Sunday, November 11, 2012

Film Production in Asia

This years film season is about to open, and in some cases already has. 

In S.E. Asia, the optimal time for international film pre-production is through the Xmas period and shooting invariably starts early in the new year. It doesn't rain (supposedly) and it isn't hot (relatively). Of course for Asians, this period is of no consequence, because you know, Buddha. For us white people it becomes slightly more problematic. Not that Jebus and the big dude in the sky with the beard has any bearing on my life, because I consider myself relatively Atheistic with hopefully a somewhat spiritual bent. But in a Western culture, the Julian Calendar effects our families lives for the most part. Because over there (the ephemeral "Organised West"), they celebrate Xmas and the birth of a Zombie, revolving their festivities around a jolly fat man dressed in red (that Coke helped resurrect), breaking and entering peoples houses through a chimney. Yay. 

This is the one time of the year I can work pretty solidly for about 4-7 months. On usually two to four projects. But it comes at the cost of Familial Piety. Not that I don't think I haven't done some of my fair share of that, this year, with funerals and family visits etc. But this time for me to work, it means I have to do that at the cost of spending time with my husband's family. I'm not entirely happy about it, but if I let my contacts in film and TV die, it becomes a lot harder to be continuously employed or remembered over this season. And generally being on one project, means others follow. 

There is also the fact that I actually like feeling productive and that my labour does have some monetary value (albeit about a quarter of the price or less, of a lower scale paid union member in a developed country). It adds to this weird sense of self esteem that I can barely muster for myself otherwise. Monetary value and productivity. If I'm not doing something, then I am worth nothing. Don't ask me how that works, it's just a hardwire that went wrong somewhere in my brain. 

This year I have a few projects going on not entirely relating to film: the vintage clothing stuff, learning the language of the country I reside in (yeah, still), exercising, working on my own film project, They kind of make me happy, and feel productive, but none are remunerative. Yet. 

I should be grateful for the state of employment, but I know what is coming. Long uncompensated hours of over time. Micro-politics of petty people, who have a notorious lack of what westerners like to call "logic". Bad food. And another "attempt of filmmaking" that I couldn't care less if it goes on my CV or not (preferably not in most cases). Working over the seasonal period everyone else is spending with their families. So it becomes a slight quandry as people age and time gets away from us. 

It's one of those situations where I wont like myself either way, because the choices come at an expense or lack of involvement in something. Yet, I should still be grateful regardless. Dammit, be more grateful.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Market Schlepping in Bangkok

So the new "business adventure" has included doing quite a bit of research around town, sourcing genuine vintage clothing, and also looking for unique new patterns and stylishly made clothing. It has been a hot, sweaty and a sometimes disgruntling experience. 

We tracked down the internet's advice on where to go (and decided who ever wrote that crap was on crack). The worst, absolute worst experience so far has been Wang Lang Market. Now any one that has been to Bangkok and travelled around, must know it's not the easiest place to navigate, even with Iphone's internet service and google maps. Mainly it's to do with the 'lost in translation' side of things i.e: you are pronouncing the romanisation of a Thai location incorrectly; this is true 99% of the time. Actually, it's probably 100% of the time. Also hard if your Thai is shitty, like mine is. 

For us, Wang Lang was our Waterloo of "Vintage Markets". What we thought would be a relatively easy navigation turned into a very expensive affair, for butt fuck nothing rewards. It was supposed to be – take moto to train, take train to river, take boat ten stops down river, 'hey presto': market. Ha, when the hell does that ever happen in this city? 

Yes to the first two steps, BUT get to the river, and for some reason unbeknownst to us (could have been anything really as I'm totally fucking illiterate in this country) ALL of the boats were out that day (possibly due to flooding... or something else, who the fuck knows). No public boats whatsoever. And a whole bunch of grifters telling us horseshit about why there are no boats (you would recognise the type: shady, greasy, dark and manipulative - enough english to try and cajole you into doing something you don't want to do - kind of like drunk slimy sex with someone you know, but not very well, and don't really like - you feel bad afterwards). 

So out of heat frustration and total abject laziness to look any further, we take a private long tail, which is about ten times the price of what it should have been, and even though they say they are taking us to where we ask, of course the grifters are lying sacks of shit, and drop us off at another tourist site far from our desired destination. We're then walking on a crowded street, in the mid day heat, and I feel grubby. But not as grubby as it's going to get. We walk, until we decide a bus may be better, and some busses are free. Which is fine, until we get on this dilapidated fifty year old vehicle, with open windows, and flies drunk on heat, meandering through the air. The interior hasn't seen a clean and the motor a tune up since possibly the 70s, but mid 60s seems more likely. You think it's going in the direction you want, but really, it isn't. Which totally pisses you off when you want to get out, and it's the first instance I've seen where the driver wont open his doors in the middle of the road whilst stuck bumper to bumper in traffic that is going nowhere. The driver insists on driving that extra five hundred meters in the opposite direction, from the point you indicated where you would like to alight. I figure it's because I'm white, and he's a spiteful cunt. 

Get off the bus, walk some more following the blue dot on google maps (man, I love that blue dot). Find the Pier which is across the river from where we want to be. Ask someone where the boats go from, he directs us. Here is another piece of advice, take Thai directions with a grain of salt. They are quite often, always wrong (the language is too general for specification I find) . It's not that his directions were wrong for someone sitting at an information booth, it's that, why the fuck didn't he know that boats weren't going from that location either. Walk to pier, get told boats aren't ferrying foot traffic across the river that day. Walk back to street. Give up, approach expensive moto. Two moto's. They'll take us, but they don't seem to understand where it is either. Patience shortens. Fuck it. Get on and wing it. End up on a four lane toll way, with no helmet. Feel slightly insignificant and that this could be one of those moments, or THE moment. Driver pulls to the side after all the four lane traffic business is finished, and gives me a helmet for the side streets, indicating the fact there is police presence around. Because getting a ticket is worse than having a dead farang, I'm guessing. But whatever. These decisions are rather parochial on day to day basis here.

Get to market. Discover market is more thrift than vintage, when it comes to the small amount of vintage it offers. The clothes are overly pedestrian, lack any style, are grubby and make you want to shower after handling them. Shops are situated over sewer drains, subtly* covered by awkward floor boards (*not subtle at all), and they can't mask the odour of smelling like shit. The newer clothing is crappier and more expensive than sourcing the stuff from somewhere closer, like Platinum or JJ market. 

We decide the people positively reviewing this market on blogs, are totally full of shit. They make it seem so exciting and full of lost treasures... Pffffft. Don't believe the delusional hype. This market caters to idiot tourists who don't mind paying exorbitant rates for shitty clothing, or think thrift clothing badly made five years ago, is vintage. We buy two things, more out of sheer determination to not have had the whole day go to waste than anything else. 

I should mention that going to these kind of places without food, in a hypoglycaemic state is also a bad, bad idea.  It amplifies your grumpy. We grub about for an hour or maybe a bit less, become increasingly unsatisfied, with the quality we see. We decide finally after much ado about grumble, that we should leave. Taxi's ignore us, or are otherwise taken by local thai's who push into line. Fine, whatever. It's not something that I'm not used to. We approach Moto's again, just to get the hell out of Waterloo-Dodge quickly. We agree to an exorbitant rate from the moto. Be gone, is all we want. We're hot, grumpy, ill nourished, disappointed, and feel like a bath in Clorox is mandatory. An unhappy exit is compounded by the fact that the moto driver smirked when we agreed to his exorbitant rate. 

I still feel like an idiot tourist outside of my comfort zone in Bangkok. It's because I have no prior experience of spacial awareness in new locations, and cannot gauge how much distance is worth the fee and therefore cannot negotiate. 

TLDR: my twitter update of our odyssey to Wang Lang. Never Again - Some bits of Bangkok weren't made to be seen. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mao Mao

So on a whim the other day, a Melbourne Stylist friend, who I met in my Thai language class, and tells me outrageous and incredible stories about the fashion industry, which make me wonder "but are people really happy on the inside when they spend 100k on clothing?", decided to set up a Pop Up Fashion shop in Melbourne.

What is a pop up fashion shop you ask? Any one been to a pop up restaurant? It's kind of the same thing without the food. We will buy interesting, fabric, textile and fabric orientated one off pieces in the genre of street wear, which we will take back to Melbourne and find some artsy and fun venue to sell them in, for a one week period. Or something. 

Our business plan was hashed out in less than a minute and half, and is more something we want to do because of the fun of it, than thinking we are reinventing the wheel or taking over the world (too jaded for that). It excited us and we got all tizzy for a few moments, like bitches do when there is fashion and shopping involved. We bought some dresses, took some photo's on the iphone, imported them into photoshop, and made like we were 6 years old with a broken crayon. 

The name we spent at least five minutes thinking about, and settled on Mao Mao. In Thai it means drunk drunk, or shit faced drunk, or pie eyed, or so totally inebriated I pissed my pants whilst sleeping drunk. Well probably not the last one, but you know, when something is said twice here and is the same word, it's the same thing but exaggerated. So it's like drunk exaggerated - I guess. If it was Mao Mao Mao, it would mean you were stoned (so I have been told).

The rest of the name we added in Thai, because we thought about our audience and kind of realised, with Asian sizing (so tiny) that our label would be for skinny, drunk bitches. So thus, on the 276th day of 2012, the year that marks the end of the world, we were created. Mao Mao: for Skinny Drunk Bitches, or สำหรับ bitches เมาผอม - which we figured was a kind of less obvious way to hide our jadedness. 

For me it is a creative outlet in my down time, waiting for the feature films to come back this season, so I can work in production. As the guy who I am supposed to be producing music videos and ads with, has been hospitalised for the last month. And I go nuts if I am not doing anything I consider "productive". Because you know, going to yoga and Pilates, taking Thai classes, doing an online academic course (have a look, I recommend as they are free and quite good), and occasionally helping do some social media managing is not really enough to keep me satisfied, without it passing into the early hours of the morning and me thinking to myself "What am I doing with my life". One can be creative after 12am, but no good thinking about how you feel about yourself really occurs. 

I thought this would at least be a project that would help get me back to Australia and see my friends and family, whilst keeping me in the manner I have become accustomed to. You know, those Brazilian and full leg waxes that here in Thailand cost (on equivalent) $30AU, or the manis-pedis which cost $15AU, or the $9AU full body massages, or the $2.70AU packet of cigarettes. 

Quick side bar of digression here: Cigarettes in Australia in actuality cost $18 a packet, and you can't take any more than two packets (packets of 25 cigarettes, NOT cartons) through customs now. SHOCK HORROR. I should just give up, but it's my last vice. 

Haha, in reality, I actually I cut my own nails with a 30 cent nail clipper, and think most massages are kind of crap, so tend to avoid them. So really it's just the waxing, which I would have to give up in Australia to put towards my cigarette budget. 

I figured if I could make Australian money whilst I was in Australia, then at least I'm on a more level playing ground. For taking money back from Thailand with the currency exchange rate, and having high expectations of what would be available for the same cost, would be an exercise in utter futility and frustration.

I'm going to post some of the "art work" we did. I only agreed to be photographed  if I was able to cover my head with the cat (same theory as covering it with a paper bag). Good thing too, because looking at the photos, without hair and makeup I am so washed out I make a decent candidate for a cancer, or AIDS victim (no really, I have to start wearing more makeup, or eating more iron, or spray tanning). 

So I give you Mao Mao, for skinny drunk bitches.  It's all very tongue in cheek, and in the manner of that Australian sense of humour where one can't take themselves too seriously (cause you know, it's 2012, we could be in a mushroom cloud tomorrow).

 Cause Bitches with M16s are Hot!

Cause bitches get shit done!

How fucking catalogue do I look? I know, I know... sighs. Oh well. It has kept me occupied and happy for a few days, so that at least, after a month of family visits and being asked when I get up every morning:"why are you frowning" (because you haven't fucked off yet)... it has kept me relatively productive and happy. 

And the reason why I think I have verifiable passport to make child like (questionably crappy, minus the questionably) remixed art? Blame these guys

Now here are our links for shameless self promotion:
Instagram: maomaopopup

So add us bitches. Still havent figured out how to embed all those things on this new layout, which doesn't allow me to do SHIT. Dammit. 

Be happy. I'm happy-ish. Happy as I ever get. Think I need botox to stop the frowning though :/

Monday, September 17, 2012

Free Will

I love free will. I love living in a country where I still feel like I have the ability to exercise my own free will, i.e. I can take my life and the decisions about my body into my own free hands. I haven't returned to "developed" first world countries much since moving to South East Asia. And really only one - Canada, but I tentatively assume Canada's political, economical and legal zeitgeist are on par with somewhere like Australia or the UK, to some level of degree (America I have no idea about since they just seem kind of crazy to me, a view garnered from what I does read on the innerwebs). My generalised opinion is: There seems to be an encroaching nanny state permeating these commonwealth countries creating an apathetic populous, who are more interested in consumerism and capitalism than fighting against the man. Which is fine. It's just not really me. 

When I visit one of these "developed" nanny states, my interpretation of the legal rules they must abide by, instigates my figurative suffocation - I die a bit on the inside, while I live in fear of doing something wrong, knowing that by second nature, I probably am. I know the natural citizens are so used to the encroaching legalities dictating their everyday behaviour, that the rules have seeped into their sub consciousness and are taken for granted. Interpolating a new generation of people who, for the majority IMO, lack the ability to think for themselves. I see the pictures and read the comments online - even the sub genres of "different" look the same. 

I do find that the systematic organisation in these developed countries is somewhat refreshing in comparison to disorganised chaos (as in everyone stands to one side on the escalators - I estimate it would take a whole generation to train south east asians to do this), yet the rules on how you should live your life make me shudder.

I like Asia. It's nice. It's warm. It's cheap. It does have it's drawbacks, but overall at the moment, it wins for the quality of life. 

One of the things that at least gives me the illusion that I still have free will here, is the motorcycle taxis. Motorsai's or Motos are probably my favourite thing about Bangkok. Little gangs of predominantly guys on motorcycles, wearing orange or pink waist coats, cluster in groups along most roads, waiting to take you where your little heart desires to go. It's an easy and quick transaction. In about three words you tell them where you want to go, jump on (side saddle in my case, I really have adopted local tendencies), occasionally hold on to part of the bike for stabilisation (or if you can't be fucked like me, not), and arrive windswept at your destination very soon after.  It can also be done with mass amounts of baggage or food shopping and weirdly shaped objects. 

Depending on the amount of distance you go, they are the quickest, easiest and one of the cheapest ways to avoid the traffic in the big city. I can take a moto from the mouth of my soi to my house, and it costs me thirty Australian cents and takes about two minutes. There is no way in hell, any developed country would offer or allow a form of transportation like this. 

Some of the times I feel most alive is taking a motorcycle. Peak hour traffic Friday night, peak hour traffic in the rain, or really just in the rain - these are occasions where one will probably feel most alive. It's also I guess, when thought about properly, one of the more daring things I do, and like countries who have subjugated themselves to local rules and think of it as second nature, I too have done this, and quite often disregard the danger, taking it for granted. Yes, there is an element of danger. Yes, it is sometimes a brush with mortality. Yes there are many accidents. No, you generally wont be wearing a helmet unless travelling very far distances on main roads. And in this lies the beauty of taking a moto. 

I generally take motos in two frames of mind. The very triumphant Vs the very morose. Triumphant mood is weaving through traffic displaying the attitude of "Fuck you assholes, I'm on a moto. All you cunts have to wait two hours, while I arrive in ten minutes" - to a really bad day where I don't feel mentally well, which is more like "Fuck this world, fuck these people, you're all fucked. If I'm lucky, I will fall off the back of this moto and my head will smash like a melon" (I probably wouldn't be so lucky: I would fall, head - smashes like a melon, but I don't die; instead I create an exponential and unaffordable hospital bill, and probably become a a vegetable in the process) . Either mood will invariably involve a middle finger display and several profane expletives. 

Regardless of how I feel when I hop upon a moto, one of my favourite visions of myself exercising free will is as:

a pillion sitting helmet-less, sidesaddle and handsfree on a moto cycle taxi, traveling down Thannon Sukhumvit - Bangkok, peak hour traffic, weaving through cars, narrowly avoiding side mirrors and scratching expensive paint jobs... sparking up a Marlboro cigarette (that costs me thirteen cents). Granted, none of this image is healthy, but FUCK YEAH -gahwddamm it makes me feel free. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I hate my fucking Neighbours.

I haven't met them, and I know no personal information about them; my feelings of loathing come purely from my keen observational powers.

Reason number 1: They are the type of people who will drive to the front gate of the house (yeah we live in gated compounds in Bangkok - must have something to do with the occasional rioting or biannual coups) at any time of day or night (more commonly late at night - like late late) and honk the horn incessantly, expecting their maid, who has probably worked a 12 hour day or more and been up since the crack of dawn, to rise from her slumber and open the gate for them. The horns are loud and annoying and at intervals of every 30 seconds to a minute, while the maid choosing to ignore them (and rightfully so) fails to appear. Why are they so fucking lazy that they cant even open the car door, walk 5 feet and unlock the gate for themselves (rhetorical). The energy wasted on waiting for someone to appear, whilst getting resentful in the car must be huge. There is 6 cars parked in their compound, and all are nice 'label cars'. Ones that denote social status - hiso. And every owner of those cars does the same goddamn thing. Cars are expensive here too, like 300% of the price of any normal country. Fucking lazy entitled fucks.  I am admittedly and irredeemably low class, and even I think this is the epitome of rudeness. 

Reason number 2: they have guard dogs. Dont get me wrong I dont hate the dogs, I hate the owners. Now these type of dogs are treated as such, like dogs. They aren't cherished and spoilt molly coddled members of the family, hand fed from the table like ours are. They are guard dogs, kicked around, swatted with a broom and left outside to their own pitiful existence. I imagine they lead pretty miserable lives. But hey, they guard the house for some shitty food everyday, and are probably pretty loyal, gauging by the snarling barking sounds they make every time someone walks within 20 feet of their vicinity. The other day I noticed their larger dog has what looks like a prolapsed asshole, or the front hole, not sure which. It's a red flesh wound hanging all about on the outside. It looks like an exploding innards volcano, pink, molten and vomit inducing if thought about or looked at for too long... and just no good at all. It disturbed me, I mean it really fucking disturbs me, still. Like take your fucking dog to the vet to have it fixed for fucks sake, you lazy careless fucks. People that dont look after their animals really disappoint me as human beings. 

So the last couple of nights, I thought they may have gotten a new puppy, who cant stop barking to broadcast the inevitable that is coming (you know inside flesh cant hang outside for too long without some kind of infection or bacteria starting to eat away at it, not in the tropics of Asia anyways). When I checked tonight which dog was barking, it's actually the other dog. The male dog. I looked over at them, and he is lying at the feet of what I think is his beloved, yapping at her at what I think is understandably heart wrenching distress. As in "yap yap, come save my wife you fucking entitled fucks, she's going to die". My annoyance of the yapping noise level over the last 5 nights kind of subsided into sympathy. This was until, whilst closing the window to shut out his noise, he has roused his bitch up, after hours of harrassment... and is actually just trying to fuck her prolapsed hole. FML... really. Is he doing this out of stress of her possible mortality, the old eros and thanatos debate reduced to beasts. Or is he just another cunty dog  trying to screw his bitch over when she is in obvious, unmedicated and untreated pain (again, rhetorical). 

Assholes, the whole lot of them. 

I feel sorry for the bitch though. I wish they would just take her to the vet and get her fixed or put down. But even now, she's still guarding their house, while her fucktard hubby keeps barking at her. She, fortunately, has the good sense to only emit noise at perceived danger. Dogs don't have a very long life in this country, and there is no RSPCA. Any dog adoption shelters are generally set up out of donations and the kindness of peoples hearts (usually white people, and what I think is some hard core obsessive animal loving - but not the sexy kind). 

Oh the humanity.  (But what I really mean is - fuck you, you fucking fucks)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Huh? Sorry, what...

I'm starting to forget things. More than normal. I don't know if my brain is fatigued, or the fact that living in S.E Asia I don't practice my English skills properly or with any dexterity so my vocab is dropping. But it's not just my vocab. It's like having a thought, remembering to do something, walking into the next room and forgetting what I went in there for. I have been told there is some displacement theory in this, so not to worry about it... 

But I have brain blocks on certain things. It takes me 5 minutes to remember the word 'landmark' when trying to explain to people how I can navigate the back streets relatively easy. Or the fact that I know my favourite Lebanese restaurant is in a certain hotel, but I can only either remember the name of the restaurant, or the name of the hotel, never the two together when trying to explain it someone. Odd. The hotel is Schillers Inn and the restaurant... what for it while I squeeze for information (it's like taking a brain dump)... Al Ferdoss. It's a good 30 seconds in between remembering one for the other, and today was a good day. I don't know why. 

*I just chucked that in for future reference for when I forget... as I know I will be able to find the information somewhere.

I forget what the thought I was just going to write about. It's like, ooh thats a good point, then a second later - gone, like forgetting someone's name as soon as it escapes over their lips. 

I'm quite scared I'm going to forget my childhood soon. And only remember the scandalous, character building (but relatively negative traits), the traumatic moments, and none of the pedestrian stuff which also helped formed me whilst growing up. Or worse yet the nice memories of childhood. The warm and fuzzy ones. Like a favourite t-shirt worn to death, or a particular pair of shoes that made me feel safe. Or when I got a cat, or a dog, or another cat, or another dog. 

I'm guessing another part of my discomfiture  which really highlights my brain degeneration is that I barely remember celebrity names or what film or tv projects they were in anymore. Not sure if it is because my penchant for celebrity gossip has waned with age, and Perez rehabbed his personality so I couldn't be bothered buying into the public relations of how awesome everyone was everyday, or that, you know, my brain is just a bit fucked. 

I used to be so good at following the tenets of celebrity gossip. Who was with who, in what time period, what films they did together under what director, who the soap opera fathers were, how many times that star had been married. You know irrelevant details that filled my brain, but I could recall them. I can't even do that anymore. Like I could watch something and immediately place the actor in another film or tv series. Now I get a vague sense I have seen them in something else and have to Wikipedia or IMDB to solve that sense of unsettling vagueness in my brain. 

I am wondering if it is a combination of things - i.e the internet and my multitasking splitting my attention span over various objects of entertainment or stimulus moment to moment. The fact that I do not exercise the part of my brain reserved for remembering things like long passages of dialogue. Age might be the factor *nods in agreement with  myself; possibly genetics - it's diabetes and dementia in our family that takes hold. Possibly earlier age drug use is a factor, destroying both long term and short term memory function. 

Or maybe I'm like Sheryl Crow and have a benign brain tumour which is pushing on a certain part on my brain affecting my memory.... I vote for this one. It's the most critical and anxiety inducing. 

Regardless whatever is causing it, I'm slightly worried. Worried about my ability to retain information when I work. Should I study more, should I try and activate my brain somehow. Right now I'm reduced to brain games from here. You know, the laziest way I can try and fix it, supposedly. But even my patience with that dropped today, so my stats went down :(

Soon it will be 'Ouch, My Balls' Territory. And why not. The husband is already disgusted that I laugh at fart jokes. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stop Prescribing My Imagination.

I worked for 5 months straight from the beginning of the year with very few days off, fitting in smaller projects between the larger ones. In total it felt like I had about 6 days off from January to May, in reality, I know it was probably a few more - I just slept through them. 

After the last project, I physically, emotionally and spiritually burnt out. With the list of names of fucktardians in my black book growing and my tolerance for those types serisouly waning.  To be honest, my tolerance for fucktardians is pretty low as it is. Imagine me four months in, no sleep. Me no happy. 

So the last month and a bit I have taken some time off. First I slept, for a few weeks. People started to remark about how much better I looked… well rested and such. It's amazing how anything over 2-4 hours a night of sleep can add to your demenour. 

I also started socializing. You know, a bit of the right kind of socialization truly helps one feel human. I have made a concerted effort in the past year and a half to find like minded people that I can communicate with. It's been hard, but there are a few out there in this strange land. 

*I also looked for, found and moved into a new house, so it hasn't all been rainbows and unicorn farts. 

And the past few weeks has been a highlight for me. I have finally come across some art that I feel enriches my mind. I am so sick of watching shitty formulaic shows, and block busting movies with no plots.

I have seen local art in galleries, on film and on stage which has inspired me. Where my mind has been allowed the freedom of interpretation: to make connections of it's own free will. My imagination hasn't been prescribed to, which I feel is so often the case these days. I think what has allowed me to be able to appreciate it, is that I have some space made in my head from a pile of life's ongoing shit  to make these associations. And I forgot how rewarding it is. 

I also feel like I have regressed somewhat, that the connections I have made harken back to an earlier era. Everything I saw has some attachment to the last vestige of my teenage years. I did Macbeth three times in high school, performing it once. The version I saw in the last week was a reinterpretation that allowed me to appreciate it all over again. I saw tableaux and archetypal representations which I thought worked brilliantly well for where I'm geographically in situ. Truly an independent art project with it's peaks and valleys, but the piece was quite apropos. I came out of it wanting to have a intellectual conversation about it. Not the "Fuck my ass was hurting an hour in" or "The special effects were good but where was the plot line?" chat, which I know is the sign of a boring film. I would like to discuss it more… but I can't. Only quietly to the person sitting next to me in soft whispers, if you get my drift. 

I got to an art show, which was somewhat pronographic – photographs depicting dildos imitating Darth Vador, and large nudes with symbolic meanings, some what erotic but also disturbing, slightly political in meaning I suppose. As they say the person is political. And what are we if not constantly fighting through the micro-politics of everyday life. 

And tonight to top it off, I finally made it to the theatre, my one true love, and I wish I had done so much sooner. A small custom built theatrette (in the suburb I just moved away from), where they have taken the simplest materials and constructed amazing performances with extremely talented people. I felt totally at home. There was a primal, tribal quality in their performance which reminded my of what we used to do in the school yard at lunch times at my last high school. Where we were all young, less jaded (only slightly), and did weird shit creating liminal spaces. I laughed in wonder siting through this physical theatre performance. I don't do that much anymore, so it was a delightful surprise. Thats the quality thing (upside) about being a pessimist/cynic/realist-on-a-good day – delightful surprise.  Sure beats constant disappointment. 

The last few weeks has given me hope. Made me want to make new friends whose minds are rich with possibility. I just wish I was the type of person they would want to know as much as I want to know them (the downside of the dark force). 

The photos I'm adding are actually of the art auction before the performance Oxygen. The B-Floor Theatre troupe had a fundraising event to help take them to New York. My contribution: a ticket twice the market value and a 300 THB t-shirt that says "I Support Art". I wish I was richer, I would totally give them my money. 

The higher the bidding the lesser the clothes. My kind of show. 

4500 THB

15,000 THB

19,500 THB

23,500 THB

35,000 THB

50,00 THB

Winner winner chicken dinner :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Postcards From Canada (with my loving father)

Snippets from a road trip through B.C. Canada with The Sociopath and L/U (Lazy-slash-Useless) - Endearing familial pet names we had designated to each other after only a few days of being in each other's company.

Canada Day 143 Years young - 2010.

1.10pm, 19º, 20 kms away from Spencer's Bridge (where the Cherry stop is).

TS is BURSTING for a piss… "of course it's illegal to piss outside here" - Canada. 
L/U smirks in schadenfreude at his discomfort - it's the small pleasures in life. 
We're being followed by a band of Bikies, they pass us as we pull off to piss - due to older age, TS can't hold it in any longer.

L/U thinks "I'll wait for the cherry stop, for a toilet with paper". Wishes in times like this she had a penis to piss standing up. Looks at the amount of distance on the map to go - *groans*

TS feels better - bladder emptied. Informs L/U any toilet at Spencer Bridge will smell. L/U decides she prefers the shitty smell over having to squat au naturale in front of a parent. 

1.36pm, 21º (apparently at this time of year it should be in the 30's), we cross Spencer's Bridge  –  and are now on the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail – back to where we were supposed to be hours ago (a horrific car accident killing many people, including a family, on the public holiday meant a 4 hour detour). L/U is wondering if TS is thinking "Those pesky fucking dead people". With his capability to feel empathy, decides he probably is. 

We're going to TS's "FAVOURITE FRUIT SHOP IN THE WORLD" - Hilltop Gardens at Spencer's Bridge. "Cherries are going to be expensive this year" TS educates L/U in his slightly condescending yet still perverse patriarchal manner. L/U decides the characterisation of "obtuse" from one of his friends was quite an apt description. 

L/U dryly assumes: it must be because of the unseasonably cold weather.

They are expensive.


I would like to report on my outhouse experience - everything went better than expected. Smell: Minimal. Toilet Paper: Check. Looked Clean: No piss on the seat. 
Downside: No tap either. I wondered about the fecal matter flying around, and used my water bottle to wash my hands with after. Hah! like that will help. 

L/U arrives back from the outhouse experience to TS's running commentary:

"Pack of Thieving Cunts! I can buy cherries cheaper in a Supermarket"

L/U ponders - so much for his favourite fruit shop in the entire world theory (he had been talking about this place for nearly the whole of the 5 hour road trip thus far) - now they just another pack of 'Thieving Cunts' - typical. 


Friday, June 8, 2012


Wow, it's been a very long time since I have published anything to this blog. Not that I have many or any readers, I usually just use it as a way to rant about stuff I'm not particularly happy with. 

Occasionally I think of things I should be blogging about, but with the proliferation of crap on the internet combined with my love/hate relationship with writing ... I shrug 'meh' and think 'why bother'. 

So a lot of things have happened in the last year. Firstly and fore most I guess would be that my husband (yep still married) went into hospital last year, did a heart stress test, then an angiogram and the doctors decided that he needed a quadruple bypass STAT, because the four veins pumping blood through his heart were 63%-100% completely blocked. So yeah, that was fun (not really, I dont recommend it. Eat healthy, avoid salty foods, exercise, dont drink coke, and try not to work yourself to death). 

It was pretty stressful for several reasons. first being, his company offered us only two months of his pay to cover the operation which was about 10k short at the time. Yeah that didn't turn out so well for them. Accounting for the fact that he had been working 7 days a week for 9 months, 20 hours a day to finish their film on time, you would have thought they would be more helpful. We weren't sure exactly how we were going to... you know pay to save his life bar asking my dad for his credit card details, which I did. 

The bit that didn't work out for his company was my sister-in-law approaching all his old work colleagues and friends for a loan to pay for his heart surgery.  I think what his company didn't really know, was how universally well known and well liked he is (I don't think he knew either), there was an unbelievable outpouring of offers, loans from friends, old clients and companies, who were willing to put the money up. And then a barrage of threatening phone calls to his employers from various industry people telling them to pay the money or 'they would never work in this industry again' type deal. Of course I got blamed for this 'your name is mud' shit going down by his boss, because my behaviour was as he termed it 'hysterical'. All I had really said to him was I didn't want to deal with particular unhelpful fucktards from his company while my husband was lying in a hospital bed, possibly dying. I didn't tell the world - their behaviour spoke for themselves and was helped spread by other family members who knew a lot more of my husbands friends than I did. I'm still a bit bitter about this. 

So yeah, after the public shaming, they put up the money. Father-in-Law flew in, and husband went through surgery. The surgeons told us it would be about 6 hours of surgery, so around about the 6th hour of surgery, sitting in the sandwich shop downstairs waiting, my head traversing the worst possible territory imaginable, it felt like the first time that I was going to have a full blown debilitating anxiety attack in about 10 years.  You know, the one where every sound becomes peripheral but for the beating wings of the ceiling fan. You look around and see people eating lunch, conversing, laughing, and it's all very surreal and on the outside and kind of in slow motion. Very hard to explain. Extremely painful experience. A lot of excruciating and debilitating fear involved. Generally it involves fetal position on a floor and includes a lot of water shedding. Bit hard in a public space. 

Around the seventh hour, we decided as a family unit, it would be best for us to go upstairs and enquire you know - if he was still alive and stuff (my crying, although uncontrollable, seemed to suggest a terrible sense of foreboding). Why was it taking hours longer than first suggested, why had no one called us. When we came to the ICU where people who have had extreme heart surgery tend to go first to recover, we encountered a lovely male nurse, who explained it was better that we had no news, as this meant the surgery was successful (I'm all in favour of the 'no news is good news' policy [it being the unofficial family motto and all] - but not so much in this case). 

This information abated our fears for another two or so hours until he arrived. We didn't stay, after we saw he was alive, because he was conscious enough to make a 'fuck off' motion with his fingers. One of the most relieving 'fuck off' gestures I have ever seen. We coudn't do anything at that point anyways, as he was in some sterile room behind glass walls, with the beeping machines hooked up showing the green heart blips on the screen, all waveforms and noise, tubes and sterility. He had a hose down his throat which they take out about 10 hours after surgery so he couldn't talk. And he was pretty out of it - as you would imagine for someone who had just had their chest sawn in two, their veins harvested from all over their body, replacing the faulty ones in the heart, patched up and grafted onto.

Yeah. Horrible. I felt a lot of empathy for the families going through the same thing we were. There is a lot of praying and crying happening in that ward. For me it was towards the end of the operation, when you think it should be over but you have no idea of what is going on, I was screaming serenity prayers in my head, where my inside voice was panic stricken, overwrought and quite honestly - mad. Internally I felt mad. Generally, I would like to think I am relatively stoic person in times of extreme chaos, being relatively used to it. This was different, it was very hard to dull this internal voice or calm it with anything. Especially when the prayers cant dull the internal screaming. And the prayers turn into screams themselves. It's the negotiating with god stage... I think. 

At this point, I would like to say that the Singapore General Hospital heart surgeons were of the highest calibre. The nurses too, were exceptional. 

I guess one of the good things that came out of it: on his death bed, mortality in mind, my husband decided we should be together, and forgave me (a little bit) my transgressions. Separation ended. Kind of a drastic measure to get to that point though. Slightly extreme in my opinion. 

It wasn't the end of the journey either, not by a long shot. There was complications involved after the surgery. Of course, what else would one expect. Smooth sailing? ....Hah!

Mentally it started post surgery and Hubby self diagnosing using his internet doctoring skills that he'd acquired from his vast googling experience. *Here is another tip - dont fucking google ANYTHING when a loved one is dealing with this kind of extreme life threatening shit in hospital. It will just freak you the fuck out. Listen to your health care professionals. Hubby had decided he was suffering from kidney failure, then according to him one of his lungs had collapsed, and a slew of various other ailments. It was horrible to go through and to make sure that none of that was happening. He was about 30 kilos over weight too, which did not help. And the way information spread through his family made me feel like I was a cast member in an ongoing plot line saga on Coronation Street. 

Unfortunately, what did happen was his coughing was so severe it led to him having fits, and seizures, and eventually destroying his chest bone, the wire designed to fuse his chest bone together again, serrated it to the point where it was reduced to shards of bone and dust - the chest bone completely disintegrated. Never to be put together again. Yep, Humpty Dumpty style. It went there. 

Both his father and I took turns staying in the hospital with him through this whole experience - we all lived in his hospital room. On one of my mornings about a week and a bit after the bypass operation and two weeks into the hospital stay, the doctors came in to have have a look at his chest. They brought out their implements, and using a long cotton bud on a stick started prodding at his chest wound. Which then basically spontaneously combusted, blood and fluid shooting about two feet high into the air (I think I may have screamed a little - or gasped, I'm not sure which, there was definitely some intaking of air). Even though the medical professionals were trying to act calm, you could tell by the furtive glances they exchanged (He had about 3-5 specialist doctors by this time to deal with different areas of his failing body), that this was highly unusual. They undid the stitches in his chest and stuck some wadding into the  gaping hole, letting the liquid (probably about 2 liters worth) seep out over the next couple of hours. He had been complaining to them about this for quite a few days now. The coughing, the feeling like his chest was bursting. I think doctors generally evoke the concept of patience to let the body heal itself. It kinda didn't work in this case. I'm guessing there was very few solutions. I would have opted for the induced coma, but I think this option would have been ruled out to his just having had quadruple bypass surgery. 

After a couple of hours of wound seepage, the doctor came back in, and performed some in room surgery. Which consisted of undoing all the stitches holding his chest together, and cutting some of the skin away without any anesthetic. Mainly to have a look inside about what the fuck was going on. It was decided then he would have to go back into surgery (Duh), be reopened, so they could have a look around and try and repair the damage. Until surgery, which was supposed to be scheduled in that night, he was to be put on this life saving machine called a VAC. We thought it was life saving, for the first few hours. It's designed to act as a vacuum and suck all the fluid out of the chest, providing a sterile sponge to fill holes and plastic covering for the wound. Pics or it didn't happen proof below. 

Then the plastic surgeons started coming around and discussing the operations that might possibly be happening depending on the extent of damage to the chest bone which was not entirely known at this point. The events in motion were starting to become incredibly blurry again. Unfortunately, the operating theatre that night was taken up by some emergency case, and our time slot was taken. This was on a Friday night, and his surgeon had previous commitments over the weekend, so nothing could be done. I was kind of angry at the surgeon for putting his altruistic and philanthropic commitments first - Charity cycle in some race for something or other in Malaysia. Booked in months before hand. Didn't he know my husband was dying for fucks sake. These are the times when you have to surrender to the fact you have no control over anything. So hubby was bumped till Monday. The VAC nearly killing him over the weekend. Every time he coughed it sucked in so hard that when I came back in to see him the sponge vac was basically eating a big hole into his chest. You could see the layers of fat and skin and it just got worse. He couldn't sleep he couldn't eat, and this would be an ongoing factor of the rest of his recovery. 

On the Monday he went in again. Another eight to ten hours of surgery.  More of the extreme anxiety which feels like it will kill you. It was slightly odd, because after we had sent him off to the operating theatre to be prepped, we saw his surgeon and sidekick downstairs drinking coffee and laughing. Around three hours after we saw them depart from the coffee shop, we got a call, saying that his heart was fine, the grafted veins repairing nicely, and there was no infection in the bones or inside the chest, but now the other Surgeons were performing the rest of the operation because of his chest bone being destroyed. I thought it must have been cramped in his operating room. He had so many fucking doctors and specialists and surgeons by this point of time. 

His operation was something along the lines of an Radical Sternectomy, I don't know what the proper terminology for it is - it's close to this though. Too many medical terms by this point in time and a very rare operation. Basically they open you up, and move a muscle from your lower abdomen around your body, and stake it between your chest, and this muscle then acts as what used to be the chest bone, hoping to fuse your chest together. I think he was the first one at Singapore General Hospital to have this operation. Months later, I asked him if he knew how they knew to do the operation, it never having been performed in Singapore before. He said they told him they Googled. Special medical Google of course. Again, can I just mention, don't google stuff. It's harrowing, and mostly you will find a bunch of answers from people it did not work for, the ones who stay inside and whinge online, or their loved ones commiserating over their deaths. It makes your feelings a lot more uncontrollable. The ones who it did work for are probably out living their lives. In saying that the support group of people that have had this type of operation and survived consists of about seven people worldwide, used to be eight, but one died. Pretty rare operation. 

It took him much longer to recover in the ICU this time. And quite frankly, we didn't know if he was going to live. The doctor's attitudes are ever hopeful and cautiously positive, they dont actually let you know too much information. I found this to be relatively deceitful after the fact, because they probably as unknowing as you are. Regardless, you come to appreciate good willed dishonesty. Someone needs to be the bearer of hope in times like this. Because it's sure as shit not me. 

His life hung in the balance for about a week or so. I thought he was going to die. It was the fact that he still could not stop coughing, he had stopped eating, and he couldn't sleep in any position, so his body had no restorative powers. They were pumping 2 liters of antibiotics into his veins 3 times a day, as well as medicating him about 6 times a day. They still could not diagnose his cough any more than they could the first time round. The no sleep thing became drastic. He would sit in a chair for about half the day or more, as it was the only position that would reduce his coughing. And this is where he would get maybe 5 minutes nap at a time. Eventually his veins ended up collapsing from the amount of fluids, needles and injections they were putting into him. The doctors were seriously worried it would more likely be an infection that would kill him at this point, and his immune system was so depleted he would not have been able to fight anything off. As the doctors kept warning us, Hospitals were filthy places. Completely harrowing. 

It would come to 3 or 4 am in the morning, the time were people usually die, and thus would come the conversation from his side of the bed - that he didn't think he was going to make it. And he didn't think he could fight on. Heart breaking conversations full of fear to be having at that time of the morning, the most ominous time. And everyone being so exhausted, grumpy, sleep deprived, it was hard. Really really really fucking hard. 

My girlfriend had come from Australia to support me. I thought this would be the best solution for emotional support, being so utterly alone in Singapore, surrounded by family members of his that quite clearly thought little of me, or hated me. I thought my parents should be reserved for situations of death when needing to travel to another country. And we weren't quite there yet. I was awoken one morning in hospital, a few days after the second operation, to her sobbing in tears on the phone - Her partner had died in Northern Ireland. Fuck knows how it could get worse but it did. I then had my only support network pretty much hysterical and emotionally unmanageable because her partner wasn't just dying, he was dead. So one husband dying in hospital, and my best friend's partner dead. Life is grand ain't it?

I spent the next couple of days trying to get her together enough to get on a plane so she could attend his funeral and see his body, while still trying to cope with the fact that my husband might be dying. I couldn't emotionally deal with both things going on at the same time, it became intolerable. Again, I dont recommend this experience to anyone. Now, it feels completely unrealistic but for the ongoing side effects we currently deal with on a day to day basis.

It dragged on, like this blog post. Eventually he forced himself to eat enough and get strong enough that the doctors let him go home to recover, away from the germs they were worried could potentially kill him. With the addendum of doctors visits every couple of days for progress reports. It was obviously extremely relieving when they actually let us all go home.  

Of course after an experience like one of these you kind of ask, what could we have done, what could they have done, to have changed things. To make things less fucked up than they turned out. But it's all hindsight. Husband could have looked after himself better, Surgeons could have maybe acted in more haste and been less perfunctorily about his over fluidy chest. Would have been good if some one hadn't been in critical condition and stole our surgery time. Maybe if he had recovered properly after the first operation, my girlfriend could have gotten to visit her partner quicker, him maybe not dying had she been around. So many variables, to not change anything, so really not worth thinking about. 

In the end we have all been incredibly affected. Husband wont ever be able to lift over 5 - 10 kilos again in his life. As he HAS NO CHEST BONE. Nothing but a flimsy piece of muscle designed for another part of the body trying to hold his shit together. He will constantly be in pain. He wakes up in pain he goes to sleep in pain. It's hard to get used to. The good thing for him is, grocery shopping is a thing of the past. The bad thing for him is, so is basically everything else. No contact sports, no public transport, no lifting shit, nothing with huge crowds that could elbow him in the chest, and pierce his heart.  A reduced diet of 2000 mgs of Salt a day, (he doesn't stick to this one very well) - also hard because sodium is in everything. He can still do his job. Just has a harder time crawling around on the floor plugging computers in, when need be. 

I became oddly fearful after the surgery, more so than usual. Shortly after him moving back to Bangkok,  my husband disappeared for the day, having no phone to contact him by, led to me being at the local police station at 12 am that night, asking them if they had any heart related or accidental deaths reported in the foreigner hospitals. Shit like that. I was skittish and jumping to conclusions out of fear. I also became oddly fearful for other peoples unexplained disappearances. I'm a bit better now, it just seemed to affect me in this way. 

My girlfriend. Well, she started full time university this year. She stayed with us after she came back from the funeral in Europe. Complete mess. She was actually doing university by correspondence when it happened. But doing Physics, Chemistry and Advanced Mathematics while grieving is basically impossible. So we let her cry in her room for four months. We were all going through weird grief processes and shock I guess. 

I wish I could put this together more eloquently. Or write about my feelings more articulately. But it is what it is and I feel lazy today. 

NO FUCKTARD POLICY PT 1 - for me, it's his old company. My husband has, as always (when relating to the others), taken the moral high ground and forgiven them. I however, remain with the attitude they Fucktards. They kind of went bankrupt at the end of the film, and had to sell out to one their most hated competitors. Karma is a bitch.