|archives : 2008|
wednesday : 10 dec 2008
Ahhhh. The days strobe past, just as they did in The Time Machine, with Rod Taylor sitting in his special arm chair, watching the sun streak across the Zodiac in a phantasmagorical blur. My time is divided between socialising, work, recovery, indulging the arts, sleep, etc. My IT demands at the office have been quite draining over the last two months or so, which means less motivation for Toxic Waste updates. Naturally this happens just after I said the exact opposite in a recent post. Nevermind.
wednesday : 12 nov 2008
To say it's been an interesting two weeks would be an understatement. Apart from Barak Obama's sanity-restoring win in the US presidential elections, Your Humble Narrator has been living it up with fine dining and rampant socialising around Melbourne's inner city nightspots. Warm weather has that effect on me. It's been a non-stop circus: sushi mi lunches and street corner rendezvous and umpteen text messages and shouts and dance floor moves and chatting up strangers and late night adventures galore. I've even managed to keep the binge drinking demon more or less under control, rather than having it possess my mind, like what happens to Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
But...there have been two casualties, maybe three. One is sleep, and the other is exercise. You just can't run around the neighbourhood at a fair clip when you're tired, morning or evening (i.e. after work). Of course, the partying also takes it toll on your personal Reserve Bank liquidity. Again, with curbed boozing habits, there's now always a few orange notes and perhaps a yellow one still in my pocket in the morning.
|five stars – review pending|
monday : 27 oct 2008
Today was quite all right. Better than average, in fact.
First. I got rid of two dud tickets for Kenny Rogers' show tomorrow night at the Palais Theatre in Melbourne. I'm on the Ticketmaster early warning e-mailing list, and since dad was due to visit at this time, it made sense to grab two good seats in the stalls for us to use. Well, it turns out that he couldn't make it, hence I was saddled with $300 worth of useless cardboard rectangles. Was E-Bay an option? Some meticulous research revealed that it was fine – the legal connotation of the term "cannot be resold at a premium price" notwithstanding. So today at lunchtime I posted a listing online, my first ever E-Bay auction, albeit for a fixed price of $300 bux. 35 minutes later, the tickets were sold, and after work I met the buyer at Maccas near Ackland Street in St Kilda, and the transaction was done. Perhaps not the best place in town to be spotted exchanging a handful of $50 notes for a plain envelope, but there ya go.
Second. Heading back to the city from St Kilda via the Number 16 tram, which arrived 23 seconds later, I decided to drop into Transport on the river for a pint of cold Paulaner beer. Why? Because I had $300 cash in my pocket, and because today I received a promotion at work. Between now and March 2010 I'm a senior analyst programmer, or "SAP" as my helpful brother pointed out upon hearing the news. Yeah, thanks for that. Anyhoo, this senior project position has yet to be confirmed as permanent; we'll see what happens. For now, I'll just tackle the role and responsibility head-on. Try to kick SAS arse and earn the stripes, with an eye on becoming senior CEO one day...
Third. Only a small bonus, this one. When I arrived home, Volume One of On the Road with Harlan Ellison, long out of print and just re-pressed by Deep Shag Records last month for a limited batch, was waiting for me in the letter box from the USA. Nice.
|1 new text message|
thursday : 16 oct 2008
The finger's going okay I suppose, thanks for asking. I consulted Dr Google for a prognosis. It seems that the rather absurd and entirely pointless symptom of swelling in the joint and whole finger for an extended time period is normal. Some spread to the palm itself is also expected, and I did get some of that. I tried lifting a 10 kg dumbbell last week, and it wasn't possible on the left side. So much for resistance training. Dr Google also mentioned that pain in the damaged socket could continue for another four to six months. Smashing news, huh?
Offsetting this gloomy forecast was an injection of retail therapy today. I finally bought – are you sitting down? – a new mobile phone, my first ever. Yep, it's another Nokia, it cost less than $100, and it's 33% more compact than my old phone, a hand-me-down from Marylu which held me in good stead for the last three years. And strewth, did I give it a caning...just looking at the poor bugger makes you wish there was an RSPCA for cordless devices. I mean, this phone looks like it was chewed up by Godzilla, then fired from a canon into one of the World Trade Centre towers, which proceeded to crash down on top of it. Now, thanks to Optus buying out Virgin Mobile, I was able to use my old cheap-arse plan (cheers Code Monkey) without paying to unlock the phone. Oh yes, sometimes the Little Man wins. A new DVD player is also on the way if a certain transaction goes ahead.
You've probably noticed minor aesthetic upgrades to Toxic Waste's façade over the last week or so. These simple tweaks are in lieu of the major renovations I have mapped out and specified in my head. It feels good to have at least a modicum of change. Once my current movie watching binge (1980s American horror flicks) is over, the motivation to fill in more writing gaps is higher than ever. I may even stay home [tomorrow night] instead of bar hopping. What the fuck's wrong with me?!?
wednesday : 8 oct 2008
9:41am. I drove back to Melbourne in the Mazdarati last night after spending a pleasant four days in Olde Sydney Towne. We also headed up to Newcastle on Sunday for the Young Writer's Festival fanzine fair. With rain threatening, the organisers moved the event into one of those huge halls near the train tracks, which was better than being at the mercy of wind gusts, leaves, melanoma-causing UV rays, and spiders dropping out of trees onto your head. Of course, the thunderstorms never arrived. I sold one back-issue of Skinned Alive, and also gave away two copies in exchange for a swig of bourbon from the Paroxysm Press crew.
And...there's not much more to add, really. Over the years, these trips have become routine, although there's nothing much I'd change in the itinerary – maybe not having to use the bloody shower fan? Heh, heh. Anyway, I chose to drive up this time to have maximum flexibility with arrival and departure tims. Besides this, the strange thing is that driving up the Hume Highway is getting easier: no more headaches, micro-sleeps, terminal boredom, road rage, or physical discomfort. It was also cheaper than flying Qantas, even with the elevated petrol prices, and I always fill up with premium unleaded, too. Next time, I hope to have a CD player in the car to replace the tape deck, new speakers, as well as noise dampeners inside the doors. Come to think of it, the Mazdarati also needs a new paint job and panel work to fix numerous dents.
Back to the corporate antfarm tomorrow. Dare I say it, I'm actually geared up to kick project work arse. Must remember to collect my dry cleaning later today, otherwise I'll be fronting up to the office wearing tracky dacks.
tuesday : 30 sep 2008
I've got eight days off work. Beyond driving up to Sydney for the coming weekend, there's not much planned otherwise, just relaxing at home and enjoying a routine that includes reading in bed upon waking, running before breakfast, watching Today and Sunrise with Mel and Kochy on the idiot box during brekky (both shows are harmful to one's IQ), French lessons, checking e-mail, web surfing, raiding the fridge, more reading, perhaps catching a DVD (I've been off movie watching lately for some reason), growing stubble, and other fun activities. I also had the fridge repaired yesterday after living a post-apocalyptic existence for three months, which was easy to do once I could cope with the limitations: no milk hence no cereal, and having to buy fresh veggies every week, which prompted a weekly trudge to the supermarket on top of my (spotty) running regime. Good stuff.
Also on the agenda is recovering from a mild injury. On Friday night I was running down Exhibitionist Street to catch up with mates – we'd all been at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow for a pint or three. After bounding across Little Collins Street, I kind of lost my footing and crashed to the ground at a non-trivial velocity. It felt like a heavy fall because it was happening before I'd realised it. In other well-telegraphed spills, I try to relax and roll out of the tumble. Not so this one. I avoided face planting by using my hands and knees to take most of the force. Getting to my feet, I looked at my left hand, which felt a bit funny, and was greeted with the sight of my left ring finger pointing at ten O'clock from the main joint, i.e. 30 degrees, or facing northwest.
It's suppose to be, umm, straight.
My first instinct was to snap it back into place like Deckard in Blade Runner, which I did calmly and without fuss. A muted crack, and the digit was situation normal. Although, it was also badly grazed on the right side of the traumatised joint, which showed just how awkwardly I fallen on it. Then, over the next 24 hours, the joint and whole finger proceeded to swell up to 50% of its original size. It's still chubby as I type this, causing it to remain stiff and immobile. Apparently you're suppose to bandage and splint the whole hand after a finger dislocation. Too late now. It's not getting worse, and I do believe the swelling is going down. That means the bone probably isn't broken as well, otherwise it'd be turning black and any movement would send bolts of pain up the nerves.
The irony is that the fall happened early in the evening, around 8:00pm. The laws of physics predict that I would not have fallen over if I'd had more drinks, due to the auto-stabilising effects of James Squire Golden Ale on a closed system. Maybe. An amusing thought: since I'm into the horror genre, aren't I supposed to relish these kinds of life experiences? The short answer is no. I like scary things in the arts. Nobody gets hurt; you enjoy the thrills and chills safely. Cathartic release and all that. And while this little episode was rather interesting and mostly devoid of pain, I'd prefer not repeat it thanks, especially on larger and more useful limbs and joints.
|more punctual pedantics|
sunday : 21 sep 2008
Here's three more tips. Minor league stuff, but worth keeping in mind because they are recent developments.
I've noticed over the last year that website addresses displayed in advertisements tend to drop the "www" prefix. At best this is pointlessly trendy, and at worst it's just plain wrong. Some of these URLs genuinely do not have the www prefix, while most others do require it, and some cashed up organisations hedge their bets both ways, for example Qantas. Ultimately it doesn't matter, since your browser will try to get the address right. For the sake of accuracy, I say include the www if that is in fact part of the URL.
Time of Day
Another gimmicky perversion of a perfectly sensible convention is the use of a period in place of a colon for the time of day. For example, 6.45 instead of 6:45. Hmmm...the more I see it being used, the less I like fucken it. Again, the main culprit is the mass media. I hope it doesn't spread, because like the truncation of www in website addresses, it's incorrect, misleading, and utterly frivolous. Yep, you can probably guess that I was one of those people who were crotchety about the millennium celebrations happening one year early, heh heh.
More Titles of Things
In the previous journal entry, guidelines for titling works of art involved the use of italics. Simple enough. However, what's the convention for representing song titles, short story titles, names of poems, and so on? You would be right in guessing there are few options remaining if italics are reserved for the main work. Most professional writers use quotes, either single or double. A few examples follow. Artist name: Cannibal Corpse. Album title: Tomb of the Mutilated. Song tile: 'Hammer Smashed Face'. Artist name: Harlan Ellison. Book title: Deathbird Stories. Story title: 'The Whimper of Whipped Dogs'.
As you can see, I prefer to use single quotes in these instances, because double quotes are reserved for dialogue and repeating word-for-word remarks. This is a convention I picked up from Stephen King years ago from his great genre fiction treatise Danse Macabre, and it seems to be a widely used standard.
|being punctually pedantic|
friday : 19 sep 2008
Sorry, dear readers. No stories of drunken midweek escapades in the pubs and sake bars of Planet Melbourne this time. Instead, please absorb a tutorial that will put you ahead of the pack in terms of punctuation and formatting etiquette. Or in other words: you gotta know the rules before you can break 'em. While none of this is new, exhaustive, or even written with perfect grammar, I've lost count of the number of times I've seen these basic guidelines molested, especially on the internet. Hence I reckon it's worth presenting what little I know on the subject...for posterity if nothing else.
Proper Names and Italics
Names of things fall into two categories. The first group encompasses the capitalised proper nouns you learned at school, such as people's names (Rocco Siffredi), place names (Brisbane), event names (The Young Writer's Festival), and entity names (Lockheed Martin). Venue names for locations such as restaurants, concert halls and theatres fall into the entity name bucket. The second group includes the names of objects, specifically art. These must be italicised whenever possible. Examples: The Evil Dead (movie), The Plague (book), Make Me a Super Model (TV show), The Scream (painting), Video Watchdog (magazine). You get the idea. Time and again, over and over, I read passages in which italics are not used when they should be. Do not make this mistake. If you're writing for a website, place the HTML tags <i> and </i> around the bits you want to italicise. Most message boards remove HTML tags and instead allow you to use [i] and [/i] to get the same effect.
Often, writers unwittingly substitute other punctuation or formatting conventions in place of italics. These include quotation marks both 'single' and "double", underscores (a throwback to manuscript notation indicating italics to the typesetter), bold type, UPPER CASE, or any ghastly combination of these approaches. The only exceptions are: (a) Use uppercase when italics cannot be produced. (b) You must follow an established formatting standard, however wrong or lame it might be.
There are tricky examples. What is more correct, Jim Beam Bourbon or Jim Beam bourbon? It depends on the context. The former is a brand name. The latter uses "Jim Beam" as a qualifier. When describing a specific brand name, capitalise all words, or repeat what's on the actual brand label. Another common mistake is to use capitals inappropriately. For instance, "I went to The Happy Hour" should only be in capitals if the happy hour in question was the advertised name of an event. Therefore when in doubt, ask yourself: is this title official or not?
Use italics to emphasize a word, phrase, passage, or paragraph. This is probably why some writers, editors, and webmasters use bold type or other gimmicks to make names stand out in their text. To write: "My favourite monster movie is still the great King Kong from 1933" initially looks like a typesetting gaffe. My response is that these collisions happen rarely, and often, choosing the right word removes the need to stress that word anyway. Again, as long as the punctuation is applied consistently, it should be okay. But to me it comes across like a desperate attempt to retain your reader's interest level.
Colons and Semi-colons
Abuse of these punctuation marks is less common than others. But when somebody gets it wrong, boy, it just looks fucking awful. Do not use a semi-colon (;) when you mean to use a colon (:). The former is more final than a comma, and less final than a dash (see below) or a full stop. Always precede a list of separate thoughts or dot points with a colon. Only use a semi-colon to connect a subordinate clause to a sentence or clause. For example: He actually walked to the shop; the humidity was shocking. Mastering the semi-colon takes practice.
Now, when using a colon to introduce a connected thought, you can go two ways. Should you start the thought as you would a sentence or a clause? Two examples follow. (a) Take heed of this news: The sale ends tomorrow. (b) Take heed of this news: the sale ends tomorrow. Personally speaking, I do not capitalise after a colon because it looks like a new sentence is starting in the middle of another unfinished sentence. It jars and looks ugly.
Sometimes, when listing examples to illustrate a point, you find yourself on slippery ground. One instance even appears in an earlier paragraph. For one example, I use a comma (as I just did). For a long list of examples, I'll use a colon and a set of dot points, or a numbering scheme, say (a), (b), (c) and so on.
Hyphens and Dashes
Fanzines and small press publications almost always get these punctuation marks wrong. Only use a hyphen (-) aka minus sign when writing compound terms such as light-headed, dark-coloured, semi-colon. Sometimes you can get away without using a hypehn if it's clear that the words are linked within the context of your expression. Other times, you may be able to combine the words. This depends on the accepted idiom of the period.
A dash is a different beast all together. For a start, it's longer than a hyphen. And it comes in two forms, the short dash (–) and the long dash (—). Employ dashes to end a sentence abruptly, delineate two related thoughts, or in a similar manner to the semi-colon. Long or short? I use short dashes when I intend on putting a space on either side of each dash. Notice in fiction that long dashes are not usually separated from adjacent words; they're all glued together. This can look chunky on web pages and in narrow columns of text, since automatic justification only wraps whole words.
In HTML, insert a short dash with the – tag and a long dash with the — tag. Old school manuscript convention lets you put two hypens (--) to represent a dash to the typesetter. I've actually seen people use this notation on websites. That said, in some web fonts, hypens and short dashes look virtually identical. The soft hypen tag ­ is supported by some browsers, in particular Microsoft Internet Explorer. A soft hypen lets you decide where to break a long word, thus letting the web browser wrap to the next line on a syllable boundary. The browser adds a hypen automatically.
Moving on to a specific example and a pet peeve of mine. Should you write email or e-mail? Technically, e-mail is more correct, because it's an abbreviation of the term electronic mail. It's even pronounced with two syllables. However, more and more people write "email" in e-mails (funny that) and articles through laziness and ignorance. To be honest, this syndrome doesn't annoy me that much. The English language is littered with similar bastardisations that have driven many linguists and English professors to drink or worse. Let's not even talk about SMS texting or emoticons. (Note that you won't find one smiley or frowny in the general text on Toxic Waste. Being informal, journal comments are different, as are message board postings and the like.)
Just quickly. When should you use double quotes and single quotes? To be honest, I don't know. Some Googling could answer the question. My personal preference it to use double quotes when quoting someone saying or writing something verbatim. "My god, it's full of stars," said Bowman in 2010: The Year We Make Contact. (Notice here as well that the comma stays inside the quoted text. Leave it outside only when writing a list of separately quoted bits of text.) I use single quotes to emphasize 'quirky' words. In novels, I've seen both forms used. Also, when using nested quotes, be sure to put a space between one set of quotes and the next, otherwise you end up with "'this kind of confusing result'".
Note that if you're writing on a wordprocessor or using desk top publishing software, be sure to use proper 66 and 99 quotation characters. On a normal computer keyboard, only the " and ' variants are available. Sometimes, pasting text from Microsoft Word into a web page text editor will retain 66 and 99 quotation characters. I recommend replacing these with the standard keyboard double and single quotes, otherwise you could end up with a mixture of both symbols – unless it's easy to insert 66 and 99 symbols with the editor. These certainly look better and are more correct.
Digits and &
This topic is straight out of umpteen style guides. When writing the numbers one to ten, use the words, not the numeric digits. This looks like crap: He put 3 bananas up the exhaust pipe. This looks neater: He put three bananas up the exhaust pipe. The first example is informal and should only be used in e-mails, SMS texts, quick messages, etc. Also, when writing formally, don't be lazy and write & instead of and.
Et Cetera, For Example, That Is
A good guideline to finish on, and another pet annoyance of mine. Never write eg or etc or ie instead of e.g. or etc. or i.e. The periods denote the abbreviation of words and should always be included. Don't even write eg. or ie. That's better, but only slightly. Another offense that should be punishable by 600 lashes in public is writing: etc, etc etc. Arrrgghh!!! Put the damn periods and commas in, please.
Now, when writing acronyms on web pages and in printed articles, I leave the periods out, for example IBM and SF instead of I.B.M. and S.F. To me, all of these periods look busy and old fashioned, as if they were written with a manual typewriter. This is my personal preference. It may be technically less correct, but I know the more correct alternative rule and choose to break it.
wednesday : 10 sep 2008
9:23pm. I had a thought today – more like a question, actually. Will 2008 be the year that Corrosive Journalism biodegrades and contaminates the internet no longer? Several factors make this idea a certainty: an 11:00pm curfew imposed to liberate more slumber time; socialising on week nights and on the weekends; a kilometres-high stack of unwatched DVDs; an equally teetering pillar of unread books (recent acquisition: Harlan Ellison's Watching March 2008 redux for a mere $20.85 at Minotaur on Elizabeth Street); plans to learn French, Italian, and Spanish via CD-ROM (Frog speak gets a spin twice a week); getting back into freehand drawing; trying my other hand at painting and/or digital art; critical music listening on the Meridian headphone rig; chronic ennui; liver dysfunction, burgeoning humidity, and various other miscible suasions.
Instead, I want to focus on what I think of as the more, er, 'valuable' aspects of Toxic Waste, namely the reviews and movie censorship research. And then there's the intent to learn PHP and convert Toxic Waste into a dynamic, database driven website – just like the pros. (Visualise your favourite butterfly to caterpillar metaphor.) Now, I'm not exactly the type of IT tradey who strives to gain certification in every DBMS, programming language, operating system, and network protocol ever invented during my limited idle hours on planet Earth. I like to cut loose. Engage the arts. Engage bar staff. But I think if any IT skill is going to be valuable in the future, it'll involve web development of some sort, and not just writing static HTML, which is all I can do at present. Hence, PHP or an equivalent webpage rendering language.
|get stuffed, coldness|
monday : 25 aug 2008
8:17am. I just had a 20 minute shower to wake myself up after four night's out in a row. The soundtrack to Keating! the musical is playing through the Marantz, and the stomach is getting to work on its regular fruit and egg on toast brekky.
No hangover, either.
But the best thing about this morning is that it's actually somewhat warmish, rather than hovering around 3 degrees Kelvin. Winter seems to be retreating at last, just like the glaciers did 10,000 years ago. Good riddens!
|he shoots, he scores?|
friday : 8 aug 2008
By now you know how sulky I get about all of the attention heaped upon sport by us Aussies, especially in lieu of more meaningful pursuits such as being refused bar service as part of the recent surge in nightspot arrogance and contempt for customers. (Memo to government: the violence and misbehaviour is not occurring in the streets, it's happening inside the clubs.)
But...to show that I'm willing to step out of my comfort zone and feature – embrace, even – the coming Beijing Olympic Games (note caps), here is a short piece on one of the events. I hope this attempt to provide more diverse content for (the) long-suffering reader(s) of Corrosive Journalism is well received.
The image shown on the left is a press photo taken during tonight's exciting football clash between Australia and Serbia. From what I can tell, one player is tripping over another player who was lying down on the grass having a rest, whilst a third player appears to running in the wrong direction. This match ended in a one-all draw, although it's not exactly clear who scored the goals, whether the goals were in fact netted in the correct halves of the field, and if any player received red or yellow cards. From the brief section of the game I viewed on digital TV, the confused commentators seemed to think they were at a volleyball game. Bizarre. Stranger still are reports that say many spectators and players are still wandering around inside the stadium because they can't find the exits. What also stumps me is that nobody told the organisers of this soccer match that The Games (note caps) start tomorrow, not today. Someone screwed up on their calendar big time. Lotus Notes strikes again?
Like I said, I'm no sports expert like Homer Simpson is, I just do I.T., so I apologise if a few boo-boos were made in the article. This is all new for me, writing about sport on Toxic Waste. I still hope you found it engaging enough to perhaps kick-start a burgeoning interest in sport that may lead you to other information sources. It has for me.
|fuck long room|
thrusday : 31 jul 2008
I realise this is spiteful and childish crap that may generate more interest for the target venue than is warranted. However, be that as it may, as I promised the manager on duty tonight: Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. I repeat: Fuck Long Room on Collins Street, Melbourne. Fuck The Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Fuck Long Room on Collins Street. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid The Long Room. Avoid The Long Room. Avoid The Long Room. Avoid The Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Avoid Long Room. Fuck Long Room. Yeah.
sunday : 27 jul 2008
It's that time of year again. Turn up the ducted heating to maximum, put on warm house clothes, grab the in-progress science fiction novel, heat up tinned pumpkin soup with toast drizzled with organic extra virgin olive oil, press play on the Dire Straits CD, turn off the mobile phone, and just drift away for a few hours as needles of icy rain pelt the windows...
Which does beg the question of why I've also been out on thw town three nights in a row. This evening I was supposed to see film director George Romero giving a talk at the Forum for MIFF, ahead of seeing Dawn of the Dead at the Greater Union cinema on Russell at 9:15pm. But I never made it out the front door.
Now...where are my slippers?
|obligatory birthday post|
thursday : 10 jul 2008
Q: Why do moon rocks taste better than normal rocks?
Yes, it's my birthday today. As for my age, let's just say I'm only 27...in hexadecimal. Traditionally, this is the period (geological epoch?) when people stop saying "you look good" and start saying "you look good for your age". Be that as it may, I certainly feel great, which sounds fine and dandy now, but it could lead to all sorts of eccentric behaviour later in life, such as laughing at nothing in particular whilst on public transport. I can't wait.
I've taken the day off from the corporate antfarm for 24 hours of self-indulgence. Also planned is a spot of house cleaning ahead of my brother arriving from Brisneyland tomorrow. This is a surprise birthday visit for the weekend, so I've sketched out a few city-bound activities to enjoy, such as drinking, attending the Carlton vs St Kilda match at the MCG (he's never been) on Friday night, bar hopping between my favourite venues, fine dining, boozing, sight-seeing, having a few cold ales, sipping strong espressos at trendy cafés, sharing one or more bottles of sake, and drinking. This is all par for the course when he used to visit with mates for Oaks Day and what not. Can't say I object, heh heh.
Additional breaking news concerns the 13th day of my alcohol detoxification. Since abstaining, a bizarre thing has happened. I've been devouring science fiction as if I'm possessed by the ghost of Arthur C. Clarke. I'm currently ploughing through my second Alastair Reyonlds book, a collection of eight stories called Galactic North that are set in the Revelation Space milieu. By the way, thanks to Code Monkey for getting me onto Alastair Reyonlds. Now, earlier in the week, mum asked what I wanted for a birthday pressie, and I suggested any other book by the prolific Reynolds, since every bookshop I visit stock at least a couple of his titles. Well, cut to three days later. Her parcel arrived this morning. Dear mom actually picked up two of his novels for me. Bewdy. Not only that – the books she chose at random happen to be Chasm City and Redemption Ark, the prequel and sequel respectively to the very excellent Revelation Space. The chances of this occurring are bloody astronomical. Hmmm, maybe not. It does, however, bring us neatly full circle to the cute joke that heads this journal entry.
wednesday : 25 jun 2008
"Never take on redheads or abos in a fight, mate, because those blokes have nothin' to lose." – Loud bogan dispensing wisdom to friends while walking up Lonsdale Street
Just a brief entry while the trance CD that arrived today from Germany (Artelligent by Headroom) pumps out off the stereo. Sitting here at the computer, I'm also finishing off a glass of a new drink I invented tonight, just a slight variation on bourbon and coke.
The recipe: Reach under your bed and grab that unfinished bottle of bourbon. Pour a shot into a glass, add Coke Zero, then drop in one pill of Sugarine. Yep, the artificial sweetener. Just drown that little white fucker in the glass and watch how it dissolves faster than Kyle Sandiland's television career. You must use Coke Zero for this to work, otherwise the end result is too ghastly and overpowering. You see, during tonight's Endless Commute, I was brooding over my determination that Coke-a-Cola has to be total shit. I mean, that stuff has got to be made with the cheapest ingredients and processing methods, by below minimum wage factory workers obviously. No shock, there. I thought, if that's a given, then even the artificial sweetener in Diet Coke has to crap – chemically suspect all the way down to the quark level, and probably beyond that to the Planck scale, I reckon. The solution? Add your own choice sweetener to Coke Zero. I like Sugarine because it's not the dreaded alternative aspartame, instead it's sodium saccharine. The result is a smooth and delicious bourbon and coke that tastes better than real Coke-a-Cola coke. It's also an improvement over Jim Beam's own sugar-free, hangover-in-a-can, ACME cola premix.
And the name of my new drink? As I take a few more sips, many options present themselves. Here are a couple – none are quite good enough to stick, though. Let me know if you can think of one and I'll add it to the list, with due credit.
In other life matters, another cruel Melbourne winter has descended upon the city for another year. I don't really mind low temperatures, but do we have to endure wind gusts and icy rain, too? Needless to mention, the weather has kept Your Humble Narrator indoors much of the time, apart from Friday nights spent bar hopping around the CBD, and quick dashes between the supermarket and the cave for supplies. Therefore it's all the more remarkable that I'm going to see The Incredible Hulk with Code Monkey tomorrow night at the local grindplex. Laughably, this remake slash sequel has made less money so far than Ang Lee's original abortive attempt, which may have just earned its budget back, but not advertising and sundry expenses. I wonder how the DVD sales went? You've got to hand it to Follywood.
10:43pm. I discovered a flaw in my bourbon masterpiece. After a couple of standard hits, one may forget to drop the Sugarine if it's not close by.
|tales from the bar #2|
monday : 16 jun 2008
Set off for Transport? More like hobbled off. From Gin Palace, at least it was all down hill. Now, I don't remember if there were bouncers outside T-port. Being a Thursday night, probably not. Plus they're usually laid back there unless it's completely packed inside, which means any sign of drunkenness or volatility is reason enough to block ingress. Luckily I've developed a few strategies for negotiating my way past all kinds of bouncers. Most involve careful control of body language (walk tall, smooth movements, maintain casual eye contact, but not for too long) and if I sense a challenge, smile and try to speak first, clearly pronouncing each word. Sometimes bouncers get patrons to talk by asking mundane questions – thus telling them how sober or drunk they might be, so anticipating this test helps a great deal. The key mindset is simply to 'assume the sale'. Which is to say, be calm and confident about being able to stroll in without any hassles, and the rest usually takes care of itself. You're a regular, a big spender, and you own the fucken place. The sharpest bouncers pickup everything they need to know from your eyes, therefore having an attitude of success should cut through any bullshit. This is the art of bar hopping. Sometimes I'll see a queue outside a snooty club and try to get in just for fun. All right then. So, once inside, you can drop your guard and relax into the comfort and familiarity of the barfly slouch, stumble your way to the men's loo (with the obligatory wrong turn into the women's lavvy) and empty your screaming bladder into the nearest urinal or sink, check your handsome self in the mirror, then say "Heyyyy" with a cheesy grin to every female who passes by on your way to the bar.
On this particular evening, I was still alert after downing two cocktails due to my leg mishap. The venue was sensibly populated: there was certainly no Friday night moshpit around the beer taps, that's for sure. More like a civilised social environment for meeting other sophistos and engaging them in erudite conversation. Clutching a glass of that week's feature brew (last tap on the left), I found a spot with line of sight to all parts of the venue, and settled into people watching. I ended up chatting to several folks over the next few hours (and pints) before heading off to Toff on the Town, aka Cookie level two, which was unfortunately dead. I then ventured across the CBD and lobbed into Robot off Flinders Lane to score a $9.00 bottle of hot sake as I munched a packet of Redrock Sea Salt chips and talked to the owner, who was already packing up. That tells you how late it was. At this time of night, the only remaining option is that place up the escalators on Elizabeth Street. True to form, it was going off. I spent another few hours there talking to students and tourists and buying them drinks, my sore leg long forgotten. Hot food of the fast variety and a barely remembered cab ride home finished off a fantastic peregrination of solo bar crawling.
Checking my pockets and mobile phone the next day, hungover and loathing the universe, is usually quite interesting. There's always a slew of phone numbers entered into my mobile or scribbled on ATM receipts for useless aliases such as "Timbo", "Drummer Dude", "kate2", "Paul (actor)", "tracy@yahoooo", and other mysterious dwellers of this benign netherworld. No doubt my own details have been recorded and deleted many times from SIM cards as the result of these evanescent friendships. Ah, just writing about these nocturnal binge sessons makes me want to indulge and regret it all over again.
|tales from the bar #1|
wednesday : 21 may 2008
8:32pm. Well, in a rare concession to my traditional sporting allegiances, the first State of Origin rugby league match for 2008 between Queensland and New South Wales is currently playing on my Loewe widescreen CRT. So far New South Wales are up two tries to nil after about 17 seconds of play, thus reminding me of the pointless misery and frustration of following any sporting team. Perhaps a few cans of Beam and sugar-free cola would have helped? It certainly does for half of the low-budget genre movies I force myself to watch, heh heh. Sadly, I try to abstain from the turps during the week in order to detox the old liver-o-matic between Friday night binge sessions. Having a bottle shop right near the train station doesn't help matters. Idea for new reality TV show: The Biggest Boozer.
The only other tempting programme on tonight – besides a post-mortem of the Titanic disaster on Seconds to Disaster at 10:45pm, during which I expect to learn nothing new – is, believe it or not, Paparazzi on the ABC. Not because I once sat beside Darryn Whats-His-Name (pictured left) aka "Mr Paparazzi" on a Qantas flight to Sydney, but rather to see exactly what the cheeky buggers do and how they do it. It's all pretty outrageous, but they're just feeding a basic human need to be voyeurs of lives outside one's normal experience. So as with everything grand and shitty about us, blame the species, not the individual or the culture. Paparazzi presents a fascinating and cringe-inducing glimpse into the "pap" business, and of one person in particular, Darryn, a colourful Aussie character who lives in Geelong and seems to project a façade of pretentious glamour fueled by money "borrowed" from the bank. What the fuck? Think of it as Lifestyles of the Kitsch and Shameless. With his flamboyant clothes, painted hair, potty mouth, broad ocker accent, and gold jewelry, he's appealing in a losing kind of way. But yeah, it's a bloody mesmerising show. Fr' instance, I never knew France had laws against taking someone's photo without permission, and most of the paps under Darryn's employ are ex-rail workers, ex-lorry drivers, ex-students, and so on. Also, in several cases, celebrities allow the paps to shoot them in staged set-ups designed to look accidental. Not so with attempts to get up-skirt shots, a below the belt maneuver even for these bold pricks. All up, it's a good laugh...try to catch it next week.
Anyhow. I was going to start relaying some bar hopping tales. So where to start?
The Long Room. Because of the strict dress code after 8:00pm, high drinks prices, and occasionally screwed up staff protocol that favours serving attractive women over other people who've been waiting at the bar longer, many punters I know don't like The Long Room. This is understandable. But taken on its own terms – the snooty attitudes, overbaked decor, outrageously expensive food, and middle-crust clientele – The Long Room can provide hours of rarified alco-tainment, especially if a speed dating event has just ended, or flight attendants from one of the more 'exotic' airlines are in Melbourne for an overnight layover. Cheers! clink
Last Thursday night, two quiet glasses of Rooftop Lager with Mike at Cookie turned into a bar hopping marathon that ended sometime after 3:00am. Still criminally early when Mike went off to a dinner appointment at 8:00pm, I lobbed into Long Room to scope the scene. Thanks to Melbourne's chilly autumn temperatures, it was relatively quiet. Since I wanted to compare LR's black Russian's to Toff on the Town's, which are made with coffee liqueur, premium vodka, and garnished with two cherries, I ordered Long Room's equivalent and began the taste test. Unfortunately it was nothing special, although an average black Russian is still quite enjoyable to my sweet-biased booze palette. Anyway, half way through my treat, I decide move off the stool near the bar and sit on one of the lounges behind the screens to better position myself for watching a potentially bored party girl (Indian, curvy, big boobs) stuck on the outer conversation zone with two friends. However, on my way to the pit, my left shin bashed into a heavy wooden side table that's barely 30cm high. It didn't really hurt immediately, but after five minutes I knew the bruised area on the shin could become crippling. It would at least make jogging difficult. Having the dreamy ambience of the Long Room compromised somewhat by my shattered lower limb, I drained my glass and exited...
...straight into Gin Palace around the corner. Needing both a cocktail upgrade and anesthetic to dull the pain in my leg, I negotiated advice from a barman to try a negroni, his favourite drink. That may be the case, but I found it too tart and too dry. Definitely one for martini lovers. I also ordered an icepack, which was delivered promptly, wrapped in a towel, no questions asked. Now that's what I call excellent bar service. A well-dressed couple sitting nearby who looked like they were on their first date did enquire after a spell. I fired back Mike's brilliant "Karma Sutra injury" line, which got the expected laugh. It took 45 minutes to finish the negroni – I was in no hurry because you really need to hold an icepack on for a while to constrict broken blood vessels and therefore minimise bruising. (Checking my war wound at home later revealed that the edge of the side table actually drew blood.) Still, as well as I was treated at Gin Palace, I didn't stay for a second round, and set off for Transport.
To be continued...
11:54pm. Shit, it's late. Oh, by the way. I don't know who won the State of Origin match, and I did learn something from the Titanic documentary. Apparently the fatal flaw was not human error or brittle hull plate steel, but instead wrought iron rivets that contained too much slag. Because wrought iron is not as strong as steel, slag was mixed with the molten iron to form crystals that strengthen the iron. But too much slag creates critical microscopic weak spots. It was calculated that Titanic's rivets sustained a force of 14,000 PSI when it hit the iceberg. Tests at NIST (US) showed that replica rivets failed at just under 10,000 PSI. And these replica samples contained less slag than rivets recovered from the Titanic itself. Snapped rivets broke the previously water tight seals between hull plates, letting in more water than the slight impact damage alone would have allowed. Fascinating stuff.
tuesday : 20 may 2008
I'm back online. My ISP had a meltdown over the weekend, which prevented me from posting new changes to Toxic Waste. Accessing any Cosmos website with Internet Explorer may have caused that browser to crash, as it did to me at work yesterday (proving once again that Microsoft suck shit), while Firefox merely burped politely at the inconvenience.
monday : 6 may 2008
I just flew in to Melbourne after spending ten days in Brisneyland. The occasion was a surprise birthday party for someone I know there that was held on Saturday April 26th. I took the Thursday off and caught a Qantas flight up on Anzac Day. I couldn't post an entry here just in case the person in question read this weblog.
The party went off. The guest of honour's expression was priceless – if you've been to such an event, or had one thrown for you, you'll know what I mean, heh heh heh. It was an 80s theme party, but I barely had time to pack and get myself organised, let alone find a costume and then cart it with me 2000 kms. In the end I managed to have my hair spray painted pink and lime green. In turn, I gave the family dog (a pure white samoi) a pink racing stripe. Anyway, with beer on tap from in refrigerated kegs and plenty of quality food, it was a great night.
The rest of the trip was spent on quality time with immediate family members. Dad was even in town, so I got to see a plenty of everyone. Let's hope they didn't get sick of me? By the way, the weather was sheer perfection. Brisbane in Autumn is just magical. Actually, the whole city is maturing more and more each time I go back. There's lots of cafés now (as expect) and interesting retail franchises that don't exist in Melbourne. One shock was property prices for apartments: they're basically the same as Melbourne, except that you might get a slightly larger apartment for the same money, but there are fewer properties on the market for some reason.
It looks like my plans to purchase my own penthouse in the clouds will have to wait until I can afford at least 20% of the asking price, due to mortgage insurance guidelines for inner city apartments. This was all confirmed when I put an offer in for a 16th floor apartment and started to go through the approval process. Oh well. A few more months of salary income will do the trick. Fingers crossed that prices stay level...or drop. Melbourne's overall increases have been 4% this year, but that's obviously an average across all areas and types of property. So, failing all that, Plan B involves getting two 25 year old female flatmates to share the rent, among other things. Save water: have communal showers!
monday : 21 apr 2008
Greetings neomammalians. Greetings also to any paleomammalians who skipped a grade and are able to comprehend these squiggly lines. Speaking of matters cerebral, guess who just got back from the 2020 Summit in Canberra? Yes, I was invited up to contribute my two cent's worth + GST on various national issues and concerns. Here are my key recommendations. And they are not negotiable, Kevin07.
I had many more suggestions and ideas to put forward. By this stage, however, the security guards at Parliament House had strapped me to a trolley Hannibal Lecter style and were wheeling me off the premises.
|three beam night|
wednesday : 16 apr 2008
You've heard of a three-dog night, when it's so cold outside you need sleep with three dogs to keep warm. Well, I've just had a three cans of Jim Beam White and sugar free cola night. It's quite heartening to know one can get tipsy – not drunk, so relax, just buzzy – on exactly $10.00 worth of pre-mix turps. It certainly beats the hell out of blowing $100.00 for the same effect over a bar. As far as enjoying the social therapy of running with the herd goes, there are plenty of garrulous brute beasts lurking on the world's more reputable IRC chatrooms.
Earlier in the week, I told a workmate that (shock horror) I occasionally drink at home alone. Himself a non-drinker who's pedantic about maintaining peak liver health and general organ longevity, he responded to my frank co-worker bonding admission with, "You drink...at home?!" I had to laugh at that. Or was it the uncomfortable kind of laugher designed to mask my own shame? Naahhh, I concluded happily. What a silly conceit. The simple fact is that I enjoy drinking: it's fun. So...cheers!
Also tonight, besides venturing into cyberspace, I just finished watching that very excellent, highly praised (by Toxic Waste if nobody else) TV series called Seconds to Disaster. This episode examined the calamitous sinking of the $1 billion Russian nuclear submarine, circa 2000. Sitting on my leather lounge, drinking in the various engineering minutia along with slugs of Jim Beam, I realised that my other favourite show about mechanical failure causing accidental violent death Air Crash Investigations was made by the same outfit responsible for Seconds to Disaster. Outstanding. I think these people deserve their own 24/7 television channel.
friday : 11 apr 2008
"Say no to Emo" – Sticker on back window of Toyota Corolla
7:18am. Good morning. TGIF and all that. Last weekend I deliberately didn't go out bar hopping, seducing, and binge drinking. Yes, on Friday night...I went straight home. Why? Lack of sleep was the main reason, as well as just detoxing – giving the liver a rest. The wallet, too. At 10:00pm I received a call from Steve on my mobile asking, "Where the bloody hell are ya?" I had to admit I was power lounging in the cave watching Friday night telly. What a pathetic specimen of bachelorhood I was, betraying the troops like that. But tonight it's back on. Let's hope the promised precipitation doesn't water the night down, like adding too much mixer to a drink.
In terms of Toxic Waste, I'm gearing up to do a massive Chopping List update to clear a backlog of titles. A real domain name and the visual renovation of the whole site are also planned for two double oh eight. But, right now, I've got to give myself a hair cut, put on some clothes, and then 'piss in the direction of off'. Have a good one.
monday : 31 mar 2008
I'm feeling better after a strange little detour into the realm of bodily dysfunction: a glimpse of what's in store for old age, one supposes? Anyhow, I saw way too much television during numerous marathon sessions of power lounging. Toxic Waste updates, book reading, and even basic movie watching dropped off dramatically. At one stage during the Easter long weekend, I found myself obsessively channel surfing the digital TV airwaves, scanning for cooking shows of all things. Needless to say, the rancid Ready Stead Cook was a depressing way to get my cuisine viewing fix, like doing drugs that are cut to buggery. Luckily the fabulous Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares made up for it in the evenings. P.S. Anyone who complained about the profanity in this show can go fuck him/herself.
One activity that did not suffer was music listening. My Zu Mobius cable for the Sennheisers lost its right channel after being yanked accidentally one too many times as I shifted positions reaching for books or comics or something, I forget what. Its replacement arrived just before Easter from the USA – it's a brilliant six foot cable by ALO Audio, the 18G Cryo. This sucker provides more detail and separation than the Zu Mobius (itself no slouch), so much so that I spent countless hours listening to familiar and favourite albums to hear sonic nuances I never noticed before. Right now I'm listening to Megadeth's Countdown to Extinction on the speakers, remastered and remixed (read: Mustane's vocals are louder). I probably should be watching the Oxfam Comedy Gala on Channel 10, but I'm seeing Daniel Kitson this weekend, so I'll get a laughter fix that way. Anybody want to see Henry Rollins with me on April 18-21st, assuming he's not sold out?
On Sunday I caught the Game On expo at ACMI with Code Monkey. It presented a neat history of computer games and featured many playable arcade, console, and PC games. Playing the original Asteroids, Missile Command, and Donkey Kong was a major nostalgia trip. These are games I drooled over in bowling alleys years before I could afford to play them. Not surprisingly, the game play doesn't hold up compared to modern titles, and I found myself getting bored very quickly with these silicon relics from yesteryear Of course they had Pong set up, but I couldn't be bothered twisting the controls for more than 10 seconds. Upon leaving, a pang of sadness went through me as I realised that, more than likely, I'd never play those classic games ever again for the rest of my life. After all, they're the reason I have a great career in IT.
|RIP arthur c. clarke|
thursday : 20 mar 2008
The last 32 hours has seen me fighting off an infernal bug of some description. Had chills and achey joints all yesterday, as well as a crushing tiredness and lethargy (well, nothing new there) and a hyperactive digestive system. I feel better today; at least the long weekend approacheth. Just have to summon enough energy to engage the clubs and bars tonight. Memo to self: no Nightrider buses will be running. So get the last train, you dummy.
"If you've never seen a UFO, you're not very observant." – Arthur C. Clarke.
9:19pm. I was going to leave work at lunch time, but stayed until 4:30pm, then left. This was while the lads were applying beer pressure on me to visit an Irish pub with them for a few cold ones, but with temperatures dropping below 16 degrees, and my body feeling as though it was going to hatch little monsters a'la Alien or the spider birthing scene in The Mist, it was best to slink home and listen to the bogans on the 4:45pm train out to the burbs. Marylu even rang to ask whether I was up for a drink or three. The shocked tone in her voice upon hearing I was at home in the cave was amusing.
thursday : 6 mar 2008
Blooooooody heck. Was February 20th the last entry? Well, the Italian horror DVD campaign lasted one month – a tad longer than expected. I became kind of addicted to digging out more and more titles from my overstuffed, teetering towers of grisly continental cinema classics on DVD. Then, to avoid getting square eyes, I had to venture out of the dungeon and see a few movies on a real moofie screen. And one of them, The Mist, his this popcorn muncher for fucken six.
Just quickly before I nick off...the running continues. I'm not losing weight so much as losing body bulk, albeit steadily, millimetre by millimetre. Because the alarm goes off at 6:40am on most mornings, sleep debt has been racking up fast, together with some brutal interest. But if my worldly experience shrinks to exercise, work, eating, and sleeping, it won't be long before I stick me head in the oven. And yet, some people do live that maddeningly bleak lifestyle. I really don't understand how, or is it that I've just got too much on my plate? Hmmm.
Anyway, have a good long weekend.
|oil is $100 US per barrel...discuss|
wednesday : 20 feb 2008
I was a bit tired when I got to work this morning, so I downed three cups of strong decaf until I'd woken up properly.
Anyhoo...The very serious development of oil hitting the dreaded price of $100 US has sent shock waves through the global economy. However, instead, let's talk in depth about Cashmere Mafia, the sapphic new show that ostensibly carries on the legacy of Sex in the City and its precedents, which premiered on Australian telly tonight on Channel 9 at 9:30pm. And yes, I did misspell 'cashmere' in a previous journal entry – got it confused with Kashmir the city.
The show stars Frances O'Connor (Aussie), Lucy Liu, Miranda Otto (Aussie), and someone whose name I'll edit in later. It's got the expected 'snap' in the dialogue and sassy chicks-about-NYC characters promised in We-Heart-TV's saturation promo advertising (they must have laid out some coin for this one). Now, there were no fewer than four scenes in trendy bars in which the girls drank alcohol, and one scene in a kitchen...in which, yes, the girls drank alcohol (subtle coup on established stereotypes). Quite irresponsible role models, really. Then again, since I bought a bottle of Gekkeikan sake to quaff during the show, I can't complain. Cheers! The women all belong to Generation X. They are successful corporate types, either entering, questioning, or leaving stormy relationships. The unsettled, frustrated blonde appears to be exploring her bi-curiosity, no less. Cue much soul searching, self analysis, calls to the redneck parentals in Wyoming, and a fling with a scruffy male beat poet from Greenwich Village in future episodes. "Conflict is the essence of drama," as my high school arts teacher said. I think two of them are also moms; one has a disaffected daughter called Em. Shades of Californication? Uh-huh.
There's not much to add except the gams ranking goes in the following order: O'Connor, Liu, Otto, and the blonde (who has the best breasts). I also have to say that Frances O'Connor looks more ravishing the older she gets. Ha, no wonder I rated the Victoria's Secret softcore fashion show poorly. Then again, what was happening with her hair? It looked like fibreglass – horrid. See Fig. 1, right.
So. A frenetic beginning segued into an interesting third act that will get Your Humble Narrator coming back next week. Unlike Sex in the City, which was better written (look out for the film), Cashmere Mafia offers straight forward bitchy story telling and melodrama. The acting and accents are all right, and the opening episode even featured the bloke from An American Werewolf in Paris and That Thing you Do! (Tom Everett Scott) as a love interest. That's tacky...in a good way.
sunday : 17 feb 2008
The apartment hunt continues in earnest. The routine for the last couple of weeks has consisted of inspecting random apartments during the week, followed by catching the train back to the CBD on Saturdays to see anything from one to six or more properties. With the weather as fine as it is, coming in to town for the whole day is bloody good fun – during work lunch hours, the clock is always ticking, and it's hard to relax. On weekends I can hang out at Borders in between inspections, then have a cold stubbie of Razorback at Transport as the sun goes down.
Which is all good...relishing the various attractions of the CBD is what someone living in the city should enjoy. Some friends have suggested renting first to make sure I'd take to the lifestyle. This does make sense if I was unsure about doing the sea change (more of a concrete change really), but working in a CBD highrise office and partying in the CBD after dark every week without fail is all the convincing I need.
As for the state of the inner city housing market, I can report that while many properties are still selling regularly, I believe these are mainly investment purchases. Chatting to prospective owner-occupiers like myself when doing inspections, I find they are as fussy as I am and care about things like views and decore. Investment demand is keeping prices up for the time being, although anything above $400,000 seems to be a bad business decision if you're borrowing most of the asking price, because rental income won't cover repayments and outgoings anymore.
All up, the prospect of find the 'right' place and engaging the lifestyle change is exciting. It could be a very interesting 2008 indeed...
|the running man|
wednesday : 6 feb 2008
"Compare...but don't stare!" – Anonymous, men's urinal wall, Flinders Street Station
7:21am. Last weekend I got measured up at Athlete's Foot and bought some running shoes. Proper ones. They're Adidas Supernovas, or should that be Supernovae? Now, I'm not sure what exactly the violent death of a star 10+ solar masses in size has to do with a handsome bachelor getting rid of his sexy paunch and lust handles. The upshot is that I've been out running two mornings in a row like some sort of human hamster. Oh yeah, my exercise clothes suck. Special attire that both steams your sweat off and provides air conditioning are available these days, in trendy colours. Anyway, this morning happens to be is a weightlifting – ah, so sorry, resistance training – day, so I'll finish tapping this out, upload, and bugger off.
Besides having my leisurely mornings violated with mindless exertion, I've been going out every night this week. Last night involved a Mid-summer Comedy act in Fitzroy, on Monday night I had drinks with friends who'd watched the Superbowl that morning, and tonight I'm attending the Iron Maiden concert at Rod Laver Arena with Mike. Toss in hardcore property viewing, late night movie watching, web surfing, and work, and you've got one tired goose. I'd write a Blues song about my woes, but I don't have the time or the energy...
12:52am. Just returned home from the Iron Maiden gig. How to sum it up? Given I don't know their music that well – not even one CD in the library – the concert was easy to enjoy. They play melodic rock tempo heavy metal with real sing-song vocals, courtesy of Bruce Dickinson. The stage was decked out in an Egyptian theme (Nile would be jealous) and the guys' energy levels were very up for the whole show. The manic audience in the stands pretty much stood the whole time. We were three rows from the front at the back, and therefore remained seated. In terms of audio, the first 20 minutes were bloody horrible to listen to. I tore strips from a KFC napkin I had in my back pocket and shoved them in my ears. But then the sound improved and became clearer, so I removed the plugs and got into the shenanigans a lot more. They seemed to save their big numbers for the second half, which got the crowd more and more worked up. A great vibe.
Now, Your Humble Narrator had a laundry list of things he expected to see tonight from a real heavy metal band, as opposed to a metal band, who tend to just get on with doing the business. More than half of the items were checked off. To wit:
Synchronised headbanging from the four guitarists (yes, I think)
At the end of the day, it's hard not to like a band that wears its own t-shirts on stage.
|toxic faves for 2007|
monday : 28 jan 2008
As more than one movie fan has pointed out, no James Bond film was released in 2007. Even so, Yours Truly had a good twelve months in planet Melbourne. The main difference in 'approach' this year compared to last year was trying to read as many books as I could during 2007, given other activities, personal motivation, and downtime spent hungover. As a consequence, the quality and quantity of movies watched in 2007 suffered. A worthy compromise, though. Anyway, on with the accolades...
top five favourite movies seen in 2007
Blade Runner: Final Cut
top five favourite DVDs spun during 2007
Black Hawk Down: Extended Edition – Columbia Tri-Star, Australia
The Burning – MGM, USA
Night of the Bloody Apes – Something Weird Video, USA
SS Camp: Women's Hell – Shriek Show, USA
This Film is Not Yet Rated – Genius/IFC, USA
top five favourite books read in 2007
Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Thomas Harris, Hannibal Rising
Alastair Reynolds, Revelation Space
Webster Griffin Tarpley, 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA
top five favourite CDs bought in 2007
Harlan Ellison, On the Road with Ellison: Volumes 2-3
Pycroptic, The Scepter of the Ancients
Stereolab, Fab Four Suture
Assorted Trance Albums and Compilations
top five favourite TV shows watched in 2007
Aircrash Investigations (Ch 7)
Californication (Ch 10)
Chaser's War on Everything (ABC)
First Tuesday Book Club (ABC)
Pimp My Ride (Ch 9)
top five female legs in mass media for 2007
Gainsville Furniture Model
top five favourite booze consumed in 2007
Carlton Pure Blonde
Jim Beam White and Sugar-Free Cola
Little Creatures Ale
top five personal highlights of 2007
Family Time in Queensland
Maintaining Toxic Waste
Seeing Slayer Live in Concert
Watching Twin Peaks at Hooverdust HQ
saturday : 19 jan 2008
A complaint was lodged with the Advertising Standards Board about advertising for a computer game called Juiced 2. The full article was posted on the most excellent censorship resource Refused Classification this week. The following governmental waffle is but one example of your hard earned tax dollars at work:
Ahem. I'm tempted to lodge my own complaint about the complaint, but I fear the resulting Board review document would cause a devastating meltdown of the Advertising Standards Board LAN network and web servers, making the greater metropolitan area of Canberra uninhabitable for 100,000 years. And now, just for the fun of it, here's another version of the same word salad, but spiced up a bit with some Toxic Waste Thousand Island Dressing:
|another year dawns|
tuesday : 8 jan 2008
Well, I survived the 'silly season'. Not much to it, really: avoid swimming with piranhas, avoid hugging bearded men wearing bulky coats, avoid drinking bleach by accident on stinking hot days. Et cetera.
Christmas in Brisbane was quick but nice – wasn't even up there for 48 hours, which meant, alas, I did miss the Andy Warhol exhibition. An extra couple of hours up my sleeve would have done the trick. Nevermind...the exhibition has received a titter of critical remarks in the trades, so perhaps it wasn't a such huge loss. I'm more looking forward to seeing the new gallery of modern art up there in Brissy than anything, so it will keep.
The New Year's Eve BBQ out in the eastern suburbs was also agreeable, with fine food, drinks (BYO cans of Jim Beam and sugar free cola, thanks Marylu for the tip) and company the main highlights. A lowlight was the presence of only one single female, a friend of a friend visiting from Sydney. I discovered she had soft hands, but that's all. And then at 1:30am, as the party was winding down, a friend buzzed my mobile phone to find out what I was up to. It just so happened the BBQ was five minutes drive from his house, and would I like to come over for a glass of shiraz and lunch tomorrow? Yes please. They had to pick me up after 30 minutes of me dialing taxi companies and getting a busy tone. With Rage playing on his Panasonic plasma TV and fluffy dogs going nuts with excitement in the lounge room, we downed a few drinks then crashed just before dawn (good flick by the way). The next day's home-cooked curry lunch just happen to coincide with another 40 degree scorcher – I probably lost 20 litres of fluids by the time I arrived home at 7:30pm.
Since then, I've been hitting the bars on weekends and during the week; in other words, the usual story. Not to mention catching up with a cute girl I met at The Long Room the previous Friday night, a 30 year old research scientist in the medical field. I'm not sure there was much, ahh, chemistry, but (a) the summer is only getting started and (b) I am still a very handsome man. Modest, too. As for new year's resolutions, I've decided to lose 10 kgs not just 10% of my weight, since a few werre adding during the holiday period. Bring it on!!!! Er, I mean, off. What else? My 11:00pm curfew still remains. Only today I read that lack of sleep can make you gain weight. Yeah, sure, that's it.
However, first, the Toxic Top Five for 2007 has to be compiled. There weren't that many clear-cut choices last year, so it should be an interesting exercise. And unlike the Golden Globes, the writer's guild strike in Hollywood will not affect this auspicious occasion. The judging panel just has to get his arse out of neutral and into top gear.