Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Your House and Enron

Enron was a sham, they were the only non-financial sector company in the US to use 'Mark to Market' reporting, that is they could report expected earnings as actual earnings that would knock on to the share price. Once they started accelerating their income, they had to keep accelerating in order to live up to the expectations they were creating.

Can you put a price on a home? Absolutely, and there's two ways, just like Enron had two kinds of profits.

Will start with the exotic, technical and rational way nobody actually does put a price on a house. That is you look at its earnings, its earnings to put it simply are rent. What rent can a house recieve? Even if you live in it, the income would become the savings of renting your next best housing option.

Rent = Income, Income = Rent. So once you know how much a home earns you can determine 'Net Present Value' which we could complicate by adding a 'required rate of return' but for simplicities sake you would just divide the rent by the interest rate. (since your minimum 'Rate of Return' would be to repay the cost of borrowing money to pay for it). Which is about 8% (for any long term projection) so you would earn $20k in rent, divide it by 8% you got a Net Present Value of $250k. So if you were borrowing at 8% for a house that earns $20k you would be rational in your investment if the price tag was $250,000 or less.

A simpler way is to just take a small period like 1 months rental yeild minus 1 months mortgage costs (revenue - cost of ownership) so you make $1,550 repayment per month you need to earn at least $1,550 rent per month to be an investor (because investments earn money).

Actually you wouldn't be an investor, you would be an idiot, because you could put the same money in a government bond and earn at least 3-4% so you need to earn at least 5-7% in rent above your mortgage repayments. That is investment, that is the only way property can be an investment.

Now for the second method, the one people use. To put it simply the price of a house is however much a bank is willing to lend you. Not you specifically but people in general. If the banks are tight with the loans, then housing prices will be tight. If they are all loose then house prices will rise. Why? I don't know, because people are morons or something.

People generally speaking don't look at the rents, they just need for some reason to own a house whether it mkes fiscal sense or not. You will also note that in the aforementioned section on the rational way to determine prices, I didn't mention 'Capital Appreciation' once.

Because unless you are Enron, there is no reason for the price to increase unless the rents increase correspondingly, which would require a wage increase also. So it stands to reason that Capital Appreciation is irrelevant.

If a house can earn as much money as it did last year then it has the same value, why would somebody pay more for the same value, it's just going to eat into the slender profit margins rent already has.

Unlss, you are of course Enron, then you may forecast future earnings. You may anticipate some flimsy reason for rents to go up (which would be just plain crazy right now) such as 'population increase' (The ABS shows that for every new person in Australia between 2001-2006 there was a new dwelling built for every 1.6 new people. In a country that has an average occupancy of 2.4 people per dwelling. Vis-a-vis population growth isn't sustaining housing prices and almost never does). or 'supply shortage' (15.6% increase in the number of unoccupied dwellings between 2001-2006) whatever the bullshit reason, you anticipate some increased future worth of the property then simply 'accelerate' it Enron style into todays prices.

For example a 2 bedroom house in Brunswick (where one can rent a room for $120 per week still) is priceat $450,000 almost double its Net Present Value, the only explanation being that the banks are willing to lend at low interest rates 95% of the value of the home to just about any douchewad still.

The douchewad is buying simply because they anticipate some price increase. They don't know why, just that it always does. In this case the person would be paying about $3g in mortgage repayments per month whilst making (even with the expensive rent of $200 per room per week) would be making only $1700 a month.

In other words the banks get all the actual income from the house, and then they get some of your wages as well. What do you get? You get the capital appreciation.

If I sold you my consulting business and informed you it lost $1300 a month, would you buy it for $450k? Yes, absolutely yes! you would say because if you pay $450k for it today, imagine what it will be worth when it starts making money.

Just admit it motherfucker, you can't explain why house prices go up. You just know they do. House prices went up when they announced the extention and expansion of the federal 'First Home Buyers Grant' money home buyers never see a cent of, as it goes straight to the home seller and is absorbed instantly in the price. Not just that but prices increased more than the amount of the grant resulting in a net loss for the buyer due to its stimulus effect on demand.

Its a clear example of the principle 'A house is worth as much as the banks are willing to lend' because any amount of money made available to purchase houses just gets absorbed in higher prices.

And then you have to stand back and look at the 'real' economy. Think of it as you will as looking at Enrons real earnings. Whilst houses are appreciating in price at ever increasing velocity, jobs aren't getting any better, in Australia they are getting worse, no money is leant for production or capital investment. Companies have to do this themselves from retained earnings or share offers, the economy is increasingly concentrated on the resources sector, manufacturing is dissappearing (a value adding activity) there is no investment in R&D, the best graduates are persuing job opportunities overseas. House prices are increasing faster than rent (just like Enrons share prices increased faster than its actual earnings) and rent is increasing faster than wages, and taxation will increase on wages at some point to pay for the debt driven economy (like stimulus packages), so why, oh why the fuck do house prices keep increasing when there is almost no hope that they will increase in actual value rendered to the real economy.

The banks earn all the rental income, and set the asset prices. So basically you are fucked. Even if you sell your house for a profit, you will have to live somewhere again. And when you buy in to the market at this astronomic high (most housing is 'unaffordable' by the definition of mortgage repayments costing no more than 30% of household take home income).

You are buying anticipating an unsubstantiated future gain. You are buying Enron when you buy a house in this country.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Nerds

The Nerd dollar strikes again, remember back if you will to much earlier in the year when Transformers 2 recieved almost universally bad reviews. But customers vote with their feet and it outearned its predecessor.

I only got around to watching it last night. And I have to say, I'm with the critics, there was one brief moment when I thought Micheal Bay had fooled me and that he actually was a brilliant director - when one of the many new annoying characters got eaten by devestator seemingly destroyed forever. But this was wrong and the annoying character burst forth from Devestators mouth and continued to be an offensive racial stereotype in transformer form.

The movie was long, the kooky human cast that had been amusing to tolerable in the first movie was now just plain annoying and aggravating. The women universally had far too much makeup on, the guys behaved as if they didn't know anything about women, there were a bunch of 'cool explosions' characters, being grafted onto the story with little to no backstory, explanation or whatever, of the new transformer characters 90% were annoying and the remainder didn't speak.

The jokes were pedestrian, the explosions massive, the plot poorly paced, the characters cliched, the emotions non-existent. It was a long film that varied between boring and annoying.

Take for example terminator 2, where James Cameron introduced the T1000, a liquid metal terminator whose powers blew our mind. And that concept was were Cameron stopped and just played it out to its fullest potential.

Now Bay was like 'What if a transformer could transform into a human? What if they could be ball-bearing transformers? What about nano-technology? Rail guns are cool! What if Optimus could fly?' It really reminded me of why the Japanese Anime revival of Transformers sucked so much collossal dick.

1. Annoying character archetypes (snivelling henchmen, the 'rad' comedy duo, the french chef, the old british bugger)
2. Super unlimited power-ups (most notably Optimus Prime's super half truck-half jet mode).
3. All style no substance. (explosions come first, emotions come second).

Kind of like Spiderman 3, or myself when I'm overconfident, I don't feel the restraints anymore and go too far. Spiderman 3 was too busy, with 3 villains, Transformers 2, is too busy but tries to absolve itself by spreading the business over 3 hours. (the premise takes an hour to get traction).

But nerds stampeded into watching what I will generously call 'The Best IMAX film ever' I have been convinced that people never go to see a sequal, they go to see the previous film for the first time the second time. Thus I think the real effects of how collossally shit the critics rightly found Transformers 2 to be won't be in its own box office performance but the extreme lack of interest there will be in Transformers 3.

As always though with the nerds that support this shite, if losers win do they stop being losers?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Today, as crazy as it sounds, I sat down and read 'Fear Of A White Planet' for the first time. It wasn't as painful as I thought. My first impression when I flipped from the cover to the first page was 'Oh god, this drawing is so bad.' It seems to quantumly improve at some point but I don't know when.

Reading it is like learning what I don't know I now know, in terms of anatomy, perspective and fancy shit like that, but also just what I've learned about pens, pencils, erasers in that time and just how much better I have to be to be decent. Even how much I've learned about photoshop pens, brushes and erasers since doing fear of a white planet. It seems an eternity ago, yet I only finished it in March.

Suffice to say, I need to do more to get to some space (if not stylistically then technically) like these guys:

Watch at your leisure. But I need to do more, finally having gotten the spank-bank monkey off my back, I can get rolling on 'Wish'.

Story wise, 'fowp' isn't bad, I was actually surprised at how quickly I read it it must have only taken me 20 minutes. Maybe I did still remember too much, hence I had the 'writers eyes' instead of somebody who needs to use the pictures to decipher whats happening, but I could still pick up where speach bubbles were really badly placed drawing the eye away from the accompanying image. An amatuers error, but I still think that at the least I got the conversations to flow logically with the speach bubble placement.

There's also still some sequences I'm happy with, like when Chief Adama has the thermometer in his mouth, when the monster is driving the car and the beach massacre. I personally didn't think the ending worked as I had intended, I think if I had the kind of luxuries of drawing 2-3 more pages I would have slowed the pace, created a greater sense of pace.

Overall though, I admit that when it came to finishing the pencil phase of Fear Of A White Planet, I contemplated going back and redrawing the first 20 pages, but I left them in because I wanted them as a monument to how shit I was and how much I progressed as a drawer by the end of it.

So I'm just going to keep rolling and start on my next project 'Wish' I'll keep posting more details as I work on it, there's no real need to keep this one super secret, I currently estimate it will be about 125 pages long and hope to finish it by Feb. But that means probably April. It requires a big Quantum leap and I want to be really prepared with studies and technique before I start drawing it. This story I want to do far more justice than FOWP.

That said, one thing that impresses me most about fowp was that I finished it and just got it fucking out somewhere were it can be seen read and bought by people. I think most artists never even get that far and hence end up as an accountant or some shit.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Life after Miki

Which is technically the rest of my life, so there's no real reason to do this today. Except something miraculous happened, infact it's me.

You know all those pasty white guys, losers, as they are commonly known... sure they try to call themselves 'otaku' as if it is somehow cool, or some kind of in-joke. They enjoy certain shallow aspects of Japanese culture, the anime, the pornography, some crappy toys and decide that after graduating from arts/science/engineering they want to earn dick all money teaching english in some crappy suburb of Japan so they can nail their students.

Yeah well I don't respect them either. Furthermore I've always been amazed at the ability for so many of these dickwads to get away with their transparent schemes.

But alas, from the first day of my exchange to japan I was pushed the envelope of the 'prisoners dilemma' through some administrative fuck-up, myself and Brenton were to spend the next 2ish months of our lives in a class full of young Japanese girls. The envelope was literal too, two pretty girls turned around in class and wrote their names in english on my book for me to remember, which I do, Ayumi and Megumi.

A prisoner in this dilemma thinks 'I could really clean up!' but I knew it wouldn't come cheap, just as the real prisoners dilemma, not only would I lose the respect of my peers (which lets face it I never valued that much) I would lose respect for myself.

Thus their came the latest addition to my 'rules' for dating. A quick recap:

1. No dancers.
2. No ex girlfriends of Bryce.
3. No Japanese girls.

One might be quick to point out, I have broken all of these rules at some point. No 2 didn't last long, I broke it almost as quickly as I made it and it remains the only opportunity I ever had to break that rule.

But that's all neither here nor there. The point is I broke my own rule to date Misaki, she was exceptional, and as soon as I did so I got ribbed by everyone I came across for having a thing for Asians. I almost feel as though with my white female aquaintences I became persona non grata.

So what? So what I say what's it matter what the world, my own tribe etc think of me. Fuck them the fucking a-holes.

But there is some notion that, like google the tide of asian girls dating white men is some unstoppable inevitable future. Some male facsimile of the 'once you have black you never go back'.

Well here is what makes me so miraculous. I maintain that Miki was exceptional, just like the ex f Bryce's and the dancer with whom I broke my other two rules. The exception that proves the rule. But to say I crossed some line of no return? Bullshit, and I'm determined to prove the haters wrong.

In Lisa Pryor's 'The Pinstripe Prison' there is at some point I can't be bothered finding again a quote of some guy who says 'I think a lot of people feel the need to travel because they are unhappy with who they are'

I think it would be stating the obvious (also an obvious statement) to suggest that a relationship as an escape from ourselves is one highly likely motive to get into one. Furthermore the appeal of foreign partners, or as Safran put it, 'outside the tribe' is going to hold up as a means to escape all the customs and heritage you may hate about yourself.

But I'm going to be brutally honest, white guys in my experience like asian girlfriends for the same reason that they like Mad Men. That is that 'The Female Eunuch' hadn't come out, Wade vs Roe hadn't been ruled on and in both cultures a woman is a mans property, a disposable commodity.

Another facade I desperately maintain was that I dated Miki because she was hilarious. Which she was. But I confess there was a time when I got up to do the dishes after she cooked dinner for me and she said 'you should rest after eating'. It was convenient at the time, and Japanese girls walk around with the poise grace and mindset of a 1960's fembot. Their women's magazines contain hundreds of hairstyling techniques a month and to my knowledge, no articles on achieving orgasm.

Women serve the drinks, see you off when you leave for work and dedicate 2-4 hours a day putting their face on in the morning and taking it off again at night.

Asian women suck, there I said it. I submit in my own defence that whilst on exchange to Japan in Highschool I met my first year girlfriend Chan, as in short for 'Chantelle', a girl that lacked the poise and grace necessary to greet one with an 'oi' instead of 'hello' or something similarly banal.

This is my miracle, that I could look n the mirror and realise, I like the 'oi' I like women who can throw a stone, open a gate in a paddock, snort when they laugh, wear tracksuit pants in the open, drive stick, eat a meat pie with their hands and break a guys nose with their hands.

They don't have to be rough as guts (which I imagine are rubbery smooth?) but just regular roughness. Like a sharp piece of cheese over plastic craft singles. No need for parmesan.

And here in lies my problem, I'm once again entertaining the possibility of dating someone/anyone, as if you look at the previous post I made a conscious decision in february that it wouldn't be right to date someone whilst working in secret on Spank Bank. But now I have no idea how to meet country girls in the city. I realise now that International House as a residence, might excite the aforementioned douchebags that grow up dreaming of an asian girlfriend as a place to meet international students. (except another place to meet international students is called the CBD, and another place is called Church) It was also an excellent place for meeting girls in Melbourne that were not from Melbourne, but exotic places where I come from like Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shep, Horsham, Sale, Bairnsdale, Orbost, Ararat... my mouth waters at the thought of all those sausage roles and vanilla slices (I didn't intend those a Euphamisms, but must admit it works really well).

So that's the plan, find me a girl with big strong hands, a face full of freckles, a ute and a jumper.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Super Secret Project my own Horror

In 'Gone Baby Gone' Casey Afleck's character blows the whistle on a crime that results in everyone losing. It is an act of moral absolutism, flying in the face of machievellianism.
I feel kind of like I've done that, except its stupid absolutism, not moral absolutism. My latest project was a stupid idea, when I concieved it, and it remains a stupid idea now I have given birth to it.

How Stupid? This Stupid:

I put it up here so that you will recognise it if you see it, and in recognising it when you see it, YOU DO NOT BUY IT. DON'T BUY IT!

Harvard yesterday (who hasn't seen it, even when I used his scanner) pointed out that my urgent pleas not to buy it may result in a reverse psychological pull for people to rush out and buy it.

I'm not fucking around though, I really, really mean: DON'T BUY IT.

I don't want you to read it. I don't mind some anonymous teenager buying it, or even some corporate executive I've never met. I don't mind them reading it. But I don't want you to read it, I don't want you to tell me you've read it, and I NEVER, EVER, want to discuss its contents.

Some parts, notably the actual journal entries, I cannot bring myself to read completely. The thought of you reading it makes me nauseous.

So hopefully I've said enough.

That said, it was an uncomfortable, albeit educational experience for me, for drawing, for thinking and for learning about myself. Watching John Safran's 'Race Relations' kind of helped, because his underwear sniffing segment probably revealed more about him than I did about myself in this.

I can't imagine it is an original concept. But it was still terrifying to print, to staple, to fold, to hand to some dude behind the counter who is not me. It has my name on it, which was important because it would be nowhere near as hard to publish it anonymously or under some pseudonym, now I have to change my name to escape it, possibly even move.

Because in the name of artistic development I have pushed myself to this new threshold of tolerance, widely expanding my comfort zones I have raised myself, belatedly to notch 3.

Thus concludes Super-Secret-Project-2. sorry that for you, it will remain mostly secret.

Actually I'm not sorry at all, you should be sorry to me, mother-fucker if you go behind my back and sneak a peak at my special journal.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


My birthday couldn't have come at a worse time, I've been really busy all October and am now really looking forward to a day off. And by day off I don't mean one to catch up with friends, but actually to literally just do my own thing for hours on end.

But who can we kid, Birthdays are a time of reflection, my 25th year was a trying year and surprisingly a highly self indulgent one. On saturday evening I was at a friends birthday party, which followed my own fairly dismal party earlier that afternoon.

There was this guy from the Airforce there that really stuck out, classic 'Driver' personality, extremely extroverted, extremely literal-task oriented. He asked the birthday girl 'Between Oct 16th this year and October 16th last year what have you achieved?' I think he meant it as a positive question, but it was interesting to observe how it played out.

As 3/4 of the population aren't driven task-oriented people, its actually quite a depressing question. My friends repsonse was 'ummm...nothing.' Which I'm sure isn't the case, but fact is she couldn't think of anything. She put the question to me next (since she knew it was around my birthday where the Airforce dude didn't) and my response was:

1. Published my first comic book.
2. Ran a half-marathon.

Which was all that came to mind on the spot. I've actually finished two solo efforts this year, initiated a creative posse whom I'm learning from constantly and we have been able to produce three zines thus far. I folded my first business this year, ran my first strategic review session, wrote a report got quoted in the Age Business Day, restarted tutoring a refugee...

When I think about it, I've achieved a lot, its just that any visable success alludes me. Certainly financial success.

Serendipitously Harvard showed me a TED video, that concluded with the old 'formula' for happiness: 'If money weren't an issue would you still be doing the job you are doing' and the guy concluded with the observation 'you are dead for a long time', which reminds me of the year 12 valedictory breakfast keynote speaker 'Fidds' who pointed out 'life is a brief flash of light between two infinitely long stretches of darkness' and all of this, is to say easily forgotten.

Am I who I want to be? Of course not. But there is a difference, I am at least doing some of the things I need to do to be that person. In my mind, nowhere near enough, its hard to do, so tempting to just let myself decay through idleness into less than myself.

My party was themed 'loser' and I think some people (like my brother who seemed overly concerned I was having a shitty birthday) think I'm in some kind of depressed funk. So if I really reflect though, I can explain this fearful moniker 'loser' in the terms I think about it.

The first thing is that your life is organised for you, you are born, your parents raise you, send you to kinder 12-13 years later you graduate from highschool, these days the majority go on to 'Higher Education' 4-6 years later you graduate, get a job, start earning money, buy a house, no longer have the financial freedom to choose the job and that's your life until you have kids.

You don't notice the current until you swim against it. On the surface I could make the argument that I'm regressing, I had a job, earned more money than I could spend, travelled the world, didn't return to work, opened my own business, spent more money than I could earn, closed the business (fired myself) got a crappy part time job (the one I had before Honda) plan to return to Uni - and then based on history should end up back in high-school.

It's surprisingly hard to not just be idling away my years working on a career, for one, I never noticed before but one feels compelled to apologise for your own existence. You can't for example simply say 'There isn't an employer I've found yet that is suitable for what I'm good at, so I choose not to work' or 'I'm trying to create my own business so I can work under conditions I feel are ideal' or even 'I don't know what to do with my life so I'm just trying a bunch of things until I find traction somewhere' it's really hard.

My dismal business consulting career, involved going into situations that in hindsight I just couldn't win. Or absorbed far more energy for the small victories than the value I was creating. But any time I doubted myself, and listened to my peers I would remember my old job that was accompanied with genuine praise and ample funds involved 4 hours of boredom a day. As I sat in a chair gaining weight and waiting for the rare opportunity to take on something challenging and develop.

I think the way I was gong at Honda was that I had a compulsion that would inevitably end up having me take on too much and get myself fired. I don't mean working 14 hours, I mean taking on the establishement, the global standards of how Honda does Business. I would have been encouraged too because Honda has a wonderful philosophy, but I'm one of the rare people who is at their worst when they are confident, way too cocksure and my ability to empathise just dissappears.

Anyway, I've learnt these three things that I enjoy in the whole process of the last year:

1. Drawing (predominantly or creating)
2. Running
3. Arguing (predominantly, and reasoning)

They are mundane things, but it is incredible what I had to go through, physically and psychologically to find this out. That's the strength of the current right there. If in year ten I had gone to my career councellor and given him these three things, the world is such that I would have walked out thinking I wanted to be an actuary.

Where if he was doing right by me, he would have said: 'These three things combine best in being a Graffiti artist, there's no money and a very real possibility of arrest, but with your running and ability to argue, you would probably do better than a lot of guys. I suggest dropping out of school as fast as you can'.

It doesn't happen. It's incredibly hard to overcome all the grafted desires for things you never really wanted to remember you loved art. If it was hard for someone as stubborn and arrogant as me, I know there must be more people really hard done by their parents/education.

That above list is very very valuable to me. And learning how to be a loser, how to fail and not be afraid of it.

You see beyond the inherent depression of not succeeding, it's liberating. Because the fear of failure doesn't mean you are driven to succeed. In my experience it drives one to simply want to appear to be succeeding.

It wouldn't be my birthday without a basketball analogy, but the way most people live their lives is for fear of going up against Jordan and being humiliated, they instead just go play in the mundane under 12's league, becoming MVP in a competition that is no competition.

Its taken me a long time (like 3 years) to accept that I would rather be in a position to fail at something I want to do, than be comfortable in the success of something that is no achievement to me at all.

You know I am now all about 'be a loser, if thats what it takes to put yourself in the game you want to be playing' stop wasting effort trying to be a winner, because as the cliche goes 'you are dead for a long time'. Alternatively you are not occupying the space of someone who really wants that position.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dean or Gean

I'm at a stage in my life where mentally this song speaks volumes to me:

Infact it makes perfect sense.

What I need to find is my Gean or Dean, someone with whom I can share a creative vision, and just create.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finishing GEB:EGB

This morning I decided today was the day to finally fucking finish reading Godel Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas 'Doug' Hoffstader.

It is in itself a difficult book to talk about, I'll put it this way, it is a boring book written about the most fascinating subject matter that possibly exists.

Or should I say: ~Ea:Aa: (a > a') OR ~Ea:Aa: Sa > a ?

I still haven't gotten my head around TNT, but if a represents the hypothetical number that denotes the most fascinating subject matter ever, I think I wrote something akin to, it is the highest number there is on the interest scale.

And now you get a sense of just how witty it is to read Zen Koans translated into Typographical Notation Theory, and then proved that they are not robust enough to prove or disprove there Godel theorem G.

I guess for me, the book was about the foundation of intelligence being a formal system robust to refer to itself in what Doug calls a 'Strange Loop' and whilst the self reference isn't powerful enough to completely comprehend itself on the same level of existence (?) and isn't powerful enough to pop up to a higher referential plane (such as the ability of a person to step out of a photo they are in and contemplate their own role in the photo), we are robust enough as intelligences to deal with this incompleteness of a formal understanding of self, and go on contemplating our own existence, free will, consciousness, music, beauty, truth etc.

The texts obsession with self-reference in formal systems I took to be grounded on needing to understand whether intelligence can be reproduced in something we would traditionally describe as a machine which are typically bound to number theory and as such a formal system that is as Godel proved rigourously - incomplete.

The book feels incomplete as well, as their is no definitive proof, albeit that it fundamentally makes sense that intelligence is not remarkable to a brain, which consists of neurons that either 'fire' or 'don't fire' in the same way that a binary switch is either 'on' or 'off'.

Furthermore there were fascinating explorations on the theme of AI and just what it is, most fascinating to me was the notion that a machine made intelligent (AI) would by necessity actually end up representing human intelligence, most notably an AI would probably be as good at maths or chess as a human is, because intelligence occupies our own capacity to be mechanically reliable like say a calculator, this would be no less true for a machine, who would have to employ their intelligence to use machines in the exact same way humans do.

So I learnt something. To be honest I'd probably have to read the book at least 3 more times to have a firm grasp of what it is about, or what its conclusion was. I think I know but am not confident and since its taken me so many attempts and so long to read it the first time I doubt I will revisit the investment because its already given me enough.

Congratulations me on a job, done.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When You Know

Aside from the 2 hour party that is running a half marathon, this weekend I also went to a wedding, not just that but the wedding of a couple that are convincingly in love. A couple where you dread the thought of them ever separating because you don't want to pick sides, nor face up to the pressure of stepping into the void either partner would leave.
Whilst I don't believe in a universal notion of love and shit, for example I don't think anyone should lead their life in the pursuit of a perfect partner, or someone who makes them giddy with love forever and ever, I will concede that their must be some people that actually through probability, circumstance or brain wiring have this kind of fairytale relationship in earnest. And give and receive blowjobs until they are wrinkly and old.

Contemplating re-entering the dating game myself, and trying to write as close to a 'romance' as I will probably ever right, I'm trawling up memories of the various people I've been in love with over the years, and when I knew.

Where there is love, there is cliche and the wedding was no exception, one of the speeches I forget which involved the 'falling in love a number of times, just with the same person' chestnut.
There are some people I fell in love with numerous times, 2 people in fact and both of them from my 'summer of love' relationships. For tactical reasons I normally don't share this information but usually I am in love with someone long before I tell them, normally shortly before I kiss them. It's how it happens for me and Alas AMI hasn't developed a nasal spray for me.

The first girl I loved I don't remember the name of, and it wasn't sexual at all, it must have been grade 2 or 3 and she did the twist with relentless abandon, it was the first time I ever really noticed a girl and I liked the honesty of her exubirent dancing. I remember feeling sad and reclusive when she left the school. This is probably the first time I have written about it.

I fell in love with "Beryl" when she was telling some guy he was a dickhead. She was Yr 8 and I was Yr. 7. She was the first 'skank' I ever saw although the term probably wasn't in fashion at the time. She was also probably the first redeeming feature of public secondary school. I never found out her name, asked her name, or did anything else. She was unpolished and dangerous and I was captivated by her.

I fell in love with Sarah after she found out I liked her, and she walked past me and winked and made the 'chk-chk' sound which I can't make and one usually makes when riding a horse off into the sunset and remains the most intimidating thing to ever happen to me and I was terrified and knew I loved her. I foolishly asked Bryce for advice on asking her out, and then more foolishly told her I loved her at the end of that phone call. It was pretty downhill from there. Lesson learned.

Suzanne I didn't love, but i did love how we started out, which was being shoved into the room she was in with a push in the back from some fugly chick that was hooking us up with the introduction 'here she is'. I was shut in a laundry with her and can't believe I recovered from that.

I loved her, but didn't know it when Eleanor was giving Bryce shit at La Porchetta in the same way I would give him shit. He was dating her then and as guys don't tend to steal women off eachother I thought nothing more of it at the time, since it was a double date and I was with Suzanne at the time (I also learned never go on a double date with Bryce if you don't like being upstaged). I knew I was in love with Eleanor when she suggested our first date be at the Pancake Parlor. I think it was the most in love I've been with anyone ever. I fell in love again when she told me the remote was referred to as 'the Travolta' as if that made sense. If I had known who David Bowie was I would probably have fallen in love with her again. I even fell in love with her amongst the abject humiliation of being beaten at table tennis by her when she held the bat by the pad not the handle and still managed to smash me out of contention. I knew I loved her when she broke up with me for very practical reasons when I departed for Uni, at the exact time I was starting to toy with the idea of trying to keep her around. I was sad, but it didn't hurt.

I knew I loved Chantalle when she found my use of the word 'novelty' highly amusing on the Seijoh mini-bus on some excursion Kimura made all the exchange students take. Then there was a years hiatus, I fell in Love with Chantalle again when I saw her in big-pants in Melbourne town, where frankly speaking she was trying far too hard to be a sophisticated city girl for my liking.

I fell in love with Claire whilst walking with her to her friends place as she unfolded her stupid scheme to get with me, that pretty much involved her friend Sophie alienating me at a dinner party from conversation whilst getting me incredibly drunk in the meantime. It was moderately succesful, but I was more impressed by what an idiot she was bowing to a buddha statue on our walk. It was either that or her tight chopping action when preparing meals, like its something that needs to be taken seriously.

I fell in love with Miki when she attempted to imitate my model strut and fucked it up by turning around and smiling in an almost approval seeking manner and it was the best smile I had ever seen.
I fell in love with Miki when she remarked she didn't like italians as we waited for a table at Tiamos.
I fell in love with Miki when she got up before me at 6am on a workday to get my bicycle ready, an act wholly unnecessary and by the way it sounded to me lying in her bed, really ungraceful.
I fell in love with her again when she ate a big-breakfast at a brunch one day that i refused to help her with at all. She took it really seriously, and I was seriously impressed.
I fell in love with her again when I ironed on 'Come here' and a target that was intended for underwear onto a white cotton chesty bonds shirt and I showed it to her and she made her hand into a pistol and went 'piow piow' at the target.

So Eleanor and Miki remain the bench marks, and I don't know who would 'win' out of the two, because both ended for geographical reasons (as far as I was made aware) and if I saw them tomorrow I'd be skeptical as to whether I still did. The time each had with me was not comparative either. To be honest the opportunity to say or do something that made me fall in love with them: things they said or did that made me fall in love with them probably favors Eleanor. I'm not sure I'm spelling her name correctly though.

I should also say there are omissions too, as there are girls I was in love with but managed to avoid anything approaching a relationship or even friendship. Feral Beryl and the girl from grade 3 are okay, because I don't know who they are or were and if I met them tomorrow wouldn't know any better.

I also realize that there are girls that I've been with that I was never in love with at least not in the way I'm talking about, and more than I suspected.

Anyway whether you find your soulmate or not, there are plenty of opportunities for love out there. Plenty.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Massive Sudden Destimulation AKA Despair

At long last I return to this blog, like a guy who spent the last 4 weeks wondering if he could do better than his current girlfriend and came back with the firm answer 'no'. Which means for one, nobody will be reading this once again.

Anyway today also marked my return to the Half Marathon for the 2nd year in a row. I dropped 10-15 minutes off of last years time. I blame the fact that I broke my foot 3 weeks ago and decided plain and simple to stop training until thursday, when my entire training consisted of just running a half marathon.

I decided to split the race psychologically into 4 pieces, as a result of said training session and it really worked. See from my parents house to the Yarra boulevard is part one, from there to fed square is part 2, part 3 is back to where I began the yarra trail and then part 4 is the remainder to my house.

I guestimate it works out to a 3-10-7-4 split between parts. For todays race I decided part 1 was 8km, part 2 - 14km mark, part 3 - 18km, and part 4 the finish. so thats a diminishing 8-6-4-3 split psychologically.

Here's the thing about me. I have the cardio and the mental fortitude to run middle distance (yes, anything shy of 20km is actually middle distance or so I am lead to believe) and really running long distance is largely a mental exercise. The fitter you are the less mental resolve you need to keep pushing.

Running 21km with almost no training involves talking to yourself constantly and listening to your body.

Today possibly moreso than any other day in my life, my mind was in overdrive for 2 hours keeping me running. When I sprinted (foolishly) over the finish line I was confused and disoriented.

Then for the first time in my life I experienced something I had only heard about previously which is the feeling of despair in a situation that normally should be joyous and celebratory in nature.

I felt the sudden urge to cry uncontrollably for no reason, except it would seem that I had just finished a half marathon. It stuck with me for ten or so minutes, until I became indignant at a girl who just parked herself at the drink table and had like 8 cups while a million people waited.

Friday, October 02, 2009

As Long as I Live I Just Won't Understand Chris Lilley's Appeal

Ever feel like the world has gone mad? Like the crushing last chapters of Catch-22 when Yossarian walks through a destroyed Rome, "The night was filled with horrors, and he thought he knew how Christ must have felt as he walked through the world, like a psychiatrist through a ward full of nuts, like a victim through a prison full of thieves. What a welcome sight a leper must have been!"

The worlds gone mad, mad for Chris Lilley. I remember going round to Bryce's and he and some other dude sat down to watch Summer Heights High like it was some kind of event. After watching mildly amusing character based comedy for what seemed a very long hour, this other dude cried out 'More! MORE!!' like he had some insatiable hunger for it.

I remember another friend turning around at some social function and asking a friend if they were taping Summer Heights High, almost as if one could not predict exactly what would play out on the show that night.

I remember waking up to talking about how some schools had had to ban 'Slap the butcher' or people complimenting eachother for drawing the 'dictation' joke on facebook as if they had somehow made their own funny.

I understand the appeal of the show, it's a mildly amusing character based comedy in the spirit of 'Little Britain' and furthermore it's made in Australia which means standards are lower for just what constitutes an 'achievement' or even 'ambitious'. Thus like Kath & Kim, Two and a Half Men, The Nanny etc I understand how television shows from mediocrastan can have huge followings, even huger followings than TV shows from extremastan like Deadwood, The Wire, Garth Merenghis Dark Place and shit that are most often described as 'cult' TV shows.

What I don't understand is why people I really respect and think of as intelligent seem to think Chris Lilley is somehow brilliant for portraying characters I had always assumed were from Stage Comedy 101, the bitchy slut, the bitchy drama teacher, the gangsta that isn't convincingly gangster, the miss Bucket, the computer geek etc ad nauseum.

They are not I feel in the league of say Ricky Gervais' characters in terms of emotional complexity or believability. They aren't in the league of Sacha Baron Cohen who along with Will Farrel is the only person I can forgive for doing appearing in character for an interview, because of his sheer commitment to being that character in situations deliberately chosen to escalate the danger to his person. They are probably slightly superior to the Little Britain characters, but would you describe them as geniuses? They are catch phrase comedy that follows a predictable formula. The only difference being that when you watch the first episode it is actually really funny. That 'computer says no' chick had me in stitches the first time. But grew tired immeadiately.

To me it's kind of like Models, like everybody goes Gaga for the latest Hollywood starlet, yet Hollywood doesn't actually need to scour the earth to find the most beautiful girl in the world. Jessica Alba wasn't found on account of Tibetan Monks scouring small villages in the backwoods of Croatia until they found a child the could believe would be the next incarnation of Sophia Lauren. They found her in a line of 40 actresses auditioning for the lead role in 'Dark Angel'. Success compounds all that shit.

In my high-school I would have said that there might be between 3-5 girls that if they wanted could have become full time fashion models, except they won't they were planning to become doctors or lawyers or some shit. Chris Lilley like a beautiful girl is just not one of those rare comic geniuses like Andy Kaufman, Larry David, Ricky Gervais etc. (I can't think of more ready examples because they are actually really rare) He seems to me to clearly be Harpo, not Groucho.

But I'm wrong, I'm the minority of 1 it seems, I think 2+2=4, HBO the gold standard of Television picks up Summer Heights High. How can I continue to respect HBO. I would have been more understanding if they picked up Salaam Cafe or even Talkin Bout Your Generation.

You know once I was sitting down and watching cricket and mentioned to my housemate 'you know I just don't understand cricket' and then my housemate said 'I kind of appreciate the mental battle between the bowler and the batsman trying to break eachother.' and I looked again and I saw it, and having had that explained to me I 'understood' cricket. It wasn't enough to get me into it, but I understood how someone could watch it or for that matter baseball and be into it.
NFL (or Grid Iron) I understand too, its gone from 'glorified human chess' to 'much more impressive than Rugby' in my estimation now that I understand it.

I don't understand why I'm supposed to think Chris Lilley is brilliant, or even, particularly brilliant. If someone would give me that key insight like 'watch his left hand doofus' and then I 'saw' it and could understand that vital thing that I'm missing I would feel very reassured. But as it stands, I have no fucking idea why I should go out of my way to watch a guy pick on homosexuals.