Losing Consciousness

I want to go to bed on fresh clean sheets with a good smell and stretch my legs and back so luxuriously before drifting into the pure light of sleep.

You can die while you’re still alive. You can completely lose the person you’ve been from brain injury or disease. You can lose all your memories, or lose the ability to form new memories; your personality can dramatically change.
It scares me to think that the things that make me me can be taken away in an instant. It makes me feel sad that all my precious memories will be gone. If I were to die now I don’t think I’d be cool enough to simply dissolve my energy into a rainbow and leave my organs as jewels or something

Death is probably messy and awkward. I imagine it being uncomfortable and disorienting. Ever since I’ve been aware of mortality I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, but recently, probably due to learning so much about dementia and traumatic brain injury, I’ve felt less at peace with the idea.
What can I do about it though? I’ve got to work on feeling less attached. I want to have a feeling like I’m a ball of light. Like it doesn’t matter. 

Inherently Sad


Romy and I saw Autoluminescent, a movie about Rowland S. Howard, and bonded over his attractive sadness. The pinnacle quote of the film for me, spoken by Rowland with a long-ashed cigarette hanging from his lips, was about how he couldn’t fathom thinking about life as anything other than inherently sad.
I’ve never been afraid of sadness. One of my talents is to go deeply into it, without hiding from any portion of the feeling. I’ve wept with such force that everything was the most beautiful it had ever been.
Romy is one of the first people I’ve met who will talk about sadness in the same way I do: as something that adds richness to life. People who aren’t afraid of sadness tend to have the best senses of humor.



Monday 14/11/11

* Spent the day in the music lab working on the coolest and most creative DJ set, with the best transitions in the world.
* It’s that poignant end-of-the-semester time, especially since I won’t see my excellent professors, tutors, and internship supervisors again. Chris Walker said it was nice to meet me and I thanked him for his help over the semester. We chatted about music-neuroscience, and I left feeling sad that I won’t be living in the music lab for very much longer.

* Ran into my black metal friend Christian at the train station. We shared a joyful hug and made plans to break into the pool late at night
 * I spent the rest of the day at the salon with Gen, who brought my hair back to its natural silvery-white color. Once again there was the poignant almost-the-end feeling. Gen said she would have to find a new muse once I left.
* In the evening I did a small catwalk and reaped the free snacks and liquor.
* Romy and I decided we needed more snacks and liquor and went to Woolworth’s. We had a walking picnic with white wine and an apple.  

Tuesday 15/11/11

* Spent the day in the music lab working on the coolest and most creative DJ set, with the best transitions in the world.

Wednesday 16/11/11

* Spent the day in the music lab working on the coolest and most creative DJ set, with the best transitions in the world.
* Romy came over and we stayed up late.

Thursday 17/11/11 
* Woke up with dark beasts for eyes.
* Had some coffee.
* Spent the day fine tuning the coolest and most creative DJ set with the best transitions in the world.
* Turned in DJ set.
* Spent night studying for neuroscience final, when I got bored with that I made a cake.

This is Why I’m Rich

Remember how I was going on about scraping it kind of thin on bus fare? There are several techniques I’ve worked out for getting reduced transit prices. It’s easy on the train, because you just tell the machine you are a student and you are going to Chatswood, even though you’re going to Newtown. Chatswood costs a dollar sixty to get to with the student discount, and Newtown costs $2.30, but there are no ticket gates at Newtown, so you only need the ticket to get through on the Macquarie side. Technically study abroad students aren’t allowed student discounts so if you’re not sneaky and dishonest like me you’ll be a chump and you’ll be paying $4.60 just to get to Newtown.

It’s trickier to get a student discount on the bus because it’s easy to spot a North American accent, and you have to show a real-life bus driver a student-concession card. My first technique to evade this was to fake an Australian accent. “G’day” I would say, and I would automatically get a discount – probably because I looked like a poor American trying to get concession by faking an Australian accent. I then upgraded to a three step system: 1) State Destination 2) Hand over exact discounted fare 3) Search in wallet for “concession card” and vaguely wave some other card.
The best way to get discounted bus fare is a recent discovery. 1) Wear a paper crown. 2) Carry a cupcake. 3) The bus driver thinks it’s your birthday and lets you on for free. 

Blue Whale

I ran into Paige Herrera, who I had known all through elementary, middle and high school. At first I was running late for swimming lessons, and my dad was giving me a ride in his VW mini bus, where instead of a passenger seatbelt there was a shower that couldn’t be turned off. A team of buff girls in bright yellow swimmers populated one end of the pool, and a rag tag bunch non-athletic people sat waiting for swim lessons on the other. I joined the latter group and Paige lovingly stroked my hair.

One of the first memories I have of Paige is that she got me in a headlock in third grade and said she wouldn’t let me go until I told her she was my best friend. The last time we were in contact was when we graduated high school together. She invited me to her party, but I had gone on tour with my band the day after graduation. I was in a tent in Los Gatos CA when I realized I hadn’t responded to her invitation. I went up to her and said: “I know this is a dream, and the real you isn’t probably getting this message, but I wanted to say I’m sorry that I can’t come to your party.” The day after my most recent pool dream Paige reached out to me for the first time in years, with a picture of cursive handwriting practice we had done on a play-date in fourth grade that said: “Emily May Wingren and Paige Ashley Nicole Herrera, best friends forever and ever.” I told her about the dream.
After I left the pool I ended up in a tide pool in the gathering darkness. A blue whale was gliding toward me, looking me straight in the eye. It asked if I wanted to ride on its back. As we sailed through the deep clear water darkness fell, and I realized the whale had begun to fly through a field of multi colored stars.

Junior Fauxdult

Living the life of a fauxdult it makes sense that suddenly my only cup is a martini glass. It may have replaced human clavicles as the perfect thing to drink cocktails from; it has also claimed a role as the best vessel for watering plants. It’s satisfying to dump water evenly into a potted plant from a martini glass.

It’s triumphant to have the power to make yourself a delicious meal when you have a cold. Halloween is so important to me that when I realized I had been struck with the cold spiraling in my vicinity, I stayed up nearly 24 hours two days in a row instead of resting. I awoke from the tail end of these adventures saturated with dreams of family and home, with a craving for green chile soup and cornbread.
In one dream I was grocery shopping and there were these raspberries that were as big as apples. Their colors were nearly seeping out of their skins for how ripe and juicy they appeared. I wanted to try one so badly but didn’t have enough money. A girl at the register was pulling out stacks of American hundred dollar bills and saying she didn’t have very much money left. I reflected on how much money remained to my name and figured it to be about $2.30 – just enough for a train to the city. When I woke up I found out I was correct. Because I didn’t have bread I didn’t enjoy my usual breakfast of vegemite on toast. Instead I made spicy lentil soup and felt proud of myself for being such a clever fauxdult.

Kindred Art Kid

It is convenient for two vegetarian ghosts to go out for dinner, except when the world of wait-staff cannot perceive their presence. One Saturn’s day I ordered a “Victoria Bitter” and discovered it was just my favorite cheap AU beer “VB.” At Kelley’s, a Newtown bar that consistently holds a place for me, I asked for the finest “Victoria Bitter” and was given blank stare in return. Finally the bartender said: “There are only four people in the world who know what VB stands for, and two of them are dead.”

Romy and I swapped jackets because she was shivering and I was wearing a pea coat. At the next pub a guy with “New Zealand” shaved into the back of his head questioned: “Who are you ladies rooting for?” Being Australian by birth, Jack reckoned Melbourne would win. Naturally, I said I was going for NZ. I don’t know who eventually won, but it was a victory for me, having always hoped to find someone to defy gender with.

We are a ouple of hipsters eating spaghetti out of jars with chopsticks. Uni life has left my kitchen forkless, and with few plates, but we always have jars. Even though I have posted an insistent set of kitchen rules, the only one anyone seems to be following is the addendum created by Romy and our good friend Clarence Clancy Jr. (CCJ): “Don’t forget to smile like a powerful whale.” I escape the gritty kitchen often these days, for fun times and modeling gigs, but mostly to go home to the music lab. I made a set looping live soda-can opening and mbira, with video to match each track and transition. I also dropped many samples of the New Mexican folk-storyteller Joe Hayes. I began with quotes from the drunk coyote hiding under the table: “Ah que carai, ahora se voy a cantar, now I’m really going to sing!” I am a Table Coyote. But who wants to sit under one’s own table when one can depend on a campus of climable sculptures to drink on? Plus, all the fatherly security guards see us and offer us packed lunches with sandwiches and juice boxes.

It is convenient for two uncanny kids to drink cocktails out of one another’s clavicles. Uni life has left the kitchen cupless, and when all the jars are in use the most best vessels are those created by skeletal structure. 
Human memory is a fundamentally creative act, each time we visit a memory we are making that memory again. Each blog post and picture from this era in my existence as M is being solidified into a golden-fun-feeling. Each message in my inbox is a small poem about how much fun life is. The fields of communication are littered with happy-faces. 

Psychedelic Roadkill


For Halloween I bought garden wire for $2. I made a stag mask for myself, and a coyote mask for Romy. 
To the top-forty bros on George street and at The Ranch’s “undead” party, I introduced myself as “Toohey’s Undead” (Toohey’s is a “cheap” AU beer that features a stag on the label). To the more indie crowd Jack and I became: “Psychedelic Road kill.”
A Stag prepares for dinner
Inter-Species Love

After seeing Metropolis at the Opera House I greeted Romy: “Destroy the machines!” We painted our faces in a building’s reflective surface, and ambled across the city. I had done some research and found a party in King’s Cross. If it weren’t for our address knowledge, we wouldn’t have found “Tatler’s,” there we were greeted by harsh bouncers, who shoved us inside and ID’d us. Apparently we made the cut, and found ourselves in s tiny club (converted apartment). Later we found out that “Tatler’s” has the strictest door policy in Sydney, and has housed VIP parties for the like of Biggie Smallz. There was Astroturf on the walls and black lights that made our  masks glow.

I aimed to get some serious dancing done, but we ended up making friends on the Smoker’s porch till the wee hours. A woman in her last year of law school, and her fiancé, a professional horse-race better, both in thick-rimmed wayfarers  bought us Gin and Tonics. Their friend, a former member of the band Sneaky Sound System was telling me about how he had gone to the states to research this one kind of hummingbird and to go to Burning Man. The more I spoke with him the more apparent it became that he loved birds. I then noticed that he had a tattoo that said: “I love birds.” He told me about some of the birds that he loves.  The Bowerbird loves blue, and makes really tall nests out of anything blue. They’ll steal anything that’s blue to make their nests: “Shells, pigs, straws, plastic, ANYTHING!” Blue Wrens don’t love blue like Bower Birds, but they always have multiple dates. “If you see a Blue Wren, it’ll be cruising around with 3 or 2 dates!” As for the Butcher Bird It’ll hypnotize its prey. “It’s killer.”
DJ Cosmonaut
What with our late start and new friends, Romy and I started our walk to the night bus stop around 3:00 am. In King’s Cross there were prostitutes standing like sculpture. On George Street a bro came up to me, looking like he was bowing. Then he began doing push ups. I accepted the challenge, handed Romy my bag, and did push ups back. Finally the bro staggered, not being able to do another, and I stood up the victor of our impromptu competition. This time his bow was a real bow. Romy and I played push hands as we waited for the bus, found out we were waiting for the wrong bus, and waited for the right one for an hour and a half. There kept being N10 busses and I said: “Why do they get all the busses? I’m going to kill their mayor.” So when Jack and I were skipping back across campus at 6:00 am, we shot fake guns and sang about killing “Princess Mayor.”
The couple that bought us drinks
Describing a bird
Heeding my cold or getting some sleep would have barred more fun times, so the next day I went to Aneshka’s party (Aneshka is Adhit’s sister who lives in a nice apartment that comes with its own time-warping ability). Aneshka and all her friends were giggletronic. Before preparing for another big night of Halloween in the city we enjoyed sangria and the night water of the pool Adhit grew up in. We were perfectly dressed for the Jungle Voodoo themed party that we were so excited to go to, but it ended up being the opposite of the cool description. Because we got a late start and had to walk a good distance to get home, and because we had to satisfy our animalistic cravings (nothing like sex and falafel at an hour when no one should be awake) we didn’t get to sleep until 4:00 am.
“I Love Birds”
The next day I think I did more damage to my homework than good for how tired I was. I was reduced to plain roadkill. The incessant sunlight filtered through the layers of discomfort that made up my very being, telling me: “I am a beautiful day you motherfucker. I will illuminate your electric-static aura of confused sadness.” I was a stinky stray dog as I walked to the train, across a Sunday morning of friendly pretty people at charming corner cafes, having the best cups of coffee they’d ever had, with their best friends who would always love them. I couldn’t hold a single thought for long but most of them were along the lines of: “I must be a terrible person.” Then I had a nap.
The late afternoon sunlight changed its tune to: “Everything is great and everyone loves you,” as I collected the headphones and face paint I had left at Aneshka’s and savored cake, olive oil drenched bread, and double-hugs from beautiful people who smell like hints of incense.