So, any plans for the weekend?


I planned to take things nice and easy this weekend. Work has been extremely stressful for the last few weeks (for various reasons) and I was looking forwards to a couple of days of sitting in my cave watching DVDs and laughing at stupid cat pictures on the internet, before catching the train down to Mandurah on Monday and photographing what (if anything) is left of the old Castle Fun Park for Abandoned in Perth.

In fact I was so exhausted when I got home from the office last night that I had a light dinner and went to bed at the ridiculously early time of 7:45. I was just drifting off to sleep, snuggling up to a pillow and imagining it was Miranda from Mysterious Ways, when I was startled back to full wakefulness by a loud, BZZZZZZZTTTTTTTT!! sound that seemed to come out of nowhere.

I started up in shock, but when there was no repeat I wrote it off as some bogan stripping his gearbox in the carpark and got back to the business of sleep. However a few minutes later – BZZZZZZZTTTTTTTT!! again. And this time it definately seemed to come from within the apartment.

I got up and started looking around. I could think of nothing in my possession that could create such a sound. But as I stood in the loungeroom, puzzling over the phenomenon, it happened again – a loud BZZZZZZZTTTTTTTT!!, quite clearly emanating from the kitchen.

I investigated. Was there a a giant wasp from the carboniferous period trapped under the sink? No. I was trying to come up with an alternate explanation when the noise came again, and this time I was able to identify it as coming from the fridge.

A couple of minutes experimentation found the answer. Any time the fridge tried to power up its compressor it would shudder to a halt with a loud, electronic BZZZZZZZTTTTTTTT!!. Crap.

Given that there was no way I could sleep with random buzzing noises I switched it off at the plug and went back to bed.

Close investigations this morning have revealed that there’s really no point trying to get it repaired (I bought it second hand about eight years ago, so it’s had a good run). I’m about to head off to buy a new one, which probably won’t be able to be delivered until Monday. So my nice quiet weekend is now filled with stress and warm food (this would happen on the first really hot weekend of spring wouldn’t it?) and I can’t possibly head down to Mandurah on Monday because I need to be here to accept delivery.



I’ve just got back from the city where I’ve bought a slightly dented yet perfectly functional fridge for only $700 (gotta love factory seconds). The downside? They can’t deliver until Thursday. Thursday! What is this!? The middle ages!?

Anyway my frozen stuff has been shipped off to the folks to look after (or eat) and some essentials are being kept cool in the freezer compartment along with 5kg of ice. I’ve tipped the entire fridge onto its back to help (hey, if you can’t figure out why then go learn some physics). So it looks like I’ve got my Monday back. If I’m in any mood to do anything that is.

I think I’ll listen to some music.

Things you don’t want to hear…

It’s things like this that make you ashamed of your entire gender…

So I go to bed last night at a reasonable hour and (I must admit for the first time in ages) am kept awake by the guy in the apartment downstairs. Rather than his usual schick of wandering around his yard yelling into his mobile phone about building cupboards, this time he and a friend sat around loudly discussing their venereal diseases.

Yes, that’s what I said. Venereal diseases.

Specifically genital warts (although herpes was also mentioned). The main gist seemed to be that the friend had recently developed a very large wart in a particularly prominent position, and his new girlfriend was asking him questions about it.

My neighbour’s advice about this situation was to slather the offending growth with over-the-counter wart medication to burn it off. In the meantime he should tell his girlfriend that it was a birthmark and that he’d had it for years. This way he would not only avoid any awkward situations, but when she dumped him (I presume on discovering that he’s a deceptive, self serving bastard…) he’d have the satisfaction of knowing that she’d pass the infection on to her new boyfriend, which would serve them both right.

(Presumably if she developed cervical cancer later down the line it would also serve her right…)

They carried on discussing the subject for about an hour before heading back inside and letting me get to sleep.

I am seriously considering cutting out a stencil and spraying “DANGER! GENITAL WARTS!” in large red letters on his door in the middle of the night. Or maybe doing a letter drop on the same subject across the whole complex…

Hey Hey it’s Bigotry!

We’re not all ignorant rednecks you know…

I thought I’d better weigh in on the whole Hey Hey it’s Saturday blackface incident since it seems to be getting a lot of international attention and I don’t particularly want to be tarred with the same brush (oh man, that sounds like a really bad pun, sorry) that so many of my fellow Australians seem to be being tarred with.

(If you don’t know what it’s all about, just Google it)

The important facts that a lot of commentators seem ignorant of are as follow…

1: Blackface doesn’t have the same notoriety here in Australia as it does overseas. We have a different culture here to the United States and don’t have the long and shameful history of blackface on the stage and cinema. Sadly a lot of Australians are completely ignorant of this history and are hence unaware of the pain and offence it can cause.

2: The performance on Hey Hey was a recreation of an act originally staged 20 years ago. Idiotic football celebrities aside it’s a rare and notable thing to see anyone done up in blackface in modern Australia for any reason (and if it does occur it’s met with disapproval and severe criticism).

3: The performers are of various racial backgrounds, including Indians and Asians. It’s not a simple case of a bunch of white Anglo Saxons blacking up.

4: Hey Hey is (God knows why) a treasured and well loved piece of Australian culture, attacks on which by ‘foreigners’ seems to trigger a strange and disproportionate form of ‘my country right or wrong’ defence from some sectors of the community.

Basically the act was not intended to cause offence, or reference the blackface stereotype. It was just a bit of really badly thought out idiocy that never should have gone to air if anyone at Channel Nine had actually stopped and used their brains for a few seconds. The fact that it did go to air, and that it did cause offence is something that should be unreservedly apologised for.

Now, onto the reactions. While the innocent (albeit thoroughly stupid) intent of the performers can be defended, the resulting act and the offence caused cannot. There seems to be a certain sector of the Australian population (many of them members of the anti ‘political correctness’ brigade) who are leaping up and down over some perceived right to slather boot polish on their faces and go around loudly eating watermelon on the basis that “it’s just a joke” and “people shouldn’t be so sensitive”. A lot of these people are hitting on two particular points in their arguments, which I shall now address.

1: Harry Connick Junior once took part in a sketch parodying a black preacher, and used makeup to darken his skin. Hence he’s a hypocrite.

2: Robert Downey Junior was made up as an African American man in Tropic Thunder and no one complained.

Neither of these points is particularly valid. Yes, Harry Connick Junior was made up with darkened skin for that sketch, but there’s a difference between the slight darkening employed there, and the wholesale boot polish job employed on Hey Hey. Similarly in Tropic Thunder the make up and prosthetics employed actually make Robert Downey Junior look African American – as opposed to a white man painted black – and much of the humour in the movie is based around the inappropriateness of using make up (and plastic surgery) to make a white actor look black. This subtlety seems to be lost of a lot of people defending the Hey Hey act.

So that’s my two cents. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s plenty of Australians – such as myself – who were outraged, disgusted and embarrassed by the fact that such a performance should be put to air in modern day Australia, and who are just as outraged, disgusted and embarrassed by the ignorant loudmouths trying to defend it. Insomuch as I can personally apologise for the actions of my fellow Australians I do so, completely and unreservedly. Sorry.

What a lucky man he was!

This is your whale. This is your whale on drugs.

Hmmm, well I haven’t done much posting recently have I? I’ll put it down to getting back into the swing of work and spending much of my time uploading and annotating photos from my UK trip. I’ve almost finished the first day’s worth!

I’ve also got caught up in a writing challenge on Whitechapel. It’s the first time I’ve tried writing anything but mindless blog drivel and role playing material in ages, so we’ll see how it goes. The deadline is November 1st – with luck it’ll actually be readable by then.

Kraft has come to it’s senses and realised that “iSnack 2.0” is one of the worst marketing decisions in history. They’ve posted a bunch of more popular names to their website for the public to vote on and will be announcing the replacement name this week. I didn’t bother to vote – I’m just happy that clueless tech-speech abomination is being banished. Anyway, the only name I would have voted for is ‘Voldemite’ and that wasn’t on the list.

Before I go I’ll direct everyone’s attention to this song, which I discovered over the weekend – “Lucky Man” by Emerson Lake and Palmer. The song itself is (in my opinion) nothing special, a fairly dreary rock-folk dirge about a guy who goes off to war and gets shot. What makes it remarkable is the play out, the only explanation for which I can come up with is that they got a humpbacked whale in to do guest vocals and dosed it up on LSD.

Listen to the first 20 seconds or so to get the scope of the piece (it’s all like that), then jump to 3.20 to be astounded by the assorted wails, shrieks, groans and howls you get when you pump twenty litres of hallucinogens into a giant sea-going mammal!

That’s all I’ve got to say.

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