Thursday, June 30, 2005


Nothing makes Christians happier than activities that eschew sin, and nothing is less likely to induce sinful thoughts than a Progressive Dinner. Indeed, one can put forward the case that the Israelites' wandering in the desert for 40 years was just a particularly ambitious progressive dinner, and that was lead by God Himself, so you can't get much more of an endorsement.

So last night my Bible study group had a progressive dinner, and while this particular one was not lead by God Himself, it was agreeable and entirely delicious.

However, I believe it might have gone better if it had been conducted in reverse.

That way, we would have started at SE's place. Her current home is a cheap 1980s unit intended to store single mothers and engineering students out of sight so their existence doesn't disturb those with more elevated sensibilities. It has oppressively low ceilings, tiny rooms and surfaces of relentless beige that made it seem as if we were 50 metres underground, even when we could hear the rain pounding against the roof. Despite the surroundings we very much enjoyed her excellent homemade dark chocolate mousse and apple crumble, we listened to Wacky Hits of the 90s, and we patted our over-full bellies while she and SD nostalgically demonstrated the Macarena.

In my reversed scenario, we would then have progressed to main course at my house, which was also built in the 1980s but designed to rip more money from the hapless tenant or mortgagee, hence higher ceilings, room to swing larger cats, and a patio. I cooked porterhouse steaks on the barbecue, and served them with my favourite potato salad (whole unpeeled baby new potatoes, sauteed red onion and flecks of italian sausage, whole egg mayonnaise, sweet corn and fresh rosemary). MC announced, in a quiet, earnest manner, that it was the best potato salad he had ever eaten. He also opined that the chardonnay that SE had brought tasted like something he'd once made himself, out of apples. I agreed with him on both counts.

Finally, we would have progressed to MC's house, a delightful 1920s weatherboard cottage draped in climbing roses and grape vines. There he served us an entree of whole prawns in garlic and chili butter, washed down with SE's other bottle of chardonnay, which was better than the main course bottle by several orders of magnitude.

We would have thus ended the night in a charmingly tumbledown old house in a cool part of town, with a decent wine in our glasses, and groovy retro bachelor pad music fresh in our minds instead of Shaggy's 'Mr Bombastic'.

I'm sure the Almighty would approve.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


You think you are the biggest geek in the world? You are not the biggest geek in the world. These people are the biggest geeks in the world.

Moderation in all things. Especially Star Wars.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I received further proof today that I am an idiot. I didn’t need further proof, but the universe is bountiful and can afford to shower me in proof enough to far exceed my humble needs.

My scooter is a nexus for all my idiot vibes. First of all, I made it a hundred metres down the road this morning before I realised I’d forgotten my helmet. I had a feeling I’d forgotten something, and gosh darnit, why was my head so cold?


Then when I was leaving work this evening, I patted down my suit pockets, as is my habit, to make sure I had my wallet and my iPod and my keys… aw crap. It only took me a moment to realise where they probably were. I went downstairs and sure enough, there they were, in the scooter’s seat lock, just where I’d left them nine hours earlier.

Frankly, with that sort of track record, I’m surprised I made it home alive.


Right now I have the William Shatner version of 'Common People' stuck in my head.

Earlier this morning I had Mark Hamill singing 'Luke Be A Jedi Tonight' from the Simpsons episode where Homer becomes the Mayor's bodyguard.

What the hell is wrong with me!?

Monday, June 27, 2005


On Saturday morning, while I was having my hair cut, a large, grumpy old man stomped into the salon. My chipper Irish barber bade him a good morning, but just he continued to scowl at the barber, me, and the salon in general as if we had all personally betrayed him.

"Have you signed the papers yet?" he demanded.

"It's right on the top of my list of things to do," my barber replied, with just a trace of nervousness inflecting his Irish cheer.

"So that's a no, then," the old man muttered dangerously.

"This afternoon," the Irishman breezed. "I'll sit down and sign them then, I promise."

"You've had plenty of opportunity to sign them already."

"I've been busy, you know. But I'll definitely sign them this afternoon."

I assumed that the old man was the landlord. He had the look of someone who could take a basket of adorable fluffy kittens, weigh it down with a big rock, and drop it off a bridge.

"Well you're not getting any of these until you've signed," the old man snapped, and I noticed that he was carrying a large tray. On the tray were a couple of dozen pikelets, individually daubed with jam and whipped cream.

"Ooh, they look good," my barber enthused.

"You can't have one until you've signed," the old man threatened, and he swept into the back of the salon, deposited the pikelets on a desk, and swept out again.

"I'll be back later," he muttered, eyeing everyone in the room as if trying to work out who to impale on a star picket first. Then he stomped out of the salon.

There was a brief silence, broken only by the gentle snicking of the scissors. At last my barber said, "He's been trying to get me to become an Australian citizen for years."


"I've been here fifteen years, and I've never gotten around to becoming a citizen. He got the papers for me a while ago, and you know, with one thing and another..."

"And now he's bribing you with pikelets?"

"Well, his wife is."

I felt a sudden, deep swell of patriotism. Anyone can be hostile to foreigners, but it takes an true-blue Aussie to be hostile to foreigners while bribing them with dainty tea-time treats.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I don’t remember the exact path that first lead me to Waiter Rant. I do remember that it was totally random, one of those serendipitous arbitrary link clicks that lands you on a quality blog that soon becomes one of your daily reads.

Unfortunately, only a few days after I chanced upon it, Waiter Rant was identified as a Blogs of Note at Blogspot. Then it was profiled in a newspaper. Then another. The number of comments sprang from the single figures to the triple in a matter of weeks. In less than a month, the anonymous waiter seemed to go from being a virtual nobody to having traffic to rival Dooce or Wil Wheaton.

It’s a shame, because Waiter writes in way that works best as a small, personal pleasure. He has a wholly distinctive voice, with a tone that drifts between drollery and melancholy, the literary equivalent of dark, bitter chocolate. I was looking forward to being a member of a small but keen audience, until the floodgates opened and the hoi polloi rolled in.

Yes, I’m a snob. Yes, I’m jealous of the traffic. But more important than either of those, I’m very intolerant of gush. And judging by the comments attached to this post, poor old Waiter is now drowning in the stuff.

Frankly, he deserves better.

Read through the post, if you have a few minutes, and cast your eyes over the comments (the Haloscan ones). You’ll find that the adulation verges on creepy, and some of the reactions are, well, unhinged. If you don’t have the stomach to read it en masse, you can just read the highlights that I’ve cut and pasted (and snarked about) below.

Thank you. That was incredible.

Why do I have the uncomfortable mental image of Trey lying back and lighting a cigarette?

Wow, just wow. I'm all choked up but don't know what to say.

I find that a good slap upside the head usually loosens things up.

i'm in tears. beautifully written waiter.

i’m so distraught i can’t even find the shift key…

Death, the final frontier . . .

Alas, our poor loved ones are gone, but they have forever changed our worlds . . .

Let's inherit everything they did that made us want to make the world better, and forget the rest . . .


wow...being reading your posts for awhile and this is the first one that left me speechless

Er, do you usually chatter at the screen while reading blogs, Megan? You know, that might explain those hostile looks you’re getting from your co-workers.

You made me cry at work. Thank you. Work can be a cold and lonely place when you work for a large corporation. You feel insignificant. This made me feel a little better about my life and know that the small things don't matter. I, like quite a few others, check your site for a little laugh or chuckle. Today, I got an even better, warmer feeling that I miss every once in a while. It's nice to have someone take you there. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'll be back for more.
John Bauhgman

Just as soon as I grow a spine.

You know, when you think of it, Maria was not alone nor unremembered. She touched a piece of you and you have carried it all these years. And now we know her, too.Her life was not wasted, in the end. Not if it helped you face the truth about yourself.

Beautiful post.

Karla, I’m sure that wherever Maria is now, she’s thinking, “I may have died a lonely, painful death after a short, drug-strewn life, but if I helped to turn one man away from a career of service to God, then my life and death were not in vain.”

I cried reading this post. In fact, I'm still crying. I feel a myriad of emotions now, and, in a small way, a bit of my faith back. Simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us.

(I think you have your angle for your book.)

What is it with being named Megan and being a complete sap?

I will never forget Maria.

Yeah. Right. Fifty years from now, I can just see Joanna on her deathbed:

Joanna: Maria!

Family: Maria? Who’s Maria?

Joanna: She was… uhhhhhh…

Family: An illegitimate daughter? A secret lesbian lover? A sled?

Joanna: I read about her… in a blog… once… augghhhhhhh (dies)

Family: You have got to be kidding me.


there is no light, no life without this hunger
each restless heart
beats so imperfectly
but when You come
i am filled with wonder

sometimes i think
i glimpse eternity.


Glurge… my own personal kryptonite… my one weakness… must fight… urge to hurl…

And, in contrast, because there’s one in every fanbase;

People are really like sheep, you could really write about anything and they'd love it.

Less about an imaginary creator please.

Do you get the feeling that Brian is very upset that people worship God instead of him? Damn it, why are people not bowing down before his enlightened genius? What’s wrong with them?

Fifty bucks says Brian ends up as Waiter’s stalker.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Dear JJ Abrams,

I am enjoying the first season of 'Lost', especially as we explore the back stories of the characters. It will be fascinating to see how you explain Locke's miraculous healing, the presence of the polar bears, the giant man-eating monster, the reason why the giant man-eating monster didn't eat Locke when it had the chance, the ability of the numbers to curse the loved ones of those who use them, the fact that compasses don't work, the prophesy about Claire's baby, Walt's mysterious powers, the origins of Ethan, the big metal hatch in the ground and the whisperings in the jungle. I look forward to seeing how all of this will be drawn together to create a cohesive whole, since only a complete tool would throw all of these things into the mix without carefully considering how he was going to do this.

However, before you get stuck into making season two, if you plan to set any further scenes in Australia, there are a few things you ought to know.

1. Australians do not recognise 'shrimp'. We eat prawns. Go anywhere in this wide brown land and you will never see a big sign advertising 'shrimp'.

2. We do not drive 'pick-ups'. We drive utes. The only time the word "pick-up" passes our lips is when we're ordering pizza and we don't want it delivered.

3. There may be Cape Cod houses somewhere in this country. But if there are, they're not in the suburbs of Sydney.

4. Kalgoorlie is pronounced Kal-GOOR-lee, not like Calgary with a cold.

5. Australians sound like Australians, not like South African Cockneys experiencing a stroke.

Please bear this in mind as you continue with the next season. Failure to do so will result in a visit by our infamous Ninja Koalas, the Scourge of the Pacific Rim. They have no mercy and they smell like half-digested eucalyptus, so ignore my advice at your peril.

Best wishes,


P.S. Congratulations on getting our money right, though.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I'm back. I spent the weekend hiding from Michael Jackson's lawyers in a storm drain, but now that he's blown off to Switzerland to cry on Elizabeth Taylor's arthritic shoulder, I'm free to return home.

My big achievement last night was installing a switch on another one of my illuminated signs. I watched 'Mythbusters' to help get my electrical engineering groove thang on, and it seems to have worked, since I didn't electrocute myself and I am thus not typing this from beyond the grave.

Unfortunately, by the time the switch was installed, my body had settled into the couch cushions, like a zip-loc bag full of custard, and I couldn't get up. As I hopped from channel to channel, I swear the only parts of me that were moving were my heart, my lungs, and my right index finger on the TV remote. There may also have been some drool.

It was under these circumstances that I watched some snippets of 'Big Brother Uncut'. For those who go to bed early, 'Big Brother Uncut' is like 'Big Brother', only without the judicious editing to make the participants seem vaguely civilised. It was like watching an experimental theatre version of 'Lord of the Flies'. Occasionally in weak moments I've thought, "You know, being a participant in a Big Brother would be interesting. Stressful, but interesting." But now that I've actually seen more than five minutes of it, I can't imagine a better analogy of HELL. No books, no writing implements, no natural fibres or surfaces, and no quiet places into which one can escape the loud, stupid, aggressive, boorish, shallow fools with whom you've been trapped.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Personal Message From Michael Jackson

Hello everyone. This is Michael Jackson. You may remember me from such movies as Thriller and The Changing Face of Michael Jackson.

You see, if I’m up with the in-jokes on ‘The Simpsons Family’, I can’t really be that weird, can I?

Anyway, in recent weeks, during my stressful and unpleasant time in court, a certain blogger named Blandwagon has been writing very hurtful things about me in the internet forums “MichaelJackson4eva” and his own “Michael Jackson Is A Perverted Freak Whose Very Existence Defiles The Good Name Of Humanity”. I complained to Mr Wagon, through my lawyers, and in response he offered me the right of reply on his blog, which he assures me gets around forty billion hits a day. Then he ran away, crying like a little girl.

So let’s set the record straight here. I am not a pervert, and I did not molest little boys. True, the police searching my house uncovered enough porn to completely wallpaper Larry Flynt's house. And true, the porn covers a full range of niche interests, from ‘Barely Legal’ to ‘Over 50s’ to ‘Members of the British Judiciary Molesting Suffolk, Romney Marsh and Tukidale Sheep.’ But despite the mute evidence of this porn stashed around my bedroom, my interest in sleeping with pre-pubescent boys was purely platonic.

And granted, it may be difficult for you to reconcile my public image as the innocent, child-like Peter Pan of Santa Ynez with the inconvenient porn-snuffling, wine-chugging, nasally-disintegrating, hush-money-paying habits of a deranged 50 year old man. But you should.

If you can’t, well, personally I blame the cynicism of the media.

I dream of a day when a man like me, who loves little children (or at least the male ones) can express his love physically, through the completely chaste acts of sleeping and showering with them. If we can’t do that, then we will have lost our collective innocence forever.

Thank you. I love you all… especially Mr Alphonse’s third grade class at Middleman Academy. Thanks for all the photos! I’ll be seeing you soon!

Michael xxx

Friday, June 17, 2005

Bottom is usually home to tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theories and demonstrations of dangerously undeveloped social skills, but it does occasionally throw up something fun.

Here's a game I discovered in one of their threads.

1. Think of a brand of 4x4 or SUV.

2. Add the world 'Anal' in front of it.

3. Giggle like a 12 year old.

I never claimed to be immune to the wiles of arse-based humour. Anal Patrol. Anal Explorer. Anal Territory. Hee hee hee.

However, it seems to work equally well with any kind of car. Some personal favourites:

Anal Cappuccino.

Anal Focus.

Anal Fiesta.

Anal Meteor.

And the best yet...

Anal Avalanche.

This is probably going to bring me a whole lot of traffic I don't really want, but what the hell.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Mind you, it's very hard to look at this picture and not feel just a little bit more cheerful.


It's a dull and gloomy day. I'm the only person in my office, and it's silent but for the breathy whir of my computer and the sound of raindrops hitting the skylight. Occasionally a phone rings in a neighbouring office, four times, before it's automatically answered and routed to voicemail.

I'm feeling a bit gloomy too. Nothing's going wrong, but nothing's going right either. The plaster moulding over the island bench in my kitchen is coming away and needs fixing. I need to get the Golf serviced. I should email my ex-Flatmate and get his new address so I can send him his mail. But I haven't done any of these things because I don't feel like it. If ennui were terminal, I'd be receiving the last rites right about now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I went out last night to see a friend of mine in a production of The Tempest at the Hayman Theatre. Many people sneer at student theatre, but I'm a big fan. It's generally intimate, often experimental, and oh-so-wonderfully inexpensive.

This production had a stripped down stage and unaltered dialogue, with an imaginative use of lighting and sound effects to dress the sets. It was thus the casting and acting that gave the play its life and vibrancy, which is after all the way Shakespeare would have wanted it. Ariel was played by two actors instead of the usual one, which was an effective way of evoking a sense of the character's ethereality, since she could be on both sides of the stage at once, or playing the flute and singing simultaneously. Stephano was played as Tim Curry, all enormous teeth and heavy-lidded eyes and louche posing. Prospero was tall and lean and grim, but he gave off a palpable sense of the power and authority he held over the island. Caliban was his physical opposite, stooped and burly, and owning the impression of angry, cowed tragedy that the character is supposed to evoke.

Of course, as is often the case at the theatre, the audience was just as much a source of interest as the stage. I was lucky enough to have the person I dubbed "Guffaw Man" sitting right behind me. He kept laughing, and by laughing I don't just mean a genteel little titter during amusing moments, but a barking explosion of mirth that seemed to burst out at random intervals:

Ariel: Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.



Well, that was what was echoing around inside my head. What actually came out of my mouth was more like "Grrrrrrrrrrrr..."

Monday, June 13, 2005


Rose Porteous says she cannot wait to leave boring Perth for elegant Melbourne.

Ahh, how to explain the phenomenon that is Rose to those who don’t know her? To paraphrase Voltaire, if Rose didn’t exist, it would be necessary for us to invent her. Every city needs a high-profile demented harridan in its populace, if only to give the local drag queens someone to model themselves on.

The flamboyant widow of iron-ore magnate Lang Hancock said she was sinking into a dark depression in her Perth palace. She and her four poodles were itching to settle into a simple life of elegance in Toorak.

[sound of Blandwagon exhaling coffee upon hitting the word ‘elegance’]

"I've been really depressed," she said. "I didn't leave the house for three months. I stopped eating. I thought I would have a nervous breakdown.

"I've lived in Prix D'Amour for 15 years, but it intimidates people and I'm reclusive here.

"It's like a fort. Nobody wants to come in, unless it is to throw eggs or golf balls, or shoot pellets at the windows. It is so isolated and a lot of people have conned me. So many awful people. If I was a stupid girl, I would be on the streets.

In a fair universe, yes. But we live in a world of injustice.

"And I bake like a pizza in my bedroom. I've been camping in my morning room for months because it is so hot. There comes a time in life when you just want simple elegance."

[sound of Blandwagon not learning his lesson the first time and exhaling coffee again]

Melbourne would be an exciting new chapter in her life, she said.

"When I'm in Melbourne, I feel good. There's culture," she said. "I'm nobody in Melbourne. I'll be able to lead a normal life.

"I am not coming to Melbourne to big-note myself. If I can help a charity or cause I will do it, but I'm not going to be a social matron.

Great! Rose is taking up charity work again! Maybe she can hold another fashion show, raise $15,860, and then reimburse herself $14,671 out of that for, among other things, getting her chandeliers cleaned.

"I just want to live in sheer elegance and privacy, be a good host at home and make really good friends.

[Dammit! Not again! It’s like I’m pebble-dashing my office with coffee here!]

"I can walk out with my pooches and look at the shops and be with ordinary people."

She said she admired Melbourne socialites Lillian Frank and Lady Susan Renouf.

Rose doesn’t realize that Melbourne already has resident demented harridans, and I’m quite certain they’d be very territorial.

But her best friends would always be her four poodles – Snoopy, Linus, Dennis (the Menace) and Lulu, all named after cartoon characters.

Sweet merciful crap.

"For a depressed person at the time, it was the biggest joy," she said. "With what I have gone through in life, I prefer poodles to humans.

Given the humans they mix with, the poodles probably feel the same way.

"You just give them love and a cuddle and they are happy. With human beings, the more you give them, the more they want."

It was not clear whether her Waterford crystal chandelier, one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere, would move to Melbourne.

Depends on how much charity work she can land.

Mrs Porteous said her husband, William, would probably stay in Perth in the short term, but would be a regular visitor to Melbourne.

She would bring her driver, though, because she did not feel confident tackling the trams on Melbourne's busy streets.

Prix D'Amour is to be demolished in August and carved up into 10 lots and sold in a deal believed to be worth about $36 million.

Next month, before the bulldozers move in, much of its contents will go under the hammer.

We can’t send in the bulldozers now? While she’s trapped in the morning room?

But seriously, this is just what those toffee-nosed Melburnians need; a freakish Filipino maid who married her boss, (who died not too long afterwards in cirumstances that were the basis of Coronial Inquiry) and now spends vast globs of money on the sorts of hideous things that only Filipino maids would consider to possess ‘sheer elegance’; gilded furniture, eye-blistering art, barrels of cosmetics, mansions that look like parking garages, and South African real estate agents.

This can’t end well.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


On Friday night GC and AB came over for another Festival of Bad Cinema. First up, the surprisingly sophisticated 1933 version of ‘The Invisible Man’, starring Claude Rains and directed by James “Let’s play ‘Spot the Homoerotic Subtext’!” Whale. It’s an old story: boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, girl falls for boy, boy turns self invisible using weird oriental drug, boy also suffers from slight homicidal psychopathic megalomanical side effects, girl frets and swans about in photogenic gowns, boy terrorises inhabitants of English village (all of whom were apparently played by foundation members of the Guild of Exceptionally Unattractive Actors), boy gads about nude in the snow but since he’s invisible makes it past the censors, boy enlists old colleague to help him do his dirty work, boy kills exceptionally unattractive police chief, several exceptionally unattractive vigilantes, and a trainload of innocent people (who may or may not have been exceptionally unattractive, not that it really matters after they’d careened down a mountainside and fetched a caboose in the face), girl frets some more, this time in furs, boy kills colleague who betrayed him, boy holes up in barn but is discovered by exceptionally unattractive yokel, boy is flushed out of barn by police, boy is shot by police, girl rushes to his bedside just as he dies and becomes visible for the first time in the film, and boy is revealed to be exceptionally unattractive, which probably explains a lot of his hang-ups.

Next we had the 1961 version of ‘The Pit and The Pendulum’, starring Vincent Price, John Kerr, Barbara Steele, a brooding castle, a pit, a pendulum and the dreaded directorial hand of Roger Corman. It’s supposed to be the 16th century (the sets look like Tudor-themed rumpus rooms) and a young Englishman (with an American accent) turns up at the castle of Italian nobleman Don Medina to investigate the mysterious death of his sister, the Don’s wife. But no one is quite what they seem, and deception upon deception is discovered, and before you know it someone’s in the pit with the pendulum, and that’s never a good position in which to find oneself.

One of the threads of the plot was an evil scheme to drive one of the characters insane, and watching a low budget horror film attempt to convey this, I couldn’t help but reflect that it was a helluva lot more convincing than Anakin Skywalker’s turn to the Dark Side in Revenge of the Sith. It doesn’t bode well for George Lucas that he’s outscripted and outperformed by B-grade schlock horror actors and directors. It further doesn’t bode well that this surprises no one.

Lastly we headed into the 70s, with the Italian splatterfest ‘The Slave of the Cannibal God’, which starred Ursula Andress’s breasts, the rest of Ursula Andress, and some other people. In the beginning of the film, Ursula Andress’s breasts are in a comfortable room in the British Consulate in Port Moresby, explaining to the local consul that she needs to find her husband who has vanished in the jungle. It was a very comfortable room, with polished hardwood floors, healthy potted plants, elegant paintings and some nice mahogany furniture, and I found myself calling out, “Give it up, Ursula Andress’s breasts! We all know that if you mount an expedition into the jungle you’ll all get picked off one by one until it’s just the two of you, the rest of Ursula Andress, and one or two others. If your husband isn’t dead already he will be by the end of the film. Be sensible and just cut your losses and hang out here in civilisation.”

But did Ursula Andress’s breasts listen to me? Of course they didn’t. An hour and a bit later, having survived deadly jungle traps, tarantula attack, a deranged brother, treacherous guides, crocodile attack, dangerous rapids, spears, slippery rocks and the lecherous sideways glances of Stacy Keach, there they are, still attached to the rest of Ursula Andress, tied to a bamboo rack, being slathered in orange poster paint by nubile cannibal maidens. If only they’d listened.

One of the most notable aspects of this film was its failure to place a “no animals were harmed in the making of this film” disclaimer at any point. This was because every animal was harmed in the making of this film. There were numerous baffling cutaways to the Savagery of the Jungle, as serpent battled eagle, crocodile battled turtle, monkey battled python, and one of them always lost (specifically the eagle, the monkey and the turtle, although the turtle was a particularly feisty one and gave almost as good as he got). There was even a scene in which the guides sacrifice an iguana to appease their god, and they literally sacrifice an iguana, twitching and bloody and lovingly captured on film. American film companies would have tied themselves in knots trying to perfect an animatronic iguana with fake blood, but the Italians are a pragmatic lot, neither given to visceral squeamishness nor beholden to PETA, so they just filmed their extras killing a real one. Regardless of your feelings on animal rights, you’ve got to admire such directness.

Sometimes I wonder if there’s more to life than 1930s special effects, Vincent Price's overacting, and Ursula Andress’s breasts. But I suspect that if there is, I can’t afford it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Callooh! Callay! My MST3K DVDs arrived last night, and I celebrated with my friends by watching Godzilla V. Megalon ("directed by Ingmar Bergman!" as Crow noted). Now I know how heroin addicts feel when they get their first hit after a prolonged wait.

Interestingly, these DVDs are presented by the "MST3K Digital Archive Project", a group of selfless individuals who create copies of old episodes and distribute them so that, even if Minnesota vanishes in a nuclear holocaust, the precious record of grown men with puppets making fun of bad movies will survive. So I'm not really involved in video piracy - I'm part of a vital archival movement! I'm so selfless it hurts.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Today is my six month blogiversary. Looking back over the last six months of entries, it occurs to me that I have a tendency to be negative. Snarky commentry on Bad Cinema, bitching about hopeless dinner parties and clueless performances, belittling artworks and mocking other people's websites - I may be coming across as a mean, bitter person.

That's possibly because I am a mean, bitter person, but I'm only a mean, bitter person in odd moments. Most of the time I'm pretty happy and pleasant to be around. I make jokes. I help people move heavy objects like furniture or grandmothers. I am frequently kind to puppies, and I rarely set the homeless on fire. To prove that I am not always all about the mocking, here is a list of five things I unashamedly like and enjoy.

The Lost Dogs
Country music is a little like fugu. Most of it will kill you, but there are a few tiny slivers that are quite tasty. The Lost Dogs are one such sliver. The very phrase "Christian country music" should be enough to make your ears curl over and try to commit sepuku with your earrings, but they have a combination of fine musicianship, expressive voices, and a sense of humour that sends up their genre even while reveling in its most distinctive sounds. I can't listen to "Close But No Cigar" or "If You Loved Here (You'd Be Home By Now)" without developing a big happy grin. And my favourite song, "Rebcca Go Home", is so exquisite in its portrayal of love between humans and God that I blubber like a little girl, without fail, whenever I hear it.

Poached eggs
I've developed a habit of having poached eggs for breakfast on Sunday mornings. After a nice sleep-in, I meander out to the kitchen, poach some eggs in the microwave, make some wholegrain toast all hot and brown and buttery, fix a double-shot flat white with my espresso machine, and sit down in the conservatory* to read the weekend paper, with Heritage FM's crusty morning jazz program playing in the background. It's bliss.

For many years my family farmed cattle, and I learnt from a young age that cows are thoroughly pleasant creatures. They are big and gentle and delicious, and they come in a wide variety of colours. They can also be trained - we'd holler at them while feeding them hay, then to round them up, all we'd need to do is stand at the top of a paddock and holler again, and the cows would come running (thinking that more hay was in the offing... suckers). Now I live in the city, but I paint cows, I sculpt cows, and I collect paintings and sculptures of cows by other artists.

I hate sheep though, as all right-thinking people do.

Rosalie Gascoigne
Rosalie Gascoigne was born in New Zealand in 1917, and it apparently took her artistic sensibilities fifty years to get over it. But get over it they did, and right up until her death in 1999 she was creating artworks of astonishing beauty.

I love working with found objects, and Rosalie was the Queen of Found Objects. She's famous for her works with old fruit crates and roadworks signs, cut up and reassembled into pictures that make me feel aesthetically giddy. The greatness of her work lies in its simplicity, and the way that simplicity allowed her artistic sense to shine out. If I took a dozen stained plywood panels and stuck them to a wall, they'd look like a dozen stained plywood panels stuck to a wall. When she did it, it came out as art.

One of my goals in life is to own one of her works. Then I can hang it on my wall and bask in her genius for hours at a time.

This cartoon
If it needs explanation, you are dead to me.

*I suppose technically it isn't really a conservatory, but it's tiled, light-filled, and inhabited by many enormous potted plants, so that's close enough for me.

Monday, June 06, 2005


JC has always been a tad masochistic, which would explain his devotion to amateur musical theatre. He practices hard, works long hours, and doesn't get paid, all so that he can sit in a smelly orchestra pit and not see what's going on up on stage.

For the last couple of weeks he's been playing bass for 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat'. He'd suggested that I try to catch one of the performances, and I eventually remembered that I'd promised to do that on the afternoon of the final evening show. I rang him to get specifics.

JC: Okay, it's at the Regal in Subiaco, it starts at 8 o'clock, and the tickets are $38.

Me: Crikey! $38 for amateur musical theatre?

JC: Well the Regal isn't cheap.

Me: No, I guess it isn't. I'll see you at the theatre then.

JC: (as idea occurs to him) Or I suppose I could see if I could get you a comp.


Me: It'd be nice if you could.

So off he went to check with the publicity manager, and sure enough he could have a free ticket waiting for me at the box office. Occasionally being completely disorganised and leaving everything until the last minute has its advantages.

'Joseph' and I have a history. We were born in the same year, and my parents had the original cast recording on vinyl... it was probably the closest they ever came to the counter culture. I used to listen to it ad nauseum on their refrigerator-sized radiogram, partly because it was a great story with very catchy tunes, and partly because everything else in their record collection was bloody awful 70s country. It's easy to sneer at Andrew Lloyd Webber for his glib and bouncy melodies, but if you consider that 'Joseph' was originally written as a 'pop cantata' for schoolchildren, it's all a lot more forgivable. Indeed, compared to the trash we throw at children today, it's positively sophisticated.

Part of the fun of this musical is the wide variety of styles and genres being ripped off to tell a Bible story. There's a maudlin French torch song, a calypso number, a cha-cha, a 'Chicago'-style 1930s cabaret number, as well as a hilarious Pharaoh-as-Elvis song which lifts the second act out of the doldrums like a shot of adrenalin. This particular production got in on the humor by accompanying the French torch song with a sexy lady dancer, complete with the ubiquitous black bentwood upon which to pose, and by dressing the scene in Potiphar's house (the 1930s cabaret number) in full black and white art deco, complete with ditsy chorus girls in silver wigs. They even finished Pharaoh's blue and gold outfit with a pair of blue suede shoes.

Otherwise, the show was... well, adequate. The sound mixing was terrible, such that a lot of the wit in the lyrics was lost in the swell of the music. And when Joseph had his coat torn off, revealing his lily-white chest, the audience was momentarily blinded by the reflected spotlight. It's nice that he put in a bit of time at the gym honing his abs before the show, but dude, would it kill you to spend half an hour under a sunlamp as well?

However, unreserved praise can go to The Narrator, who not only sang with a beautifully pure voice all up and down the register, but also threw herself whole-heartedly into the proceedings and never once seemed to be having anything less than a whale of a time. You can forgive pretty much anything in the face of unreserved enthusiasm.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Arty (redux)

I went back to Gregson's yesterday to attend the art auction. The interesting watercolour I'd admired on Saturday came up, and just as I'd suspected nobody else wanted it, so I put in a bid of $150 and won.

T curran watercolour

I was feeling so chuffed with my canny art-buying ability that when another watercolour came up for a similar sum, I bought that too, even though it was the first time I'd seen it and it was twenty metres away on the other side of the auction room. Fortunately for me it turned out to be simple but lovely, and well worth my $160 bid.

ian wroth landscape

So all up, two original watercolours for just over $350, including buyer's premium and a credit card surcharge. My parents got their Elizabeth Durack, so they're happy. All is right with the world.

Plus I also now know how to use Flickr!


Well, it's taken many years of searching, but I've finally discovered my soulmate. I love you, goat-dressing piano-accordion-playing cheesy-smiling woman. Come to Australia and you shall have many dancing goats, the best caprine T-shirts, and the finest kitschy musical instruments ever devised.

Who would want some vapid self-absorbed bitchy supermodel when there are goat-dressing piano-accordion-playing cheesy-smiling women in this world? Be still my aching, enamored, besotted heart.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


David Vincent, alien hunter and Architect of Action, once again entertained BM, DM and I last night with another tale of ‘The Invaders’. Because we're lame and we're jonesing real, real bad for the MST3K DVDs I bought off eBay yesterday, we did our usual sub-par Mike-and-the-robots routine (in italics).

Vincent is in New Mexico (or some similar place with a lot of surly, treacherous brown people) and with his unerring ability to sniff out alien spaceships, he manages to find yet another one. It looks like a porkpie hat wrapped in tinfoil, but what the hey, it’s still a spaceship. He races back into town to tell a sympathetic newspaperman.

Vincent: I saw something out there in the desert… some sort of disabled vehicle.

Me: I could tell because it was parked in a handicapped space.

The newspaperman introduces him to Vikki, the world’s most modest stripper, who recounts how she too saw a craft while lost in the desert. Vincent persuades her to take him out and show him the place.

Vincent: I’ll make it worth your while.

Me: I’m an architect, you know. I’ll draft up some plans for a rec room extension that’ll knock your socks off, baby.

She agrees, and shows up the next day in capri pants and a saucy headscarf, with a picnic basket for the trip.

BM: Here, I brought you a little snack.

Me: I hope you like otter!

BM: Don’t worry about me, I’ll be feasting on your brains later.

But on the long ride out into the desert, she seems strangely withdrawn, then grows increasingly agitated.

Vikki: Do you have to drive so fast?

Me: Whoa, did they get married during the commercial break?

It turns out that our Vikki is an alien too! Vincent sure can pick ‘em. But she’s a mutant, one of a rare alien strain who feel emotion, who care about others, and who wear false eyelashes that could double as locomotive cow catchers. She’s been turned by Vincent’s gentle manner and tight trousers, and she betrays her own kind by helping him escape from the trap into which she’d been leading him. Soon they’re being chased through a ravine by gun-toting, boilersuit-wearing aliens.

Me: You see, this is what happens when paintball gets out of hand.

Vincent leaves her at a little farmstead while he borrows a farmer’s car to drive to the nearest phone and call for help. But before he goes, he and Vikki have a bit of an argument, and she retaliates by calling her alien pals on her small, white, ovoid communicator to come and get him.

Me: Um, Vikki? That’s a boiled egg.

BM: It is? I was wondering why my egg sandwiches were so crunchy this morning!

But she’s a capricious little thing, and just as Vincent returns she runs out to warn him and gets vaporised for her trouble. Gunplay ensues and Vincent kills them all before the authorities turn up. Of course, the aliens and their technology disintegrate upon death, so there’s nothing left to show a sceptical world. Inheritance must be a bitch on their planet...

Alien lawyer: Your great aunt left you her house, her Mercedes, and $50,000. It’s all here in this vacuum cleaner bag. Enjoy!