31 May 2006

I'm Only Going To Say This Once


Do you know who I really hate?

Piers Akerman. People in early retirement age who are physically and mentally fine, but demand special treatment. People who don't have their money ready when they go to make a purchase. People who play poker machines. Anyone else who gambles. Tony Abbott. People who say "my bad". People who say "go figure". People who wear sunglasses indoors and at night. People who take their frustration at queues in the supermarket out on the checkout operator. People who make assumptions and then blame others for their mistakes. People who drive SUVs/4WDs. Anyone who doesn't live in an isolated rural area who claims they "need" to drive. Anyone who lives in an isolated rural area. People who regularly read a blog and never comment. People who expect you to find their children as adorable and/or fascinating as they do. People who assume any female is "good with kids". People who want to tell you about their renovations. People who obsess about their weight. Rabid anti-smokers. Fat people who blame their condition on anything other than eating too much. Fundamentalist ________'s (fill in the blank). Homophobic People. Paris Hilton. Snooty Waiters. Airline check-in staff. Security guards. Drivers who speed through pedestrian crossings. Drivers who speed through orange lights. People who dawdle in front of you whilst they block the way. People who play golf. People who don't return phone calls, e-mails and sms messages. People who don't bother to speak English properly. People who don't bother to write properly. People who play doof doof music whilst driving at night. People who play doof doof music. Tourists who complain about Australia. American tourists who only visit American companies whilst in Australia. Strangers who talk to you on public transport. Strangers who ask what you're reading. Strangers who ask what music you are listening to. Panhandlers. People who are offended by swearing. People who swear excessively. People with a message on their websites telling visitors to fuck off. My Space users. People without small children who make a big deal out of Christmas. Santa. Vegans. People who constantly talk about their illnesses. People who make a big deal about their allergies. People who make a big deal about eating low-carb. Rascists. Wine snobs. People who don't drink. People who only drink bourbon. Richard Wilkins. People who repeatedly dial wrong numbers. People who dial wrong numbers and act as though it's the fault of the person who answered the call. People who are always late. People who go to the bank at lunch time then get annoyed because it's busy. Old people who use public transport at peak hour then get annoyed because they can't get a seat. People who press the button at every bus stop in case they miss their stop. People who do miss their stop and expect the bus to make a diversion to drop them off. People who act as if a loved one just died if they miss their train station. People who can't follow instructions. Customers who don't wait their turn. Shop assistants with no idea of what items are carried in the store, or where the items are located. People who watch The OC. People who don't watch The Simpsons. People who complain about petrol prices. People with opinions about things they don't understand. Teenagers. People under the age of twenty-five who tell older people "you're not that old". People who walk into unattended foyers and ring the bell without waiting any time. Vendors. People with no sense of humour about the things they're passionate about. Parents who don't discipline their children. AFL fans. People who believe in astrology. Adam Sandler. Adults who use the term boyfriend/girlfriend to describe their partner. People who don't clean up after their dogs. People who give their dogs topknots. People who think that if they get up early, so should everyone else. People who can't distinguish between your and you're. People who wear ugg boots in public. People who don't shower everyday. People with halitosis. People who shout things out of cars. Spruikers. People with doilies in their houses. Natural therapists. People who run Christian blogs. David Koch. People who get taken in by blatantly obvious scams and then whinge about it. Stingy people. Skateboarders. People who keep rodents as pets. People who park at bus stops. People who don't listen to what you say then take offence at what they thought they heard. People who walk in on conversations and join in without knowing what's going on. Right wing people. People who think their own view on a subject is the only one that matters. Big Brother housemates. Australian Idol contestants. People who work at department store beauty counters. Radio DJs who talk over the songs they're playing. TV station programmers who cut out parts of TV shows. The people who who invented in-program TV promos. Subway sandwich "artists", and everyone else with ridiculously inflated job titles. People who miss the point.

And obviously, Bec and Lleyton Hewitt.

This will be updated. I'm not nearly finished.

29 May 2006

Listening to the (Christian) Radio


After a long, hard day of helping Boof and Funky move house on Saturday, Boof was giving me a lift home when we decided to indulge in one of our favourite guilty past times: listening to, and consequently poking fun at, the local Christian radio station.

Saturday evening was a corker. There was an American Christian rock top twenty countdown playing. I wonder how they work out what the top twenty will be - do people pray for it or something? No, I know that it would be based on sales, which seems rather presumptuous. Surely a real Christian countdown should be God's favourite twenty songs for the week? (And I bet God prefers listening to The Clash).

The songs were, well...a little simplistic. Boof, who has musical talent, remarked after a paticularly insipid number about how much freedom the singer feels to pray, remarked "These songs are very repetitive." I replied, "Yes, they've got to be that way so Christians will understand them..."

Then the DJ announced "Up next...this week's music news!" I had to wonder what could possibly consititute Christian music news - "Cooper Blake, lead singer of I Found God And Lost My Talent, was recovering at home last week after an all-night not-drinking binge"? But no. The main story of the week was about a singer and his wife welcoming a new addition to the family - their fifth. Of course.

Then the ads came on. A perky voice intoned, "Have you ever wanted to be a DJ?" Boof said, "Well there's the perfect job for you...DJ at a Christian radio station!" Yes I can just see it now, me in my little DJ booth: "Good morning, this is Nico with todays scripture...OH FUCK! I just spilt my coffee in my lap!"

But we had to stop listening. We feared that if we were tuned in any longer we'd become Christians ourselves, and probably end up marrying each other *insert Sideshow Bob shudder*. You've heard of people needing to get the taste out of their mouths. Well, as soon as I got home, I needed to get the sound out of my ears. I played Rammstein and Nine Inch Nails for an hour before I felt okay again (I don't really listen to that stuff anymore, but I felt a need to do so then).

I dunno. I feel that Christian radio may be the final proof that there is no God. If I was an omnipotent being, there's no way I'd let my followers carry on such rubbish in my name...

26 May 2006

Friday Follies


Go on, click 'em - you know you want to.

Looking on the bright side of things...

If only we could all be so brave

Most job interviews require you to do some quick thinking,
but this is ridiculous

Why Britney's pregnancy really is good news

(Okay, there's not many. But a few follies are better than none...)

24 May 2006

Gut Evening


We've all had one of "those" days. But have you ever had one of "those" evenings? That's what happened to me last night.

It began after dinner. I wasn't feeling very happy because I haven't heard from someone in days (okay, you've lost your phone, can you reply to your emails?) but prepared to cheer up in front of The Simpsons. However, as usual, Channel 10 switched the programming around so no Simpsons. Okay, I thought, I'll just put a DVD on. Which I did...to discover my DVD player isn't working. The picture jumps around in the manner of a distorted video cassette. I tried several discs, but they all had the same problem. This was not good news. Now, for someone who has the internet, or pay TV, or at least lives with other people they can talk to, the DVD player not working is a bit of a pain; for me without any of those things, it's little short of a disaster. The light in my house is too dim, and my eyesight too poor, to make reading for any length of time feasible; watching some of my huge and rapidly growing collection of DVDs is all I have.

However, there was one solution, though not an immediate one: when my mother bought me the player, she paid extra for an extended warranty, which is still valid. I still had the warranty card, didn't I? Yes, I remembered where it was...in the box the DVD player came in...which I kept in my house for over a year, until I threw it away in a cleaning spree a few weeks ago. My frustration became audible at this point: "Ahhhh....craaaaaap ." I then called my mother, as much to comiserate with someone as anything else, only to have the call cut out after a couple of minutes. Yep, apparently I was out of credit. How was that possible? I've hardly used the phone this month. On top of everything else, I was now incommunicado for the evening.

There's only one thing to do in a situation like this. Turn to religion. "God, I need a drink!" There was an in-case-of-emergency six pack of pre-mix vodka in the back of my pantry. At least I thought there was. But apparently Xander has been sneaking drinks when I'm not home, because the six pack wasn't there (at least he must be taking the empties out when he's done).

So I was forced to watch the crappy offerings of free TV...sober. I even ended up having to watch Rove Live (for international viewers, Rove is a hard hitting interviewer who asks thoughtful, probing questions of his celebrity interviewees, interspersed with insightful and humorous social commentary. And if you believe this, I have a lovely bridge across Sydney Harbor I'd like to sell you. No, Rove Live is the TV equivalent of a commercial radio station's zany drive-time team).

Eventually it got to 10:30pm, and whilst I never go to bed early (if I'm very tired, I'll have an afternoon nap) I figured that this time - especially considering how cold it was - I might as well. Just as I was drifting off, I was awoken by an horrendous whoop! whoop! whoop!. A security alarm had been activated in one of the shops down the road. I had to laugh - the perfect end to a perfect night. However, as the alarm kept whooping until it was finally shut off around 1am, I did make an attempt to smother myself with my pillow, but of course nothing else had gone right for me, and that didn't either (obviously, or you wouldn't be reading this post).

I know I said I'd be posting about politics, but who cares about the problems of the world, when I had a crappy evening?!?

22 May 2006

Blogger Feels So Empty Without Me


Welcome back! This has been the longest I've ever gone without posting. But fear not, you can all stop thinking for yourselves now, because I'm here.

As I (try to) do (nearly) every year, I got along to the Art Gallery of NSW to see the Archibald Prize finalists. The pictures of Justice Michael Kirby and Garry McDonald were particular favourites, though I notice that due to a certain ubitiquos item of electronic equipment in Michael Zavros' self-portrait, product placement has now made it into the Archibalds!

The art gallery experience was rather ruined however, by the hoardes of screaming primary school kids on excursions. Now, I'm all for exposing children to culture, but put an average eight year old inside an art gallery and what happens? They don't care. And we all know what kids that age are like when they are bored. Bottom line is, I had to leave after an hour because the headache I was getting was so bad. I'm sorry, I just don't think school groups should be allowed in the art gallery until the kids are old enough to appreciate what they're seeing. Fifteen year olds taking elective art, well that's great. But eight year olds should be at the zoo. (And yes, I mean that statement in all the ways which it could be taken).

It's funny how people often behave in ways which you don't expect them to. I believe I've posted here before about how rude and incompentent CityRail guards are (if not, well that is certainly their reputation). But last week at Central Station, a guard who saw me running down the concourse for the about-to-depart Newcastle train opened the electronic gates so I didn't have to lose time looking for my ticket, then (if you can believe it) radioed the train to make sure it didn't leave without me (it didn't). If that man is reading this now, I hope you win the Lotto soon.

Back home, all this time at home had led to a co-dependency problem. No, not the romantic kind, but a feline one. As I'm sure I've bored you senseless by describing previously, Xander has always followed me around...to an extent. But by the second half of last week, it got so he would never - ever - let himself be more than a foot away from me. I don't know about you, but I found it rather smothering. Hopefully now I'm back at work, he'll go back to "normal" (in his clingy, mummy's boy kind of way).

Well I do have some more amusing anecdotes, but that's enough for now, as I'm feeling a bit rusty and need to ease back into posting. I will warn you though - I've been reading an awful lot of political writing, so half-baked rants to come in the days ahead...

11 May 2006

Growing Old Disgracefully


After all those long days and more status reports than NASA would deem necessary, our major sales drive at work is over and tomorrow I start two glorious weeks of leave. What a wonderful opportunity to catch up on reading, start a course, maybe do some volunteer work...the sensible person would be doing these things.

But I'm not sensible. I bought a pair of rollerskates. Not blades, skates. They're blue with red glitter trim and wheels, SO gorgeous. I've actually wanted a pair for a long time, so it was a strange twist of fate that led me to them now...I first decided I wanted a pair about two years ago, and saw some on sale in a local sports shop. I told my mother and she offered to buy them for me for my 25th birthday, but then circumstances intervened before she could get to the store. When I realised I returned to the store to buy them myself, but they were gone. For the next year I looked for another pair EVERYWHERE but never found one and gave up.

Until last week, whilst shopping in my local mall and my shoe buckle broke, so I went into a shoe store to get another pair of shoes whilst mine were being repaired...and saw the skates. I'd never seen rollerskates in that shop before, and there was only one pair, in my size. It's like they were waiting for me, and I never would have found them if my shoe hadn't broken (A similar set of circumstances led to me finding the lost song - things I've given up on seem to have a way of coming into my life when I least expect it).


I haven't had a chance to use them yet, but all my time off will be the perfect opportunity. Sure I'm a bit rusty, having not been near a pair of real rollerskates since the late 1980s, but I've been practising around the house, which seems to startle Xander (did you know cats are afraid of rollerskates? Me neither). I've always loved to skate. Newcastle is such a great place for skating these days, you can get start at Honeysuckle and go all along the harbour and Shortland Esplanade to Newcastle Beach. The one thing that did put me off was worrying that I would look, lets face it, pretty stupid (a nearly-30 woman on skates, picture it) but then I thought, who the hell cares? If anyone laughs at me (and in Newcastle there's always someone to have a go at you about something) I'll just ignore them. I'm an eccentric and I'll do eccentric things!

Not everyone seems to agree. I had this conversation with Rex:

Him: Skates? But you can't keep your balance in your regular shoes.
Me: I'm a pretty reasonable skater actually. And it's good exercise.
Him: Until you break your wrist or ankle and can't exercise at all for 6 weeks.
Me: I won't hurt myself.
Him: What about the other people?
Me: Okay, how about when I'm skating, and you can run in front of me waving a flag to warn people?
Him: Then who would call the paramedics?

Always wonderful to have the support of your dearest friends! Anyway, I bet he's just jealous. The skates will keep me young...OUCH! I think I broke my hip!

09 May 2006

Have Rumours Of The Death Of Blogging Been Exaggerated?


Well, it seems like every cultural commentator worth their BlackBerry these days is claiming that blogging is dead or dying. Not the act of blogging itself - there are, after all, more blogs out there than ever - but blogging as a social phenomenon. Yesterday in Crikey, one of the contirbutors wrote this missive, comparing the current blogging situation to that of CB radio in the late 1970s:


"A year after he got [the CB radio], we would tune in and roam the frequencies. Airy nothingness. I was reminded of this recently while trawling the blogosphere – which is increasingly taken up with blogs that appear to be dead, dying from neglect or stillborn, with one or two initial entries, now years old.

It's eerie and suggests to me that we are entering the next stage of the online revolution, in which the mass expansion of blogs will begin to contract – especially those which are publishing out towards a putative audience, rather than simply being an online diary.

As with CBs, what thrilled people with blogs was "the ecstasy of communication", the pure fact of being out there in the wide cyberworld – in other words, the form rather than the content. What stales the experience is what some have thought was its greatest attraction – its networked capacity, which makes everyone producer and consumer, and hence collapses the notion of an audience (since time does not expand, while blog numbers do).

What most realise is that blogging is the illusion of connection, publishing into a void and thus doubly isolating. Those blogs that survive will and are evolv(ing) into multi-person sites, some with collective and decentred ways of uploading, others with hierarchies essentially identical to paper editing.

This repeats the birth of newspapers out of the "pamphlet wars" of the 17th century – the latter a product of the creation of a cheap, single operator platen press. This may be the necessary stage of development required to create a media sphere which genuinely overturns the mass media model – one in which a range of well-edited moderate circulation outlets can charge and get subscriptions. Whether they could turn into full newsgathering organisations remains to be seen.

However, I think the era of commentary done by interlaced single blogs may come to be seen as being as much part of an era as a time when talking to a load of frozen fish barrelling down the Hume seemed like a really neat thing to do. "


Well, that's his opinion. I hope he's wrong, but I rather fear not. I've been blogging since January 2004, and I've noticed the change in the blogsphere since then. Once reading the personal blogs of people you'd never even met was exciting, like reading real-life soap opera; and alot of the people who ran these blogs were almost famous. But now everyone has their own personal blog, usually only read by their own friends and family (and I must be some strange exception to this. Most of my readers are people I don't know, and almost none of my close friends read it). Anyway, it may be the case that blogging is not so much dead, as it has moved to become so mainstream it doesn't mean anything anymore.

This place has changed, after all. In my early blogging days, I often posted several times a day, and it was nearly all personal stuff (it was the novelty of the whole thing, plus, and I must be honest, I was in love with the sound of my own "voice"). Now I usually just post a couple of times a week, and it's often not personal at all. I think it's fair to say the Pod is lacking direction...

But now I'll shut up, and throw open the floor (I hope no one falls through). Is blogging dead, meaningless, or just changing direction? Have traffic exchanges like
Blog Mad changed the face of blogging - for better or for worse? Will the future of blogs lie in the themed blogs, or the original personal ones? Is there actually a place for everyone?

Your opinions, please.

05 May 2006

Friday Follies!


(Don't you hate it when they say) In an ever changing world, you can count on the...


Friday Follies

Dr Blogstein points out
the similarities between two insidious franchise operations

For the best laugh you'll have in a long time,
here's the video of Stephen Colbert's speech to the White House Correspondent's Association dinner or thanks to the Psychotic Patriot, you can read the transcript here.

With petrol at $1.50 a litre
it has come to this for petrol sniffers.

Next time you think you're having a bad day

If I was a Super Hero,
this is the Super Hero I would be.

Finally, in yesterday's post (well, the comments) I mentioned that the Labor Party doesn't stand for much of anything these days. If you want proof, just check out
Clarke and Dawe for the truth about Kim Beazley...

04 May 2006

What's Not Wrong With Australia


It's interesting to see how different the Australian political scene is from that of the US.

Yesterday the Reserve Bank lifted interest rates. Now, John Howard was re-elected in late 2004 on a key promise to keep interest rates low. This morning on Seven Sunrise, the re-played a clip of Howard making this promise at the time, following which the show's host, David Koch, said of Howard "Well, that was all a load of hogwash."

Now, when George W. Bush visited Canberra in 2003, he said, "I love democracy" when heckled by some MPs. But can you imagine Bush appearing for an unscripted interview on Good Morning America, following which the host called the President's words, "Hogwash"?

Apart from the fact that the interview wouldn't take place in the first place, any major network anchor who said something like that would be innundated by hate mail. Because there is that mood amongst some Americans - that the slightest critic of the Bush administration hates America, is abetting terrorists, and goodness knows what else. You can see this any time you go surfing amongst "conservatives" blogs (though I really don't recommend you do so).

There is almost nothing like that in Australia. Australians are either too open minded (or too apathetic, which is ironic considering voting is compulsory). I know many people who intensely dislike John Howard, but have never heard anyone anywhere say that we should trust him in everything he does. As I said, people voted for Howard at the 2004 election because they believed in his ability to keep the economy stable, not because they trusted in his vision for the future of Australia.

But the Right and Left wing can be scarcely discernible in Australia. There is no Australian Al Franken or Michael Moore; on the other hand, thank goodness, there is no Australian Ann Coulter. (There are columnists like Piers Akerman, but their influence is not great). People generally aren't that passionate - which means our Prime Minister (and many other politicians and public figures) can go on national television and state their mind, and the interviewers and the rest of the population can freely call them idiots or liars. I often despair at the apathy of my fellow citizens, but if it means I can freely post my mind without being accused of hating Australia, I know which I prefer.

* You'll notice that there are no links for this post. That's because there are certain people mentioned whom I don't want to give referrals to, and I don't feel I should provide references for some things in a post and not others. Anyway, I'm sure we can all do our own research!

02 May 2006

Let's Cut Down On Sugar


Well, my last post was very sweet. So in the interests of a balanced blogging diet, I shall return to my bitter and sour normal self...

  • Whilst watching this morning's news, I caught the end of an item on the newsbar "____ more popular as Labor leader than Kim Beazley, poll says". They were apparently referring to Rudd and Gillard, but then who could say with the Labor party these days? It could well be anyone - Jeanette Howard, Convicted Money Launderer, Guy Who Waters Parliament House Plants, Toilet Roll Holder In Visitors' Bathroom...

  • Isn't the survival of those two trapped miners in Tasmania just the feel good story of the year? Although it could still be another 48 hours before they are freed. You can really see the frustration in the faces of the reporters sent to cover the story. They're thinking "Oh, I hope they get those men out soon...then we can get away from this miserable little town and back to our nice warm studio in Sydney".


  • Every morning I have the most terrible time trying to decide what to wear to work. I don't know why - what difference does it make? Who the hell am I expecting to see there? Maybe one day, apart from the usual gang of idiots, there'll be a stunning new employee who catches one glance at me, falls instantly in love, and says, "Come, let us leave this place. I will buy us a Tahitian island, and you can spend your days lazing in the sun, drinking daquiris and wearing a string bikini with frangipanis in your hair."
    To which I would reply, "A string bikini at my age? What are you, crazy? Besides, I've got status reports to do."

  • Something did happen at work yesterday which I have heard of happening before, but previously dismissed all the stories as urban legends. I fielded a call from a woman who told me that her husband asked her to send us a fax, but she'd never used the fax machine before, so she didn't know how "but it keeps spitting the paper back at me". Was there a problem on our end that would stop her fax going through?
    I gently explained that when you send a fax, the paper itself doesn't travel through the phone lines.

  • Lastly, I read this on someone else's blog but can't for the life of me remember whose. If it's yours, tell me in the comments so I can give you the proper acknowledgement. Anyway...
    Apparently the Hasbro corp are re-vamping the game of Monopoly for the new milennium. As in real life, there'll be a Starbucks on every corner.