Category Archives: Urban Monsters

Congratulations On Arriving At Your Third Year Of University: Majoring In PANIC!

You know that part in a quest where the hero (or heroine or heroin if you’re watching a really weird movie were drugs are played by people, which may actually be related to the fakt that you’re watching a movie on drugs but whatever) has defeated a whole bunch of monsters, managed to identify the member of their questing team that is actually holding them back and banished them, suffered some serious physical and psychological trauma and has made it most of the way to the top of the mountain/cave/castle/skyscraper/church hierarchy but is still faced with one final, bowel loosening, knee trembling, nightmare fuelling, muscle tightening act/task before they’re actually done?

That’s me. I’m at that part.

I’ve navigated my way through two (technically three, but we don’t talk about what happened at Melbourne Uni) years of tertiary study and I have managed to, surprisingly, come out half okay. Yes my shoes are scuffed and that gaping wound on my chest is still healing up, but otherwise I have actually coped. As is the case with any great endeavour there are things that have sucked and seemed nearly insurmountable at the time, and look those deaths were probably avoidable but I’ve already defended my actions in the queue at Officeworks that day, however I’m still standing and no-one in an ominous suit has come to take me away just yet. I’m in front.  My quest is nearing its completion and the vultures circling overhead have stopped taking bets on how long I’ll last. I can almost taste the sweet nectar of success (I’m hoping it’s spaghetti related).

However there is still one final monstrosity standing between me and that ‘maybe spaghetti related success’. I have to actually finish these last two semesters. And, naturally, as you get closer to the end the chances of fucking up royally increase slightly, as do the odds of being swallowed by a giant squid in my sleep. So while I am standing at the crossroads of THE REST OF LIFE (FUCK), I can’t help but get oddly reflective. Like a mirror. Only if you hold up objects to my chest I won’t reflect them back at you. So not at all like mirror. More like a pensive elderly gentleman at the pier, staring wistfully at the horizon and thinking: How did I get here? Not even metaphorically…I have no idea where I am.

Instead my reflectivity focuses outwards and captures what is still to come. Like an internship. Like more assignments. Like more philosophy (seriously don’t understand how I managed to get conned into doing more philosophy, it’s like killing a series of giant spiders at the start of my quest, only to discover their babies halfway through and, after killing all of them, realising that the original batch of spiders have been reanimated by some dickhole of a wizard). And soon the reflection and introspection turns to outrospection and sheer, fuck-off terror. Yesterday it was Douglas Adams birthday, the man who first told me not to panic, so it’s only fitting that the day after sees me falling victim to the soul crushing, sphincter testing, malaise of a slow burn panic.

It’s the sort that starts in the soles of your shoes and works its way up your legs, constricting gently so as not to draw any attention to its black, wiry tentacles…at least not until you realise it’s grip tightening around your neck and a soft hissing laugh from somewhere in the shadows. Cutting away all the analogies and metaphors, I’m scared. But a little bit excited. It’s like Christmas…but there is a high chance that I will be receiving a punch to the face instead of new shoes (clearly I lied about cutting away analogies…).

The main food source for my dark, malicious jellyfish of panic is this internship. The worst part of it all is the resume writing, the cover letter creating and the CV generating. I’m basically standing out in front a crowd of people, naked, and they will in all likelihood reject me and crush my soul into a small discus to be flung into the sun. Something you may have learnt about me is that I don’t like going outside of my comfort zone. Why the hell would I want to leave a zone that actually has the word ‘comfort’ in it? It’s like turning down something called Delicious All-Your-Favourite-Foods-Taco. So what am I going to do about this? Well naturally my first instinct was to go with my tired and true method of procrastination…but I felt that would only help the jellyfish tighten its hold on my windpipe.

So instead I am going to the much more dangerous road of proactivity.

Yes it is terrifying.

Yes it will take me very, very far out of my comfort zone.

But I think it will be okay.

If not I can always go crazy, wear a Driza-Bone everywhere and pee in jars. My options are endless.

The group was silent, looking at the hero with intent in their gleaming, hopeful eyes. The horrors of the past lay behind them, especially that dickhole of a wizard who resurrected those spiders, and new horrors would face them if they forged ahead. They looked at their hero to tell them that even though it was going to get a lot worse before it got better, everything was going to be okay. He said something really inspirational, picked up his sword and began to make his way forward.

High above them a pair of vultures made lazy circles in the sky. One squawked to the other, “So what are the odds on him falling flat on his arse in the next ten days?”

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Filed under Life & Times Of, Urban Monsters

The Keyboard I’m Writing This On Feels Nice To Touch.

It’s true. It’s like my fingers are being gently massaged as they type, also I think someone has attached a silencer to the keys because the clickity-click normally associated with typing, trains and annoying children with four-click pens is notably absent. Instead there’s a sort of muted popping sound. Think the faint buzzing sound of popping candy that can be heard through your jaw as you chew. That’s what this keyboard sounds like. Popping candy. Which doesn’t so much pop as it does fizzle and slighty tickle the gums and molars. Anyway the whole thing gives a very Zen like aura to the business of typing. I feel like I am typing this out in a pristine Zen orb, that is silently floating over the planet, collecting data and information about what I believe to be an extinct Earth but is in actual fact a large piece of space fruit elaborately bruised and painted by giant God-like beings to trick people in Zen orbs into flying to close, at which point they make themselves known and devour said orbs (and their occupants) in a single Galactusian gulp.

Because that’s what Gods do: eat people. Or encourage their people to ingest them in some way. It’s a relationship entirely based on the consumption of one of the parties involved by the other, in much the same way my relationship with cake operates (except the cake rarely tries to eat me back, besides that one incident which has been put down to a bad batch of ‘Devil’s Food Cake’ that was literally made from food possessed by the Devil and subsequently tried to consume my soul as I attempted to ingest it). The Aztec gods ate the hearts of their followers (or more accurately the hearts of those who were the other side of the followers, otherwise known as everyone else). Zeus, the king of the Greek Gods, ate people all the time. And animals. And mountains. And other Gods. In fact his father, Kronos, actually ate all of his children, who were only freed when the uneaten Zeus (or Z-money to his friends) cut his nutsack off. Even moving away from the less acceptable gods and into the generally accepted Christian Omniscient Creator we find evidence of ingestion of worshippers and/or the worshipped: “This is my body, so chow down dudes?” (A gross mistranslation of the Last Supper by Tom Reed).

When consumption peppers most of the religious stories and ideas of both our past, present and future, it’s not surprising that we, as a collective race of sexual organs and a brain (often mistaken for the same thing), find ourselves eating and ingesting and absorbing kilograms and kilojules of stuff everyday. Whether it be sandwiches, shoes covered in random sections of metal or information, we perform god-like feats of ingestion every single day. So it only makes sense that as we drift away from heart-eating, ball-chopping, crucified beings we find new deities (or should that be dieties?) to worship in their place. However before I descend into the next phase of ‘Tom’s Discussion On Worship’ I want to clarify something. I like stuff. I have an iPhone, a Mac, a Kindle and Nintendo DS (SUBTLE TECHNOLOGICAL PISSING CONTEST). I like to spend money on various things ranging from delicious to comfortable. This is not necessarily a rant on the dangers of consumerism and capitalism and consumption and all the other stuff that the Socialist Alternatives yell about while they ironically (either deliberately or not) try to hock badges to unsuspecting victims. So before you roll your eyes, put your headphones in and cross the street to avoid me (although that is still an excellent idea) hear me out. because once again this is not an anti-capitalist rant from a guy wearing a beret and assuming it makes him look like Che (I saw this the other day…it just made him look like a douche). This is instead me making a statement of sorts about the new forms of Gods/Worshipped Beings we create/manifest/give birth to in this modern-day. Because it’s time for a new reign of Gods. Specifically multiple as I think the need for the plural is important because in this modern age we prefer to have options…so why not have multiple Gods rather than an individual being that is so hard to reach even his most loyal follower gave up (TWO POINTS FOR A BENEDICT MENTION)?! If you disagree with me, then may The Great Troll who controls the Internet spam and frustrate you for eternity.

Essentially I feel that the New Order of Gods be broken into three distinct categories: Merciful Benefactors, Ambivalent Extras and Assholes of Infinite Power. In the Merciful Benefactors category you would find the sorts of divine beings that behave in a way that is generally favourable towards mankind (I want to clarify that because these gods are ones that we are creating for ourselves we have to take the assumption that we are the single most important aspect in the Universe, so to all of those who are already firing up their objection machines to inform me that this is a selfish and ignorant act, shut up. I’m inventing gods. I am literally a creator of Creators…) and are responsible for ‘nice’ things. This would include Mr Kathmandu, who lacks a head and instead possess a helium balloon in the vacant space where his head should and is responsible for balloons, balloon animals and other sources of  inflatable entertainment (big hit with the kids). He lives in a jumping castle and is summoned by inhaling all of the helium from a balloon and chanting a special ritual. Or the equally affable Barock Of Holey Pockets, who smiles kindly on poor students and their ilk by strategically dropping small to mid ranged notes in gutters, bushes and garden beds when he goes a-walking at night. Named for the large coat pockmarked with holes just the right size for money to fall through (not to be confused with your run-of-the-mill flasher/crazy homeless man). There’s also Bert, the god of popcorn chicken, The Heir of Dog, who can cure hangovers with his breath, Wiffles O’Rourke, the Irish Goddess of cider whose tears are said to be delicious, and The Spacerbaby, a strange infantile creature that can manipulate the very fabric of space in order to ease traffic congestion and create parking spaces. All of these fall under the rank of Merciful Benefactors.

Next we move into perhaps the largest category of beings, spirits and demi-persons (as they prefer to be called, because this isn’t the Sixties): Ambivalent Extras. These gods are more like us than the Merciful Benefactors in the sense that they can switch their general outlook on humanity from ‘smiles’ to ‘fuck off and die’ on a whim. Generally though they behave in mysterious ways that don’t always make sense to mere mortals such as ourselves, hence their title of ambivalent. These include beings like The Prince of Likes, who patrols social media sites and randomly adds likes or dislikes. The Prince is a wily, trickster who has been responsible for ruining several celebrity careers and launching many Facebook profiles from the doldrums of the Internet into the stratosphere of Likes and Comments. He is said to occasionally appear in Instagram filters of popular or well-received insta-users and can be summoned by the use of #princeoflikesibeesechthee. Another notable example is Yarni The Clean Yet Defiled, who is the patron demi-god of public restrooms. On a good day Yarni is quiet and peaceful, dribbling soap from her many soap teats, however if she is in a foul mood than whichever restroom she has decided to reside in for the day will be left in state of shit smearing and drowning in ambiguous liquids. We also have Brambles The Taxi-Driver, whose concept of time is greatly varied from that of a normal human being and as a result can take anywhere between 5 minutes and six days to get to a destination, The Spirit of Public Graffito, who can appear in anything from a penis carved into a desk to a glorious wall mural painted by some hipster maestro, and The Ultimate Hipster, whose occasional good deeds are only dwarfed by the pretense and bad attitude with which he occasionally carries them out.

Finally we have The Assholes of Infinite Power who fall into this category because they either a) live only to cause pain and misery on their mortal subjects, b) control or associated with things that generally seen as ‘shithouse’ or ‘fucking awful’ or c) a combination of both plus a bit of added malicious name calling. These include the infamous Schizoid Mary, a strange demonic spirit that manifests in the form of crazy people on public transport (it should be noted that those under the influence of Schizoid Mary are never able to remember what they did while possessed and most of them a genuinely lovely people who have jobs, families and enjoy reading books). There’s Olgoth, a particularly devious trickster who feeds on commuter frustration like some sort of succubus, who uses his awesome powers to cancel trams, trains and buses and occasionally has been known to devote all of his energies into holding up airports for several hours. The Mayor of Struggletown is a nasty overlord who imprisons unsuspecting foes in a vicious re-election cycle were they are forced to switch places for anywhere between a couple of hours to several days, making them lethargic and irritable. But perhaps one of the most notorious members of this particular group is Wilful Dennis, who is universally feared for his ability to just fuck your life up royally for no other reason than it pleases him to do so. The worst thing about Dennis is that he can only be summoned accidentally, whenever someone verbally confirms that their life is actually going pretty well. What a dick. Rounding out this miserly lot are a collection of bastards called The Awful Trio, comprised of Ashley The Terrible, who hides car keys, phone chargers etc, David The Reckless, who just breaks things whilst you are using them, and George The Tenacious, who spreads rumours about everyone and generally causes arguments and workplace harassment disputes.

So I should probably go back to the thing I was doing before this started, but I just had to do lots of typing because this keyboard is actually like Jesus’ tears. Actually. Healing properties etc. I hope you enjoyed this long and meaningless list of things.  I did. But I am biased as all get out.

Treed.

 

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Filed under Creative Catharsis, Trivial Pursuits, Urban Monsters

Blastoise From The Past-oise.

Yes, well done. Your astuteness is unparalleled among the parallels. This post is quite close to the last one I did, and if I’m not careful I’m going to have to entertain those nasty expectations again. Look, it’s not my fault. I just have a lot of time on my hands as mentioned previously. Time to spare. Oodles of it. Barrels full of thyme to trade for other spices with merchants from across the globe. I just used the word oodles and now I feel dirty.

Anyways I am currently absent from 503 (our Internet ran out and we have no money to reset it until payday arrives on Thursday, plus there’s a giant amphibious bat trying to get out by head-butting the windows like a moth…and that’s both annoying and slightly dangerous and I really didn’t have time to deal with that shit today) and have spent the morning wandering around the city trying to find Internet to hijack. After being forced to relocate from the neighbour’s lounge room (the guy came home and freaked out and started saying things like ‘breaking and entering’ and ‘police’ and all I wanted to do was use his Internet…and eat his cereal) I headed to Uni and set up camp in the library. I paid some stupid amenities and services fee for no fucking reason, so I feel I can use their wireless whenever I want. Anyway, it’s weird being in here now that pretty much everything else has stopped in termsof University-ness. There’s no-one here. At all. It’s got the eerie ‘lone gunman shoots up a high school’ feel going for it. Which isn’t that unsettling…

Oh wait, false alarm. I am not completely alone. Besides the restless, and I suspect randomly generated, library staff shuffling around the stacks of books, there is a couple of students tucked into corners doing secret things. Seriously there are two of them, in separate corners, that have perfected the art of making oneself totally invisible through the placement of various limbs behind various things. Both of them are totally watching porn I have decided. Why else would you be so secretive about your presence here? Unless the whole ‘massacre’ vibe is getting to them and they’ve naturally responded with making themselves scarce. Perhaps I should move to a corner? Because right now I’m just in the middle of a big empty library looking like an absolute boob.

While I was sitting out in the open, feeling like a boob and having so much thyme on my hands that I was beginning to smell like a pot roast, I was suddenly assaulted by Nostalgia. It came from nowhere, as most nostalgic assaults tend to do, and beat me senseless with childhood toys and photographs of the past. I attempted to chase it, to catch it and to inflict it with some sort of fist shaped retribution, but it was too quick for me and seemed to know the layout of the library. Besides, running in a library after Nostalgia is generally frowned upon and I soon ran afoul of one of the randomly generated librarians (jumping on his head proved to be the most effective way of disposing of him and I netted $1.35 as a result).

My run in with Nostalgia had left me reeling a little bit, a little shaky on my feet and loose in the bowels (too much information?). I staggered back to my computer and tried to fight off the inevitable pining for the past that is associated with contact with Nostalgia agents. It didn’t really work. I found myself reflecting on my High School years, my time in braces (and not the hipster, trendy kind) and eventually found myself thinking about my MySpace page. Which naturally led to me having a quick peek at the old girl.

Was it pretty? Well…well…that remains to be seen. One thing is certainly clear; I thought I was incredibly witty, and I seemed to suffer from that teenage ailment that affects us all at one stage or another—the notion of being far, far, far more complex than you actually are. Luckily I never went dark-side (read wore black and listened to bands with names involving blood, tears and tortured souls with beautiful eyes and hair). But still I couldn’t help but sit there and cringe slightly at my 15, 16 and 17-year-old self’s view of the world. Have you ever found a really old photo album belonging to your parents from the ’70s or ’80s and you sit there with them and laugh at their fashion choices and so on? Every person has that embarrassing collection of memories from an era where they hadn’t quite figured it all out yet. Now thanks to the digital age this assortment of awkward photos, anecdotes and miscellanea is out there for all to see. The faux pas’ my younger self made as a teenager are not hidden in the depths of photo albums and holiday snapshots. In cyberspace, everyone can hear you scream.

So rather than attempt to shield teenage Tom from future scorn (something I don’t think he seemed to care about, he appeared to be a lot less into other people’s perceptions and more into…Fight Club), I am going to present to you an annotated guide to Tom Reed’s MySpace profile (which is coyly titled Tom Reed’s Travelling Circus for reasons that 21-year-old me does not understand). Away we go. Apologies in advance for cringe-worthy statements.

An Annotated MySpace Profile Page.

So first we dig through the boring introduction of age, name and current educational institution. But before long we arrive at some absolute crackers, such as: I am a cinephile and bibliophile respectively.

Clearly someone had just learnt some new words. Why couldn’t I have just said that I liked movies and books you ask? Who knows. I’m pretty sure that most of my classmates would have read that as me wanting to have sex with cinnamon and bibles.

I frequently make a fool of myself by talking first and thinking it through later. So if I offend…I probably didn’t mean it…unless I did. This kid is seriously loose. Contradicting himself. Using copious ellipses. Looks like we definitely have a bad-ass over here. Although one thing hasn’t changed, my inability to think through my voicing of certain thoughts. I just articulate myself better. Although I did use the word ‘bibliophile’…

I am so glad I discovered what semi-colon’s are for; they break sentences up so I can talk about another completely seperate (So I can use grammatical tropes correctly, but not spell the word separate?) idea. Impressed?
You should be…

WHO IS THIS PERSON AND WHY DID I THINK SHOWING OFF MY GRAMMATICAL POWERS WOULD GET ME LAID?

I don’t speak, I quote. Funnily enough, back in the day, we had to place a restriction on how long we could quote things for at parties etc. This was a ban imposed by girlfriends who were sick of trying to keep up with conversations that consisted of funny one-liners written by someone else.

I am a walking contridiction with veiny arms and a mop of brown hair. Decked out in a cartoon character adorned shirt and a pair of rocking shoes. I’m sorry everyone. This reads like a Big Brother housemate justifying their individuality to viewers when really they’re just a wanker. I wasn’t a contradiction (nor could I apparently spell it) I was just loud. And awkward.

I haven’t seen Twilight. At all. I think I am in the .0009 percent of the teenage population who has not seen it. I’m not sure what I was boasting about here. I don’t know what this means. I have now seen Twilight, just for the record. I still hate Kristen Stewart.

I wish I had superpowers…and a girlfriend. Although I would settle for either. Well younger me, mission accomplished on one front. We are still searching for the former though. All in due time.

And I think Brad Pitt still looks awesome when he takes his shirt off and starts swinging punches. Sounding suspiciously gay. I’m pretty sure 17-year-old me wasn’t aware of the homoerotic overtones of this sort of thing…I hope. Unless it’s just me being edgy again. Because that’s clearly what I thought I was back in the day. An edge.

Now, here’s the interesting part. I then turn my attention to making a list of things before I wrap the profile. A list. Me. Writing lists. It seems that old habits do truly behave like Bruce Willis’ franchises.

1. 27 is a good number. It still is.
2. Never ask me to tell you the Pink Joke if want to still like me by the end of our conversation. It’s a bad joke.
3. Watermelon trumps all other melons. Yep.
4. I have songs that remind me of certain people. Okay…attempts at being deep?
5. David Attenborough is a good bloke. True.
6. My wall is covered in crap. True. Well not as much now because it’s a shared set of walls.
7. If I was some kind of assassin/hitman I would call myself the Magician so I could use the line: I am the Magician, I make people disappear. Oh boy….
8. FALCON PUNCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Relevant.
9. I want a degree in Piracy. Of course we did…
10. Helter Skelter is a good song. Again, what does this even mean?  Did I too feel that it was telling me something Manson-esque?
11. I want to start a revolution…just so, that like Che, I can appear on T-shirts. Witty me is witty.
12. I wish I was like Vince Noir or Jack Skellington…or a combination of both. Okay. I’m not sure what this says about me, I want to be a Mod with ridiculous hair who is also a skeleton? Yep. That sounds legit.
13. The Book Thief is one of the best books I’ve ever read… I don’t understand the need for ellipses at the end of this one. It’s sort of like To Be Continued. Perhaps it’s not the best book I have ever read? Dun! Dun! Dah!
14. I believe in movies, cookie dough and bursting into song for no good reason. Okay then. Good luck with that.

So my nostalgia is running dry (see it’s no longer capitalised) and I think I have embarrassed former me enough. I hope you have had a laugh at my expense, but really what you should all do is go and explore your own MySpace pages and see what falls out when you shake it. Also I discovered the fake band me and my friends created. Yep. Here’s the link, and I recommend you listen to the track of Green Eggs & Ham performed as a rap: FAKE BAND OMG LOLZ.

Anyway, the ominous going to die vibe I’m getting from the library is almost too much. So I’m out of here.

Treed.

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Filed under Life & Times Of, List-o-mania, Urban Monsters

And We’re Back…

So it’s been a while… firstly let me apologise for the extended absence (although your care factor towards this largely hangs on the whether this blog actually has regular readers and/or those readers care about the blogger). It’s a long story, actually it’s not but I’ve just said that to make it sound like my life is much more impressive than it actually is. Really, the story is quite short and goes along the lines of: I have once again fallen victim to the mighty, supernatural powers of Steve Jobs’ ghost. Yes you read that correctly. I am of the firm belief that after his death, Mr. Jobs, somehow managed (perhaps through a similar method used by Voldemort) to instill a small fragment of his soul into every Apple product in the world. And now, is haunting many Apple users across the globe.

Sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. I recently got a new hard-drive because the old one collapsed in on itself like so many portals in a science fiction movie. It was a pretty shit time for everyone involved. I had two assignments still due and both of them had been swallowed up by the dying hardware (no I didn’t back anything up because no-one actually does that except in hindsight or after they experience the profound loss of everything digital that they own) and essentially I was a grumpy mess. However the lovely people at Apple came to the rescue and gave me a brand spanking new hard-drive (I say gave, it cost me $300 plus). Now all this happened about three months ago, you can imagine my surprise and shock when…it happened again (only this time I did back everything up, you know because hindsight is wonderful).

A little technologically irked I went to the Apple gurus and demanded explanations: the best response was that sometimes this just happens. They agreed to replace it and that was that. But I wasn’t happy with the explanation given that it ‘just happens’. Thus I have developed my own theory: my hard-drive was attacked by the ghostly remnant of the Apple founder and CEO whose soul has been imbibed into my computer. So now, I have covered my laptop in salt (because if Supernatural has taught me anything it’s that ghosts hate that shit) and I have a vacuum cleaner strapped to my back, should the spectre make itself known. This theory is not so far-fetched when you think about it, in fakt it makes a lot of sense. After all people are finding that their new iPhone 5’s are sporadically glitching up…the only logically explanation can be ghostly interference from an ex-CEO who finds the new design stupid and doesn’t agree with the idea of an iPad mini.

But moving on from the Phantom of Apple, we have some catching up to do. After all a lot has gone down since we last spoke (now when I say a lot I probably mean a bit of stuff has happened so don’t be upset if you are underwhelmed by my ‘breaking’ news). We have new residents at 503. Dan has moved out (or at least that’s what Michaela told me after I came home one day and found her vigorously cleaning a cleaver in the sink and no trace of Dan, this is coupled with the fakt that she has been recently taking notes while watching Dexter) and a pair of French cousins have taken his place. Silvia and Mathieu are yet to face off with Dolores, I am waiting with bated breath for the sound of slurping and screams accompanying teeth brushing, but nevertheless are a lovely pair of people. Naturally I have done the thing that all Australians do when met with someone who speaks a foreign language: ask to be taught insults and swearwords in said language. Why would you want to say “How are you?” when you can call someone a fuckwit in five different languages?

That’s it really (besides an excellent purchase of Donkey Kong Country Returns and my completion of second year). I told you that you might be feeling underwhelmed…sorry for that. However on a totally unrelated topic, apparently today is a pretty big deal for all of those around the state. Apparently there’s some event on that’s supposed to be pretty damn important or something like that. I don’t really know what the deal is but there’s a cup and a dude with huge eyebrows named after a member of the Simpsons…

Yes, I’ll admit it: I don’t understand anything to do with horse racing season (is it a season? The ads tell me it’s spring and that’s when a lot of these things happen so I’m going to say yes, yes it is a season). In fakt I don’t understand to such a degree here is a list of the things I don’t understand about horse racing season (and specifically the Melbourne Cup).

Things Tom Doesn’t Get About The Melbourne Cup.

1. First of all what is the deal with the event’s tagline? “The Race That Stops The Nation.” I’m sorry but that’s not a thing. The cup does not stop the nation. What you’re talking about there is a momentary lapse in the movement of time. This is not caused by a horse race. The usual reason for this is that a recreational time-traveller has accidentally run into a past version of themselves. Yep. That makes more sense than a horse race halting an entire country of people. So please drop the tagline and change it to something actually describes the event…like: “A Time For Drunk People Who Don’t Even Like Horses To Come Together” or “Neigh, Neigh, Neigh, Neeeiggghhh!”

2. Fascinators. What the fuck is a fascinator? It’s not a hat. It serves no function besides making the wearer look like either a small fish that has swum into a very small, highly decorative net or an upper class witch doctor. And people spend a fortune on them. I overheard a conversation on the train where a woman was talking about a fascinator costing as much as my car. MY CAR IS THE SAME PRICE AS A FASCINATOR. WHAT IS HAPPENING? Seriously, people going to the races this year, buy me dinner and I will make you a fascinator. It doesn’t seem to be that difficult, in fakt they all look like something a child makes their mother back in kindergarten (just with a noted absence of pasta…although I will add pasta if you deem it necessary). The one thing I will say about the fascinator is that its name is apt. The principle behind such headwear is indeed fascinating.

3. Gambling. I’ve never been one to participate in the pastime of many Australians across the country. I don’t have a flutter or a punt or a wager. I like my money to be used for things like ice-cream, video game purchases and spaghetti ingredients. Gambling to me is a totally foreign world, an activity that is as alien as virgin sacrifice and enjoying mathematics. I say why not just throw large wads of cash into the Yarra, get rid of the middle man, because after all that’s the only thing you’re going to achieve whilst having a flutter. Maybe I don’t get it because I don’t have the spare cash to chuck $1000 on a horse named Next Stop Glue Factory with odds of 14:1. Whatever the reason I just don’t get the obsession, trend or whatever associated with betting on the races. Or rather betting in general, because these days you can bet on pretty much anything from election results to which AFL player is going to be arrested for being drunk and disorderly behaviour next week. However if I was a betting man I would put my money on the fakt that that drunk guy literally throwing money at a horse, doesn’t understand the concept either.

4. People going to the races to get completely blind drunk. They are a select group of people who go to the races because they have an invested interest in the outcome. Some are passionate horse race watchers (I’m pretty sure that’s a thing). Others are famous and sponsored by the race sponsors so have to make an appearance at some tent so people will buy new shoes, champagne coolers and/or bow-ties  The other category of people at races are the people participating in Australia’s other favourite pastime: getting staggeringly and resoundingly drunk. Sure, okay if that’s what you want to do…but why not just do it somewhere else? Somewhere cheaper? Why fork out x amount of dollars to go to an event you’re trying to erase from your memory before it’s even over? Then again if these people didn’t go the races, get pissed and put money on horses that look like their exes, our economy would have collapsed long ago. So maybe it’s a good thing?

And that’s my rant out of the way. Sorry for the length but I’ve been gone a while….

Take care, and if you must bet then my money is on that motorbike disguised as a horse…
Treed.

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An Urban Bestiary

It has come to my attention that I never made good on my promise. Actually I don’t like that word there, that ‘promise’. It carries with it too much weight. There’s a dangerous amount of expectation heaped on a word like ‘promise’. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m not great at expectations (ALMOST A DICKENS REFERENCE), so instead I would like to use the word suggestion in its place (because ‘suggestion’ carries with it a beautiful amount of sieve-like loopholes for escaping). See I feel better already.

Air knee weighs, the suggestion in question came a few posts back. Back when I was procrastinating with fear experimentation and scaring myself shitless by playing ‘Slender’. I have since stopped playing ‘Slender’ because I know that I will never win. Ever. No it’s not for lack of trying, I have tried and I have actually improved since we last spoke. It’s more of the fakt that I can never physically complete the game as I point-blank refuse to go into that freaky, abandoned toilet-block building with the blood stains and the tipped over chairs (seriously what the fuck happened there?). It’s just not going to happen.

“Oh come on Tom, you’re being so silly, that’s not in the spirit of the game…” No. Your logic and reasoning can climb inside a parked car out the front of the pokies and slowly suffocate while its slotjockey mother (you) goes to town on Aztec Madness. I am not bending to the whims of horror tropes and have decided that I can only behave so stupidly for so long. I am willing to accept the fakt that I am wandering through a dark and spooky forest in search of some frightful entity of death and terror armed with only a flashlight for no discernible reason. And I am willing to accept that I will continue to wander through this forest and not GTFO when said entity begins stalking me while I collect really unhelpful pieces of paper telling me to do exactly not that. But I draw the line at going into a cramped space where something illogically bad has gone down, with the knowledge that if I take a wrong turn I am going to be nightmare-fuelled by Slender-man.  That, my friends, is what I call: Asking for it.

Which brings me, in a very round-a-bout way, to the aforementioned suggestion. As mentioned in that post, I wanted to discuss creatures and monstrosities at length. However I postponed that (SURPRISE THAT’S WHAT I DO) and wrote about some other shit instead. So here for your enjoyment is the first edition (and knowing me, only) of the Urban Bestiary (because I already had half the category ready to go). Essentially I am attempting to categorise and describe an assortment of weird and wonderful beasties that reside in and around the city (around meaning as far as Queenscliff and in meaning my shower). Maybe I can ‘suggest’ (not promise) to do this once a month in-between the rest of my text-based vomit. But you know…don’t hold me to it because it’s only a suggestion and I can slip out of aforementioned sieve-like loopholes. But into the breach we must go…

Entry #01: Clipboardicusci Pesteri (The Clipboarded Wasp)

The Clipboarded Wasp lurks around Universities, shopping centres, state libraries and other central locations with a high population density. They do not resemble wasps, but instead come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, however most of them resemble back-packers of varying ethnicities and possess a great deal of charisma and charm, a necessary attribute for luring unsuspecting prey. The Clipboarded Wasp live in complex social groups or ‘hives’ and wear some sort of mark to signify which ‘hive’ they represent. They travel in groups of threes or fours referred to as ‘guilt-trips’ or ‘enthusiasms’, and they use their numbers to overwhelm their prey.

Despite their ability to disguise themselves as international travellers and/or friendly University students, there are a few tell-tale signs that will allow one to identify the Clipboarded Wasp. As mentioned above they will possess some sort of marking to inform others of their ‘hive’ allegiance. This may be in the form of a lanyard, a logo on a polo shirt or an insignia on a cap. This marking is used to inform other Clipboarded Wasps that this territory has already been claimed as well as signal other members of the same ‘hive’. The other warning sign to look out for is an outstretched hand accompanied with darting eyes. The hand is used to lure someone into a handshake, while the eyes are constantly darting around to look for someone else in case the handshake is ignored by the chosen passersby. The final and most obvious thing to look out for is a clipboard clutched tightly to the chest.

The Clipboarded Wasp attempts to lure prey into entering a conversation about charitable causes or livestock abuse in order to slowly draw the life-force of the intended victim. The longer the conversation goes, the stronger the Wasp becomes. The victim of an attack may suddenly feel lethargic, guilty and compelled to sign some document. If you find yourself in the clutches of a Clipboarded Wasp, do not sign any documentation. Doing this serves as an invitation for other members of that Wasp’s hive to come and feed on you. The Clipboarded Wasp has several weaknesses but the best course of action when dealing with a Wasp is to avoid making eye-contact. Just keep your head down and forge ahead. Ipods and other MP3 devices have also been shown to have an excellent neutralizing effect.

In extreme cases you can attempt some of the following:

1. Impersonation: Carry a clipboard with you when venturing near known hotspots and the Wasps may mistake you for another Wasp from a different hive. However this comes with several risks, including accidentally engaging the Wasp in a battle for territory.

2. Religious Defence: Pretend to be a member of an extremely organised religion. Wasps aren’t drawn to anything that is already a member of tight-knit community, especially if that tight-knit community borders on a religious cult. However this may make you the target of the equally dangerous Religious Mosquito (Religiata Pesteri) or Political Parasite (Socialistiscus Athesi Pesteri).

3. Fake Identity: If you find yourself trapped by a Clipboarded Wasp and about to sign some form of documentation, you can create fake details in order to get away from them. The catch with this is, if you do go down this path you may be unwittingly condemning someone else to a life of email spamming and moderately threatening anonymous texts about various causes.

Thank-you.

Treed.

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Filed under Creative Catharsis, Trivial Pursuits, Urban Monsters

The Consequences Of Motivation.

By now you’ve probably picked up on a running theme here. A theme of procrastination, of not doing things, of slowly and surely drowning in my double stacked beanbag (because a single beanbag is just fucking uncomfortable and leads to fatigue despite the body being in a reclined position) and of a general lack of oomph.  You’ve surely noticed the trend as we go through the photo album that is my daily activities: Here I am at my regular LazyArse Anon meeting, I have a name-tag and “Hello my name is Tom and I’m a lazyarse.” You know, that kind of thing. But for the first time in this blog’s short lifespan we have breaking, and possibly slightly disturbing, news; I have done stuff.

Yes. At some point during the morning of Tuesday the 16th of October 2012, I came into the possession of some ‘motivation’. I am unsure of its origin but the main theory we’re working on here is that it slipped in on a soft breeze through the open window and somehow managed to ingrate itself into the fibres of my dressing gown, whereupon it was slowly absorbed through my pores and entered my bloodstream. From this point I recall feeling a sudden, almost crippling sense of purpose. I released myself from the cuddly and intoxicating embrace of my double-decker beanbags and, seizing my laptop, took up a position on the much sturdier and forcefully motivating hard-backed, wooden, IKEA dining chair.

The results were profound. Remember that philosophy essay I hadn’t completed? The one that I had complained about not doing on repeated occasions? Well that essay was the first to fall victim to my newfound motivational attitude. I cranked out 1600 words on the contradictory nature of God and evil before watching an episode of Gravity Falls. I then proofread it, printed it out and handed it in a whole day earlier than was necessary. You’re welcome punctuality. But alas it did not stop there; I shopped for supplies and even got a start on my other essay. In fakt so ‘oomph-like’ was my behaviour that the large shark-bear currently squatting in our wardrobe felt it necessary to come out and check on me without attempting to maim or frighten me (he has since departed the premises under the excuse that, “this wasn’t what he signed up for…”).

Of course the effects of motivation are often short-lived in a master of procrastination such as myself. However, to my surprise I found that my enthusiasm had not waned when I woke the next morning. After feeding Dolores some ham and battling with him for shower supremacy (needless to say I had a tentacle free shower this morning), I set out to find a new outlet for my brimming energy and focus. You recall in our last conversation I mentioned running. Well that happened. I ran. It was not pretty. I do not resemble a gazelle in full flight. I’m more like a heron wading through quicksand, but I did it. I put on my runners (take note of my lack of land based sporting participation when I tell you I have had the same runners since I was 14 and they still only look about a year old at worst) and cranked some dub-step and ran through Melbourne like some sort of unfit, hirsute Achilles.

At the time it was an excellent idea. Today I am cursing my past self for making me walk like a Thunderbird. Stairs are now my nemesis as my legs are experiencing such a severe case of pins and needles that I cannot bend them to climb steps without looking like I have shat myself. On a totally unrelated note the sensation has prompted me to create a 1940s periodical crime drama about a hedgehog detective and his sultry, leggy blonde assistant called “Pins & Needles”. Anyways I thought that the ‘extensivity’ of my cement legs (because there was nothing really pin or needle-like about my joints today) would cause my motivation to ebb out of me like…butter…on freshly toasted muffins? Bad analogy is bad. However my motivation was not only still present but just as aggressive as before. I ran errands in the morning, did more work on my final essay and cleaned the apartment to such a degree that I unsettled dust motes that had been set in place during the Howard years.

I have to tell you I was a little frightened that I would do something really radical with my new superpower, but it seems that motivation can only take so much. “And on the afternoon of the third day he rested.” I have returned to my double-stacked beanbags of comfort and am resting my weary legs. It seems that the motivation snuck out the open window when I was trying to air the smell of our newest monstrous resident, a big, purple guy named Clyde. It’s out there right now. Drifting on the updrafts of bus-exhausts, flitting over the heads of morose commuters and sniffing out its next host.

For motivation is not a symbiotic beast, oh no. It is a parasite. It sucks the energy from its host by making it participate in a range of various beneficial activities…and then, when it’s host has completed almost everything it has to complete (I still haven’t finished that second essay), it leaves, having had its fill. I wait in fear, that one day it will strike me down again and I will join a gym and start shaving on a regular basis.

That’s all for today. Also props to Jonathon Lawrence (Ed. I’M AWESOME) who has kindly started editing these posts in order to check for erroneous errors that I don’t notice (read: WHAT IS PROOFREADING????).

Treed…AWAAAAAYYY (slowly though, due to the sore legs).

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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