Sunday, August 30, 2009
But this time I've changed. I really have. I'm going to post more frequently, stop eating ice-cream and be nicer to puppies (like giving up eating puppy ice-cream for a start, furry and fattening).
Having been away a long time, I thought I'd kick off with an easy topic. A crappy film I just watched.
Drag me to hell, starring the delightful Alison Lohman (rowrrr, etc)
In this film, Lohman plays a bank loans officer bucking for promotion who is cursed by an old gypsy woman when she refuses to grant her a third extension on her over-due mortgage. The gypsy attacks her, rips a button off her coat and um curses it. The effect of this curse is that Lohman will be visited by demon for three days running after which she will be dragged to hell for all eternity to suffer burning and sharp poking and Family Ties re-runs.
Firstly, this is a little harsh for, you know, just doing your job as a minor functionary in the halls of not-quite high finance. Eternity is a long time. Longer than the list of stuff found in Michael's Jackson's blood. (Boom-tish. Too crass?)
Secondly, it's a little hard to create dramatic tension around a button. Normally, these things are done with rings or golden chalices or burnished swords. Not usually those cute as a, uh, you know thing, that you keep your shirt from flying open with.
"Uh, well, it's a nice little teal and tortoise-shell affair with four holes and a smooth glossy finish and its a portal to hell!" Somehow I just don't associate paths to eternal damnation with the rag-trade. I don't know. Maybe it's just me.
We're also asked to believe that Alison Lohman, in real-life an urbane and sophisticated Hollywood stick-figure on 144 GSM paper, is a previously fat farm girl. I think she would stand a good chance of out-weighing the demonic button but not by much. (Her previous weight problem and a few scenes involving food and throats and shit like that led one IMDB theorist to opine IN SHOUTING CAPITALS!!! that it was all in her head as a result of anorexia. Um maybe.)
Anyhoo, once her scheme to unload said demon fails, she learns she can unload her impending fate by simply giving the button to another person. Ouch. Life is cheap and hell is cheaper (but nice 400-thread cotton sheets, not so cheap).
She learns (so much learning! A B-movie is not unlike kindergarten) that she can give the er button back to the cursing gypsy (even though the woman's now passed beyond the bank's earthly jurisdiction if you know what I mean). This leads to immortal piece of Shakespearian wit: “Choke on this, bitch.”
I'm just disappointed in their choice of one-liners. Would it have been so hard to go to the next level: “Choke on this, bitch! With interest!” Or “jam that up your fixed-rate derivatives portfolio!”
[Spoilers!!] The nasty twist at the end (a turn of the screw, a flip of the button) is that the satanic, um, button is in an envelope which falls to the floor of her boyfriend's car after a sudden stop. She looks around for it desperately and then finds it, neglecting to actually check if the hell-spawn chemise-fastener is indeed in there. So when she re-gifts it to the old biddy she's just passing on an empty envelope sans bouton as the French say and hence does not avoid her fate.
Which reminds me of two things I already knew:
1.Fashion is pain; and
2.In the end, everything comes down to good stationery management.
You have been warned.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
It culminated in three different optometry ads in one ad break including having a commercial for Service Provider A sledging Service Provider B for not being particularly Australian and all that followed immediately by an ad for Service Provider B (who did not deign to mention their competitors).
What is this? Is the Global Economic Crisis making everyone go blind (or at least blindish)? Are people rushing out to spend their unearned rudd-dollars on fashionable eye-wear? Is it a sinister plot by a malevolent alien force to make everyone more bookish and intellectual seeming and therefore too effete to go to the bother of defending Earth?
I'm banking on the third option because its what I'd do if I were a malevolent alien force.
Lucky I don't need glasses so I'll be around as the last free man, standing on the Statue of Liberty with nothing but a .303 and a ham sandwich, knee-deep in alien slim, screaming 'maniacs!' Or something.
Sorry, what was this post about again?
Friday, April 24, 2009
For some reason, a day or two earlier, I had hit upon the idea of giving Boychild and Girlchild two dollars pocket money each. I can't remember why. And thereafter, into Kmart, out of Kmart, into Aldi, out of Aldi, etc there were constant queries about what they could buy with their money and what I should buy anyway just because and why did I have to buy that awful thing which I had to buy and claim that it was for them when in fact they hated it?
I managed to get Girlchild to spend her not-so-hard-earned on a small donut from Dunkin' Donuts (I know, I know...) but then Boops and Boychild had to have some donut too which somehow I paid for. Just one donut which I cut up three ways for them. Boychild then bought a sweet for himself and Girlchild. Cost: sixty cents. Leaving one dollar forty. (Helpfully the ancient crone behind the counter of the tobacconist where he bought the sweets gave us the wrong change, charging us for only one sweet, allowing me to supply an instant moral lesson and maths lesson combined into a tasty pedagogic treat).
But then I never heard the end of one dollar forty and when could he go back to that store and buy the bubble gum balls (price = twenty cents each) that he meant to buy the first time round but didn't?
I don't know. Later. Never.
Anyway, [rolls eyes] as I was saying, at the zoo. The kids had money and an ice-cream in mind, as a possible way to soak up any spare cash that might have been lining their pockets. So you go looking at animals, trying to take your time because when you've spent forty dollars to look at animals, each animal should hold your attention for at least ten seconds so that you don't find yourself back in the zoo car park ten minutes later.
I was proposing that we take the path less travelled (by us, the left fork to the gibbons and lions) when Girlchild suddenly shouted: No! No more animals! Which is a little rough I think on any animals that might have been listening and there could have been quite a few because we were just near the African safari exhibit with its mix-and-match collection of savannah trash.
Anyway, the kids got the ice-creams, I got the desired pacing, and the animals, including the lions and gibbons, got a little attention.
One lingering question remains. What the hell is a serval?
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Today at KidCity I was playing with the giant bouncy core balls with Daughter-H, popping them into a large hole, rolling them around, chasing them across the floor etc. Finally I threw the large sky-blue ball very hard at said large hole. It hit the edge and bounced back smacking myself fully in the face. Three sub-genres of comedy were invented on the spot.
Then I went back to drink the world's worst muggacino (tm, patent pending), only I inhaled all the chocolate sprinkles on the top, causing me to cough violently and spit a mouthful of cappucino froth on the back and arse of a nearby mother tending to her children.
When I realised she didn't notice, I realised it was quite funny.
Then we went home.
Monday, March 30, 2009
and now seven go here then five
here. A freakin' haiku!
Has anyone ever tried to translate the Haka, the Maori ceremonial war dance, used to open rugby games and international expositions, into haiku form and if so, what would it be called?
Did you know that if you invert a haiku (7-5-7) the space-time continuum will collapse? Try it for yourself at home...
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
From: Dollie Judd [mailto:MargerydevourHammer@Huh. I assumed it was gen-u-ine pharma-spam because I certainly didn't solicit it in my work in-box. I thought it was a random combobulation of words designed to hide the identity but not the location of their product from Google's all-seeing flying monkey robots. But maybe it is a real poem, disguised as spam, disguised as a real email. (And this is cunningly disguised as a real blog post).
Sent: 27 July 2008 6:54 AM
To: Nick Crumbedprawn
Subject: beyond traitorous
chorine chorine schmidt
turnover silvery attic? contraption, duckling ambulate.
contraption belmont contraption un contraption dean, traitorous
pacemake turnover ditch ambidextrous belmont.
Because the email seems to have come from bearparade -- a real poetry site with real poetry in it.
Frankly, its beyond traitorous. I guess I fell into their trap. I would have got away with it too if it hadn't been for these meddling kids.
Jeez, its like being in a soft-drink commercial based on a movie based on a Philip K. Dick novel based on a bad burrito dream without Rutger Hauer.
PS. I was thinking of calling this post 'Luckily I already have a large penis (in a box in the attic)' but I thought it may be taken the wrong way. The title, that is.
Edit: the poem doesn't appear to be on bearparade anywhere according to the magic crystal ball held up by said monkey-bots. Which means it is real spam pretending to be etc etc
And did I mention 'etc'?
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Except for the dead ones.
Two questions have often occurred to me: one, hey, Nick, if you want to be a writer so badly, how come you don’t actually write very much and two, if you want to be a writer so badly how come you don’t seem to enjoy writing that much?
Well, smart-arse (he said to himself), the answer the first question is in the second question. Writing and not enjoying it does not appear to be that uncommon. Witness the parade of mopey bastards that the Guardian interviewed (Writing for a living: joy or a chore). With the exception of Will Self or thereabouts, they don’t seem to particularly like the act which has underpinned their (successful) lives.
For example: ‘Writing novels is no fun; nor is, generally speaking, reading novels. Reading people writing about novels is not always fun, either.’ – Amit ‘I Am A Human Sunbeam’ Chaudhuri. Or: ‘When I was young, I thought that the fun part of writing would be the "creative" bit, making stuff up and inventing things. The older I've got, the less fun this has become. I dread it.’ – Geoff ‘Sponge of Dripping Joy’ Dyer.
Of course, if you’re AL Kennedy – which I am not – I don’t suppose you’ve ever encountered joy anyway:
This is AL Kennedy on acid.
But the second question remains. Why the apparent lack of enjoyment? I guess it's partly fear of failure. Writing is important to me. I'm afraid I'll do a bad job. Ergo I don't enjoy it. If I were surrounded by an infinite number of validating monkeys then it might be easier. (Do you know any?).
If you can write unconnected from expecations of succcess or failure, actual enjoyment may be possible.
I've had a little more success in writing of late by forcing myself to write 500 words a day. I've stuck to it for about a month now, meaning my novel is now up to 62 000 words. The 500 words zip by if I have a clear idea of what to write. They drag by if I have to make up the plot as I go along. The last couple of nights I've been conscious of hauling the plot kicking and screaming in a direction it probably doesn't want or need to go in. The two short scenes I've written probably aren't that necessary for the plot -- and yet the very act of having written them is useful, I think. They may or may not make it into the final novel but doubtless something from them will be salvaged and while I'm writing, I'm er writing always.
I have this difficulty: I know that writing when the way is clear is much easier than when it is not -- but if I stop to plan a scheme I frequently grind to a halt. I tend to develop byzantine plots with uncomfortably large holes in them. Simply writing is often the best (or only, albeit painful) way to fill in these holes. If I sit around and order my brain to produce exciting plot-filla (tm), it tends not to oblige.
Soooo. The moral of this story is... The moral of this story. Is...
Arrgh. A hole. Will fill it in later. Or you, dear reader, can write your own moral.
Monday, March 16, 2009
To the fat guy who got off after just two floors at the offices of the medical research council: Taking the frickin' stairs is good for you. Read a medical textbook sometime.
To the IT guy who said to the other IT guy 'Blah blah blah windows message box of the web app blah blah blah': what?
To the naked opthamaologist in the clown-make-up chewing on cajun alpaca jerky: where were you?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I reproduce the text on it below, as faithful as possible to the typography and spelling errors:
YOU COME AGAINST AUSTRALIAN FAMILIES (ESPECIALLY THOSE IN FOSTER CARE AND ‘WARDS OF THE STATE”) WITH YOUR WORDS, WORKS, WAYS, WICKEDNESS,LAWS,EVIL PRIDE,DECEIT,POWERS AND ALL YOUR UNITED VOICES, BUT WE COME AGAINST YOU IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF HIS HOLY WRITTEN WORD WHICH YOU ARE DEFIEING [sic].WE DECLARE AND PRONOUNCE YOUR REIGN OF TERROR OVER ALL AUSTRALIAN FAMILIES (THE YOUNG IN CAPTIVITY ESPECIALY [sic])HAS FINISHED.YOU ARE NO MATCH FOR THE RISEN,LIVING, LORD JESUS CHRIST AND HIS ARMY SO THIS DAY HE IS HANDING YOU OVER TO US AS THE LORD WORKS WITHOUT REGARD TO ANY HUMAN MEAN.HE IS PREVAILING AS ALL ELSE IS FAILING.
I'm guessing that this little fibrous ray of light was mass-produced and then dropped in the letter-boxes of many homes in the Greater Republic of Ainslie.
Or was it!? Perhaps I was targetted specifically because the author (not to mention the Author or even the AUTHOR) knows that I despise and regularly 'come against' Australian families.
Or they may have confused me with the Government. Happens a lot -- we're both large amorphous entities that crush the hopes and dreams of countless people while simultaneously waging war on two continents.
Friday, March 6, 2009
I was reminded recently of the 1983 film Testament (featuring Kevin Costner naturally) which is about a small American town after a nuclear war.
The things is: at the time the bombs fall, there is actually a school play in rehearsal. As civilisation unravels, the residents decide to keep going with it and actually try to put on the best darn school play ever to keep the community going and hopeful.
In reality, of course, they'd be roaring across desert wastelands in a souped-up Falcon coupe running down petrol-thieving mohawk-sporting neo-primitives. But maybe that's just me.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Apologies for opening this exciting series with a piece of scatology. But you know, whatever, as the kids say.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I'm starting with Nabokov's Lolita which is arranged into five minutes chunks of creepy goodness.
The first part was a longish and dullish framing device by the supposed editor of Humbert Humbert's manuscript. Then it leapt to Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert describing him and Lolita shifting from squalid hotel to foetid motel in search of a nameless fugitive and an illegal good-time before changing gears again to talk about HH receving the gift of a box to hold his chess pieces.
It was fascinating stuff but I did wonder why the story lurched about so much. I mean, I like taking a chain-saw to traditional narrative structure as much as the next guy but I was surprised at how it slid imperceptibly from one thing to another without any particular logic that I could discern.
That's when I noticed my ipod was on "shuffle album".
On the way home I'm going to slavishly adhere to convention and listen to it in the "correct" "order". Sometimes, the dominant paradigm is dominant for a reason.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I am the last person left on earth with integrity and even I regard myself as fundamentally compromised
But... I read this post:
which features this exchange:
"Here's some music you probably won't like," I told New Girl.
"Who's this singer?"
"Bob Mould. Formerly of Husker Du."
"Formerly of the Planet Zark! When you talk about music I can't understand a word you're saying."
She listens to a lot of Kanye.
Before I got to the end of that, I had a thought (and yes it must have been a very quick thought): "formerly of the Planet Zark"? The Planet Zark? Is that some ultra-cool pre-Husker Du (I don't know how to do the umlauts, I'm sorry) vehicle for Bob Mould?
Husker Du? Bob Mould totally sold out when he joined those hacks after Planet Zark impoded during their first gig on a Tuesday night at an abandoned High School in western Kentucky. You haven't lived unless you've read the unpublished review of the unpublished cassingle (of which all copies were destroyed when the only copy ever made was accidentally left too close to a four-slice toaster.)
But no. My quick thought was quickly silenced by the brutality of the next lines. The truth is hard and cold. Not unlike an empty thermos flask.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
So I thought *I* should start remember all the fitfully amusing conversations that *I'm* part of. Like:
Me: Just this, thanks. [Displaying copy of Sydney Morning Herald that I intend to purchase].
Newsagent: That'll be [notional price. This is a fake anecdote. I don't really know how much the Herald (or S-M-H as Jessie Mo insists on calling it) actually costs].
Me: OK [Handing over coins].
Newsagent: Here [handing back a coin when I believed I'd given him the right money]
Newsagent: You gave me [notional amount] too much.
Me: Oh, OK, thanks.
Newsagent: No worries. Have a good day. Also I don't think the holocaust really happened.
But seriously (because that was a fake anecdote and the holocaust did really happen. But it's nice to know that a fictional holocaust denier can at least have some integrity when it comes to fictitious money. Fictitious holocaust deniers are bad people to be sure but they may not always be pure evil through and through), I had some bitter old men around for a drink in my back garden. Anyway, a couple of exchanges were fitfully amusing and I swore to remember them to post.
I thought that if I remembered a key word from each exchange I'd be able to piece the conversation back together. I carefully committed to memory: Mosquito Sideboard. Let me repeat that: Mosquito Sideboard.
But several weeks later, I'm buggered if I can remember what they signify. I'm like a police sergeant giving evidence in court.
Judge: Counsel for the defence may examine the witness.
Defence: Thank you, your Honour. Sergeant, can you please take us back to the events of the evening of the 27th of March?
Sergeant: Yes, sir. [Laboriously flips through note book, forwards and backwards, several times.] Ah, um, Mosquito Sideboard.
Defence: No further questions, your Honour.
Next time I post, I may try to piece together the mystery that is Mosquito Sideboard.
In any case, Mosquito Sideboard is a perfectly decent band name. Along with my new current faves:
Use of Bees
Airport Emergency Fuel Stop
Friday, February 13, 2009
"Dear Dad, I know we share a lot in the way of genetic material and that neither of us are gay but you're really becoming distinguished as you get older (those greying temples, mmm!) If I were an older gay man, I would totally go for you. Love, your son."
Should we move on to other festive occasions?
"Dear Mum and Dad. I know we all share republican tendencies but can we just take a moment to wish the Queen 'Happy Birthday'? Yours with affection etc"
I wonder what gift my sister will get me to celebrate Armistice Day!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Inwardly I recoiled.
Why not re-invent the wheel? Is there any other human invention from 6000 years ago that we still use? If the PC had been invented by Assyrian goat herders, would we be so loathe to interfere with its engineering?
Why are we protecting the wheel from innovation? What are we afraid of? Are we so afraid of the shock of the new that we must swaddle this tired old piece of artifice in stale tradition? Can we not conceive of injecting a little new thinking into its ancient design?
Round is best. Everybody knows round is best. Of course. Of course. The one-sided shape is always the answer to your transportation or rolling needs. One side good, two sides, three, four sides, more sides bad.
I think it's time to challenge this cosy “common sense”. Its time to attack the comfortable perch of the spoked circle and its brainless adherents.
It is time, in short, to reinvent the wheel. Our children and our children’s children demand nothing less than an absolute commitment to relentless scrutiny of conventional wisdom.
I am going outside immediately to replace my car tyres with eggs and soft toys held together with sticky tape. Sure, it may not work. But how will we know until I try?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
OK. Bear with me.
The Belarusian People's Republic, also called the Belarussian National Republic (BNR) to disinguish it from later Communist states, was declared on March 25, 1918 during World War I, when Belarus was occupied by the Germans according to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
The Belarussian People's Republic was absorbed into the USSR in 1920 and recast as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus which later became independent in 1991. In 1920, a BNR Government-in-Exile was created in, er, exile.
It still exists today. Its current president is a woman named Ivonka Survilla.
Two years in existence. Nearly 90 years in exile.
Just like my toothbrush*.
* Long story.
Monday, January 19, 2009
My cousin, who was the more or less same age as me but grew pubic hairs much earlier, was my best friend for some time. We used to play frequently at his house. More so than my house – because his parents, my uncle and aunt obviously, were much looser than mine and also because of the sheer force of his personality which brought me to him rather than vice versa.
Anyway, this one time, many years prior to puberty, I was running in his back yard, down one grassy, plum-tree shaded side of his house and I tripped. I put out my hands to protect myself and was amazed to find one hand sliding across the ground.
I discovered that my right hand had met with a fairly fresh dog turd belong to the retarded spaniel-cross known as Kelly. I stared in amazement at the smear which had lubricated my palm’s path across the parched earth. I looked from my darkened hand to the black skid on the grass and back again. I was amazed. Disgust came later but amazement got there first.
I don’t remember where I was going that afternoon or what I was running from but I do remember the journey.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Anyways (rolls eyes at own digression) I noticed a new two-dollar-crap store in Dickson called Bill's Bargains. (I love these stores and god bless capitalism (but mostly China) for being able to serve up all kinds of handy stuff for less than the cost of a sandwich. I mean, 100 LED fairy lights with variable sequences for $21? (Although you can quite readily get three sandwiches for that price I'll grant you). Try explaining that to Edison -- his being dead won't be the only barrier to comprehension)
Anyways, in this store, there was a tall, very thin, weird looking bloke chatting affably to the store owner (who may or may not be "Bill". History does not record. Which is History's loss).
I wandered from aisle to aisle looking for flash gizmos or tasty ethnic handicrafts for the price of a fancy sandwich, all the while eavesdropping. (Confession: I do like to eavesdrop on strangers at restaurants and in shops. You hear some fascinating stuff. I justify this as research for a novel. Any novel. Maybe Watership Down, for example. I would imagine rabbit dialogue is quite hard to do.)
He was talking non-stop to the owner who was merely nodding and aha-ing and mmming.
Here’s what I recall of what the dude said: ‘Yeah, it’s going to be great for Canberra. [blah, blah]. It’s going to clean the scum from the streets. [blah, blah in which I gather he’s talking about a caravan park somewhere which will apparently draw all of Canberra’s impoverished disenfranchised scum into one handy location]. Yeah, I’m going to manage it [may have been: I should manage it]. Because I know all the people and all the trouble-makers and all the tricks and all the deals. [blah blah, something about being interviewed by the police but being kicked out because he’s a drunk.] Yeah, I’m a drunk. [blah, blah, something about it being the police’s loss because he has some tasty information]. I could have told about that time twenty years ago that somewhere broke into the police armory and took all that cord [I think that’s the word he used]. They thought it was terrorists but I know it was right in their back yard. Milo tins full of the stuff with fuses. [So I gather we’re talking explosives. Blah, blah, something about heavy interstate bikers. Blah blah.] Of course I know a lot more than that. But if the police pull me over and ask me now I’m not going to give them the time of day.
At this point, I rounded the final aisle and came face to face with the owner for the first time. He gave me a sweet little eye-brow raise by way of greeting, part hello, part kill-me-now. I gave him one in return, part hello, part I’m-not-sure-the-authorities-would understand. You’re on your own Bill/notBill, purveyor of bargains.
And then I swept out elegantly past the tall thin drunk and went and bought 400-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. Decadence! Now if only I could have got them for the cost of a sandwich.
I will however view powdered drinking chocolate a little more suspiciously from now on.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Oh god, the pressure of the blank pixel has never seemed so real nor so alive! I'm sitting here in an internet cafe in Bangkok with paid-for minutes ticking away idly and I get to thinking: why are Thai shopping centres so bad at signage? Is it because the Thais were never colonised by a more geography-conscious European power or is the reason more sinister? Are the Thais in fact all vampires who navigate from dairy to toiletry aisles by smell alone with no need of direction-giving placards? Could that be the reason I wake in the morning pale and wan or is it just how I went to bed the previous night...? (I swear I'm getting browner, I swear).
No, I got to thinking: blog quiet. blog post end blog quiet. kill blog quiet good. hammer keyboard til black writing-sounds show on bright square. appease almighty web god. spare first-born in spring etc.
So this is the result. A cheap and tasty blog post that will leave you wanting more when I return in mid-January.
Oh, god is that the time? I have two minutes left! Must dash! Pad thai doesn't fellate itself...