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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Australia Goes to Shit Week

Christ. I leave my motherland for a few years -- a blink of an eye, really -- and things go to shit. My father (biological, not my late stepdad, obviously) is in court over something really sordid, and his wife is calling around looking for money to cover costs. My mum received a phone call.

I know my father's wife meant well, but come on. Don't call my mum. She has enough issues, one of which is being easily upset because she has a fucking terrible case of bipolar disorder that lands her in psych wards once every year or two (and whenever Matt comes to Australia). She's trying to get her life together with Trevor. Don't bother her. I think I'm more disgruntled that they tried to drag her into it than I am about the sordid stuff itself.

Add to that good friends who are (or have been) getting mixed up in a drug scene they really should be fucking smart enough to avoid. For fuck's sake. How old are we all again? Maybe I'm just mad because I'm on the other side of the world so everything I know is filtered over 10,000 miles of cable and gloss. But even if I were there, there's fuck all I'd be able do about it. People get off drugs in their own time. I'm not anyone's mother - and none of us should need mothers.

Then, this morning, I wake up to this:

Is this some sort of joke by the gay community or something? This can't be real. I mean, these aren't real Australians, right? They're American plants or Scientologists or something, aren't they? Please?

The following proliferation of links has been brought to you by the fact I just realized BlogThis is finally working with Blogger Beta.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hold On to My Violent Heart

Remember what I said about My Violent Heart when I first heard it a couple of days ago? I couldn't shake it. To that end, I made my first foray into the ridiculously untalented world of mashups:

Hold On to My Violent Heart

Friday, February 16, 2007

Honk! If You Love Fred Durst

Soon after I bought my charmingly cute and functional Hyundai Accent hatchback, I graced its behind with a cherished sticker, given to me by Anthony before I left Australia, which reads "Honk! If You Love Fred Durst."

I do not love Fred Durst. If you look closely at the sticker, you will notice that it also depicts a Jesus fish containing the letters "TISM." The sticker is a piece of promotional merchandise manufactured for an Australian band called This is Serious Mum, otherwise known as TISM. I rate TISM among my favorite bands in all the world. Their music ranges from electronic to rock, and their lyrics range from hilarious to angrily hilarious to thought-provokingly hilarious to quite poignant in a slightly hilarious way. In any case, there's always some kind of social or political commentary involved.

In 2001, TISM released an album called De RigueurMortis. The album contained a single called "Honk If You Love Fred Durst." Here are the lyrics:
God looked at the spreadsheets for Christianity.
"We need more than product placement on R&B CDs.
Youth masses ain't workin, cut the Pope's budget back.
Get the youth demographic thinkin' Jesus ain't wack."

Honk if you love, honk if you love,
Honk if you love Fred Durst, beep beep!

"We need a teenage pop diva, a virgin sex-kitten:
Carnal knowledge, innuendo, immaculate conception.
Start a shrinking-violet, bedroom-wannabe S Eleven.
Be bad, girls, be nasty, and you will get to heaven."

Jesus rocks tha' mic.

"For our next apostle, we need to go for cred.
Get a vegan greenie DJ with a shaven head.
He can rip off some old bluesman like a real techno vandal,
But tell everybody he's unfit to tie my sandals."

It's time for the Messiah of Hardcore Christian Inc.
Son, reverse your baseball cap, jerk your arms like Lancelot Link.
It's born-again, stone phat, bitch-ass, boy-fantasy religion.
Feed the holy moshpit Limp Bizkit communion.

Of course, Americans don't know who TISM is, and they certainly don't realize that my "Honk! If You Love Fred Durst" sticker is a reference to a song criticizing hypocritical marketable sanctimony in pop culture. I don't know what I was thinking putting that sticker on my car. Maybe I thought the Darwin fish next to it would somehow clue people in to the fact that I think Fred Durst is an utter douche.

The number of drivers who have honked at me because of that sticker in the last two years is depressing. People express their genuine love for Fred Durst with vigorous toots of their car horns and delighted waving at least once every two weeks.

Today, while stopped at a traffic light, I heard a honk behind me. I glanced in the rear-vision mirror to see a forty-ish couple in a minivan grinning at me through their windshield. The husband in the driver's seat pointed at his wife, who was flapping her hands and beaming. I saw him mouth the words, "She loves Fred Durst!" My eye caught sight of some writing on the front of the van.

It was a church vehicle.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Remembering dad

Today is the first anniversary of my dad's death.

I still tear up regularly at a lot of dad-themed stuff. I guess that's normal.

I think the most appropriate way to mark the occasion is to remind every male reader of this blog over 35 to get a prostate exam. Please.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Violent Heart

Here's a picture. It's a snow day. I should be catching up on school work, but instead I'm cleaning the house, blogging, and taking pictures of myself. Lame.

"My Violent Heart" from the new NIN album Year Zero is Trent Reznor's Valentine's Day gift to the world. I like it. However, the first time I heard it (through the bedroom floor this morning while half-asleep as Matt was playing it downstairs), I thought it was a remix of the Sam & Dave soul hit "Hold On, I'm Coming." You'll understand when you get to the chorus. Maybe.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Dissociative fugue

I have a terrific idea for a new composition. Now I just have to get it together and write it. By next week.

Fugue, n. [F., fr. It. fuga, fr. L. fuga a fleeing, flight, akin to fugere to flee. See Fugitive.]
  1. dissociative disorder in which a person forgets who who they are and leaves home to creates a new life; during the fugue there is no memory of the former life; after recovering there is no memory for events during the dissociative state [syn: psychogenic fugue] [Hel-LO, ternary form]
  2. a musical form consisting of a theme repeated a fifth above or a fourth below its first statement

Dissociative Fugue is one or more episodes of amnesia in which the inability to recall some or all of one's past and either the loss of one's identity or the formation of a new identity occur with sudden, unexpected, purposeful travel away from home.

Specific symptoms include:
  • The predominant disturbance is sudden, unexpected travel away from home or one's customary place of work, with inability to recall one's past.
  • Confusion about personal identity or assumption of a new identity (partial or complete).
  • The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The length of a fugue may range from hours to weeks or months, occasionally longer. During the fugue, the person may appear normal and attract no attention. The person may assume a new name, identity, and domicile and may engage in complex social interactions. However, at some point, confusion about his identity or the return of the original identity may make the person aware of amnesia or cause distress....

The person often has no symptoms or is only mildly confused during the fugue. However, when the fugue ends, depression, discomfort, grief, shame, intense conflict, and suicidal or aggressive impulses may appear--ie, the person must deal with what he fled from. Failure to remember events of the fugue may cause confusion, distress, or even terror.

In a fugue state, the individual not only develops a total amnesia for his past along with a complete loss of personal identity but, unconcerned by the internal revolution that has taken place, he complacently enters upon a new life and a new identity, often far removed from all that has gone before. Suddenly totally ignorant of his former life, occupation, family, and friends, he leaves home and, to the dismay of those left behind, seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth. In fact, he has merely wandered, often many miles, to a new location, sometimes with a vague sense of escaping from an intolerable situation, sometimes impelled by an inner fantasied goal. Then after weeks or months in his new life, he suddenly "comes to" as his former self with a complete amnesia for the events covered by the period of the fugue. The patient’s dismay at finding himself in unfamiliar surroundings is equaled by the surprise of his new acquaintances at his sudden change of identity, for during the fugue his state of consciousness and behavior have in no way appeared unusual to observers.
In the fugue states ... a change in the sense of identity is a central characteristic. As the fugue begins, the patient loses all memory whatsoever for the events of his entire past life. His origins, his family, his upbringing, wife, children, friends, occupation, all dissolve into the mists of forgetfulness, and the patient assumes a new name and life without any evident awareness or concern over the internal upheaval. Driven by often half-veiled inner urgings, he wanders far from his familiar surroundings to start a fresh existence, his conscious mind a virtual tabula rasa. It should be noted, however, that it is only the mental elements related to his personal identity that have disappeared. Basic functions such as language, general knowledge, and the skills of coping with the tasks of everyday living remain under his command, and there is no alteration in the state of consciousness of the new world of people and things around him. Only those who have known him in his previous existence would recognize the catastrophic changes in his being; to strangers, he appears in no way out of the ordinary. But ultimately and inevitably, a second revolution overtakes him. In the twinkling of an eye, he wakes to his old self, puzzled and dismayed to find himself in an alien world. His old identity is recaptured, but he is totally amnesiac for all the events of the period of fugue and frighteningly ignorant of how he came to be where he is.

Nemiah, John C. "Dissociative Amnesia: A Clinical and Theoretical Reconsideration" in Functional Disorders of Memory, John F. Kihlstrom, Frederick J. Evans (Eds.), Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, 1979.

Amnesia victim walked Dallas streets for days
POSTED: 4:55 p.m. EST, January 26, 2007

DALLAS, Texas (AP) -- Joe Bieger walked out his front door with his two dogs one morning last fall as a beloved husband, father, grandfather and assistant high school athletic director.

Minutes later, all of that -- indeed, his very identity -- would seemingly be wiped from his brain's hard drive.

For 25 days, he wandered the streets of Dallas and its environs a lost soul, unable to remember his name, what he did for a living, or where he lived, until, finally, a contractor who was building a new house for Bieger and his wife happened to recognize him.

By that point, Bieger had somehow made his way to a suburb about 20 miles from his Dallas home, holes worn in the rubber soles of his canvas shoes. He had lost 25 pounds, and a full white beard covered the normally clean-shaven educator's face.
Bieger, 59, says he was diagnosed afterward as suffering from psychogenic fugue, an extremely rare form of amnesia.

Now reunited with his family and back at work, Bieger agreed to tell his story....

Sunday, February 04, 2007

People ... people who make people

Everyone is having babies.

I know, I know, people are supposed to make babies, propagation of the species and all that. But ... babies. I think the almighty creator missed an ingredient when he was intelligently designing my maternal instincts, because I don't know what to do with larval humans. No idea. And no real desire to have an idea. I like to give them gifts, pull faces at them for a few seconds, then slowly back away to do something carefree and adult, like drive a car in the opposite direction while listening to an exceptionally dull and in-depth NPR report, or drink scotch silently by an open fire with a copy of American Psycho.

Some of the recent bumper crop of babies I'm experiencing obviously has to do with being of a certain age. I'm 26. People my age have babies. But ... I know older people having babies too. And younger people.

If Douglas Adams hadn't made the joke already, I would write an endearingly hilarious monologue here about a non-maternal woman who didn't know she was a fertility goddess.

The only real downside to my opinion vis a vis babies is that my mother is utterly convinced that, according to my Chinese astrological chart, it is vitally imperative that I give birth during the year 2010. I need to have a baby in the Year of the Dragon, or all hell with break loose; my marriage will fall apart, my uterus will fall out, and the sky will no doubt fall down. A few years ago, she was grudgingly satisfied with my assertion that I might consider the possibility of maybe adopting a child who was born in that year ... perhaps a few years afterwards, when said child would be able to form complete sentences, recognize subtle irony, and appreciate cyberpunk fiction. Now it's give birth in 2010 or face the apocalypse.

As far as I can tell, I'm damned either way, so I may as well not drag children into it.

In the meantime, I am seriously considering becoming involved with the local Cat Angel Network, despite their newsletter, which makes them sound ever so slightly like crazy cat ladies. Cats are awesome. They bury their own poo.

And ... uh ... congratulations to all you procreating people out there. Better you than me.