29 April, 2007

Sea Change My Arse

I haven't posted in ages. I'm slack. I'm also back at work these last two weeks, which means I can't find enough time to do all of the things I want to, like when I started this blog during my holidays in a flurry of activity. I specialize in pissy excuses.

I also specialize in hating my job. Over the past few weeks, I've looked at other career options in a half-hearted, indecisive sort of way. Let's face it, there's not much out there for lazy blokes who are running away from a career rather than diving into a new one. And even though my profession is notoriously underpaid, I'd have to take a hell of a pay cut in almost any new job. So fuck that for a joke. I'll just have to stick it out.

At work, I am up and down like a yoyo. Hating, loving, begrudging, tolerating my job. Sure, it's the nature of my work that causes this. But my own nature has a bit to do with it too.

I'll have to work up a big post on how it came to this. I could do with the catharsis.

13 April, 2007

I Wouldn't Mind If It Wasn't So Bloody Obvious

I don’t mind if these people rush to Alan Jones’ defence in the wake of the ACMA finding against him:
Well they would, wouldn’t they?
I don’t even mind if The Herald Sun ignores the too-obvious defence of Jones by the above in its online National roundup. Or if The Australian editorializes against ACMA’s findings on the basis of free speech needing protection and puts David Flint on its op ed pages to back that up.
Or Helen Coonan expressing dissatisfaction with ACMA and flagging changes to accommodate Jones and other coalition-friendly shock-jocks.

Well, they would, wouldn’t they?
I expect that.
But I just can’t stomach this bloke:not providing an alternative view to the forces he’s supposed to be in Opposition to.
That’s been left to The Age, and they’ve done it here and here.
As much as I wish Kevin Rudd well, I hope his advisors are getting in his ear about the electoral perils of "me-tooism".

11 April, 2007

Rage Programming Meme

With thanks to Go Away Please, who has tagged me for the Rage Programming Meme.

A bit of wish fulfillment involved in this because I quite often turn Rage off after a few clips when so many of them consist entirely of total visual gibberish. And music that doesn’t grab me either. Don’t start me on those old Countdown episodes…I might have a go at entering my faves via this link , where you can have a go yourself.

This list is about music I like, and me getting to see that music performed by those artists. There might be many clips that are better visually, but this is what I’d like to see if I happened to flick over to Rage, and would stop me from pissing off elsewhere, which I usually do. Song title links are to You Tube.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Rolling Stones
This clip is sort of live (probably miming to an earlier live recording) and shows them as they were in 1968. In black & white, it features the open-tuned guitar arrangements that Keith & Brian specialized in and is more faithful to the original studio recording than many subsequent live renderings of this classic track.

Mr Tambourine Man
From the Ed Sullivan Show, so it’s bright, colourful, clear and you get a good look at all of them, not just the lead singer, as so much TV pop would later be guilty of. Kind of live, but only Roger McGuinn's guitar and voice. Not available on You Tube.

You’re Gonna Lose That Girl
From the movie Help! Couldn’t leave the Fab Four off the list, and this is one of their best ever album tracks. Could so easily have been a hit single. The lads mimed to the studio recording.

High Flying Bird
Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane were not well-known beyond the San Fancisco Bay area before they performed at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. This little-known song is a cracker, with all of their signature soaring vocals. From the film Monterey Pop.

For Your Love
A band who featured Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page but were great in their own right, not just as a starting point for guitar players who would achieve greater fame afterwards. From the American TV show Shindig.

My Generation
The Who’s film The Kids Are Alright opens with this clip of them playing live on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and it’s everything you ever hoped the Who would be, complete with a chaotic, smash ‘em up ending.

Light My Fire
Another Ed Sullivan Show live clip and interesting in comparison with the Oliver Stone film The Doors, where Val Kilmer leans close and leers at the camera as he sings the forbidden “higher”. See how Jim Morrison did no such thing. Not available on You Tube.

Live at the Albert Hall for their 1968 farewell concert, Eric, Jack & Ginger show why they are still regarded as the ultimate power trio in rock. Not available on You Tube.

Subterranean Homesick Blues
Bob Dylan
Just a great clip, part of Dylan’s controversial post-folk period doco Don’t Look Back. Filmmaker DA Pennebaker would later direct Monterey Pop.

Like A Rolling Stone
Jimi Hendrix
Available on The Complete Monterey Pop festival disk which features all of Hendrix’s performance at that seminal pop-folk-blues-rock gathering. The fluid nature of the guitar playing, weaving around chords and melody, underlines why Hendrix was such an innovator. And why I don’t think the label Hendrix-imitator should be a criticism.

Okay, I’m a bit hung up on the music of a particular decade. Guilty as charged, Your Honour, but I would plead that these are great on three counts: great clips; great songs; great artists.

09 April, 2007

Most Accidents Occur In The Home

It’s true, you know. Find out more here; and here. And this afternoon, I became just another statistic.

My sadly-neglected using-the-drought-as-a-cop-out garden needed some attention, so I hacked away at some foliage and had done a pretty good job with the secateurs until I added the middle finger of my left hand to the off cuts. Only the tip, mind you, but there was a fair bit of Type-O flowing out of the incision.

Larry & Curly were nearby and they ran in to alert TLOML that I’d done something stupid. She came out with the First Aid kit and calmly dressed the wound while I calmly submitted to her tender care.

Dismissing her protests, I drove myself to the local GP, reasoning that as he seems to enjoy the odd bit of slice and sew, he’d see me straight away. But the hard-working medico was enjoying a well-deserved break on this Easter Monday. As was the local 7-11 clinic.

I’d heard that you can get prompt attention at John Fawkner Private Hospital Emergency Dept in Coburg on your Private Health Insurance so I headed up there. I was just explaining what had happened to the nurse at reception when she asked me to read the sign on the window.

Minimum charge is $250 and this is NOT covered by any Private Health Insurance.

The NOT was in big red letters. “Okay, I’ll head down to Royal Melbourne”, I told them, also in big red letters.

At RMH, I waited for what must have been a record short time. About 45 minutes. Then the nice doctor, who was a Scot, told me all I’d need would be a dressing and a tetanus shot.

“Are you sure it will be okay?”

“Oh aye, that top flap will joost dai orf and then new skin will grow oop ter tairk its plairce. Yerr’ll be fain.”

I looked a little skeptical.

“Unless yer one o’ these Munchausen bastards, o’ course, ‘cos then we’ll have ter bring in the psychies.” he said reaching for the phone.

“No, no don’t be silly, I know how to take fair and impartial medical advice.”

Finger dressed, shot in arm administered, I was oan muh wair.

“Eh, yerr’ll noat bi Jimmy Pairgin’ oop any fretboards fer a wee whail, but if ye nid to be givin’ anywoon the finger, the dressin' should provaide ardded emphasis fer ye,” Doc Trainspotting said as I was leaving.

When I arrived home, hale and hearty, TLOML greeted me like I was returning from a lengthy hospitalization. So why was I disappointed that she didn’t tell me I was her brave little soldier? Freud could probably tell you.

08 April, 2007

Walk In Harmony

This is what I did today: Essendon FC organized a Walk in Harmony from Flemington to the Docklands with free admission to the Essendon vs Fremantle match at the stadium there. I don’t care who’s currently got the naming rights to Melbourne’s lesser stadium, it’s at the Docklands and if they don’t want to give it a real name, that’s their problem. However, when Laxettes get involved in footy sponsorship, I'll be the first to jump on board.

Anyway, the occasion found me strangely bereft of sons: Moe has eschewed footy because he wants to be the “different” brother, not the usual mindset for an eldest but he seems to know what he’s doing; Larry was in Echuca with some cousins; and Curly had overdosed on chocolate so it was just me, along with a good mate and his daughter.

Festivities kicked off at Debney Park in Flemington at 10am and we were treated to free sausages and some dancing and musical performances by indigenous Australian and African groups. All very pleasant on a Sunday morning. The occasion was part sponsored by the Dept of Immigration and Victoria Police, which was encouraging as they can often be characterized as insensitive where settlement of people from diverse backgrounds is concerned.

Our warm, generous football club handed out showbags containing bottled water, t-shirt, a train ticket home and club magazine. We set out along the Moonee Ponds Creek bike track in the direction of the Docklands. It was quite warm and a very pleasant stroll above the banks of this sadly neglected waterway was had by all. Essendon players walked too and stopped for photos and a chat whenever the opportunity arose.

Sigh! Don’t start me on what a beautiful, right-on, community-minded, look after their supporters-type football club Essendon is because for me, it’s a case of Essendon: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Fucking Carlton and Collingwood (if they could be stuffed engaging in anything that wasn’t a guaranteed $$$$ exercise) would have made their supporters pay through the nose and then probably gone on and lost the afternoon’s match too. But not the Bombers.

Our boys who play this grand old game held on to record their second win for the season against a 2006 finalist. We will really put the shits up a lot of teams this year. I hope to be putting the shits up all of the opposition bogans who spent last year surrounding me in my reserved seat.

Oh, and here’s a tip: at Docklands, there are only a couple of gates where you can get outside to have a smoke. Gate 3 is one of them. The rest are closed and they’ve even fenced off the area so no-one can go round to some of the reasonably-priced non-AFL endorsed food outlets that ring the ground. Please tell me the ACCC will get involved in this.

I’ll have some photos posted and update just as soon as I can figure out how to email mobile phone images. Don’t roll your eyes! Not everyone knows how to do it. And once I’ve actually figured it out, I’ll be an expert and be able to post heaps more grainy, poorly-composed random-slice-of-life-photos on this blog. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

07 April, 2007

There's Someone For Everyone...

This has probably been done to death all over the blogosphere and I apologise if it sounds a little too much like those lame did-you-ever-notice standups that used to top and tail Seinfeld. But how come really good-looking women often end up with blokes who are not particularly attractive? Why do women at the top of the food chain so often end up with blokes who look like bottom feeders?

I speak from experience here as my own situation is exactly that. And I’m not particularly rich or funny either, so don’t try that cop out. I’m talking about a match up of breath-taking disequilibrium. Where there is no reason apparent, even to the more than casual observer.

I’ve been meaning to ask TLOML about this. Just one of those things you never seem to get around to. Maybe I’m afraid of the answer. Maybe she’ll say, “Yeah, why the fuck DID I end up with you?”

Put it this way, when the odd tactless prick has half-jokingly asked “How did she end up with you?!?!?!” I have a prepared response. “Oh, I don’t know, looks, brains, wit…” Or when someone catches sight of a photo of her and says spontaneously, “She’s very beautiful” I respond with “Oh yeah, she’s alright I s’pose…”

But let’s put you in the picture, without showing you actual pictures.

Here are two famous people that TLOML resembles closely:

And here are two famous people that I resemble closely.

Does that give you an idea?

So why is it so?

The Article That Ate Blogsville

Most of you would by now have read Dan Silkstone’s feature article on the blogging phenomenon “The Blogs That Ate CyberSpace” in this morning’s Age. Did you think it was gorgeous how News Ltd hacks were cited as predicting the decline of blogging and its replacement by MySpace? That’s the same News Ltd that happens to own MySpace, the article duly noted. Never too far from His Master’s Voice, those News Ltd journos.
You can read the Australian article that Silkstone is referring to here.
Great to see PetStarr and Steph get a mention, although the author was a bit dismissive of Steph based solely on one fairly visceral post. This is the Steph who regularly gets a squillion comments even when she’s not talking in an unashamedly titillating fashion about her candid approach to love and sex.

Anyway, the editing process at The Age is a fairly ruthless one so the description of Dan’s visit to this lil’ ol’ blog was left out but here it is as originally written:

A look at the comments section of Much Ado About Sumthin! shows many regulars, one being a clearly witty fellow cleverly named Lad Litter. However, a visit to his blog provides nothing but disappointment: posts consist largely of self-indulgent twaddle which nobody even bothers to comment on. I didn’t either.
So in the interests of some micro-research, how did we get where we are with our blogging? Was there a blog or blogs that made you want to start up your own? Which one? Let me know in the comments section which blogs you were a-readin’ before you started writing. If I get enough info I might even be able to come up with a blog family tree! You know, like in the Old Testament: Abraham begat Isaac; Isaac begat Jacob etc.

06 April, 2007

The Letter Part II

By the time we woke up on the Friday morning it was a little later than usual. We whisked Moe, Larry & Curly through their morning routines: eat all of your breakfast; brush your teeth; get dressed; no, you’re not wearing that to school; go back and really brush your teeth this time; have you got a hat? where’s the lunchbox you took to school yesterday? why haven’t you shown me the note about today’s excursion before now? and so on….

As comforting as all of this family togetherness was it left little time for TLOML and I to discuss what we were going to do about the news contained in the letter, but in a hastily snatched coffee on the back veranda we worked out that she would go to Tatts HQ straight after work and text me the simple message that would let me know what the prize was: 1.5 for $1500; 20 for $20000; 2 for $2m.

Trying to set my mind to work mode wasn’t easy but I managed to drop Larry and Curly off at school, bipping and waving to Moe as he sat at his bus stop on the way and even arrive at work at a reasonable time.

Now, I have not been enjoying my job at all this year and was thinking about chucking it in about three weeks ago. That would have been a BIG MOVE what with many years already invested in what could only grudgingly be called a career. And no prospect of a salary even remotely approaching what I currently earn should I decide to move on. So I’d forgotten all about other jobs and got on with it.

I didn’t want to spend that Friday considering that I might have a sudden good reason to retire early. I tried to calculate odds as I got closer to work: A 1 in 3 chance of any of those dividends. No, don’t be silly, the odds are formed by how many winners there were in each division, and there’d been hundreds in Third, around fifty in Second, and only two in First. Those were the real odds.

But work had actually been picking up. The last two weeks had been bearable to the point where I could see things turning around for me. I knew that matters sometimes slip back a little even when they are on an upward trajectory but Friday was more than just a small slide. Without going in to too much detail, it was a shitful day where it was all I could do not to tell quite a few people to just get fucked. But that would have taken career matters out of my own hands and into those of others. I got through to the 2:30 finish and waited for news.

While having a drink with colleagues after work, I drifted off occasionally and had to be brought back to the conversation. It should have taken TLOML around an hour to get in to St Kilda Rd, find a park, possibly wait in line and then get the news. That meant I should be getting a text from her at around 3:30. That time came and went. Unbeknownst to me, TLOML’s boss had decided that even though 2:30 was the finishing time, staff were still on duty officially till 3:30. So she couldn’t get away earlier. I resisted the temptation to ring her.

At around 4:30, my phone went off. With what could well have been a life-changing SMS. Here’s what it said:

03 April, 2007

The Letter Part I

I got home from work on Thursday 29th April at about 5:30, the usual time, give or take. Saying a quick hello to Moe, Larry and Curly who were submerged in a PlayStation cricket game, I could tell TLOML was pretty excited about something and failing miserably to appear nonchalant. Ushering me out onto the back veranda, she told me we’d received some bad news today but her face and body language begged to differ. That incandescent smile was threatening to light up the whole backyard and her big, Natalie Wood brown eyes were as wide as I’ve ever seen them.

I didn’t rush her as she loves surprises and it looked like I was in for the full treatment, complete with that special kind of bad acting kids of around kindergarten age specialize in. I love the way she does this. So I played along.
“What do you think it is?” she asked.
“Oh I don’t know, another speeding fine for me?” We’d had three on a return trip down the Princes Highway to Barwon Heads last year.
“No, it’s not a speeding fine.” Still with the big smile.

She handed me an envelope with the Tattersalls logo on it and I reached inside for the enclosed letter. It told me that their records showed her registered number had come up as being a winner in a recent Tattslotto draw. Okay, so it’s not bad news after all.
“You’re such a good actress,” I told her. She believed me, so my acting at least was pretty convincing. The letter went on to say that she had won a prize in excess of $1000 and would need to either go in to the St Kilda Rd offices of Tattersalls to collect or she could post the winning ticket and receive a cheque in the mail.

“So how much have we won?”
“What’s this WE business?”
We both laughed and then she pulled out a piece of paper with some numbers on it.
“I checked that draw on the web and there were three divisions that delivered prizes above $1000: Third Division paid $1500 odd dollars; Second Division paid around $20000 and First Division $2m.”

“Alright, which of those categories do we fall into?”
“Again with the WE. Well, I’ve lost that ticket thanks to a fairly serious handbag cleanout but because I’m registered the ticket isn’t essential, just a declaration and proof of ID. But I can’t remember what numbers I had so there’s no way of knowing how much until I actually collect.”

Alright, so we have a prize, which is great. And at worst that prize will be around $1500. At best, the prize will be around $2m.

We were both due to finish work and be on holidays at 2:30 on the Friday, so TLOML would howl in to the Tatts offices asap after work, gears crunching and road rage threatening to spring forth in full bloom and then text me when she found out the results.

How do you think I spent the next 24 hours? Trying to make my mind completely, totally, flotation-tank blank so I wouldn’t get any hopes up. We both agreed that it was probably only going to be $1500 and we should set that result in our minds to avoid any disappointment.

I was determined that Friday was going to be a day just like any other. I was going to concentrate on work to the exclusion of all else. Really. Intended to stay up late doing work-related stuff but polished that off and went to bed early. There were indeed two restless souls in our bed that night and with little chance of sleeping naturally, well we just had to ....

(tasteful lap dissolve to morning).