Sunday 30 September 2012

Nailed - A short story

I had often wondered what would happen when I finished growing. When I was 'long enough' as Joeys mum said, in her gravelly voice as she sucked the smoke out of another cigarette. Joeys mum was always yelling at him, telling him he was a 'good fer nuthink'. Once she'd been so mad with Joey she'd chased him round the old green kitchen table with a rolling pinthreatening to roll his head flat and bake it in the oven. Joey had shouted back at her, calling her a fat cow. I never knew what a cow looked like until then, though I knew milk came from them. Joeys dad was always coming home drunk as a skunk whacking Joey and his mum if they so much as looked at him. Those were the only time I saw Joey cry. He'd run up to his room and hide in the wardrobe and cry and cry. Of course I was there with him. Joey and me were inseperable, wherever Joey went I went too and you would think that meant we were friends, but Joey was always  picking on me. He would get his thumb and forefinger and pinch and pull and squeeze as hard as he could. He even took to biting me and there was pretty much as good as nothing I could do about it. No one could hear me, I held all my screams silently inside of me, always silently, and no one would of cared anyway. They would of just thought it was normal and told me to 'man the fuck up'.
Why did it have to be like this? I often asked myself. What was the point of it all? I mean, sure I knew I was good for saving his skin. I'd done that many times. Whenever we got into a bust up at school. Joey liked bust ups. He would see someone he decided was different, not the norm, maybe a bit of a geek and certainly not one of 'the gang'. The 'gang' were a peculiar group of boys Joey had hand picked because he could tell them what to do and no matter how shit it was they were to scared of Joey to not do it. Anyway, when Joey took a dislike to some he'd start walking real close behind them, whispering names at them like 'hey dickhead, yeah you dipshit!' when the poor guy eventually turned around Joey would lay a swift one right on the snouter and if they fought back, which sometimes they were stupid enough to do, it would be on. I was his right hand man, as they say. Plenty of times I'd end up more torn up and bruised than the poor sucker we were picking on. It would take me days to recover.
What did all that prove anyway? Sometimes I wished I belonged to somebody else. Someone like Mr Peters, the history teacher, who was always kind and gentle and always looked clean and had a sort of well-polished glow about him. He looked like he respected himself. Not like Joey who in my opinion disliked himself so much he had to get his respect from everybody else. He disliked himself most of all when we had to run upstairs to get away from his dad and hide in the darkness of his wardrobe. I hate the dark. That when Joey puts that slimy pink think all over me and I just have to take it. The dark hole of his mouth opening towards me is even more terrifying than than the dark of the wardrobe.
Later, in the middle of the night, lying on my pillow, I would be jerked from deepest sleep by the recurring nightmare of the pink slimy slug coming to get me. I couldn't get away from it, the darkness was claustrophobic. In the morning, as I sat with Joey at the breakfast table watching the spoon shoving loads of sopping, stinking cereal covered in mothers milk into the hole in his face, I got glimpse after nauseating glimpse of the horrid pink thing. To make matters worse, Joeys Ma who had been scratching around in the cupboard suddenly turned around, took one long hard look at Joey, up and down, and said THE WORDS. No one had told me what would happen after I heard THE WORDS, but I knew it weren't gonna be no nirvana. Right there at that moment I felt like I was the only one in the world who had ever felt so terrified, who had so much at stake. In a blinding moment of clarity I realized that, hey, I wasn't alone. There were others going on this journey right along side me at pretty much the same time as me and plenty of others had gone before. I wasn't special or unique, just a part of an ever repeating, continuing pattern and cycle in the space-time continuum. The problem was, I didn't feel like I had finished creating my particular piece of the pattern. The lament of all but the murdered and the Suicides - their pattern is complete.
Anyway, it had finally come. The moment when THE WORDS were spoken. I could feel the blood rushing around me, pounding louder and louder. Louder than ever before, the great cacophony of life. I could feel the sweat build up around me, slide slowly down the silver spoon and drip onto the stinking cereal in the bowl beneath me.
'Joey, did you hear me? Go and do it now!' Joeys Ma growled.
I watched as Joey shoved a last spoonful in to his hole, scrapped his chair back from the table and stood up. I willed him to sit back down. I dug into the table edge, resisting with everything I had. Joey looked surprised, as if he hadn't expected any resistance, as though he were God and omnipotent. Well we all play our part but we make our own choices, it's just a shame we can't always follow our choices through. That morning I chose not to go with Joey, but you can't stay behind and watch someone you're attached to just walk away. No way no how is that even possible. Besides which next minute -Whack! - Joeys mum slapped the spoon down and I let go the table quick smart, I can tell you.
Joey clomped upstairs to the bathroom and pulled out some long  silver blades that crossed over each other - scissors he called them. He had them right up against me before I even had time to think.
'Circumcision time boys!' he smiled.
All of a sudden I was not part of Joey and he was not part of me. I knew I would never see him again. I felt myself floating through the air towards a dark tunnel. There was no light. I knew others had gone into this dark tunnel before me. I could smell death. By some miracle I missed the dark tunnel. I lay on my side against the white enamel of the bath. A droplet of blood clinging to me. My god, I was still here! Still with Joey. I almost wished for the dark tunnel. I watched as Joey put a round plug over the dark tunnel and started to run the water. He took of all his clothes and got into the bath water. I watched as he shucked himself under the water. The movement made the water level rise and a great swoosh of water came towards me. I was swept up onto it and suddenly there was Joeys mouth opening as he gasped for a breath of air and I was headed straight for the pink thing, and behind the pink thing black nothingness. Joey swallowed. Nothingness is inescapable.
The End

Sent from my iPad

Sunday 23 September 2012

Higgs-boson,Vulcan Greetings & WARP Speed to School

'No,no, your not thinking; you're just being logical.' - Niels Bohr
Isn't it weird how events seem to conspire in a dance of synchronicity in the space-time continuum? Ever since R tutored me in Physics at Uni I've been fascinated with Quantum Mechanics, Superstring theory and Chaos theory. So there I was, driving the twins to school, wishing my car was capable of WARP speed because as usual, we were running late. It was the fourth of July, the day The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland were first published in 1865 and coincidentally they were playing White Rabbit from the movie Sucker Punch on the radio. The news came on with the astonishing announcement that CERN had confirmed the existence of the Higgs-Boson particle!

This was fantastic news, I almost had a car crash in my excitement, definitely worth a Mad Hatters afternoon tea party, because it means we are that much closer to proving M-Theory, the 'Mother of all Theories' that explains everything in terms of Superstring theory plus 1 - it's kind of like it brought a friend to the party. (String theory consists of the four dimensions we are already familiar with, time being one of them, and another 6 dimensions made up of tiny string like particles each with their own unique vibratory patterns) Unlike Bosonic Theory where there has to be 26 dimensions in order for the quantum mechanics (calculations) to make sense, Superstring theory works with a mere 10 dimensions, and if it brings it's plus 1 along, which can be described as one of these string particles stretched really, really long into a two dimensional membrane called a 'brane' we have M-theory. Now we have 9 dimensions in space (6 of which are circular) one dimension of time and one dimension of 'brane'. The six circular dimensions have a slightly different set of physical laws to those we are familiar with and if you really want to get extreme you can visualise a world where you are aware of these other dimensions in Remedios Varo's painting 'The Alchemist', where we inhabit a 'down the rabbit-hole' existence.
The Alchemist by Mexican surrealist painter Remedios Varo
The existence of the super long strings or branes is kind of like a giant, two dimensional flying carpet affected by massless  open-ended strings of gravitons (and in fact our universe is thought to be floating on one of these branes with gravity leaking to us from a parallel universe or brane) and the gateway to these can be theoretically explained and accessed through Black Holes, or wormholes (ie when we work out how, we'll be able to move between these parallel universes via a Black Hole). Scientists now think that two of these parallel universes, or giant flying carpet 'branes' colliding were what caused the original Big Bang. Now don't get the idea that I actually know what I'm talking about when it comes to the mathematics of Black Holes, for that I would need to enlist my mathematics wiz friend Samantha Fifield(see, she even has her own field though I'm not sure what her theory for for Fi is ;-)and if you're lost altogether, remember Niels Bohr famously said 'If anybody says he can think about quantum physics without getting giddy, it only shows he hasn't understood the first thing about it'.
Higgs-boson particle in the Large Hadron Collider at Cern
 Back to the Higgs-Boson, a boson is a particle of force and Peter Higgs is a physicist at the Edinburgh University and he first postulated the 'Higgs Field' back in 1964, as a field or force that permeated everything in the universe, and when particles try to move through it their interactions cause them to appear to have mass (is it all just a figment of our imagination?). This then slows the particles down and and allows them to bind together into the familiar forms of matter (fermions) we can see. The Higgs-boson itself is a particle of vibration in the Higgs field, which can be created if enough energy is put into the field. It was  nicknamed the God-particle and used as the title by Leon Lederman's publishers (for his 1993 book 'The God Particle') who abbreviated a comment he'd made in his book where he described the Higgs particle as that 'Goddamn particle' that was going to be so difficult to find because it was so small. The Higgs-boson was proven to exist in CERNs Large Hadron Collider which enables two protons to be smashed together, producing enough energy in the field to observe the Higgs-boson - this was what was announced on the 4th July 2012.
This brings me to Lynn McTaggart's brilliant book 'The Field', which discusses 'Zero Point Field' research, the state in which zero-point energy exists (even at a zero point matter amazingly still produces energy).This makes everything 'one heaving sea of energy- one vast quantum field'. This of course would mean that everything is connected to everything else like an invisible web - and think the Butterfly Effect, would therefore also mean we effect everything else because we touch or communicate with everything else on a subatomic level. This doesn't mean that we are automatically bestowed with omniscience but it does mean we can be omniaware.
 It was actually the scientist Hal Puthoff who did the first groundbreaking work using the Zero Point Field and this enabled him to develop the invisible stealth aircraft that is invisible to radar by distorting and jangling radar frequencies, hence making the aircraft undetectable by the radar.  So this is how I will be able to take the twins to school at WARP speed like the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek one day in the not too distant future, waving goodbye to them with the Vulcan V. All we need to do is work out how to decrease the retractable index of the Zero Point Field which means we can increase the speed of light to anything we please - this is very simply done by expanding the space-time continuum behind the craft and contracting it in front of the craft and wooomph! (not that we know how to do all this space-time contracting and expanding yet, but hey, those crazy-arse mad scientists are working on it and as long as they're thinking and not using to much logic it shouldn't be too long before they work it out) And what about all that energy in this supposedly endless sea of energy? Why, as Nikola Tesla postulated, we simply extract the energy from the Zero Point Field around us using, let's say, cold fusion maybe?
What I sometimes visualize when I think about the Higgs Field and Zero Point Energy now we know the Higgs-boson actually exists, is that I'm standing looking at a tree and me, the tree and everything around us is one giant sea of honey. If I lean toward or away from the tree the honey moves in ripples and the tree feels the effect of my movement in some infinitesimal way - which is actually what is really happening only without the honey -replace the honey by a sea of energy and you'll have some idea of how important this discovery is in reality. That we touch and connect with everything is no longer some hippy-shit concept and that sea of energy is an as yet untapped endless supply of free energy - no more fossil fuels!
So the point of all this? If we can merge our knowledge of the Higgs-boson with Zero Point Field energy I'll see you on Vulcan!
Contemplation of the Higgs-boson, a tea party, and warp speed travels to Vulcan in the writing studio

Sunday 16 September 2012

Someone Give Me A Lobotomy!

After last week’s post on existentialism, I thought something a bit more light hearted might be in order, especially after I found myself seriously wishing someone had given me a gift certificate last Christmas, valid at any hospital, for a free lobotomy a la Frances Farmer style, so the possibility of feeling any emotion remotely like the acute temporary onset embarrassment I felt this week was just not possible. I mean I’ve been in embarrassing situations before, the most memorable last century when I was sixteen and asked out on my first date.
A boy I’d met at German language camp invited me to the premiere of Star Wars IV screening in Perth city. He lived on the other side of the river with the city in between us so we’d arranged for him to meet me at the central city bus terminal. I took hours to carefully get ready and carefully choose a backless (and thus bra-less) halter-necked yellow dress. I walked down to the beach where the bus stop was and waited patiently for the bus. Finally the bus pulled in and just as I stepped up to the driver the bow I’d tied in my halter-neck chose that moment to unravel itself. Down came the front of my dress and there I stood before driver and passengers topless. Mortified I grabbed my topped up, paid for my ticket and rushed to find a seat. Unfortunately the bus already about six young men on it who took it upon themselves to call out offers of, ‘Do want help with that?’ and ‘You should leave it like that’ etc.
I thought if there was ever a time that I could wish for the ground to open up and swallow me that would be it but no; this week proved that there could actually be a time that surpassed that moment! So there I was, strolling along the main street of our little village, making my way to the post office. I have lost a bit of weight so I wasn’t too amazed to note my knickers were slipping down a bit. Rounding the corner, weaving my way past the tables and chairs of The Edge outdoor cafe, full of people indulging in their morning caffeine fix, those traitorous knickers were suddenly around my ankles. Thinking I could discreetly pocket them and no one would be the wiser, I bent down at the same time as lifting one foot to step out of them. Those damn knickers got all tangled up in my shoe buckle and heel and before I could say hallelujah, I was on the ground at sixes and sevens. When I finally managed to disengage my errant knickers from the war they were waging with my shoes I had a captive audience. I did a quick mental calculation of the possibility of getting out of this alive. I stood up with those damn knickers in hand, let out a big sigh of relief and said ‘Ahhhh! That’s better!’ and strolled off with as much dignity as I could muster under the appalling circumstances.

Sunday 9 September 2012

What the Hell is Existentialism - Are You Afraid?

 'This is a snakeskin jacket! And for me it's a symbol of my individuality and my personal freedom.' (Sailor, in David Lynch's 'Wild at Heart)

So here I am running around in my writing studio in a beret, smoking Gauloises and spouting existentialism à la Simone De Beauvoir.  I watched Suckerpunch with the sub-adults last night so I’m actually only smoking Gauloise in my virtual reality.

If you believe that reality exists independent of consciousness that what is just is, and therefore that we exist as individuals, as acting and responsible conscious beings then you embrace one of the basic tenets of Existentialism.  I’ve spent many discussions over a steaming cup of coffee with my friend Samantha Fifield discussing the question of being and what it means to be an individual, to exist in this world as an individual and how other people perceive us as individuals. 
Sam decries the labels, roles, and stereotypes, definitions that other people want to give us based on what we do for ‘work’. Sick of being asked at parties ‘What do you do?’ as a social identifier that would neatly put her in a ‘box’ and form the basis for assumptions about her ‘self’, Sam conducted an interesting social experiment. She started to reply ‘Nothing. I do nothing at all’.  There would be a shocked silence and the people she was talking with would slowly find an excuse to drift off. There was no box to classify her with and I would argue they were then faced with an existential crisis where they are forced to question their reason for being. For most people this is too uncomfortable. As a university graduate with a degree in accounting but not working in that area at the moment, she felt that people often evaluated her worth by her ‘work’. Of course this is the age-old problem for women who choose to ‘stay at home’. Is their worth perceived as being less?  Is what’s happening here similar to the prisoners in Plato’s cave in which prisoners see a world of shadows reflected onto a cave wall, rather than the world as it actually is?
In fact what constitutes our 'true essence', instead of the arbitrarily attributed 'box' used by others to define us, is our consciousness or sense and perception, the values we determine are important to us and the experiences that have helped us shape and form these values. This is, as Sartre suggested, what helps us to determine the meaning of our life.  Existentialism emphasises the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent who determines their own development through acts of will. If you’ve seen ‘The Matrix’ or ‘Suckerpunch’ or even ‘Groundhog Day’ you’ll be familiar with this concept.
Of course if you are free to make choices this also means that you have a responsibility for the choices you make. Freedom is often misunderstood as meaning that anything is possible and where values are inconsequential to choice and action. However, based on what I said before I would argue that we can’t and don’t make choices without first considering our own individual values. There is always an element of self-interest in all of our choices and it is impossible to be wholly objective and consider only the greater or ‘collective’ good. Although Ayn Rand is one of my favourite authors for her book ‘The Fountainhead’, which I love for its championing of individualism in architecture, I disagree with her philosophy of Objectivism for its basis in pure reason without feelings. Apart from scientific imperialism I don’t think our movement thru and perception of life is ever without feeling. This is where ‘marking’ for many subjects in school is actually questionable because it can’t help but be based in subjectivity.
What was actually happening to the people who questioned Sam was they were experiencing ‘Existentialist Angst’. An anxiety or dread of facing the fact that their own ‘worthiness’ may actually be questioned if they could no longer base the answer for who they are on what they do for a job. Categorising yourself by any one particular job description as a means of saying who you are, essentially defining yourself, takes away your complete responsibility for your own freedom to make choices and the outcomes of those decisions. To try to suppress feelings of anxiety and dread, people often confine themselves within everyday experience, the social ‘norm’ or the accepted thing to do. They are scared of individualism. Are you afraid?

Sunday 2 September 2012

A Grandparent at 37! by Guest Blogger Stepmother Kay

The first evening I went out on a date with Princess Snapperheads dad Mike, was to the bohemian town of Fremantle, renowned for its eclectic markets. I suggested to Mike he should have a Tarot reading at the markets (always good to get a second opinion).
Meeting Mike after the reading he looked quite stunned. My first thought was, “well, that didn’t go well for us”“there will always be a young blonde woman in your lives”.
I look at him thinking he’s pulling my leg, but NO, he’s serious. Who could this be?
AAHH, maybe your daughter ------ Dorit.
(Now I know where Dorit just sometimes gets her foggy thinking from)

Dorit was and certainly is a part of our family.

The first year, and myself being quite ‘staid’ as were Rae and Kevin, thought some of her antics rather bizarre to say the least. Kevin always had a saying for D (as we call her) no matter what colour you dye your hair you shall always be blonde. (referring to the blonde jokes).
1991, Dorit meets and gets sort of involved with a certain young man named Russell.

In winter that year as Mike and I walk in from work, Dorit is laying on the carpet watching TV, as I walk by, and is her habit, she just says to me what do you think of an older woman and younger man together?
Steps stop, I turn, Hmm maybe Russell, Yes. Honestly my reply went something like this “I don’t think you’ll get anyone better”.

Later 1991, over dinner Dorit announces to us: “Russell and I are going on a bike ride over east, and we leave on the train on the 31st. December”.
My first staid reaction, are they crazy and its dangerous. However Danger has never stopped D.
That night in bed I said to Mike if they go on that ride, Dorit will come home pregnant. How do you know he says? I JUST DO. AND SHE DID. 
There I was, 37 and a grandparent or 'Nanny' as my now many grandkids call me!'