Sunday, June 29, 2008

Indiana Groans, Grunts and Has a Sit Down and a Cup of Tea

It is 3:25pm on a sunny Bribie Winter Day. I have been fixing my Phd novel since this morning and have just finished an easy chapter which was so brilliantly written that the only editing needed was patting myself on the back for twenty-five minutes for being such a clever boy.
The following chapter, however, was not written by me, but dictated by the last Indian telemarketer who found my number. I promised to sign up for a home loan renegotiation in return for her writing a difficult linking chapter in my otherwise flawless* manuscript. I basically explained what had happened previously in the book, what was going to happen next and told her to keep it under 2000 words.
She messed up. Totally. Don't give me all that English being her second language bullshit either. A woman who is that conversant with Australian mortgage regulations should at least understand the concepts of maintaining tense and 'show, don't tell'.
So now I'm totally stuck fixing up the mess she made of my otherwise perfect novel and I still have to buy dinner ingredients, attend Gun Club and prepare dinner.
I could either:
a) Embark on the long and arduously adjective-laden journey that is rewriting an entire chapter so that it doesn't suck goats' balls. Or,
b) Post a movie review I wrote just after I arrived on Bribie Island and wa
s treated to my first experience of The Twin by my lovely Aunty Brenda.

"a" huh?
Guess again, mum.

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls

It ain’t natural. Indiana Jones movies are modern fairy tales told with panache and honesty and heart. Harrison Ford is a genuine masculine action hero: beaten up, brash, mostly hard-boiled and just serious enough. I’ve watched all three Indiana Jones movies many, many times. They are boysy escapist fantasies with clever believable stunts which treat their audiences with enough respect to know that it’s all in fun.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls looks as though it were made by those greasy advertising hotshots from the Commonwealth Bank commercials. The background research appears to have consisted of watching all three classic movies on their Blackberrys in between sales meetings. The scenarios and basic concepts for the stunt set-pieces were all stolen or copied from the other movies. The beginning set-up (bad-guys masquerading as top brass shoot their way into top secret military test sight) didn’t even come from an Indiana Jones movie. They photocopied the first few pages from The Rock and changed the time of day. That’s it. Set up, execution, follow-through, reasoning, background, everything was the same.

I’ll give it to those suave little media-savvy greaseballs behind the screenplay, they certainly picked up on what gave the other Indiana Jones movies their backbone (except for Temple of Doom, perhaps). The political undercurrents driving Raiders of the Lost Ark and Holy Grail shifted them from Biggles Goes Digging to, well, Indiana Jones. Indy wasn’t just fighting against greedy bad guys, he was fighting Nazis! We all know who the Nazis were and we all understood why they wanted the Ark or the Grail. But in Crystal Skulls, the Nazis are long-gone, the war is over and we are all expected to be able to transplant ourselves into the McCarthyist era of the late 50s where everybody was either a commie or shitting themselves about commies. Reds under beds: ring any bells? Probably not, because the enemy has since been revealed (via other, better-executed films such as Good Night and Good Luck and even The Iron Giant) to actually be McCarthy and the US administration itself, which was running around pointing fingers at everybody. So when some actual reds turn up in this latest film as the real bad guys, it is as though Indy is suddenly fighting real live witches and we’re all expected to eat our popcorn and believe it. They say 'Stalin' a few times and speak in Russian but as interesting and distinguishable bad guys, they are simply a lesser, sillier-looking lot of mustard-uniformed henchmen. The big joke about the communist threat is that when The Wall came down, it was all revealed to be mostly stone-age technology riddled with corruption, incapable of actually taking over anybody or anything. It was precisely this kind of ineffectual “ve vill contrrrol ze verld by psychic power” thinking that rendered the Soviet Union such a toothless tiger in the first place. We all know that now, so it’s a bit flaming rich to ask the audience to believe A) that world-ruling psychic power represents an actual danger in the film and B) that Indy wouldn’t automatically snigger behind his leather sleeve and lead those morons wherever they wanted to go because he knows that option A) is a lot of hocus-pocus bullshit.

Our Cate is a fine actress, but here she is a non-threatening waifette with an inexplicable penchant for sword-play. She doesn’t get to torture anyone to make us scared. She doesn’t push a henchman into a trap in order to see what happens. The scariest thing about her is her severe, black little haircut and her ill-fitting little trousers. There is an old theatrical maxim: never show the audience a gun unless it is going to be fired. Chekhov famously flouted this rule for dramatic tension and realistic effect. However, Indiana Jones is not Chekhov. I severely doubt the fact that Rrrrrussian Cate never gives anybody the old run-through with her rapier is a tip of the bear-skin hat towards The Cherry Orchard. There ain't no dramatic tension around here, pardner.

Harrison Ford is old. Old old old. He even says so in one of his first lines. Soon after which he goes scampering over mountains of wooden crates to outrun a jeep. Lethal Weapon 4, for those of you who didn’t watch it, showed an aging, fat Danny Glover and a Just-About-To-Grow-A- Salt’n’Pepper-Beard-And-An-Outlet-For-Anti-Semitism Mel Gibson somehow managing to beat an agile Jet Li to death using their pudgy American fists against Jet Li’s three decades of rice, vegetables and daily martial arts training. That the film-makers ask you to believe this shows their real lack of respect for their audience. Crystal Skulls does this spit-in-your-drink trick over and over and over and over again. You can see Ford puffing even as he raises his fist to deliver a knock-out punch to one of the glass-jawed sissies Cate has chosen to protect her as she scours the earth for “artefacts she believes have paranormal properties”. You ever see John Howard bowling? Watching Harrison do a fight scene is the same, but with a more sympathetic camera crew.

Then the girl turns up. And Harrison turns into a simpering old dolt. No one wants to see Indy sorting his garbage or writing a birthday card to his grandma. So exactly why we are expected to enjoy watching the man who guns down Nazis and runs back into collapsing temples for his hat making kissy-boo-boo faces is beyond me. The girl is Karen Allen. She was gorgeous in Raiders and still has the pinball-extra-game# smile, but she, like Ford, has aged. So what? Ten out of fucking ten to the advertisers-I-mean-film-makers for bringing her back and sticking her in the film. Hooray for older women in film. If only she actually got to do something. All of her lines are spoken to either Indiana Jones or her kid and all of them either repeat something they have said first or are intended to poke some tedious fun at the fact that she’s a middle-aged mom. In Raiders she was drinking Nepalese goat-herders under the table for extra cash. In Crystal Skulls she is immediately running around after the tedious men in her life, one of whom gets to be madly in love with her again because the focus groups wanted a romance.

The worst part about all this is that there were no 22-year-old advertising executives from California brought in to creative consult the Indiana Jones franchise into a modern-day flash-crash flop. This one was made by Lucas and Spielberg. The same two guys who brought you a lot of other movies you may have heard of and enjoyed. Like the first three Indiana Jones’, for example. Mad with power, they drank eight litres of civet espresso each, made out a little and put together something they thought everyone would enjoy if they had seen and/or remembered and/or had ever heard of the first three movies. They ruined their own good work. It ain’t right.

Booo. Boooooo. The only good bit was Shia Le Beuf and even he had to do and say stupid things for ninety-seven percent of the time he was onscreen. Boooo.

* It cannot be proven otherwise, I tell you!

#Apologies to Grant Naylor.

GTH - Points to Kath for Tron reference. That thing as actually a weird floating sculpture in Brisbane's South Bank near the Art Gallery. Posted for the sheer joy of looking at something that exists purely for art.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


It's on it's on!

Internet is flowing through the wires and the air on Bribie! As is the milk froth down at the local CC ... I am perfecting my previously flawed technique of frothing the milk and learning what the buttons do. It's not as difficult as you might think, there are only two. I will blog further about coffee making techniques and follies in the future when I have more phd work to do.

In celebration of my impending internet connection I am writing a meme blog on Word to save and post later when (if) the internet happens. If you are reading this on my blog then it has either a) happened or b) I am at the library furiously clicking ‘Post Blog’ while trying to multitask my bank account, my email and blogger in the fervent hope that it doesn’t all efficiently shut down before I can save my work.

Anyway, I’ve been tagged by Myninjacockle and the meme seems appropriately self-indulgent for someone looking to avoid the dreaded first steps of a second draft, so here flows nothing:

What Was I doing Ten Years Ago?

I was discovering that starting first year uni directly after completing year twelve is so much the same as makes no discernable difference. That said, the discernable differences were:

  • All the people I hung around with in year twelve were no longer half as interesting as the massive swathe of new people I could have hung around with if only I had more than one class a week with them. Bachelor of Arts means hanging onto your peer group for dear life. I had yet to discover an in at the student newspaper.
  • Being the biggest fish in the English pond in high school made you highly useless at university English where they expected you to have read an entire book, every week, before the Tuesday tutorial. Every week. I don’t think I ever came out with more than a credit.
I was also entering a stint of mad crazy employment in order to save for a large overseas trip that was going to save me from university. By the time uni finished in around August (or whatever stupid-early time of year it finishes) I was working around 40 hours a week in four or five separate places of employment. I was a telemarketer for a fly-by-night rental-listing company, a drinks carrier for the corporate perverts at Footy Park (never had my arse pinched by so many drunk businessmen), a waiter at a gypsy restaurant and a watch salesman to name just a few.

Five Snacks I Enjoy in a Perfect, Non-Weight-Gaining World

  1. Fancy potato chips.
  2. Salt’n’vinegar beer nuts.
  3. Fresh nashi pears.
  4. Homemade salami.
  5. Big slices of parmesan cheese.

Five Snacks I Enjoy in the Real World

Sorry, girls. It’s the same as above. I don’t buy into food-based guilt trips because I firmly believe that they are a psychological trick designed by corporations to manufacture desire for the products that they sell and to fuel support for capitalism in general as the new religion. You eat and then you feel guilty and so then you shop and so then you feel guilty and so you eat etc. And, if you don’t believe that, I don’t really snack. I eat a really fucking big meal and then wait until the next one.

Five Things I Would Do if I were a Billionaire

  1. Build dream house. It’s got a lot of wood, antiques, plants, chrome and art deco shit. Surrounding it is a large garden with a two-level octagonal greenhouse for Mele. Way out the back is the secret cave where I keep the cars.
  2. Contact all friends and family. Force monetary kindness upon them. This sounds philanthropic, but is actually on moral par with the secret car cave – I just really get my jollies from spending money on people.
  3. Charities. This includes setting up literature scholarships for poor kids.
  4. Travel. Trains in Europe. Cars in the US. Chauffeurs in Asia – I’ve seen them crazy roads. Pick a place to write in and do it.
  5. Food and drink. Only the best, for everyone, all the time.
Five jobs that I have had.

Hmm. See above, but I’ll elaborate.
  1. Fly-by-night telemarketer. Here’s how it worked: every Wednesday and Saturday morning at 4am some poor dude would come in to the office with the first papers hot off the press. He would go through the real estate section and copy out the rental ads by hand onto neat little cards. At 8am me and two other shifty types would come in, divide the cards between us and set about calling the people renting properties and asking them if they would like to include their properties on our ‘free listing service’. It was essentially free advertising for rental property owners. The money came from the poor bastards who were so desperate to find accommodation that they would pay $120 for a three month ‘membership’ which allowed them to come in every Saturday morning and ask if there were any properties that matched their chosen specifications (five bedrooms, allows dogs, smokers okay, etc). Think but you’re paying $120 for some 18-year-old to look it up and tell you there’s nothing available.
  2. Selling watches, pens and sunnies. A mate of my dad’s has always had businesses going that involved me shaving, wearing a shirt and turning up on time in order to fast-talk people with loose cash into buying an engraved pen or a gimmicky watch. I mostly managed to complete all three tasks. They even opened a store in the Myer Centre called Trenz which might be still there in the basement next to the toilets.
  3. The Easter Bunny. Kids, go to bed. I was the Easter Bunny on numerous occasions. Basically this meant getting into a full rabbit costume and hugging semi-terrified toddlers and, for some reason, a lot of teenaged girls. My favourite one was the Cadbury Easter Bunny because it was at the Myer Centre and there are a lot of bored teenagers dying for an excuse to stop acting so cool all the time. My least favourite was the Bunnings Easter Bunny because the suit involved a complicated air-conditioning system that, when it was working, kept me cool and the suit inflated. When the batteries died the whole thing turned into a large, heavy, sealed plastic bag and made me faint.
  4. RQF Report Writer. My most grown up job ever. Lots of money. Big grown-up meetings with important grown-up academics. Unending frustration at having to tease a sales angle out of two decades of someone else’s research for an outgoing federal government.
  5. Brewster. See previous post.

Three of my habits:

  1. Scratching scabs on my scalp when I’m thinking which makes scabs which I scratch when I’m thinking. It’s disgusting. I want to stop. I wear a lot of hats when I’m writing.
  2. Correcting people’s speech. ‘No, it’s “Lap-ell”, not “layple”.’ What an annoying prick.
  3. I was going to put ‘picking my nose’, but that’s more like a necessity rather than a habit, so I’ll go with ‘laughing at my own jokes’. Someone has to, even if it’s just that tiny exhalation of breath to let listeners know that I’ve made a funny, I can’t help it.

Five Places I Have Lived

  1. Millswood. Treasured childhood home.
  2. Collinswood. First home away from home.
  3. Maylands. Worst hole ever.
  4. Belfast. Long term hostel sharing room with masturbating Scotsman.
  5. Bribie Island. Stay tuned …

GTH - Ah kids, it's been a while and I'm sorry. But anticipation makes sweet the fruit that returns from the blah blah blah Murphy gets the point for his extremely accurate summation of last entry's header. It is indeed the only road out of and off of Bribie Island and the one we'll be dynamiting when the mainland zombies start running amok. River also had a red hot go but struck out with the guess about the ships - those misty shapes are in fact the Glass House Mountains. Not as spectacular as they look at sunset, but still a pretty nice little view compared to the carpark and the corrugated iron fence we used to have in Maylands.

I am also instituting a new Guess The Header policy, or feature, if you will. I'm going to post the complete picture in the following entry so that you can gain some perspective, if not over your lives, then at least over what ever I have cut a slice from the previous week. But only if I remember.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Reasons Greetings

Hold on tight, sweetheart. It's going to be a quickie.

Finally, after weeks if writing, fishing, riding bikes and gazing contemplatively at sunsets, I think we've finally settling ourselves down in Bribie Island. A bit. The reason you are reading this is because I've treated myself to an HOUR of internet down at the local library instead of the half and hour dash we tend to get into because of guilt and the increasing desire to save cash. The reason I'm on for an hour is because I've spent a good deal of it checking out internet plans. I've narrowed it down to two companies: Chariot appears more reliable but gives less Gigaboobies, but aaNet provides 50% more wunzenzeros and around 75% more posts on its message boards decrying it as The. Worst. ISP. Ever. For slightly cheaper. Hmm.

Whatever happens, rest assured that I will soon be downloading TV shows and blogging every half an hour with panicked recountings of how true heavy the fracking rain falls around here. In all seriousness, Mele and I actually stood at the front door gazing at the car with furrowed brows, wondering if we should move the car inside to stop it from washing away. That's South Australians for you.

The reason I am even able to consider going on an internet plan is because (drum roll please) ... I have a job. High five? High five?

You're probably right to leave me hanging there because it's not exactly a job filled with honour and career opportunity as the previous ones I've had have been. I'm making coffees at CC on Bribie. I sent in a wanky application letter and they hired me. Even after I went in there and marvelled at the modern technology like pressure gauges and thermometers that go with today's modern coffee bistro. Back in The Day when I used to make coffees for bushwalkers at Eagle On The Hill (now defunct) I used to make it so it looked right and re-make it if anyone complained very very loudly. Apparently feeling how hot the milk needs to be with your finger doesn't really fly in the big leagues. Nonetheless, I start on Thursday.

I almost didn't. In a shocking display of tact and restraint I neglected to ask if 'brewster' was The CC's corporatised version of the very specialised, professional ethnic-sounding title 'barista'. When everyone I met at the place on my training day referred to me as working as the new 'brewster', I felt that this was certain and was about to ask why they didn't just call it 'barista', like the rest of the world. Only a small voice stopped me. The small voice said:

'It's their accents, you over-educated South Australian nonce. They are saying "barista". You're not in fucking Kansas any more.'


So, I start on Thursday. If you're in Bribie, don't come and have a coffee for a few weeks until I've gotten out of the habit of sticking my finger in the milk jug to see if it's just right.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies and BARGAINS!!

‘It’s frost-free!’
‘These machines keep going and going!’
‘Those oil-leaks are all fixed!’

I promised lies and these are three of the whoppers I have been living with since we arrived on Bribie Island. But first:

‘The previous tenants were a bit feral.’

This is one that I wish was a lie, instead of simply a calculated understatement. The previous tenants either had a passion for art and wall hangings or a poorly-supervised four-year-old with a set of poster paints and a nail gun. The once-white carpet, apart from the staining and browning and wearing one would expect from a rental property wall-to-wall, is speckled with red, pink, orange and brown dots and stripes. The walls are pocked with literally dozens of holes, often grouped, sometimes out there in the middle, all alone. One imagines an indecisive home decorator working with a cock-eyed spouse.
‘Hold it up higher! That’s it. Okay, now I’ll hold it and you tell me if it’s in the middle.’
‘Yep, she’s dead centre, love.’
‘Great, pass me the nail gun.’
‘Oh no! It’s over to one side!’
‘Sorry, love. It looked good to me.’
‘Yes, well, hmph. Actually, now that I look at it … no, no, it doesn’t work. It needs to be balanced out with this mask. Are these equally spaced when I hold them here?’
‘Dead cert’.’
Bam! Bam!
‘Whoopsy! I slipped!
‘Right on! Time for some finger-painting! Does this drop-sheet cover everything?’
‘Right to the edges, sweetheart.’

You get the picture. And that was just the stuff that wasn’t on the inspection report. Whoever was in charge of cleaning the house last obviously had a thing about not using harsh chemicals. Like ‘water’, for example. The crap still pushed into every corner and left on most every surface was perplexingly easy to remove. Not for us, mind you. It was easy for the professional cleaner who was hired after we dropped into the real estate agents and pointed out a few things. Like the fact that their inspection report had been performed by a seeing-eye dog whose owner was in a hurry and didn’t mind skipping the small stuff like a hole kicked in the laundry door. Like an oven with the last meal it cooked still waiting to be scraped off the sides and kitchen cabinets with the grit and dust and lip-balm-based migraine medications that the previous tenant had neglected to take with them.

‘It’s frost-free!’
The garage sale was no ordinary garage sale. No simple thinning the years of junk that can easily accumulate in the generous humidity of Bribie. This was a house clearance for an old lady who was selling up and getting rid of decades worth of precious possessions so that she could shift one chair closer to the door in God’s Waiting Room. Her family was moving her into a retirement village on the island and the garage sale was about condensing a sprawling three-bedroom house full of treasure into a compact two-bedroom unit that would probably need to leave room for a wheelchair.
A tiny little blackboard caught my eye. It was leaning against a tired pot plant and on it was written: ‘Upside Down Fridge’. I don’t mind saying that my heart leapt as much as a heart can leap after so many days of drinking UHT milk. The kitchen sink full of party ice lost its bachelor boy appeal (and its ice) after the first night and a fridge was numero uno on the shopping list.
Eighty bucks.
Massive freezer. Seals intact. All in working order.
Eighty bucks.
‘Is it frost free?’
‘Yep.’ The old lady’s daughter had actually come up from Adelaide herself to help Old Ma Sunhat move out. ‘It’s frost-free, isn’t it, Mum?’
‘Is it frost-free?’
‘Oh yes! Very frosty!’
‘No – frost-free, is it frost-free?’
‘I think so – yes.’ Smiles all round.
‘You stinkin’ liars! How dare you drool your sticky, rancid lies all over my head while I come here in good conscience to buy your fridge!’ is what I should have yelled in their faces. In retrospect. I actually nodded, threw my nice-young-man smile at them both and asked about the beds they had mentioned earlier (Nb. This is a bargaining trick. Never appear interested in the thing you are interested in. Ask about other items. Compare prices. Talk openly about how little money you were planning on spending and how you’d probably better pay that bill first. Then make your offer). The beds turned out to be fairly suitable. A double and a single, both felt reasonably sleepable to my pressing hands. The double had a home-made frame built by just the brand of old feller who has lots of his own tools and an eye for quality wood (read: solid, heavy wood). Most bed frames have either slats, a tightly woven net of springs or just a strong, flat slab of timber to hold the mattress between head and foot.
This one had all three.
The thick wooden slats were overlaid with springy mesh to which was wired a large wooden sign advertising land for sale outside of Lismore. The thing weighed a metric tonne. Slaves and rolling logs were the only way to move it anywhere.
I made them an offer for the lot and they accepted.
The single turned out to smell a lot more like a back-of-the-shed special than I had suspected when we turned up with our teams of oxen and Egyptians to take it home. We were able to knock a further fifty bucks off through a combination of Mele playing the allergy-sufferers card and the fact that since we had said we would take the beds but not yet paid, we were able to hand over what we wanted because what were they going to do with a single bed that smelled like the late-fifties anyway? We gave the son a lift to home, but only after he had helped me move the fridge into our house. No wonder he kept cheerfully insisting that it was frost-free.

‘These machines keep going and going!’
Phil down at Sunshine Fridges, Freezers and Washers has a problem. It’s his recently-purchased 2nd hand whitegoods business. Small store. Expensive rent. A tight cluster of heavy household machinery, some of which works, lots of which doesn’t. The showroom looks like a bad used car salesman’s mouth: all stained and crowded with hope and desperation. The workshop out the back looks like the floor of the dentist where all the chain-smoking used car salesmen go after they’ve had a lean time of it flogging Camrys with oil leaks. Lots of dented white cubes everywhere, rusting in the rain.
Phil’s business partner, Barry, is a talker and talked us right into a fairly cheap but fairly fool-proof Simpson. We had both smelled a whiff of something as we chatted with Baz about washing machines we have seen fail in our time (it’s good to see Fisher and Paykel are still frying their motherboards across Australia). I thought it was over-enthusiasm from the new owner of a business and Mele thought it was fear from the lip-biting, jumpy young woman who took our credit card and wrote out our warranty with a tightly-gripped pen.
Turned out the nerves were just women’s intuition about selling a washing machine that didn’t wash. It filled, drained and spun just fine, but the only thing it agitated was me, after I stood there for half an hour, listening to a nothing-happening buzz and peering under the lid like a kid trying to see if the fridge light stays on when you shut the door.
Good old Phil. He replaced the machine with no questions asked. He engaged me in polite-yet-worried conversation while we waited for the replacement machine to run through the complete cycle I had insisted I see before removing it to my place of residence. It seems buying a 2nd hand whitegoods business isn’t the great little earner one might imagine. Especially if one is honest, provides warranties and knows next to nothing about whitegoods and whitegood repair.

‘Those oil-leaks are all fixed!’
Well, my dears, after spending eighty-eight bucks at the local mechanic finding out that this was much less than the iron-clad truth one comes to expect from used car salesmen, I come to the less-heartening part of getting a “good deal” on a car whose company I’ve come to enjoy.
Country miles is still country miles and warranties is still warranties, but how much of each playing into the other is another matter and another lie for another day.


The wonderful thing about couches is that they don’t leak oil, frost over, fail to agitate or require ongoing subscription, maintenance and/or lubrication. They are, however, difficult to find when two people are looking for the same couch.
‘I like this one.’
‘I don’t.’
End of conversation. Find new furniture shop. Repeat.
Couches are extremely important to setting up a new house. One might even say that they come directly beneath the fridge on the afore-mentioned shopping list. Because, after one has removed the cold beer from the fridge, where does one then sit to drink it? We had spent a good day or so in search of a couch and had come away with only a dish-rack, a faulty washing machine and the complete hard-cover works of Neville Shute. See? Difficult.
A little house re-stocking tip for you: ignore Ikea. Psuedo-Swedish product names and competitively-priced Euro-mod flat pack is søøø nŭt koöl! The supermarket noticeboard is king forever. That’s where Fabulous Auntie Brenda found the not-really frost-free garage sale and that’s where Mele spotted The Couch.
3-seater plus two stripy armchairs.
We still had the trailer I mean the ox carts and Egyptians from moving the fridge and double bed and so we called Fay and dropped in on the fancier part of Bribie: Banksia Beach. The Couch was, and still is, a jaw dropper. Cream-coloured to match the house, deep enough to swing your feet off and the three seats in question are reserved for people who can no longer wear pants comfortably. We ummed. We ahhed. We asked if she would separate the armchairs and take fifty bucks off of her original price. We looked at each other in a worried manner and wondered aloud if perhaps this wasn’t out of our price range.
She knocked fifty off and insisted the armchairs went too. We returned the trailer with seconds to spare and now we have somewhere to watch TV, drink beer and sleep on.

An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32