CORROSIVE JOURNALISM
archives : january 2007
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dogvillia
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wednesday : 24 jan 2007

I tried watching Dogville on SBS but it was difficult after suffering paroxysms of laughter sitting through Dylan Moran live in Dublin on the ABC, whilst eating dinner and slurping two-week old chardonay from the bottle. Heh heh, I gave myself chardy moustache – is that what you call champagne comedy? First, slacker levity, and then...Lars Von Fucking Trier and his stellar cast of uber-serious thespians, interrupted by garish commercial breaks no less. It's not SBS I tell ya! The government sucks our marrows dry with high income taxes and GST and sundry other levies and stamp duties, as you'll know if you have flown domestically. Despite all that revenue – those billions of dollars of iron ore income from Western Australia and endless supplies of coal, the budget surplus we keep hearing about but not enjoying that it might as well be Monopoly money – despite of all that, the Treasury can't afford to prop up SBS with a few million pesos. Well, fuck Johnny Coward and fuck the government. The Liberals are on the ropes and it's good to see. Johnny Howard admitting certain defeat and even squirming and equivocating when being asked questions by Four Corners about whether terrorism is better or worse post-Iraq – that gives me a woody, oh yes. True, Rudd comes across as a middle-aged kindergarten teacher, but let's hope the nation wises up and follows the example of Labour's domination of the states. And Look at it this way: Peter Costello smiling. It's a tad disturbing, really; the smug smirk of someone who just finished telling a cancer patient a tumour joke. The Nation doesn't need it or him. P.S. There's a three hour version of Dogville available in Region 2 if you're feeling brave.

Australia Day is coming up. I've been invited to a backyard birthday BBQ at 2:00pm, BYO meat. I'll be taking a fine cut of rump steak carved into the shape of Australia (including Tassie). Then at 7:00pm I'll catch a taxi across town in time to attend a housewarming party in Richmond, perhaps followed by drinks in the CBD if those involved remember to SMS me. Oh yeah, and there's birthday drinks tomorrow night in town. I had a pint of James Squire Ale this evening on the footpath outside The Imperial Hotel, waiting for Christos to show up, but he never did. Shazza trudged past, though, as I was reading Andrew Bolt's first tirade/s for 2007. Was nice to chat to an ex-drinking buddy and workmate (Shazza, not Bolty). Mindful of Dylan Moran starting at 8:35pm, I ditched the pub crawl itinerary and jumped onto the 7:00pm train – one of the smarter decisions I've made this year.

gonna make you sweat
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tuesday : 16 jan 2007

10:05pm. So I'm watching The Golden Globule Awards on channel 10 and stewing in my own sweat. Now I know how my steamed vegies feel. There's been a lot happening outside Toxic Waste of late: movie watching, proofreading some of the reviews on Michael's DVD, socialising, being stuck on public transport, administering CPR to my book reading regime (said PT chaos helped in this regard), and getting to bed before 12:30am.

toxic faves for 2006
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wednesday : 10 jan 2007

Here we go again. The categories are the same as before. In 2006 I was less berserk about movie watching and book reading than in 2005, during which I wanted to get my average above one movie every two days and read as many books as humanly possible in 12 months without changing my lifestyle. This year was still rich in the entertainments that spin my propeller. Quality over quantity? Hmmm, perhaps not, but certainly no regrets, either...


top five favourite movies seen in 2006

The Descent
True, it has its flaws, but the first viewing is electrifying if staged properly to maximise the scares. Also, Dog Soldiers = men becoming hairy beasts, and The Descent = women exploring caves. What is Neil Marshall getting at?

Hitch
A frothy and amusing light comedy with a didactic slant to it, featuring Will Smith in his element as a pickup artist who stuffs it up when he falls for Eva Mendez. Just writing this summary has me itching to see it again. "I've waited my whole life to feel this miserable!"

Saw III
It was a toss up between this and Eli Roth's Hostel – both are candidates for the 'torture porn' title of the year. I have a fondness for the Saw franchise and the brain surgery sequence here was high art. It's been way too long between drinks for those moments in the horror genre.

Pan's Labyrinth
While I'm not sure I could see it again, the memories of eye balling this award-winning schizo Spanish horror war kids period piece drama have stayed with me. It's no masterpiece, but fans of edgy movies must catch this flick. It probably rates a better score than the 7/10 I gave it.

Casino Royale (2006)
Come on...the original's way better! Ha-ha-ha. No bloke would want to be Pierce Brosnan or Timothy Dalton as James Bond. With Daniel Craig, however, I'm guessing that for the first time many men saw themselves up there on screen drinking martinis, jumping off cranes, and playing high-stakes poker. Let's forget the rope bit.


top five favourite DVDs spun during 2006

The Red Desert Madman Entertainment, Australia
Stanley Kubrick's 'first' colour film was 2001: A Space Odyssey. Michaelangelo Antonioni's debut colour movie isn't that ground breaking. None the less, it's another totally absorbing and bizarre psychodrama by the king of the anti-narrative. The Aussie DVD is the equal of any Criterion release.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre MPI Blue Sky, USA
Restored and remastered finally. Anyone who prefers the soft print that did the VHS and laserdisc rounds for 20 years deserves to spend a weekend with The Family. For once this is a special edition DVD that earns its "ultimate" label despite a very minor audio glitch.

Dr. No MGM/Sony, Australia
Somehow, this first Bond picture looks the best out of the Sean Connery outings restored by the Lowry process. The image just pops off the screen. By watching this DVD, you can get an appreciation of what high definition video would look like.

Cannibal Holocaust Siren, Australia
Stupidly banned for 25 years, it's now out finally on this special edition DVD that uses an NTSC transfer. The movie still holds up too in all its grotty depravity. A true gem from the golden age of Italian horror, though I prefer Cannibal Ferox.

Street Trash Synapse Films, USA
I also endured a long wait for this cult crassic to arrive on DVD. (With millions of people starving to death in the world, I suppose it wasn't that much of an ordeal, huh.) First TCM and then Street Trash all in one year: Don May Jr.'s karma must be sky high.


top five favourite books read in 2006

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
This is the first of what might turn out to be many self-help books I'll read over the coming years. The 7 Habits outlines a logical yet simple template for success. While the bulk of it is common wisdom, there are enough highlights to make it essential reading. I'll skip the 8th habit for now, $tevie.

Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye
Again, I doubt this will be the last Bukowski book I'll pick up. Ham on Rye just happened to relate Bukowski's childhood and adolescent years, which means I really have started at the beginning.

Neil Strauss, The Game
Wrongly called a pick-up manual, Strauss' journal describing two years spent becoming a seduction guru in the underground US pick-up community is an addictive page-turner. Borders in Melbourne have apparently sold dozens of copies.

Alan Moore (writer) and David Lloyd (artist), V for Vendetta
Not as solid as Watchmen, this dark Alan Moore graphic novel is a stimulating package regardless. The film adaptation was a good honest attempt, but only the book will leave your fingers smelling of gunpowder.

Jack McDevitt, A Talent for War
A decent space opera that was somewhat drawn out by all that amateur sleuthing. Yawn. As a writer, Jack McDevitt lived up to the formidable reputation he's earned in SF circles that led me to give him a try. It's back to the used book dens to find another McDevitt for the Commute Without End.


top five favourite CDs bought in 2006

Lamb of God, Sacrament
An excellent release I picked up at the music shop on an impulse. They apparently laid waste to The Palace in Melbourne when they played there. Tickets were sold out before I could grab one. Let's hope Lamb of God put out a live concert DVD of the tour.

Lily Allen, Alright, Still...
With potty mouth rapper Lady Sovereign (who cracks me up) also now in the charts, are we going to be swamped with acid tongued white female singers? Fingers crossed. I've heard tracks that aren't on this record and they were bitchin' too. Has anyone got a photo of Allen's legs?

Goa Trance 2005-2006
This was a big year for me getting into a certain flavour of trance music from the YSE label. Purely electro, kind of minimal, with no cheese factor and each song lasting on average seven minutes. I still amazes me that people take pills to enjoy this stuff. It's perfectly agreeable straight.

Gorgoroth, Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam
Besides trance music, 2006 was also year I got into black metal, a subgenre of metal I didn't understand until now. It just has to be taken on its own terms: bad makeup and costumes, wretched sound production, minimalist riffs, insane screams, at least one band member dead or rotting in jail, and able to evoke a frosty, bleak mood. Heh heh, what's not to like?

Slayer, Christ Illusion
Believe it or not, their last album God Hates Us All was released in 2001 on September 11. That coincidence is not on any 9/11 website I've seen. I think the boys are in their twilight period now. Too much boozing has taken its toll on their creativity. That said, Christ Illusion gets plenty of air time in Club Toxic. The Slayer paradigm just refuses to become dull. Touring in April with Mastodon.


top five favourite TV shows watched in 2006

Aircrash Investigations (Ch 9)
I have to laugh. This show was so effective at explaining why plane crashes happen that it's left me with a mild phobia of flying. Someone told me today that the odds of dying aviationally are about 700,000 to one. That's little comfort when you're aware of the physics of air travel, and what can happen when things go wrong...

The Glass House (ABC)
Low ratings my arse. More proof that the good die young. I notice that Daria never made a return to the ABC (Code Monkey reckons it later popped up on commercial telly). If you've seen the show you'll know why it's in the top five. I only got into it this year.

The Movie Show (ABC)
Despite being mainstream city, I will never tire of movie debate. With its combination of clips, reviews, and arguments, the programme is actually quite good at letting you know what a film is like, even if you disagree with Margy or Dave.

FIFA 2006 World Cup (SBS)
Being retired from soccer didn't mean I was going to miss watching these games live – I'm an old late night TV creature feature fan from way back. It was history in the making, although it reminded me of how infuriating and ridiculous this game can get.

Art in the 21st Century (SBS)
One of the best art shows from the last couple of years. Even in 2006, we had The Perfect House and Rolf Harris' Painting the Stars, two fabulous series among many. Art: 21 did it by having no host and letting the artists talk and show their work, finished and in progress. Superb.


top five female legs in mass media for 2006

Tamsyn Lewis
True, she is an athlete. That in itself this is not remarkable. What is remarkable comes down to her prancing around on TV and in public wearing tight mini skirts. Remember, it's not only what you have that counts, but what you do with it.

Marieke Hardy
Screen writer, intellectual, web logger, actor, and go-go dancer, Hardy appears on the ABC's First Tuesday Book Club to express her Y Gen views on literature. She usually flashes her knees and wears CFM boots. Great legs and a bookish brain: well, that's describes me. Marieke scrubs up all right, too.

Megan Gale
Since splitting with her Italian boyfriend and moving back to Oz, it's difficult to avoid seeing that big toothy smile in the media. Making regular appearances on TV and in public has allowed the Toxic judging panel to assess her talents and vote them into this year's top five.

Jennifer Hawkins
If winning Miss Universe didn't do it, what got Jenny H. into this year's list, sexual favours for Your Humble Narrator? She wishes. No, just being filmed, photographed, and seen at every fashion event, race meeting, and letter opening, not to mention making regular TV appearances, usually wearing skimpy showgirl outfits.

Jenna Dewan
She was in The Grudge II wearing a denim mini skirt for about 15 heart stopping seconds. That was enough. Once a dancer for Puff Daddy's tour group, Dewan has starred in her own horror film called Tamara, which is due out locally this year on DVD.


top five favourite booze consumed in 2006

Warm Sake
I confess that I grabbed any opportunity to eat at Japanese restaurants in order to drink sake. Then again, eating good Japanese food is hardly a burden. Now, where to find an authentic sake set? They're not that bloody common in shops, I tell ya.

Buccaneer
Belgian. Dark or golden. I prefer dark. 11% alcohol content. $10 per bottle. I get it at Cookie, voted best bar of 2006. After two Buccaneers I tend to arrive home after 4:00am. Piraate is also heavenly. Same 4:00am syndrome applies.

Boags St. George
A citrus beer I cannot get enough of. Most of the lads consider it to be lolly water. You know what? Fuck the lads. This is a good brew, though not quite premium. It costs about $10.50 for four bottles in a shop. Be prepared to pay about $7.00 each at a bar.

James Squire Golden Ale
This is one of the few beers I can drink by the pint all night. A delicious, rich local ale, it doesn't need to be cold to taste great. For cold beers in Melbourne (and why wouldn't any sane person like beer as chilled as possible) try The Pub at Crown.

Wild Turkey and Diet Coke
I now ask for a tall glass, one shot, Diet Coke, and a small amount of ice. This makes it last longer. Just be aware that you're ingesting more caffeine. I can't go past this old favourite, and doubt I ever will. First time I ever got drunk was on bourbon and Coke in Brissy.


top five personal highlights of 2006

Christmas Family Time
Four days on the road. Ah...the solitude, the scrolling landscapes, the sense of adventure, the one-armed suntan. Sometimes it feels good to do something the hard way. Plus I was bored of flying. Nice to see the family of course, and my niece thinks I'm god. Life is good.

High School Reunion
Holding the event closer to Christmas would have been more convenient to me, since I was already going up for two weeks over XXXmas. But it was worth it, both to satisfy the curiosity and to get a monkey off my back, namely dumping impressions of the person I once was and getting some closure.

Work Social Club Events
Not just because I created their website, although I did, and they seem to love it. That's a good feeling right there that money cannot buy. As for the events, the people make them special. They're a good bunch, and when your family is 2000 kms away, any group like this is worth gold.

Cinema Reviewing for Digital Retribution
I had stopped writing full reviews in favour of watching more movies in my lifetime. However, this chance was too good to pass up. They're still tough to hammer out, but this is a genre I know and enjoy. It just sucks that most horror movies shown in cinemas locally are cut versions trimmed for the US market.

Self Improvement
Reading the CSIRO diet book prompted me to revise my 2006 weight loss plan. Working with actual numbers is better than vague measures. Having scales is essential. Mental renovations will be steady. No blitzkrieg approach, just slow and methodical progress.

happy nude year
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tuesday : 9 jan 2007

Toxic Happy Nude Year, everyone. I sent that line as a joke via SMS to a girl named Angela, whom I met at Speed Dating last year. She replied I must have sent it to her by "mistake". I suspect she didn't remember me accurately, since she sent the same ceremonial to the friend who took me to said speed dating event, and therefore everyone on her mobile Rolodex. Ah, such is the mindfield of being single in the 21st Century, with its electronic and electro magnetic radiation-based modes of communication. She still agreed to meet up this week, but my faith in her recollection of my charm and good looks is minimal to say the least. We shall see.

2007 has been grouse so far. The Toxic Faves list for 2006 is in draft form and should debut tomorrow night. I'm also planning a visual overhaul of Toxic Waste this year. As soon as the concepts and designs crystalise in my head, work will begin. I'm very excited by this development. My intent has always been to put content ahead of window dressing. Since that goal has been reached (more or less), I can focus on other aspects of the website and perhaps use my design talents to create something agreeable. Assuming, of course, they haven't atrophied in the last non-drawing few years. Keeping Toxic bandwidth friendly is still a goal, so this will factor into the final result.

That said, it's been hard to commit PC time in 2007. This evening I attended farewell drinks for a comrade who left the workplace after ten-plus years of service. Not an easy person to know, but someone who rewards any kind of connection you make (by just being you) with fond memories. Anyway, I've somehow lost my voice during the course of the evening. Right now it's not much more than a squeak. It'll be fine by Thursday. In other news: Last Friday night I got bounced out of P.J. O'Brien's for some reason at 2:00am. No matter...I was ready to leave anyway, and shook hands with the bouncer upon my departure. There's no point proclaiming innocence when the gavel has already fallen. I had never seen my nemesis or his girlfriend before in the venue that night, so I figured it was a case of mistaken identity.

I've got Live's classic album Throwing Copper on the G08 as I type this at 12:37am, contemplating the year ahead. Things that come to mind are: Learning more about and exposing the current 9/11 conspiracy. I initially resisted this movement, but caved in when news footage taken on that day contradicted both the official story and the laws of physics. Thanks to Bogan the Wanderer and Heathen for waking me up to this nightmare scenario, supposedly conceived by the Bush Administration's Neo-conservatives to further the American Empire. There is no hard proof, but the evidence, both physical and circumstantial, is impossible to ignore. Can you handle da thruth? It's gotten to the point where the least likely version of what happened on 11/9/2001 is the official account. Freaky. Other goals this year include getting two more flatmates, and continuing my self-improvement agenda. All up, 2007 will be a fantastic year on a number of levels. I hope you win your personal grand final, too.


 
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