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Beyond Pandora

Beyond simple curiosity, this is Thinking Too Much. If you're interested in philosophy and/or wild theories, you've come to the right place.

Location: Australia

Paddling somewhere between a mad scientist and an organisational artist. Indecisive, inconsistent and often incoherent.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Dopey, Dogged

I finished reading 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" today, having bought it only yesterday, and found myself in a rather dazed state.

The story is told from the point of view of Christopher, a 15-year-old autistic boy, and throughout the story I was enthralled by his offbeat voice and perspectives, and especially by his mindset and the nature of his reality. He is surprisingly logical, even when he seems to make the most illogical decisions - like his aversions to yellow and brown.

He has some interesting points on death and spirituality, as well as the way ordinary people's minds work. But his comments on language and meanings are the ones that really stumped me. For instance:
'[A metaphor] is when you descibe something by using a word for something that it isn't. This means that the word metaphor is a metaphor.'
'Mother used to say that it meant Christopher was a nice name because it was a story about being kind and helpful, but I do not want my name to mean a story about being kind and helpful. I want my name to mean me.'

Christopher's voice is so clear and convincing that I felt myself being transported almost to another reality; I couldn't help but feel his panic rising within me at times, overriding my outsider's understanding of his oft-'simple' situation.

And as I finally resurfaced from the pages of the book, I felt as though I was still seeing through Christopher's eyes, his visions still clouding my own reality.

(My brain-fogging cold may have also assisted in creating this effect...)

So congratulations to Mark Haddon, for creating a character that will stick with me long after I forget the book's name.


...and 27 cents.

This is how much money I spent during my week-long holiday in the nearest capital city - or is as near as I can work out, judging by the receipts I kept. This doesn't include various meals and... alcohol. Hic! (Sorry, couldn't hold back the urge).

It also doesn't include the tickets I bought for Cirque du Soleil's "Quidam" (I was awed and overwhelmed by the show, thanks for asking!)

Disincluding the food items (chocolate for the family I resided with - and also for me; and food bought from Wet&Wild), the total is still $570.52 - By far the biggest spending spree I've been on to date.

$210 was spent on CLOTHES: 3 shirts for $40; 2 pairs of pants for $30; new navy shoes (much needed, to contrast with the bright red-and-white of my other pair) for $40 at Target; and a pair of sunnies (who'd have guessed?) for $10. The other $90? Okay, so I bought a fancy shirt from the Cirque stall in a moment of dazed ecstasy after the show. It's still a cool shirt, but in other circumstances I would have easily been able to pull myself away.

$90 on BOOKS: $45 for the two latest hardcover Pratchetts, "Going Postal" and "Monstrous Regiment" (and I'm afraid I was sucked in again, for as I marveled over finding one for $10, I was offered the other as well, supposedly 'on special' for $35); another $45 for "The Riders" (Tim Winton), "The Time Traveler's Wife" (Audrey Niffenegger), and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" (Mark Haddon) in paperback, from Borders - 3 for the price of 2! I sooo love that store! If/Once I move to said city, I will be practically living there.

$67 for 5 CDs, one a double-disc album: Linkin Park's 'Reanimation', k.d. lang's 'Ingenue', Tina Arena's 'Best of' album, Crowded House's 'Together Alone', and a collection of music from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

$40 on GAMES: second-hand versions of 'Airblade' and 'Heroes of Might and Magic' on PS2

I'd also bought a program for the Cirque show for $15...

And then, on the day I was due to come home, I had to go buy a new travel bag, so I could fit in all the stuff I'd bought! $150, very large, and very classy (It is sitting beside me and reading over my shoulder as I write this - I have no idea, as yet, where else it might be possible to store it!).

And, um... I may have also spent $60 or so on, uh... a fire staff for my to-be-16-yr-old sister...

Don't let on! ;-)

Monday, November 08, 2004


I've spent the last half-a-week with a tiny bladed un-picker and the assistance of my sister, un-picking the City Council emblem from my 'good' work shirt - a black long-sleeved button-up polyester, as opposed to the four black polo shirts that I simply returned to the theatre.

Now I have a good black shirt, YAY!

I also have a pile of coloured thread, which I intend to put in an envelope and send to the theatre, marked 'DEFINITELY NOT TERRORIST STUFF'. Heh heh heh...

(A very Happy Birthday to Cindy, from my senior Maths C classes. Hope you're doing well)

Friday, November 05, 2004

A Hairy Tale

I'm having such fun today!

I'm thinking of getting a haircut. And this is a big deal for me. I've been growing my hair for two or three years now, and I honestly can't remember the last time I had it shortened instead of 'trimmed'.

I've been telling everyone I'll get my hair cut soon. But I've promised myself that if I'm going to shorten my hair, I want it to be something that I actually like.

So... I went searching on the web, and found this site. I signed up - $20 per half-year isn't a horrible amount, and have spent most of my day so far on it!

I've seen myself with afros, beatles cuts, spikes, and I have to try dreadlocks at some point... this is just so cool!

So watch out, guys, there's going to be a new Draic hitting the streets!

Competitive Spirit

I just finished reading the winning and runner-up entry to the State Library of Queensland's Young Writer's Award competition for this year.

The competition is open to Queensland residents aged 18-25. The entries are to be under 2,500 words, to be judged on their 'literary merit' - and the prize is $2000.

If you're interested in taking a look yourself, the runner-up story is here and the winning story is here.

I don't like the runner-up - it reads like abstract poetry, and although there are some great images and sparks of ideas in there, whatever story is there was lost on me.The second was more to my taste. It felt like a real story, a real person, it was told with an original 'voice' and interesting imagery. It also felt a little cliched - the takes on the issues were things we (should) have all heard before. The themes were strong and clear, but I was not overly satisfied with the main character's resolution to his problem; I didn't feel like we were given the whole story in regard to his turning away from his religion.

I was interested to note that neither of the two stories survived a basic proof-read. There were places in each story where I had to stop and try to work out what a phrase was meant to be.

All of this makes me wonder if I could have done a better job. I would have had a hard time choosing a theme, and I don't think a story I wrote would be as poetic or rife with interesting imagery, but I think I could have turned out to be a formidable competitor. Too bad about that motivation thing... :-b

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Uncommon Sense

Last night I was filling out one of those email quizzes, this one based on the five senses, when I realised something about myself I hadn't considered before:

People don't make me feel at ease.

The question was 'If you could see anyone/anything right now, who/what would it be?'

I couldn't think of a straight answer to the question. I kept thinking of things like 'a movie', or 'Rome' (though I'm pretty sure that just came out of word associations - places to see, travel, Rome). I couldn't think of people. I mean, sure, I like being with friends, seeing movies and things. But I always feel on edge when I'm with someone. I guess it comes from being a loner through most of my school life.

The closest answer I could think of was 'I want to see my future girlfriend' - which is funny in the one sense because then I'd hopefully know who and where said girlfriend was, and be able to ask her out with heightened confidence. But it is also because part of my image of a 'serious' girlfriend is that she'd be someone who could set me at ease just by the sight of her.

I don't know people who can do that to me.

Perhaps no-one ever does/will, and I shouldn't hold to that illusion?

But if it is an illusion, then my answer still applies - I still would want to see the girl of my dreams.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Listmaker Alert: T-Shirts

A week or so ago, I took a shirt inventory. Just gathered up every top of mine that I could lay my hands on and transferred their essences to the computer by way of typing a brief description, e.g.,"Blue, KickBoy, Rugged". I carefully categorised and gave each shirt it's purpose - only to be worn for formal dinners, or as a paint shirt, etc. And finally, I managed to part with some old shirts that really needed to be parted with.

First was my high school sports top. I'd imagined I would wear it every now and then as a pyjama top, but hadn't counted on the suffocating nature of the beast. None too comfortable.

Next was the old greying hand-me-down Santa-Claus-And-Elvis humorous cartoon joke shirt. Once in a while was a too short a while.

Third was the shirt the choir mutilated in order to get the audience for the song-and-dance section to take pity on us, because we weren't going to win any other way. I was going to wear it for 'bad shirt night' once, but decided that some things are just too horrendous to qualify.

Lastly (because I couldn't bear to see it go) was my holy old purple surfie-hippie t-shirt. It completed my daggy ensemble (long scruffy hair, scruffy beard, paint-stained jeans and blue flip-flops).

So farewell to dear old constricting school nostalgia, my disintegrating hippie costume, Old Corney Claus and The Abomination.