Sunday, August 30, 2009

Choke on it, bitch: reflections on infernal tokens of exchange

Forgive me, blogger for I have sinned. It's been three months since my last post.

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

seeing is believing in seeing better

Maybe its because someone I know outed herself as an employee of one of the various massive multilateral optometry combines but I seem to be seeing ads for eye wear all the time. Literally all the time, as in: I stay awake around the clock using amphetamines with my eye-lids stapled open and saline solution dripped across my peepers while someone shows me a non-stop loop of optometry service provider commercials. It literally is that frequent.

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

No more animals!

I went down to the coast last week (or 'down the coast' as we say) with my kids and Jessie Mo and her daughter Boops. The four of us, excluding JM, went to Mogo zoo which is not a bad zoo as zoos go though perhaps not worth the $20 entry fee for those of the grown-up persuasion.

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


People sometimes say to me: Nick (because that is my name), Nick, you lead an incredibly interesting life. Show us just how interesting by favouring us with a few sprinkled anecdotes replete with international intrigue.

Very well.

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.

Good night.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A few haiku thoughts

five syllables here

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

A good terramycin is hard to find

Is this not the most beautiful spam poem ever? I laughed and then I cried and then I fought injustice and then I collapsed at the weight of it all:

From: Dollie Judd []
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.

terramycin dobbs.
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).

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

Words happen when you least expect them but sometimes on the page

A writer writes, always.

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.