Monthly Archives: September 2012

Essay Writing, Avoidance Of…

I should be doing an essay right now. Odds are you should be too.

I recently went through and itemised all of the essays, assignments and assorted paraphernalia that I have to do for Uni before the semester is over (in two weeks). The list was daunting and the dates attached to said items…painfully close. If I was a normal person I would be focussing all of my attention on completing said tasks but instead I have been conducting experiments on my fear threshold and thinking about the kinds of people I could make on The Sims if only I could find the required disks to play it again (probably a blessing in disguise that I haven’t because then my procrastination levels would reach CRITICAL MASS and I would explode in a shower of not doing my assignments).

At the moment my procrastination levels are sitting at an alarming (but not dangerous) EASILY AND WILFULLY DISTRACTED. I should be completing a journal due next Wednesday and writing philosophical reports that are due in a week…but instead I have been seduced by something much stronger than academia (which could be anything at all when you think about): Fear.

I have become an addict of terror, and I mean it. This isn’t just some writer hyperbole to make my life sound more interesting like an imaginary collection of monsters living in my apartment (although a small goblin has taken refuge in the freezer box after being drawn there by left-over slurpee from BYO Cup Day at 7Eleven. He’s proving quite difficult and won’t be coaxed out with bread crumbs like the last one). This is super serial you guys. I know this now after watching an interview with Russell Brand on Sixty Minutes…

You see he defined his addictions as a repeated engagement in an activity even though you know it’s detrimental to you (although I’m pretty sure that’s not Brand’s definition as it is probably shared by psychologists and school nurses the world over). After thorough examination of my psyche, I have come to conclusion that I too am participating in this sort of behaviour…although before you freak out and think I’m a meth (couldn’t afford it) and/or sex (not enough stamina) addict, allow me to clarify that my addiction is of the ‘not worth going to celebrity rehab’ variety.

As I mentioned above my current addiction stems from fear, and the willing search for said emotion through a single means: playing computer games (or game, singular in this case). I’ve recently, and tragically, discovered ‘Slender’. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it’s not a porn fetish featuring starving refugees. No. It’s a terrifying video game based around the Internet created monstrosity known as The Slender Man. Included below is an image of said creation…in of all his faceless, slender glory. Below that is a brief history of said nightmare fuel.

Top right. Tall thing. Weird smokey tentacles. No face. Nightmares all the time.

The Slender Man is an urban myth popularised and created by the Internet (it’s kind of cool how social media has replaced the campfire with the creation of nightmare spawn). With its origins traced back to a Photoshop competition, similar to the above image, the myth has since grown into an uber-legend and has invaded the Zeitgeist on the back of a series of copycat photos and found-footage YouTube videos (my first experience of which was the brilliant Marble Hornets series…I’d include a link but I’m lazy and if you’re really interested you can just Google that shit). The back story came after the initial photo but is best described as a tall, faceless, creature/man steals kids and kills anyone who crosses his path.

The Slender Man’s habitat of choice is woods. Usually creepy. However he has been known to descend into cities and towns like a wraith and, in some instances, into houses (he’s probably right behind you right now as you’re reading this…please don’t turn around). Characterised by his plain dark suit, abnormally slender body shape and faceless orb for a head, The Slender Man’s rise to fame is no small part due the relatable horror and simple imagery at play here. I mean come on: You see it. You freak out. It’s not complicated. It’s not Biblical. It’s just unsettling as all buggery (Uncanny Valley…maybe that will be for another post). Also adding further to the mythos is the docu-real-this-is-a-true-story-happened-to-a-friend-of-my-cousin aspect, planting small seeds of doubt that maybe this isn’t a hoax.

Anyway enough exposition, the game in question that has been testing my nerves and ruining my study habits is a simple game that can be downloaded from any internet-able (please don’t judge my made-up words) source. It’s a first-person style game, where the player wanders through a creepy as fuck forest with a flashlight. The controls are simple, you walk around moving the flashlight across misty woodlands and abandoned trucks/toilet-blocks etc. The objective? Collect 8 pages randomly placed throughout the game. Simple.

Until you get the first page and suddenly the sound of footsteps on gravel is joined by eerie music and your heartbeat…and every now and again your torchlight catches glimpses of towering, slender, faceless figure in the shadows…at which point you have to RUN THE FUCK AWAY or you die. Yeah. I’ve only got three pages max before I’ve succumbed to the Slender Man’s stalking. Oh and if you keep your torch on too long it dies. And if you turn around he will most likely be behind you but because the game operates on a randomly generated system sometimes he’s not and why is blood pressure rising and what is the wet sensation running down my leg into my socks…

It’s that kind of experience…and despite the fakt that I am absolutely hopeless and can barely keep it together once the heartbeat starts and I collect my first page…I continually find myself replaying the game over and over. I begin playing and two minutes in I start to question my sanity, because why am I doing this again? Oh god I am so scared…OH MY GOD THERE HE IS!

So that’s what I’ve been doing instead of researching my Cinema Studies essay or re-drafting my screenplay. I’ve been willingly engaging in an activity that is making me shit my pants in fright. I need help. Or better control of my bowels. Whatever. That’s all for today. Sweet dreams…?

Treed.

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Filed under Life & Times Of, Trivial Pursuits, Urban Monsters

Traffic Anomalies, Weather Pattern-making and A Third Thing.

Opening with the weather once again (how frightfully repetitive) because, besides being the ultimate ice-breaker (narwhal horns notwithstanding), it’s also one of main things that make Melbourne Melbourne. Melbourne exhibits a meteorological phenomena that belies belief (or begs or bludgeons). Melbourne weather seems to exist within that realm of things doing whatever they want; a grey area commonly referred to in the memeverse as a ‘no fucks given’ zone. The weather that governs the city is like a child with ADD, prone to distraction from the approved weather patterns (hail storms in summer) and rarely stays focussed on one type of weather for more than thirty seconds. You can walk out of a building in Melbourne and feel the wind nipping at the nape of your neck (ALLITERATION TOP SCORE) causing you shrug on your jacket/coat/jumper/hairy significant other, then after travelling a block down the street you find yourself sweating enough bullets to arm a small militant refugee contingent from the mountains of Mongolia.

My last post dealt with the gripes of the wind and the sky preparing itself for some serious RAIN. Now…a week on…and the air outside the apartment is eerily calm. I have the window open and the TV hasn’t been wrenched from its moorings. It’s nuclear holocaust still. Our street, which usually resembles a wind tunnel is barely registering a fart…for the second day running. I wait with bated breath though…because I know that by 8:30 the streetlights will be shaking and anything not bolted down will be wrecking havoc on the buses below.

Buses.

I’m watching the buses now and the cars that weave angrily behind them, impatient. I’m currently witnessing an event of great magnitude: a traffic anomaly. A single broken line divides the road right up the middle, creating two mathematically pleasing lanes for traffic to not move in during the hours of 4:00pm and 6:30pm. However for some reason I can count three snakes of traffic shuffling up to the lights. I’m not sure how this is happening…but I know that it must be a Melbourne thing because if it were attempted anywhere else…you would die. A road shark would sense the extra ‘lane’ and burst from within the asphalt…devouring you in your environmentally friendly, hybrid cocoon. How embarrassing…you don’t even get to die in a good car…

I’m about to start on dinner actually. I’m a sexy, sexy housewife. Think January Jones from Season 1 of Mad Men…only I look better in a pinafore. I have to make extra. For the monster. It’s a new one now. We managed to lure the wardrobe dwelling abomination into the apartment across the hall so he could terrorise some Canadians (they seem to actually get on quite well…) and for a while there was a calmness that floated through the open window of 503 (you know because the wind isn’t trying to kill us at the moment). However the calm was shattered after the shower repairs revealed something sinister lurking within the plumbing. Now if you want to use the toilet without being ‘inspected’ by a jagged tentacle or have a shower without a large yellow eye peering up at you from the plughole, you have to drop a raw steak into the pipes…

We’ve decided to call him Dolores. Jazz music makes him irritable.

Anyways this has been a pleasant exercise in saying so little with so many words. I hope you have found this pointless because if you got anything out of this at all, I would be sincerely concerned for your sanity.

There’s a tentacle looping out of the tap. Better get cooking.
Treed.

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Recycling Obsessions, Neglected Journals & Calms Before Storms.

Today’s post is in three parts. Kind of like a pizza. A poorly cut pizza. More like a kit-kat. With a bit missing. Seriously what foods come in threes?

Read This Section To Help You Have Conversations With Strangers.

The sky looks like it’s going to deliver the meanest right hook. It’s the sort of punch that’s going to bust lips open and send teeth flying into the atmosphere. It’s a wind-up, widow-maker. A knock-out that you can see coming a mile away…and yet are totally unable to stop. It’s a hypnotists love-tap. It’s a kind of surprising too, you know considering everyone went early on the summer gear this year (shorts got a decent look in yesterday for the first time in several months) and yesterday held the promise of more delicious days to come.

But that was yesterday and this is Melbourne and now the sky is vengeful, drunk and has your address smeared up its rippling forearm. Walking today is not an uphill battle. It’s an effort from all angles. Wind assaults thin legs from all angles and with no mercy. If you jump at the right moment there is a very real possibility you will take flight and collide with a bus…which in turn will take flight and both you and the bus will find yourselves on the wrong side of the rainbow surrounded by ageing midgets who want to know what Ms. Garland’s up to these days.

And while that could be fun (you could have an adventure with a drunk, an asshole and a drag queen on your quest to get back home) it’s probably not a great idea. Especially if you’re not wearing the right shoes. This weather is pretty dramatic though. The door to the balcony (it’s a small rectangle of metal that you is really there to hold the air-con in place) is shaking so hard I am worried about being invaded by Hurricane People, but it does offer a rather nice parallel to my academic life. For you see this is just the weather prepping itself for a biblical smack-down on our asses, the storm is coming and you know it’s coming…but you just have to wait.

I’m currently experiencing an academic lull. After the frantic essay smashing of a few weeks ago, we are now at that lovely point in time where nothing is due and (the timetable Gods are smiling down on me) you have some free time. Of course you know that this is aforementioned calm. That very soon (Week 9 or 10) the wind is going to pick up, the clouds will gather and the lecturers will compile their notes and send an essay question in your general direction…there will be a moment of stillness…and then BOOM! You’ll die.

I’m foolishly trying to batten down the hatches and get some early groundwork started on my screenwriting assignment so that when the tide rises I will be at least half-prepared…

Which Brings Us A Nice Segue To Our Second Slice Of Poorly Cut Pizza (Still No Trios of Foods).

Today for my screenwriting class I had to go in for a one-on-one chat about my 30 minute screenplay draft (this screenplay is to be redrafted and submitted at the end of the semester as my major piece of assessment for the subject). It was pretty straightforward. I’ve been given points and tips for what I need to fix and adjust and I’ve been told to watch a film or two to help with getting the idea sorted (it’s about people doing weird shit with their supermarket purchases). That was all good. The part that wasn’t was a throw-away line at the tail end (tautology? We’ll get back to you) of the chat. Something about having a great journal because my session was first and I would have butt-loads of spare time. I laughed. Stammered. Fake laughed. Internally panicked. Journal…right.

Journals are the bane of my existence. Sounds weird coming from a guy with a blog, Facebook and Twitter account. Also considering all writers are told that journals are the BOMB and should be kept in order to hone skills and the like. But I stand by my claim. Journals irritate me because I find I’m not that articulate when I have to write my thoughts down in small cramped book…even worse when these scattershot thoughts have to be legible and understandable in order to be marked by my tutor. So journals and I are not the best of frienemies…in fakt we must be sat on separate tables at weddings and even then at least three feet apart.

Don’t get me wrong, I love notebooks and pens and scrawling my brain farts into being with said articles…but the idea of journal with intent…grumble mumble spit in a spittoon. So needless to say my regularly updated journal has two entries and thirteen pages stapled together with the words “NOT JOURNAL PART” etched across the first and thirteenth. It’s dire. Naturally the course of action would be to start putting things in said journal but that is obvious, easy and the best course of action. Naturally I’m going to end up doing nothing for ages, freak out a week out and write twelve weeks of entries in four days (or less). Should be fun.

The Third Macaroon… No? What About Scoops? Actually, That Works. Food of Three Discovered.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever posted about my obsessive nature before…which is weird because by default an obsessive nature would mean I would totally remember everything ever. Anyways. My obsessive nature is more in the form of my obsessions. They are cyclic and eclectic and involve me becoming totally enraptured with a particular thing or topic, hunting down all available information on said topic, slowly losing interest and tangentially finding a new topic. It’s exhausting. Sometimes I find myself returning quite quickly to original obsessions (Batman and Sherlock Holmes often find themselves sandwiched between other obsessions with extreme regularity) other times it may take a while (such as recently rediscovering my obsession with Attenborough and his works).

At the moment I kind of have this thing for cephalopods. And no not like that. Although there is video footage of that if you really want it. I am finding myself becoming enamoured by the humble cephalopod (squid and octopus mate) and it’s bizarreness. I can’t quite explain it and I don’t quite understand but there you go.

In fakt if I was being brutally honest my obsession lies more in the abstract idea of octopi and squids and krakens and cuttlefishes. The symbolism and depiction of said tentacled beasties. I find myself pausing each time I walk past a bottle-shop selling Kraken Black Spiced Rum to admire the decorative animal adorning the label. I am drawn to the sigil of the Greyjoys (Game of Thrones reference…if you don’t understand it…GTFO) and the looping whorls of Cthulhu inspired artwork. I’m probably going crazy and am definitely sounding a little sexual deviant-y. However this current obsession is also impacting my creative curve (I don’t what that is it just looks like a nice phrase).

My latest film idea follows the adventures of a young man who, after being expelled from school, is sent to live with his eccentric uncle. Said uncle is a cephalophile and is on the maddening quest to track down the mythical Kraken of legend. Hilarity and life-lessons on boats ensue. By next week when my obsession shifts to tortoises the film will be slightly different again.

Now I’m off to hunt kraken. Take care. Buy an umbrella.

Treed.

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Filed under Creative Catharsis, Life & Times Of