Thursday, September 21, 2006


I don't know much about knitting, but I know what I like.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


While looking through a design blog, I came across this photo of a refrigerator that doubles as a chalkboard.

pretentious fridge

It's a pretty nifty idea. However, a closer look at the picture makes me grit my teeth. Apparently it's absolutely vital that this man remembers to buy goat cheese and organic sugar. But of course! Presumably his supplies of laundry detergent and toilet paper are restocked by magic shopping elves. Or perhaps he's just so fabulous that his clothes don't get dirty and shit don't stick to his arse.


I'd love to sneak in late one night and redo the grocery list:

1. Eggs (get the cage ones cos they chaeper)
2. Pringles
3. Milk (and none of that low fat shit)
4. Fig Newtons
5. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!
6. Plum jelly
7. Basil 'n' Chive flavoured Doritos
8. Kraft Cheese Singles
9. Pepsi Max
10. Lemon 'n' Lime powdered drink mix
11. Toilet paper
12. Peppers
13. Nutrasweet
14. Beer!

He'd walk into his kitchen the next morning and tear out his own eyeballs. Ha ha ha!

Monday, September 18, 2006


It's been a while since I've had a Festival of Bad Cinema, so on Friday night I invited my friend GC over to watch a well-paired duo; 1961's 'Mysterious Island' and 1977's 'The People That Time Forgot'.

Both are film adaptations of classic pulp fiction novels, written by Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs respectively. Both deal with modern adventurers cast into a remote, savage landscape dominated by a volcano and populated by giant animals. And both have nubile girls who deal with the coarse shrubbery and jagged rocks of the primitive environment by donning skimpy, revealing outfits.

In 'Mysterious Island', a group of Yankee soldiers escape from a Confederate prison in 1865 by overpowering their guards and stealing an obervation balloon. Unfortunately they do this in the middle of a huge storm, and the winds carry them across the United States and far over the Pacific. When they eventually crash, they find themselves on the eponymous island. All seems pretty normal, until they notice that the local fauna includes oysters the size of dinner plates, crabs the size of caravans and honey bees that resemble winged Shetland ponies.

Who is responsible for all this nature on steroids? Well, who is responsible for anything that happens in a Jules Verne novel? Captain Nemo, of course. He builds giant steel submarines. He blows up annoying ships. He creates giant food animals as an experiment for ending world hunger. He causes the sun to rise and set, and makes gravity work. He is all things to all men, except possibly as an actor.

Fortunately for all concerned, the men are not alone for long on the island. A shipwreck brings them Lady Mary Fairchild and her lovely daughter Elena. Lady Mary brings an air of refinement and decorum to the encampment. He daughter, meanwhile, helps by staving off situational homosexuality for at least one of the men. In addition, when her dress becomes too worn she dons a goat leather minidress, explaining away its lofty hemline as being due to a shortage of goatskins.


Apparently her undergarments are made of more durable stuff than her dress, as frequent glimpses of her enormous bright yellow underpants attest.

In due course the volcano explodes, Nemo is killed, and the castaways escape the island in a captured pirate ship. They set sail for the nearest landmass, New Zealand, where the men will be able to rejoin civilisation and Elena will once again be able to encase herself in the joys of Victorian corsetry.

Pause for a midnight serving of Long Island Iced Teas and snacks...

'The People That Time Forgot' was a sequel to 1975's 'The Land That Time Forgot'. Patrick Wayne, charismatic leading man and son of John Wayne, plays Ben McBride, leading an expedition to Antarctica, which apparently has a subtropical lost world smack in the middle of it, warmed by a volcano and bursting with dinosaurs and cavemen. His aim is to rescue his old friend (and hero of the 1975 film) Bowen Tyler. He's played by actor Doug McClure. You may remember him from such movies as 'The Hellhounds of Alaska' and 'Satan's Triangle'.

'The People That Time Forgot' may have been cheesy and rather silly, but the producers compensated by making sure that there was at least one aspect of the movie designed to compensate for all its myriad failings. And that aspect was called Ajor.


Yes, it's another example of the what I like to call the Evelyn Kraft Effect. No film is so awful that it cannot be instantly rendered palatable through the inclusion of a hot Jungle Girl in an unlikely and immodest leather costume that breaks all known laws of physics.

True, Dana Gillespie didn't literally pop out of her costume the way Evelyn did, but her chestular region was built upon far more grandiose lines, making her presence in any scene strangely mesmeric. GC and I had many moments like this:

Ben: We've got to rescue my friend before it's too late!

Me: (as Ben) Yeah, if I'm not home by nine my dad'll kill me!

Enter Ajor, lightly glistening from the effort of jogging into the scene

Ajor: He's being held in the Castle of Skulls, in the mountains!

Me: Ha ha, so I guess Skeletor is the villain in this... er... movie... um... mountains... yes... uh... what was I saying again?

GC: I've forgotten how to breathe.


Sadly actor Doug McClure (whom you may remember from such movies as 'Tapeheads' and 'Firebird 2015AD') doesn't survive the final flight from the bloodthirsty natives. This means that Ajor is left in the virile hands of Mr McBride... except that he's developed an interest in the frosty but capable Lady Charlotte Cunningham. Poor Ajor is left with the only remaining single man: McBride's superannuated pilot Hogan. And so the film ends with the greatest example of injustice in the the history of cinema, if not the universe.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


This morning I went to the funeral of the man mentioned in this post. I've known and been close to his family, especially his parents and little brother, for years, and I wanted to be there to lend my support and share their sorrow.

As is often the case in this part of the world, it was a beautiful day, sunny and cloudless, with blossom bursting from the trees and wildflowers springing out of the lawns and nature strips. Perth is kind of stupid like that. Funerals, especially when the circumstances surrounding the death are tragic, should be accompanied by grieving weather: a steady rain echoing the unstoppable flow of tears, or a railing storm, batting raindrops against the chapel windows and throwing debris around like a hysterical widow. Perfect spring sunshine isn't appropriate.

It wasn't a comforting funeral. The dead man's life had been devastated by drugs, which destroyed his relationships, damaged his brain, ruined his career and eventually lead to his death. As such, there was a tension between the handful of people who were his friends and the majority who, like me, were there to support his family. I sensed that the friends resented the presence of all these people who didn't really know the deceased, and certainly didn't share his outlook on life. As he delivered his eulogy, their representative seemed to be fighting down the urge to rail against all these sanctimonious religious types, apparently flocking to the graveside as if drawn by some ghoulish magnetism. I can't blame him for not understanding. Like all good Humanists the friends were there to celebrate the dead man's life, by whatever tenuous justification they could conceive. But his family and their friends were there to mourn his death. There's nothing more horrifying to a Christian than the death of a non-Christian they love.

His parents coped the only way they could. They quoted Job, when he was told that all his children were dead: "The Lord gives and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

In print it looks glib. From the lips of grieving parents, it is earth-shattering.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hopeless (redux)

My computer is back on my desk, whirring delicately like a fragile patient just woken from a coma.

Our IT manager applied his professional-level tools to the computer's little virus problem, blasting the malware out with the electronic equivalent of a high-pressure hose. As might be expected, there was a certain amount of collateral damage - the operating system had been so undermined that, once the viruses had gone, it crumbled like a termite-infested wall. So he did a system recovery, downloaded half a gigabyte of Windows updates, reconfigured the virus scanners and gave it back to me.

It's still not quite itself. I had to reinstall the modem to get my internet access up again, and I still don't have iTunes; the HDD devoted to that program was so riddled with bad sectors that it had to be ditched. Now I just have to work out how to get the files from my iPod onto iTunes without accidentally deleting all 3709 of them. But at least the computer is back, and anonymous Russians no longer receive regular updates about my passwords.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The previous post has earned this remarkably relevant comment from a pleasant fellow named Domenico:

hi my name is domenico
your blog is very beautiful
this is my blog
please visit it
seen you soon

I am not made of stone. I can resist a certain amount of flattery, but since Dominico declared my blog to be not just beautiful, but very beautiful... well, how could I help but respond?

And aren't I glad I did! Following the link threw me head-first into The Skans Experience.

What is The Skans Experience, I hear you ask? Let me just say that it is an experience like none other. Witness forthwith a sample of this online phenomenon:

Do you succeed to see that it is around you? do you succeed that it is out of your window? and that it is in your city? region? nation? do you succeed that it happens in the world ?...
what means "i do not want nothing from you"? i am not a beggar! i am only the voice of your conscience

So poetic. So insightful. So... The Skans Experience. Do I indeed succeed to see what "it" is around me? Do I even possess the conceptual framework to comprehend "it", assuming that I actually succeed in seeing it? The mind boggles.

Also there is a picture of a Fiat Bambino.

From now on, whenever I see something that vigorously challenges my limited, bourgeois notions of "clarity", "logical progression" and/or "reader interest", I am going to declare, "Ah, yes, another example of The Skans Experience".

This is going to revolutionise my life. Thank you, Domenico, for finally giving me a name for it.

Monday, September 11, 2006



Janice was mortified; everyone else had come to the 'Legalise It' costume party dressed as a spliff too.


A middle aged woman and a younger man sat at the table next to me at the cafe on Saturday morning. He was gay... very, very gay. Frankly, the Hindenburg was less flaming. However I gleaned this from his demeanor rather than his words, as his matronly companion did not stop talking, loudly, in a "look at moy" accent, at all, ever.


In a perfect universe, I would have had a roll of duct tape handy to slap over her mouth. Of course, that would have given her friend more opportunity to express regret over his choice of shoes, which is what he talked about whenever she paused for breath. So there wouldn't have been much of a net gain.

In related news, my gradual slide into misanthropy continues apace.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Gleaned from my computer a few minutes ago, here's a Top Tip for all you emailers out there. As a general rule, this salutation does not go with this opening sentence:

Hi all!

Mr and Mrs X's son has committed suicide.

Sweet. Merciful. Crap.

At least it didn't close with "Smell ya later!"


badger bag

The villagers and the giant lived in peaceful coexistence for centuries, until the fateful day they decided it'd be funny to put live badgers in his condoms.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I've been having problems with my home computer, which contracted a virus a month or so ago. I noticed that the computer was running slow, and grinding to a complete halt when online. It was also throwing up a barrage of suspicious-looking error messages, each displaying the subtle but tell-tale trademarks of phishers.

I renewed my obsolete virus scanner, scanned the drives, and discovered a couple of nasty programs lurking in the electronic undergrowth. I healed what could be healed, deleted what could be deleted, and quarantined everything else. But although the performance improved, the error messages kept popping up.

I ran the virus scanner again, a few days later, and discovered that the virus had spread like a particularly juicy Lindsay Lohan rumour. It was in the operating system, the printer drivers, my digital camera software... even in some programs that I hadn't opened in years. I ran a different virus scanner, which proved to be even more useless than the first, then beat my head against my desk.

Over the following couple of weeks, I kept scanning, deleting and quarantining, while copying my various documents onto CD. The computer kept getting slower and slower, and apparently dispatching a list of my completely uninteresting keystrokes to Russia every time I went online. Then the CD burner seized up just after I started backing up my photo collection, refusing to copy harmless batches of jpegs to disc.

By Sunday night, I realised that my computer was dying. I couldn't even find my ISP software, much less back it up, and the CD burner refused point-blank to receive a copy of my emails. Frustrated and painfully depressed, I went for a walk to get some fresh air and clear my head.

A good walk often helps. I'd been concentrating on the questions "How can I fix my computer?" and "Who do I know who can help me fix my computer?" The answers were "I don't know" and "All the people I know who have the knowledge also have better things to do with their time." But once I got walking, I threw up my metaphorical hands and said, "Here's a lateral thought; how about paying someone to fix it?"

Inconvenient? Yes. Expensive? Hell yes. But so wonderfully, alluringly simple. Take the stupid computer to a professional and let him deal with it. True, I'd feel like less of a man as it was proven that I couldn't defend my machine from a relatively simple problem, but at least it'd be fixed. In addition, the beauty of getting a professional to do it is that he is forced to treat you with at least a veneer of respect, lest you get offended and take your computer, and your money, elsewhere.

So the next day I called our office IT manager to see if he could recommend a good computer repair business. He laughed at me, of course. But then he offered to take a look at it himself, promising that if he couldn't actually heal the virus, he could at least rescue the photos and email and then wipe the hard drive clean.

I wanted to say, "Thanks, but it's not your job to fix my home computer." However I am weak, not to mention cheap. I brought the machine to work this morning and handed it over, along with a chunky and delicious Black Forest muffin. He is not easily turned by bribes, but I figured the sugar rush couldn't hurt.

So, hopefully within a couple of days I will have my computer back, cleaned up and running smoothly. And my first act will be to activate the password protection, so that only I can use it. That way I'll only have myself to blame if this happens again.


I'm feeling miserable today. It's illogical, and I never would have suspected that I might react this way, but I'm feeling sorrowful and dejected, and almost broken-hearted, over the death of Steve Irwin.

There was a lot to like about Irwin. He was one of a rare breed of environmentalists who understands nature and loves it, without worshiping it. He could admire it and enjoy it and explore it without feeling the need to abase himself before it. He was the very antithesis of those loathsome Greens politicians who confuse misanthropy with conservation.

He was also one of those people who bubble over with enthusiasm, turning it from a character trait into an infectious disease. By all accounts, he had no trace of guile or hauteur. He reacted to every day as if he was six years old and it was Christmas morning. How can anyone not envy that? He was an example of what every right-thinking Australian man wants to be; maybe not so overtly, but at his core.

Yes, his movie was so awful that I could only stare at it in stunned disbelief (I saw it on a plane). Yes, he had a Farrah Fawcett hairstyle. But I believe that if every person in the world was like Steve Irwin, it would be a better (if more exhausting) place.

Although of course the crocodiles would never get a moment's peace...