Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Be Sick

Artist's impression

Further to my guide to Getting Sick.

Wake up and feel as if you've gotten a sword to the head and face, a la Tyrion Lannister at Blackwater Bay. You can't breathe. You can't swallow. Your alarm goes off. It's 7:30am. Consider the likelihood of your being able to go to work. Audibly moan. "FUUUCK."

Sit up. As you sit up, a stream of snot literally flows out of your nose. Literally. It pours out, and lands on the bed. There's a puddle of snot on the bed. Groan. "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK."

Stagger to the bathroom. Have a shower. Lean your head against the wall. "FUUUUUUUUCK." Feel like this might be worse than all hangovers you've ever experienced combined. Maybe? But come on, this is no hangover. This is just another, entirely different kind of immense pain, not the result of outside forces. Wonder if a whole lot of bacon and a sneaky chunder might help. Probably not. You can never make yourself chunder anyway. And this isn't chunder-ville. This is you being Legitimately Unwell. Look at yourself in the mirror. Decide calling for an old priest and a young priest is probably the best option. You need a fucking exorcism.

Picture your head spinning around while you masturbate with a crucifix and Max von Sydow watches. Giggle hysterically at the depraved mental image, then begin coughing uncontrollably. Fuuuuck.

Stagger to your room and get half-dressed. Decide you're going to try and go to work. Screw it, you can make it to work. And work all day. Down a cup of lemsip (the strong stuff), a berocca, all the different types of cold and flu tablets you can find, every assorted vitamin you can find, eat two oranges, and take a liver detox tablet for good measure, then drink many glasses of water. Hydration, bitches. Unfortunately, all that results in is a desperate need to pee. The fluorescent kind of pee.

Go back to bed.

Have ridiculous, fever-addled dreams. Wake up. Use toilet paper to blow your nose because you don't have any tissues. Curse the fact that you didn't buy the nice toilet paper. There's snot on the pillow. Moan. Wonder if you should have a whole lot of cheese before going to sleep again. CHEESE DREAMS, MEET FEVER DREAMS. Remember you have no cheese. Fuck. Wish your mum was here to make you some soup, or a cup of tea, or to hear you moan about how shitty everything is. Or bring you cheese. Try to go back to sleep, but your face hurts too much to sleep. Your face hurts too much. Your eye sockets, your mouth, your nose.

Declare "MY FACE HURTS" to your ceiling while listening to your creepy neighbour yell indecipherable things at the universe. Look around and ponder the miraculous way a room, once miraculously clean, instantly becomes a bomb site once the owner becomes ill. This room was goddamn TIDY before the Great Illness of 2013. Maybe this is what it's like to be crazy shut-in, lying amidst a grotesque mess of clothes and used tissues (toilet paper), wearing the same clothes you were wearing two days ago. Maybe you should buy some cats? Listen to the same Barry White song for about half an hour on repeat. Disco fucking rules.

Realise you got a message from a friend. It asks, "Get lucky with any musos in Apollo Bay bro?!" Hardly. If you've done this correctly, the only thing you will have picked up is a FUCKING DOSE OF EVERYTHING HURTING.

How attractive you will be at this stage.

Thoughts don't quite make sense. Almost leave the house. Don't. Go into the kitchen and stare at the cupboard for a while. Think about lunch, then decide to drink more Lemsip. Wish your dog was here. He wouldn't care about how repulsive you are, all spluttering phlegm and snot-faced illness.

Potter around the house like a senile old man. Make a Spotify playlist called "Sickness Jamz". Groan. Watch about five episodes of My So-Called Life. Decide your snot is very angsty now. Decide Claire Danes is very good at crying. Wonder if Angela ever realised how utterly normal and un-special she is. Decide you've been awake too long. Sleep until it's dark. Wake up - your housemates are home.

Stagger into the living room, looking like an extra from The Walking Dead.

"Oh man, you are home!"
Your housemate will definitely take several steps back. "Dude. You're really fucking sick."
Groan and retreat back to your hovel of illness.

Stay the fuck back bro.

Put pawpaw ointment on your nose, and ingest your body weight in cold and flu tablets. Decide you should wash your hair. Know you won't. Lie in bed and listen to the myriad wonderful noises that emanate from your person every time you breathe. Your chest and nostrils are making sweet, sweet, guttural and disgusting music together. Spend about ten minutes laughing and wheezing at this comment on Reddit. If nothing else, this little episode has given you a glimpse into a #foreveralone future. Decide it isn't so bad, if you take out the whole wanting-to-die thing. Watch JFK, while nearly coughing up a lung. Make sure not to actually cough up a lung however - a whole lot of phlegm is much more manageable.

Stare at Kevin Costner talking to Donald Sutherland. None of their words make sense and your nose has been ravaged in a decidedly BAD way. Decide you're going to detox. Vow to go for a run every day, and eat a healthy amount of greens. No more booze. You'll drink a litre of water and a cup of dandelion tea every day. You'll enjoy the sunshine. Decide to forever be healthy.

If you had the strength you'd flip a table in rage. But you don't, so you whimper a little and watch the rest of JFK in bed with a roll of toilet paper next to your face.

How to Get Sick

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a guide to becoming "fully sick". If you follow these instructions in the expectation that people will describe you as "so sick" in a "you got like, ten feet of air bro!" way, you will be disappointed. Because you will also feel like shit.

Hate summer. Revel in the arrival of autumn, in a cloud of happiness that manifests itself in shorts and a t-shirt in slightly chilly weather. You're just happy not to be Fucking Miserably Sweaty, so you decide to be all like, "FUCK YOU" to jumpers and pants. Whatever. Haters gon' hate.

Get sick. Then find that a series of good friends' birthdays align with being paid, with finally having enough dosh to enjoy a weekend or three. Decide that this amazing stroke of good fortune isn't about to be dampened by a stupid cold and barely being able to breathe. Throw caution to the wind. Fuck it. Buy All the Shots for All the Friends. Have a string of stupidly fun and stupidly OTT nights out with your ridiculously amazing friends, while being sick. They're awesome. Find a slew of nonsensical pictures on your phone. Still manage to get plenty of work done. Feel victorious. Then you get better, despite the absurd Bane-beating-on-a-henchman assault you're giving your body and immune system. Think, "That wasn't so bad". Enjoy more birthdays, more celebrations. Make memories for the ages. Do this for a few weeks. Then wake up feeling all like:

Vow to quit that ridiculous behaviour, because you've got a Proper Job now and if there's one thing you've learned, it's that when you get Run Down, you get Really Sick. Besides that, no one wants to be the Shame Panda. Admit it, you decide to quit that ridiculous behaviour mostly because you don't want to be Shame Panda. 

Quit that ridiculous behaviour for about a week, enjoy being healthy again. Right in time for a music festival.

Spend the morning at work just about bursting with excitement. You're about to spend the weekend with friends crammed in a house in Apollo Bay, enjoying the music festival. Fuck yeah. There's a million other things you should be doing, but the prospect of good times and good vibes with good friends by the bay is too good to refuse.

Begin the drive. Feel tired. Nearly fall asleep at the wheel. That's disconcerting, but luckily that serves to wake you up. Down some energy drink and sing along loudly to Barry White to stay awake. Arrive. Get changed, rug up - it's going to be cold. Apollo Bay Music Festival is always fucking cold. Down a few beers, and some pizza. It's awesome to be with awesome pals, in an awesome and quaint little house. Unfortunately you're volunteering (you cheap-ass), so it's time to go to your shift as stage assistant.

You soon learn that "stage assistant" effectively means "bussy". And occasionally "fetcher of toilet paper" and even less occasionally "she who introduces bands to the stage manager". It's freezing back there and you soon find that T-SHIRT is inadequate winter wear. The thrill of wearing an "Access All Areas" lanyard quickly fades; from backstage you spy your friends dancing up a storm. Still, you take some rather rad photos from your vantage point and eventually remember to put on a jacket.

Eventually your exceedingly dull shift ends in the early hours of morning and you finally meet up with your pals. You're incredibly tired. Confoundingly so. After a while of dancing you all make the trek home and you get to your bunk. Suddenly realise there's no ladder to get up to the top bunk. Stand there like an idiot for a few minutes, staring at the mattress. It stares back at you, face-level. That ain't happening you think. Drag some blankets onto the cold floor and pass out.

Replace bed with floor.

Wake up after a few hours. Wake up with a chainsaw in your throat. You can't breathe. Your nose is runny. Fuck. Damn-near shake your fist at the heavens. Bacon makes things better, but only a little bit. Push the nagging feeling of "YOU'RE GETTING SICK" out of your mind. The day is spent hanging out, laying on the grass in the surprisingly warm late-April sun, and wandering around the market. Idyllic and superb. Go to your second shift. Your throat feels like a nun chuck wielding goblin has taken up residency and is having a conniption. Or a mosh. Fffffuuuuuu. Find your nose is running and you sneeze about ten times a row backstage. "Uhh. Bless you?" says a drummer. Say thank you from behind watering eyes and a snotty nose. Please men, form an orderly queue.

Reassure yourself that you've gone harder through worse. Remind yourself of the weekend just a few weeks ago. That was harder through worse, right? What was your pal Neil's saying? Oh yes: YOUR BODY WILL ALWAYS RECOVER. Have your doubts about that. Vaguely sense that maybe your body's had enough, and is ready to flip a table in rage. A table of pure, undiluted sickness. Of snot and fever and coughing. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Dance a little. Eat a lot. Laugh even more. Stand in the rain. That's good, right?

As you drive home, your nose begins to run non-stop. Use your tshirt to wipe it up. Spy yourself in the mirror. You look like shit. Pale, dark rings under your eyes, and wearing a snotty t-shirt. Your t-shirt is on backwards. You just used your tshirt to blow your damn nose. It's begun. Oh, god. Oh, GOD. NO. NO. NO NO NO NO NO.





The race against time begins. You're Sick. Congratulations.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review - NO

Note: This is actually a review from last year's MIFF that I thought I posted but inexplicably never actually got around to. Which is truly stupid, because it was definitely one of my highlights of the festival. 

Over the course of MIFF '12, I managed to catch two Chilean films. Both films concerned themselves with matters of national importance (a national hero and a momentous decision, respectively), but could not have been further apart in terms of tone and method of delivery. 

Violeta Went to Heaven was a passionate, emotional, and endlessly sombre film littered with alienating moments of magic realism. Frankly (and disappointingly), I wasn't nearly as affected by it as I'd liked to have been. NO on the other hand, is emotive without being heavy-handed, is stylistically and aesthetically bold without being alienating or pretentious. Surprisingly moving and littered with solid performances, NO has managed to be a personal highlight over the fortnight or so of films on offer at MIFF ‘12. Woah! 

Without descending into a history lesson, Pablo Larraín’s NO concerns itself with the referendum held in 1988, after fifteen-odd years of Augusto Pinochet getting his dictatorship on and seriously cramping the style of just about all of Chile. The referendum (which I believe must have been a result of international pressure) asked Chileans to vote YES or NO to General Pinochet ruling for another eight years. Each side would receive a certain amount of TV airtime in order to convince the average Chileno to hand over their vote. 

In charge of the NO campaign is René Saavedra (Gael García Bernal), a young advertising hotshot. In a risky move that angers those who would fill the allocated fifteen minutes with pictures of death and destruction, René chooses instead to simply use the strategy he favoured to sell soft drink and microwaves. The message of the NO campaign becomes one of positivity, looking to a brighter future for Chile sans Pinochet - full of young people on the beach, dancing and rainbows. Of course, there’s always going to be more factors involved in a dictatorship being overthrown than an effective campaign, but NO does compellingly detail the way a positive message, a catchy jingle and good advertising strategy can play a monumental role. “CHILE! HAPPINESS IS COMING!” the videos declare, in a tune that takes up residency in your head long after the film’s ended. Let's hear it for advertising! Yeah, Don Draper! 

NO was shot on era-appropriate U-matic video camera, which gives the film an authentic feel, and which also means the actual ads, campaign spots and news bulletins seamlessly interwoven with the film. The use of said actual footage makes for often wryly funny, and at times moving, viewing. The YES campaign ends up taking some "they actually did that?" directions, in which it becomes clear sometimes history really is more bizarro than fiction. And that TV in the 80s was fucking weird. In turn, footage of actual riots in Chile’s streets makes for some emotional scenes. It’s a bold, effective decision to interweave the footage, one that ultimately pays off - even if NO ends up looking murky and weirdly square (4:3? In 2012?). 

Gael García Bernal gives a fine, understated performance is the maverick ad man at the film’s centre. However, given the amount of time given NO to the workings of the campaign, the relationships and subplots at the human core of the film aren’t given enough attention. As a result, many of the characters within NO remain underdeveloped, including René’s estranged wife, Veronica. If I’m going to have another small gripe, it’d be that the film was slightly too long, and that without some prior knowledge of Chile’s history, one might feel slightly lost at times. However, neither of those things were enough to detract from the film as a whole in a majorly irritating way. 

Pablo Larraín’s film about a pivotal moment within the long and skinny South American country's history is a fascinating one. NO is an arresting snapshot of a time and a place not often visited, and is a compelling look at where and to what extent advertising and social upheaval can intersect. It's also moving, surprisingly funny, and despite its occasional slow moments, ultimately rewarding.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Growing Boy

While I write a review of Olympus Has Fallen, which I saw last night and which was pretty ridiculous, here's a comic!

I actually found it this weekend while I was sick in bed. Went through some old notebooks, and stumbled across a scrawled version - I think the conversation occurred in an Italian hostel/bar/club/location. I dug up some hilarious nuggets of gold over the weekend, as well as some pure, undiluted stupidity. I'm not sure what this falls under.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Breakfast in Toorak

Personally, I'd have expected something more well-spoken from the Toorak breed of old lady. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I am a mean and awful person...

...and this is a real, actual conversation that I had at a previous job.

Poor girl. At first I thought she was joking. Then I realised no, she's just a really, really straight-faced genuine fan of the Worst Band in the World. I am ashamed of how much my snobbery could not be quashed but shit, you try being in that situation and keeping a straight face. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

ILY, long weekend.

This long weekend was JUST what I needed. It was the perfect mix of action-packed catch-ups with friends, lounging around watching shitty movies, seemingly endless sleep, and party-time debauchery.

A high school catch-up here, a comedy festival show there, a sleep in or two scattered around some footy, dinner with a pal, and the Game of Thrones season premiere - well son, you're cooking with some TASTY, TASTY SHIT. I actually almost completely forgot it was Easter (good Catholic that I am), such was the intensity of the weekend's Pure Undiluted Goodness. PUG, if you will.

Know what PUG is? It's a first thought of panic entering your heart after waking up of your own accord, then the realisation that the complete lack of obnoxious screeching alarm is because THE WEEKEND'S NOT OVER YET, BITCHES.

The weekend was a cup of coffee when it's just the right temperature for drinking while still being hot. This weekend was finding $100 in your room (WHICH HAPPENED). This weekend was Christopher Walken, when he's being menacing without being a hammy caricature. Hell, this weekend was like the perfect ratio of chip quantity to dip quantity.

Weekend, you were alright. 

In other news, I've written a few things for Port Whine, and if you'd like you can read them.

I do hope your Easter weekend was filled with PUG, and I do hope tomorrow doesn't treat you too rudely.