Friday, August 31, 2007

Back in 5 Minutes

That gasp you hear is a huge sound of relief from me as the weekend approaches and I prepare to head off to spend two glorious night in Rottnest doing absolutely frick all. My 'luggage' consists of ugh boots and books so I think you can see what kind of wild shennanigans I'm going to be up to. And did I mention I'm staying with my parents? Exactly. But as a few of you may have noticed I am in sore need of a very quiet time and a weekend spent lost in books and bakery goods so I am actually well excited about it. Peace out, friends, I shall emerge refreshed and um maybe rejuvenated, though I'm not making any promises.

There is only so much I can take...

...before I fucking lose it. So, please, just be nice to me.

“I don't want any more vicissitudes, I don't want any more of this try, try again stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired. I am twenty and I am already exhausted.” (Elizabeth Wurtzel)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Think before you Facebook

Ah crap we could all be in trouble.

Quotable Quotes: Withnail and I

“What is all this ‘calculated risk’ and ‘tactical necessity’? It’s me, naked, in a corner. And how dare you tell him I love you? And how dare you tell him you rejected me? How dare you tell him that?!” (Withnail and I)

Increasingly tipsy blog written while watching an episode of Star Trek...

2 minutes in: I shall travel where no man has gone before – to the wine in the cupboard. Oh wait I’ve already got a glass. Um Star Trek yeah, ooh I like the start.
10 minutes in: He’s evil, Picard, don’t let him on the ship you fool! He looks like more of an android than Data - why don’t these people learn? Why aren’t I on the damn Enterprise? Where’s my damn glass…?
21 minutes in: Oh Picard – back away from the scary blue screen. Those cheesy effects are dan-ger-ous.
25 minutes in: Oh. My. God. Is that…? What is that? Is that a pig? Or two dogs strapped together? No, no wait it’s a dog in a funny hat. I think. Oh fuck it I think it’s a pig in a wig.
26 minutes in: Nice strategically torn top, writers – I can see the lesbian’s boobies. And rape is fucked up and everything but those ‘rape gangs’ sort of make me think of The Lost Boys or The Goonies or something. Which makes me want to laugh. Which is wrong.
30 minutes in: My God I'd like to dip his bald head in oil and... ohh. Ooh that's actually pretty cool. This was really made in 1987?
35 minutes in: Come on - why is nothing happening? Why can’t Picard’s top be strategically torn? Writers? Writers? Fuck it’s freezing in here.
38 minutes in: Oooh.
45(ish) minutes: Oh Picard…

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

So I have a decision to make

So this isn’t going to be an entertaining or amusing blog entry - more like a little peek inside the horror that is my brain. It’s a big decision for me, though I should remember it’s not life or death. If I go one way I will have to leave my comfort zone and possibly have to say goodbye to some things and people I love. If I go the other I may regret it. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood blah blah blah, right? Anyway it’s all happening a bit fast and I’m not sure what I’m going to do but, for the moment, I’m just quietly chuffed that I, who does not like to take risks or put myself out there in any shape or form, have found myself in a position where this decision does have to be made. In conclusion: yay me and my indecisive brain (yeah I’m sorry - you just threw up a little in your mouth right at the end there didn't you...?)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Set your faces to stunned

So yesterday I watched my first ever episode of Star Trek. This is a show that various people, both semi-strangers and friends, have recommended to me for years. You’ll love it, they tell me, it’s right up your alley. For just as long I have resisted, feeling that, while I am in fact a complete nerd, there are limits. Plus William Shatner has always given me the wiggins. But yesterday I cracked and rented Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is one of the sans-Shatner series, with Patrick Stewart’s gleaming bald head and wonderful enunciation in command.

And I sort of love it. The graphics are incredibly lame, the prosthetics used on the ‘aliens’ even worse and it has more cheese than something really, really cheesy but it has sucked me in. It’s sucked me in so much that, as soon as I had finished with the first disk, I practically ran back to the video store and not only rented more but had a long conversation with the guy at the desk about the series. Okay so I didn’t understand most of what he said and he was sort of weird but, you know, we kinda bonded. Over Star Trek. I could not be a bigger dork right now and I'm loving it.

Ways I've Let Down Popular Musicians

  • Permitted sun to go down on Elton John, thus failing him.
  • Failed to heed warning to stop in the name of love, broke Diana Ross's heart.
  • Was cruel to a heart that was true, much to the chagrin of Elvis Presley.
  • Stopped prior to getting enough, despite urging to the contrary by Michael Jackson.
  • Spoke even when told not to by Gwen Stefani.
  • Stopped believin', let go of the feelin', thereby enraging Steve Perry.
  • Clutched it too tightly, lost control, resulting in tersely worded letter from .38 Special.
  • Said "never"; Romeo Void merely shook their heads sadly.
  • Got together with only a few people, made no effort to love one another, received awkward phone call from the Youngbloods.
  • Monkees left at the station with only their worries after I missed the last train to Clarksville.
  • Failed to feel the noize, which doesn't seem like my fault, but Quiet Riot was still peeved.
  • Stayed perfectly sane, leaving Prince to go crazy by himself, which actually worked out best for everyone.
  • Went changing to try to please Billy Joel. Total fiasco.
Courtesy of McSweeneys.

The Butterscotch Stallion will live to ride another day

I have been in the past what you might term an Owen Wilson enthusiast. I have watched, I have admired and, yes, I have swooned. I even own a T-shirt (which I paid good money for) which features both a rendition of his head, complete with flowing mane of golden locks, and the words Butterscotch Stallion adorned on it. The reason for this adoration was mostly tied to his involvement in Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums - the former two making up two of my all time favourite movies. So I feel obliged to post something on the fact that Owen may or may not have tried to top himself this week.

But to be honest it’s a bit hard to know what to say because the Owen Wilson love has dried up a bit in recent years thanks to a string of mediocre to crap movies and his mercifully brief alliance with Kate ‘it shouldn’t be illegal to kill me, it really shouldn’t’ Hudson. Instead I’ll just direct your attention towards his better days (the volume is quiet but it's a classic scene) and hope that when he’s recovered he stops making shit like Cars and comes to Perth to hang out with me instead.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This one's pretty much just for the chicks...

... though the photo is for everyone.

I don't usually use this blog to shameless spruik things but I feel obliged to share the beauty that is Elle McPherson's underwear range with any plump-breasted femme out there who has ever had a sinking heart at the prospect of going bra shopping. I loathe underwear shopping because it's dull and frustrating but McPherson's range kicks arse and, unlike many, many ranges of cute non-hideous underwear doesn't comprise entirely of uber flimsy straps ideal for supporting the boobs of a 12-year-old but nobody else. There's really no point to this post other than to share the love and point you in the direction of the McPherson collection, which isn't cheap but is well worth the cost.

Alright, now I just sit back and wait for the cheque to arrive.

Brideshead Revisited

"I'm not going to have you get mixed up with my family. They're so madly charming. All my life they've been taking things away from me. If they once get hold of you with their charm they'd make you their friend, not mine and I won't let them."
So Sebastian Flyte tells the protagonist Charles Ryder in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. Of course it's Sebastian who's the charming one.

To read the rest of this entry see the CNG Lending Library.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Nice to meat you

I never, ever thought I would have reason to say this but Fuck Off Sam Neil.

No, wait, come back I didn't mean it. Okay I sort of did but let me explain. I am actually a closet Sam Neil enthusiast. I have no idea why but his craggy face and smirking mug have always appealed to me - I think he would be fun to go for a beer with. But his latest appearance on Aussie TV screens pimping red meat for Meat and Livestock Australia is really grinding my goddamn gears.

"Red meat - we were meant to eat it," he assures us, all charming cragginess and barely-hidden-beneath-the-surface smirk.

Now really what the fuck does "meant" mean? We're meant to eat it because our ancestors did? Well sure they did - they needed the energy, protein and iron. Early man didn't have access to the wide range of vegetables, grains, legumes and meat-substitutes that we do today. They didn't have the same food choices that we do and they needed every calorie they could get their hands on.

You know what else our ancestors did? They died early, by modern standards. They also evolved into us. You know what they didn't do? They didn't breed animals for the slaughter in the same way or on the same scale as we do. We are in a position now where we do not have to eat meat. Nobody does. It is possible, even easy, to be a perfectly healthy vegetarian and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that a good vegetarian diet is preferable to one containing meat.

It is everybody's individual choice whether they want to eat meat or not but to imply that we have some kind of evolutionary imperative to do so is both stupid and offensive. We aren't meant to do anything and chomping down on a piece of cow flesh is no more normal or natural than choosing to go for tofu. So, Sam, I understand that we all have bills to pay, but until you get another gig you can fuck off as far as I'm concerned.

Quotable Quotes: Evelyn Waugh

"Here love had died between me and the army. Here the tram lines ended so that men returning fuddled from Glasgow could doze in their seats until roused by the cnductress at their journey's end. There was some way to go from the tram stop to the camp gates; a quarter of a mile in which they could button their blouses and straighten their caps before passing the guard room, a quarter of a mile in which concrete gave place to grass at the road's edge. This was the extreme limit of the city, a fringe of driftwood above high-water mark. Here the close, homogenous territory of housing estates and cinema ended and the hinterland began."
(Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited)

Friday, August 24, 2007

I see a young Richard E. Grant in the role of Arthur…

You know that episode of The Simpsons when Troy Maclure says “I’ve been reading a lot of scripts lately… it’s a lot cheaper than actually seeing the movies”? Well I don’t generally read scripts for fun or financial reasons but someone recently directed me towards this pilot script written by the hugely talented Charlie Kaufman before he was known for being hugely talented. On the downside I am now extremely bummed out this show was (so far as I know anyway) never made.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Es blood hard Para Mi

I am learning Spanish on my ipod and it’s not going particularly well.

That’s not entirely true. I mean it’s fair to say that it’s not going particularly well in that I’m not exactly learning any Spanish but, much to my surprise, I am having fun. The reason for this is that, purely by chance, the Spanish language lessons course I downloaded is a fantastically naff one presented by a dude called Michael Thomas.

Not only does Michael Thomas have a voice that makes him sound like he’s having a stroke after every third of fourth word he also gives the impression of making it all up as he goes along. Lessons trail off into “and if I remember anything else I’ll mention it later” or long, weird anecdotes that end as abruptly as though he was just killing time while waiting for a bus, which has since arrived.

More importantly he has an awesome learning technique that, he assures me, will mean I can have a practical use of Spanish in 10 to 12 hours.

Hmm. Quite.

Anyway, this technique involves tips such as “never review anything you have learned” and “don’t try to remember anything” and he is dead-set against any kind of practice or homework.

The idea – from what I can gather – is that instead of treating the language as something you have to grapple with you just sort of immerse yourself in it (or something). In theory it makes great sense and appeals to my sense of laziness. In practice, however, I keep drifting off and/or replaying the bit where he talks about the different ways to pronounce the word “calzone” (which is surely Italian anyway, no?)

God I suck at learning languages. For all I can tell poor old Michael probaly had an actual stroke three minutes into Lesson One and has been calling for help in Spanish ever since.

The Doherty Files

Yeah I like Pete Doherty a lot more than the next person and even I have no idea how he’s pulling this off.

I hear the streets are paved with Gael

Generally when I hear the phrases “he/she was acting uncharacteristically” or “he/she was throwing a lot of money around” I associate them with the sort of crime shows that appear on Friday night on the ABC.

It’s the sort of statement that crops up when someone is found floating in a canal and Robbie Coltrane or that dude from Taggart who looks vaguely Japanese but really isn’t have to find out why he/she was acting uncharacteristically or throwing a lot of money around before his or her untimely death.

And yet this week I have been both acting uncharacteristically and throwing money around in as much as I have opted to go to Argentina, New York and London in October. Um yes this October, why do you ask?

The Argentina thing has been in the works for a bit because we have friends there (Kate and Jerm - pour us a drink) and Andy is red hot keen to get busted as a drug mule in South America but I have been in two minds for weeks and weeks because of the exorbitant cost. My solution? Throw a few extra cities in to make it even more expensive. Also, only take a couple of weeks of work so you have to cram it all into the tightest time frame possible, thus ensuring a combination of jetlag and sleep deprivation for the duration of the trip. Awesome.

This is not normal Kate behaviour. Having spent my life on a series of poor wages I have always had to be careful with my money and planned everything big I do way, way in advance. And yet here I go. Yes it does seem like a semi-reckless, cash-swallowing decision that will either financially cripple me or leave me with an exotic South American disease but I’m incredibly excited.

And if I wind up dead in some seedy Argentinian hostel you can tell the police that I was acting uncharacteristically and throwing around a lot of money before my untimely death.

NOTE: I realise Gael Garcia Bernal is not, in fact, Argentinian and therefore I am unlikely to run into him while I'm there. He is, however, very attractive and if the movies have lied to me about all South American boys being uber hot I shall be very disappointed indeed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rushmore ("These are O.R scrubs")

A cynic might say I just don't have anything to blog about. I prefer to say that if this clip convinces anyone to watch what is one of my all-time favourite movies then my work here is done. Really nice.

Quotable Quotes: E.M Forster

"Our life on earth is, and ought to be, material and carnal. But we have not yet learned to manage our materialism and carnality properly; they are still entangled with the desire for ownership." (E.M. Forster)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Bit of a Blur

Somewhere in the 200-ish pages of his autobiography Bit of a Blur Blur bass player Alex James finds himself twisted up in expensive sheets in a hotel room somewhere in South America, alternating between having sex with the five prettiest girls he could find, drinking champagne and snorting a dick-load of cocaine.It was, he says, pretty much at the height of his excesses.

To read the rest of this entry check out the CNG Lending Library site.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I could get those white pants off in seconds, seconds I tells you...

I cop a reasonable amount of crap when it comes to my penchant for tall, skinny, nerdy guys. Why a guy only has to be scrawnier than me and/or wearing a pair of Buddy Holly glasses to make me swoon I don't know. All I know is that I would go out with a guy who could dance like this in a second.

NOTE: You Tube and I are having a domestic right now so I can't post the video here - just follow the link.

What is there to say about Facebook that has not been said?

A friend of mine who shall remain nameless but who knows who she is has been refusing to get onboard the Facebook train. Despite numerous emailed ‘friend requests’ and attempts to make her jealous by stealing her genuine friends and claiming them as my own she has stood fast in the face of a country-wide frenzy.

Today said friend who will still remain nameless but whose unnamed name might rhyme with ‘smelly’ and start with an ‘A’ emailed me the news story everyone seems to have since read (simultaneously apparently based on the emails I’ve been receiving) saying Facebook is thought to cost employers $5 billion a year through wasted company time.

To the people who agree with this, and possibly even tch tch-ed at the story I present this simple yet compelling argument. It goes as follows:

Recently, while fricking around on Facebook, I joined two wonderful groups: one called Embrace the HoYay (which is exactly what it sounds like) and another dedicated to ending the obnoxious use of exclamation marks. Realising that there are people who think like me somewhere in the world has made me very happy. When I am happy I feel better and, as a result, I have more ideas, enthusiasm and drive at work – I work better when I’m happy.

Um probably.

Sure, talking about favoured slash pairings and how right on F. Scott Fitzgerald had it when he said that an exclamation mark was like laughing at your own joke might not seem like it’s contributing towards the company’s profit margins or whatever but it’s all helping to make me feel happy. For the knock-on effects of my happiness see above.

If I depended on my work to keep me entertained, energised and stop me from throwing myself out of the window with frustration I would be a spot on the footpath by now. Facebook, and blogging and the myriad of other websites I may or may not frequent, depending on whether my boss is reading this, are all ways to let off steam and enjoy a few minutes of peace where you don’t have to deal with insane residents or inane PRs yelling at you.

Take away these things and we might all realise just how dull and repetitive and soul destroying our jobs really are.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I cannot believe it.

Some motherfucking fuckhead has been using my motherfucking phone.

Apologies for the language but what a cunt.

Since losing the thing on Sunday I’ve done jack about it, not really because I’m lazy, though I am, but because for some stupid reason I assumed that if someone found it they would try to get it back to its owners.

What the fuck is wrong with me? Why would I think for a second that the average person is anything more than a shithead when all evidence points to the contrary?

Today I finally rang up Virgin to admit defeat and cancel the phone, only to discover that some fuckstick has been using it for the last four days. And a few nice long, cosy chat he or she has been having too.

The helpful chick at Virgin did give me the numbers this dicksnap has been calling and if I were a much ballsier person, I might call them up and tell them their friend is a fucking thief. Well it is Friday so maybe I’ll have a few drinks and then do it.

UPDATE: I have been calling a couple of the numbers just for shits and giggles and to see who answers and the weirdest one so far? Anglicare. I suppose I should be grateful my phone has gone to the underprivileged.

Zen and the Art of Self Indulgent Wank

I’ve been having a bit of a think about my life these past few weeks (yes sadly it’s been that sort of fortnight). Mostly this is because, despite having what certainly looks like a nice little life, I’ve been getting a bit restless. I can’t stop remembering London and wonder if I should head back there. I love my job but I’m constantly thinking about what else I could be doing. I look at everything I have and worry that it won’t be enough for me five or ten years down the track and no matter how hard I squint I can’t seem to see my future at all.

Well I don’t want to get all Zen on your collective arses but I’ve come to a few decisions about what I want. Or, rather, I’ve come to a few decisions about what I don’t want out of my life. As to what I do want… well I haven’t figured that out yet. Standby.

1. I don’t want to be angry girl any more. A new friend told me this week that forgiving people is everything. I will attempt to learn how to let go of grudges and to cut the people I love a little slack.

2. I don’t want to settle down yet. Watching other people buy houses and pop out sprogs lately has made me realise how much I don’t want those things yet, however well they have worked for some of my friends. This is not just because I have no money and even less desire for children but because I can feel time moving away from me and I don’t want to regret not doing anything. Chances are this is going to lead to my falling on my arse, losing a huge wad of cash or doing something incredibly fucking stupid but I refuse to be paralysed by doubt. The responsible, sensible Kate you knew is gone. Well maybe not gone but thinking about having a bit of a lie down and letting Impulsive Kate take the wheel for awhile.

3. I don’t want to spend my life in my head. Existential crisis’ are getting old and I must learn to chill the fuck out. So I technically have no idea what I want, what I’m doing or where I’m going? Fuck it - I’m sure it will come to be eventually. Hurrah.

More words of wisdom to come once the drugs kick in again I'm sure.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Hungry Years

"I wake up on the fattest day of my life, 20 January 2003. I am just over 6 feet tall, and weigh... how much? I step on the scale and off it very quickly, to limit the damage. 236lbs. At best! My bathroom floor slopes slightly, and I have positioned the scale carefully to ensure the smallest possible reading"
So begins UK journalist William Leith's book The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict.
To read the full blog check out the CNG Lending Library site.

I think not my white-lab-coat-wearing friends

Je-sus Christ, if this isn’t the worst use of scientific reseearch ever then I will… well, I don’t know, be surprised I suppose:
“Researchers at Britain's Natural History Museum have come up with a simple
calculation to measure a man's sex appeal based on his face. And the results are
in. The scientists measured up ten celebrities and ranked them in order of
attractiveness as follows: 1. Will Smith 2. Peter Andre 3. Justin Timberlake 4. UK Big Brother's Liam 5. Thierry Henry 6. Brad Pitt 7. David Beckham 8. Johnny Depp 9. Kanye West 10. UK Big Brothers Ziggy”
Hmm, so what you're saying is that Peter Andre is more attractive than both Johnny Depp and Thierry Henry? Peter. Andre. Is more attractive. Than Johnny Depp… Peter Andre is more attractive… Peter… Peter Andre???

That sound you hear is me poking out my own eyes.

Spirituality Schmirituality

The idea of synchronicity has always interested me. Not in the sense that I have anything interesting to say about it now but more that I am rather happy to have a chance to use it here as a nice little segue into the subject of this blog, which is actually spirituality. Or perhaps ‘spirituality’.

The justification for the segue is that I have been thinking about the concept of 'spirituality' today since I heard a bint in the coffee shop descripe herself as 'spiritual' while I was waiting for my mocha and wondering what the chances were that the incompetent boob behind the counter would remember to use the soy milk and not to add the marshmallows. Then, while taking an extremely well earned break at work I read Charlie Brooker’s rant about more or less the same subject (and I’ll get to that in a minute).

I dislike it when I hear people describe themselves as ‘spiritual’ and this is probably because I don’t know what it means. Or, rather, I know what it means and I think it’s either a complete cop-out or one of the early warning signs of brain damage.

Technically to be 'spiritual' is to be concerned with the idea of the spirit. Practically it seems to refer to a desire to believe in some higher power without needing to narrow down your options, go to church on a Sunday or risk angering one of a dozen potential deities.


If you want to believe in religion then believe in a religion. Personally I’m not a fan but then I could well be looking at 10 to eternity in the fiery pits of hell for that belief, or lack thereof. If you want to dope yourself up on the opium of the people (if I'm wrong then Orwell may well be cursing my name from Heaven or Hell for my poor paraphrasing right there) then pick a religion, any religion. You have plenty to choose from and a couple of them even have some pretty nifty ideas.

Just do me a favour. Don’t buy healing crystals, or at least don’t refer to them as such around me. Read horoscopes if you like (I have been known to dabble) but don’t believe them. Don’t try to convince me to go in for alternative treatments for any of my many problems because they’re so much better than all those “harsh drugs” the doctor keeps trying to ram down my throat and please, please, please don’t tell me about your friend’s husband’s dog’s uncle who was once cured by the power of thought.

'Spirituality' to me is the opposite of rational thought, reason and logic. Strange things do happen, I concede, but the universe is a strange place. Open a physics textbook instead of consulting your mood stone and you might get a little bit closer to understanding something. Take off your ridiculous hemp pants and introduce yourself to Mr Intellect and Mrs Common Sense and maybe we can start improving things around here.

It falls to Brooker to present my closing argument:
“’Spirituality’ is what cretins have in place of imagination. If you've
ever described yourself as ‘quite spiritual’, do civilisation a favour and punch
yourself in the throat until you're incapable of speaking aloud ever again. Why
should your outmoded codswallop be treated with anything other than the
contemptuous mockery it deserves? Maybe you've put your faith in spiritual
claptrap because our random, narrative-free universe terrifies you. But that's
no solution. If you want comforting, suck your thumb. Buy a pillow. Don't make
up a load of floaty blah about energy or destiny. This is the real world,
stupid. We should be solving problems, not sticking our fingers in our ears and
singing about fairies.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Open Letter to everyone I have had to deal with this week"

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, just between you and me, because we’re such good friends and all: I don’t care. I don’t care about your stupid organisation/fight with the council/ageing mother/pet. I don’t care about your (many) apparent mental problems. I don’t care about why you think your organisation/mother/mental problems should go in the paper.

In fact the only reason I am even wasting time listening to you, your problems and feigning interest in what is a fucking pathetic story is because my editor is off sick and I need all the stories I can get for this week only.

That much said I am not so desperate that I will put up with your fucking shit any longer. If I ask you for a photo then send me a photo. If you say you’ll call me back then Call. Me. Back. If I say I need something by this afternoon that is exactly what I mean. Believe it or not I am actually trying to help you when I tell you what we need, why we need it and when we need it by. Listen to the words that are coming out of my mouth and act accordingly.

Sincerely etc.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ring, ring, why don't you give me a call?

I have lost my mobile and I am surprised at how bereft I feel.

More than that I am embarrassed by how bereft I feel.

I am also abashed that I have used the word ‘bereft’ twice (now three times) in a post about a bloody square of plastic and metal and… I don’t know, whatever the hell else is in there.

It is not merely that in losing the phone I have lost the numbers of half my friends, or even the fact that the phone was only about a month old (being fairly indifferent to the whole mobile-phone-comparison thing I bought the cheapest one I could find and you do, in fact, get what you pay for). It is that suddenly I feel as though my world has shrunk. Technically, yes, I can still call someone up, send them an email or even pop past their house. Despite not using a landline any more I still have enough other lines of communication open to mean I am (again technically) not quite an island.

But I feel like one.I can no longer text Ali to urge her to turn on Age of Love, alert Jade to the fact that I have just seen a picture of her freaky ex-ex-boyfriend in our newspaper or spontaneously lure someone out for a drink. I can’t while away boredom by sending someone increasingly insulting messages, or co-ordinate my weekend via some group texts.

I know all this is ridiculous and I feel as though I should be having an epiphany of some kind about the way that the possibility of constant and immediate communication can restrict us as well as liberate us and how we’ve lost the art of face-to-face contact or something but, fuck it, I’d really rather just have my phone back thanks.

Done in 60 seconds... by which I mean about 120 seconds

I read this nice little piece in The Guardian today in which music journo Jon Wilde tried to name his top 10 favourite songs in 60 seconds. And while he had to do it in front of Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller, thus with the added pressure of trying not to humiliate himself with embarrassingly naff choices, I think that, either way, the idea is a nice one.

So I'm going to attempt do the same (and I'm thinking of favourite songs - not my ideas about the 10 best songs ever written and yes of course there's a difference) over the next 60 seconds. Sure, my poor dear readers will have no idea if I'm sticking to the 60 second rule or taking a lazy half hour to graze my way through but I'm sure the incompetence of my choices will speak for themselves.In no particular order... start the clock:

10. You're so Great (Blur)
Not my favourite band but love, love this song, which was allegedly recorded under a table.

9. If I ever feel better (Phoenix)
It still kills me.

8. Half a Person (The Smiths)

7. Orgasm Addict (Buzzcocks)
Rebellion lite playing this one loud but I loved it.

6. The Wind (Cat Stevens)
Oh fuck me I think I'm over a minute already - this is hard...

5. In Your Head (The Panics)

4. New Slang (The Shins)

3. Ain't that Enough? (Teenage Fanclub)

2. There's Too Much Love (Belle and Sebastian)
I have to mention my favourite band and this is a good one.

1. Time for Heroes (The Libertines)
Oh fuck off it's a modern classic.

In conclusion: not an unqualified success. Somehow I've ended up with a mish-mash of songs I've been listening to lately, songs that are genuinely in my top 10 and random songs chosen in a state of semi-panic just to enable me to include a favourite band. And it took me almost two minutes. Hmm.

If I had the time I would include something from Nick Drake and The Cure, probably dumping The Panics in the process, lovely as they are. I’d change my Belle and Sebastian song choice and possibly my Buzzcocks one too but there you go: having to do it fast and use what comes to mind is what makes the whole thing more than an exercise in wankery.

Anyone with a minute to spare please take it away in the comments - but stick to a minute (or two).

NOTE: I have taken extra time to go back to my list and correct some horrendous spelling, punctuation and typos. Clearly for the sake of honesty I should have left it as-was but would you really have known who Teh Msiths were?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quotable Quotes: Dorothy Parker (yes - too much DP is never enough)

Symptom Recital
I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the simplest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick. I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore:
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men.
I'm due to fall in love again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

So long and thanks for all the music.

Record label owner, radio and TV presenter, journo and music legend Tony Wilson died today. And if you think you haven't heard of him you will certainly have listened to some of the bands he managed - most famously Joy Division but also Happy Mondays, A Certain Ratio and some others I forget and am too lazy to look up. He also founded Factory Records and ran the Hacienda nightclub, generally playing a huge role Manchester's music culture.

If you don't want to, as I plan to do, listen to Love will Tear us Apart on repeat to mark the occasion you are best recommended to check out 24 Hour Party People (thanks to Bec, who recommended it to me in the first place) which is a great fictionalised account of his life. And bloody funny.

Band Schmand Grand um Stand

My first significant memory of seeing a live band was watching The Dandy Warhols many, many years back with Ali. It wasn't very crowded, most of the crowd didn't seem to know the music well and into some silence or other we shouted "take it off, Courtney" at the (hot) lead singer. In return he deadpanned into the microphone "why does everyone always say that?"

There is something special about seeing live music and it's easy to forget when you fall out of the habit.

Tonight I was out, quite randomnly and not particularly plannned, to see Perth band The Simian Line and, even putting aside my predeliction for skinny indie boys in tight pants, cute jackets and shaggy hairstyles they were great.

The production quality of a CD is hard to beat but harder still to replicate are the vibrations of the music coming up through the floor and along your legs, the excitement of the crowd when they recognise the next song and the capacity of each band member, however repulsive initially, to become incredibly attractive during a one hour set.

It is so much easier to fall in love with a band and mentally swear your undying loyalty to them during a good set than while sitting at home with the CD on in the background and that is the best thing about gigs - the immediacy and the sensation that you're one of a select group experiencing something

Also, obviously, a side effect of the live music life is a tendency to come home drunk and crap on while your brain ponders what the fuck happened to your ID and when exactly it is someone will take your goddamn word that you are, in fact, well over 18. Hopefully the same somebody invents a handy gadget to prevent me from blogging drunk - hey it would be doing us all a favour.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Belle And Sebastian - I'm A Cuckoo

I have finally worked out the not-at-all complicated process of posting you tube videos on here. To celebrate here are my Scottish beauties Belle and Sebastian in their happiest song for years.

Neil Harvey for PM

You may not be surprised to hear that John Howard’s $189 million dollar vow to “clean up the internet” has not won my vote.

On the contrary it has merely given me the desire for a strong cup of tea and a bit of a lie down. And by ‘lie down’ I mean ‘projectile vomit’.

Under Howard’s vote garnering pla- I mean uh under his well thought out and surely desperately needed plan every Aussie family (and wouldn’t I like to see his definition of family while we’re at it) will get a free internet filler and… well I don’t know what else exactly, as I may have experienced a small rage black out while reading the article, but I gather it’s bunch of other crap to prevent people from accessing (clutch your pearls now) porn.

The fact that Howard chose to reveal this plan while blathering on about Christianity and “family values” (don’t even get me started) at the National Press Club in Canberra makes it pretty clear exactly who he is appealing to and why. It is a shameless attempt to claw back some votes from a dying government that I hope will backfire. I just cannot believe anyone can think that this is the best way to spend nearly $200m bucks - ahead of, say, education, health, the environment or - Jesus - half a dozen areas they have been neglecting for 10 years. (Then again the people he is appealing to seem to believe in a lot of very incredulous things so you never know).

This is not to say that the thought of paedophiles using the internet to procure young victims is not a terrible one. I just find it very hard to believe it happens as often as the government and/or media seem to suggest. Or maybe I just think that there are simpler ways of cracking down on it, such as, say, ensuring your child is not a fucking idiot.

Meanwhile the promise to give every Australian family a filter is just… lame. I mean I can understand that some people do find pornography highly sexist and offensive but I just don’t get what the big deal is. It might not be everyone’s view but I actually don’t think that exposing a child to most of the laughably-lame porn on the internet is going to scar them for life. If they’re seeking it out and you put it out of their reach they’re just going to want it more and find a way to get it. I say let everyone experience the joys of B-grade porn, complete with cheesy music, for themselves and they’ll soon discover how anticlimactic (I wish I could say pun unintended) it is.

Growing up in the computer age (well sort of - our first machine was an Amiga 500 so it wasn’t exactly The Matrix) as a teenager I had, in theory, access to all kinds of disturbing stuff on the internet and yet somehow I made it through. I’d like to give the next generation enough credit to assume they can do the same.

As Neil Harvey (god bless you, stranger) from Perth commented on the PerthNow website: “Can we get some filter to block out politicians from appearing on Youtube?”

Hide the soft porn behind the Proust - nobody's looking there.

Bec has put me onto this lovely website which is sort of the online equivalent of looking through someone's bookshelf as soon as you're allowed into their house (other people do this, right?) and quietly judging them.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Quotable Quotes: Evelyn Waugh

"All over England people were waking up, queasy and despondent."
(Evelyn Waugh, A Handful of Dust)

Rose-tinted spectacles are all well and good but Come. On.

I don’t know who among you have read Douglas Adam’s brilliant Dirk Gently series (which, although quite fantastic, has never quite achieved the popularity of the Hitchhiker books) but there’s a recurring joke in there where our protagonist Dirk attempts to use an I-Ching computer to solve his problems. The computer’s answer, regardless of the question it is asked, is “a suffusion of yellow”.

It’s quite a charming idea. It is not, however, nearly so charming when it is happening in real life and the answer is a suffusion of magenta. Because, for reasons unknown, my computer screen is currently pink. Very, very pink. It is the kind of pink that looks like I have just popped a piece of cellophane over a lamp or makes me think that I constantly have a bit of sleep in my eye. And although I have dutifully poked the cords under my desk and rubbed my eyes raw it is not getting any better.

Not only is this making my eyes go all weird but I am starting to fear it is affecting everything I write with a pink hue, much like the way a bad headache infuses all my writing with vaguely grumpy overtones. What kind of result this pink hue will have on the kind of hard-hitting topics I’m covering over here is anyone’s guess but I am begging the IT department: please don’t let me find out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Take a chapter of Wodehouse and call me in the morning.

Whenever I'm feeling a bit flat or harbouring the suspicion that life has let me down (I'm paraphrasing someone there but fricked if I can remember who) I have a simple solution. It’s not quite as good for me as a vomit-inducingly wholesome country walk or anything but neither is it quite as self destructive as pumping myself full of drugs. Basically I spend money. Specifically I seem to spend money on books.

My bookshelf is full of sad little clusters of books I haven’t read - most of them probably purchased during just such a pick-me-up mission, ranging from the this-is-happy-so-it-will-cheer-me-up genre to the misery-loves-company collection. I even have, squirrelled away somewhere to my eternal shame, a nifty collection of self-help books, purchased during a moment of madness when I thought I might be going actually clinically mad instead of just being a weirdo.

There is something about buying books that is a great mood lifter and it's different to the semi-euphoria of purchasing a coat that I can convince myself makes me look like Audrey Tatou. Finding and aquiring such a coat is indeed great (at least until I look in the mirror and find the effect to be more Enid Blyton's Moonface than Parisian minx) but buying books, however many times I do it, makes me feel like I am changing my life. Strange and disturbing, I know, but if you don't know that I'm both of those things who are you and why are you reading my blog?

Anyway, I do have a few ‘to read’ books scribbled down on a piece of paper… somewhere safe I’m sure, but I’m appealing for suggestions from any genre, any author and any style. What have you got?

UPDATE: I have just spent a large squage of cash I don't have on books I don't technically need and yet I feel no shame. I'm also officially going into hermit mode to get some serious reading done - I am not at home to callers... unless they're bringing me some booze to lubricate the whole process.

I'm so lame I can't even come up with a scrabble-related pun for this goddamn title

I am a surprisingly terrible scrabble player. I don’t just mean that I’m particularly bad at coming up with seven letter words into which I can wedge my X, J and three Os, although I am. I mean also that I dislike the game, find I get far too competitive and am prone to a fit of the sulks when things don’t go my way. The combination of being a bad player and a bad sport is not a very good one. So why is it that news of a Scrabble plug-in for Facebook has me so excited?

This from Charlie Brooker:

"Don't kick your own teeth out with excitement or anything, but I've been
playing Scrabble. Virtual Scrabble. Or "Scrabulous" as it's known. It's a
plug-in for Facebook: you challenge a friend, then play turn-by-turn; casually,
languidly, via email, which means games often last a week or more - like test
match cricket, but faintly more interesting."
(You can read the rest of his article, which is pretty funny here)

I’m not sure why I should care about the rise of a new forum in which to play I game I neither like nor am particularly good at but ultimately I think it is something to do with the fact that I have always wanted to like scrabble and to be good at it. Having never managed either I continue to nurse a hope that the prospect of not actually having to be in the same room as the person or people I’m playing against might help me to finally achieve this.

Not, as Brooker suggests, because of the ease with which you can cheat but because it removes the social aspect of the game, which I think is what I find distasteful.To explain this one I’m going to go all Normal Bates and blame my mother. My family seemed to do little else but play games of scrabble while I was growing up and, as the youngest by a good few years, I was also inevitably the crappest player. I spent hours floundering around with four letter marvels while my parents and siblings hit the triple letter word scores, simultaneously divesting themselves of those pesky Z, Q or Js.

My mother, bless her, sought to encourage me to stay in the game by ‘helping me’, which mostly consisted of rearranging my scrabble tiles and staring pointedly at a spot on the board on which I might like to place this new-found word. I hated this and still blame these early forays for my life-long distaste for the game. Put a set of tiles and some competitors in the same room as me and I’m a grumpy eight year old again, staring at the letters my mother has helpfully rearranged for me: DUNCE.

Is it too much to help that technology has finally given me a way to enjoy a game I’ve always wanted to enjoy? Can the soothing touch of a mouse beneath my hand help to erase years of barely repressed rage at my inability to come up with somewhere to place my flukishly-assembled seven letter word? Could I come to love a game that has always hated me? Probably not but it sounds worth a shot.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The anatomy of the girl crush.. sort of.

I had quite a witty blog planned on the anatomy of a girl crush. It touched on the delicate relationship and subtle differences between wanting to be like someone and wanting to be liked (read: shagged) by someone. It even included a mildly amusing anecdote about the time my sister, and then my friend, asked me if I was a lesbian. It was potentially the most amusing, incisive and well-written blog I’ve written today and I had written half of the bugger, really I had, but then my computer crashed and I lost it all. This has crushed my spirit to the point where I can't quite bear to write it all again. Instead you just get a picture of this chick from America’s Next Top Model, who I think is a real hottie.

And for the actual wedding we’re thinking of sacrificing some virgins…

So the Aussie soldiers who dressed up as Ku Klux Klansmen while getting maggoted were taking part in a bucks night prank, were they?

So says the former soldier who spilled his guts, if not his identity, to Channel 7 after the now infamous video was released on you tube.

I have no big problem with the binge drinking side of things, no matter what the tossers from Family First say because everybody needs a drink every now and again.

Also, frankly, I think that the people who are offended by the whole pointed-pillowcase-over-the-head side of the matter just don’t understand the context. Because you know what makes a really fun bucks party? Lynching black people.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Token Smokin' Hottie: Marlon Brando

Okay sure - putting (a young) Marlon Brando as a Token Smokin' Hottie is not unlike saying The Beatles are your favourite band: safe but incredibly dull, right?

I know this, I know this but there are things that need to be said and the fact that Brando was, in fact, an extremely attractive man is one of them (so it's not quite 'we will fight them on the beaches' but the dude is hot).

For people of a certain age a hot Brando seems natural, normal, maybe even familiar, I don't know. For those of us, however, who remember him best as a bloated and mental Kurtz, a croaking Godfather or a billowy-shirt-wearing freak in The Island of Dr Moreau (which I will pretend not to have seen) it's worth having a look just to remind yourself what everyone was talking about.

Huh huh. Hmm. Mmm. Sure, sure great actor, method schmethod, possibly shagged James Dean whatever. To recap: The dude was hot.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Spam Wars

Is it just me or is the spam in my inbox starting to get a little bit personal?

Maybe it's the effect of having to routinely clear hundreds of spam mails offering me sex aids, penis pumps, degrees in subjects I am supremely unqualified for and pills with highly questionable ingredients and side effects out of my work and personal inboxes but it's all got a bit much for me lately. In fact I've started to feel the spam is speaking directly to me and I don't really like it.

Why Be an Average Man any Longer? The subject line in my inbox wants to know.

Are you really happy with the size of your penis? It goes on to question anyone foolish enough to open it. And If you are then your girlfriend or wife probably isn't. Despite the fact that I am, actually, quite happy with the lack of any such appendage on my body the spam’s continued insistence that, despite what I may think, I am in fact only half a man starts to make me feel insecure. Could it be bigger? Should it be? Would I, in fact, be happier if I had a six foot penis to throw over my shoulder?


Worse still are the subject lines that use my name. These little suckers really take it to another level - first giving me a moment of hope that somebody I actually know has emailed me and then using that second of weakness to plunge the knife home.

So Tell Me Kate, Are You Healthy? The latest unsolicited email from Boost Juice wants to know. Wow, what a warm and chatty tone. It’s just like talking to a friend… except wait a minute… Sure I have a diet coke in one hand and some kind of pastry good in the other but is that really your business, Mr Spam?

As it happens I like a good Boost Juice every so often but, upon reading this, I vow never to go back, eyeing my pastry balefully and taking a few experimental steps to see if my thighs rub when I walk.


Make Your Fat Friends Jealous! The next one tempts me. What kind of person does this spam think I am? Apparently the sort of person who wants to drop twenty pounds so I can smugly offer my (soon to be former) best friend if she wants to have my ‘fat clothes’ before I throw them out. That's just... wrong.

Delete, delete and delete again but this time I’m thinking war and it's your fault, Sir Spamalot. Imply I have a tiny, flaccid penis if you like. Suggest I’m an uneducated yob in need of a degree in nanotechnology from a university run out of a creepy old man’s spare room if you feel the need. But make fun of the fact that yes sometimes my thighs do rub together when I walk and call me a bad friend and I will cut you.

It has begun.

Quotable Quotes: Woody Allen

"Millions of books written on every conceivable subject by all these great minds and in the end, none of them knows anything more about the big questions of life than I do ... I read Socrates. This guy knocked off little Greek boys. What the Hell's he got to teach me? And Nietzsche, with his theory of eternal recurrence. He said that the life we lived we're gonna live over again the exact same way for eternity. Great. That means I'll have to sit through the Ice Capades again. It's not worth it. And Freud, another great pessimist. I was in analysis for years and nothing happened. My poor analyst got so frustrated, the guy finally put in a salad bar. Maybe the poets are right. Maybe love is the only answer."

(Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fence Peeping

Relationships, and how other people navigate them, fascinate me and I’m sure I’m not alone.
Of course, on one level, it satisfies our voyeuristic impulse to hear about the ins and outs (minds out of the gutter please) of somebody else’s relationship.
We mentally to compare their relationship to our own, either to depress the hell out of ourselves or revel in smug satisfaction. But I think there is a great deal more to it than that.
I don’t really want to make the sweeping statement that none of us really know what we’re doing when it comes to relationships… but I fear it may be true.
Where do we get our ideas about how relationships are supposed to work? Popular culture, I suppose. Books and TV and films show us images of happy, unhappy or somewhere in between. The problem is that, to badly paraphrase Jean Rhys, books, movies and TV have “shape” - they have a narrative structure that ensures a beginning, middle and an end. Things happen for a reason. In real life things happen, of course, but they don’t necessarily happen for a good reason, follow a story or take us closer towards a climax (what did I say about the gutter? You disgust me…) or a happy ending.
In real life we just muddle about, wondering why our relationships bear no resemblance to what we read or see. In desperation we talk to our friends, trying to catch a little glimpse of what is going on in their backyard so that we can better understand the mess that is our own.
Despite clocking up a few solid years in the relationship game I don’t think it ever gets easier to figure out what you want and how you can achieve it. Despite my best efforts my life does not resemble those I read about or see on the big screen and I still have no idea how other people make these things look so easy.
I don't really have a solution here (I'm like the Bible: all questions and no answers). I’m not sure if we all need to be more honest about how fucking hard some of this stuff is to figure out or if we need just need books, movies and TVs that are a bit more true to life but one or other would be nice. In the meantime I’ll just continue to peep over the fence.

UPDATE: If you’re into fence peeping you should check out this single life blog. Despite the title it’s really about relationships and it fascinates me.
UPDATE TWO: The spacing is all messed up here. I don't know why blogspot hates me but apparently I killed its Mum or something.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Would you look at the time, it's 1987 already...

Is it really 2007? I mean really?

Because the line being taken by media covering US research to do with men and women's motivation for having sex says otherwise. The Slimes, at least, is practically clutching its pearls as it claims the research shatters the myth that women have sex to be emotionally fulfilled while men are driven by lust.
“It's refuted a lot of gender stereotypes ... that men only want sex for the
physical pleasure and women want love,” University of Texas clinical psychology
professor Cindy Meston, the study's co-author, told the Associated Press.
“That's not what I came up with in my findings. None of the gender differences
are all that great.”
Jesus - really? I mean we really have to go through this stuff again do we?

Meanwhile, on a more disturbing note some of less popular reasons given by men and women were one part amusing and another part creepy, including “I wanted to punish myself,” (uh huh) “I wanted to end my relationship” (hmmm) or “I wanted to give someone else a sexually transmitted disease” (jesus!).

Honestly, though, it’s articles like this that make Hollywood believe we still need or want a Sex and the City movie. Haven’t we dealt with this crap already?