Thursday, September 29, 2005


Lizards communicate by doing push-ups.

Patton Oswalt

I have to post this very funny thing from a comic, one of those stand-up comic guys, his name is Patton Oswalt, and I'll admit that I ripped it from The Doog House whose link I found on Just Another Blowhard's blog. It was so funny, and I like to read funny things, maybe you do too, but don't read it if you can't handle fruity language, otherwise get ready, here it is:

"I'm flying back to LA tomorrow and I am going to the Buggy Whip restaurant, and getting a giant fucking steak!! You heard me!

I enjoy steak too much cause I hate hippies so much. You know what I mean. I enjoy steak more than I think I enjoy it. Everytime you eat a steak a hippy's hackey sack goes down the gutter. {doing hippy impression} 'Ohhhh man. Ohhhh dude, what the fuck man!' Everytime you eat a steak a hippy's hackey sack goes down a sewer. Always remember that.

And I like the high end steak houses like Lowry's and Ruth's Chris. But I'll also go to the shitball steakhouses like Outback and Black Angus. I'm there. It's steak. Not so much Black Angus though, 'cause remember how friendly the ads for Black Angus used to be? They were 'C'mon in have a steak! How about a baked potato?' You're like 'fucking how about yeah see you tomorrow night. Table for two 7:15'.

Now, the ads for Black Angus, you notice how it turns into this gauntlet of angry food. Its almost like they are challenging you. Like {goes into ad voice} 'At Black Angus, we'll start you off with our appetizer platter. Featuring five jumbo deep fried gulf shrimp, served on a disc of salted butter with fifteen of our potato bacon bombs, and a big bowl of pork cracklings with our cheese and butter dipping sauce.' You're like 'Ummmmm, we're all gonna split that..' {back to voice} 'Ohhhh you'll each get your own! Then we'll take you to our mile long soup and salad bar featuring bacon and cream soup and our fine berg of iceberg lettuce he-man salad served in a punch bowl, with 18 pounds of ranch dressing, pork stuffed deep fried croutons and what the hell, a couple of corn dogs' 'Uhhhh hey man, I tell ya what. I'll just get a mixed green salad.' 'Hey! You'll suck a cock on the Golden Gate Bridge before I'll bring ya a mixed green buddy!!

'Then we'll wheel out our bottomless trough of fried dough!' 'What? Wait a minute, am I gonna get a steak?' 'Ohhhh you'll get a fucking steak!!! Cause then we'll bring out our 55oz. Las Mesa He-Man steak slab, served with a deep fried pumpkin stuffed with buttered scallops and 53 of our potato bacon bombs.' 'Ohhh dude I don't think...' 'And then bend over Abigail Mae, cause here comes the gravy pipe!!' 'What?!' 'Black Angus, doors are locked from the outside, faggot!!! At Black Angus your name is Peaches.'"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Suicide Girls

Why did these girls do it that way? Why did they surprise their boyfriends like that? Why did they do it like that?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Howl's Moving Castle

Those sneaky movie house people are slowly bumping their budget Tuesday ticket prices up again, those sneaky devils. It got down to $5.00 a ticket about a month ago. They had to do something, after all. I was going along to see a movie and there would be half a dozen of us in there, in this gigantic theatre.
Anyway, last week it was $7.50 and today it was $8.00. See how sneaky they are? Pretty soon it will be me and five other people again in that big room.
The movie I saw today was called Howl's Moving Castle, an animated picture from Japanese wizard Hayao Miyazaki. His last movie Spirited Away was excellent so yes for sure I was really looking forward to this one you bet.
First of all, the theatre was packed, but at least I had an empty seat on either side and no Asian teenagers made a move to sit up close to me. You know I wouldn't mind this but they never put their cute girlfriends next to me. Maybe they are worried I will put my hand on their leg. I would not even do that. Is that why they are so protective? I don't know. But yes, that could be it all right. Maybe next time I will turn around and tell them straight up, 'It's OK you know, you can put your cute girlfriend next to me without any feelings of anxiety on your part whatsoever. I promise not to put my hand on her leg. In fact, let me reassure you I am quite the gentleman.'
Oh yeah, the movie. Sooner or later I will have to admit that this movie confused the hell out of me, so I'll admit it right up front. It was very good, a real spectacle, but confusing.
There is a girl (Sophie) and she works in a hat shop. Even though she is young, she dresses like an old woman. People make cruel jokes about her saying she is plain and unattractive so she ends up believing it. Then later when she closes up the shop an enormous woman comes in, she is no ordinary fat woman, she is the Witch of the Waste and she insults Sophie and casts a spell on her which turns her into an old woman.
The next morning she wakes up, or maybe she actually was awake all night, but she is still an old woman, so decides to leave town. Up the mountain she goes, making amusing comments, and her back keeps creaking. There are some great sounds in the movie; sounds are put together with obsessive care and the effect is rather wonderful.
Having a hard time getting up the mountain with her old creaking bones, she tries to pull a stick out of some bushes in order to use as a walking stick, but with a mighty yank it comes up and turns out to be a scarecrow. It's got a turnip for a head and Sophie tells it she has always hated turnips, the worst vegetable as far as she is concerned, and she calls it Turniphead. Turniphead doesn't speak, but starts pogoing along after her.
Then she spots a big castle moving along on mechanical legs, and steam shooting out in all directions. The castle slows down a bit and she manages to get on board with some difficulty, because it doesn't slow down quite enough. She says goodbye to Turniphead.
Inside the castle is a young boy (Markl) who has magic powers. People keep knocking on the door and Markl pulls up a disguise over himself transforming himself into a comical kiddie version of a grizzled old sea dog, or a lighthouse keeper. As he is about to answer the door he always says, 'Stand by.' Those parts were funny, indeed there are many genuinely funny moments throughout the movie.
Markl is assistant to Howl, who owns the moving castle. Those knocks on the door previously were messengers come to ask Howl to present himself at some other castle to offer his services in a war that is going on. Howl is a scaredy cat and doesn't want to go so he sends Sophie in his place, telling her to pretend that she is his mother, and tell them that her son Howl is useless and will be no help at all, so he can get out of the jam, out of his responsibilities.
Anyway, Sophie goes off on this adventure, but that Witch of the Waste is also heading for the same place and they meet up. Obviously Sophie is not too happy to see this witch that made her old, yet she gets some kind of satisfaction when they both have to walk up the hundreds of castle steps. Even though Sophie is in an old body now, she makes it OK, whereas the Witch is so obese she has a real hard time, and this is quite a grotesque scene as she sweats like mad struggling up the steps, becoming more hideous every second.
Well, after that everything became confusing. I'll have to watch it again, thinking about it has not made it any clearer. What makes up for any confusion or obscurity though is how amazing the movie looks. The animation is mostly done by hand and it's awesome, a real pleasure to watch even if you can't quite understand what is happening during the second half. Well, maybe you can understand it, it's quite possible that it is only me who had that problem. Oh well. A depressing thought! Ha ha. But if somebody were to tell me they wanted to watch one of these Miyazaki movies I would have to advise them to see Spirited Away first, which I thought was superior, at least as amazing visually but with a clearer story.
As for the audience in the theatre, there were many distractions. A man in front of me kept loudly rustling his chip packet like he was doing an old time radio show that demanded many and loud chip packet sound effects. There was also a man a few seats to my left who found it necessary to regularly consult the dazzlingly bright blue screen of his mobile phone. It was like the flash of a small star exploding every five minutes. Why do these robots do that? Robots should be forbidden access to movie houses, their retarded obsession with constant access to communications electronics is a distraction for the human beings in the movie house.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Squawking from the Sidelines

Here I am waiting patiently for an idea. An idea will come along any minute now, I'm sure of it. Just gotta wait, or meditate, or something, that's all. Maybe start typing random words, gibberish, or even some dialogue between a postal clerk and a Tourette's sufferer standing in line, screaming obscenities. How about writing something about the *War on Terror*? No, there are enough people writing about that. How about something insightful and penetrating on the Middle East conflict? No, there are enough people making comments on that too. How about our Prime Minister, John Howard? No, I guess I can't raise enough interest for that. It's boring, to be honest. Everybody has an opinion about it and it sounds like ducks quacking or chickens squawking. Writing about women reading on the bus seems so much more important and interesting. Even writing about what some character gets up to in a movie is more interesting.
You know, I'd rather read about somebody's hobby, or personal obsession, to whatever degree it goes, than read about what they think of some politician or President or Prime Minister. That kind of thing seems like a room full of people trying to shout louder than everybody else, everybody in the room believing with awesome conviction that they are right, that they have some magical insight into these matters. The ridiculous part is that everybody in that jammed sweaty loud room are equally Righteous. God forbid they might hesitate for a second, stop to wonder if they may not be right after all. But they can't ALL be right, can they?
Maybe it's some kind of God complex. People think they are pretty smart, it's all quite clear actually, they got it all figured out, and if only they had more of an influence they could fix those problems these idiots in charge keep making. Yes, they know what's best, all right. So why the hell aren't THEY in charge? Why the heck don't THEY have more say in things? It's just not fair.
It also reminds me of a sporting event. There's the people on the sidelines shouting at the players to do this and do that. You'd think the players would know what they are doing. But no. Those big stomachs on the sideline actually have the best advice, if only those stupid players would listen, they would put those superior tactics into effect and subsequently kick the other team's arse.
What the hell am I doing talking about sport now?! Must be going wacky. But hey, that reminds me of an excellent thing my friend The J Man said about sports fans. He said (to paraphrase): What the hell are those people doing spending their entire weekends following sport? Have they already committed the Bible to memory?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Survey of Some Recent Blogs VIII

It's been a long time since the last Survey. Could it really have been way back in July? Yes it was. Well, let's rectify that immediately and go on patrol. A bloggy patrol guaranteed to be truly appalling and depressing, no doubt!

1. enrevanche - Thoughts of a transplanted Southerner living in New York City. - Well, that's no fun. This fella (Barry) seems like a pretty decent kind of fella, a nice regular kind of fella not easy to make fun of. Nope. Can't make fun of this one. And Barry seems to like Kinky Friedman, so I guess he's a good egg. Next!
2. inzwischen - A German blog by a German, written in German, a language I can't read. Wait. There is something written in English (the superior language!): a definition of the word 'apprehensive'. I know that word, and can use it in a sentence: I am apprehensive about blogs in a language I can't read (unless they feature pictures of cute girls without any clothes on).
3. Lugano Beach - I think this one is Italian - another language I can't read. How diminished I am beginning to feel! Oh well, at least there are some pictures to look at. There's one of a mouse pad in the shape of a bikini girl with big 3-D boobs; a picture of Brad Pitt with his shirt open; some cute little baby bunny rabbits cutely sitting in coffee cups; and some pictures of people at a party, some of whom are cute girls. Fully clothed cute girls. Oh well. Not that I'm disappointed, you understand...
4. Rachel's blog - Rachel's profile says, "I'm easy going, witty, open-minded, I didn't like be around with troublemaker." What the hell does that mean? Who is this troublemaker she didn't like be around with? What kind of trouble did he (or she) make anyway? Rachel does not elaborate, it remains a mystery. That's not the only mystery in Rachel's blog. Half of her blog is just links to stuff without any reason why she put those links to that stuff. The other half is a bunch of photos of what looks like her pilgrimage to a joint called Cinnamon Rolls to buy some cinnamon rolls, including a picture of one of those cinnamon rolls that she no doubt bought and took home to stuff into her gob. Mission accomplished!
5. credit check only - A stinking adblog. Yet pretty amazing I got halfway through the Survey before one of these bloggy abominations popped up. Anyway, adblog robot, you know what you can do with your stinking credit checks, you robotic cretinous parasite. Away with you! Banished to the burning pits of the Duat!
6. ubiquitous lass - God Almighty, a 13-year-old robot girl blog where pop-ups pop up asking you to download some stupid program, which she has also put a HUGE ad for in the middle of her horrible near-impossible-to-navigate-around blog. Bloggers who willingly let ads be put on their blogs deserve to have their heads jammed into a toaster set on HIGH, or better still, thrown into the burning pits of the Duat. Anyway, this blog is not only annoying but boring as hell. Into the burning pits with you too!
7. jultra - Hey, this is interesting. This guy is against ID cards and seems to be paranoid of cameras seeing what he is doing. He also has a link to David Icke's website. My friend Anders has a friend who is a David Icke fan, and apparently David Icke believes there are lizard people in our midst. Well, lizard people or no, this conspiracy scene is, for me, a tangled web of paranoid insanity and I want no part of it. Am I making a terrible mistake? An ignorant fool unprepared for THE TRUTH? I guess it's possible, but I'll take my chances with the lizard people.
8. Your black sabbath articles - Ah! A foul new tactic by the adblog robots! To the untrained eye this simply looks like a blog by a Black Sabbath fan, but click on the blogger's profile and you find out that this Avery is nothing more than a robot adblogger. There is no real Black Sabbath fan there at all, just a stupid adblogger robot. Yes, it's the burning pits of the Duat for you, and quick smart!
You know, another quick way to tell one of these adrobot blogs is that they don't have links to real human people, real flesh and blood bloggers. There's no links there at all, only the default link to Google News.
You know, these adblog robots need to be blown up in a big explosion. How can we achieve that as soon as possible? Let's get our best minds on it immediately.
9. Deficient Brain - An enormously boring blog about the Iraq war. Post after post of gibberish that will make you snooze. A guaranteed cure for insomnia. An utter borefest. Goodnight.
10. Doc Holds Fourth - A computer robot. Boring as goddam hell. And this robot lives in Sydney, the same city I live in. Is my city being taken over by robots? Yes, so it seems, and not even by cool robots, but by very very boring computer robots. And this robot can't even spell his blog title right. Doc Holds Fourth? Fourth what? Award for Fourth Most Boring Robot Blog in the Universe is my guess. Check this sample:
'The nice part of it was the range of analysis techniques I was able to employ, from simple descriptive and summary statistics (means, standard deviations, counts etc) to cross-tabulations and on to multi-variate analysis using k-means clustering, principal components and MANOVA tests.'
Well, I guess that may mean something to someone, but to me it is boring and robotic. It's like a robot. A robot blog.

OK, well that brings us to the end of this Survey. Was it a success? What is your definition of success? Is it being thoroughly depressed and appalled? Then hell yeah. It was a huge success.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Magical Realism

While I've been plowing through the final book in this monster space opera (Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy) I realised what I needed was a book for the bus. These 1200+ page Hamilton books are really not suited to mobile reading, that's for sure, so I got another book from the library.
Ironically enough, the book I chose was a collection of short stories about libraries and librarians called In the Stacks. Most of the writers I'd never heard of, but there were some, like Italo Calvino, Ray Bradbury and John Cheever, but even with those writers, I'd never read anything by them.
Anyway, the best story in there was the John Cheever one, 'The Trouble of Marcie Flint'. It was about a married couple and it started off with the guy (Charles Flint) leaving his wife and kids and heading for Italy or some place. He was writing in his diary about how sick he was of that suburb where he lived, and how glad he was to be going to Torino. He had a suitcase full of peanut butter because he said the girls in Torino love peanut butter.
Then there's his wife (Marcie) back in that suburb and she is trying to go on with life, wondering if her husband is going to come back or not. Why did he take off anyway? Oh well. I guess we'll find out. So the wife is there and she goes along to a town council meeting where there is a discussion about whether to open a public library. Most of the people at the meeting don't want a public library because it will bring poor people into the town, this town which seems to be made up of snooty snobs, but at the meeting one guy (Markham) gets up in his tatty hat and old clothes and he tells everybody about when he was a kid and how great it was going to the local library. Then another guy (Barrett) gets up, he's a jock type, a real bully, and he says now I was a poor kid but I never went into a public library unless it was to get out of the rain or follow some pretty girl, but I did pretty good, I'm a big success, you don't need a public library to have success. Then Markham suggests that Barrett can't read anyway to which Barrett gets mad and jumps up and down. Then the meeting ends and Marcie meets up with Markham outside and apologises for Barrett's behaviour, she or her husband had that bastard over for dinner one night. They know him somehow anyway.
Then it's back to the husband Charles and he remembers back to an afternoon when he felt really happy, he was walking around the house and he could see Marcie in the bedroom asleep with the sheet dropped down exposing her breasts, that made him happy but he didn't go and wake her. He looked out the window and saw his two kids flying a wind-up plane, winding the rubber band and the plane was going up out of the late afternoon shadows into the sunlight, and that made him happy too. He went into the kitchen for a beer or something and saw all these ants, so he put some ant poison in a saucer and went out to the backyard.
Later, his kids got sick and started vomiting. They had eaten the ant poison thinking it was some kind of treat.
Then the story flashed back to Marcie and that Markham guy, and Markham was going to go to the local paper and ask the editor to print a letter in favour of opening a public library, but that Barrett guy interfered somehow and the editor said he wouldn't print it. Then Barrett that rotten bastard goes to visit Marcie and says I know that Markham guy is coming over but he is a total loser (he compares him to a *meatball* he knew in school - see *Popular* post below) so you better call him and tell him not to come. Marcie says I ain't gonna do that. Barrett says you better. Marcie says well I won't. Barrett gets heavy about it, a real jerk, then Marcie tells him to get the hell out of the house.
Marcies's husband Charles remembers about the kids eating the ant poison and he ran to the store where he got it, and asks the guy for the number of the supplier so he can call them and ask what to do with his poisoned kids. But the shopkeeper only says Mister you didn't buy that from me, and repeats it over and over.
Markham goes over to visit Marcie and tracks mud into the house, but Marcie doesn't mind.
Charles is on his way to Torino with the peanut butter when he suddenly wonders what the hell he is doing, it doesn't matter what crazy thing happened before, he can go back and see his kids and his wife. But what we wonder is, what happened to the kids? Did they survive or did that ant poison kill them? Has Charles gone mad?
Well, what a great story. This Cheever guy reminds me of Raymond Carver actually, these stories of regular suburban people, quite average seeming people, and normal suburban scenes and dramas yet blown up and magnified, made powerful and strange, in fact also reminds me of the way David Lynch can do that.
I recently heard the words *magical realism* and wondered what it meant, but I think stories like this must be like that, a regular everyday kind of realism but injected with certain mysterious elements to create a magical, almost otherworldly effect.
Anyway, when I FINALLY finish this horribly addictive great awful exciting boring ludicrously time-consuming epic *space opera*, I'll definitely be hunting down more of John Cheever's stuff.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Today I read about a high school girl who got hit and killed by a train when she ran across the tracks and tried to scramble up onto the platform. A tragic event indeed. But then I read this:
'She was a very popular girl among her peers...'
Was she really very popular? Could the other kids have said to the reporter that they really liked her so they wouldn't look bad? You have to admit it's a possibility. If you are a kid at that school and some newsperson turns up, jams a microphone in front of your head and asks did you like that other kid who got hit by a train, what the hell are you gonna say? Of course you liked that other kid! If you admit that you got big kicks from spitting on her and flushing her head in the toilet, you might look bad, then not be popular anymore.
Anyway, the thing is, whenever I read or hear a news report about a high school kid who got killed somehow, they are always *popular* with the other schoolkids. Only popular high school kids seem to get killed. Or could it be that when unpopular high school kids get killed, the news people don't report it. 'Oh well, he or she was unpopular anyway, no need to report it. No big loss, really.'
When they say that these kids were popular, it seems to imply that it is tragic that a popular kid got killed, whereas if the kid was unpopular it wouldn't be so tragic, that maybe it was even for the best. After all, that unpopular kid must have had a pretty miserable existence there, without the approval of those other kids. I mean, what is life when it is not a popular life? Surely it is no life at all. And a sudden violent end to such a life would in fact be a blessing, and not worthy of being reported in the news.
I'll leave you with this excerpt from a short story I read (coincidentally) today:

"When I was in school, there was a meatball just like Mackham. Nobody liked him. Nobody spoke to him. Well, I was a high-spirited kid, Marcie, with plenty of friends, and I began to wonder about this meatball. I began to wonder if it wasn't my responsibility to befriend him and make him feel that he was a member of the group. Well, I spoke to him, and I wouldn't be surprised if I was the first person who did. I took a walk with him. I asked him to come up to my room. I did everything I could to make him feel accepted.
It was a terrible mistake. First, he began going around the school telling everybody that he and I were going to do this and he and I were going to do that. Then he went to the Dean's office and had himself moved into my room without consulting me. Then his mother began to send me these lousy cookies, and his sister - I'd never laid eyes on her - began to write me love letters, and he got to be such a leech that I had to tell him to lay off. I spoke frankly to him; I told him the only reason I'd spoken to him was because I pitied him. This didn't make any difference. When you're stuck with a meatball, it doesn't matter what you tell them. He kept hanging around, waiting for me after classes, and after football practice he was always down in the locker room. It got so bad that we had to give him the works. We asked him up to Pete Fenton's room for a cup of cocoa, roughed him up, threw his clothes out the window, painted his rear end with iodine, and stuck his head in a pail of water until he damned near drowned."
- from 'The Trouble of Marcie Flint' by John Cheever

Friday, September 16, 2005

Aimless Ceiling Journey

When I got home from work yesterday I had something to eat then went to lie on the bed to smoke a cigarette and read my book. Lying down on my back holding the book above my head, I detected a movement. There was something moving on the ceiling. I jumped up to make an inspection of the phenomena. Goddam it, it looked like a cockroach. Jumping up on my bed putting my head up close I got a look at it and for sure it was a cockroach, but as I was formulating some kind of eradication strategy I realised it was one of those bathroom cockroaches. These usually start off real small and I see them hanging around in my bathroom sink in the summer. They are real slow, real stupid. I play hide and seek with them. When they somehow detect my presence they look left and right, then left, then right, back and forth, figuring out their next move. It takes a long time, but then it will run under the toothbrush. I'll pick up the toothbrush and it's like the little dude still thinks the toothbrush is there, but then I send a breath of air in his direction and he realises that he's in the open again, in some kind of danger, possibly. He goes through his frantic looking-around routine again, then makes for the rubber sink plug. It's quite touching really. When I first noticed this idiot behaviour it was obvious to me these were a different species to those superfast intelligent kitchen cockroaches which you will see for a split second before they disappear in a flash. Those cockroaches are like the Green Berets of the cockroach society, while these bathroom cockroaches are the Beavis and Buttheads of it. That was why I let them be when I first discovered them. They became, late at night in my merry beer-fueled state, sort of like little pets. How could I kill these poor little idiots? They were small comical creatures only going about their mysterious life in my bathroom.
Anyway, back to last night and there was one of them on my ceiling. This one was a pretty big one, grown up to almost an inch. There was no way I was gonna kill it, so I lay back down with my book. But I kept looking up at this creature as he journeyed across my ceiling. But what an aimless journey! He walked over to one side, then another side, then down one end, then the other end, then backtracked here, to there, back to here, to there yet again, over and over, as though he had a short term memory span of thirty seconds. New territory! I'll investigate!
Funny that even though this creature was quite harmless, every time it got directly above me I would go on guard ready just in case it fell on me. I was ready to move fast away from this poor dumb tiny harmless creature. And me, a big tough human!
And how the hell did it walk upside down on the ceiling like that? Yes, I know spiders and all kinds of insects can do it, but do they know they are upside down? Does the world appear upside down to them? Do they feel superior looking down at us stuck on the floor looking up marvelling at this amazing feat?
Anyway, that bathroom cockroach walked back and forth around my ceiling all night. Was he trying to find his way back to the bathroom? What the hell was he doing up there? He sure as hell appeared to be completely lost, or not be able to find his way to where he wanted to go, or belonged, which was the bathroom. I wished I could read his mind, then I could help him.
When I came home from work today he was gone from the ceiling. Where is he now? That lost bathroom cockroach. Does he wonder about me? Was he mad that I didn't help him find his way back to the bathroom?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

No It's Not Just Her Accent

I was in the Human Resources department this afternoon, scanning files. Have to scan the barcodes of them files. It's a robot job but I don't mind because it doesn't take any brainpower, I can think my own thoughts and space out as much as I want. Anyway, I went over to Gosia's desk and saw a file there. Gosia is Polish and a book-reading woman. She used to work with me and Boss and Colleague. I've always had a big crush on her. God, these Polish women! Well, after a few years she went off to work in the HR department, and OK I will admit that it was a traumatic event that I never quite recovered from, but since I'm also the mailman and zoom around the place with my mail trolley, I get to visit her every day.
So today in the middle of scanning those stupid barcodes I went over to talk to her and saw a file on her desk. I said, Hey, I better scan that file you got there! Looking at it, I noticed it was Pete's file. I said Hey, that's Pete's file! I like Pete, we talk about books. Pete was the one that recommended this enormous space opera trilogy I'm reading now. Gosia said, That Pete, he is strange! I say, That's OK. I like strange! I like you, so you must be strange too!
She moved her eyes down and blinked them a few times and said, breaking my heart, It's my accent.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Grizzly Man

I saw a GREAT documentary today after work. It was called Grizzly Man.
The Grizzly Man was Timothy Treadwell and he spent three months of the year with grizzly bears in Alaska. For the last five years of his life he took along a video camera and made over one hundred hours of footage of himself with the bears. Werner Herzog made this doco using some of this footage plus interviews with people who knew Treadwell, and experts on these grizzly bears.
We see Treadwell talking to the bears and telling them how much he loves them, he is so close to the bears, these ENORMOUS bears that when they stand up they are ten feet high, and you think that any minute one is going to lazily swat his head off his shoulders.
Treadwell started off wanting to be an actor and he auditioned for the part of bartender in Cheers, but when Woody Harrelson got the part, Treadwell was crushed and became an alcoholic. Then he went on a holiday to Alaska and saw these grizzly bears and fell in love with them, and decided to dedicate his life to protecting them. This idea of his, we learn, was kind of nutty because the bears are in a National Park and there are thousands of them, they are in no apparent danger whatsoever.
Again and again Treadwell admits that he loves the bears so much he is prepared to die for them, and in fact believes that this may be the only way that his message will get to a wider audience. Still, he made it onto the David Letterman show, and Letterman asks him if one day we will see a news report that Treadwell was eaten by the bears, but he says no way.
Treadwell gets so physically close to the bears, and he doesn't even have guns in case one of the bears was to attack him. He seems to believe that he is strong enough and understands the bears well enough that they will not harm him. Also perhaps they sense that he really only wants to protect them, so they will not try to swat his head off his shoulders. But a park ranger is interviewed and he says the way Treadwell behaves with the bears is as though they were simply people dressed up in grizzly bear costumes. Also that possibly the reason the bears don't attack him is that maybe they think he is mentally retarded.
Herzog's narration is excellent and he makes some challenging observations, for example at one point he notes that Treadwell sees some kind of nobility in the eyes of these bears, where Herzog sees only a half-bored interest in food.
Treadwell also has a great haircut, a "Prince Valiant" haircut (that style not only chosen to symbolise his protector status, but also to disguise his receding hairline), but mostly he wears bandanas on his head. At one point he discusses filming a shot but wearing different coloured bandanas. Actually, his mannerisms struck me as similar to the actor Owen Wilson.
Ultimately, Treadwell comes across as a defender of Nature's creatures, a rare human, seized with passion, too easy to label *mad*, although he surely was, but for sure the best kind of mad; he had bi-polar disorder and stopped taking anti-depressants because he wanted the up and down moods rather than the safe boring flatness. There is much footage of him declaring his love for the animals (not only the bears, but foxes who run around with him like domesticated dogs) in a strange high-pitched voice, loving, seemingly incapable of negative human emotions; yet later he rages at the National Park authorities who make rules like he must move his camp every day, he swears like mad, gets really abusive and flips his middle finger, this formerly placid "kind warrior" exploding with a furious verbal barrage, in a very funny scene, he even laughs at the end of it.
And ultimately he is a great character, immensely likeable, larger than life, one in a million, although one who had a tragic end. On his last trip to Alaska he took his girlfriend and they were attacked by one of the bears, but not one of the regular bears. They stayed past their usual time and the regular bears had gone into hibernation, but some mean bears came along and it was one of those. The camera was running but with the lens cap on. Near the end of the doco, Herzog listens to the tape in front of Treadwell's ex-girlfriend and it brings him to tears. He advises her never to listen to it, in fact urges her to destroy it.
Grizzly Man was great great GREAT. I've never seen anything like it, and don't think I'll be able to stop thinking about it for weeks.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Little Fish

After work I came home then went out again to see a movie called Little Fish.
In the movie, Tracey (Cate Blanchett) has been working at a video store in Cabramatta (south-west Sydney suburb that got a bad reputation for being an easy place to score smack) for the last four years. She used to be a junkie but has been clean for these four years, and living with her mother Janelle (Noni Hazelhurst). Now she wants to get a loan to open an internet gaming joint as part of her boss's video store, but one problem is she got busted for credit card fraud when she was a junkie.
Next thing you know, her ex-boyfriend Jonny (Dustin Nguyen) comes back from Canada and says he is a stockbroker now. Four years ago when he and Tracey were together he was a drug dealer and smashed the car he was driving, Tracey's brother Ray (Martin Henderson) was in it and Ray lost a leg from the knee down.
Then, Lionel (Hugo Weaving) comes back on the scene. He was a friend of the family, or Janelle's boyfriend or something, but he was the one who introduced Tracey to smack. Lionel was a big football star but got hooked up on the smacky wacky, and he's still messed up on it. Lionel's got some kind of deal going with Bradley "The Jockey" Thompson (Sam Neill) who has been supplying his smack for free, which I didn't understand. Why was he getting it free? [Note: Next morning. I think I figured this part out - he was his gay lover from the old football times and supplied him with free heroin in exchange for sex. Yes that must be it. If you have seen it let me know if you agree.] Anyway, now Bradley says he's retiring so he can't give Lionel any more gear, but Lionel says no sweat, it will give him a chance to get off it now. Right. Sure thing. The way he says it you know it's not gonna happen.
Gee, it's still not easy to watch smacko wacko scenes. Just a taste. Just one. Would that be so bad?
Anyway. So you see it's mostly about Tracey and her epic struggle to get her life together when these people from the past come back. No, you can never escape your past is the point here. You can run but you can't hide and all that jazz. It always comes back, sooner or later, that rotten old past, and you have to deal with it.
It's hard not to compare Cate Blanchett's character with her character in Lord of the Rings; they're about as opposite as you can get. What a transformation. She's awesome.
Also totally awesome is Hugo Weaving, his performance is stunning. He's the most believable *movie junkie* I've seen since David Wenham in Gettin' Square, but where David Wenham's character was for laughs, Hugo Weaving is a great and tragic character, a man beset by demons. It's impossible to not like him, and you'll hope like hell he gets through it even though you can't imagine it. He really seems doomed. It's enormously moving.
Well, here's a movie that I can't make any smartarse comments about. It's too close to home and all that jazz. I won't even make any remarks about the decision to have a children's choir singing Cold Chisels' 'Flame Trees' (twice!). It's considered an *Aussie classic*, after all. But aside from that, the movie was excellent, and I can recommend it. Plus you get to see some of my beloved city of Sydney, in particular a scene where Tracey is walking around about to meet Jonny, right near Chinatown, outside Market City which is where I go for lunch every day.
Yes, there you have it, another excellent reason to watch this movie: to see some intersection near Chinatown next to the big mall thingo where Stratu has his lunch five days a week.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Japanese Suicide Clubs

Life is crazy. Bad things happen, and good things happen. One day the sun is shining, the next day there are big dark clouds and maybe a hurricane or tornado, or cyclone, typhoon, or even a willy-willy. Willy-willy no problem - only blow plastic bag around gently like at the end of American Beauty.
But life is unpredictable, that's for sure. People die, yet other people mysteriously (even stubbornly) go on living. Think of the miracle of yourself waking up each morning, still alive. You continue to live, but many have died while you slept. Then sooner or later you will die while many others sleep, and they will wake up and probably not appreciate how lucky they are. Although, others would try to convince you it's the dead who are the lucky ones. Yes, there are those who feel that way, and if you don't believe me simply Google the words Japanese Suicide Clubs.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Starship Battle

There was me and somebody else (sometimes Brother Mikel and other times Tank Commander Puckeridge). We got in some kind of trouble in a big housing estate which was part futuristic and part present day. Garbage was overflowing and blocking the laundry room. We thought people were about to come after us any second but they never did. Anyway, we got out. Then on a massive bridge, like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a starship was in the sky slowly spinning, scanning for us. We triggered a disruption in its beams (or something, ha ha) so it lost control and slowly spun over against a big concrete wall of the bridge. Its tail block hit and sheared off. The starship fell into the water. Or maybe it just disappeared. But then we looked around and panicked because we were surrounded by uniformed guys with machine guns, but soon realised they were not paying any attention to us. It was a McDonald's carpark and they were only guarding the place. We walked in, laughing, and ordered breakfast.

Maniac Bus Driver

The bus I got home after work today was driven by a maniac. Whenever he came up to a bus stop and somebody wanted to get off or on he slammed the brakes as though he'd suddenly realised he was coming up fast to the edge of a cliff. It's hard enough to see the cover of the book the girl next to me is reading without the bus driver pulling stunts like that. And he did it at every stop, including traffic lights. Driving up fast he would suddenly stomp on the pedal and the bus would slow down at an alarming rate which forced the people standing in the aisle to swing from the poles like monkeys spinning around chrome branches. A mad scene. A bus full of people growing angrier and more indignant after each violent screaming stop. Why didn't anybody say anything? They were angry, their faces glowing red and steam blasting out their ears, and the bus driver was probably doing it on purpose; a sadistic and satisfying action guaranteed to relieve some mysterious unknowable venom. But nobody said anything, simply let their faces grow more and more contorted with humiliated rage. Why? If it was Mexico you would have half a dozen passengers zooming up the aisle waving machetes, murder in their bloodshot eyes, but in Sydney we do things differently. We suffer in silence, and go home and write about it in our stupid blogs.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


I'm looking at the TV. There is a girl and her eyeballs are enormous. But her eyeballs, they are so WHITE. The whites are pure white and it's awesome and devastating. Big eyes with so much white around the colour. Eyes that grow bigger and whiter every second. I can only see her eyes, large and glowing almost, shining.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Media Terrorists

This afternoon listening to the radio I heard a report on the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that amazed me. It amazed me because the reporter was reporting positive things and not negative things.
The TV news reports were strictly negative. The dead bodies floating around. The looters. The armed gangs raping and attacking people. The horror, the anarchy and the ugliest side of humanity. You watch that kind of *news* for long enough and you can get depressed, or angry, or start feeling helpless or powerless in the face of such relentless horror. And you can really get twisted up with it. It can twist your mind around in a sick way when you are only shown the worst and ugliest aspect.
But in the radio report I heard this afternoon, the reporter was focussing on positive things. One of them was a story about two guys who had been neighbours for years, had only ever said hi to each other, but in the big exodus from the flooded city found themselves walking together along the highway. By the time they got out of that doomed deathswamp they were like best friends. This fearsome terrible natural disaster threw them together and they bonded where they never would have otherwise.
Another story was about the people seeking refuge in a sports stadium. Some *looters* came in with food and drink and shared it all around with everybody. But the way those TV news people reported it, the word *looters* meant wild criminal gangs running around opportunistically stealing shit from stores for purely selfish reasons, like "Yo dawg, check dis out I gawna git me a big screen muthafuckin' TV!", and naturally that made the TV news viewers go totally bananas and righteously declare "Damn, we gotta go after these looting bastards and shoot 'em on sight!"
So now we know that when you hear the term *looters* it can mean two different things, but the TV news won't make that distinction.
The TV news reports it in such a way that makes normally quite sane and reasonable people act rabid, howling for blood. Why do they do that? Why was it such a big surprise to hear this radio report that revealed positive aspects of the disaster? Of humanity? People bringing out their best qualities; qualities that were previously submerged and only brought to the surface by this ferocious appalling act of nature. Men and women acting in a selfless way, sharing even when it could mean their own demise.
People think they are smart and can't be fooled. But the media has an awesome power to fool you, to twist your mind and sabotage your better instincts. I think there's something vitally important to be on guard against and it's this: if you find that after absorbing some kind of media information you suddenly begin to experience feelings of HATRED, you're probably being manipulated.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hell on Earth

Like millions of others, I've been following the Hurricane Katrina reports since when it was way off the coast. It was really shaping up to be quite spectacular. Everybody loves EXTREME WEATHER. I bet you've seen the movie Twister at least once. And how many EXTREME WEATHER documentaries have you watched? Thousands I'll bet. Extreme weather rocks. Sure it sucks for the people who get hit by it, and especially maimed or killed by it, or who have loved ones who have been maimed or killed by it, but try to deny that you get some serious kicks watching it on TV and I'll call you a damn liar.
Anyway, Katrina was shaping up to be a real monster. A real killer. A real savage brutal bitch. And what a pussy name for such a killer hurricane. Katrina? Maybe they should have called it Adolf or Arnie or something like that. But Katrina? Please.
So now Katrina, the hurricane with the lame girly name, has hit the Gulf Coast and turned out to be the biggest motherfucking destructo hurricane in the history of the world just about, and dead bodies are floating past live bodies. Thousands of people are stuck in sports stadiums pissing and shitting right where they are miserably existing in some kind of foul Hell on Earth. The whole city looks like a damn filthy swimming pool with roofs and telegraph poles sticking out like a demented kid went and poured a big bucket of water on his Lego village. What a mess. What a nightmare.
Now to make things even more interesting, I hear there are armed gangs roaming around raping young girls and women, hunting tourists for some sick sport, AND shooting their damn guns at helicopters that are only there to try and help the bastards. It's insane, man. I've seen the footage and it looks like a George Romero movie. You know, you only see that kind of utter despair and horror overtaken an entire city in a zombie movie. But it's not a zombie movie. It's New Orleans!
It's awesome TV too. I'm glued to the set.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I bought the new issue of Terroriser today. Obituary are on the cover. Man, Obituary! That takes me back! I say, smiling crookedly and rubbing my grizzled whiskers as I lean back in my rickety chair.
In 1989 their debut album Slowly We Rot came out and I bought it. What a great album. It sounded like the kind of music turbo zombies would make. I listened to that album over and over and never got sick of it. Another great thing about it, I was sure that if I played it to somebody else, (at least) 99.999% of them would absolutely HATE it. That was pretty cool. For sure, only if you were truly HARDCORE could you handle (much less enjoy) this kind of music, so it felt pretty damn great to know that I was one of these totally hardcore dudes. Ha ha! *head thrown back, mad egomaniacal laughter going on and on well into the night*
And the band photo, it was taken at night with a light behind them so you could only see their silhouettes. I noticed how goddam skinny they were. Hey, I was pretty damn skinny too! These turbo zombies were the same age as me, and they were skinny like me too, AND they made this totally EVIL music that I LOVED but just about everybody else HATED.
Anyway, with Obituary coming back it made me think about the *age thing*. You know, young dudes make fun of the oldies going along to see the Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd or Yes or whoever, and I know I did too - those ponytail dudes, ha ha! But what's even funnier is, when Obituary come out here touring their new album and showing off their bigger stomachs, looking like that silhouette photo on the back of Slowly We Rot, only a fatter version, I'll go along to see them, and there will be some young dudes there who were making big steaming smelly piles in their nappy when I bought that first Obituary album, and they will look at me and say, Ha ha, look at that dude, he's pretty old, hey. Don't stay up too late Grampa!