You know, there are times that I wish the Reverend Fred Nile would just curl up and die. Well, OK, I wish that on a daily basis, but there are times I particularly wish it.

Not content with suggesting in Parliment earlier this week that the chador should be banned because it could be used conceal weapons, he has now gone on to say that it’s OK to ban it because it’s only worn by religious fanatics. Okaaaaaay…

Apparently his reasoning is that since not all Muslim women choose to wear it, those who do must be extremists. I can’t quite see that logic. You might as well argue that since some people choose not to drink (myself included), all people who do drink are raging alcoholics.

And as for labeling people “religious extremists”, well, look who’s talking! For crying out loud!!

I’m too annoyed to write any more >:-|


Well, much to my relief Sarah didn’t die in Tuesday’s episode of CSI. In fact, no one died at all. Well, apart from the psychotic mass murderer who was pretty effaciously shot in the chest by…… the woman who isn’t Sarah (I only know the names of two characters, sad really) while he was trying to do Grissom in with a shovel. Which is perfectly understandable really*. They didn’t even kill the skinny white guy, despite the add promising both his and Sarah’s gruesome deaths. So, what gives?

I think that maybe there was a mix up at the station over the script for the add. It probably originally read something like “could destroy the career of one CSI, and lead to the deaths of two others…” (which would be appropriate). But somewhere between the scripting and voice over departments it somehow got changed to “will destroy the career of one CSI, and lead to the deaths of two others…”. The voice over guy read what he was given in a suitably ominous voice, and the video guys put together shots of the cast to match. At least that’s my theory. In any case I’m sure it boosted ratings, which was probably the main idea.

I was also pretty impressed by this week’s episode of Smallville. It was incredible! For once, the good inhabitants of Smallville Kansas were threatened by something not connected with the meteorites! I’ve been watching the show for about seven episodes so far, and in every one of them (apart from the latest) the threats have been caused by kryptonite*.

It’s a pretty remarkable mineral. Not only does it have the expected effect of making Clark very ill indeed, but it apparently gives out radiation that can bring back extinct plant species, can be combined with large amounts of pain killers to resurrect the dead*, will give you the power to control bees if you’re allergic to them and get massively stung in it’s precence, can be turned into a tattoo ink that lets you walk through walls, and a whole load of other freaky stuff I can’t remember right at this moment. It even made Lex Luther bald somehow for crying out loud! The stuff’s worse than naquadah!*

Nonetheless I’m going to continue watching. The precense of Chloe/Allison Mack may or may not have anything to do with this πŸ˜‰

Hmmmm, not a lot else is really going on. It was something like 35 degrees today, and humid, so of course I decided to walk down to Ross’s after work, buy a load of heavy hardware, and walk home. I needed a shower and a cold drink when I got back, but apart from that wasn’t too bad. I’m apparently fitter than I think. It would have been worse though if I could have bought the wood I wanted to get. You’d think that a big hardware/salvage place like Ross’s would have some particle board* or something similar for sale, but no. Just sections of skirting board. I’ll have to head down to WA Salvage over the weekend I think*.

And what do I need this hardware for? I could claim that I’m enclosing the balcony in order to turn it into a sauna, but that would be a lie (not to mention against building policies). No, I’m doing something else*. Something else that I’m not going to explain. So there πŸ˜‰

* Shooting him that is, not doing Grissom in with a shovel. Grissom is cool.

* Not that they call it kryptonite. It’s “meteorite rock”.

* With creepy powers of course.

* Another obligatory Stargate referrence Helen πŸ˜‰

* Particle Board! Particle Board! Doing the things a… particle….. can…

* We no fancy! But we cheap! As our ongoing lawsuit against them for my mother’s arm injury apparently proves. Allegedly.

* Which, I should add, does not involve any alterations to the fabric of the unit or building, just in case either Rebecca or the tennant’s council are reading this πŸ˜‰

Flag Burning

Something very, very weird happened today. I found myself strongly in agremment with the Prime Minister.

For a person who generally finds himself strongly in opposition to little Johnny and everything he says or does, this was disconcerting to say the least. I had to drink a Red Bull just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming (Red Bull’s main ingredient is Taurine, a combination of the words Taurus (Latin for ‘bull’) and urine. You work it out). The issue at hand, on which Howard and I agree, is flag burning.

It appears that the Deputy Prime Minister (a character of so little import that I can’t even remember his name) has been getting all worked up and foamy at the mouth over people incinerating the national flag. He’s started advocating putting laws in place to “protect” the flag, and make such practises illegal. And, in a move that totally astonishes me, John Howard has disagreed.

Now, if I’d had have to laid a bet on this issue, I would have put little Johny firmly on the “a lot of flag burners who’ve got too much freedom” side of the fence in this issue. But, apparently not. He’s said that he respects the flag and evrything it stands for, and abhors the parctise of flag burning, but that it’s one of the freedoms we have to have as a democratic society.

Frankly I’m stunned. This like Ronald Reagan singing The Internationale.

It could be worse though. My reasons for for opposing anti-flag burning laws are somewhat different from Howard’s.

You see, I firmly believe that flag burning should be a basic right of citizenship in a democratic nation. The flag belongs to the people, and the people should have the right to imolate it as the ultimate form of protest. A flag stands for one’s nation, and burning it is the most direct and forceful way to show one’s anger or repugnance at the actions of one’s country or government.

On top of that a flag shouldn’t be respected because it’s a flag. It should earn respect by being the symbol of something worth respecting. Any truly fair and just government should be able to garner enough loyalty and esteem from its citizens that it shouldn’t need legislation to protect it’s flag. A government that enacts such laws can only be doing so to try and force into being the respect that it can’t earn on it’s own.

On top of that, when you enshrining things you start taking them away from the ordinary people. In the US for instance they have laws protecting their national anthem and other such symbols. They talk a lot about free speech over there, but damage or “defame” one of these, and you’ll find out pretty damn quick how far that free speech doesn’t extend. It’s hard to believe, but you can actually go to jail for altering the tune or lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner. No lesser personage than Igor Stravinsky almost suffered that fate when he attempted to re-orchestrate the song back in the ’40s. That’s the kind of insanity that prevails when you start passing laws to “protect” national symbols. Next thing you know it’s jackboots and coal-scuttle helmets.

I’m not always proud of what my government does, in fact I’m downright ashamed of a lot of things the Howard government has done and continues to do, but I am proud to be an Australian. And while I’m not proud of our flag by itself, I am proud (unfashionable though it may be among my contemporaries) of what it stands for (that’s not to say I’d object to replacing the Union Jack in the corner mind you). I’m also proud that I can use our flag. Like the guy in the Canadian beer add I can wear it proudly on my backpack, turn it into a disgustingly loud shirt (if I had that little taste) or, if circumstances require, burn it. I can also change the lyrics of Advance Australia Fair to make a protest song, a comedy routine or just because I feel like it. Heck, I can sing it to the tune of Theme from Gilligan’s Island if I want. And that’s the way it should be.

Ahead of the Curve

Am I way ahead of the curve or what? No sooner do I say that Clark should forget Lana and go after Chloe instead* when on comes an episode about that exactly. Tuesday next week. Kickass.

On the other hand next Tuesday is also the season finale of CSI, in which (according to the ‘next week’ bit at the end of the episode) two characters die. I wouldn’t mind so much except they were showing footage of Jorja Fox’s character, Sarah*, while gloatingly announcing this. This is worrying. No more Miranda in Mysterious Ways, possibly no more Sarah in CSI, the number of brunette science chicks on free-to-air TV is getting disturbingly low. I don’t know what I’m gonna do*.

Anyway in keeping with my new found ability to stay way ahead of said curve, I decided the time was ripe for a haircut*. Since I’m fundamentally rather cheap I decided that I wouldn’t fork over good money to get this done by someone else, and that it was something I could handle on my own. I was correct, in so much that my hair is now a fair bit shorter that it was when I began.

As for actually looking good, well that’s a whole other story. It sort of looks like Daniel Jackson’s in Into the Fire*, but a bit more spikey and ragged. And that’s from the front. I only have one mirror (the one on the wall in the bathroom) so had to do the back by touch. It probably looks like a moulting parrot. But what do I care? It’s only hair. If anyone asks I’ll just tell them I’m way ahead of the curve, and in six months Matt Damon’ll be wearing the same look*.

To change the subject completely, there’s a small obese chiahuahua who trots out of the units next to the railway station to watch me walk past most afternoons. For no apparent reason* I have decided to name him Stig. I’ve been trying to get a photo of Stig to stick up here (because let’s face it, an obese chiahuahua named Stig is pretty funny), but ever since I decided to do so, he’s been refusing to show his face. I suspect that he might be far smarter than I estimated, and figured out that I plan to expose him to online ridicule. Nonetheless the great Stig hunt continues.

Pictures of Stig! Coming soon! πŸ™‚

* I’m talking Smallville, just in case anyone was wondering.

* And that guy. The white one who isn’t Grissom. Yeah, him.

* Well, yes OK, get a life and/or an actual girlfriend, but that’s way too much trouble.

* The fact that it’s going to be 37 degrees tomorrow might also have had something to do with it.

* Obligatory Stargate reference.

* Oh yeah, he’ll be wearing baggy jeans and black t-shirts as well I’m sure.

* Apart from that it amuses me.

Lovecraft World!

Many many years ago (well in 1996) I was studying computing at Central TAFE. It was a pretty good time in my life overall. Plenty of Austudy coming in from the Government, morning sleep-ins four days a week, and a course so easy I could do it with my eyes closed. As I found most of the course so incredibly easy, my mind was free to come up with all sorts of twisted and bizarre ideas, many of which I applied to my assignments.

The one I was most proud of was the assignment for Powerpoint. We had to create a presentation involving transitions, graphs, and a whole load of other such primitive effects that early versions of Powerpoint were just capable of. The great thing about it was that we were being marked on our technical skill – not the content. So, I decided to go all out πŸ™‚

My finished project was a promotional presentation for Lovecraft World the H.P.Lovecraft theme park!

This was a (very) tongue in cheek production complete with cheerily coloured bar graphs of customers killed, mutilated, driven insane and escaping unscathed over the last three years of operation (numbers that increased in all but the last category over each six monthly period I’m happy to report to all investors :). A happy looking pie graph showing the various derangements suffered by people surviving the Lovecraft World experience (thalassophobia, scotophobia, bathophobia, schizoid personality disorder, etc), and a full list of the very un-attractive attractions were included.

I got excellent marks for the finished product, and some rather odd looks from the staff (although one of the other presentations was entitled “The Dead are Happy” and was all about how wonderful it was to be dead, and how you should hurry up and die – so Lovecraft World seemed positively normal by comparison). I saved it to a floppy disc and put it away safely in case it would one day come in useful.

Of course, I have seen neither hide nor hair of it in years. It’s gloriously silly contents are now lost forever. Or so I thought…

However, on Sunday Ryan dropped by and brought with him a huge folder full of the various deranged correspondence I’ve sent him over the years. And, hidden away in the middle was a letter where I’d copied some of the details!

Not many details true, but enough to give some idea of what it was like. So here, for the first time in six years I am proud to present the few surviving fragments of Lovecraft World!

Guiding Philosophy
“Here at Lovecraft World we aim to give the visitor the ultimate in soul destroying experiences. Lovecraft saw the universe as a hostile, hopeless, unforgiving and ultimately incomprehensible place, we hope to re-create that dark philosophy for our customers.”
— Managing Director Jermyn Marsh 

Attractions include…

The Martense Maze

  • Squirm through crumbling, unlit earth tunnels while trying to avoid the claws of the hideous Martense clan!
  • Degenerate cannibal primates!
  • Cave-ins!
  • Very real risk of suffocation!

Pickman’s Gallery

  • Ride in our specially designed “Cthulhu Carts” through the daemonic world of artist R.U.Pickman.
  • Paintings from the pit of hell!
  • Ravenous necrophagic Ghouls!
  • Sedatives available on request.

The Playhouse

Daily performances of Massa di Requium per Shuggay and The King in Yellow (a trained nurse from the Arkham Asylum is present for all shows).

The Lake

  • Take a leisurely ride around the lake on our pleasure ships the Alert and the Sumatry Queen.
  • Crewed by real south sea Kanaka islanders.
  • Visit scenic Devil’s Reef and stop off at the Olde Worlde Insmouth Docks.
  • Random boardings by inbred pirates and batrachian amphibian men!
  • R’lyeh rises from the waves every evening at six.

Gilman House Hotel

Why not stay the night? The newly opened Gilman House Hotel offers all the home comforts, including working locks on almost all the doors. Ask for a room overlooking the square and watch the nightly pageant at the Esoteric Order of Dagon Hall. Stay in the “lucky room” and you might even be invited down to join in the festivities!


  • Slake your thirst with a Hali-shake and fries at Carcosaburger.
  • Enjoy the choicest cuts at the Beacon Hill Brassierie.
  • Or for that real New England flavour stop in for some victuals ye can’t raise nor buy at the rustic Miskatonic Valley Eatery!

There was much more of the same kind of thing. It’s probably just as well it hasn’t survived πŸ™‚

OK, I’m going to watch Smallville now. I was stupid enough to watch an episode a few weeks back and got hooked. Clarke should so be after Chloe, not Lana πŸ˜‰

Urban Exploration

I had some fun breaking the law today. Or at least I presume I was breaking the law. I did something that I’ve been planning to do ever since I moved in here and went for a poke around the derelict building next door.

I’ve always had a fascination with abandoned buildings and post apocalyptic settings. I don’t know why. Something to do with the impermanence of the human condition maybe, and the overwhelming power of time and nature to destroy everything we achieve. A contemplation of our own mortality manifested through derelict architecture – or something similarly pretentious. I’m obviously just a repressed Goth (I already dress in a lot of black and like Morrisey and Nick Cave, white face make-up can only be a matter of time :). So anyway, I decided to indulge my Gothic side and do some exploration of the place before it gets torn down and redeveloped (it was auctioned off a few months ago).

From the street you can see two buildings. A semi-art deco construct fronting the street, and a smashed up industrial workshop of some kind stretching off towards the back of the lot. What I was amazed to discover was not only the sheer extent of the workshop (it has two huge rooms going all the way back to the cliff above the river), but that there’s a house back there. A full on, big, two storey, totally trashed house and garden. Maybe it belonged to the caretaker, when the place was still worth taking care of, but it seems way too classy for that. Fantastic views, a huge garden with what would have been a wide expanse of lawn and a big garage-workshop on one side, and a landscaped cliff garden on the other, enough rooms for a family of five or more – I’d like to live there, if it was cleaned up and fitted out again obviously.

Naturally, as a good urban explorer I took my digital camera along. Rather amazingly I ended up taking over 60 photos of the place. So I now present a (probably excessive) selection of the best ones…

The art deco building from the street. The window frames vanished overnight about a month ago. I blame a wandering pack of feral builder-renovators.

The front of the workshop. Up the stairs is a door with a notice on it that may say what the place was before it shut down, but I wasn’t willing to push my way through the vegetation to see properly.

Inside the art deco building. The entire wallspace is decorated with the most incredible graffiti. The further you go inside, the denser it gets.

Some more graffiti.

The biggest room in the deco building. Is this space crying out for some kind of performance art or what?

Looks like someone’s into Taoism…

To get into the worksheds you have to walk down a ramp into the earth. That’s the back of the deco building in the distance.

The first of the two big sheds.

The same place in the opposite direction. The burnt out car really adds to the general ambiance don’t you think?

The view out the back of the shed. It looks out to the hills and down to the river. Whoever redevelops this site is gonna make a mint.

The second shed room. The stairs go up into offices behind the bit visible from the street. I wasn’t stupid enough to try and get into them. Even if the floors hadn’t looked ready to collapse I wouldn’t have risked it.

A half collapsed bench covered in old letters, blueprints and invoices. The most recent ones I could find dated from eighteen years ago. I thought about taking some as souvenirs, but, I dunno, they belong to the place. So I left them for pondering over by other explorers. Or taggers. Or druggies. Or hookers. Or whoever.

Looking back through room two towards room one.

Sinister gates beckon the explorer into the overgrown garden surrounding the mysterious house.

The house itself. Spooky, no?

Looking back along the windy path through the wild garden from the front door.

Looking from the completely trashed kitchen out onto the balcony. The entire building was littered with empty bottles, crushed beer cans, impromptu fireplaces and other evidence of the homeless. Happily I didn’t run into any though. Either they clear out during the day, or they heard me coming.

Looking from the balcony across the river to Belmont Park and the Burswood Resort complex. The squat with the best view in town.

The stairs down to the lower floor.

A huge open area on the ground floor, opening out into the garden overlooking the river. Possibly a games room. This would have been a fantastic house, I’d like to know what happened to it.

I had a weird feeling that this was directed personally at me. Possibly a comment on my attempts at urban exploration πŸ™‚

The house from the river side. You can see just how great it would have been in it’s prime.

So yeah, all up it was a funky adventure. It almost got way more funky, when on the way out I found a car sitting in the driveway. I ducked back around the side of the deco building before anyone saw me, and it soon drove away. It could have been someone just using the drive to turn around in, but it could also have been some kind of security responding to call put in by some nosy neighbour who noticed me wandering around. If they were security though they didn’t do a very good job, since they failed to find me completely πŸ™‚

After that I went off and did my shopping, almost breaking my back carrying home (on foot) a combined 7.4 litres of milk, chocolate milk, orange juice and apple juice, not to mention a whole bunch of other groceries. A lot of people don’t realise how heavy fluids are. Here’s a quiz night question for you, how much does one cubic metre of water weigh? That is a cube of ordinary water* 1 metre on all sides. Give up? One metric tonne. Yup, a tonne. I could hardly believe it myself when I worked it out.

Anyway, about the only other thing I’ve been doing is listening to my Corrupt and Immoral Transmissions CD which came a few days ago. For those coming in late, this is a rare promotional (ie: never actually sold, just distributed to radio stations and the like) CD for my third favourite band in the entire universe, Shivaree, which I purchased on eBay (the CD that is, not the band, I couldn’t afford that, nice as it would be to have them at my beck and call :). After listening to it carefully several times I have come to the considered scientific opinion that it ROCKS πŸ™‚

It starts out with a live version of Goodnight Moon, recorded and broadcast on Los Angeles’s 98.9 KCRW. Naturally this isn’t anywhere as polished and orchestrated as the album version, but it’s just as good, in some ways it’s even superior. Without all the (highly enjoyable though they are) musical flourishes on the Shot in the Head* version the strength of the tune and Ambrosia’s vocals can really shine through. It also features more jazz organ, which has to be a good thing.

The same goes for the next track, a live version of I Don’t Care again from 98.9 KCRW, but this time from Santa Monica. The location seems to have snuck into the band’s performance making it a much more laid back and tripped out version of the song, suggestive of lazy summer afternoons in a small coastal town when you’ve got no worries in the world, and work is still weeks away.

The next track is Scrub, which I’d describe as the spookily beautiful carnival music of the damned. It’s a slow, smoky, dark blues waltz – the kind of the thing they’d play over the PA at a ghoul fairground after all the zombies have gone home for the night and the janitors are sweeping up.

In complete contrast is the final song, a cover of My Boy Lollipop has an incredible verve about it – almost Phil Specterish in it’s sheer layered force. Not quite a wall of sound, but certainly a pretty substantial wrought iron fence. Ambrosia manages the vocal with almost annoying ease, dancing freely through her entire vocal range as if she’s not really trying at all, and would like some kind of challenge next time round. Duke, Danny and the session musicians go all out with explosive drum breaks and a nice little jangling surf guitar solo in the middle, producing all in all a pretty damn fine (and fun) track.

So yeah, I’m pretty happy with it πŸ™‚

P.S: They showed the Citizen Kang Halloween episode of the Simpsons the other night where Kang and Kodos impersonate Bob Dole and Bill Clinton with bizarely hilarious results (“I am Clin-Ton the overlord!” :). Am I completely nuts, or did there used to be a scene (where Clinton/Kang is addressing a crowd at a rally) that went something like this?

Clinton/Kang: Abortions for everyone!!
Crowd: Boo! Hiss! Boo!
Clinton/Kang: Uhhhh – Abortions for no-one!!
Crowd: Boo! Hiss! Boo!
Clinton/Kang: Uhhhh – Abortions for those who want them and miniature American flags for everyone else!!
Crowd: YEEEEEEYYYY!!!!!!

Because if I’m not dreaming, and there was such a scene, they’ve cut it! Bunch of fascists!

* At sea level and standard temperature yada yada yada, sheeze! πŸ™‚

* The full title of the album in question is I Oughta Give You a Shot in the Head for Making Me Live in This Dump. I challenge anyone to fit that into a sentence and still have it flow smoothly πŸ™‚

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