Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2012

The New Year of Earthly Things

I GOT THIS. I holed up over the last few nights and crunched all the numbers. The Mayans – they forgot to carry the one. The end of the world is NEXT year.

chain

WTF

I spent the (so-called) Last Day of Earthly Things reading Kurt Vonnegut on the beach in Waikiki, Hawaii. I went for a jog and had steak dinner with my family. Then I found a dive karaoke bar in Chinatown and waited. It was perfect. The paint was peeling off the walls (that old cliché) and everyone was overweight, the wrong side of 40, and drunk. I was singing Bill Withers when the clock struck midnight – just how I wanted to go out. The clock ticked over. And nothing happened. I had made my farewells. Burnt some bridges. Said goodbye to my cat. How was this possible?

Some people have been confused by this blog. They ask me: “Do you really think the world will end? Or is this in fact a parody?” No it is not a parody. There were solid scientific reasons for believing the world would end. For example, the Mayans were ancient, so had ancient wisdom, and they made a calendar that stopped at a particular time. Therefore apocalypse. Then there’s the Zodiac. And polar interstellar NASA quantum shift flibbitybizkit. “Is it, then,” some friends will ask, “some sort of existential experiment, in which you find inspiration in living AS IF the world is going to end?” Well. If that last one were true, THANK YOU FOR BREAKING DOWN THE FOURTH WALL. If it were, I wouldn’t tell you. And no. It was not true. I was totally, 100% serious. Obviously.

I thought my friends knew me.

"Well . . . This is going to be a depressing end to the story."

“Worst. Ending. Ever.”

When Joseph Smith’s scribe lost his translation of the Book of Lehi, he didn’t give up. He just made up some other, shorter version. I read an interesting story about an eschatological cult from the 1950s. It was led by a Chicago housewife named Dorothy Martin who claimed to channel messages from aliens announcing impending apocalypse. When the world did not in fact end, members became MORE committed to their beliefs, undergoing a period of enthusiastic proselytizing. Leon Festinger, the psychologist who introduced the idea of cognitive dissonance, and who had infiltrated the group, argued that their evangelism was a way to bolster their own shaken beliefs, thus reducing dissonance. They re-wrote their disappointment as a victory. I wonder if that’s also what happened with Christianity.

I have no idea what this . . . Voila. Apocalypse.

I have no idea what this . . . I mean voila. Apocalypse.

The difference here, of course, is that I have maths on my side. PROOF in the form of cold, unshakeable equations. I would show you the full calculations, but they’re way too complicated for you to understand. Just like Joseph Smith, though, all this has only made me more determined. Like Dorothy Martin, I feel reborn – renewed. We’ve been given a second chance. The angel of death has passed over our houses, as over the blood-painted doors of the Israelites in Egypt, and spared us. For one more year. I’m inventing a second holiday, to follow The Last Week of Earthly Things – which is where you thank everyone for the time you’ve shared together. (I might have called it Last Month of Earthly Things. Whatever, it’s week now). It’s the New Week (or so) of Earthly Things, from December 22-31. It’s where you sit about feeling grateful as Hell.

Have you thought about what this means? This second chance? The things that you can do now? This is important. Really important. Because the world IS going to end. One day.

December 21, 2013.

For me, this means that all that stuff I was talking about doing – Brazil, the Pyramids, the EP. The novel. It’s all possible.

Mae West said: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Game on.

46389_10151141721875824_1858817074_n

Read Full Post »

WTF?

Read Full Post »

I’D LIKE TO SAY that I’m going into the next life serenely but the truth is that I feel a range of raging emotions. It’s been a week of ups and downs, happy and sad thoughts, mad what ifs and also resolutions. One of the best moments was seeing my best friend again, of meeting her baby, the happiest kid on the planet. Another was surprising my Dad and my brother. Tomorrow I’ll see my mother and sister. (I figure that since the last day on the Mayan calendar was the 21st, the world will end tomorrow, somewhere around midnight – time enough for me to make it to Honolulu where my family is waiting). Man . . . there’s so much more I wish I’d done. I never got to motorcycle through Brazil or see the Pyramids. I would have liked to see Jerusalem and Petra. Most of all, I wish I’d helped people more and I wish I’d written that novel. I think I might even have liked to have a kid one day. I would have told him three things (I don’t know why I’m assuming it would have been a boy): take gambles; never call a woman fat; always wear sunscreen at the beach. It is never a good idea not to wear sunscreen. (God damn it). You know what though? As we march toward the end, I’m really glad I did this – live as if the world were ending. (Which, of course, it is. I should say, live knowing that the world is ending). I told people how much I care about them, saw everything in a new way, and came home.

It was the best thing I ever did.

Read Full Post »

I AM IN AUSTRALIA. And it is awesome.

I said that I had one last plan. It was to come back home before the world ends.

4519864125_410d859110_z

Disembarking from the plane, I mounted my trusty boomer and rode down the dusty track toward home

I came in secret, like a thief in the night, hoping to surprise my family. It was a comedy of errors. My mother and sister are in Hawaii: surprise ON ME. I tried to surprise my Dad, but jetlag defeated me and he surprised me on the couch. I did manage to surprise my brother though, and my best friend. I had to see them all before the end (I’m seeing my mother and sister in Hawaii on the 21st, the Last Day of Earthly Things). I also had to meet my best friend’s baby. Most of all I had to come back to where I was from.

“Ah, the Australian lynx” – said no naturalist ever

It’s strange to be back in a place where memories are all around. The walk home was like time travelling. There’s the road I would bike up and down, pretending to be chased by dinosaurs. Those are the gates from which the Dobermans would bark at me. There’s the empty block where I caught a rabbit. That’s the gully I used to explore, running through the pipe beneath the road to the beach. In another empty block I would search for possum nests. There’s the field where I thought I saw a lynx. At my primary school, we thought we could see a cat’s eyes in the space beneath the classroom, and I decided it was the lynx, so I spent days digging a hole to get under there, hiding from the teachers, until it was big enough for us to crawl through. The eyes were a trick of the light.

Melbourne is a beautiful city, the most beautiful modern city that I’ve seen outside of Europe.

I am very sunburnt. I make red look orange. Moths are attracted to me.

I can’t wait to see my mother and sister on the Last Day.

I’m happy.

IMG_0923

Read Full Post »

20100204_giacomettiWhen I think about time, I think of how fast time goes and about being thirty, and how next comes forty, then fifty and sixty and seventy and eighty, and then for sure, if not before, dirt and grass. At least that’s how it was meant to be – but now instead there’s just this week. I imagine being dead and it’s a total mindfuck. When I think of my place in the world, I think of billions of animals crawling across the Earth and I’m one of them, one of billions and billions. An intelligent clod of dirt. On a rock that’s one of billions, in a galaxy that’s one of billions, in a universe that might also be one of billions. I think about this and I think, what does it mean? It doesn’t mean anything. Is this a fucking joke? Why have I been made to want it to mean more when it means nothing? Why was I built with a hole where a god would go? What kind of cruel joke . . . ?

I turn to the things around me, my cat, memories, music I like, books I like, whiskey, stories, beautiful things, and cling to them with a kind of quiet desperation.

Read Full Post »

11WE AUSTRALIANS DON’T FUCK AROUND. In a hard and rugged country populated with Tasmanian tigers, carnivorous kangaroos and drop bears, we can’t afford to. That’s why Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech about the end times below is no surprise to me. Australians call a spade a spade, a zombie a zombie, and the end the end.

If you look at the comment section on YouTube, some doubters are foolish enough to see this as an “obvious joke” – a parody. The same kind of idiots have said the same about my blog. Well. We’ll see who the zombie drop bears eat first.

I stand with you, Julia!

Read Full Post »

THAT’S WHAT FULCRUM, the University of Ottawa’s student newspaper, asked students. The responses: sex, making out, sex, bacon, and getting wasted. This ties in to a New Zealand study from the University of Caterbury published a few months ago which concluded that sex and alcohol make people happiest, moreso than caring for children and religion. In the study, researchers asked participants to rate their activities throughout the day in terms of pleasure, meaning and engagement. Sex won. Then getting smashed. (I would love to see the text messages for this. “scientists, AlCOhl so ammazig!!”). After that, volunteering. So according to scientists, what we should be doing is volunteering for drunk sex.

I’m disappointed that “bacon” wasn’t a separate category in this study. I feel like it would have given volunteering a run for its money.

Women-sex

“Let’s get wasted and have sex before we dig wells at the orphanage.”

Sex, by the way, ranked highest on all three orientations – pleasure, meaning and engagement. An author at YourTango.com, a blog about “your best love life”, writes: “I find it a little troubling that sex also ranks number one in terms of meaning and engagement. That must be some mind-blowing sex they’re having over in New Zealand.”

Lady? You are doing it wrong.

One question I have is this: who were the participants? Were they, for example, students at the University of Caterbury? Students in their 20s, especially those juggling child-rearing and education, might give very different answers to parents in their 30s, which might be different again to the responses of retirees in their 60s, etc.

Happiness levels maxed out

Happiness levels maxed out

A part of me just wants to accept the study at face value, however, because I like that the researchers and those who did the eschatological thought experiment (i.e. asked themselves “What would I do if I knew I the world was going to end?”) reached the same conclusion. It affirms the value of the eschatological thought experiment, which affirms the project of this blog: to live as if the world were going to end (which, of course, it will, December 21st). It brings out the value in eschatological thought (leaving aside the dangers for a moment): which is that eschatology forces us to face our own mortality and therefore our most sacred values, stripping away the rest. It reminds us of what’s important.

Sex. Drunk sex.

And volunteering.

Here’s the full list:

Top-ranked:Behaviour

Pleasure

Meaning

Engagement

Happiness

Sex/ making love

1st

1st

1st

1st

Drinking alcohol/ partying

2nd

10th

5th

2nd

Care-giving/ volunteering

9th

3rd

6th

3rd

Meditating/ religious activities

8th

2nd

7th

4th

Childcare/ playing with children

10th

4th

11th

5th

Listening to music/ podcast

3rd

17th

13th

6th

Socialising/ talking/ chatting

5th

11th

10th

7th

Hobbies/ arts/ crafts

4th

5th

4th

8th

Shopping/ errands

15th

16th

16th

9th

Gaming/ video-games

6th

24th

9th

10th

Lower-ranked
Washing/ dressing/ grooming

22nd

29th

30th

21st

Internet/  on computer

20th

28th

21st

22nd

Commuting/ travelling

27th

23rd

29th

23rd

Paid work

26th

15th

17th

24th

Lectures/ class/ lab

23rd

8th

15th

25th

Texting/ emailing

21st

18th

18th

26th

Studying/ working on education

28th

7th

14th

27th

Housework/ chores/ DIY

29th

27th

27th

28th

Facebook

24th

30th

28th

29th

Sick/ healthcare

30th

25th

25th

30th

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »