organized fashion; I think if I'd attempted anything like that while they were around, I would have spent more time apologizing for temporarily turning the theatre into London during the Blitz than I would have spent cleaning.

    As you may be able to tell from Tripoli's blurry portrait above, I now have a piano, which I rented from Do Wray Mi at a fraction of the cost Menchey music wanted to charge. For $40 per month plus delivery fee, I have a rather decent console (cf. $100 per month minimum at Menchey's), and if I choose to keep it, the rental price and the delivery fee can be credited to the piano's cost.

    So far, I've been familiarizing myself with the piano again by leading Frog and Toad rehearsals and sight-reading Bach fugues at ludicrously slow tempos. It's slow going. I hope I'll be ready for my West Chester audition in time. I would like to play Debussy's Clair de Lune, if I can.


    Perhaps the biggest news of the week is that Matt and I have adopted Erin's cat, Moonlight. As Erin mentioned in her comment on one of my entries below, she's not very fond of Moonlight, and in the two days that we've had her at our apartment, it seems that Moonlight is not very fond of anything. She doesn't meow - ever - but she hisses a great deal. At everything. And also nothing. Seriously, she has hissed into thin air a couple of times, making me wonder if she's seeing ghosts or something. She also hissed - twice - at a reflection of herself in a mirror. And she's not doing well with the whole using-a-litter-box thing.

    We'll persevere for a while, though. Even somewhat retarded fluffy grey cats deserve a chance.

    My mother sent me a very worrying e-mail this morning. It was the only really negative thing to happen to me this Friday the 13th.
    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: matt
    Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 22:53:27 +1100

    dear melissa & matt
    first of all something that is very very important that i have to tell you now
    that i had a brother that was killed in the cultuaral revolution because my
    father donot believe in god that he did not console the fortune teller to get
    his name right he was born in the year of the pig and our surname is kwok
    kwok means snake but snake hates the pig and my father picked the name
    for him is Bill means tiger that dress up. As a pig dress up and is as big as a
    tiger would be nice to serve to god so he has to die i remember that i
    had given matt a beautiful flower goat i have been very worried matt
    will meet my brothers fate ?
    after all the fortune teller said that matt will have a disaster in his
    thirties -- Go get matts grandmother to help!

    i'm out of hospital . and very well
    dads still in hospital-- hope he will last till you come home
    stanley & trevor are well
    received Bills xmas letter send our regards to him

    LOVE CINDY

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    (12:55:46) mormolyke: I'll drive to San Francisco and be destroyed in another tidal wave coming from Japan.
    (12:56:02) Cliff: yeah but san francisco has those giant hills
    (12:56:10) Cliff: you could just run up the street and you'd be fine
    (12:56:19) mormolyke: Giant hills that will be awash with looters and rapists.
    (12:56:32) mormolyke: And I won't have a gun. This is why I need a gun. In case there's a tidal wave.
    (12:56:34) Cliff: yeah, but you forget
    (12:56:35) Cliff: I'M BATMAN
    (12:56:41) mormolyke: Does Batman have a gun?
    (12:56:45) Cliff: he doesn't need one
    (12:57:06) mormolyke: The hell? He always seemed to have a gun, didn't he?
    (12:57:21) Cliff: he has this grapple gun that he can use to climb tall buildings, but not a real gun
    (12:57:31) Cliff: he doesn't kill, either
    (12:57:31) mormolyke: really? Is Batman fundamentally opposed to guns?
    (12:57:35) Cliff: yeah
    (12:57:39) Cliff: they killed his parents
    (12:57:39) mormolyke: Not even trank guns?
    (12:58:05) Cliff: well, he is an expert marksman and knows how to use a gun. sometimes he'll use one as a tool, or even to disable an enemy, but not to kill. he's morally opposed to killing.
    (12:57:51) mormolyke: In a fight between Mad Max and Batman, who would win?
    (12:58:12) Cliff: that's a tough call
    (12:58:21) Cliff: but batman would win
    (12:58:29) mormolyke: But Mad Max is not opposed to killing.
    (12:58:38) Cliff: yeah, but max is only as good as what he's got at his disposal
    (12:58:53) mormolyke: Like a great big fuck-off shotgun.
    (12:59:19) Cliff: batman faces deadly criminals with serious weapons every night, max's wouldn't faze him
    (12:58:47) Cliff: there are just too many variables there.
    (12:58:51) Cliff: what if he ran out of fuel?
    (12:58:59) Cliff: what if he was tired and hungry from days of wandering in the desert?
    (12:59:16) mormolyke: In a car race, would Mad Max or Batman win?
    (12:59:30) Cliff: are we talking about the batman begins-batmobile?
    (12:59:42) mormolyke: I don't really know the difference between the batmobiles.
    (12:59:50) Cliff: the one in batman begins was a giant tank
    (13:00:11) Cliff: if we're talking that one, i'd say it's an even shot, regardless of what max's ride is
    (13:00:15) mormolyke: Would it beat the Interceptor?
    (13:00:22) Cliff: but as for any of the previous batmobiles, the interceptor would totally win
    (13:00:35) mormolyke: What about that batmobile with the rockets that come out the back?
    (13:00:41) Cliff: the previous batmobiles are ridiculous and wouldn't work very well as real vehicles
    (13:00:45) mormolyke: Oh, right.

    Sunday, January 08, 2006

    A joke I heard on a forum: A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After a while, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked as they moved off. "Because", he said, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."

    Who knows something about the suburbs of West Chester, PA? Since Matt and I are moving there next year, we're trying to figure out exactly where we're going to live. I would prefer something between West Chester and Philly on a train track of bus route that will get us to either of those destinations, but 'cheap' is also a huge deciding factor. Does anyone out there know anything about Phoenixville and/or Coatesville?

    I called Australia and spoke to Trevor. Mum is still in hospital. Dad came home after radiation therapy, and he felt quite good, so he decided to take a walk. He fell down the back steps and broke his hip. He's back in hospital and isn't eating.

    In the category of TMI, this is me, as of yesterday. Could this finally be the end of eight years of periodic nausea? A funny little thing, it is. I love the warning to seal it in its pouch before disposal for fear that small children will find it in the garbage and wear it as a bracelet, unleashing an inappropriate amount of estrogen into their wrists. Perhaps they should additionally tell parents to instruct their children not to play with any slightly slimy jelly bracelets they might find in the garbage. There is also a danger of estrogen leaking into the soil. Matt informed me as we were getting to sleep last night that some scientists are worried by levels of estrogen in the water supply.

    Saturday, January 07, 2006

    I have officially applied to West Chester university. Now I quake in fear of the upcoming audition and conference. Damn it, I don't even have a piano to practice on at the moment, and one of the audition requirements is piano competency. I don't have enough compositions, either, I don't think. Gah.

    The last few days, I've been getting the urge to rant. For example, tonight Matt and I saw The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (thanks to Patrick for his Christmas gift of a free movie ticket) and I ranted audibly at the mindless babbling twats who bolted out of their seats at the first sign of the credits. The lights hadn't come up yet, and after the first wave of names, just as most of the tard brigade were stumbling stupidly into the aisles, lo and behold, there was more footage. Of course, the dipshits who apparently have some sort of mortal allergy to film credits stopped in their places to stare slack-jawed at the screen, obscuring the view for the clever people who had remained seated. "Sit down!" I yelled. They were lucky I didn't swear at them. It would have served them right for coming to a PG movie which by rights should have been drenched with blood, but was conspicuously and distractingly bloodless. Someone needs to figure out a way to turn on the gore in the Narnia series.

    I also started a rant last night as Matt was trying to sleep. It was sparked by a commercial for some awful reality show about quitting cold turkey. (Surely we have sunk to the bottom of the reality cesspool when we are watching people quit smoking on television. Jesus fucking Christ. What's next? Blow-by-blow accounts of ingrown toenail recovery?) Between dynamic images of no smoking signs, some wide-eyed woman plaintively explained that she wanted to save the precious, precious lives of smokers. Here's a hint, lady: nobody in this country is unaware that smoking kills. People who are smoking get what they deserve. I say this as an occasional smoker - I bloody well know that every time I puff on a cigarette, I'm rotting my lungs, but I do it anyway. Come at it from the perspective of lowering health insurance premiums, sure, but saving their lives? Maybe you should concentrate on saving the lives of people who are painfully having their lives taken away from them entirely against their will. Take the goddamn millions of dollars you are spending on your shitty reality series about tobacco-sucking fatties and use it to save people in fucking Zimbabwe or Congo.

    I'm even reading rants. A few minutes ago, I finished J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, which is really a rather beautiful book, more like an extended short story. It struck internal chords a ridiculous number of times throughout. I can't decide if I identify more with Franny or Zooey.
    "Somewhere along the line -- in one damn incarnation or another, if you like -- you not only had a hankering to be an actor or an actress but to be a good one. You're stuck with it now. You can't just walk out on the results of your own hankerings. Cause and effect, buddy, cause and effect. The only think you can do now, the only religious thing you can do, is act. Act for God, if you want to -- be God's actress, if you want to. What could be prettier? You can at least try to, if you want to -- there's nothing wrong in trying. You'd better get busy, though, buddy. The goddam sands run out on you every time you turn around. I know what I'm talking about. You're lucky if you get time to sneeze in this goddam phenomenal world. I used to worry about that. I don't worry about it very much any more. At least I'm still in love with Yorick's skull. At least I always have time enough to stay in love with Yorick's skull. I want an honorable goddam skull when I'm dead, buddy. I hanker after an honorable goddam skull like Yorick's. And so do you, Franny Glass. So do you, so do you.... Ah, God, what's the use of talking? You had the exact same goddam freakish upbringing I did, and if you don't know by this time what kind of skull you want when you're dead, and what you have to do to earn it -- I mean if you don't at least know by this time that if you're an actress you're supposed to act, then what's the use of talking?"
    Much of the book is dialogue (I wish Zooey were a girl. I'd adapt large swathes of it into a kickarse audition monologue.) which makes me think it ought to be a play. Then again, about halfway through, I got the distinct feeling that Wes Anderson swiped large parts of The Royal Tenenbaums from this book.

    [edit] Aha! Wiki confirms my suspicions!

    Matt sent me the picture at the right, from a Fark page. I find it hilarious, even though I'm fairly sure that's not how you spell 'fhtagn.'

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    SOMEWHAT TARDY END-OF-YEAR SURVEY
    1. What did you do this year that you've never done before?
      I took up the cello. This also involved buying a cello, which I still haven't named, dammit. I took a photography course, which was very cool. I starred in a movie. I made acting my day job. I met a bunch of people from Nine Inch Nails. I sued someone (well, that was really Matt, but I feel like an invisible second plaintiff). I taught classes of Very Small Children. I wielded a broadsword.

    2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
      I tend not to make new year's resolutions, unless it's my general mantra of "do stuff," which I certainly did.

      Just in case, I had a search through my old ETS posts, and though I was apparently too busy shitlisting at the start of 2005, I found these long-forgotten resolutions from January 1, 2004:
      This year, I am resolving to get more involved, and accomplish what I set out to do, rather than procrastinate. For pretty much all of 2003, everything took a back seat to the whole immigration/marriage process, and towards the very end of the year, I suddenly discovered that now that the rigmarole is all over (or has at least settled down for a while), my life lacks many of the things it contained in previous years. To this end, I intend to audition my little arse off for plays and choral groups and, later, orchestral ensembles or at least a live performing band. I want to write again. I want to compose properly. And fuck it, I'm going to do it, because I have the time, and I have a new beginning, and I'm kinda drunk right now.

      Also, as soon as it stops being so fucking cold, I'm going to get more exercise. Go walking in national parks or something. Living in an area with next to no convenient public transport, I'm getting nowhere near the amount of exercise I used to get back in Brisbane/Sydney, walking to and from bus stops and train stations (or all the way home, if I missed the last service). There's nothing I can do about this except proactively seek physical activity for the first time in my entire life. And I'd better do it, or I'm going to turn into an American hambeast, just like my friends at home all warned me I would.
      Check, and check, motherfucker! It's funny where resolving to "get involved" takes you. I think I can safely say I'm involved enough now; there was definitely a period of time around May 2005 when I was way too involved. The exercise thing has kind of wound down the last few months, however. Hambeast, here I come!

    3. Did anyone close to you give birth this year?
      Nope, no new births as far as I know. The in-laws got a new dog. He's a pug shitzu cross who's recovering from a puppyhood of abuse.

    4. Did anyone close to you die?
      She wasn't exactly close to me, but someone I know died this year. There were some other close calls besides.
      (If this survey were more relevant, it would include the question 'Was anyone close to you committed?' Then I'd really have something to say.)

    5. What countries did you visit this year?
      England, at long last. The trip was much too short, however. I need to go again, with Matt in tow.

    6. What would you like to have in the next year that you lacked this year?
      Spare time and/or the ability to dispense with sleep. Ha!

    7. What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory - and why?
      I don't think there were any big dates. I'm wracking my brain to think of one, so I guess the memory was not big on etching last year.

    8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
      Getting through one of the busiest years of my life with a GPA of 3.82.

    9. What was your biggest failure of the year?
      That 'B' in Sociology. Yeah, it's a miracle that I got it, but the course was so damn easy that, despite being busy, I really should have managed an 'A.'
      It's been a decade since I left high school, but thanks to Mum, I still measure achievement and failure in academic grades.

    10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
      I did fairly well. There were a few colds, and the allergies flared up, but nothing too horrible. No UTI's, God be praised! And at my dentist appointment yesterday, I was given a cavity-free bill of health.

    11. What was the best thing you bought this year?
      The (as yet nameless) cello, of course. Also, my neat boots and a breville maker.

    12. Whose behavior merited celebration (a public or private personality)?
      Matt's behavior always merits celebration. I constantly wonder how he puts up with me. Goodness, he even seems to like me.

    13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
      Two people have struck me as grossly immoral and irresponsible this year: Kelli Harman and Jose Burgos. Fuck them both. I mean, don't! For the love of God, please don't.

    14. Where did most of your money go this year?
      Dude, thanks to the magic of PSECU, I can show you a goddamn pie chart:


      Mind you, it's not entirely accurate, since it's only my credit card - the car payments and rent aren't on there at all, since they come out of our checking account. But that's a good idea of the rest of it.

    15. What did you get really, really, really excited about this year?
      Probably all the Nine Inch Nails concerts I got to see. I can't even remember how many times I saw them. Five? Six? It was awesome.

    16. What song will always remind you of this year?
      Right Where It Belongs

    17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
      • happier or sadder? Happier. Thanks, awesome job!
      • richer or poorer? About the same. I'd be poorer if it weren't for the temporarily booming stock market.
      • thinner or fatter? Probably about three to four pounds fatter, though I really have no idea, since we don't own a set of scales.

    18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
      I wish I'd composed more music. I feel like I'm applying to West Chester with a very slim portfolio.

    19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
      I wish I'd watched less television. Goddamn you, Law and Order.

    20. How did you spend the holidays?
      You mean the most recent holidays? I very slowly cleaned the house. It was wonderful.

    21. Did you fall in love this year?
      I was already in love! I still am. Even if I didn't have to prove it for the INS, I still would be.

    22. How many one-night stands did you have this year?
      A million. No, two million. You know me; I just love me my one-night stands.

    23. What was your favorite TV program for the year?
      Aside from, obviously, all the flavors of Law and Order and The Daily Show, I've quite enjoyed The Closer and Medium. Project Runway is also quite fun. And I very, very much enjoyed Slings and Arrows, which we all watched at the theatre during our lunch hours. God, look at me, I'm turning into a goddamn chick. I'll be watching the Lifetime Channel next. To balance that out, I wish I'd been able to see more of the Masters of Horror series, but we don't have Showtime.

    24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
      I've grown to hate a few people more, but nobody new.

    25. What was the best book you read this year?
      Ouch, difficult one. I knew I should have kept a list on my blog of the books I've read. The Hyperion books were quite good. Also, I think I read Quicksilver this year, although that could have been last year. I really wish I had more time to read.

    26. What was your favorite film of the year?
      There are a lot of films from this year on my Netflix queue as a result of staying home from the cinema to save money. Thus, my favorite film of 2005 will probably change by this time next year, but for now, I'll say the Aristocrats. Or maybe King Kong. Or Batman Begins.

    27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year?
      Black minimalist. With some children's theatre thrown in for good measure.

    28. Whom did you miss this year?
      The usual suspects: Jason, Lucy (OMG, IMDb profile!), Anthony, John Miller, Manek. Mihali. Mum and Dad, despite everything. Kayla.

    29. Who was the best new person you met this year?
      I met a lot of new people this year. There were a few awesome members of the ETS crew whom I met for the first time - Eric, Athenia, Pixie (see comments!), chuck, Eugenie, Jaimie. I think the most awesome new person of the year was Brian, though, if only because of drunken conversations about Annunaki lizards.

    30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned for this year.
      When you are crying uncontrollably with exhaustion, it is a sign that you are doing too much. Meh, who am I kidding? You know I'd do it again if I had my time over.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    WOAH. I just returned home from a very successful trip to the incomparable Gabriel Brothers (three pairs of black tights, one pair of red fishnets, a pair of socks with skeletons on them, a pair of underpants, five tops, two sweaters, a set of three small boxes, and four bras for $31) and turned on one of the candle lights in our lounge room. The light sparked, made a very loud 60Hz buzz, and then caught on fire. For a split second, I was completely transfixed and near panic, especially since a stack of rather expensive sheet music was immediately adjacent. With no other extinguishing options handy, I blew like crazy, and somehow (probably because I was hyperventilating with fear), the fire went out.

    What's left is a burnt out - and I mean burnt out - lightbulb and fixture.

    I'm surprised the pictures turned out so well, considering how badly I was shaking when I took them. Electrical fires scare the crap out of me. The lounge room smells very toxic.

    At least I have two bags of pre-emptive retail therapy to soothe my shattered nerves.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    I had a dream the other night that I was saving Tripoli, Kenya, and a few strange cats from an impending tidal wave. Matt, my mother, and I were attempting to round them up and stow them in a treehouse. *shrug*

    I've spent most of the last couple of days practicing the cello and making things. Chief amongst my creations is a new bag, which will come in handy for all the Frog and Toad sheet music and 'Ethics: Belief and Action' textbooks I'll be carrying around in the next few months. It has lots of fun pockets which are just the right size for all my bits and pieces, and it's also large and (hopefully) sturdy enough to lug around my laptop. Click to behold!


    The Hellraiser makeup/pencil case is also a new piece of handiwork.

    While I'm playing Look At Me Show 'n' Tell, I realized tonight that I forgot to blog about Tripoli's favorite toy that I made for her for Christmas. It's a little tatty now, because she's spent many long hours chasing, biting, and chewing it, but it stll makes me proud.


    Yes, that's right, it's Jesus on the cross. I printed an iron-on transfer, turned it into a tiny crucifix-shaped pillow, and stuffed it with catnip. It drives Tripoli wild, although the catnip is starting to smell more like cat breath now. I thought it was important for her to understand the true meaning of Christmas, i.e. giant tripping cats attacking the Son of God.

    • There don't seem to be any tidal waves on the horizon, but some fun predictions for 2006 include asteroid crashes, tropical storms, and blunders by Google. I was with them up until the Google thing.

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    In the last few days, whenever there has been a lull in the conversation, I have trotted out one of the following:

    THE FUNNIEST STORY OF THE MONTH

    Angela related this true story (it happened to friends of a friend of hers) last week.

    A couple went on vacation, leaving a petite college girl to look after their house and their large Labrador. One day, the girl returned from grocery shopping to find the dog dead. Of course, this is any petsitter's worst nightmare, and the girl was terrified that her employers would blame her for the dog's death. Panic-striken, she called the vet, who told her to bring in the body for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

    Unfortunately, the girl didn't own a car, and her only friend with a car had left town. She also didn't have enough money for a taxi. So, she found the largest suitcase in the house, stuffed the dead dog into it, and caught the subway.

    The dog, being an enormous Lab, was very heavy, and she had some difficulty lugging the suitcase onto the train. Luckily, a kind stranger offered her a hand. "Wow, this is heavy! What have you got in here?" he asked her.

    Naturally, she didn't want to say it was a dead dog, so she made up a lie on the fly. "I'm moving house, and I thought it would be easier to carry all my electronics to my new place in one trip," she explained.

    When she arrived at her destination, she had trouble once again lifting the suitcase off the train, so she asked for the stranger's assistance again. "Sure!" he replied. He took the case, punched her in the stomach, and ran off.

    The poor girl was now faced with not only telling the couple that their dog was dead, but that she had lost his body (and their largest suitcase). But even funnier is the image of a petty thief racing home with what he thinks is a giant bag of expensive electronics, only to discover that he's stolen a large dead dog.

    I'm told the couple, being upset by the death of their dog but delighted at the ridiculousness of the situation, were not angry at their petsitter and wholeheartedly believed her story (lies are never this brilliant).

    A JOKE TOLD BY PETER

    One day, George W. Bush hears that three Brazilian soldiers have been killed by insurgents in Iraq. The president is mortified. He goes into mourning for days. Eventually, Dick Cheney visits the Oval Office to console him. "Come on, George, it was only three Brazilian soldiers."
    "Wait, how many is a brazilian again?"

    WE ARE THINKING OF GETTING ANOTHER CAT

    When Matt and I discuss cats, it's like we're talking about babies. The day I brought Tripoli home, the conversation when Matt stepped in the door went something like this.

    "Matt, I have something to tell you. Please don't be mad. Look!"
    "..."
    "You're not mad, are you?"
    "Um. I guess if we make a few changes to our budget, we might be able to afford this. Maybe I could get a second job."
    "Matt, it's only a cat. I'm not pregnant or anything."

    In the time since that day, we've come to realize that, more than any other cat that either of us have ever known, Tripoli craves company. She loves other cats, and will often chase down neighborhood cats like a puppy. It's bothered me for some time that she must get horribly lonely whenever Matt and I aren't home. We discussed the possibility of another cat a few times, but made a tentative agreement to wait until we moved to West Chester.

    The other day, though, we saw Meathead and Anita's two cats. I think that's created a small shift in our thinking.

    Yesterday, while driving through the West Shore...

    "Hey, a pet store!"
    "Do you think we should get another cat?"
    "What? No, we shouldn't."
    "Why not?"
    "Matt! Don't say that! You make me want to get another cat now!"
    "Well, why don't we?"

    We didn't get one right away, but we are seriously thinking of finding one in January. The humane society has a lot of full-grown cats who need homes. As long as he or she had very short dark hair, it wouldn't be too bad in our apartment, which is pretty big - and we live on the first floor, so they could go outside in the summer.

    The only problem is that moving with two cats is much more difficult than moving with one. Oh, I don't know. Tripoli gets so lonely.

    We express all our parental instincts through being cat owners. However, there are many key differences between cats and babies.
    1. You can leave cats by themselves without fearing they'll drown in a bucket of water
    2. Cats don't scream for hours on end
    3. It is possible to have a cat and a guilt-free social life
    4. Cats feed and wash themselves, and don't wet their pants
    5. Cats get rid of mice and other pesky vermin
    6. The screaming thing is worth another mention
    7. Cats don't suddenly hate you when they become teenagers
    8. There is no need to blow your life savings on your cat's college education

    Matt and I think all of these points are very important.