Sunday, February 22, 2009

The validation of Jorga McGuire

Jorga smiled anxiously at the screen. Its light was the only one in her room, the rest of which was all dark shadows and deep blue recessive pockets of gloomy distortion. Her brightly lit laptop screen fluoresced and accentuated the shadows under her eyes and the red, inflamed zits she'd been picking at.

"'Only14U' has winked at you" said the words on her screen. She clicked the underlined name noting the obvious intent of the name as she did so. "Only14U" obviously meaning "Only one for you". So many men made this pitiful attempt at being clever with their online screen names. She'd seen one or two screen names that had indeed, been clever, but most were vague attempts at wit and were largely seen by Jorga as somewhat childish, inane or grossly stupid! Winking via an online match-making site only meant you were indicating an interest in pursuing a potential friendship or date with another person, but even something as innocuous sounding as a "wink" began to exhibit for Jorga, a whole Pandora's Box of emotional self-mutilation.

Jorga often found herself hesitant and anxious when she received such names as 'Only14U' in her online dating service inbox. None of the inane,stupid username profiles had interested her so far. None of the cutely named, clever, sensible, adorably profiled, lovely looking men she'd sent winks to accepted her either, for that matter. Jorga was very used to having rejection replies in her inbox. She was caught in between stupidity aiming 'up' for her and her own stupidity for aiming higher than herself!

'You'd think we were over this class status via physical attractiveness factor thing by now' she mused to herself as she looked at 'only14U's' profile. As was usual in her online dating experience thus far, 'only14U' had declined to add a profile photo of himself as did so many of the men that had previously 'winked' at her. 'Probably as ugly as all hell or wanting a mistress' was Jorga's usual summation of such profiles.

Sometimes, she just sent them a polite "Thanks, but no thanks!" and at other times, if the words of the profile seemed more or less half intelligent, she would send a "I'd like a profile picture please" request. Usually, they were "as ugly as hell", at least according to her version of what "Attractive" meant.

No chemistry at all! She knew logically that to base a potential romantic relationship on two hundred and fifty words and a poorly thought out photograph - if they'd bothered with one at all - was nonsensical and arbitrary in the extreme, however, she wasn't into old, craggy, frowning, aesthetically challenged faces so much.

She knew it worked that way for her in the minds of the pretty men she winked at and who then clicked on her own profile. "As ugly as all hell!" rang in her ears as a challenge to her own vanity and sense of herself as a woman. She knew she was getting on in years and that her looks were now fading but she often felt pretty - sort of - if she wasn't looking in a mirror or at her own photograph.

She felt intelligent, witty, clever, honest, practical, romantic, sexy and adorable most of the time. It was just that her physical representation in two dimensional space continually let her down over and over again. No amount of preening and makeup, lighting or angles of head tilt in her profile pictures could disguise how ordinary and aging she really was!

With this fact in mind, she would often be plagued by a mild case of guilt when turning down, apparently, shy, aging and very ordinary men, whom she could not find attractive but were really very okay. She knew how it felt to be relegated to the dating dustbin by very physically attractive men. She felt bad on the one hand for rejecting men on the basis of how they looked and perversely gratified for being considered attractive by anyone.

When you get a "Thanks but no thanks" in your inbox after sending a 'wink' to a nice looking person with a really clever profile, you feel the jab in your self-esteem quadrant, like that very large needle into your gum at the dentist. It hurts and it can smart for a long time after, but you ignore that because you know its better to take the icky stuff now than suffer any pain, during and after. Jorga was over taking needles. Very over it!

Ordinary and utterly cool women, like herself, spending decent Documentary-on-the-tele viewing time shopping for dates online instead. It was insane! Lovely girls, looking for men who had both smarts and good looks with athletic bodies, along with an above average grasp of the English language, but getting their shy winks knocked back by these men because of what? Her face was too round? She was carrying too much weight? She was too forward? Not forward enough? She was the wrong star sign? She lived in the wrong area? Her profile too perky? Her profile too mundane? She wasn't thirty something? WHAT?

She could never find out what it was that prevented her from finding a genuinely attractive man. And then she noted what she turned down in those ordinary, average men who had winked at her profile and she listened to the subtle, silent judgments she made on the basis of their profiles. She too was mercenarily shallow enough to base her assessment of them by the words they used, if their faces were too round, they were carrying too much weight, or they were inarticulate and silly sounding. She was little interested if they seemed inordinately "dumb" even when she knew they probably were great people despite appearances. They were often too old and their profile pictures made better mug shots for Police Wanted posters than romantic lures. It begged the question as to whether these men were merely desperate or just needed some feminine guidance on personal presentation. Jorga decided it was probably both.

Staring at the screen and observing 'Only14U's' very average profile - sans profile picture - she concluded that the slave trade had not yet died. The exchange rates were different of course but this stuff was voluntary human trafficking nonetheless and therefore a romantic grand disillusionment. A meat market with a large promise of lifetime romance that only rarely delivered and then mostly to the lucky, gorgeously endowed few.

She clicked "Cancel subscription". Her anxiousness passed and her smile widened on her round, aging face. She knew she was better than any online date could guess from two hundred words. She was more intelligent than her attempts at being clever with words could convey, better looking in real life than her photo's suggested, sweeter, kinder, more warm-hearted and far, far more lovable than a page on an internet dating site could ever display. She was Jorga McGuire and that was enough.

A large weight shifted slightly, in her heart and she felt the first flutterings of her self confidence rising up again. She would meet someone...eventually.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Watching butterflies

In the strange story that is a life, you can never take too many chances on letting the butterfly of happiness rest awhile on your shoulder.

Happiness - the Butterfly - is a flighty little thing. She won't be caught in a net or trapped in an enclosure or pinned to a board. She can't do her softly, softly magic dead now can she?

Happiness - the Butterfly lands artfully where she pleases and it just so happens I can see her fluttering near my woe begotten brow and I'm breathless in anticipation for her to just alight on me and take her time to rest there on my little soul.

I once dreamed of a giant butterfly with blue wings with jeweled colours underneath. It spoke to me and asked me if I could let it "feel the cold" for just a little while. I let it rest in my hand and I took it through the Butterfly enclosure in which it lived, all warmth and wet air with nectar stations every few feet - a butterfly paradise really - and I went through the door at one end and then the second door on the other side of that wee space between doors.

The butterfly rested with wings wide open on the palm of my hand, after the humid heat of the enclosure. the cool air was a shock even to my senses, . She lay very still, and very open. I remember thinking how strange it was for a butterfly to keep its wings so open in such conditions. In my understanding, butterflies tend to close their wings to conserve their body heat in the cold. This butterfly, however, was a mystery. She wanted to feel...really feel the cold air against her wings. She needed to know what that was like and needed me to help her find out.

I was getting worried for her. She was so still, so unearthly and beautiful. I thought she had died a soft, quiet, strange death in my hand and I felt remorse that I had done such a thing to something so lovely. I turned and took her back into the enclosure.

She remained still in my hand for a few moments more. Then with a ticklish flutter, she wrested herself free from my hand and floated away on the soggy air to find a nectar station on which to re-fuel. I was amazed at how well she had recovered. And eternally pleased as well.

Later in the dream, when I was standing on the open grassy field that sloped gracefully upwards to a rolling hill towards the horizon, where the hand painted sun smiled down on the Badger and me, the butterfly returned and simply said "Thank you" to me. I knew why she said thank you. It surprised me nonetheless, that she had valued her near-death experience so much.

I've been separated now for 9 months. I think I too, have had my wings spread on the palm of God's hand feeling what it's like to be cold. I have felt the lowest of lows and the most excruciatingly lower lows than those. I survived.

And now the butterfly that is named Happiness awaits her turn to rest awhile...but only when she's ready and only on her terms. I will watch her dance about my head in the meantime.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fractal Love

Back story - Sierpinski Triangle

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The girl who couldn't cry: Chapter 6

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

"Tell me why do you draw spirals again, Ari?" His look made her close her eyes as the throbbing sensation behind them threatened ever louder.

"Because it’s the only way I can cry, Dwayne" she said simply, her eyes shut tightly, willing back the violent surge of emotional intensity behind them. Dwayne stared at them for a moment, trying to understand, then he moved forward again and crouched down to carefully poke the finished drawing in amongst the other papers inside the portfolio. Once it was inside, Ari let the flap fall and she pushed it back under her cot quickly. Dwayne continued to crouch in front of her on the bed. Ari could feel how it was making his knees and ankles, back and neck hurt. He looked at her with his brown, round eyes and excessively aquiline nose. Dwayne said nothing, but Ari could hear his emotions like the shrieking of gulls roaring in her mind. “So? Why do you need to cry, Ari?”

The shooting pain inside Ari's head began to spin like one of her spirals. It was a pinwheel of light boring into her mind, the fiery tendrils spilling outwards to burn and frazzle the edges of her thoughts. "Don't!" she breathed. Dwayne put his fingers against her forehead in the hopeful attempt to cool her mind. The cool of his hands momentarily thwarted the spinning but then it came back again, stronger and more unavoidable. She lay down on the bed. "Kill me!" she whispered.

"No." Dwayne said as quietly.

"I want to cry Dwayne. I can't. My body refuses. I feel everything inside my mind but my body can't react or respond to it. I might as well be dead."

"Bit melodramatic Ari. Even for you."

"You sound like Margot! I'm being a 'baby' now am I?"

"You are in pain. We all of us are sweetie."

"You don't know the pain I feel every moment of my life!" she retaliated raising her voice now a little.

"True, but you only get a reflection of mine, you don't feel how my knees burn that clearly, especially at night when I am trying to sleep."

"Just go D. I'll be fine." she sighed, the spinning maelstrom of pain jettisoning electrical surges of intense heat throughout her head. Dwayne left the room. She could feel the depths of his sadness for her and she ached to weep once more.

She deliberately spiralled herself inside that pinwheel in her head, immersing her sense of herself within its core, at its hub. There she imagined herself to be the spiral's nexus, the place where it began, tiny and untarnished inside the maelstrom of spinning light and heat. The pain diminished a little and she gradually drifted into her usual, fitful pattern of sleep.

To be continued… (I hope)

Satans Saturday Playground

As the state of Queensland in Australia sinks under king tides and rising flood waters and they achieve rainfall totals to break records - my corner of Australia is tinderbox dry and as of Saturday 7th Feb 2009, is burning up!

Around my own home town, a large fire that skirted the town on three sides came close to ripping through this city, flames surfing on the viciously hot and powerful winds. The temperatures in South Eastern Australia yesterday had to be experienced to be understood. Imagine a Saharan Sirocco, blasting across the desert sand at high speed with the intense heat of a blast furnace oven, scorching all in its path. For the past three weeks, we've had temperatures daily in excess of 37+ Celcius. Yesterday, temperatures reached into the high 40's Celcius. My town reached a top of 46C (114F)

The only difference between here and the Sahara right now is that we have stuff that can burn! 5000 hectares of land, three homes, the Golf club (one of the best in the state), stock, native wildlife... we are actually "lucky". Around the rest of Victoria, lives have been lost. As I write, some 20 + people have lost their lives in this terrifying war by heat and flames.

100's of houses have been lost on the outskirts of Melbourne. Over in the far South East of Melbourne, the fires still rage, threatening annihilation on whole communities.

Nothing really totally prepares us for these events. The Country Fire Authority, stretched to absolute maximum capacity has barely enough resources to cope with disasters of this magnitude. They rely, almost entirely, on the fortitude of an overburdened volunteer force, our main defensive weapon we have against the onslaught of a fire storm.

People will demand the Australian Government "do" something, of course. The Government is now fraught with an almighty conundrum. We had been promised financial packages to continue to "stimulate the economy" in light of the current economic climate. Now however, that AUD$42 Billion package may seem an appallingly short-sighted announcement given that that money is likely going to be needed to help the people of Queensland re-build after the worst flooding in living memory as well as the people who've been burned so badly in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Lives, property, land! It's easy to be numbed to the numbers, they are just not able to be seen in the mind in order to comprehend their scope.

Touted as worse than the disastrous Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983, this past two days will be yet another day marked by a name - as opposed to a date - that many will immediately identify as this moment in time when our land seared and was razed to the ground to ashes.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Phantasmic adventures over the roads of maddening distance


Associated with born nutcases obsessed with wheels and riding or driving them over the roughest terrain imaginable, at the fastest possible speed.

Having purchased three DVD's in recent weeks, I have been following the series called "Race to Dakar" which is one of a set of three armchair travelogues by Charley Boorman and his team of savvy adventure entrepreneurs.

The first dream was to travel east from London to New York over land on three motorcycles. That epic was filmed and became the documentary series "Long way round" and featured Charley's best mate, the affable and oddly laconic Ewan McGregor.

The third motorcyclist was the impossibly impetuous cameraman Claudio Von Planta who's presence was graciously acknowledged (which to me, was kinda new really for this type of doco - at least at the time I first saw it. Usually the camera crew is presented as utterly "invisible"). Claudio is pretty much a klutz on a motorbike - or he was in the first series it seemed - but his skills as a cameraman are super human to say the least! He captured the heart of these documentaries which told grand stories of genuine courage, survival, terror, comedy and landscape. He also showed the dynamic relationships between a group of incredible men who had such different temperaments and even louder ego's but who all cohered into a Team - Capital T. Amazing to watch this aspect really.

Then came Charley's decision to have a bash at doing the Dakar Rally. It nearly killed him...twice! He broke his collar bone just training for this gruelling event. In the event itself, just five days into the 14 day, 9000km ride, he broke bones in one hand and dislocated his thumb on the other. In sheer agony, he continued to ride another 400kms to the next bivouac and the "comfort" of his team mates. A testament to his determination to try his absolute best to succeed when he felt a "failure" at this task from practically day one!

It's gritty, dirty, romantic Boys Own Adventure Series realism of the first order. LOTS of swearing, whinging men and sand! You feel the horror and the insanity of Dakar and your admiration for the men and particularly the amazing women who do this race, sometimes many times over, suck the air out of your lungs.

Charley's, and most of the rest of the team's experience of Dakar left a slightly sour taste in their mouths. Too gruelling, expensive, life-threatening and utterly MAD to be considered worth trying again?

.....Well..... maybe!!!! Many who swear off Dakar the first time find themselves toying with the idea of trying it again not that long after they're home. It must be like some kind of dirty drug or something. One that is so insane and so addictive and which is such a "bad trip" at the time but you want it in any case because it has that kind of phantasmigorical element to it that says...

It's when you're nearly dead that you're most alive!