Monday, October 31, 2005

Gantz 2

Last Monday I watched the first volume of Gantz and wrote about it here. I really liked it a lot. So today after work I jumped off the bus early again went back to the video store and got the second volume. I just finished watching it. Well, now I'm addicted to it. I'm addicted goddam it and can't wait to watch the third volume. There's something about this crazy show that's put a great big hook in me. I don't know if it's the quick jumps from a scene of brutal violence to one of exaggerated heart-wrenching emotion, or a jump from a gratuitous nude scene to one of stark psychological torment. It could be both of those. But could it be the characters, with their many and obvious flaws, but also their history of PAIN that is slowly being revealed? Yes, it could be that too. That for sure could be part of it. The excellent soundtrack and voice acting plays a part too. Even that power ballad at the end of each episode. It may be a little cheesy I guess, but I love it!
I am a Gantz fan now, I'll admit it. It's hooked me in a big way. And it's killing me that the third volume isn't right here in front of me so I could slam it into the machine and smash PLAY on the remote.
It's KILLING me.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Survey of Some Recent Blogs IX

Well, I think it's time for another survey. I can't think of anything else to write about, so it must be time for another survey.
Let's take a peek, bracing ourselves for another barrage of stinking adblogs.

1. Dusty Busty - What the hell is this? A porno blog? No. A closer examination reveals that it's only another sneaky adblog. See, they put that piece of a sex story up front to get you hot and drooling so like a sucker you will rush to join this stupid Adult Friend Finder website.
2. Nos Media - A boring Portuguese political blog, by the looks of it. Predictably, even the pictures are boring. Snore.
3. Casamento Manoella - A Brazilian blog, the sole purpose of which appears to be displaying photos from some wedding. Who are these people? I don't know, but some of the women are HOT.
4. Greener Magazine - Hemp shirts, electric cars, panda bears, rainbows, tofu burgers, eco warriors, and all that jazz.
5. Nochalantme - Good grief, it's a blog written in verse form. And it's not Dylan Thomas either, but a 21 year-old Muslim girl. Is there any entertainment value here? Is the moon a tomato?
6. Snowy Land - A blog by a Singapore girl. Here you can read many entertainment-free tales of her work life in the office and with other people in the office, and text messages between her and them. It occurs to me that when you read blogs like this, you could be forgiven for wondering if blogging technology is in fact some kind of Satanic invention designed to make you gouge your own eyes out from unbearable despair.
7. Aventuras en America - You only need to know that this person, when writing about how hard he or she is going to study for some exam, uses the words "110% effort".
Meanwhile, I am only going to use 100% effort in navigating away from this snooze-inducing blog as fast as I can.
8. Dock Ellis - You only need to know that this blogger's most recent post announces that today is the thirteen-month anniversary of his iPod ownership. But look out your window and maybe you will see the fireworks going off in honour of this great milestone.
9. Sounds Like Trouble - OK what is this one all about then? Well, this chick Saskia visits Spain and goes shopping. That's about it. Sounds like trouble? Sounds like boredom.
10. Pensees Delicats - Hey, another Asian pork chop. She sure looks like a cutie, but they all do. Every one of these young Asian girl bloggers is so damn cute but their blogs are all so damn dull and boring. They could at least include photos of themselves at the beach. At a nude beach, preferably. We must have the Yin and the Yang! Is that too much to ask? Is it too much to ask for some reward for reading this boring stuff? Of course it's not.

Well, that brings us to the end of yet another Survey. What have we learned from this excursion?
On the one hand, there was only one adblog, but even that had some pictures of naked women, so while it was naturally a hideous and foul creation, at least you got a peek at some boobs.
On the other hand, the real blogs seem to be getting more boring. Are people actually getting more boring in this day and age? It seems so.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Flies and Mosquitoes

Three days ago I noticed two things. Flies are back on the scene and so are mosquitoes.
I was walking over to Market City to get lunch and flies started buzzing up into my face. They were everywhere. I looked and everybody was waving their hands around their heads, swatting flies away. The flies don't give up easily though, they come back and come back, like it's a game. At these times I always think of those people you see who let the flies sit on their face. They don't try to swat them away, in fact they seem calm and not irritated by those little bastards. Are they Buddhists? I've seen those Buddhist priests who walk along with one of their junior burger acolytes sweeping in front of them as they walk, sweeping any ants away so the priest doesn't step on the ants and screw his karma up, or whatever. Do those Buddhists let the flies sit on their face? I couldn't do it. I have to swat them, and I'll admit sometimes they drive me so bananas I get enormous satisfaction by squashing them, I'll admit it. But today I was reading something about these flies, and an expert said one reason they like to hang out on your face is for your sweat which contains salt and proteins - food for them. Another reason they do it is so they can meet up with their mates. How about that? Your face is a kind of singles bar for flies. At the bar your sweat is the pretzels and peanuts. Even if you are one of those Buddhists, would you put up with it knowing that? No you wouldn't. You have to draw a line.
Was it enough with the flies? No it wasn't. That night I saw a mosquito in my room. But it's different with the mosquitoes because that means I get to use mozzie coils again. I LOVE the smell of mozzie coils. Last summer one day at work I reached down for my backpack, had to get something out of it, but when it got up close to my face I could smell that mozzie coil smoke. Perfume! I like it so much that I was still burning those coils two months after the mosquitoes had headed north for the winter, or hibernated, or whatever they do. If I was a Buddhist I would save money because instead of having to buy mozzie coils and incense I would only need the mozzie coils.
Give me a mosquito summer with a crate of mozzie coils.
It's the simple pleasures for me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The 40 Year-Old Virgin

I left work early today to go see a movie. I like to see a movie at the movie house on Tuesday because it is Budget Price Tuesday. These days I pay eight bucks to see a movie when every other day of the week it is fifteen bucks fifty. Does $15.50 sound like a lot of money to pay to see a movie to you? It does to me. I have never paid $15.50 to see a movie and can't see it ever happening. It's funny because I'm not a person who is obsessed with getting a bargain price on everything. I don't listen to somebody tell me they bought some pants for fifty bucks and laugh and say well my pants were on special they only cost twenty bucks. I don't live my life worrying about that stuff. I like to throw the money around if I got it. Who cares. It's only money. Oh yeah, you say, only money. It's only money when you got it hey, but when you ain't got it, it ain't only money. You got a point there, I'll admit it. But I didn't always have money. I've had my share of nights eating chilli sauce on toast and it wasn't fun that's for sure. But this is going off the track a bit. What I was going to say was that even though I am not obsessed with getting a bargain for every damn thing, I will only go and see a movie on Bargain Price Tuesday. Maybe it is an obsession.
Anyway, the movie I went and saw was called The 40 Year-Old Virgin.
When I walked into the theatre and found a seat in a perfect position, right in the middle with my eyes about level with the vertical middle of the screen, I sat down with my vanilla choc-top. I used to always buy the coffee choc-tops but since that episode with the collapsing cone I have been getting vanilla choc-tops. I think what it was was that not many people buy those coffee choc-tops so they get old there in the freezer and the cone loses its structural integrity. I seem to be terrified now of buying another coffee choc-top to find the damn cone all floppy.
Well, I sat down with my vanilla choc-top and a funny thing happened. I heard people giggling all over the place. I thought yes for sure I am about to see a comedy movie, everybody is already giggling like schoolgirls and the movie hasn't even begun yet. These were obviously hardcore comedy fans, people who laugh all the time about God knows what, but everything is funny. I got a big smile. I thought it was pretty funny myself, this crowd. They were all laughing at God knows what, but it seemed to be funny as hell. Maybe they had heard about my coffee choc-top phobia.
Oh yeah, the movie. I guess anybody who was reading this for the movie review is long gone, so here it is for my hardcore readers. God bless you!
The movie is about a guy called Andy (Steve Carell who I saw recently in another funny movie called The Anchorman) and he is 40 years old and has never had sex with a woman. Most people probably have sex by the time they are 13 these days so Andy's case must seem pretty bizarre to most people. Andy works in an electronics store, like a Dick Smith Powerhouse here in Australia. He lives by himself and collects action figures that he never removes from the box, plus he reads comics. Not only all that, but he also rides a bicycle to work! Yes, he lives in Los Angeles (it must be Los Angeles because every American movie is made in LA) where if you don't have a car you are a bum or a nerdy bicycle rider like Andy.
When the other guys at work find they are a man short for a poker game they reluctantly ask him if he wants to join them. During the poker game they are all telling stories about sex experiences when it gets around to Andy's turn. The more he says, the more the other guys stare in amazement at the nutty things he is saying. Then he compares a woman's boobs to bags of sand, so that's when they know he is still a virgin. So they take it on themselves to get Andy laid.
I'm about to pass out so I'll wrap this up as fast as I can. This movie was very good. The cast was excellent, every one. It was very funny and even though there were gross-out gags - like Andy getting up every morning with a boner, then one morning sitting down to take a dump sits down with that boner and starts pissing up into his own face - the movie had a lot of heart, to put it in a corny way. All the characters were very likeable and funny. There were a lot of big laughs in the movie, it was very funny. It was so good that I am looking forward to seeing it again. I could watch it again next week and be excited about seeing it again.
It was a good movie, and very funny.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Today at work I took a break from my dedicated activity to check out the upcoming DVD releases for November. I always do that at the end of the month. It usually takes me a million years to get around to things, but I'm pretty good at this DVD pre-order biz.
Anyway, scrolling down the list I saw something called Gantz, a Japanese anime and it was rated R. There aren't many animes with an R rating. In fact I don't think I've seen one since Legend of the Overfiend, and since I can't help these occasional surges of *prurient interest*, as they call it, I felt a strong urge to check this Gantz out. I called my video store and the girl told me they had the first four parts (It is a 26-episode series with four episodes on each disc.) I got the bus home jumped off early near the video store went in and rented the first volume.
I just finished watching the first four episodes. This shit is wild.
It starts off with a shoolboy Kei and he is daydreaming in class. He pictures the female teacher and students all naked and gets a boner. Other kids in class notice this and torment him about it. He gets embarassed. Then after school he goes to the train station to get a train home. All the while we hear his thoughts and he is thinking things like man she is hot I wouldn't mind giving it to her, and goddam that stinking bum why don't ya go and have a bath and get a job.
At the train station that bum he saw wanders up smelling bad then stumbles and falls down onto the tracks. Nobody on the platform goes to help, instead we hear their thoughts, making excuses why they can't help, and even some looking forward to seeing the train run over the poor guy.
Kei has noticed another guy, he used to go to school with this guy, his name is Masaro. Well, Masaro jumps down onto the tracks to help the bum. Oh my God, somebody actually does something to help this guy. It's unheard of. But there is Masaro down on the tracks yet he can't lift the guy by himself, and that's when he sees Kei. Naturally he asks Kei to come down and help him, but Kei is going aw man, why did he have to notice me, I don't wanna go down there, we might get hit by the damn train, and all that jazz. But he is shamed into going down eventually.
They manage to get the bum back on the platform before the train comes. The problem is they can't get back up there in time and they get hit by the train. Heads fly off and blood spurts. The end.
No, not the end. They reappear in a room with a big black sphere in the middle of it. It looks like a big wrecking ball. There are also some other people in the room. There's a goofy schoolteacher, two Yakuza guys, a loud guy with long blond hair and a strange sinister looking dude sitting in the corner, and a dog.
Where are they? Are they dead? They can't get out of the room. There's a force field or something preventing them from opening the door or getting out to the balcony.
Suddenly a girl (Kishimoto) begins to appear - a laser transports her into the room gradually so you see the inside of her body as she is being recreated. She arrives naked and groggy and one of the Yakuza guys, a big brute of a bastard, takes her off to rape her. We hear her screaming. Kei does nothing but Masaro rushes in to save her and there's a big showdown between him and the nasty Yakuza. Masaro succeeds in saving her but as she is sitting sobbing against the wall, the dog comes up and starts molesting her with its tongue. What a crazy show!
Anyway, back in the main room some text appears on the big black sphere saying, basically: I OWN YOU ALL NOW AND YOU WILL DO WHATEVER I SAY. What the hell?
The sphere splits open to reveal all kinds of hardcore-looking guns and a uniform for each person. They all get transported down to what seems like a regular suburban town with an order to kill a Green Onion Alien. Built into their suits is a radar so they find the Green Onion Alien pretty fast. This little green guy, all he wants to do is eat his green onions. Why do they have to kill this poor little guy? What kind of rotten cruel horror have these supposed dead folks been placed in?
But it's the Yakuza guys who shoot the little Green Onion Alien. Masaro is horrified and disgusted and sick, starts crying and wailing what have you done! But then an enormous guy comes along and he is obviously a relative of the little Green Onion guy. He rips the Yakuza guys to pieces, also the schoolteacher who tried to shoot him.
Well, in the end it's only the three of them who survive - Kei, Masaro and the girl, Kishimoto. That weird sinister dude who was sitting in the corner appears and it turns out that he has been there for a long time. In the room, that is. He has seen dozens of people come through and die on these missions. So he seems to know about this Gantz sphere, did I say the sphere is called Gantz? Well that's what Gantz is. That's where the name comes from. And there's a guy in the sphere, a sick green guy with his eyes closed and he is plugged into the sphere. It's all wild and crazy man. It's violent and gory and there's nudity. I guess this was made for teenage Japanese boys. So why do I like it? Have I not grown up yet? Have I not progressed to the next level or something? Oh well. But there's more than just sex and violence going on here, you know. And this is only 4 episodes out of 26, after all.
The theme songs are excellent as well. The opening theme is a fast drum'n'bass/breaks type of tune Japanese style ('Super Shooter' by Rip Slyme) and the closing theme is a Japanese power ballad ('Last Kiss' by Bonnie Pink).
Gantz has really sunk a big hook in me and I will be zooming off to the video store for the next four-episode disc very soon.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

No Damn Subtitles

A funny thing happened when I was watching the special features on The Grudge DVD yesterday. You know The Grudge. It was a Japanese horror movie (originally called Ju-on: The Grudge)written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. Sam Raimi saw it and thought it was so damn awesome that he wanted to remake it. He knew that the only way Americans would watch it would be if it was remade with American actors. But he got Shimizu to direct this new American version starring Sarah Michelle Geller and Bill Pullman.
So what was the funny thing that happened? It's coming up, I promise.
I was watching the 'making of' featurette (A Powerful Rage) and they spent a lot of time talking about how tricky the language problem was. They were shooting in Tokyo with a Japanese director and crew, so everybody needed translators. Also, when they made notes and changes to the script, these had to be translated back and forth between English and Japanese. So you see, language translation was a big deal with this movie, you could say one of the BIGGEST deals.
Which gets us at last to this funny thing that happened. In this making of thingo, the director Takashi Shimizu and the Japanese guy who plays the detective, were talking away in Japanese, but there were no subtitles, and there was no person doing a voiceover translation of what they were saying. So unless you knew Japanese, you couldn't understand what they were saying. This was pretty frustrating because I wanted to know what they were saying, but it was amazing because it was such a big deal with this movie, the language translation. They really made a big deal about it, and it must have been quite tricky, but how tricky would it have been to subtitle these short little speeches by the director and the actor?
Anyway, in the commentary they were also saying that a Director's Cut would be coming out sometime because the censors made them cut out a bunch of stuff so they could get a PG13 rating, so hopefully they will sort it out for that.
If anybody reading this has The Grudge on DVD, could you tell me if yours is the same?

Thursday, October 20, 2005


It just ain't working. Nothing happening, not working. Why is it not working? I don't know but it is neither happening nor working for some reason. For some mysterious reason nothing is working and I do not know why. Scratching my head does no good so try something different, maybe that will work, but no that don't work either. Things are getting desperate! Shake and spin head, spin whole body around on chair and kick legs out. Try anything. Why not? Look at ceiling. Look at bookshelves. Piece of paper in pocket. Yet none of those seem to help either. Is there an answer? Of course there must be an answer somewhere, maybe I am looking in the wrong place. Let's look under the table. Nothing but layers of dust. Look in the kitchen drawer. Plastic bags and knives. They won't help. When did plastic bags and knives ever help anyway? What? Chair started squeaking but just as suddenly stopped. Was it the chair squeaking? I wasn't squeaking. Something was squeaking and it sounded like the chair. Man on radio talking but I don't hear what he says. What was that, radio man? Says you! ... I didn't hear what he said anyway. Now woman starts talking. They seem to be having a conversation. I sometimes have a conversation! It's all coming back. Sometimes I talk to some one and they say something back, and it goes along for a little while like that until one of us walks away. Then the other walks away, goes about his or her business. That's the way of a conversation - the mechanics of it, or the nuts and bolts of it, to put it another way. Well how about a conversation? OK let's try that, why not:

Me: Where is Boss? Did she go out?
Colleague: Yes, I think she went out, but I don't know where.
Me: Did she say anything?
Colleague: No, she didn't say anything just went out.
Me: So she just went out without saying anything?
Colleague: Yes, just like that.
Me: Well. How about that.
Colleague: Yes.
Me: I guess she is the Boss after all and doesn't have to tell us where she is going whenever she leaves the room.
Colleague: No, but we have to.
Me: Well I don't. Not always.
Colleague: You are a rebel.
Me: Yep. Sometimes I'll just walk out without even saying anything.
Colleague: Then Boss's head spins around wondering who walked in or out.
Me: Yeah and she sees nobody there but then notices that I am not there anymore, and thinks goddam it he just walked out without saying anything!
Colleague: You think you're pretty tough doing that do you?
Me: Yep. I'm a tough customer. I'll just walk out and not even say anything. I don't care.
Colleague: Oh you're a real tough customer.
Me: You better believe it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Night Watch

I was very glad I had a half day today. It was a big relief to get the heck out of that damn office at midday today, I tell you. Why was that? Well, what else could it be but something to do with my insane Boss? Nothing else. Yes, it was something to do with my insane Boss. This is a new stunt she pulled today, never pulled that one before. She is full of horrible surprises. What happened was, when she got in she was coughing and spluttering. Me and Colleague both expressed genuine concern yet she snapped at us, informing us that it was nothing but a cold. It was only a cold, nothing more, she barked. Well! Colleague and I looked at each other, rolling our eyeballs dramatically, around and around. But all morning Boss was coughing and hacking away. What a racket she was making! Yes, it could even have shaken our concentration on the task at hand, which was opening letters and stamping them, but we are professionals and our concentration is unshakeable. Still, we could hear Boss coughing away all morning all the while screaming that it was nothing more than a goddam cold.
Midday approached at long last, and I said to myself, Boss can go to hell! I will go to the movie house! So off I went. Free of coughing madwoman! Free at last!
The movie I chose to see was called Nightwatch, a movie I was really looking forward to. I may have revved myself up too much because I'll be damned if it wasn't a big disappointment.
This was a Russian movie based on a series of books, a trilogy I think, and this is the first movie of that trilogy.
The story is that a thousand years ago there was a big battle between two groups of superhuman type characters called Others. One side was the Dark side, the other the Light. The battle was so savage that everybody was sure to be killed so one of the generals quickly called a halt to the battle and he made a truce with the other general.
Now in present day, there are still Others around but they keep a low profile. Both sides are vampires so they need blood to survive, but the Dark Others kill people for it while the Light Others get it from a butcher shop or blood bank or something. It was pretty confusing. I may have this upside down.
There is also a legend that a child will be born, one of these Others, and when it grows up a bit it will have to choose between Dark and Light, then there will be a big final battle between the Dark and the Light Others.
I don't know if there is any point going on with this review, I really think I missed something. It was very confusing. Since it is based on a trilogy of books, it may be a case of having to read the books before you watch the movie(s). Nevertheless, halfway through the movie I regretted not being in one of the other theatres seeing The Devil's Rejects or The 40 Year Old Virgin - two other movies I want to see. But really what I am looking forward to seeing is The Exorcism of Emily Rose. God Almighty I am almost exploding with mad anticipation for that one!
The most interesting part of the experience was before the movie began. The lights were still on, the previews had not started, but there were two young Ninjas up at the back with a PSP, or some kind of electronic device anyway, playing something, it sounded like a movie or something, but the sound was loud and tinny, like from a tiny tinny transistor radio. Everybody was annoyed and angry about it, but nobody said or did anything. There was a big Russian-looking dude in front of me and he looked around a couple of times, with a real mean killer look, but even he neither said nor did anything. How depressing. Even the big killer-looking dudes don't have anything for these horrible young gadget robots in this modern world. It is terribly depressing.
But one cool thing was that about half the audience were reading books. I was reading my Turgenev book ['Spring Torrents'] and I imagined that those other people were all reading Russian novels too. It made me happy to think that could be the case, and gave me a good feeling about the anticipated Russian movie. Yet, it was a disappointment! Yet could it be that it went over my head? A depressing thought!
Oh life!
[Thanks to Kapreles for the Nightwatch image - they are hard to find!]

Monday, October 17, 2005


Today I had to spend two hours on the information desk. Everybody has to do it. There is a roster, and today it was my turn again.
I had only been sitting there for ten minutes and nobody had come up to ask me a question, like where were the toilets. But then Clarence came up to say hello. He is a Gallery Officer and his job is to walk around the museum making sure kids don't touch or climb on the objects, make sure people don't try to steal objects, or hit them with sledgehammers. Visitors also ask him questions and he is very good at answering them. Clarence always gets glowing reviews from visitors. I know about that because I process the visitor comments. Clarence likes to talk to people and he is very good at it. He is very friendly and because he enjoys talking to the visitors and helping them, they write nice things about him on the visitor comments forms. Clarence is a large man and carries himself with an air of magnanimity. If it weren't for his uniform, he could be mistaken for a visiting dignitary, or some great benefactor.
Anyway, he came up to say hello as I sat at the information desk.
I mentioned to him that he was very popular with the visitors. I processed the visitor comments and I saw them all. He sure was popular. The visitors thought he was a good egg.
It wasn't the first time I told Clarence about his fans, and he reacted in his usual way. He took it very well, in a relaxed manner, as though it were no big deal. But it was obvious he enjoyed the subject and was flattered. He was pleased in his subtle way. He was magnanimous; one of those likeable, magnanimous fellows.
A woman visitor came up and asked where something was. I said I didn't know. As soon as I said it I knew it was not a very good answer. Luckily Clarence was there.
'Politicians know that there are three things you never say: No, Yes, or I don't know. What you do is just talk, about anything, and feel free to even change the subject,' Clarence said.
The woman liked that answer, and she seemed instantly charmed. She made some comments on the evasiveness of politicians, then walked away smiling.
'Another thing with you, Clarence,' I said, 'is that you are on one side of the coin, while a couple of your colleagues are on the other side of the coin. You are a good egg; these others are bad eggs. They always get negative comments.'
'Don't tell me ... Holland and Fernandez.'
'Yep. What is it with them?'
Clarence rolled his eyes up and gave a tremendous sigh.
'I'll tell you what. When they come anywhere near me, I am off. I get to the other side of the museum. You know the poles? Like a magnet? Opposite sides. They can't be together, they have to be on opposite sides. That's me and them.'
'You know, one of the complaints, a girl went up to Fernandez and asked him if she could go outside and have a cigarette then come back in. Guess what he said to her?'
Clarence closed his eyes.
'He laughed and said, 'Sure. Go out and get cancer, you little bitch. I don't care.' That's pretty cold, isn't it?'
Clarence got a big painful grimace that spread out over his face. These were HIS people, these visitors. He really liked them all, and it was too much, this, the thought that some of his colleagues were treating them bad.
'You know, if I had any say in the matter, I wouldn't keep these people on the floor. Why do the managers keep these people on the floor, dealing with the public? It's quite beyond me, it really is.'
'You are a good egg, Clarence,' I said.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Boss Throws Another Fit

Boss went berserk again this morning. She had been awfully decent for so long I guess it was about time.
What happened was, Colleague rang up and said her kid was sick, and that not only would she not be in today but she would not be in tomorrow either. That was enough. That really did it all right. The funny part was I heard Boss on the phone and she was nice to Colleague.
'Yes yes, that's OK. Oh well. Never mind. It's OK. Them's the breaks and all that jazz. See you next week then.'
But she slammed the phone down like she does. POW! Really hard. She really SLAMS that phone down. She's like a baseball pitcher. She winds up, then SLAM!
I was sitting there in front of the pigeonholes, already sorted the mail to open, waiting for Boss to come around from her cubicle. Around she came at high speed, vibrating with awesome rage, at a very high pitch of furious anger. She plonked herself down next to me picked up the date stamp opened a letter and brought the stamp down. POW! I jumped. The table shook. A miracle the thing didn't explode in a shower of tiny splinters.
Then she got down to it. Of course her plans would all go to hell. Why was everything she tried to do sabotaged? It wasn't fair. Also, employees didn't have to obey orders anymore. Back in her day you did what the boss said. Not today. Oh no. In fact, everybody is against managers.
'Everybody? Who is?' I said.
'Oh, just everybody!'
Then she got to this mail business.
'What other organisation has somebody like ME opening the mail? A MANAGER! With a DEGREE!' she shouted. 'It is so DEMEANING!'
Is it really so demeaning? I don't mind doing the mail at all. In fact I like doing the mail. But I dare not tell Boss that, especially at a time like this, when she is in berserk mode. I might get a letter opener in the neck.
But I'm not a manager, so maybe it is natural that it is not demeaning to me. I'm really a junior burger in the great organisational scheme of things, after all. Of course it doesn't matter if somebody comes in and sees me doing the mail. But for her, for Boss, who is a manager, maybe it really is demeaning! What do those people think if they come in and see her doing the mail? Sitting there with me (the *Mail Boy*), both of us holding a date stamp and a letter opener in front of all those stupid pigeonholes? And her the Manager! Oh the humiliation!
On and on she rages, slamming the date stamp down and flinging letters in my direction, letters for the pigeonholes on my side, actually throwing them. It seems insane. But what do I know? Maybe she has a point after all. Maybe I, the true and unashamed mail spazz, am simply too dull-witted to grasp it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


There was a funny thing in the paper today about Marcia Hines. She is a black singer (African/American black not Aussie black) and these days she is also a judge on Australian Idol. She does all those stupid you go girl moves, the side-to-side head movements, and putting one hand up palm outwards, like yo, testify. Ugh. You know how ridiculous all that looks. But the thing is, she thinks she is a real soul sister, really hip to all that black jazz. So it was very amusing to learn that on a recent show she complimented one singer's performance by calling it "wack".
Ha ha. Even I know that "wack" means "lame". Haw!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Wolf Creek

I left work at 3:30 today so I could catch the 4:00pm session of Wolf Creek. The line was very short and I got my ticket and headed in. I gave my ticket to the guy so he could rip the end off. It's the same guy who is always there ripping tickets and I've often wondered about him because he is an older fellow, unlike most who work at these big cinemas, who are teenagers. I've wondered about him but I've never spoken to him and he has never spoken to me, except for the usual automatic exchange which goes like this:

Ticket ripper: Cinema 17 upstairs to your right here's your ticket don't lose it.
Me: Thanks. I won't.

Anyway, there he was today as usual and I gave him my ticket to rip. He looked at it and said Ah! Wolf Creek, that's Cinema 3 around to your left, that is if you can handle it. Pretty tough stuff, is it? I said. He said that lots of people have been walking out on it. Then he mentioned some actor friends of his who watched it and they even found it hard going. Actor friends? He admitted that he used to be an actor. He also told me about one of the projectionists, a girl, who looked through the peephole (or something) at the movie and it repulsed her so much she did not look again. I told him I thought I could handle it. Yes, he said, you look like you have broad shoulders. You should be all right. I thanked him and went in and bought a vanilla choc-top (last week when I bought a coffee one the cone was all soggy and almost collapsed).
When I got around and through to Cinema 3, the door was closed. That was unusual. The door is never closed like that. I was about to push the door open but looked down at my ticket stub instead. It said Wolf Creek Cinema 3 4:45-6:44pm. 4:45? What the hell? I went back to the guy and asked him if it was right, that the newspaper said 4:00. He said yep, it's right. 4:45.
Oh well. How about that? That never happened before. Oh well. I didn't throw a fit. I felt pretty calm about the whole thing, actually. Cool as a cucumber I went over to a table sat down ate the choc-top and read my book.
Forty-five minutes later I got up and went back to Cinema 3.

At last, the movie review! Here it is, after all!:
Yes the movie was called Wolf Creek and it was an Australian movie. I had heard nothing about this one, only that it was a horror movie, some kind of slasher movie, based on actual events.
There's a guy (Ben) and two girls (Liz and Kristy) travelling around Australia by car. The guy is Aussie, the two girls are English. When the movie begins they are at Broome in Western Australia, having fun at the beach. They go to a pub that night and have a wild time out in the beer garden, getting drunk and doing bombs into the pool. The next day they set off inland. On the way they tell jokes and sing songs on Ben's acoustic guitar, quite silly retarded songs. They are having a very fun time. Then they get to some tiny town called Emu Creek. Liz (or Kristy) walks into the pub where a group of filthy-looking men start cracking lewd jokes about her to each other. Then Kristy (or Liz) walks in and they make some unchivalrous remarks about her. Then Ben comes in and they take a crack at him too. One of these witty chaps gets up calls Ben over and says hey me and the fellas were thinking about having a gang bang, but we thought we had better get your permission. Big laughs around the table. Ben looks scared and uncomfortable but angry too and can you blame him? He is a young fellow, quite happy-go-lucky so it seems. But he turns back to the bar muttering go to hell you fuckhead. This makes the standing guy angry and he says what the hell did you say? Ben backs down and says oh I only said you have a nice smile. Pretty funny because the guy has a big hole where a couple of front teeth oughtta be.
Ben and Liz and Kristy get back out to the car safely but shaken, drive off then soon appear to forget about that unpleasantness. But we don't, do we? We know it's a bad sign and for sure worse things are in store for our young adventurers.
They get to an enormous crater (actually the Wolfe Creek Crater) that was made by a meteor. This was something on their list of things to see obviously, and they are pretty excited to be there. They jump out of the car and run up to the rim to check it out. It really is spectacular. When they come back to the car, they find that their watches have stopped, all at the same time. Pretty spooky. Then the damn car won't start, which is a drag, but they resign themselves to having to stay the night, in the car. But in the middle of the night they see some lights. After speculating that it may be a UFO (Ben had earlier told the girls about a UFO visit in the area) it turns out to be an old guy who offers to help. He's not so old actually, maybe in his late 50s, and he's kind of a big loud joking guy, a real Aussie outback character. Sure, he's all right. He's gonna help them out. He asks them where they are from, the girls say England, Ben says Sydney. Mick, the *rescuer* says Ha! Sydney! The poofter capital of Australia!
Anyway, Mick tows them back to his place so he can fix their car. They are driving for hours it seems and they get worried, but decide it will be OK, sure. She'll be right, mate. That's the Aussie way. They get to Mick's place, an old abandoned mining camp, and sit around a fire while Mick regales them all about his former career as a shooter. His job was to shoot kangaroos and wild boar. He goes into detail like how the pigs are trickier because you have to get in close for the kill, and have to watch out for the tusks. He describes how one of his dogs was decapitated by one of these wild boars. Liz and Kristy look like they are gonna throw up. To lighten things up a little, Ben says to Mick that it must be great to live and work out here in the outback, with the FREEDOM and all that jazz. Mick looks at him like he's insane (or a poofter). He gives him a long, very unsettling look. Woah. It's here that we realise that Mick is probably not a nice Crocodile Dundee type character. In fact he looks like he could be a MANIAC.
Well, then the three adventurers go to sleep. A bad idea. Liz (or Kristy, I can't remember which was which but it doesn't matter) wakes up in a shed, bound and gagged. She is terrified, naturally, but that's nothing yet. She finds a piece of glass and manages to free herself and jumps out the window. That's when she hears the screaming. She goes up to a window and looks in to see Kristy tied to a pole, bloody, screaming, with Mick pointing a rifle at her, taunting her and cracking jokes.
This is where it gets REALLY nasty. The rest of the movie is almost constant screaming and sadistic brutality. It's really quite nasty and sustained. Here we have an Australian version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And don't forgot it's based on actual events (the Peter Falconio case and the Ivan Milat backpacker murders). I can only think of a handful of movies that have achieved this level of pure nastiness: Tobe Hooper's aforementioned chainsaw extravaganza; the Austrian movie Funny Games; Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses. Oh yeah, and Gaspar Noe's Irreversible.
This one really got to the audience, I could tell. There were not even any nervous giggles. I don't know if anybody walked out because I was close to the front with only two people in front of me. One of them was a man who got up twice and went out and came back again for some reason. The other was a woman who kept going tsk tsk tsk tsk. It really got to her, you could tell. It was not a nice movie.

Monday, October 10, 2005

World of Fantasy

I don't know what to write. I have nothing to write. I have nothing. I don't feel so good either. You know how Freddie Mercury said it's a kind of magic? Well, this is a kind of sickness.
Maybe I'll come up with something. It seems unlikely. The radio is on and a man is talking. I have a cigarette and a beer. I'm swivelling in my chair, bumping my toes. I can't see any insects in the room. There are no moths. There were moths everywhere yesterday. Where have they gone? Where have all the insects gone?
I can't hear anything. Why is it so quiet outside? What are the other people doing? I can't hear them. Only the computer is buzzing, the man on the radio talking. The people are locked in their rooms making no sound.
Pictures on the TV make me feel sick. The people. They are all smiling. What have they to smile about? What am I missing out on? Where has my smile gone? Maybe I will come up with something, then I will smile. Yet it seems unlikely.
Well, I guess I'll keep going. What else is there? Nothing. I can't read my book, have to write, even about nothing. Always a remote chance of coming up with something. Maybe it is on the horizon! I look up but the horizon is as flat as before.
Pretty funny to entertain thoughts that I can write, after all. Really got myself fooled, that's for sure. What a world of fantasy I have created for myself!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Sun Also Rises

Today I finished another book, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. It was very good. It was about a group of friends who are hanging out in Paris, then they all go to Pamplona in Spain to watch the bullfights. They seem to drink all the time. On just about every page they are drinking, drinking. Drinking and talking. They really drink a hell of a lot, and they talk, then have another drink. I have never read a book with so much boozing going on. (Well, not since I last read a Charles Bukowski book that is.)
Anyway, it was an excellent book, and contained some of the funniest dialogue I have ever read.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Herzog & Ramadan

Last night I tried to write TWO things but neither of them worked out. Why did they not work out? I don't know, but I spent over two hours writing these things and when I read back over them they were awful, so I killed them both.
The first one was about a book I finished yesterday. The book was Herzog by a guy called Saul Bellow. I had never read anything by him and only chose this book because the title reminded me of that great documentary Grizzly Man that I saw recently, that was made by Werner Herzog. Well, this book was not about Werner Herzog but a man called Moses Herzog whose wife has left him for his best friend. Because of that, he goes a bit wacky and starts writing letters to all kinds of people, people he knows and people he doesn't know. But he doesn't send any of these letters, only writes them all in a big notebook he carries around.
The book was very good. Herzog was a likeable guy. Imagine your wife going off with your best friend! I also learned an excellent word: Trepverter, which is Yiddish for "retorts that came too late, like when you are already going down the stairs." I like that word because that seems to happen to me all the time. I am slow that way. Probably why I like writing - you have all the time in the world to come up with a line, ha ha.
The second thing I tried to write last night was about Ramadan. Every year for a whole month the Muslims don't eat or smoke cigarettes during the day, only after the sun goes down. (I wonder if they are also forbidden to blow themselves up in crowded places?) Anyway, I knew about that, but what I didn't know (heard this on the radio) was that during Ramadan they are also forbidden to say anything bad about somebody else. A real challenge! Then I thought about it in terms of bloggers, a great many of whom it is their bread and butter, to put it one way, to say (that is, to write) bad things about people. What would these bloggers have if for a month they could only write nice things about other people? A month of silence, probably. Ha ha. But what about me? Well, I wouldn't be allowed to do a Survey of Some Recent Blogs for that month, because that is IMPOSSIBLE to do without saying bad things about people. I'd also have to neglect my audience reports when I wrote about a movie I saw.
Anyway, today I was at the Turkish pizza place and was talking to the lady there. She is Muslim and she made some comment about Ramadan. I said you must be pretty hungry by the time the sun goes down and she grimaced, nodding her head. Then I told her what I heard on the radio, that it was also forbidden to say bad things about people. She hesitated for a second before admitting that it was impossible. She still said bad things about people during Ramadan. Who could stop doing that for a whole month?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Stratu Comics?

Dare I even believe it for a minute? Dare I believe that some young talented prolific comics artist wants to make some of my bloggy ramblings into comics? I dare not! But he wrote to me and said how much he likes my stuff and wants to make comics out of it, yet it could be some trick! Did I read it right? Yes there it is, but could it ever happen? I have my doubts. And if I talk about it or write about it before it happens surely it will never happen and I will later find out it was all a cruel trick! So, now I've done it. How cruel to get some poor devil's hopes up that way! Monster! I only ever wanted to go about my simple life and obsess on these women craftily hiding the front cover of their books from my bloodshot eyes, and write about it, nothing more! I never imagined it could go beyond that, but somebody comes along and says he wants to make comics out of that stuff and gets my hopes up! Why did you have to do that! Will you even do that? It seems too good to be true, but yes there it is, in that letter! But why not, anyway? Why not my stuff? Do I not think my stuff has some merit that is not so easy to find in this vast mostly depressing bland and robotic blogosphere? Of course! Otherwise I would not continue with it. And why not my obsession with these mysterious women readers on public transport? Who else admits that kind of mad yearning obsession? Who has them? If they have them do they have the courage or lack of shame to write about them? Well, I don't mind humiliating myself, God knows I've spent enough years doing it. I don't care. It's true that I am at least half mad and an obsessive type, deeply flawed and don't mind if other people know all about it. So why not! Why the hell not anyway? Really, is it so surprising that somebody might want to make a comic out of that? No, not so surprising at all, when you think about it. Yet it is best not to let your hopes get too high, that's for sure, really is best to have a grim outlook that everything will fail in the end; good will turn to bad, sunshine will turn to stormclouds and hailstones that make big dents in your skull. It's the way things can go and often enough do, you really have to be ready for it, and steel yourself for the worst, the way I see it.

Python Vs Gator

What happens when a big Burmese python's eyes get too big for its stomach? This is what happens.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Magician

Today was a half day for me - only at work until midday when the mailbags are tied up and I take 'em downstairs then bam I'm outta there. Did I subsequently take myself off to see a movie? You bet I did, and that movie was called The Magician.
I hadn't heard much at all about this one, only that it was Australian and it was about a hitman, and that it was supposed to be a good bad guy movie, not a lame one like so many of them are. Thank you Quentin Tarantino, you certainly have a lot to answer for, mister.
Filmed in Melbourne, the second best city in Australia, The Magician is about a hitman, Ray. The unique aspect here is that it's shot like a documentary. A guy called Max is making a documentary of Ray as he goes about his hitman life. Maybe Scott Ryan, the guy who wrote and directed this movie (and also plays Ray) was inspired by the Belgian movie Man Bites Dog, where two film students make a doco about a serial killer, following him around as he goes about his serial killer life.
OK, so here we have Ray, and he is a hitman. His job seems to be to kill people who for whatever reason refuse to pay other people the money they owe. He is a *toecutter*, like Chopper. And in the same way that Chopper only hurt or killed criminals, so does Ray, which makes us law-abiding citizens not feel so bad about liking them, and yes Ray is a very likeable character the same way that Chopper was, or is. What Ray (and Chopper) does is not very nice that's for sure, but those people are criminals, it seems as though they are destined for a violent end sooner or later anyway, so what does it matter who brings that about? And isn't it even better if that *punisher* is a likeable fellow, with a good sense of humour? You see, these toecutters are not like serial killers at all, who go after regular citizens. Although I have to admit the serial killer in Man Bites Dog was somewhat funny and likeable, so yes it does get tricky, not all cut and dried, so to speak. But is it really so hard to believe a monster could have some good points? We don't want to think it's possible, do we?
Anyway, in The Magician, as Max goes around with Ray and observes and comments on and asks questions about his hitman life, a sort of friendship develops between them. They have a lot of laughs amid the carnage, like when Max asks Ray if he has ever been to Mardi Gras. Ray says no he has never, what does Max think he is, a poof? So Max wants to know if Ray has anything against homosexuals. No, not really, he says, whatever blows your whistle. Then Max admits he wouldn't mind going to Mardi Gras and Ray says well maybe they can go together. A funny scene.
With the scenario of this Max guy making his doco about Ray, a hitman, it's natural to wonder throughout the movie what the hell is going to happen to Max. It seems like a dangerous thing to do. Then again Max is not a criminal and doesn't owe anybody any money so he might be safe. But is Ray really gonna let Max get away with this incriminating footage? Well, one of the coolest things about the movie is how this *doco* eventually made it out to an audience.
Even though it's school holidays here and the movie houses are packed, I was pretty sure that the theatre for this one would not be, and I was right. There were no more than a dozen of us in there, and the funny thing was there were even less people in the audience when the movie ended than there were when it began. You see, after about fifteen minutes, two women in front of me got up and walked out. No doubt it was a bit grim for them. However they should have stuck around because the humour in the movie is excellent, the performances were exceptional, and the relationship between Ray and Max is something else. Movie magic!
I'll advise you to see this one if (or when) you can, it was awesome.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Operation: Space Opera

Yesterday was a big day for me. Why was that? Well, I finally finished this humongous space opera, the Night's Dawn trilogy by Peter F Hamilton. Did I tell you that each one of these books is 1200+ pages? Yes I did. Why would somebody write a story with that many pages? Don't they know that there are many other books that we haven't read yet and want to read? Time is money and all that jazz. Are these people sadists?
Well, was it worth it? Was it worth spending six weeks reading this story? It was in one way because now I can say I've read a 3724-page story. Also, now I know what this "space opera" business is all about.
So what is it all about? The story is set in the year 2600 and something and the main focus is a starship pilot Joshua Calvert. This guy is a handsome devil indeed, and quite the ladies' man. Any pretty girl he meets, he has sex with. And in the future everybody is handsome or pretty because they have this thing called *geneering*, so when you have a baby you can program all the good stuff in and bad stuff out. Anyway, Calvert is not only good looking, he is also very smart, very confident and very lucky. Everything works out perfectly for him, everybody either admires him or wants to sleep with him, nothing goes wrong for him, although he will get into a tight jam here and there. After one of those tight jams, he got wounded on the arm, quite a bad injury, but he got back to his starship with everbody's eyes popping out with concern and he just shrugs it off, says no sweat dudes, I'm OK, only a flesh wound, then does a perfectly excecuted somersault into his captain's chair.
Another thing about this space opera biz, there are so many people to keep track of. There's Joshua Calvert and his starship crew; another starship crew led by a girl he had sex with; a big living (bitek) space city (or *habitat*) ruled by another girl he had sex with; a primitive *stage one* planet where people are going to get away from Earth which is totally messed up (weather so screwed you got big domes around cities while outside rage almost constant MEGAstorms); numerous asteroids and their mining colonies; other planets; other habitats; and other starships. And the action jumps around so fast between all these different places and scenarios and people, it really takes some memorypower to keep up with. So it is like a soap opera in that respect, only with amazing technology and living starships and people coming back from the dead and possessing people. You see, the big deal in the story is that the dead are coming back from *the beyond* and possessing people. This brings in a theological angle: in this story, everybody who dies goes to this *beyond* place which is horrible, a place of constant torment. Then this thing happens that gives dead people a way to come back and possess the living, but that person must be tortured by a possessed so they will admit the *beyond* soul into their body. Then that possessed constantly has the voices of other souls from the beyond screaming begging them to let them come back so they do it, they can't help it. But some don't like doing it, and refuse. There are some actual *good* possessed. But they are possessing somebody so how can they be good? Well, some are, like Fletcher Christian. He comes back and he's a good egg.
So the possessed are expanding and taking over planets all over the place, and the Confederation (the military) forces have to take action. But! The dilemma they face is that if they kill these possessed, they also kill the person who was possessed by that soul from the beyond. How can they get around it? Now you see how tricky this situation is!
Anyway, a big part of it all is the life after death angle, but as much as Mr Hamilton attempts to incorporate these theological matters, it gets pretty wacky, and is hard to take seriously, especially with the Dexter Quinn character, who is some kind of superior possessed *Satanist* and his monologues are ridiculous. He's supposed to be some major evil force but he sounds like a teenager with inverted cross earrings squawking obscenities at his parents for not letting him stay out too late.
This review could go on forever. There is a LOT going on here in this big fat space opera. Half of it was interesting, pretty amazing for sure, but the other half was really boring. I had to find out how it ended, but it was hard work getting there. I'm glad I read it, but also feel some kind of shameful wonder that I read it through to the end. In the end, there's no way I can recommend it, unless you are a big sci-fi fan, or want to know what this space opera biz is all about, and have LOTS of time to kill.