Saturday, 29 September 2007

Would you like a jug of fat with that?

Last night I ordered a pizza (supreme, deep-pan) from Pizza Hut, and it came with its own tub of flavourless cheesy dip. I don't know if that's normal in the rest of the world, but I struggle to quantify with any accuracy my mixed, but generally morose feelings over such decadence. Suffice to say I couldn't fight against it. The cheese won.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Oh that's just super

I received an email today from one of the genealogy websites I sometimes frequent, and it had a link to a new service that lists celebrities and their family trees. So I head over to the site and punch in a few surnames and note that most of them come up with nothing. But then I get to the name Hallett, listed for the 1600's and from a particular town in Dorset England, and lo and behold it's in their database. So, I hear you ask, who is the mystery celebrity that I found to be a very distant cousin?

Well let's just say that for all of the flak it gets, Microsoft can't be that bad.

Obscure TV Shows

Currently I'm in withdrawal. I've been without TV for about 3 weeks now. I don't pay a lot of attention to the TV screen, but generally I like to have the box glowing warmly in the corner as I work, surf the web or procrastinate. I would generally leave it on 24/7 so that I can listen to the news, documentaries and movies that I'm not sure are worth watching. So it figures that the TV died the one time that I turned it off.

I'll get around to having it repaired, but apart from a slice of Late Night with Conan O'Brien I'm not missing it. Yeah I have another TV, but it's in the next room, way over --> there. So now I'm listening to more music, buying more books and comics on Ebay and watching football at the pub with mates, rather than at home. Maybe I should do an Office Space on my TV?

In the meantime, let's turn our gaze back, and reminisce about some of the joyful times I've had with TV. Let's see if there's still some room in my heart for my idiot box, by looking back at some of the more interesting, obscure, odd, terrible and not so memorable shows that nobody else my age seems to recall:

Manimal - This was an odd 80's action show that I'm pretty sure lasted for less than a season in the US, but surprisingly was still shown in Australia. The stories were rubbish and the action incredibly lacklustre but what made this thing so cool to me at 6 or 7 years of age is that the lead character could transform himself into any animal he liked. At least that's what was supposed to have made it cool. Instead I found myself being frustrated by the fact that the guy had no imagination whatsoever (thank you pissy budget). In almost every episode the guy only ever seemed to transform into either an eagle or a panther, neither of which ever did anything of note. I think maybe once I saw him become an elephant, which I believe was when probably, if my memory serves, when banging a stewardess in an aircraft toilet.

Robostory - This was shown on the ABC during the mid 80's, usually at about 7.30 in the morning, weekdays before school in a block with another pair of animated classics, The Wizard of OZ and Vicky the Viking. It's perhaps one of the best animated series I've seen when it comes to high quality, multi-layered storytelling. A French production, the story revolved around a small girl who followed her dog into an unlikely predicament that leads to being hurled across the universe in a space shuttle and being stranded on a planet populated by two groups of robots. On the surface it sounds simple enough, but this cartoon was very dark in its nature, despite plenty of humour thrown into the mix. Rather than the typical Hanna-Barbera or Filmation light hearted morning animation, Robostory's tone, particularly in the later episodes is closer to the more complex and adult oriented, allegorical commentary styled works of Ralph Bakshi (In particular, a film like Wizards comes to mind). Check it out for yourself on youtube.

Skippy - Probably the most famous of Aussie TV exports, and definitely one of the weirdest. I loved this as a kid and it's even more entertaining now with a beer in hand or when playing a drinking game. Some people like Lassie, and some might like that stupid dolphin off SeaQuest, or even the long forgotten Salty the seal, but nothing compares to seeing a kangaroo driving a car, changing gears, opening a safe or untying hostages. Simply awesome. What's even more awesome is that in order to film such plot points the camera would focus on a pair of severed kangaroo paws as some guy off screen manipulated them into action. What a great job! I do wonder what employment opportunities awaited someone with that prized position once the series ended. Picture it - the early 1970's and an unidentified homeless man is laid out naked on a slab in a Sydney morgue, with the only clue to his identity being the pair of severed kangaroo paws that the coroner failed to pry from his vice like grip. Fun stuff!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Why I don't know Kung Fu

Yeah I know, it's hard to believe - I don't know kung fu. People both young and old often see me in the street and comment "oh, look at that guy, doesn't he look like he knows kung fu!" To which I usually shrug off, pretend I didn't hear and then allow the masquerade to continue unabated. Yes, even in neighbouring towns there are whispers of how I do indeed look like a finely tuned instrument of aggressive resistance, or so I am told.

Several years ago I was presented an opportunity, where I was asked if I might like to be taught one of the more destructive and potent strains of kung fu. A strain so deadly that to even type its name here will lead to the deaths of several starving children in Africa. The gentleman who had offered me this chance was a master. I don't know if he was a master of a martial arts or not, but given his peculiar appearance and lifestyle I am quite certain that he had mastered something.

We arranged for my first lesson and we met at his house, shrouded in mysterious mists in the foothills of the mountain range near my town. I was shown how to fall. I was also shown how not to fall. Both were very important lessons, which I grappled with and failed to conquer in any meaningful sense. I now fall like an expert in not falling, which makes me one of the worlds most accomplished standers. My method of falling, once coerced to do so, is akin to a gazelle that has been shot in the flank whilst bounding across the Serengeti, with the moon high in the background as birds flock and twitter in the hardiest of trees (setting the scene is important).

I learnt very little, despite being taught very much. The one hand clapping, the take this pebble from my hand, and the can you pat your head and rub your tummy all featured heavily, at least now in the way I choose to recall this not so pivotal event in a stretch of several forgettable weeks.

I must admit that pain played a part in my choosing not to continue with the lessons. I recall that after my first lesson my arse hurt a great deal. I don't think there was any blood, but I assure you the pain was not from what you are thinking. No, to my knowledge there was no sex, only pain, stone grabbing and various tidbits of philosophy which I believe were taken from works of the ancient master David Carradine.

Some of what I've just written is true.

What is also true is that when the dude started eating and offering me weeds from my own front lawn where dogs often urinate I knew that my kung fu days were over.

Super Dickery

I'm really not a fan of how little thought is going into writing comics these days (or is that heart). I'm sure the writers all think they are doing a hell of a job, but unless your name is Gail Simone, Alan Moore or Grant Morrison then the odds are that you're struggling for ideas. Why is it that killing characters or portraying them in a manner contrary to usual conduct is so readily acceptable now; is it editorial policy or ugly coincidence?

From an artists perspective I'm relieved that whilst the writing stocks are down, the visual element is still on quite a high. But then comics as a medium continue to be the one field where artistic endeavour appears to be pushed most of all. Yeah, plenty of people do look down on comics as an art form and in a literary sense, but then that's just blind snobbery, barely worth commenting on.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

What's Opera Doc?

An old gag title, from a wonderful Warner Bros cartoon, and probably the first thing I think about when it comes to opera. I suppose it's the same for a lot of people, we hear opera and classical music in passing, be it in advertising, brief snippets on the radio, Sunday ABC TV recordings or in pop culture, ranging from Apocalypse Now to Bugs Bunny and anything remotely Kubrick. It's a wonder then, that so many of us can point to a piece of classical music and speak of how we enjoy it, when often so few of us will take the time and learn more.

Some recent recommended listening, and other discoveries:

Largo al factotum - Il Barbiere di Siviglia (As recommended and loved, apart from the very camp introduction!)

Soave il vento - Così fan tutte (Another recommendation. This one's growing on me the more I hear it)

Largo al factotum - Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Stumbled across, laughed at and enjoyed)

Wagner's Tannhauser - Part One (I love the power in this stuff. Mmm)

Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjue (Miles Davis doing this version. I'm not even sure what basket this goes in)

President of the World

I must admit, I'm actually quite curious about the US Presidential election race. I don't know a great deal about the various guys flinging their hats into the ring, or at least much more than what SBS, CNN, The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert tell me. But whoever wins is going to help shape global politics, agenda, oil prices, cancer rates, the temperature of my testicles and perhaps reshape the relationship between my country (The People's Democratic Sexual Empire of Eastern Australia) and the US.

So here's my guide to who I think people are, and what I'd rather imagine them as:

1. Barack Obama - Mr. Juicy intrigue. This guy interests me a great deal. My first thought when I hear him speak is not for his policy or background, but for the fact that he will probably be talking through one of those fuck-off shiny artificial voice boxes before taking any Presidential oath. Does he smoke? Fucked if I know, but he sure does sound like he's one of those sideshow guys who regularly packs 50 cigarettes into his gaping mouth with each passing urge for nicotine and dollars. As a side note, apparently this guy is black (yes, I too am shocked). Although apparently not black enough for some, and too black for others. Bigots come in all shapes and colours. Just who would have thought that some African Americans and white supremacists could come together in a hate love-in. I get tingles* just thinking about it.

2. Hillary Clinton - Bill's mother. It's his mother right? Surely he wouldn't have married her. Anyway, she's well orchestrated but not well castrated, so that makes for an interesting mix. I thought Bill did quite well as Official Sexual Being of America in the absence of a real President, even if his taste in women leaves a lot to be desired. So, if Bill didn't fall far from the ghastly tree that is his mother/wife, maybe Hillary will do OK and score herself some tubby Louis Anderson-like action too. Still, if there's any Clinton for parliament, then my vote's for George.

3. Rudolph Giuliani - Not sure what to make of this. The guy is more familiar to me as an occasional joke on Letterman or Late Night with Conan. Happy and friendly enough, he's run a city with more people in it than my country has, and I guess it's a positive that he knows how to deal with the cement making industry. But what does he bring to the table when it comes to crazy shenanigans? Does he get drunk Boris style? Does he have a thing for obese interns? Rudy needs a gimmick. Maybe he should lock himself in a glass case with angry monkeys or something. See who flings the most shit. Anything.

4. John McCain - Not too clear on this one. If memory serves, McCain's saucer was shot down over Roswell New Mexico some time in the 1940's when he was on a reconnaissance mission for his native Vietnam. Basically his popularity will come down to whether he is truly a genetically engineered Vietnamese UFO pilot, or if he is as I suspect a pawn in a global lie and is really a producer of fine frozen chips (french fries).

5. Zoltar - I'm not sure if this guy is running in the election, or if I'm merely confusing politics with a villain from the 70's cartoon Battle of the Planets (aka G-Force, Science Team Gatchaman). Either way, Zoltar should have the inside edge due to being both a man and a woman depending on what's needed at any particular time. Zoltar has all of the right qualities that one would expect of an American President. He's a snappy dresser, he takes his orders from higher up, if foreign policy fails he's only too happy to send in an alien death machine and to sacrifice the lives of countless thousands of henchmen, and best of all he has the kind of evil laugh one would expect from a very small man.

So there you have it. The 5 main candidates for taking leadership of the Australian Liberal Party from Prime Idiot John Howard. Go Zoltar!

Note: *My tingling feeling is neither 'spidey sense' or herpes.

I think.

Monday, 24 September 2007

One out, one in

Exit the football (rugby league) season and enter the basketball. No complaints; my team (South Sydney Rabbitohs) made the finals for the first time since 1989 and will have a stronger line-up in 2008. I'm not as ardent a basketball fan, but at least there's more of it to watch. My picks for the 07-08 season: Perth and Cairns to fight it out for the NBL title, and Nathan Jawai to take rookie of the year. Also, Patrick Mills to be the first Aboriginal / T.I player to draw interest from the NBA after a strong season, leading St. Mary's to the WCC championship in US collegiate basketball.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

We're From Barcelona

One of the dorkier songs I've ever come across, but it's been a favourite for months now. I just can't get the damn thing out of my head (but that's a good thing). Sometimes a song will be lodged inside my brain and drive me crazy, but this YouTube gem I can deal with. I like the video perhaps even more than the song.

"Hot Matches"

Did you ever get an email that says "Hot Matches" that you automatically assumed was from the dating website you're a member of, but instead it turned out to be from the genealogy website you're a member of? Oh yeah, me too. It's always a great time to be had when instead of an email full of potentially interesting and beautiful women, you've a list of people who have been dead for centuries, of which the majority are more than likely related to you.

Not really my thing, but who am I to judge? If anyone has a heart-warming success story of when they hooked up with a dead ancestor, I'd love to hear about it (without too many details).

Saturday, 22 September 2007


You know that Tom guy, over on MySpace?

Well.. he sure is a whore.

Top 5 online conversational / dating annoyances!

Ever tried online dating? It's usually fun, interesting and you get to mea.. meet nice people. Everyone has their own particular tastes, fetishes and requirements, but often there are particular shots of terminology and phrase placed in a profile that will turn it into instant road kill. The same applies to chatting to people online in general, via blogs, messenger programs and irc. So the question is, what turn of phrase annoys you, or makes you want to instantly switch off?

John's Top 5 Online Conversation Killers:

5. "Cincere" - Maybe I'm over the top with this one and am verging on grammar NAZI territory, but if a person claims to be sincere then I'd at least hope they care enough to know how to bloody spell the word. "Cence" of humour is another that is almost as bad.

4. "Princess" - When I read the word "princess" it makes me think of pink leeches, sucking the life out of people, draining them of their finances and mojo, and who would then do absolutely jack with the energy once siphoned. Sure it's stereotyping, but when you're dealing with a global pool of potentially interesting people to converse with it's best to minimise the risk factor of ever having to deal with a chick who owns a poodle.

3. "Omg lol lyke how r u? I5 this 4 real? lolz!!11" - I even have to explain this one?

2. "I'm the one your mother warned you about" - Oh really? God damn, are you following me? I swear I just saw your profile in the last page I clicked through, and two pages again before that. Not to mention that I saw you on the other site I'm a member of. What's worse is that your profile picture is always different, yet your personality remains the same! I can see why my mum warned me about you, you fucking stalker!!

1. "I like riding horses, sky diving, snow boarding, long romantic walks along the beach and rock climbing" - Yet you live in the city, rarely see the snow, are inland far away from the beach, have sky dived once with no intention of making it a hobby and the same applies to rock climbing. So, just who the fuck are you? I read profiles wanting to get to know a person. I don't want to know who you would LIKE to be! Tell me who you really are! I'd love to be He-Man, ranging around the plains of Eternia on a giant green cat that talks whilst fighting Skeletor, but I won't be putting that into my profile, at least not on the sites you frequent!

OK, so maybe there's a little emotion there in that post.

Knock knock

There aren't many situations that I consider more awkward than the one I found myself in earlier this morning. I had been sound asleep, and unlike with the previous night I wasn't having a dream about a random bird smashing into my face (don't ask). I'm not particularly fond of having my slumber interrupted on a Saturday morning, climbing out of bed with a hard-on, in order to answer a knock at the door. I half hid myself behind the door (behind wood, with wood), wearing loose shorts whilst talking to the little old lady who has come to collect the 'Home Care' catalogue, which of course I couldn't find.

Maybe I should have just stood there, shorts to the floor and with a subtle breeze caressing me, beaming a smile and telling her "don't be alarmed Madam, I am comfortable with my own nudity, do you not see?" Boing! I'm sure she'd be delighted for me.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Subjects of interest

So, not really having given this much thought, I'm not quite sure what I'd like to write about. Do I perhaps talk about my many geeky interests, post endless streams of my photography and illustrations and short stories, bitch/rave positively about people, events and my life, or do I deliberately target a certain demographic?

I don't think I'll be keeping this page as a diary - no, that would be bad. I'm open, but not in a "hey look at my tits" kind of way.*

Also, screw targeting people. I'm writing for me, and I'll hope some people join me for the ride because it's of interest. Although - pity is good too.

*Note: I don't have tits.


Hooray, I have a blog. Now what?

Step 1. Make the blog.
Step 2. ??
Step 3. $$ Profit $$

Yes, it's the intricate workings of a free-market economy in action, right before your very eyes (or your not so very eyes, depending how 'very' you are).