The Routine.

So this is what my life is like now, being a stay at home mum:

I get up around eight, with great reluctance and much gentle prodding from The Man. I am not a morning person. I have never been a morning person. The stars shall never align such that I am a morning person. Thus is has been, thus it shall be. The suffering is alleviated by the pot of coffee always waiting for me, a sound self defence strategy pioneered by Bren but perfected by the Man. I drink coffee and eat a food while The Man and Boyface watch some sort of educational cartoon on the Youtube, usually something mind boggling like Max the Glow Train or this Indian shapes song. The Man has usually given Boyface his breakfast, but sometimes we'll share mine.

The Man leaves for work, and we may or may not get Boyface to come to the front door to say goodbye. Often he just waves from the playmat while driving a truck. Driving a Truck takes up like, 60% of Boyface's day. He fucken loves trucks.

At some point in the morning I get the dishes done and slap on a load of washing. I've also started growing vegies and herbs inside, so at some point they all get watered and go on the front step for a bit of sun. I might get some other housework done if Mugface is amenable to the idea, but Mummy absolutely must play with him every now and then, so we play. We draw, kick the ball around the house, maybe go outside in the morning if the weather is nice and play on the swings or in the sandpit. He's got a bit of mania for digging weeds out of the lawn, so we do that, and he loves composting, the little weirdo, so we do a lot of that too, one weed at a time into the compost bin. At some point I have to cram a snack into his face so he doesn't melt down. Sometimes this is literally a insert-into-face moment, as he'd rather starve to death than put down a truck for two motherfucking minutes to eat a banana. Sometimes he has a modicom of sense and actually feeds himself his snack, which is about right because he's two, for godsake. Today it was a banana and a bit of Nutella and peanut butter on toast.

By noon a nap has to happen or woe shall befall us. He gets a warm milk, gets to pick one small truck, and Mugface, his Best Plushy Biffydog and I all pile onto his bed for a snoozie. Today he flaked after about five minutes of cuddles. I generally just sit next to him cruising about on the Tumblr, because we're trying to transition him to going to sleep in his bed by himself, just going easy with it for now, so he gets body contact but not a lot of interaction.

He sleeps for maybe two hours, sometimes more. He put in a three and a half hour nap yesterday, which suggests he's got some growing coming on. Anyway, messy or dangerous housework gets done while he's in bed. Today I unclogged the bathroom sink, took out the garbage, and put on a load of washing (as I couldn't sneak out to do it in the morning). I also have my lunch and take a moeskie to poke around online. Have a cuppa, take a mo. This is my full time job, so I get a lunchbreak.

Once he's up he gets his lunch. It's porridge. It's always porridge. He finds food really, really boring and porridge is quick to eat and Mummy has to feed it to him so he can play with a truck while he eats. I've taken to offering him other things, but he's got enough language to be very clear. Yesterday I presented him with a cheese and avocado sandwich, and was very gently told "no sammich, Mummy. No, no. Porridge. Mummy do it." while he slid the sandwich as far away from him as he could manage. If I'm lucky I can bribe him to eat some sort of tasty fruit and he will eat that without assistance, but it's got to be good fruit, and he doesn't always have the patience for it. Luckily strawberries are coming back into season and he's bonkers for those.

After lunch The Man generally gets home, but we tend to spend most of the day outside after lunch. He sleeps better with a lot of running around, so we either play in the garden or go for walks around the neighbourhood. The Man and random sundry people of the house generally join in. I think we might go for a walk to the main road near us and watch trucks for a bit after lunch today. Trucks, man. Motherfucking trucks. Maybe go get a biscuit from one of the multitude of cafes around here, because by then I will need more caffeine.

At sunset we come inside and I get dinner moving. Boyface plays with Bren and The Man while dinner is being done. We're into The Sprint now. Cook dinner, feed Boyface (who as has been mentioned, is so over a food. All done dinner? Enough dinner Mummy? NO ONE PEA AND ONE PASTA SHELL IS NOT ENOUGH DINNER. Rinse, repeat for an hour) and get him bathed and into bed. We take turns doing the bedtime tuck in, and after he's down the dishes get done if one of the other housemates hasn't done them already, and the floors are swept and washed. We have a wet-dry floor sweeping bedealio that takes like, twenty minutes tops, and we have clean floors and the Boy doesn't wind up covered in a fine layer of filth from playing at floor level all day.

Then the rest of the night is mine. By about 8pm.

It's a long arse day. It'd gotten better as the Boy has gotten older and can entertain himself more. His trucks keep him occupied so I can get shit done during the day now - for a while there even though he was going to be at 7pm I'd be at it till 9 because I just could get nothing done during the day. Now, I even get reading done. I can't use my lappie while he's awake unless I'm happy with him sitting on my lap watching vids in one window while I do my thing in the other, which is sub par for a kid who needs to run like five hundred kms a day to sleep properly, but at least I can read and sew and even draw or paint a bit these days. And my garden! Man, I could not grow jack while he was small - just didn't get enough free hands during the day. I can't really let him help, mind you, as anything green must immediately be "weeded" and chucked in the compost, but we're making progress on the front.

He's been out for two and a half hours now, so that will do for now.
  • Current Music
    Humhumhum from the washing machine.

Void if Removed

There's not much going on here, but I've started getting whispers of dissent from other parts of the web - Metafilter, Tumblr, FB - where people who have never had an account on LJ bemoan the lack of long form outlet, with room for comments, and good support for images, and less intrusive ads...that kind of thing. Mostly on Tumblr and in relation to Tumblr, actually. It's an appalling platform for any sort of conversation, and I regularly see the horrible fruit of lively discussion, three or four times, in reverse order. It's just not a place well suited to it.
I did dick around a bit over at ello, but was not impressed with the minimal everything. And it's kind of boring. And there's no-one there. Same story at g+, although that has the added problem that the interface and functionality changed every ten minutes. It's hard to develop a proficiency with a platform if things are different every time you go to use them.

At any rate, it's led to a sort of round-about suggestion that maybe ole LJ maybe overdue a revival. It is, after all, as vintage as a Mason jar and as retro as a fixie, so there's surely an audience for it. And it's always had a good set of tools for locking out the rabble, and it demands long-form content, thought and a lack of one-click interactions. You can't just like the thing, you have to leave an actual comment. You can't just click "share", so whatever you put on a post has to be worth the extra bit of effort.

So I am going to endeavor to produce the odd long post here and save FB for quick junk. Haven't decided if I'm going to lock things yet but for now we'll just stay vague and leave it open.
  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful

Oh Gavle Goat, Your Toasty Hooves Delight Me.

I don't honour a lot of Christmas traditions. Most of them seem terribly forced, especially those imported to Australia from more northerly climes.

But I do have one tradition I am fond of.

The Gavlegoat and its near inevitable incineration.

Scandinavians will often celebrate Christmas by decorating their homes with wee straw goats, know as Julbocken. In the town of Gavle, Sweden, erects a colossal straw goat in the town square as part of this tradition.

What a majestic fucking creature.

It's a delight to the senses

Oh and look, this was this year's goat.

I in no way feel anything less than completely safe.

And then, given the right conditions, someone will set fire to it. This is this year's goat, a-burning, back on the 13th of December when it went up.

Noooo, it are my yuletide.

This happens a lot.

They've tried fireproofing, ice, military regiments, web surveillance, heavy police presence, the works. They still burn. This year's had been hosed down moments after it was erected, and it would in all likelihood been a big block of ice by the time the arsonists got to it. But they still got to it, and burn it did.

In 2005, it was torched by a couple of scamps dressed as Santa and a gingerbread man. And in 2001 a chap from Ohio burned it down, claiming in court that he believed that he was taking part in a totally legal goat burning holiday tradition.

There's evidence to suggest the guys who torched it this year commemorated the event with matching tattoos:

Sure, whack that photo on the toobs, no way that's coming back to haunt us

In all, only 41% of the Gavle Goats make it to the New Year.

I can't say completely why it so pleases me. Part of it is distinctly pagan, the sacrifice of a large animal, in effigy, to salute the returning sun. Another part suggests it's a finely balanced pageant, the forces of chaos vs. the forces of order rallying around a central figure to do battle.

But mostly it's a very large thing on fire. Lots of fire.

Fiction: Scabs

She remembers smoke and the taste of ash, she remembers hot liquid bones and the empty night sky, she remembers screaming and nothing more. Then there is only cold water, the pain in her bones, the scalds on her shoulders. One where it entered, and the other where it rests.

Someone is thundering on the bathroom door, but she can't really make out the words.

This is the bathroom in her house, that much is certain. It's familiar. She knows the curves of the tub, that the cold tap needs a little work to force it open. It's darker in here than it ought to be. She can see the cruft typical of share-house bathrooms - dead razors, expired shampoos, the one lone empty bottle of which no-one will claim ownership long enough to discard - and it seems that little time has passed. Territorial markings, spoor. It seems much the same as she remembers it.

There's a candle on the rim of the bath, sooty and damp.

The voice at the door is insistent. The skin on her shoulder is burning, even under the rush of icy water, and she sees the flicker of a tail curl around her ribcage, sear its way over her breast. Her whole body is a tangle of muscle pain, unfamiliar aches, her skin itches, her fingers and toes are curled into painful knots.

The voice has given up, and is retreating. The light is creeping in. Dawn? Maybe the voice was complaining about the noise, she remembers noise -

scream like the sky being torn apart, shatter of glass, howl of twisting metal, triumph!

- but it's quiet now. The faint suggestion of birdsong, somewhere far away.

She turns off the water and slithers out of the tub. The floor creaks and bows beneath her as she moves, a small woman on floor-boards that have been sodden for decades. The palms of her hands are raw, her nails ragged and torn. She salvages what is possibly the last clean towel from the rail, wraps it over her protesting skin. A grey towel. One of Michael's, an old flatmate. He doesn't live here any more, so he can't take a stab at her about the blood.

She palms the candle.

Wet footprints to her room. Small, a part of a porch that was part of a laundry that was part of a stairwell back before the wars. Tiny windows painted shut a generation past, milky with dirt and fragile as eggshell. Old house. They cannot even say that its bones are good anymore. She feels it moving, subtly, under her feet, shifting gently in response to the settling soil and the moving air. The quiet hours of the morning are punctuated with its sighs and the rattle of leaves and wildlife on the tin of the roof. It will be wretchedly hot in here by noon.

She has a mean little bed, a narrow little cupboard, a straight-backed chair and a tiny ancient desk, covered in clothes, makeup, sheet music, books, makeup, dust, leaves and hair. Debris. Her bed is a nest of coats and blankets and sheets and flat brown pillows in floral cases so faded they are a uniform shade of yellow.

She drops the towel on the back of the chair, clears a spot on the tabletop. Books in a pile on the floor, everything else brushed to the edges. A palisade of cotton and paper. There's nothing to be done for the greasy smears of makeup on the tabletop. The candle in the centre. Her skin is already dry, her hair beginning to steam.

They'd gone out, gone out to drink and dance. They'd gone to a party in a paddock, piled into a van that belonged to a friend of a friend, someone she vaguely knew. Driven hours out of town. There were bands there was beer, brewed on the property by people she knew. Some sort of coming-of-age, a twenty first birthday.

The world is quiet and slumbering and she perches on the edge of the chair, runs her finger on the dirty rim of the candle. She has no idea who it belongs to, if they even still live here. The wax is beaded with water, the wick is damp. She feels the thing on her skin moving, coiling in her lap like a cat, seething, its wings unfurling on her thighs.

She'd taken something experimental that one of her housemate's boyfriend's uncle's best friend had cooked up, a little pill red as sunset and emblazoned with wings. Something perky. She never liked the sodden feeling of being truly drunk, and this was going to be a long night. They were so far from the city lights that the sky was dusted with more stars than she'd ever seen, a townie with no real connection to the countryside. She'd stared for too long, till her neck hurt and someone she knew pressed a paper cup of punch into her hand and towed her away to the music. Too loud, too grating, too many people, and she beat a retreat out past the circle of the light, into the trees, a grotto of eucalpyt, sharp and fragrant.

She pinches the wick, squeezing out the moisture.

It was a big property - a great flat spread of scrub-land peppered with trees. There was a small copse, dark, quiet, away from the thunder of the band and the press of unfamiliar human flesh. It had to be quiet. She found they'd lit a fire there, in a old oil drum surrounded by scavenged car seats, somewhere comfortable, calm. Not alone - one figure, too close, hands gripping the metal rim of the drum, knuckles white in the firelight. Shouldn't he be burning, she thought, why isn't he burning?

Just the smallest wisp of steam.

Just the smallest wisp of steam, the pop and crackle of old branches in flames, and she reached out to push him away, surely he's just too drunk for this, too high to know, and she saw something black on his skin, and he does not even make a sound, just rests his hand thankfully on her back, and something boils out of his flesh, tears its way from shoulder to shoulder, opens her skin to the sky -


Just a little mote of light, behind its sooty glass.

- thousand thousand stars, the wide empty sky, and broad columns of smoke, hot and buoyant and fragrant with blood -

She remembers claws, wings, scales. She remembers transformation. The thing on her skin - her avatar, her focus, her new little primal switch, her dragon - is calm. Sated.

She folds herself onto her bed and sleeps.

The candle burns down, but doesn't go out.

"When it Develops Distinguishing Features, then We'll Give it a Better Nickname."

Right, so, who wants to be on the blobfilter? Being pregnant is turning out to be a much bigger pain in the arse than I had thought, and I would like to be able to whinge comfortably and without fear of boring too many of you.

So: Blobfilter is OPT IN. Please comment if you want the gory details. This does not mean that the main journal will be free of preggo talk; rather, it will only be full of particularly interesting or important preggo talk. Me whinging about gas or asking for bra advice will be behind the filter. Please comment below if you want in on BlobFilter.

Razor Blades and Titrates of Silver

Ah, another placeholder post.

Life proceeds. There are, as always, projects in the works. Some are bigger, or may grow to be, than others. Only time will tell. Situation normal. Thank the heavens I am patient by nature. My workings must be labyrinthine, the time it takes for things to proceed from one end to the other.

Work has been...tenuous. We usually experience a dip in trade late March, early April, but the dip this year was so sharp and sudden and on the heels of an overall unimpressive period for all retail that it almost killed us. The dull patch is normally about three weeks, and we have in the past just soldiered on. This year it was six. I've been balancing our budget on a hair, trimming fat we didn't have and generally trying to keep the staff calm and the boss calmer. I think we're through the worst of it, but after the general sense of malaise at PornCon this year, we're going to need to pare down and sharpen up. I may finally have convinced the boss that all that floor space dedicated to DVDs is wasted, which may help getting the profit per square metre ratio back up...

This is a bit tedious, I suppose, to people who aren't me, but I do rather enjoy tinkering with the tiny numbers. I'm good at it. I'm good at all the little manipulative things you can do with a space to squeeze the most out of my customers. Merchandising to lead the eye. Music to calm the mind on the stereo, so people are less stressed and able to order their thoughts more effectively. Laying out the floor for smoothness and plausible deniability. Seriously. I moved the prostate toys to sit with the vibrating rings and sales spiked - shamed out het boys were more comfortable standing in front of the shelf if they could tell the pretty girls working there they needed a ring so they could MASCULINELY bone their TOTALLY FEMALE girlfriend, giving said pretty girls enough time to convince them that actually, we don't give a damn. Strategically placing the lube and cleaner so no one finished their session with a yeast infection and friction burn. Little things. Bright cheerful balloons outside my door adds two or three hundred dollars to my take. The right fragrance in the air fresheners improves our conversion. A set of dark framed glasses and my sales average jumps. It's fascinating.

And the best part is that if I do my job right, people will also get the most Bang out of their visit. This would be fun if I were selling computer parts or second hand books, but since I'm selling permission to climax it's even better. And the quality of toys has spiked in the last few years too, so there is very little overpriced garbage out there now. It really is a simple Os-Per-Dollar ratio, multiplied by skill.

Anyway. It's getting better. I'm still concerned about the overall state of the industry, and PornCon back on the 14th didn't help that. Web retailers are doing okay, brick and mortar not so much, porn poorly indeed. It's good to see a ray of sunshine in the clouds.

I have a slightly elderly short story wallowing around in purgatory. Very much in puratory, it's got demons in and all. I've taken to curling up with the wee netbook in the living room under a big pile of blankies of an evening, and lap top keyboards drive me to distraction. The touchpad on this little toy also has some odd gestural thinger going on that I still haven't worked out yet. At any rate I have great plans to rig up some sort of swing table thinger and bring in the wireless keyboard and mouse to my little toasty nest, for to make some serious writings over the winter, so fingers crossed I manage it soon or I may have my face eaten off by a restless succubus.

Metaphorically speaking.
  • Current Music
    Roustabouts: Swings and Roundabouts.
  • Tags

Seven Questions

So this is from missingkeys:
This seems to be a meme where people give you seven topics and you ramble about them. Sounds fab! Comment and I too can give you seven prompts to ramble about.

1. Where you want to be in ten years.
Good lord. I have no idea. Not selling porn for a living, that much is for sure. I want to be writing more, that much is certain. It's sort of tricked off to a total stop in the last few years and that pains me greatly.

2. Goths.
We're a funny bunch. Pretentious as hell, cliquey to a fault but I've never been in a group of people that have made me feel safer. Safer to be weird, kinky and smart, and all the other little oddities that the mainstream tends to dismiss. A little drama, a little of the morbid, an absence of spray tans and nose jobs.

3. Religion.
If it harms none, do as thou wilt. That's about it.

I do think pretty much all world religions have something good to give - Asatru from to Zoroastrianism. I'd also argue that any religion can be bent to serve local cultural mores. Look to the differences between North African Islam and Indonesian Islam, or between French Catholicism and the Hatian forms. Sometimes it lends itself to good things, other times to bad.

4. 2002.
I do not even what. What was I doing? I was twenty, I was drunk a lot, I was at uni on the north coast and trying to maintain a social life that did not revolve around surfing. I spent an awful lot of time on the train. It was the last year I lived in res on campus too, and they were interesting days. We had a standard open door policy on our unit and had all manner of people pass through out doors. I introduced some friends to V:tM, may I be forgiven for it. I also ran a couple of home-brew systems.

5. Cat macros.
They were better before the cute infected them. Bring back in your THING doing your THING level drama, kthbai.

6. Queensland sun.
It will give you cancer. Seriously. I kind of hate it a lot right now, because I have the flu and have been running fevers and chills for a few days and the last thing I need is sun. I use this awesome Banana Boat Black Label Ultra Gothomatic sun-creen that preserves my toadbelly complexion without making my skin fall off. Once upon a time it came in an orange bottle, but they spotted their target market and ran with it, I think. Orange is for their sports cream now.

7. A funny work anecdote.
There's funny ha-ha and there's funny sad. The trio of twenty somethings who were convinced that anything going into the vagina would be forever lost, and who had never heard of cervices, or the very flaming young chap who bought himself a stack of top shelf manlove movies but popped a bargain bin het flick on the very top, a tactic that would have been splendid if we sold movies by weight.

Hmm, my favorite though is a local dealer in "cottage industry pharmaceuticals", a Yorkshireman fondly referred to as "Pinky" for his distinctive wardrobe. Five foot five and pink pinstripe trousers, pink polo, natty pink fedora, like Mattel trying to do a Gangster Barbie. Who announces his presence in the store with a cheery "'Allo love." and then beelining to the anal toys for the biggest things he can find. He's a treasure, actually, and one of my favourite regulars. Two Pinky stories:

1)From time to time stupid suppliers send us stock via surface mail, and it then sits on our doorstep till we open, except we don't have a doorstep and our entry is in the carpark and cars drive past all the time. Anyhoo Pinky is passing by when he spots a group of teenage boys from the local boys school debating whether or not they should nick it and lo! Pinky's off after them and tackles the lads, rescuing our package. Since we aren't open for a bit he chucks it in the back of his car and makes a note to drop by later with it.

Unfortunately, being a short man in a pink suit with a car covered in anarchist collective, legalise marijuana and gay man love stickers will get you pulled over by the cops, and as a chap with a known record for dealing it's awkward to explain that the three dozen boxes of male enhancement pills in your back seat are just herbal supplements, not secretly eccys or anything officer. THERE'S NOT MINE, REALLY, THEY'RE FOR A FRIEND.

2) Rather a bit later he came in for a visit with an extinguished spliff on his lip. Cool as you please. He ambled up to the counter and delicately rested it on the edge while having a slow, spaced chat with me about his weekend and how he's off to see the Surrealist Exhibition with a mate. He left his change and the spliff behind.

"Hey, Pinky, you're going to need that if you're off to see the Surrealists."
"Oh, ta love. They're a bit crap anyway."

He's a favourite.

And I Will Be Here in the Morning, And I Will Be Hear for All After.

If you close your eyes you can hear it.

That rumble, deep in the jaw, almost below the threshold of hearing.

That hum. Static. The sound of a radio tuned to a dead station. Grey light. Clear water. Baseline. Like gravity, ignored. A tremor you have trained yourself to forget.

The first thing you ever hear. The last thing you ever hear.

You know it. You cannot be ignorant of it. Down in the base of you, at your core, and when questioned one does not even know where to begin.

The protean knowledge. The only knowledge. The last, first, and only known thing.

All else is a mirage. The light on the eye. The whisper of the air on your skin. The sparkle of light. The taste of your own mouth. All of it. Illusion. The symphony of synapse and the rhythm of thought. Mediated. Meditated. Taught and learned.

The hum of the blood in your veins. The only thing. The first thing. The last thing.


Nothing is Special.

I will go down to the water, where the old gods sleep.

There will be the endless hush of the ocean, its eternal heavy caress the thunder of the sands, and I will wait. I will wait for the stars to start. I will wait for the night to come, and the scuttling things that live beneath the dunes will whir about me as they sift the filth from the ghost of the surf.

I will pray, as I have always prayed, in that place where the sky is the sea is the land, that liminal place where everything and nothing is washed clean.

I will take you there in my mind with me, the hidden passager, pressed into the hollows of my flesh, under the skin, where only I can feel you, and I will unpack you and stretch you out like a shadow on the sand, and let the salt water revive you.

We will hold the tiny bones of the world.