You’ve been here before

The last 3 months have easily been the most professionally challenging of my life. The fact that it’s coinciding with me (and the boy) purchasing my first house, is making for somewhat interesting times. Somehow, though, it’s okay. So far. There was a hairy moment at around 11 this morning when Sam had to slowly take the client file from my hands and repeatedly tell me to calm down, but otherwise sanity remains intact.

Sort of.

Mount Eerie helps. My cat helps. The constant support of the boy is, well, everything else. And the thought of that little house lying maybe 50kms away, waiting for us to live in it. That kinda pulls me through every single day.

Dear Glenn,

So I’ve heard your new song maybe 5 or 6 times now. I’d really love to say that I love it. I’d really love to say I like it, even. But I can’t. Which makes me sad.

Here’s the thing – there are two reasons why I LOVE Augie March. First – few people in the world write an old-fashioned ballad the way that you do. When I listen to There Is No Such Place or Bottle Baby I swoon. It’s music for swooning. Second – your uproarious songs – you know, the ones where the whole band is playing and you shout at the top of your lungs – have some of my favourite OMFG moments in music. Australian music at least. Songs like Song In The Key Of Chance and One Crowded Hour build and build until you think your head might explode.

Oh oh oh and there’s a third. Third, the lyrics. You write god damn amazing lyrics Glenn.

And there-in lies the issue. The song starts at a medium pace, and finishes at a medium pace. The articulation of the lyrics is a little weird dude. Actually, no, not weird – a little mediocre. Like, I could hear this on commercial radio and not blink. And holy hell, it scars me on the inside to say that. Also, with all that weird synth stuff happening all around the song, I cannot even make out the lyrics. I tried very, very hard tonight, driving home from work, to hear what you were singing. And I’m not sure if it was just my toast-brain from my fucked up day, but I was really truly struggling.

So yeah. Not so much love. I will though, like any good CFG, buy your new album next month. I am also going to your show at the Metro. Because I haven’t given up on you yet. You wrote every single song on Strange Bird and for that I will love you forever.

See you soon.


Smile a while, forget the bile

If I should die, let this be my epitaph: his only proof for the existence of God was music.

Kurt Vonnegut

Things keeping Karen sane week ending 30/08/2008 –

• The boy. Because he always knows what to say.
• Slaughterhouse-Five.
• The Mountain Goats touring.
• Pictures of my house. Our house.
• Discussions about shelves in said house. Yes – discussions about shelves, and packing, and washing machines and moving, are joy to me right now.
• Certain rumours about certain wolf-related bands.
• My kitty. He’s patient and brave and he knows he’s still the best kitty in the world. Even with the imposters.

So, I’ve been reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been so taken with a book. For a story centering around death and war, it’s had a seriously uplifting effect on my state of mind. So it goes.

First, it makes we want to write. And write really well. And right now I have no time for any of that writing nonsense. 12 hour days are slowly (actually, probably quite quickly) atrophying my brain.

But yes. I want to write.

Second, I’ve been doing that thing that I always do when I stumble upon something I love – I obsess about it. Not one to do things by halves, I’ve read the Wikipedia entry and looked at all the fan sites I could and read every obituary there was when he died on April 11, 2007. One day after my 30th birthday. Pretty much around the time that the wind got behind me and blew me into a million and one amazing directions.

And he was honestly the most amazing person. And clearly one of the most sensible people to have ever lived on this fucked up planet. And I’m a little sad that I didn’t understand the genius while the man was still alive.

Today was a day that felt like defeat. Through most of it I felt a hammer coming down on my head, regular as a metronome, to ensure I stayed nice and bogged down in metaphorical crap. I was alternately angry and close to tears.

But if you look hard enough there’s golden light. Or if you’re lucky enough, someone reminds you.

35 days.

Still alive.

Drowning in visa applications and stupidity.

Assuming the crash position.

Hoping/waiting/desperate for the long weekend.

And this vague little smile
Is my all-purpose expression
The meaning of which
I will leave to your discretion

Fire fire fire

I used to be curious when my mobile or my phone rang. Actually, scratch that. I used to be excited about it. About wanting to know who it was, and what they wanted, and what crazy shenanigans the world was potentially throwing my way. I even used to do political phone surveys.

Now I have my own unique phone cringe. It’s the face I pull when my mobile or my home phone or my desk phone goes. Particularly my desk phone, and particularly my mobile phone when my boss is away but IN Australia. That woman is nuts about the instant communication.

I just don’t want to know anymore. Because 9 times out of 10, that person phoning wants something from me. My time or my knowledge or on bad days, my head on a plate. I feel right now like I’m perpetually putting out fires. And I can’t remember the last time I started one. All by myself at least. Maybe that’s the way shit goes – you work hard, you carve a career for yourself, people start respecting your work and your ability to do stuff, and then they start throwing fireballs at you.

Maybe I’m just being naïve about all this and should just be sucking it up.

C’mon Friday. I’m dying over here.

I want a good life with a nose for things

Mondays. There’s a reason people hate this day. Honestly, this week I was dreading it and it lived up to every nightmarish horror I thought it might be. I need to find a way to let it go tonight, because another night of fitful sleep is really not on.

I mean, c’mon. I’m seeing WILCO tomorrow night. Got to be all up on my game and alla that.

I’ve been trying to placate myself tonight with the idea that even if the weekend was Monday and Tuesday, we’d all hate Wednesdays. I’ve never really liked Wednesdays anyway. Tuesdays are worse, but Wednesdays are not a lot of fun either. I guess we’re better keeping Monday as the hateful day rather than tarring the rest of the week with the same brush. Or something.

Tonight all the work just seems a little insurmountable. I’m going to need those 2 hours at the Enmore tomorrow night to remind me of the beauty in the world.

Hear that Mr Tweedy? I’m relying on you.

And the rain falls down

…on Sydney Town.

As a rule I’m a fan of rain. It washes all the dust and dirt of the day away and everything feels like it becomes new again. The air and the earth and just everything smells better. Today, though, when it started pouring through a hole in the ceiling at work right onto our network hub and phone system, I quickly became less of a fan.

It was certainly an interesting day. Very productive, though, so that’s something.

I’m pondering a lot of things tonight. This is directly the result of 2 emails and a conversation with someone who really shouldn’t matter all that much. I sometimes find that’s the way of things – the people who should have the least influence often irk us or make us contemplate the most. I’m a pretty independent thinker. Relatively that is. I make up my own mind about things and can be kinda persistent with my opinion if I’m really passionate about something. Still, just occasionally I catch myself looking away from myself and out to other people. Weighing and measuring up the me verses them. Their place in the world verses my place. Their choices verses mine.

I’m a little torn about this way of thinking. On one hand I think it’s ultimately pointless – you, yourself, should be the only measure of your success (whatever success is). But on the other hand, how can you measure something without some sort of comparison? How can you ask questions if you don’t see the differences, or if you don’t ultimately think there might be a better way? I guess the thing is to not constantly look to other people for the inspiration to better yourself, but from time to time to check and balance. Or something.

So today came a point where someone said something completely innocently, answering I question I had asked them, and I felt suddenly annoyed and irritated. Which took me completely by surprise, because really it was a totally inappropriate reaction given the circumstances. But then, tonight driving home from work in the pouring rain, I started (as much as it made me mentally squirm) to really ask myself why. And you know what it boiled down to?


Holy cow. I think I was actually jealous. And this is crazy for me, because not only is it an emotion I’m almost totally unfamiliar with, it crept up on me and bit me on the ass taking me completely by surprise. So naturally, once I realised this I came to terms with a few other things.

Anyway, to make a really long and self-absorbed story short, I feel a little less annoyed and irritated and a little more content with things. So I guess everything works out in the end.

And on the weekend, in the Magical land of Wagga, I experienced this in the opposite direction. Because I feel like there’s one part of my life that is impervious to any amount of weighing up or measuring up or anything of that kind. Because I know for a fact it’s plain as day to the rest of the world that it’s wonderful and that really, they should be so lucky.

Anyway, I’m going to bed. Not because I’m tired, really, but because I have an episode of The Office to watch that I haven’t seen before.


GOODBYE to the suckiest week that ever sucked.

HELLO to a wonderful weekend full of Good Things.

I hope you’re all, whatever you’re up to, up in it to your necks. One must experience things to the absolute end, don’t you think? A life without passion is no life at all.

And the fact that I am still able to think like this after the week I’ve had is a minor miracle.

Catch you all on the flip side 😉

Karen, I’m not taking sides

It’s a sorry state of affairs when you become sick to death of hearing your own name. I feel like the second my ass hits my chair at work, the phone goes, or the intercom goes, or my boss (because this is the way she rolls) screams across the hallway. KAAAREN! This would all be well and good if I didn’t have an actual job to do.

And this job, currently, is wholey and solely taken up with organizing an international conference.

A) I am not a conference coordinator. I have never once organised a conference, let alone a conference for 50 delegates from 13 different countries. I am flying by the seat of my proverbial pants.

B) My specially printed conference satchels are currently somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne. This is because they were sent to Clarendon, VICTORIA. Yes. This has cause me some slight anxiety (cough).

C) I did not bid for this conference. In fact, I remember saying waaaaay back in October 2005, don’t think I am going to get stuck organizing this thing. Because it ain’t gonna be me. HEAR ME? NO! Yeah.

D) If the snake guy doesn’t show up on Wednesday lunch time with his various reptiles and ‘mobile snake pit’ I am going to have to find something else to fit into the category of ‘demonstration of Australian culture and wildlife’ as this is what is firmly in the conference agenda. I might have to get one of the girls to dress in a kangaroo suit and sing Waltzing Matilda or something.

E) Just in case anyone ever needs to know, I now know the answer to the questions ‘how much room does a didgeridoo player need?’ and ‘how much vodka can 5 Ukrainians drink in one night anyway?’.

F) The answer to the latter question above is a veritable fuck load, apparently. Hooray for open bars!

G) I am never organizing a conference again. I’m announcing my retirement on Friday October 26, 2007. Thereafter, that evening I will go on to see Ben Kweller at the Gaelic Club and spend the weekend with preferred company #1. Then after that I’ll go back to being a migration agent/general go to girl. And the world will rejoice.

This week is one of those weeks when music has saved me from throwing blunt implements at passers by. In the evenings I’ve been listening to the album Nebraska, and honestly, it’s the most perfect way to shed the shit of a day. I also played some Jeff Buckley today for the first time in a very, very long time. I was saying to the boy last week (I think last week) that Lover, You Should Have Come Over is one of the greatest love songs ever written. FACT.


Dear the National and Arcade Fire,

Please, announce Sydney dates, okay? Pretty please. Please don’t make me pay a million dollars to a fucking scalper on eBay for a Big Day Out ticket and the pure joy of witnessing you live.

Not that I wouldn’t, mind. But I’d moan about it a whole lot.

Yours with impatient devotion,


What light

I’m kinda empty. What a horrible, horrible day. It felt like every little thing that crossed my path latched a hold and kept sucking till I was dry.

I wonder how it’s possible to both love and hate something in equal amounts. I’m not the sort of girl who uses the word hate liberally – it’s a strong word, with a force of meaning, and it should be used as such. I spend my daylight hours Monday to Friday most of the time working for the greater good. It honestly does feel like that a lot of the time. It’s the rest of the time, when I am metaphorically beaten and harangued and overworked and taken for granted that I take issue with. And now I fucking DO take issue with it. It took me some time to get here, but honestly, a day like today makes me wonder what the hell I’m doing.

And days like today are increasingly outnumbering the good fight. I don’t know if my hesitation around about a decision is due to it not being the right time, or me being scared. It’s more, I think, what the decision might mean. In the great big scheme of things. I get the feeling inside of me that it’s inevitable, whether it happens now or in 12 months or in 2 years, but I guess the idea is to make the exit with the least amount of exodus damage. If that’s even possible from this point on. Because I’m not sure it is.

Also odd is that regardless of all this, and the 60 hours I worked last week and the stupidity of today and potentially tomorrow, I feel like I’m finding the balance. And also, where one thing ends, another begins, right? So there’s light.