Friday, January 28, 2011


Something has gone wrong with Australian journalism when an article like this is titled, 'Relocation package 'sounds promising'', and not 'Bogans on the move!', which would have been a far more evocative headline.

In fact the whole damn article needs a serious rewrite if it's going to get to the heart of this glimpse into modern boganity. Fortunately I am here to oblige:

The proud son of an illiterate mother, Shayne (sic) Parker has recently found casual employment as a barely-skilled labourer. However he is willing to give up this precarious employment if rumours of opportunities in flood-ravaged Queensland turn out to be true.

"If it's as it seems, it's a very good offer," he said.

His 20 year old girlfriend Thaleia, whose own mother named her in a fit of pseudo-classical creativity intended to wrest a moment of beauty from a drab and unfulfilling life, is planning to go with him. She did not comment on the issue of her self-esteem, which is apparently so woefully low that she'd move across the country with a man on the strength of nothing more than a vague status of "partner". This lack of ambition has also lead her into "studying to be an apprentice chef", which is presumably a step down from studying to be an
actual chef.

Also joining them in Queensland is Thaleia's brother Danny Kotzem, named after one of the other men who impregnated Thaleia's mother, who, like Mr Parker, has no discernable skills. Lastly there is Jaime-Lea Potgeiter, who sees no problem in moving five thousand kilometres away from the father of her unborn child, or else has established that he has no interest in the matter. Or perhaps she simply has no idea of the identity of the man in question.

When told of the quartet's plans to move to Queensland, Governor General Quentin Bryce raised an immaculate eyebrow and opined, "they'll probably fit right in."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Hollywood's relationship with the literary world has always been rocky. Sometimes the film version of a novel can capture the essence of the source material (as was the case with 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy) or develop a new perspective on its themes (as with PD James' 'The Children of Men'). But more often Hollywood just molests the novelist's creation like it was the last starlet in Los Angeles.

Such was the case with 1949's 'Omoo Omoo The Shark God', purportedly based on a novel by Herman Melville.

Naturally the script had about as much to do with the writings of Herman Melville as 'The Muppets Take Manhattan' had to do with the collected works of Truman Capote. As a matter of fact, 'Omoo', the title of Melville's novel, is Polynesian for "rover" or "nomad", and has absolutely nothing to do with pearl-eyed shark gods. But Hollywood was never going to let a little technicality like that get in its way.

The film opens on a ship sailing for Tahiti. Captain Roger Guy is gravely ill, and seems to believe that his only hope of survival lies at their destination. Eventually his beautiful daughter and his crew learn that his illness is actually the result of a native curse, cast against him when he stole the pearl eyes from a Tahitian idol on a previous voyage to the island. As word of this gets out, the crew become divided over whether to return the pearls and save the captain, or keep the pearls and sell them for a fortune. Unfortunately the Captain hid the pearls on Tahiti, so they all have to bide their time until they get there.

Other than the captain's illness the mechanics of the terrible curse are never fully explained, although I gather it had something to do with the crew being forced to endure reel after reel of badly integrated stock footage wherever they went. Few things could be quite as hellish as standing around gawping at a charging tiger, while fully cognizant of the fact that there's more chance of seeing Bjork in Tahiti than there is of seeing a tiger.

Or standing on the deck of a ship watching an octopus attack its prey, while pretending not to notice that the octopus' suckers are splaying on the glass of its aquarium.

Eventually Captain Guy is beaten to death by his evil first mate, and the curse, fully appraised of the western laws of inheritance, transfers itself to his daughter. When she finds the pearls, the first mate steals them from her, and he in turn becomes the object of the curse. Frankly the curse is so powerful that I wonder why I bother with Presbyterianism, given that Omoo Omoo the Shark God clearly has omnipresent powers. It’d be just typical if, after centuries of war, argument and research, it turns out that obscure shark god worship is the one true religion.

In due course the evil first mate is speared by a native, the pearls are returned to their rightful home in the eye sockets of the idol, and everyone rejoices that the adventure is over and they can finally stop being assailed by endless theremin music.

Given this successful translation of Herman Melville’s novel to the silver screen, it’s no wonder that Hollywood has continued to pillage the great works of western literature for ideas. It can then take those ideas and beat them with baseball bats until they are just smears on the sidewalk, which are then scraped up, mushed back into some semblance of life, and then shown to a waiting world. Personally I'm looking forward to the following new releases in 2011: 'Hookin' Up!' by Henry James, 'Bloodbath High' by PG Wodehouse, and Charlotte Bronte's tender coming of age story, 'Alien v Predator III'.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Question: What happens when you edit the vehicle physics properties in Grand Theft Auto 4 to give the cars less than zero friction?

Answer: Hilarity!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Ever since I got back from my Christmas holidays I've been overwhelmed with a need for spring cleaning. The fact that it's the middle of summer is neither here nor there. Now that The Flatmate has moved out (as part of his whole "getting married" paradigm), I'm suddenly more conscious that the entire four bedroom house is a) mine to do with what I will and b) a dirty, slovenly mess.

Over the weekend I cleared out and reorganised my wardrobe, cleaned my bedroom, and reorganised and cleaned the living room. The living room was the most difficult task, because I had to replace the 100cm Sony Bravia LCD TV that The Flatmate had taken with him. As I am a man, and thus driven more by competition than by good sense, I went out and bought a 107cm Sony Bravia LCD TV.

Unfortunately the two-level art deco dresser that was just big enough to accomodate the old TV was just small enough to not accomodate the new one. So I had to swap it out with the chest of drawers from the entry, which didn't match the art deco coffee table that sits next to the TV, so that had to be swapped out with the Moroccan tables from the study, which in turn pushed the marble plant stand and antique telescope out of balance, so they had to be rearranged, then the contents of each cupboard had to be transfered across, but not before said contents were weeded and rationalised...

Let's just say that once you start messing with these things, they tend to snowball. And speaking of snowballs, or at least dirtballs, if anyone wants to open a museum of dustbunnies, spiderwebs and insect carcasses I am in a position to make a substantial bequest.

The cleaning mania continued last night, as I hauled my fridge out of its nook and gave both the fridge and the nook a thorough clean, including the tiles on the floor which I know for a fact last saw the light of day when the World Trade Centre was still standing. I also cleaned out the cupboards in the bathroom (why do I have four containers of dental floss?), tidied my bedside tables (why do I have five sets of headphones?) and rearranged the glasses in the glass cupboard (why am I so anal retentive as to arrange my glassware from left to right in order of desirability?).

There remains much to do: clean out the remaining kitchen cupboards, decommission the old fridge that The Flatmate used and put it into storage, tidy the laundry, and tackle the mountain of empty DVD cases, old credit card statements and random computer cables that make my study look as if it has Aspergers Syndrome.