So just under three years ago, I bought a bass amp off a guy who wasn’t using it anymore. I got a text from him today saying that he wants it back. No money ever actually changed hands, so really I’ve had it on permanent loan the whole time.
Thing is, I’m in a band now and I have no money, and bills to pay when I get some more. So it’s not the best time to have a week to give my amp back.
GPOY (it’s been a while).
This year, I’ve learned that when you work from home, you need to dress for work. So, this is what I’ve taken to wearing these last couple of days. Shit just got productive!
I do have to admit, I kinda like this photo.
P.S. I’ve been enjoying rocking the brown jeans.Math is for Bears
Me vs. Self-Doubt
I’m writing this to you, swathed in the bedclothes and underpants that I lost my last shred of goget’em to deal with, to talk to you about weaknesses.
We’ve all got ‘em. We’ve all got strengths, too - but who cares about those things? Strengths are just the doorknobs of failure, am I right? So, flush ‘em.
The biggest weakness I’ve had throughout my life has been mathematics. I know! Math! To this day I still can’t fathom the mechanics behind long division. You might as well blind me with pie filling and ask me to sing the Mexican Hat Dance with my thumbs. It’s not happening. I can do a lot of things, but as soon as you throw in a numerical factor pertaining to any figure above zero, it’s like my brain turns into a marshmallow peep: pink, delicious, microwavable, but largely decorative.
Ah, let me recount the early days of my youth..
I can remember very clearly the first time I was presented with a math problem. Picture this: A young, bright-eyed, blond-haired cockney girl, not six years old. The sun is shining. Flowers flecked with morning dew, scattered beneath a golden English honey sky. Birds and bees proliferating, etc. etc. It’s a new day, it’s a new beginning, and it’s time to learn about bears and baskets.
I remember this particular class having a pretty broad-spectrum method of teaching. Some of us had beads to count, some of us had bears. Of course we all had to count both the beads AND the bears, but the order didn’t matter. And I didn’t care, I was busy coloring bears and generally not giving a fuck about what was about to happen, until I was told that I had to count the bears in the baskets.
Okay, you can do this.
Here we go.
There are three bears in the basket. Count the bears.
Yes! Three bears, there’s three of them! That wasn’t so bad. Oh man, am I going places or what.
There are five bears in the basket. Count the bears.
Five bears. Five! I can’t believe it. My life is unfolding rapidly at a cellular level; I’m valedictorian, I’m receiving my Doctorate, I’m rolling in piles of money and tiny chocolate bars, I’m..
There are no bears in the basket. Count the bears.
..What? Wait. No! No this isn’t what’s supposed to happen!
The whole problem felt entirely unfair. If they’re asking me to count the bears, why are there no bears to count? What does it mean? Is this a trick? Did I just lose sandbox privileges?
My poor underdeveloped brain took a turn for the existential as I suddenly began questioning the meaning of zero. What is.. zero? What is no bears? What does it mean to have bears that are NOT bears but are instead a mass of vacant space that could or should or would have at some point in Earth’s time CONTAINED bears?
The ensuing ocean of tears was memorable, and the teacher promptly removed the offending bears. I never had to count them again.
That was only the tip of the monstrous iceberg for me. I spent the next twelve years of public education quietly sobbing in math classes. And oh, how I tried to keep up - I enlisted boyfriends, tutors, student teachers, friends, family, they all got in to try and keep my sorry math grade afloat, but at the end of the day, the bears kept bringing me down.
It all came to a head when I had to write my Grade 12 provincial Math exam.
I thought I was writing Biology, and I showed up a half hour late.
My teacher was sympathetic, because she knew how hard I had been trying. I wrote practice exams and went in for extra help and did all of the extra assignments (all of which received abysmal results). She gave me the exam, put her hands on my shoulders and told me that I could do it.
Okay, you can do this.
Here we go.
Suddenly I was five years old again. I looked around and found my classmates were all gone. The door crept open, a hand - no, not a hand, a paw - reached around the door frame..
It was time to confront the bears of my mathematically doomed childhood.
I spent an agonizing hour and a half mulling over pointless problem after pointless problem. Why do I care if it takes more or less time to walk diagonally over a field? Isn’t extrapolating a type of skin treatment? Why hasn’t x settled down and figured itself out yet?
And with each question, a bear was waiting to be vanquished, and could only be defeated by my mighty HB.
I stabbed those bears in the eyes. And you know what I said?
I said, fuck you you lousy, life-ruining, shitty bear.
One week later I got the test results back. My math teacher pulled me aside before presenting the grade to me to assure me that the grade was 100% mine. I passed with exactly a 50%. I had done it. I had conquered!
To this day I still struggle immensely with math problems, but I’ve learned to manage. So can you, with anything. Everyone has a Bear they need to deal with. And you know what? Bears are assholes. I wish I had known that when I was five, because I’m sure my life today would be vastly different.
So take a page out of my book the next time you’re dealing with a weakness you feel you can’t overcome.
You stab a bear in the eye and you say
Doing some “research”?
Yeah. I need to know how to go about getting this novel published.
Of course. You know, actually working on your novel is productive too, right?
Yeah, but I’ve done a bit of work on that already today.
I saw you staring blankly at a screen for twenty minutes with intermittent typing, which you would almost immediately backspace.
Well, I found out some useful stuff. There are a few agents I could query out there. Australian, too.
I know. I’m amazed you could tell which ones were suitable when you don’t even know what genre you fall into.
I told you, I decided it was Lit Fic.
Oh come one, it’s not THAT well written. Besides, you’re absolutely it’s not fantasy?
And look, you were reading earlier that you should expect 100 rejections before someone takes you on. You’ve found, what, maybe seven agencies to contact?
It’s a start.
Hmmm… relentless rejections… You know, this reminds me of—
—Shut the fuck up! We’re not talking about unemployment!
Actually, I was going to mention—
—Or the sales job!
Fine. But you do have to admit, this is going to take up a lot of time and effort for something that’s not your main thing. I mean, you’ve got a paid editing job that you should be working on right now. Isn’t that what you wanted? Or don’t you enjoy that anymore?
Shut up! I’m allowed to have multiple passions! You never let up about me having no ambition a few years ago!
Okay, okay, fine. But the music thing too? I mean, you just kinda launched into organising that second gig. You don’t have a support act, and you’ve already asked more than half of your likely options.
I know! You didn’t let me sleep because you wouldn’t shut up about it last night!
Yeah, because you’re going to fail!
You know, you speak with a lot of confidence for someone who’s meant to be the personification of my self-doubt.
It is ironic, isn’t it? You should put that in your novel.
That would never work in this one.
Now who’s being negative?
Finally got around to making a finishing stamp. It’s a stylised version of my initials that I’ve been using for about seven years now (an Olde English “JF” mashed into one letter) cut out of a one inch cube gum eraser with a scraping razor. I kinda like the rough-and-ready look.For dinner we have…
White wine (pre-drinks for a 21st) and chocolate muffin.
Get married young, kids.I knew I could feel a good song on its way!
After struggling for a couple of weeks and writing a couple of okay-ish songs, out of freaking nowhere comes this new thing that’s totally decent! The name wound up being a bit weird, but it’s the only thing that really fits: “As I Walk Into The Furniture”.
I’m totally going to actually look into another gig soon.High Fidelity Lists (this should be a meme)
Top 5 Break-Ups (chronological order):
This is what happens when you marry your first girlfriend.
Top 5 Recording Artists:
2: Death Cab For Cutie
3: Animal Collective
5: Sarah Blasko
Top 5 Songs To Play On A Monday Morning:
1: “The Grey Man” by Copeland
2: “Firesuite” by Doves
3: “Fake Empire” by The National
4: “Satellite Skin” by Modest Mouse
5: “Is This It?” by The Strokes
Top 5 Side Ones, Track Ones:
1: “Marching Bands of Manhattan” by Death Cab For Cutie
2: “Bloom” by Radiohead
3: “Teenage Riot” by Sonic Youth
4: “Favourite Food” by Tokyo Police Club
5: “Singapore” by Tom Waits
Top 5 Dream Jobs:
1: In-demand freelance video editor who directs little bits and pieces every now and then.
2: Being the “Jonny Greenwood equivalent” in a band.
3: Bass player in a band.
5: All of the above at once
Top 5 Songs About Death:
1: “What Sarah Said” by Death Cab For Cutie
2: “Videotape” by Radiohead
3: “Timothy” by As Cities Burn
4: “Charlie No. 3” by The Whitlams
5: “Underground” by Washington
My Husband 3 years ago…
Was this when I made him dress up for my media thing? Haha, love it
Trying to figure out if this makes me more or less classy…Stream of Consciousness #2
Well, I forgot to do the stream of consciousness thing yesterday, so I might do two today to make up for it. Coffee hangover. Self diagnosis. No cure. No treatment. Two words. Slow dance. So alone. Tell story. So tired. Still morning. Warming up. Getting going. Preparing slowly. How long? So brief. Dragged out. No substance. Negative space. Rolling hillside. Expensive tea. Flat broke. Television’s boring. Lonely couch. So uninspired. Okay, enough of the two words thing. Do you remember when we were friends? I think you do, but I’m not so sure. I’m not sure if saying anything would be a good thing. We both talked magnificent bullshit. Everything has changed since then though. Is this sounding too cliché? I think that last part was. Oh well, it’s there now. The permanency of everything I write worries me a bit. But it’s like life, I guess. You do what seems right in the moment, and then the moment passes and only then can you see what you did in context. Only then can you really regret anything. I don’t think I have many regrets. Mostly guilt. I think regret for me is more about decisions you make, whereas guilt is attached to more impulsive things. I feel guilty as all hell about how angry and violent I got as a child. And I hope to no end that I never regress back to that. I have my moments, and I feel guilty about each one of them, no matter how justifiable. Mind you though, I never can really justify anything because every justification I give feels like a weak excuse. I think it’s due to how I was brought up. But that is just a weak excuse. That particular reason is one I can never give because of the big hypocrisy it’s attached to. I won’t really go into that though. This stream of consciousness has gotten personal enough for now. I mean, I don’t have any real problem with getting personal, but as my last stream eluded, I just don’t think anyone cares enough for it to be worth bringing it all up online. I’ve never had any major traumatic problems. I thought I was depressed for a while, and then my mum and my (then) fiancée thought so too. The guy I went to about it said I probably wasn’t, but Amy still thinks I might be sometimes. I think. I haven’t asked her what she thinks about it in a long while. I guess it doesn’t really matter. I’m not huge on the idea of going on meds. I’ve seen too many people who are on meds wanting nothing more than to be free of them. I know myself well enough to know it wouldn’t take long for me to want to not rely on a pill to make me happy. Anyway, this is staying personal. I have to reach the end of the page somehow I guess. Talking about personal stuff seems to be how I ramble. When I was in high school, year eight or nine – I like spelling out numbers rather than using their symbol – I decided I wanted to be able to type faster and more accurately because I was tired of being the slowest in the class all the time. So I started writing a novel about a fictional character not entirely unlike myself who was in slightly different circumstances to me. He had different friends, was actually in a band, rather than just talking about one. He eventually got the girl, but that was at least eighteen – I love the way that number looks spelled out – months before I did. Anyway, originally, I was half-planning to write about being on hold with Centrelink yesterday, but obviously that hasn’t worked out. Maybe I’ll do it this evening. I mean, I don’t have to. I can write whatever I want, so long as it comes into my head in the moment and I don’t get rid of it. I think NaNoWriMo has helped me to write like this. This time has been much more cohesive. My sentences are getting shorter as I reach the bottom of the page. Shorter sentences. Shorter. And. Shorter. No, I can’t keep doing that or I’ll never get there. Only a few lines left now. So tired still. Haven’t slept properly in a few nights. I should put some music on soon. I need some new music. Something fresh and refreshing. Something that resonates like Death Cab For Cutie did when I first heard them. Anyway, I’m across the line now, so I’ll type at you, the abstract audience, later tonight. Not that time means anything here given that people will be reading this tomorrow as well (maybe) and many days after (maybe).