Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vagina Tuesday

   A few years ago (back in the distant past of 2009) I was dating a douche-nozzle whose dingleberries would go on to feature as the bullseye on many a dartboard. A few decent things came out of Maartingate though- I had my eyes checked and realised I needed glasses, and um, I... there was that one... well either way, I have the ever-lasting proof that there was at least ONE reason to have been legitimately seeing him, in the shape of something called Valhalla's Finest.
   For my foreign friends, and anyone else who does not think that coffee grows in chicory-blended grounds, I will need to explain a little here to give some backstory. Valhalla is a suburb, technically just outside of Centurion. Centurion is a town or municipality or whatthefuckeverhave you, and it is huge. Over the years since we moved to Pretoria from the Cape, we have lived in four different suburbs within Centurion, and knew it pretty well. Valhalla being just a lonely ol' suburb is fucking massive and genuinely just about 2 centimetres to the right, you oughtn't be able to miss it. I, somehow, did. At least until we moved here about six years ago. I had no idea of its existence, but the moment we moved here, suddenly everyone I came across was from here. It was bizarre. I could be an hour away from here as the crow flies, and someone I'd just met would inevitably live just down the road from me.
   But even by virtue of being super-huge and housing three quarters of the world's population, it is a fucking shit-hole. I mean this with no hyperbole and without the kind of affection one usually conveys via jibes and jokes. It is beyond zef (yeah, I'm sorry Rest Of The World, you're on you own with that word), has like two grocery stores (and you'd be damn lucky to find brown bread sometimes. You will eat white bread and you will like it, motherfucker), and I know of at least one restaurant/hangout called the Log Cabin (poo puns aside, please) that had an unspoken "no blacks" policy until very recently. This place is East Bum Fuck Zululand at the same time as being within walking distance from actual civilisation.
   Anyway, what with everyone and their uncle-dad being from Valhalla, my cousin Carla (who lives in Ashleigh Gardens, a good 30 minutes drive from here) and her Valhalla crew did a rap song not so long ago called- aptly- "Valhalla's Finest." It attained a kind of unintended notoriety one night when we (me, Baartin and a couple of his friends) were called in to do what would amount to a kind of a This Is Spinal Tap, to be shot on a Wednesday so as to be cut and assembled for one of these friends' birthday on Saturday. We had absolutely zero idea what the fuck we were going to do, with no concept at all beyond "this light means it's recording."
   What we ended up with was an entirely ad-libbed short that got its name (somehow) from the eponymous song. What it was, was Valhalla's Finest.

   Now some dumb fuck managed to encode the DVD in such a way that my computer denies its very existence, or else I would have some decent screen caps for you. As it stands, what I have are hastily and ineptly taken cellphone-shots of the screen itself, so please stand in forgiveness.
   In this incarnation, Valhalla's Finest was a boy band. An Afrikaans boy band on the brink of making it big, waiting around to record their newest single "backstage" as it were at a recording studio. I was the presenter- the Marty DiBergh, if you will- asking the hard-hitting (and just like a little bit tipsy) questions to show the world the real men behind the new song they were there to record- Hardloop en Spring. (Run and Jump.)

    I promise, it's much, much more fucking stupid-sounding in Afrikaans, and they managed to mine the full cheese and stupidity potential from the whole thing in fine, fine form. On the far right in the first picture is Dirk, who is still one of my favourite people ever, and is also the lost Hasty Pudding cast member.
   His role within the band was the slightly dim third banana, and for whatever reason he decided to go with the artistic decision to respond to absolutely everything with "Dis awesome." (It's awesome.) The squinty eyes of conviction coupled with the dead-serious brow and slight nod of persuasion as he says this will make you lose all of your faculties. Everything is awesome, up until such time as I- the off-camera lisp- pose the very serious question of how the feel about the recent attacks against the band's collective sexuality.

    At some point he bemoans his station as the group darkhorse, complete with narrative voiced over the illustrative proof of his rejection.

 And after this, they take the pains to show us, the eager audience, their work-out routines in a small gym we found handily lying around the house where we were shooting. In the biz, it's called shooting on location. (I say this with that same knowing nod. I say this so you can picture me saying it with the appropriate levels of douchiness here.) Once they've each showed off the paucity of physical prowess they share, (besides for Johan, who has obviously been carved out of stone-cold Seacrest) they all bundle into the on-suite shower for a communal rinse.

   For a very long time after we did this (to zero appreciation at the actual birthday it was made for in the first place) Hardloop en Spring (repeatedly improvised in as many keys and this great world of ours has on offer) became something of an anthem. Sequels were proposed, movie deals failed to be offered but were entertained anyway and shot down on "stick your jack" levels of principle, and it became A Thing.
   I hadn't seen it in years, but I broke it out tonight for a rewatch. It was still as funny as I remembered, whilst retaining the editing and mixing problems that had burned my arse about it from the start. In short, it isn't perfect, but fuck me we had a great time making it and there are some laugh-out-loud funny moments that would have you wiping tears of mirth even if you aren't in on the big inside joke it essentially is. It also has the boon of me trying to improvise Glossy Presenter in Afrikaans, which I still maintain is fucking impressive. There are a couple of times where I manage to pull out a very pure Afrikaans words ("Koffer? Wat is 'n koffer? Ek is nie a rasis nie.") that the boys react to with what looks like carefully calculated confusion for maximum comedy. In reality, those are very real reactions to an Afrikaans word the English girl managed to produce that actually went flying right over their heads with a lovely humming sound.
   Damn, I need me a camera so I can do some more shenanigannary of my own.

   So, I was saturated with more vajayjays this last week than I had any reasonable right to. I shan't say too much on the specifics of this sentence (not purely to play for maximum out-of-context weirdness, but I cannot deny that it plays at least some small part in my motive) for it was a Super Top Secret Vajazzle Project. Now I say that, but there was no Tom-Cruise-Zip-Lining-Through-The-Ceiling involvement, so I suppose I ought to simply say that I don't want to expound on the details too much, not knowing what I'm allowed to say and what could potentially cause my bowels to prolapse as I wake up staring into the unblinking eyes of a Cruise-shaped gag order. Sufficed to say (and fuck knows I've never stopped at sufficient. I think that last sentence proves that I am a machine that runs on pleonasm.) that I was commissioned to fashion a front bum from cloth, and then to proceed with handfuls of beads, sequins and sparkly miscellanea at my own discretion.

   (On a side note, I googled possible synonymic nicknames for lady bits to see if I was there was anything I could use that was funnier than what I could come up with on my own, and the lists I found were truly and properly spectacular. Some of my hitherto unknown favourite monikers people actually think are legitimate alternative names for your Lady Cave are: "Whisker Biscuit," "Republic of Labia," and "Melvin.")

   "Pics or it didn't happen" was helpfully pointed out to me in regards to the sparkly DIY Twatlantic Ocean, but since it could have cootchastrophic repercussions you'll have to take my word for it on this one. I will tell you that I had to stare for a longer time than is probably strictly natural at "reference pictures" (AKA well-lit porn), and it left me with a whole new appreciation for the subtle art of anal bleaching. The important thing to know here is that at some point, once my artfully rendered Grassy Knoll (I could do this all day, a whole new world has opened up for me here) needed to be dispatched to Andrea. She decided to pick it up and take me with her to Unisa where she's doing an art degree, giving me the chance to step back out into the sunlight and remember what the outside world looks like.
   We visited the new Unisa art gallery while we were there, and let me tell you it was actually on the right side of awesome. I cannot, I'm afraid, behold a man, stood in half a perspex tank badger urine in the middle of the N1 and think "art." It is beyond me to fully appreciate the delicacy of someone ingesting food-colouring and then projectile-pooping it across a canvas, and I think it's safe to say that hanging in a see-through box above London without food and water for a few days IS NOT MAGIC. (That last one might have been marginally less on topic than I might have wished, but this is a point that came up over the weekend and I feel was not adequately hammered home.)
   This place, however: Art. If I had disposable income- or indeed, income- I would so hang this piece in my house.

   (In between the writing of that previous sentence and this one, I have lost all of my marbles all over this room. Something that deigns to call itself Nginx is refusing me access to Facebook and has decided that me trying to upload a picture is BULLSHIT of the HIGHEST order. I am going to kill something or someone, and then I am going to eat it.)

   There was someone else there taking pictures, but they had a fat-arse digital SLR and stylish dreadlocks, so I took it as a very personal challenge to wield my little HTC with as much aplomb as was possible. I squinted at things as though I couldn't possibly press the shutter button on the touchscreen until I had considered such things as light exposure, aperture, and soft focus. I almost felt like nudging up to him and just politely pointing out that while his multi-thousand Rand camera was certainly nice, I had a free app that can do sepia. And look, see? I can do artsy shots too.

   Now, I once again return myself to the ether from whence I came (the underworld beneath my nice and warm bedcovers) and try to concentrate on my book. It's very intellectual, it's an autobiography. Well, Russell Brand's second autobiography, but Hellen Mirren is in it, so I say it retains its class points.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I Can Say "Choo Choo" Without A Trace Of Irony

   I have had some very interesting add-ons in the House of Many Ills department. As much as I love to complain- and god knows it's like my second favourite thing in the world, right after sleeping (no eating! No, no! Sleeping!)- I really am not so fond as I seem of ticking a few extra boxes every time I go under the knife. My doctor is still just about behind me when I come in with a new laundry list every time, but I swear he's about theeeees close to just tranqing me and sending me off to the taxidermist to have done with it. Then again, maybe that's got more to do with the sheer volume of punnery I manage to work into a visit than the profit margin I've racked up for Pfizer all by my ace.
   So now there's an It. I have no other word for it that I like, but basically it's just a massive lump on my ribs that gives me new incentive to revive the bra-burning movement and motivate a permanent change to lying on my left side when I read and/or watch trash TV. Mostly just the trash TV though- have you people seen Big Fat Gypsy Weddings?! My god it's enough to give me new faith in the LED-lit Pepto-Bismol flavoured wedding dress industry. I digress, where was I? Yes, my It. So Dr. Ever-faithful prods and pokes at my side as I, the Hyper-HypoChondriac, see visions of a bald Snofferol dance before me like so many chemo-induced hallucinations. Huzzah, he declares it benign! But also: makes the mistake of telling me it might need to come out should it be bothersome, and also to look it up anyway so I get all the details, and also it might not be benign but the only way to know is to cut the damn thing out and test it.
   Oh you fool, have you never had a Hyper-HypoChondriac as a patient before? No seriously, if you want me to relax, you tell me it's a subcutaneous extra ear from that time in the womb when I carnivorically ingested my twin. You tell me it's a mole with delusions of grandeur. You tell me, for the love of god, that it's How You Get Ahead In Advertising, you do not add footnotes and asterisks to the declaration that it probably, most likely and almost certainly isn't an issue. You most especially do not tell me that this thing is simply going to get bigger and- for lack of a better superlative here- ouchier over time. Fuck's sakes Doc, I can't scratch my back without going into full-body traction, you want I should suck it up? (I only realised about half-way through typing that sentence that it was meant to be read in a New York second-generation Jewish accent. Oblige me, if you would be so good.)
   The other thing, of course, is that my sainted mother is not a Hyper-HypoChondriac, but in fact what we like to call a Very-Hypo-HypoChondriac. When I mentioned this to her, of course it turned out she had had one just like it and her doctor had insisted it come out. Thusly, for those of you following the logic of overprotective mothering, mine was to be excised on the double. It's too literal a pain in my side, so for once I'll have to agree here. Again, from the way I've managed to harness comedy gold out of my Ills on this blog, you'd be perfectly within your rights to assume that this is simply another entry in my growing archives of siding with the argument that will garner the most sick-points, but really and truthfully, I fight actively against my hypochondriacal tendencies. (As is evidenced by the minimum of two words I've made up in the last few paragraphs, I'm obviously not fighting quite so hard against my tendency for ludicrousness.) It's one of the few things I am willing to own up to in a manner not unlike pride; I cannot, no matter what the circumstance, embarrassment or stupidity, lie to myself about anything. The other little voice- the one that likes to narrate in the second person- will immediately pound the foam out of the first one if it so much as tries to pass an excuse past my nose. Once I notice a cough, that second little voice will jump in with a baseball bat to fend off the wee fellow in the back who so badly wants to pipe in with "strepthroat."
   So come Friday, I shall be going in to see a whole new surgeon to schedule my It-ectomy. I'm thinking it may be marginally less acceptable to ask to keep this one, even if I promise to keep it in a highly sanitary mason jar filled with formaldehyde. I got the weirdest fucking looks after I asked to keep my wisdom teeth (the one with "burn the witch" written all over it came from my mother), and that I would have guessed was a fairly innocuous request. Hell, the surgeon before that one actually sent my gallstones home with me in a pill tube, and I would never even have thought to ask. They look, by the way, like the world's grossest and most necrotic Everlasting Gobstoppers in case you were wondering.

   Then, there was the great sleep drought of '12. Fuck me I was tired for a while there. I've been on sleeping pills (usually something involving letters from the arse-end of the alphabet) since I was 13. The first time I took them it was winter, and I was- as 13-year-olds are wont to do- sitting right up against the TV on the floor, the heater about two whole centimetres from my face. Naturally, when I felt the whoozy-happy feeling kicking in, I assumed heat stroke. (We hypochondriacs start young. Aaaaand I've officially exhausted my daily recommended allowance of the word "hypochondriac.")
   It wasn't heat stroke.
   No, it was something far more sinister even than that. It was the effects of Zolpihexal on a hypnotics-virgin system, and by god was sleeping the last thing on my mind once they moved into top gear. That's the thing no one warns you about when you're prescribed these things- the fact that once you've taken them you may well be able to actually achieve sleep again, but also instantly lose any will you might ever have had to do so. It's not a high-thing, although I will admit the effects are not unlike what I would assume LSD could do to your head. There is a genuine component of this pill that makes you forcibly want to stay as far away from your bed as you possibly can. Of course the ideal would be to take it and immediately lie down, but as bad as my insomnia has always been, and seeing as it takes the damned things a minimum of half an hour to work, that's not my favourite solution.
    That first time, my mother had to practically drag me down the hallway to the bathroom so as to get my teeth brushed and my jammies jammed, or else I probably would still be sitting on that ugly carpet in Amethust (sic) street, staring at the pretty pretty heater lights. I would go do my pre-bed pee like a sensible person, and then sensible would take a massive nose-dive out the window after hour two of simply sitting there on the toilet, staring at the wood grain of the bathroom door as my new friends danced in front of my eyes, playing out comedies and tragedies alike. Flames became properly fascinating, and I once wrote a fucking treatise on the multi-dimensional nature of fire whilst staring at a candle so hard I can still see it when I close my eyes. That particular little part of my life also ended in a fugly burn scar on my hand that I've since prettied up a bit, but that's evidence of lunacy for another day. I still have that treatise, by the way: it's buried in my cupboard, written on something like twelve pages of lined paper. I've tried, but I've never been able to read all the way through it. I was like so fucking high, dude. I would also call people. I don't know if this is among the official side-effects (the munchies are though. Quite seriously, I looked at the package insert once, and suddenly my late-night cravings for Butro on rye made a lot more sense), but I know for a fact that at least one person taking this pill managed to call her friends at 1 AM almost every night, and could never remember the conversations the next day. This is not an effect that lessened over time like the rest- up until very recently, people would show up here telling me I had invited them over the previous evening and I would have had no idea at all.
   Such as it may be, 9 years on the stuff has lessened their efficacy greatly. My dosage has since been upped, which helped for a while. Queue about a month ago: sleep fucking stopped. STOPPED. I don't mean that even the higher dosage gradually lost effect, I mean one night I lay my head down to sleep, AND MOTHERFUCKING NOTHING HAPPENED. My sleeping pattern is such that sometimes the natural time for me to fall asleep just happens to be 2 PM, so from the outside it may be hard to spot what constitutes insomnia for me. I call this Tokyo Time.

   But this was not that. What this was, was a minimum of 3 to 6 hours of just lying in bed, throwing Turkish off my It where she had been sleeping and turning over again and again. Most nights I would just give up and watch Cash In The Attic. This is not a pretty picture, I assure you. Thanks to copious amounts of medication I had not had to experience proper insomnia for years, barring sometimes fairly light or often interrupted sleep. I was not in practice for it. Luckily no one expects any real achievement from me at this particular juncture, so I could get away with essentially being on what you could only call Hadal Zone Time. At least, until such time as someone needs my full faculties at normal human times, like last weekend.
   I was set to visit and spend the night at a friend's house. By this time, we were reaching the apex of the sleep drought, where I would be clocking maybe- maybe- two hours of eventual sleep a night/day. It's risky as shit trying to do the sleepover thing when you know that you might actually be awake and therefore privy to your friend's every night-time grunt, snore and bodily function, but I decided to take an extra pill with me, figuring that would do the job. I remind you, I once spent an entire night composing and making sweet, sweet music with my sister on the ol' Casio, when in fact neither of us could play so much as three blind mice on a piano. The only thing I recall from that evening is rather a painful amount of volume and enthusiasm on my part- so in other words, on my increased dosage, an extra pill should have been enough to take out a fucking army of operatic sopranos.
   It did no such thing. Luckily I neither phoned, Whatsapped nor SMSed a single soul that Saturday, but I did manage to memorise the ceiling. Not one single minute of sleep did I garnish from the chemical pools of resentment that is my brain. Not one. I eventually got up and went to read for a spell in the living room. When I thought I felt like perhaps I could finally eke out a few winks, I returned to bed to find that the subconscious protocol one observes when one knows there is another person in the bed to accommodate had pretty much been nullified once it became clear that there was no longer another person in the bed to accommodate. Not everyone's subconscious even makes room for this provision in the first place (Carla and Andrea, I am looking at you and all of your combined elbows, knees and chins), so I could hardly hold dude accountable for me voiding the "your side, my side" contract, and I decided to squeeze in and make a home out of the three inches left on "my side." Yeah, I got some knuckles to the face and went arse over tit, it was inevitable and I have no one to blame but myself.
   Upshot of a very long story: no sleep at all that night. That's crappy, but still acceptable if I could have returned home and waited until my body gave out to nap a hole into my own bed. What really burns is the fact that I fucking knew I was going to have to spend the whole day riding the steam train with Brenda and Co. into Cullinan, and I had gambled it on an extra sleeping pill. I had really been looking forward to the trip, make no mistake- it was about a 2 1/2 hour ride on the train into Cullinan, a day spent drooling over gorgeous stalls and shops, picnicking, and a trip back. Brenda is obsessed with steam trains like a boy with a locomotor fetish, and she'd been aching to do this trip for ages. I had now passed the Point of No Repose, and thought I could mumble my way through the day if I drew on the energy called up by holding back a monster pee. Or something.

   That's pretty much all I got before my phone died from lack of charge, in a move my dad has now affectionately taken to calling "pulling a Loraine." I don't like that this is catching on. And yes, we all know I love me a filter app and I'm no stranger to the fauz tilt-shift, let's move on and remember to save our ridicule for what counts: my perpetual innate whining superpowers.

   I bumped into people, things, and probably a couple of items that don't know where they fall on the animal/mineral/vegetable scale. While I cannot, upon pain of slow and agonising death, fake courtesy when faced with a personage I do not like, I can at minimum fake a low level of alertness when sleep deprived, and for a little while (sitting down) I held my own. When I realised the lay-over in Cullinan would take like FOUR FUCKING HOURS, my will to live started slowly ebbing away, and with it my acting chops. I fell asleep for not very long on the picnic blanket (I made damn sure to stay awake long enough to have my share of Brenda's home made sushi) bringing home more burrs on my jacket than any one person has a right to, and as we were leaving meandered in after Brenda's sister and her two daughters as they took a last stroll through the old fashioned sweet shop that I had been rather partial to. I decided to buy some red liquorice and espied JAWBREAKERS, MOTHERFUCKER, so I bankrupted myself on as many of those as I could carry. 4. Considering how hard they are to find, I really ought to have seen if there wasn't anyone in the crowded town who was on the market for a quick back-alley kidney, because chances are I'll be old and grey before I find any of those again. Also: I've already eaten all of mine. Through a jaw issue, no less, I'm still on anti-something or anothers for it, but had the damn thing been falling off you would have had a hard time keeping me from my confectionery. I'm saving one for a friend, and it. Is. Fucking. Killing. Me. It's just sitting there, all innocent and pretty in a brown paper bag, right next to my bed, and how hard would it be really to believe if I said one of my cats had found their way into my drawer and licked the thing? I have tons of cats, that could so have happened. And if it had, would it not have been my absolute responsibility as a good friend- and indeed, person- to dispose of the offending candy in any way possible? Goddammit, Loraine, stay strong. Only a few more hours and you can deliver it to its intended master intact, and mop up the accompanying accolades like the hero you are. Just keep telling yourself it's broccoli or somesuch.
   Marika (Brenda's sister) and the kids apparently walked out, never having had an idea that I had been following them in the blind belief that fully-awake people would know where to go better than I. By the time I had finished counting my copper change to ensure maximum jawbreaking, they were long gone into the ether, and I knew the train station was about a ten minute walk in a direction I couldn't possibly guess. And my phone was dead. I am a fucking genius. I pocketed my booty and trudged along in the general direction the crowd was milling in, and eventually met a very worried Brenda coming up the other way. Someone had seen me walk into the shop behind Marika, but she herself had had no idea- and taking into account my zombified state it wouldn't have been an entirely bad guess to think I had simply curled up and fallen asleep somewhere behind a fairly large tree. I assured them I was not yet so far gone, and could find my way back on my own thank-you-very-much, neglecting to mention that me actually having found the station instead of the next town over was due to simple and undeniable luck.

   I also, in all the hubbub and double-visioned phone crises, managed to forget to wish my dad a happy father's day, so

    And now I'm off to try to be marginally funny and at least vaguely pleasant at some new acquaintances whilst playing incubator to a new strain of demon flu. Look, I make no bones about the House of Many Ills, and I can only but do my part to live up to its promise.