Thursday, May 29, 2008

~the black dog

I’ve been very busy clawing myself out of one of my periodic black holes. I’ve been living the life of a single father, since my wife has embarked upon one of her periodic respites, [from me,] - and it hasn’t been too bad. The washing machine has broken down and, despite Roberts best efforts, today I made my first visit to a coin laundry in about twenty years. It wasn’t too bad. I read a bit of CUSP, a very technical sci-fi novel, and reread a bit of The Poet by Michael Connelly while I waited. I had a nap. I picked up Polly. We went to the supermarket, via the bottle shop, where I picked up a bottle of cleanskin Merlot, about two thirds of which I’ve drunken at the time of writing. At the supermarket we bought gladwrap, chocolate custard, cat tuna, a bueno bar and considered buying nappies for the cats

The point of all this is that at last things are looking better.

Stumble Upon Toolbar DiggIt!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

~ thoughts of the tadpole

There is so much entrenched greed in this world that I wonder if anything short of a revolution will put an end to it.

Staring blearily out of my shadowy room, I am overwhelmed by its extent and by my own impotency. I am a tadpole with big gloomy eyes and a scrunched up mind, there is little I can do.

When I heard that ebay were banning all forms of payment save those through its wholly owned partner Paypal, I began to feel spiritually ill. One person told me their profits will double overnight. My own profits as a [possibly ex] ebay seller will almost evaporate. There’s a reason I don’t use Paypal – the fees take too large a bite out the little I do make to justify the drudgery involved.

There is no good justification for it. ‘Safety’ is all they could come up with and if people want that, well, they can use Paypal already, can’t they? Ebay have a submission with the ACCC, asking for an exemption, as their plans are technically illegal. Yet they’ve already announced the commencement date. How does that work? How do they know what the ACCC will say? For the record, I made a submission detailing my thoughts, but I’m sure that if Ebay has gone to all the trouble they have, then they’re pretty sure the verdict will go their way. Even the Reserve Bank of Australia is complaining, but no matter, Ebay will have their way. Their profits will double.

They will have an even larger cash pile to invest on the short term money markets, much of it gotten by deliberately delaying payments. Like the banks do. I thought internet banking might extinguish that nefarious habit - holding onto funds in order to invest them - but no. The money disappears from your account and reappears in the other account a few days later. Where does it go? Why, it’s put to work.

I don’t see how this can be legal, but it’s been happening as long as I can recall. The banks will tell you they’re ‘validating’ or ‘checking’ or some such nonsense, but it’s all a lie.

On the David and Kim show the other morning an Ebay rattlesnake was trying to sell their case, but his body language was wrong. It made his words seem apologetic, as if he was fully aware how thick and rich was the crock of shit he was spouting. Ebay Australia is the unfortunate test case. Obviously, they’re taking orders from on high. The Ebay gnomes in the US have chosen their Australian minions to make the Paypal scam float. From here, it will radiate out into the world, and thence to America.

Ripples of greed, consuming the world.

Stumble Upon Toolbar DiggIt!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

~ he clucked like a chicken

I’ve needed a break from writing – I guess that’s why you haven’t been hearing from me.

I’ve been rewatching The Sopranos. After Tony was shot, much was made of a quotation someone pinned to the wall of his hospital room.

‘Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky – Ojibwe saying.’

It took me a while to sort out the meaning.

I worry that those who read what I write will feel that I pity myself. Let me assure you, I don’t. The emotion is far harsher than that. I allow myself no mercy, no pity. I squarely take the blame, and with every day, I feel diminished. As if consumed by an acid of self-loathing. As if my shadow, once sharp and dark, is now frayed, pale and greying, as if the sun itself is aware that the centre has been eaten out.

I move like a ghost through neat suburban thoroughfares. No advertising is targeted at me. I am excluded, meaningless. The language I speak is a forgotten dialect; my areas of interest are obscure and incomprehensible.

The cycles I have spoken of so often are repeating themselves. What can I do to put a spanner in the gears? Where can I go to feel that everpresent wind of which the Ojibwe? Where can I go to make meaning of what remains of my life?

I am trapped by my wife and her habits – over which I seem to have lost all control; which have whipped their sinewy tentacles around my pale, moribund, directionless flesh - all it takes is a nudge for me to lose my footing.

And lose my footing I have. I strive for traction every day and every day, in some way, I slip. Perhaps tomorrow … the centre will hold …

I am trapped by fatherhood, which gives me glimpses of the happiness I yearn to feel more often. Polly has her friend Mia sleeping over tonight. I entertained them by pretending that I did not snore like ordinary people when I slept, but clucked like a chicken.

Stumble Upon Toolbar DiggIt!

Friday, May 2, 2008

~ blue streaks of paranoia

I know it’s late days, but my disquiet over those replicants in pale blue tracksuits has reached critical mass.

Currently, these cyborgs are in Nepal organising the Olympic flame’s ascent of Mt. Qomolangma [aka Mt Everest]. There has been a veil of secrecy over the mountain these last few days, but I saw their arrival on TV - those bland-faced torch attendants milling maternally around their symbolic object, as if it contained something materially valuable, like, let's say... the mummified brain of Confucius.

I could only wonder – was mountain-climbing also a part of their obviously exhaustive training?

Of course, they probably won’t serve as the actual mountaineers, but it’s hard to imagine them happily relinquishing their object. In recent weeks we have seen their preparedness to do almost anything in defense of it – bullying both protestors and police alike, barking commands, forcibly raising the weary arm of a Blue Peter presenter during her stretch. Their focus on the object - an elongated aluminium cone comparable to a cigarette lighter in functionality – is intense. You can see it in their eyes when they gaze upon it. There is no doubt in my mind that they would kill to protect it.

These semiotically-charged blue streaks are elite members of the People’s Armed Police. Zhao Si, leader of this special ‘Sacred Flame Protection Unit’ describes his men as ‘tall [none under 6ft 3in] and large and ... eminently talented and powerful. Their outstanding physical quality is not in the slightest inferior to that of specialised athletes.”

Clearly someone has put thought into how they will appear to the world – best evidence: the choice of apparel. But it must have been done in a void – as soon as these torch attendants hit the world at large, it was clear something was out of kilter. The cool blues of their tracksuits only made their behaviour seem more monstrous

These kind of operatives should be invisible, instead they have become iconic. Their methods should be subtle and effective, instead it would not surprise me if the blue goons were featuring in children’s nightmares. They currently are as much a symbol as the torch itself.

The torch attendants, it seems, have provided a window on the heart of a myopic, paranoid, totalitarian regime. As such, they feed our incipient concern over our giant inscrutable neighbour, which we just thought we were beginning to understand. A public relations disaster if ever there was.

And then there were the reactions of the Chinese students to the Tibetan protestors. A friend of mine from Deakin Uni in Burwood said the campus was cleared of Chinese students the day the torch came to Canberra. They happily filed into their buses and were ported to the pro-Chinese demonstrations. Someone was organising it. The Embassy denied responsibility, claiming the reaction was spontaneous, but Zhang Rongan, “a Chinese Australian student organising pro-Beijing demonstrations, told the press that Chinese diplomats were assisting with the organization of buses, meals and accommodation for pro-Beijing demonstrators, and helping them organise a ‘peaceful show of strength.’" “The Chinese Students and Scholars Association for Chinese Australian told students to ‘go defend our sacred torch’ against ‘ethnic degenerate scum and anti-China separatists’”

I would guess that the majority of pro-Chinese demonstrators had little idea what they were doing or why. This was evidenced by my friend who actually questioned one. A few organisers were all that was necessary. These are the products of totalitarian rule. They are conditioned to obey authority without question. When the gang leader says get on the bus, they get on the bus. At least that’s how it seems to me.

What resulted was something very disturbing. China, with very little effort, mobilised massive support within the borders of a free democratic country. Students, who seemed thoroughly inculcated with the dogma of their motherland, were willing to exploit the freedom we enjoy by riotously showing support for a country that would grind them to mince under tank treads if they were to try the same kind of thing at home.

The point of this diplomatically-sanctioned pro-Chinese mobilisation? If it was to snuff out the poor Tibetans, it was overkill. I agree with Zhang Rongan – it was a show of strength.

The torch relay began as the brainchild of the Nazi propaganda machine. But of course you know that - it’s been mentioned rather a lot recently.


Alert: New developments (Posted September 2008)

Around the time of the Beijing Olympics, I was interested to read an article describing the rise of a new sex symbol in China. His name: Second Brother On the Right, and who should he be but one of the mysterious agents discussed above. The sensitivity of his work makes his name a state secret, though an almost sultry photograph attended the article.

If I was this man - and twenty years younger - I would detonate. I would demand my just desserts - the 'homage, gifts and would-be wives' - even if it meant time in a re-education camp. It is hard to imagine a more frustrating situation for a young man ... sexual obstruction, not merely personal, but on an almost planetary scale ... all that steamy erotic energy rising from the cities of China like car exhaust, seeking out a target forever denied ...

Denied an outlet, this tremendous power will form deadly Vortexes of Exasperation and vicious Maelstroms of Impedance ... Expect an epidemic of poltergeist activity as the sexual auras of adolescent girls react against curtailment ... Expect epidemics of psycho-somatic and auto-immune disease ... Expect vast manifestations of Kundalini - suddenly granted physical form - to writhe and thresh beneath the Gobi desert, besieging the land of China with a plague of Earthquakes

Perhaps Second Brother On The Right should join the uncelebrated inventor of The World Bag in commiseration. Two magnificent anti-heroes condemned to obscurity ...

Stumble Upon Toolbar DiggIt!