Friday, January 28, 2005

An ingrown toenail and a benign cyst

I was reading a little more of the Graham Greene book this morning on my way to the doctor's surgery—a bulk-billing one no less— when I came across this:
"... Mrs Montgmery was satisfactorily widowed..."
What a wonderful turn of phrase. All very straight-forward and unabashed and, well, old fashioned. And he wrote it in 1979.

Spleen Central

Let me get the Labor Party thing of my chest. What a bloody cop out! No Kevin, no Julia, just a bunch of scared little men (and women) hiding behind Big Kim. All this faux unity. I mean, it's like some sort of baudrillard-ian simulation of unity—if we all hide the knives behind out backs, look at the camera and smile, everyone will think we're just one big happy family. When it's so fucking obvious that there is no unity, just those same unelected shadows from the NSW/QLD Right in the background with their threats and arm twisting. (Does the name Eric Roozendaal ring a bell? Of course not. A year or so ago he was a prime Anyone-But-Crean mover and shaker in ALP NSW Headquarters, now safely shoe-horned into the NSW Legislative Council). Do they think that some sort of QUITE BLOODY OBVIOUS façade of 'unity', some papering over of differences for the camera, like those sets they use in Hollywood that looks like a house but is only a clapboard image of a house held erect by triangular struts and will topple in the slightest gust, and a complete bloody whole where any sort of policy should be, will help them to look more attractive to the Australian public? We're wiser than that, buckoes.

The things you have to do, for a start, are bloody well apologise for cocking up the last election, in particular, whoever-the-fuck was responsible for the atrocious preference deal in Victoria which put in a reactionary religious conservative in the senate ahead of a 'fellow-traveller' of sorts from the Greens. Now whoever did that deal to try to save Jacinta Collins should be taken out and summarily shot.


No, fuck that. THREE MONTHS AGO.

Then how about some policy? Perhaps a policy that doesn't involve throwing money at the well-feathered middle class? Perhaps something with just a small smattering of 'bold', something that recognises that there ARE single people without kids who vote, like Medicare Gold did for the 80+s. Not that it won their votes, but they're rusted on to John Howard anyway. At least Julia had some sort of vision. Unlike the rest of you fuckers.

Just something that you guys care about. Other than your own hides (and superfunds), apparatchiks. But if you care about it, and you believe in it (whatever it is), people will hear and see conviction, and perhaps be more inclined to listen. As opposed to difference for difference sake, or damn mask of unity you are insisting on wearing, and quite frankly, you've made yourselves look like first-class fools.

Ok, that's off the chest. I can move on.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Celebrity Drink Driving

When this all started out about a week ago, when the entire Commonwealth of Australia heaved that long-awaited sigh of relief that Mark Latham had finally given up his postmodern-dance-cum-brainstorming- exercise-cum-streetfight style of political leadership, I was firnly in the Kevin Rudd camp. Former diplomat, experienced shadow foreign minister, seasoned Lateline performer, and one of the most plain-speaking and comprehensible of the current (fairly poor) crop of federal Labor MPs. But the it took Julia Gillard just three words to haul me over to her side of the party, near the canapés and the bust of Engels. Their impact was slightly delayed—it wasn't till over the weekend that the words of Canberra's answer to Kath Day-Knight really sank in. And I switched sides (something I've been known to do before). And what were those three little words?




Whisper those words in my ear and I'm yours. No strings attached.

Which kinda raises the question of why I was in the Rudd camp at all, when both he and Bomber are the stauchest "supporters of the US alliance", if I can use that euphemism, in the ALP. Change, perhaps. I have nothing personal against Kim, but I do have a beef with his so-called supporters, like that right-wing cabal of Stephen Smith, Wayne Swan and Stephen Conroy, all three career politicians who wouldn't recognise an unstacked branch if they walked into it. Not that they probably ever have. The worst thing that could possibly happen is that Bomber be elected unopposed.

But I can tell you now, the ALP is that fucked, he probably will. I want Kevin Rudd to run, nonetheless,—make it at least a teensy-weensy bit interesting, maybe a 3-way contest with the redhead in the other corner—but the guy's a wuss. He looks like a wuss and he acts like a wuss so you can bet, whenever he does eventually announce his intentions, that he'll take the wussy option and drop out. Run Kevin, run you bastard.

Something else I found today: hot on the heels of bogan Australia's favourite piece of follicular face furniture, the minging Shannon Noll, blowing 0.11 on the breathalyzer, another notable Aussie has been busted DUI. This time round, New South Wales' best have pulled over Kylie Kwong's minivan and scored another celeb scalp. Her excuse: she'd had a glass of wine four hours earlier, and hadn't eaten. Okay, I am personally familiar with the exaggerated affects of alcohol on an empty stomach— it makes for a cheap night out when eating is cheating—but that must have been one fuck-off fishbowl of a glass of gewürztraminer to get you a reading of 0.07 four hours later. Yes, four hours later.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

the fifth sentence

"'You are not one of the Toads.'"

Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party, by Graham Greene

The instructions:
  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 23.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions
via old moshimoshi.

(it's actually page 24, sentence 3, coz there were only two sentences before the chapter ended on page 23—or is that cheating?)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


It was the handshake that done it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

red rain

You know when you think about something, however briefly, and somehow the spheres connive to bring that thought into your reality? Sounds more high-fallutin' than it is.

Por ejemplo: I'm on a bus in Guatemala, squashed seven-to-a-row with the Quiche Mayans and their baskets of avacados, listening to Celine Dion's number from Titanic on the radio for the umpteenth time, when suddenly out of the recesses of my mind drifts this thought like a stinking sulfur gas: "Whatever happened to Genesis?" Yes, it's sad and embarassing. But in the state of near-meditation I had reached bumping along the ridges between Panajachel and Antigua Guatemala, hipbone to hipbone with silent stony-faced Guatemalans, that strange TV-Week thought crossed my mind: "What of Genesis? They used to be all over the radio, and I dont reckon I've heard them for years." Maybe it was the caustic crapness of Celine's worldbeater that took my mind wandering through a high altitude association game, but there it was, Phil Collins' ugly mug in my mind's eye. So later, I wander out to find something to eat in Antigua, and come across a tiny little bar with a buxom matron serving taco-encilada type comida and, importantly, beer. And as I tuck into my cheesy, avocadoey, chickeny quesadilla-things, with a wink from my new best friend, out of nowhere ... "Billy, Billy don't you lose that number..."

Scary isn't it?

Espcially when the Guatemalans have this awesome native music, marimbo chapina, they play on massive xylophones made out of gourds.

But wait, there's more: the reason I remembered that story is not unassociated with Genesis. You see, I've been encountering Peter Gabriel music repeatedly in the last few days: in the cinema, some new movie they were advertising used "Salisbury Hill" as it's main tune (maybe Cellular, or Million Dollar Baby, both of which look shite); in the gym, Triple M (I know, but the powers that be must like it) pumped out "Don't give up" with the populous precision of a political mastermind; and then of the three random cds I grabbed to put onto my new work computer, one was "So".

What a bloody good album.

Monday, January 17, 2005

deeper and deeper

Not only am I deeply involved in an elicit affair with the characters from Final Fantasy X-1 (in particular Lulu and Wakka, I have to admit), but there seems to be no limits to the depths of nerdiness that I can sink.

First, there was this appearing in the Neopets News, a full 2 months after my darling little Mutant Kacheek and Halloween Zafara were summarily and, dare I say it, mistakenly, robbed of their doting owner:
Today we are implementing a new way to deal with people who break certain Terms and Conditions. If you break more minor rules, your account may only be SUSPENDED for up to 72 hours (rather than frozen completely). During your suspension you will not have access to any part of your account. After the suspension period is over, your account will be returned to you.

That said, depending on your account history and which rule you break, you could still get frozen immediately (a "suspension" is not "automatic"), and you WILL be frozen for breaking the rules more than once. Hopefully this "second chance" will make things more understandable and fairer for everyone.

So I shot off an email that arvo requesting that my case be reviewed. I will admit to a certain level of nerdishness, but, in all seriousness, my nerdicity does not reach the depths of the dank and smelly caves of people who can do what I have been accused of, that is, cheat/crack a Flash game. In fact, my nerdism rating was surprisingly low—15 out of 100. Even I was surprised. And while I was rigging that up, I came across this awesome little baby of a site, if you are into things like the periodic table.

To which I must admit more than a cursory interest. It was physics and biology I hated at school. Chemistry I could do. And while I'm on The Periodic Table, it's well worth checking out Primo Levi's novel. A very interesting and well-written autobiographical tale told through analogies to certain elements. It was a pity the poor fellow topped himself.

But back On Topic. So I fired off an email to Neopets, and do you think I have heard anything? Nooooo. Not a jot.


I can but hope.

So instead, I find myself casting about for another MMOG to get myself neck deep in. First there was Ragnarok, which I had seen packing out the internet cafés and online gaming venues in Thailand a few years back. Believe me, it's leaps and bounds ahead of where it used to be, but they still want $$. And that's somewhere I'm not ready to go yet. There were a couple of others I surfed by, until I came across this little gem—MapleStory. It looks fucken amazing. To a japanophile (what, you couldn't tell?) the prospect of this über-anime, super-cute world had me barring up in no time. All there was to do was download the client. So, here we go. Left click.

Nada. Niet. Zip. Nothing. Damn bloody Koreans. I mean, you'd think that a country where playing online computer games is more than simply a competitive sport for pimply teenagers—it's a fucking national pastime with competitions airing on primetime TV—could actually work out how to get their download links working. But no.

Friday, January 14, 2005

ah, that's better

Whaddaya reckon? Much better isn't it?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Crap Crap Crap

No, it wasn't a New Year's Resolution, but I am trying to make this thing more interesting (maybe it should have been, although I try my darnedest not to make any resolutions whatsoever). Maybe when I get round to changing the 'look and feel' (god how I hate that phrase) it might perk up a bit—which will probably be some time in April, at the rate I'm going. But right now, no offense to the superb yankee designer who put this skin together, it lacks. And not in a good, yoni kind of way.
(the definition is right down the bottom, which I could easily have cut-and-pasted, but I wanted you to do your own dirty work)

But come back here so I can point you to a riverbed carving of a yoni, complete with a quincunx of lingas (I don't think I have ever, in my 5 years of knowing what that word meant, had a opportunity to use it in a sentence that wasn't a definition). Or this of hundreds of 'em at Phnom Kulen, which is the holy mountain where the ancient khmer quarried all their stone for the unspeakably magnificent monuments at Angkor. And to think the Khmer were building these while Europe was drinking mead, running around in hair shirts and wielding 30 kilo hunks of dull blunt metal they called swords?

If that doesn't whet your appetite for Cambo, nothing will. But if it does, check out It's chock full of all the tidbits you'll need to get around everywhere in SEA, from Indo to Myanmar and Vietnam and back again, by the jungle tracks, whether or not they've been dashed upon the rocks by monstrous earthquake-induced tidal waves... speaking of which I had a mate on the beach at Patong, Phuket, that fateful day, who managed to grab his belongings and run like Billy-Oh. One very lucky boy.

But back to the main point—glaringly obvious from my first line: the harder you try with these things, the worse the result is. It is inevitable. Like those dreaded teenage stunts where you call out to your mates "hey fellas, look at this!" only to tumble off the railings and end up walking round school with your arm in a sling and a self-inflicted black eye.

Well, at least it got you out of swimming.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Breaking up is hard to do

This gem from an email I sent this morning:

I spose we are all ageing, aren't we, hauling our baggage where 'ere we go. If only there could be such a thing as an emotional porter, you know, someone you could acknowledge occasionally and tip scantily, and there they are, shouldering your battered-leather burdens for you, carrying them for you to unpack or no at your leisure. I'd like one of those big old trunks that stand on their end and open like a book, with little compartments for things like lost car-keys or mobile phones, larger ones for grievances and prejudices, and then hanging space for those long-held, worn-in and comfortable grudges we all carry. And a nice smiling foreign fellow bent double under its weight, but simply happy to have the work, Sahib. Terribly colonial, isn't it? But then we could concentrate on the delights of life, like gin and pétanque and The OC and tantrums and love affairs and never have to worry about a thing. Because that's all done by my man here.

Yep, back at work.