Saturday, September 21, 2013

Entertainment Threshold

N, the daughter of a friend, and her boyfriend (?initial), are staying at E@LGHQ over the weekend. They had flown up to Singapore from Sydney (he thinks) to attend some significant party or other that was cancelled at the last minute, but hey, and so here they are.

E@L was in the lounge room on his comfy chair - a rather maltreated Moran recliner - munching on some walnut and raisin bread toast (from Cedele, IMHO the only decent baker in Singapore) reading The Guardian on his tab (soon to be replaced by an iPad mini - which is needed to read his work email when at home or on the hoof as the VPN is only supported on a PC or on an Apple phone or tab iOS6 - to be replaced on Monday actually [today is Saturday]) when he heard some shuffling near the door behind him. N and (?initial) were preparing to head out. It was 10am, their fast had been broken with scrambled eggs on plain white toast, E@L had noted earlier (where was his?), and they had the whole day in Singapore to investigate, tour, find some fun...

"Where are you off to?" inquired the perhaps over-stepping the mark E@L. (Their lives, right? What business is it of his what they do - they are close enough to adults - N. is 19 or 20 E@L thinks. Whispy-bearded (?initial) looks about 16.)

N is stepping into her outdoor shoes, her hair is slick from a shower. (?initial) is looking sheepish as he holds the door open for her. ("Let's escape quick!" he might be thinking. "This man was screaming like a lunatic at the telly all last night!" [The Cats were in the process of giving away a handy lead - they lost in the end and will not be playing in the Grand Final next weekend - which means that E@L's long-ago booked, high-expectations, wishful-thinking, redeemed-points trip to Melbourne to watch the big Match at the MCG will have lost its savour.])

"We're going to the waterpark. You know, those really big slides and stuff. Then we'll probably find a beach somewhere there." (All of these planned activities are on that small island at the tip of Singapore, Sentosa - So Expensive Nothing To See Actually, as the taxi drivers acronym it ["Acronym" as a verb, surely that's a first! Maybe "acronymize" would be be a better word], which in fact has a lot more to do now that there is a casino/resort and associated family-centric entertainments there.)

"Have fun," says E@L and reverts to his tab.


"What's my day got in store?" asks E@L of himself.

He might walk to Great World City - 45mins to an hour in the humidity and blistering sunshine (it actually looks a bit cloudy - hope the kids find some sun on the beach) - and there settle in at the Spinelli on another comfy chair with a hazelnut-choc spin (although the banana-choc spin sounds a tad healthier - you know, like, fruit) and a toasted sandwich and, maybe, some oatmeal cookies, and definitely with a Kindle book. The Crimson Petal And The White,, most likely (He has 140 books on there to jump between without ever really settling on the one he has promised himself to finish [Infinite Jest and Volume 3 {The Guermantes Way} of In Search Of Lost Time still beckon]) as he has just completed his dead-tree version of Under The Skin, also by Michel Faber (and the film version with watsername - girl with big lips, ah yes Scarlett Johanssen - is being released soon, or maybe it already has, but anyway it is not on the torrent sites yet), a book E@L has had on his shelf for several years and has only been prompted to read it by the awareness of said impending movie, and the new mini-series based on it {i.e. The Crimson Petal and The White} is "coming soon" as well.

And that's about it for E@L today*.

A walk, lunch, a book.

And that's enough to satisfy him. Truly, it is.

Kids, enjoy yourselves risking life and limb.

Someone else who will be enjoying himself is



* Oh, there's a house-warming party tonight at some friends' new place which is just near Orchard Towers. Sigh. Here we go again.

Guess where we all end up by 2am? Half-naked hookers and three-quarter naked lady-boys and drunken brawls over drunken johns with drunken fuckin' losers from Australia (see video) and existential angst and guilt and toilets ankle deep in piss, vomit and wet toilet paper and alcohol and crowded bars and dim black-light and thumping music and your crotch grabbed at and come-hither-sucker smiles by black hookers from Colombia and white hookers from Kazahkistan and tight-skinned yellow hookers from Vietnam and where do all these men come from and some tears here and some spit there and sprained ankles from trying to pole-dance and rounds of tequilas for all the Filipina bar-girls who subsist and earn their passports back on these $45 shots and body-shots off dark-skinned flat-chested Thai girls/boys who cares by now and massive unexplainable credit-card bills and big gaps in memory and maybe an end of adventure rub-and-tug to calm things down and walk home, 25 to 35 mins, and feel like extruded, plasmatic crap for the next three days.

And on Sunday, a walk up to Spinelli around mid-afternoon for a hazelnut-choc spin and a toasted sandwich - if there are any left - and, yep, some cookies, and then dissolve in an unquietly be-dreamed nap on a comfy chair - if he can find one.

Enough for one weekend.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Daze Of Our Lives

So you live out your years, from childhood and adulthood and every minute (every indivisible moment of now) something is going on somewhere in your life, even if only in your head, some minor dramas, some issues to be solved or obstacles to be negotiated, these are occupying your attention to the exclusion of any leisurely philosophical contemplation, but it seems that, when you do really try to assess it - or someone else, like a dispassionate Alien on a earth-recon perhaps, is taking notes (calling Dr Freud) - that you don't know, don't fully acknowledge that you are alive, because you can't keep yourself aware of it all, all the context as well as all the interior life, all the time, except for some moments when, unlike that fish never realizing it is in water (you are human not piscatorial after all and have self-awareness, allegedly), when you realize that something you didn't know you had is missing. What is it? Why are you feeling so exposed, so evacuated and abandoned?

Your life is missing.

It was all around you all the time but such is the depth of immersion, the genuine profundity, that you didn't even notice. After all the effort you spent on your living acts, it seems you weren't aware that everything you were doing depended on a crucial factor: your presence. Slap. You could just as easily not be there. Your life, you continuing to be alive, is a shrug of the universe. You realize, suddenly struck by the obviousness of it, that life is the medium in which you act and move. Out of life, nothing can be done, you are completely impotent: you flap and make a fish-mouth for a little while and then you either get thrown back in or you don't...


And so there might come a time or two, short times, brief times when something happens to you or around you and then, after that, for a while, you live in the awareness of being a palpitating animated mind, a consciousness independent of everything (you could be a brain in a jar, who would know? Other jugged brains?) yet crucially dependent upon various arrangements of atoms and upon the sensations of reality they bring. These are those times and, ironically, they might seem inconsequential, annoying or frightening while you are living them, those times that are crucial in establishing the definition of who you are, where you've been on this journey, or where you may go and what you may become, given the opportunity. Some burst of drama: nearly dying maybe; or someone crucial to you being damaged; maybe even you are suddenly, unexpectedly in love.

These are the incidents and moments, epiphanies, whatever you call them, that they write books to analyze, make movies to try and reveal. Even though they may not be much fun, (or they may be, up to a point) it is only then, during this nowness of a crisis that you start to notice the air going into your lungs, to feel your weight upon the attracting earth even as it spins, to smell the filth on the Italian street, to see the wrinkled skin on the beggar Gypsy woman playing a saxophone (IKYN) on a train in Barcelona, to hear the roar of traffic on Sukhomvit Rd or of the deafening cicadas in the Darwin bush, to see the real intent behind the look in your friends' eyes, to truly acknowledge love or to understand revenge. Triggered by some brief snippet of an incident taken out of your continuous life, such as the bursting climax of a gradually building disaster (like coronary atheroma), here is something that needs a screenplay, that needs a short story or novel.

It's like the feeling you get when you finish the book and look up in the coffee shop to the kids studying or FBing on their Macbooks with tepid green tea lattes on their tables, or when the movie ends and the lights come up amongst empty sugar drink containers and hyper-salted popcorn boxes, and you are out of that world suddenly and into the real one.

Or is this the world for which you must suspend your disbelief?

And, is so, for how long does this last?


Homer has a day like this.

"“One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish” is about as sentimental as The Simpsons gets, but it ends on a gloriously cynical note that goes a long way toward undercutting the sentimentality; over the end credits Homer watches television on the couch with a big, uncomplicated grin that suggests he’s learned absolutely nothing from his brush with death. Others who might have gone through Homer's travails might approach life with a new urgency and sense of purpose, but Homer is intent on sleepwalking through the rest of his life as lazily as possible. We wouldn’t have it any other way."


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